Kings, Ducks eager for iconic Dodger Stadium stage
Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Kings, and Honda Center, where the Anaheim Ducks play, are separated by about 30 miles of Interstate-5 in southern California.
Their proximity, as well as the teams' success, has created quite a rivalry that sees both buildings get packed with raucous fans when they face off.
That rivalry will shift a few miles north when the Coors Light Stadium series opens with the Kings and Ducks meeting at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.
The iconic baseball stadium, with its mountain views and palm trees, will make for a most interesting setting for an outdoor game.
"I think it will be pretty cool because Dodger Stadium is a very unique stadium in how it's built and the setting," Kings captain Dustin Brown told NHL.com. "And you've got the backdrop, and it's built into the mountain."
There's also the budding rivalry between the teams that will make it just as interesting. The Ducks and Kings never have met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but each team has ranked among the Western Conference's best in recent seasons, and each has won a Stanley Cup in the past six years.
"I've been there … for 10 years almost," Brown said. "They won a Cup in '07, we won it in 2012. So from that standpoint it's 1-1. But, you know … you get to know these guys so well, you play them a lot and the proximity geographically, there's a lot of times where you know, summertime you skate with some of these guys. You get to know them off the ice.
"But the big rivalry I think is the fan base. You got the diehard fans for the Kings and it's black or white in that area. It's either you're one or the other; there's no fan that's like, 'Well I kind of like both teams.' It's either Ducks or Kings. And that's where I think it's very unique."
It also will be unique to have an outdoor game in a place where there generally isn't a lot of ice seen outdoors.
"It's going to be fun," Ducks forward Corey Perry told NHL.com. "It's going to be interesting to see how it works out in L.A., and I know it's going to be a blast. Everything is going to go great, but to be outside, take it back to the grassroots hockey when you were a kid going outside in the minus-30, minus-40 wind chill."
It won't be quite that cold in Los Angeles, but conditions in late January should be just fine for some fun, intense outdoor hockey.
"It's something that would be very new for people that live in the area and it will be pretty cool to play in front of 60,000 people," Kings goalie Jonathan Quick told NHL.com. "I think everybody has their concerns on ice conditions and how the weather is going to be, if it's going to be hockey weather or not, but they usually do a good job of putting together a good rink and making sure the guys are not risking any injuries or anything like that. Obviously playing against Anaheim, you have that rivalry already with them and I think it will be a very exciting game. It will be fun."
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor