I forgot to let you know one other big reason why the Kings vs Ducks game at Dodgers Stadium is going to be a great game — the “Freeway Face-Off” rivalry.
The LA Kings and the Anaheim Ducks have never been buddies, and they never will be. It’s impossible.
Check it out: The Los Angeles franchise gets established in 1967, representing Southern California in the hockey world. Then, in 1993, Disney needs to blow some more dollars and suddenly LA has to compete with The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for dominance.
Are you kidding? They’re based on a movie! That takes place in Minneapolis! I love that movie, but this doesn’t even make sense. Where is Emilio Estevez? I need to file a complaint.
It doesn’t help that the The Mighty Ducks (later renamed the Anaheim Ducks, as if that was going to stop people from making lame Emilio Estevez references — see paragraph above; it didn’t) managed to win the Stanley Cup before Los Angeles in 2007. Even the team mascots can’t get along.
The “Freeway Face-Off” name is sort of related to the MLB Angels/Dodgers “Freeway Series” name. It was actually voted the favorite by about 12,000 fans.
I gotta tell you, Retta — there’s supposedly a general LA vs San Francisco citywide squabble, but I didn’t hear about that until a co-worker from SF mentioned it to me like 4 years ago. I’ve been in LA since I was 10 years old. Northern California’s beef with SoCal is more one-sided, I think, but I’ve been making fun of Orange County for years, starting with the fact that their median income is $20,000 more than LA and peaking somewhere around its reputation for being more conservative and snobby. Similarly, I’ve always known that a lot of lifetime OC folks look down on Los Angeles.
It lays a pretty great foundation for some intense hockey. Kings fans often invade Ducks home games and vice versa. We trade chants for our teams; we boo the opposition’s top players. During the regular season series this year, Kings mascot Bailey the Lion (#72) tried to have all fans get in on the fun by switching their avatars to this —
(This picture was also originally created by a fan — @Almsmcq.)
Despite the rivalry, some of the players are friends. For instance, Anze Kopitar (#11) and Ducks player Bobby Ryan played together overseas during the lockout and apparently still text each other and plan slumber parties.
“He’s definitely fun to play with,” Kopitar said [of Ryan]. “You just appreciate more, I think, the guy when you play with him instead of against him. He’s definitely a big world-class player.”
Some friendships precede NHL team affiliations. Kings forwards Jeff Carter (#77) and Mike Richards (#10) won gold for Team Canada with Ducks players Ryan Getzlaf and Cory Perry when all four played in the 2005 World Juniors Ice Hockey Championships.
Also, 26 NHL players have suited up for both teams in their careers. Here are a few of them still active in the NHL in some way:
Though a free agent now, Jason Blake played for the LA Kings in the late 90s, was traded to a couple other teams, and then spent 2009 to 2012 playing for the Ducks.
"Disco Dan" Bylsma
Bylsma is currently the head coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins and helped lead them to a Stanley Cup win in 2009. However, when he was playing pro hockey, he only played for two teams: the LA Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.
Dustin Penner (#25)
THAT’S RIGHT. I talked about it once before, but it bears repeating. Our very own pancake accident survivor was on the Ducks when they won their first Stanley Cup. Fast forward five years, and Dustin Penner lifted the Cup again 30 miles north.