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Kings' home opener has different feel from last season

The Kings play host to the New York Rangers at Staples Center on Monday night. Unlike last season, they won't be raising a Stanley Cup banner at the opener.

October 06, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings Coach Darryl Sutter isn't getting too excited about the team's home opener against the New York Rangers.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter isn't getting too excited about the team's… (John Woods / Associated…)

Once you've been to the top of the mountain, the view from base camp isn't quite as beguiling.

In other words: Nothing will quite match last season's home opener, in which the Kings raised their Stanley Cup banner. The Kings play host to the New York Rangers on Monday night in their home opener at Staples Center.

"There's always a little bit more energy in the building," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We definitely have to use it to our advantage. It's hard to explain it. When you win a championship — you kind of compare everything — it's not the same. I mean, home openers were a lot more exciting before we won."

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was refreshingly honest when asked if he still gets a special charge over the opening-night ceremonies.

"No, I've seen too many of them," Sutter said.

He was talking about his long career in the NHL as a player and coach. Sutter played in 406 games in the NHL and his first full season of coaching — in Chicago — was in 1992-93.

But he could have been talking about this season. The Kings already have been the guests twice on opening nights, at Minnesota on Thursday and Winnipeg on Friday.

They split those games. Even though they lost at Winnipeg, the Kings got off to a strong first-period start despite the long delay because of opening-night festivities.

Sutter made a point of telling his players Sunday that he was pleased with their performance in back-to-back games. There are individual issues, of course, namely the existing woes at left wing. That possibly could lead to Daniel Carcillo's debut with the Kings on Monday.

Brown will help too, as he continues to find his form after missing most of training camp because of an injured hamstring.

"I felt a lot better in Winnipeg than I did in Minnesota," Brown said. "I'm sure I'll feel a lot better getting a couple of days' rest. ... I'm sure I'll be right where I need to be, just getting in games. Practices are one thing, but it's the timing of games. For me I was happy we had back-to-back."

Much to his displeasure, he still is required to wear a knee brace. He injured the knee last season in the playoffs but did not need surgery.

"If it were up to me, it would be gone tomorrow," Brown said.

Early days

The Kings are veteran enough not to be rattled or overly positive about the results of the opening games.

"Even keel, man. Even keel," said Kings defenseman Matt Greene. "That's what it is — all the time. I don't even know if I'm good at it."

Sutter had a funny riff about early excitement in certain NHL markets over winning teams.

"You know what, just go to Vegas and change it: Who's going to win the Stanley Cup?" he said. "Who hasn't lost? San Jose, Calgary … they're all the favorites now. It really has no bearing."



When: 7:30.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.

Record vs. Rangers (2012-13): Did not play.

Etc.: Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who had off-season shoulder surgery, is expected to make his season debut.

Twitter: @reallisa

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