Kings are meant to have foes. Grand tales of epic beasts they’ve overcome. Let’s find some beasts.
Kings and Oilers. In 1982 they first met. Oilers were still young but on the verge of becoming the powerhouse we all know they became. During this was the game that has become known as the Miracle at Manchester. Later in the Decade Wayne Gretzky would be traded to the Kings. And when they met again in 1989 the Kings would triumph.
Kings and Coyotes. Here is our first beast. The Los Angeles Kings have had a problem with Shane Doan for some time now. He has earned himself the notorious nick-name “The King Killer.” Some call him this for his ability to steal games away from the Kings with timely goals and big hits. Doan produces more points against the Kings than any other team in the NHL, 35 goals and 36 assists in only 93 games to be exact. These two teams would meet in the Western Conference Finals in 2012. Dustin Brown would open it up with tenderizer on Shane Doan – Captain on Captain action. Brown would be laying the body down all series. The Kings were force to elevate their game and ultimately won the series and The Stanley Cup against New Jersey in the Finals.
Kings and Sharks.These two have Met Thrice in the Playoffs and division rivals and we all know inter-divisional games mean a little more in in the Pacific division, as of late. In 2011 the Kings struggled against the Sharks. In 2012 the Kings brought out the broom and cleaned up in San Jose in the Conference Semi-Finals. And in 2013 the Kings once again got the best of the Sharks in the post season. The below is a video of 2013 Playoff Highlights.
The Ducks are being disqualified from this argument. While the Kings and Duck have been popularly marketed as a So Cal rivalry, it really isn’t. I’ll tell you why. The Kings and the Ducks are geographically close which allows for fans from both teams to travel to each others stadiums to partake in a rowdy trash-talking filled evening. However this isn’t Mid-western Friday Night Lights or an college movie where one team steals the other team’s mascot, or sneaks into their locker rooms vandalize them. This is the NHL and quite frankly, these teams don’t really hate one another. They haven’t played in a huge game with season ending implications yet, A.K.A. the playoffs. This is of course where rivalries are born.
There they are.
The criteria one more time is as follows.
One, rivalries are born in the post-season.
Two, rivalries drive the elevation of play from both teams.
The Kings and Oilers. When they first met the Oilers had a killer roster including The Great One. Jim Fox and his crew were still able to upset that team and cemented a game into hockey history, the Miracle at Manchester. That is digging deep against a team you simply have to beat out of nothing more than feeling of animosity towards them (points). They would meet again later and once again the Kings would win the series.
Rivalry Rating(1-10): 5
The Kings and Coyotes. Between these two there is a player who is referred to as “The King Killer” (points). Doan’s point totals against the Kings is epic and I have to attribute it to feeling like he has to whatever he can to beat the Kings. He elevates his game and as the long-time captain he elevates his team’s play. They’ve met in the playoffs only once and it was a bruising series but the Kings won and went on to win the Stanley Cup. I expect the Kings and Coyotes to met again and the series will not disappoint.
Rival Rating(1-10): 6.5
The Kings and Sharks. They’ve clashed three times and the Kings are up in that series 2-1. Let’s be honest the Sharks are known as choke artists. They have dominate regular seasons and fade in the playoffs. You can have a rivalry with a team who can’t get it done when it counts. They aren’t feeling the tension and elevating their game. This could have been a great rivalry with fights, big hits, buzzer-beating goals, but the Sharks let us down. Rivalry Rating(1-10): 2
The Kings don’t really have a Pacquiao – Morales relationship with anyone. A Super Mario and Bowser dynamic. A Larry Bird and Magic Johnson thing going on.
On the whole, I think the our Divisional foes the desert dogs are the closest thing we have to a nemesis right now.