Sometimes you wait 30 minutes. Sometimes 45 years. Even if Los Angeles, which entered the finals favored over the Devils, ends the NHL's longest active Cup drought—a dubious honor shared with the Maple Leafs and the Blues—there's no guarantee it will become part of the fabric of the city. As Kings president of business operations Luc Robitaille notes, "Thirteen million people here. We're not a city. We're a country." The only universal fabric in Los Angeles appears to be spandex. "The way we make a dent is if we compete [for a Cup] year after year," continues Robitaille, the team's alltime goal scorer. "But our best players"—27-year-old captain Dustin Brown, 26-year-old goalie Jonathan Quick, 24-year-old center Anze Kopitar, 22-year-old defenseman Drew Doughty—"are our youngest players. We should be able to compete for six, seven years."
"There's been this sort of speculation I was traded there to grow hockey," Gretzky says. "Really, there's nothing further from the truth. At 27, I'm not thinking that. I just wanted to be part of a championship there."
"Maybe," Jiggs McDonald says, "the Inglewood High School band could even lead the Stanley Cup parade."