A rivalry exists between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. Kings fans: is it solely a geographical rivalry between two teams separated by 25 miles of bottlenecked freeway lanes? Or does there exist a deeply seeded aversion towards Southern California’s other National Hockey League franchise?
It’s something I’ve never really been able to fully comprehend. The two teams have never met in the playoffs. Players have worn both jerseys and appear at charity skates over the off-season with each other. As Darryl Sutter said of the Edmonton-Calgary rivalry, “Calgary’s captain lived in Edmonton and Edmonton’s captain lived in Calgary. I don’t think there was a rivalry. I figure they all golfed together.”
The players enjoy playing in these games, but I’m not sure if the Kings view the Ducks as their biggest rival. It’s possible that they do. As Jeff Carter said earlier this morning, “I don’t know if it’s that big of a rivalry, but they’re always fun games.”
Because of the Smythe Division ties, and partly because they’ve met in the playoffs in two of the last three years, there certainly exists a rivalry with Vancouver. Though the luster has faded since the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the rivalry with Smythe Division foe Edmonton, and to a much lesser extent, Calgary, exists. Due to playoff series last decade, there is somewhat of a rivalry with Detroit and Colorado, with the former enhanced by the throngs of red-clad fans that invade Staples Center when the Red Wings are in town. And then there are the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that the Kings carved out a much more defined and fierce rivalry with after last year’s Western Conference Final.
The Dodgers and Giants share one of sports’ greatest rivalries, and the Southern California / Northern California contention drives much of the rivalry between L.A. and San Jose – two teams that have also recently met in the playoffs.
What about Dallas? Surely the Stars have to factor into this discussion somewhere.
So where do the Ducks rank amongst the Kings’ chief rivals? Am I crazy for placing them after the Canucks and Sharks, yet above the Coyotes and Red Wings? Maybe I’m just crazy. If I’m crazy, tell me I’m crazy. I would love it if Ducks fans who lurk on these boards chimed in. Please share your own opinions on the Kings’ fiercest rivalries.