The modern NHL regional rivalry
Los Angeles travels down to Anaheim on Saturday for the first installment of the season series. An interesting dynamic exists between the two divisional rivals in a game that always captures the attention of the dual fanbases. The two former Cup winners have never met in the playoffs – they’ve only appeared in the postseason in the same year once since the rivalry began in 1993-94 – and there hasn’t been an exceptional amount of distaste on the ice between two teams that share the same metropolitan area.
On Friday, the subject was raised at the Kings’ practice.
Darryl Sutter, on the Los Angeles – Anaheim rivalry:
“There’s only a rivalry if both teams are fighting for the same spot. One team had a tough year last year. One team was trying to make the playoffs. I’m not into that rivalry stuff unless they’re two top teams that are battling for a spot. I mean, everybody talked about that in Edmonton and Calgary. Well Calgary’s captain lived in Edmonton. Edmonton’s captain lived in Calgary. I don’t think there was a rivalry. I mean, they all golfed together. So you figure this rivalry out. See what you make out of it off the ice.”
Sutter, on the Kings and Ducks working out and skating together during the lockout:
“Well, that should make for a good rivalry. It’s changed.”
Dustin Penner, on what he recalled about playing Los Angeles while he was with Anaheim:
“I remember when we played the Kings, it always seemed like a more intense game. There’s that Southern California pride factor that plays into it. And everybody knows each other for the most part. We skated together as a group, so there’s that natural competitiveness. You know, even in the charity games [during the lockout], it was Kings versus Ducks, and we wanted to win. The stakes are raised.”
Penner, on skating with his former teammates during the lockout and the offseason:
“Well, I live down there, so I’ve always skated down there in the summers. A lot of those guys now have summer homes somewhere else, because you can get oversaturated with California at times. As hard as that is to believe for everyone outside of California, sitting on the 101 at four in the afternoon can make you want to leave.”