LOS ANGELES – The Stanley Cup descended from the scoreboard Wednesday and the Los Angeles Kings raised their second Cup banner in three seasons.
In an impressive surprise prelude to the Kings’ season-opener at Staples Center, the Cup was lowered from inside the massive scoreboard, in a glass case, to center ice before captain Dustin Brown raised it to the cheers of a packed house.
It was a twist to the ceremony from two years ago. Kings players were concerned about the long wait between the ceremony and the start of the game; this time, it was shortened because the Kings did not have the rings presented to them as they did in 2012, nor did they take turns holding the Cup.
But the ceremony did not lack passion.
Kings president Luc Robitaille delivered a speech which was punctuated by a declaration.
“We showed everyone that Los Angeles is the greatest hockey city in the world,” he said. “Truly, tonight, we are all Kings!”
A video tribute documenting each game of the Kings’ playoff run was a reminder of how remarkable it was, beginning with an NHL-record 21 games through three series against the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks. The Kings won all three series in Game 7s on the road, also a record.
Coach Darryl Sutter drew the biggest cheers during the introduction of the coaching staff, as did Brown and Anze Kopitar during the player introductions. Brown, Kopitar and Matt Greene delivered the banner, which was raised in the northwest corner of the arena for the game.
Former Kings players Rogie Vachon and Marcel Dionne, whose jersey numbers also hang from the rafters, were present, as was Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers.