As noted last month, Wednesday’s banner raising ceremony will be shorter than the one that took place in January, 2013, and that’s perfectly fine with the players.
“To be honest, the players, we want the ceremony as short as possible,” Drew Doughty said. “We don’t want it to drag on and have us standing out there for 20 minutes or whatever it may be, because it is tough. When it’s a long ceremony, it affects you going into your first couple shifts, without a doubt.”
While the ceremony for the fans in the building will be 28 minutes long, the players will only be on the ice for roughly 11 to 12 minutes, which includes a three-minute warm-up skate after the celebration.
That’s not to say that the banner raising won’t be a special moment for all those affiliated with the club’s second Stanley Cup in three seasons. Speaking with members of the team, there’s significant pride in being commemorated alongside the feats accomplished by other Staples Center championship teams – namely, the Lakers.
“I think the banners, for the team, it’s cool to see it go up there, just because it was the first time you saw a championship banner with a Kings logo on it, and you see so many Lakers and stuff like that,” Doughty said. “You’re not jealous, but it’s ‘Hey, we should be up there, too.’ Now that we’ve done that twice, it’ll be cool to see a second one go up, but once it goes up, we’re over it.”
Receiving their championship jewelry at a private ceremony on Monday helped provide closure to a celebratory summer.
“I mean, it will be cool to see the banner, but we got our rings last night,” Mike Richards said. “I think that’s what you look forward to most.”
That wasn’t the case in 2013, when the players received their rings on the ice and one final time took turns hoisting the Cup. They lost that game 5-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks, the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
“Last time we didn’t play well at all, and we know that we can’t do that again,” Doughty said. “Teammates in here, we’re not going to let that happen, and the coaching staff won’t let that happen, so we have a new approach to this game.”
That approach means the renewed adoption of Darryl Sutter’s even keel “park and ride” mantra. This isn’t a team that rides waves of euphoria or gets dragged down into the depths of depression.
“I think everyone gets excited for the first game of the season. For us, it’s just another game,” Richards said. “It’s an exciting time for us, but it’s just another game.”