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Kings ring in season with a loss, but Clippers win on, off court

January 20, 2013|By Helene Elliott
  • Kings' Matt Greene checks the Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp
Kings' Matt Greene checks the Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp (Harry How / Getty Images )

A couple of notes from the Kings’ season-opening 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday:

Coach Darryl Sutter called off practice Sunday, giving players a chance to rest after a brief but frantic training camp — and to figure out what they’ll do with the gifts they got during and after the ceremony in which they raised their Stanley Cup banner.

Each player received a commemorative and scaled-down replica of the Stanley Cup in addition to being handed a diamond-studded ring on the ice. Most players said after the game that they hadn’t had time to try on their rings or even examine them closely.

“I just got it and closed it. I’ll take a look at it later,” defenseman Matt Greene said.

He also said he’s unlikely to wear his ring in public.

“I’m not a big jewelry guy,” he said.

Sutter said he had gotten a quick glance at the ring design a few days earlier but didn’t immediately try on his ring.

“I haven’t looked at it. I thought it was nice the way they did it,” he said of the ceremony. “I thought it was pretty cool.”

An especially poignant aspect of the pregame ceremony was the inclusion of the Marquez-Greene family of Newtown, Conn., which lost its 6-year-old daughter Ana in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Youth hockey player Isaiah Marquez-Greene, 8, who had been in the same school that day, joined his parents, Jimmy and Nelba, on the ice Saturday to present the banner and visited the Kings locker room afterward to take photographs with players.

The Clippers, who followed the Kings as the second half of a hockey-basketball doubleheader at Staples Center, also deserve kudos for taking the Marquez-Greene family into their hearts.

After hearing the family would be in the arena, Clippers guard Chris Paul — the father of two young children — arrived well before his game against the Washington Wizards to meet them and spend private time with them. Afterward, the Clippers invited the family into the locker room and presented them the autographed game ball. Blake Griffin also gave Isaiah his shoes.

Small gestures, maybe, but meaningful for a little boy and a family who have endured unspeakable tragedy.

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