Kings' Unlikely Stanley Cup Playoff Run Has Turned L.A. Into A Hockey Town
A buzz is "building all around" L.A. for the eight-seeded NHL Kings, who are "halfway to hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history," according to Greg Beacham of the AP. Nineteen years after Hockey HOFers Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille "turned Hollywood into a hockey town," Kings RW Dustin Brown and G Jonathan Quick "are doing it again." The team has advanced to the Conference Finals "only once before in 44 seasons since the club joined the NHL" in '67, and L.A.'s "confluence of sports and entertainment is firmly behind the Kings." Although they "can’t match the Lakers for celebrity magnetism, the Kings regularly get a wide variety of stars in their stands ranging from Tom Hanks and Kurt Russell to Rob Zombie and Alyssa Milano." Dodgers partner and Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson, Lakers G Kobe Bryant, MLS Galaxy MF Landon Donovan, Dodgers CF Matt Kemp and RF Andre Ethier "all appeared in promotional videos to pump up the Kings’ crowd" during the Western Conference Semifinal series against the Blues. "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone "frequently whip out short animations for the Staples Center scoreboard in which Cartman and his buddies taunt the Kings’ opponents." The Kings are the first eight seed to beat the top two seeds "in the same playoffs, and just the third No. 8 seed ever to get beyond the second round" (AP, 5/7). In California, Eric Stephens noted the Kings "realize how much excitement they're generating." Kings D Drew Doughty said, "I've lived here for four years. My first couple of years, you could do anything you wanted around where we live. ... But now it's a whole different story. We're making a presence in L.A. and we're loving it" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/6).