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Championship Kings reunited after short summer

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Justin Williams #14 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with the Stanley Cup after the Kings 3-2 double overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup twice in the last three seasons, but there’s no question that the 2014-15 campaign will be a new experience for them. After they raised the Cup in 2012, they had to wait 221 days for the start of the next campaign because of the lockout. This time around, there’s just a 116-day gap between their championship and the start of a new season.

In some ways, it will be easier for them to successfully defend their championship this time around because the 2012-13 lockout and the rushed return to play after it ended impacted each players ability to prepare for the campaign. As Kings coach Darryl Sutter noted, the Kings were more ready to start the season in September 2013 than they were when the lockout ended, per LA Kings Insider. On top of that, it created a major event that stood between their accomplishments and their chance to build on them.

That X-factor doesn’t exist this time around, but fatigue is a bigger concern given that they’ve had a shorter summer than every other team except the Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers.

“It doesn’t really feel like I left, to be honest with you,” Justin Williams said. All the same, he agreed that the Kings weren’t ready after the lockout.

No team has won back-to-back titles since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 due in part to the league’s parity. It’s just a matter of time before another team matches that accomplishment though.

“We’ve got basically the same team, and I feel our hunger is going to be exactly where it needs to be because we felt what it tasted like to have it and then have it taken away from us,” Williams argued. “It’ll be good.”

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