The Kings chew up the Sharks before trying to avoid any playoff Blues

The Kings last celebration before the real season begins

The Kings last celebration before the real season begins

Your defending Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings are now officially in defending mode after ending the regular season with a nice 3-2 win over San Jose to earn the 5th seed in the NHL Western Conference playoffs. Which is all fine but that also means that just like last year, they’re stuck starting the postseason on the road as they open round one in St. Louis on Tuesday night and L.A. has lost their last 6 away from Staples something that has to concern their most die-hard fans if not the team itself. FYI it’s not official yet, but it’s expected that games 3 and 4 at Staples will be next Saturday and the following Monday.

I tried to gather as much preview sound as I could to give you the club’s mindset as they go for a 2nd straight cup…something that would turn this franchise from what some are calling a ‘one hit wonder’ to a truly elite force in the NHL.

Winning goalie Jonathon Quick (last year’s Conn Smythe trophy winner-as the playoffs MVP) had his usual game face on (without the mask) when I asked him about the task ahead of him…

Center Anze Kopitar who finished the schedule with an assist on the first goal against the Sharks and the Kings leading scorer (for a 6th straight season) with 42 points (10 goals-32 assists) talked about the importance of building some momentum into the real season…

Defenseman Rob Scuderi who owns 2 Stanley Cup rings (one in Pittsburgh) always is straight forward and actually speaks his mind like an old-schooler gave me some great takes on the rough but hopeful road ahead…

Head Coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t mince words during his postgame newsers and it was no different tonight no matter how hard I tried to get him to give me more than some coach-speak…although I really can’t blame him now to give us just the bare minimum as they approach another long ride to the finish line, but at least he did it with his usual dry sense of humor at times…

I was hoping to get some comments from Kings forward Mike Richards (for his many fans and followers of my blog) but he was not available after missing the game due to being sick. Meanwhile after leaving the locker room, it was back to the Chick Hearn media room where Kings Hall of Fame announcer Bob Miller and his wife Judy were surprised with a 50th wedding anniversary gathering of some their longtime friends and colleagues. The date is actually a couple of weeks away but it was the perfect time to celebrate the occasion despite Bob having to meet the team at the airport in the morning. As always Bob was gracious with his time giving me a few minute sit down chat to discuss the playoffs and what lies ahead, but first I had to ask him about that milestone 50th anniversary…

Judy and Bob Miller enjoy their suprise party

Judy and Bob Miller enjoy their suprise party

Of course I had to give equal time to Bob’s longtime broadcast partner and former King Jim Fox who’s always candid as we covered almost anything I could think of before the players hit the ice in St. Lou on Tuesday night…

And finally last but not least is Kings executive and Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille who’s sole goal is to give the fans the almost unthinkable–2 straight Stanley Cups…

I believe that it’s harder to predict this series with the Blues over last year’s in which the Kings surprisingly swept them into the golfing season. This St. Louis club has lost 8 straight to the Kings (including the playoffs) and 4 in a row in Missouri but to a man, everyone I talked with said that’s OLD NEWS now. And these Blues are 11-3 since acquiring defensemen Jay Boumeester and Jordan Leopold at the trade deadline….so who knows? My prediction is the Kings in 6 although I’m also predicting that it MIGHT snow here on Sunday.

What we do know for sure is that the shortened and condensed season is over and the ride to 16 wins starts on Tuesday night in the place that is appropriately known as the ‘Show Me State’…good luck guys!

As for the Ducks they ended the regular season with a meaningless home loss to Phoenix before opening up at home as the 2nd seed against the Detroit Redwings. The following preview thoughts were sent to me by the Anaheim P.R. staff, first head coach Bruce Boudreau talks about facing the boys from Hocketown…

And Boudreau loved what he saw from his almost 43 yr. old ‘Finnish Flash’ Teemu Selanne who scored career goal #675 tonight after a long drought…

Meanwhile Teemu looks ahead to facing a storied franchise that is far from who they’ve been, but have built a little momentum leading into the playoffs…

And whether this is Selanne’s last ride or not…he loves this time of year…

My pick is Anaheim in 5 games over the Wings which might be a stretch since Detroit has been playing for their playoff lives and succeeding over the past few weeks while the Quackers long since clinched their 2nd seed and have been in semi-cruise mode for quite a bit. My guess here is that the Ducks will find their mojo again when facing the less talented Wings over the course of a series. Also we figured out that if San Jose beats Vancouver in their opening round and our two locals take care of biz, it could finally be the Kings vs. the Ducks (2nd round) in a playoff series for the ages. Or should I say for the aged…since we’ve waited forever to get these two to collide in the post season.

ALSO I’M LOOKING FOR MORE PERSONAL FEEDBACK FROM ALL OF YOU LOYAL FOLLOWERS HERE SO PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU LIKE, DON’T LIKE, OR WOULD LIKE TO SEE DIFFERENTLY FROM ME ON THIS SITE (where it says ‘leave a reply’ at the bottom of this page) AS I TRY TO MAKE THIS PLACE AS USER FRIENDLY AS POSSIBLE AND GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT. THANKS MUCH AS ALWAYS FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND IF YOU TELL YOUR FRIENDS TO COME HERE, THEY WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER…IT’S THE LEAST THEY CAN DO! 🙂

Kings ice turning into a hopeful but also a doubtful Lakers home court advantage

Kings ice turning into a hopeful but also a doubtful Lakers home court advantage

And now it’s on to the next task at hand, which is turning Staples Center into a Lakers homecourt which will be hard to turn into an advantage for our 16-time NBA Champs. That injury depleted short-handed group is a longshot from keeping their season alive as 11 1/2 point underdogs to the always confident San Antonio Spurs who lead their series 3 games to none. Anything better than a Laker funeral procession after Sunday’s game 4 will be a bonus to most of their fans. And I’ll be there gathering postgame comments for you…for whatever that’s worth!

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About Ted Sobel

Award winning sportscaster/journalist covering major events around the world since 1973. Please check out my deep audio vault and follow me on twitter (@tedsobelsports).
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