"The position we're in, we've obviously worked hard for,"… (Harry How / Getty Images )
A fan outside Staples Center on Monday seemed to capsulize the plight of Kings fans. Above the number on the back of his Kings’ jersey, instead of his name, were the words “love” and “hate.”
Kings fans have a moment they can simply love. After 45 years, three owners, two lockouts, one bankruptcy and countless promises, the Kings are poised to deliver.
With a victory tonight over the New Jersey Devils at Staples Center, the Kings would take home the Stanley Cup for the first time.
“The position we’re in, we’ve obviously worked hard for,” Kings forward Mike Richards said. “It’s exciting. It’s exciting for everybody to get this opportunity. We know we have a lot of work left. It’s something we have to try to embrace, not be nervous, but try to enjoy.”
One thing remains, and goaltender Jonathan Quick was ready to display his math skills.
“We need four wins to win it,” Quick said. “We have only three. We need another one.”
Still, Kings fans are already pondering the moment.
With a victory, they would finally see a banner raised in Staples Center -- leaving them only 16 short of the Lakers. They would at last take a turn at choosing between a spontaneous outburst of celebration and a brain-dead act of vandalism.
And Marty McSorley can move past his illegal stick moment that Kings fans have blamed for the loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1993 Stanley Cup Final -- though McSorley probably will continue to weave conspiracy theories about the Canadiens cheating when they found out he was cheating.
The Kings, born in the 1967-68 expansion, never have been this close to owning the Stanley Cup, which will be delivered to Staples Center today in case it needs to be awarded this evening.
“Everywhere you go in Canada, hockey players are like movie stars are in L.A.,” said Kings forward Jarret Stoll, who is from Melville, Saskatchewan. “Hopefully we’re changing that a little bit down here.”
The final scene could be tonight.
Photos: 2012 Stanley Cup Final
L.A. is ready to crown these Kings
Bob Miller, Jim Fox to record Stanley Cup call