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Kings, Ducks ready for the short haul

The NHL's truncated season makes for an interesting schedule for the teams. Both open on Saturday.

January 12, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings captain Dustin Brown, shown with announcer Bob Miller as the team celebrated its Stanley Cup championship this summer, says the upcoming shortened season will be intense but has its advantages too.
Kings captain Dustin Brown, shown with announcer Bob Miller as the team… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Think about playing 48 games in the span of 99 days, factor in the traditional Grammy trip in February and there is one inevitable truth for the reigning Stanley Cup champion Kings.

If they can survive the first month of the lockout-shortened season, they'll be nicely positioned the rest of the way.

Oh … about that first month or so.

The Kings, who open the regular season at noon on Saturday against Chicago with the Stanley Cup banner raising at Staples Center, will play 11 of their first 15 games on the road. That includes a five-game journey Feb. 2-11.

The Kings and Ducks will be limited to playing Western Conference teams. They will play each other four times this season.

Earlier, Kings captain Dustin Brown talked about the difference of the shortened season. Despite the early difficult stretch, the Kings won't be on a prolonged East Coast swing.

"It helps over the long haul. Every year we'll have a 20-day road trip, which wears on you," Brown said. "It's still going to be intense. It's going to be more important, probably this year more any other, taking care of yourself off the ice. Probably magnified a little bit."

Anaheim, coming off a season in which it missed the playoffs, has a considerably easier travel schedule early on. The Ducks start the season at Vancouver on Saturday, and have their home opener, also against the Canucks, on Jan. 25. They host the Kings on Feb. 2 and don't have their first three-game trip until mid-February.

Of note, the Kings have eight sets of back-to-back games, and the Ducks 10. Anaheim has one particularly curious pairing: games against the Oilers on consecutive nights at Edmonton, April 21-22.

The flurry of activity unfolded Saturday night, moments after the official end of the league's lockout when the memorandum of understanding was completed. That final step took much longer than expected — symbolic of the long and painful labor struggle between the NHL and the Players' Assn.

An NHL public relations operative tweeted at about 7:20 p.m. PST "#hockeyisback," signaling that the memorandum of understanding had been signed. Thus, NHL hockey was back in business with teams free to start signing players and making trades, at 9 p.m. PST. The NHL's board of governors had signed off on the deal on Wednesday and the players ratified the new CBA earlier on Saturday.

Training camps will open Sunday, giving teams precious little time to prepare for the start of the shortened season. The Kings start at 10 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, the Ducks at 11:15 a.m. at Honda Center. These sessions are open to the public.

Additionally, the Kings will host an open practice at 7 p.m. Monday at Staples Center. The team said entry into the arena is free.

Both area teams announced ticket information.

The Ducks are putting individual game tickets on sale on Tuesday at 10 a.m., with a pre-sale on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Honda Center. And the Kings' single-game tickets are scheduled to go on sale Monday at 6 p.m.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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