Season, banners blowin’ in the wind
It’s yet another day of no negotiating between the NHL and its players, with the Sept. 15 lockout date looming. That, of course, puts the start of training camp in serious jeopardy. Kings players have been scheduled to report to El Segundo for physicals on Sept. 17, with on-ice practices scheduled to start the following day and the first preseason game(s) set for Sept. 24. It’s reasonable to think that nothing, schedule-wise, would be impacted if a (theoretical) lockout lasted only a couple days. Beyond that, preseason games would be endangered, including the popular annual “Frozen Fury’’ game in Las Vegas, scheduled for Sept. 29.
Then, of course, there’s the start of the regular season, with the Kings scheduled to host the New York Rangers on Oct. 12. What a shame it would be to see the Kings’ celebration delayed, especially because I’m told there’s a great celebration in the works. Here’s one tidbit: For the first time in their Forum/Staples Center history, the Kings intend to hang banners from the rafters, rather than post them on the wall. That means this year’s Stanley Cup and Western Conference championship banners will hang above the ice, as well as the 1991 and 1993 banners, most likely (details of the event are still being worked out, including the placement of the retired-number banners).
Having all the banners on a wall is a Kings/Lakers tradition that started at the Forum and carried over to Staples Center. I hesitate to make this blanket statement, for fear of a faulty memory, but to the best of my recollection, the Kings are the only NHL team that doesn’t hang its banners from the rafters. I’m curious to see what you think, but no matter what, it will definitely make the banner-raising ceremony a bit more dramatic…whenever it takes place.