- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES — The Stanley Cup barely had the Los Angeles Kings‘ fingerprints on it before Darryl Sutter suggested they should start preparing to win it again.

“The first thing you think about as a coach, these guys are all young enough, they’ve got to try it again,” the coach said Monday night, mere moments after raising the Cup for the first time himself.

That’s just how a pragmatic farmer from Alberta thinks about everything, and Sutter didn’t allow his mental preparations for a sequel to stop him from celebrating this irreplaceable moment with his players.

The Kings partied until well after midnight at a restaurant overlooking the Staples Center ice, where Los Angeles completed its 16-4 rampage through the postseason to the franchise’s first NHL title.

After nearly 45 years without a Cup, after 4 1/2 decades with one division title and one conference crown to show for their existence, and after eight straight years from 2002-10 without making the playoffs, Los Angeles and its Kings had earned every minute of it.

Music boomed and drinks flowed for a few hundred friends, family members and Kings employees hanging with the players. Everybody seemingly got a chance to raise the Cup above their heads for triumphant photos, and a few unhappy toddlers were forced to sit in the bowl. The Conn Smythe Trophy also attended, and plenty of people borrowed Jonathan Quick’s hardware long enough to chant “M-V-P!” for themselves.

The Kings weren’t thinking much about how they became the first eighth seed to win a title, or how they won 10 straight road games this spring, or how they made the second-fastest run in modern NHL history to the Stanley Cup.

They already knew.