The Kings returned their entire Stanley Cup Championship team from last year and expectations are high for another stellar season and a spirited defense of the Cup. On the other hand, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are coming off an extremely disappointing last place finish, and are picked to do not much better this year. On top of that, they were to open the season against Vancouver, who begins as almost a consensus to win the Western Conference.
That’s why you do have to actually PLAY the games.
|After a long, emotional ceremony that concluded with parading the Stanley Cup around the Staples Center ice, the Kings went out and stunk against the Blackhawks. Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, who says he’s fine after off-season back surgery, gave up all five goals in the 5-2 loss. He gave up as many as five goals|
only once in last year’s full season. The only Kings’ highlight of the game was a goal scored by Rob Scuderi, equalling his total of last season and the seventh of his nine-year career. Chicago seemed quicker, faster, and much more motivated than the Kings.
Topping the list of motivated Blackhawks was Marian Hossa, who scored two goals. His last appearance in an NHL game saw him being carried of the ice on a gurney after a viscous hit from Raffi Torres, who received a 25-game suspension. Hossa suffered a serious concussion and had a very slow recovery, and would not have been playing had the NHL season started on time.
The Ducks, however, went to Vancouver, and showed the Canucks just who they think is not only the best team in SoCal but maybe in the West, overpowering them 7-3. Cory Schneider, who was third in the league last year with a 1.96 GAA gave up five goals in 26 minutes before being asked to sit, and now 42-year-old Teemu Sellane opened his 20th season by putting the match away by scoring the last two Ducks’ goals, the 664th and 665th of his career. He also had two assists. Amazingly, after the game he said he didn’t feel like he was in shape yet, and needed a few more games “to get his legs back”.
In another mark of a good team, that, well maybe the Ducks are, was that they converted on all three of their power-plays.
Vancouver fans are total fanatics, and this game was their 409th consecutive sellout. They had all sorts of give-a-ways, but one was interesting and one that likely could not be done anytime soon in the US – each adult fan was entitled to one free beer. Maybe free Duff on the Simpsons, but in Staples or the Honda Ponda? Not likely.