Kings and Ducks fans have tended to cringe on those occasions when Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke visited the sphere of pucks and rinks ice and teeth-challenged skaters. There are only so many basketball and football analogies that apply to hockey, after all. But I think fans of the ice game will enjoy Plaschke's column this morning. As he stood in Staples Center on Monday night and absorbed the emotion in the building, and truly realized what the Kings accomplished, Bill Plaschke got religion
In my 25 years covering sports in this town, I have never seen a more unlikely march, a more deafening drumbeat, and a more chilling route, all of it finishing in a display of pageantry unmatched on his city's sports landscape....
I have been fortunate enough to witness many dramatic Los Angeles sports championships, from the Dodgers' 1988 upset of the Oakland Athletics, to the Lakers five titles in the last 13 years, to compelling crowns won by USC football and the Angels and the Galaxy. Yet none of them were felt as deeply, and celebrated as emotionally, as that moment the city of Angels became a community of Kings.
It hit me in the final seconds of the final game, as the fans counted down the final ticks of the clock as if they were 16-year-olds watching a high school basketball game. It hit when the thunder hit me, a rolling, rollicking thunder, the sort of noise that reached levels previously unheard in Staples Center's dozen years of existence....
I've never heard such sincere screaming, such joyous celebrating. And as officials wheeled the 35-pound Stanley Cup across a red carpet unfurled on the ice, the noise continued unabated.
Have you ever seen the actual awarding of the Cup before? Did you have any idea it would be so powerful in its simplicity? Many in my business agree the Stanley Cup ceremony is the greatest trophy presentation in sports and it's not even close. Now I know they are right.
This video from the glass behind goalie Jonathan Quick at the end of Monday's game shows as well as anything what Plaschke is talking about. I know I posted it last night, but it deserves repeating.
During the post-game handshake between the Kings and Devils, with the arena rocking at its loudest, there was a moment when the two goalies put their heads together and quietly exchanged words. Whole sentences, back and forth, while the rest of the line waited respectfully for them to finish. On NBC, announcer Doc Emrick watched and said simply, "I love hockey."