The Ducks and Kings rivalry is easily the most 90s thing the NHL still has going for it. Besides bringing back the glowing puck, I don’t think they could even bring back anything from the 90s that would outdo this current manufactured rivalry. Maybe the trap style employed in New Jersey, but I would rather chop my balls off than see that again.
Rivalries tend to grow naturally over time, usually through important games. These in turn produce big moments, tense matchups, and occasionally brawls. The Kings have had this go on with Vancouver for a number of years. At least, before the Canucks replaced their roster with my high school hockey team. The Blues hate the Kings, because the Kings are a successful alternate dimension Blues team. You know, where the team wins and resides in a city that’s not a racist dumpster.
Arizona hated the Kings because the Kings excused them for the jokes that they are, way back in 2012. Shane Doan shit himself on the ice, rolled around in it, and cried about it. Chicago...eh. The 2013 had the Kings out of gas entirely, but 2014 was crazy. Doesn’t exactly constitute a rivalry though.
Then there is San Jose...
Both teams have terribly embarrassed themselves with each other. The Kings improbably had them on the ropes in 2011, which was a joke in and of itself, until they comically collapsed. 2014 was a longer, more drawn out comical collapse for San Jose. 2013 was maybe the most dramatic. 2016, the least comical. Maybe? It was rather unremarkable.
There was also the dirty rotten play by the Sharks. Ryane Clowe playing a puck from the bench, which was hockey 9/11. Tomas Hertl viciously attacking Dustin Brown. Joe Thornton blowing kisses, which was a move adopted by ISIS. Patrick Marleau never took things seriously enough so the rivalry just didn’t take off I guess. Maybe if the Kings play them now, since Marleau finally left to go play with a talented center finally.
But the Ducks? Meh. We got a dumb fan contest to name these sort of games, and it has all the constructed drama of the old dinosaur ride at Knott’s Berry Farm. None of it feels authentic. Punching Corey Perry in his stupid face happens, but that happens to him all the damn time.
There was the 2014 playoff series, but the teams have met up only that one time. Once. So now we have all this “oh these teams hate each other bluh bluh bluh”, which has the same vibe as if the Ducks just got introduced to the NHL and we needed to give a fuck about a team being an hour away. Meanwhile the only player of note with either team is Dustin Penner, who did win with both teams, and still neither team wants anything to do with him anymore. They still use The Offspring as the fade out music for the broadcasts for these games, for god’s sake.
It’s hokey, janky ass faked intensity that was quintessential 90s NHL. Yet the league faked the L.A./Anaheim deal less then than they do now. Is Val Kilmer going to do intermission interviews? Do the teams go back to their goofy 90s jerseys that at least had more personality? Can we at least have every game be the ugly sweaters? I expect this with Vegas, not with teams that have been in the league together for like 25 years.
No one gives a shit.
I get too angry at my TV about this game I don’t give a shit about.