John Ondrasik usually doesn't need any help getting noticed. The multi-platinum singer/songwriter known by the stage name Five for Fighting is well known for his heartfelt ballads, and he's easily recognizable while walking around New York. But the L.A. Kings cap he's been wearing around town lately has been getting him a different kind of attention -- especially with the Rangers playing the New Jersey Devils for the right to meet the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.
"There are a lot of confident Rangers fans. They talk a lot of smack," said Ondrasik, who has been spending the last few weeks in New York recording Five for Fighting's new album. "I appreciate and respect that."
2012 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer
Facing the same predicament as in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils, there are no echoes of Mark Messier's famous guarantee coming from the New York room this time. READ MORE ›
It's easy for Ondrasik to handle the curbside trash talk knowing his team is already in the Final. The musician, who performed at both the 2011 Heritage Classic and the 2002 NHL All-Star Game, has been waiting almost two decades for his beloved Kings to return to the Stanley Cup Final. For a longtime season-ticket holder who grew up watching Dave "Tiger" Williams and the Triple Crown line, the Kings' playoff run couldn't have worked out better.
"This year, I was very careful not to schedule anything during the playoffs. I had no idea we would go this far, but luckily it has worked out well," Ondrasik said. "It's worked out well with the Rangers and the Devils being in the Eastern Conference Final, because I'm recording here in New York. So I can do a little reconnaissance, a little spying."
Ondrasik and his family have been fixtures at Kings games for years. He's a friend of former Kings star player and current president of business operations Luc Robitaille, and was even included in a group of season-ticket holders and sponsors flown by the team to one of the team's Western Conference Final games in Phoenix. With Kings games becoming a drawing card for celebrities during the past few weeks, Ondrasik suddenly isn't the only recognizable face at Staples Center -- and he couldn't be happier.
"The poseurs are showing up, they're coming out of the woodwork. My attitude is 'great, come on in, but don't pretend you've been there,'" Ondrasik said. "And please don't try to talk hockey, that's when it sounds ridiculous, them talking about 'Drew Doty' and 'Anze Kopiteer.' Enjoy the game, enjoy hockey, it's a great sport. But don't pretend you've been there 45 years when you've been there about 45 hours."
Between his family, the new album in the works and Five for Fighting's upcoming summer tour, Ondrasik has plenty going on. But make no mistake, he's very preoccupied with his Kings' quest for the Cup.
"I think an L.A.-New York final, whether it's the Devils or the Rangers, is great for hockey. If the Kings win the Cup I think it's the best thing to happen to the NHL in a long time," Ondrasik said. "But it's been a long time coming. My bucket list is not complete until I see the Kings win the Stanley Cup."