Kings give a nod to Clippers for smoothing out schedule
Deep in the fine print of a news release about the Kings’ regular-season schedule, the Stanley Cup champions made a point of thanking the Clippers and Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president of basketball operations.
The Clippers shifted a preseason game so the Kings could open their season and raise their championship banner Oct. 8 at Staples Center against San Jose. Seven of the Kings’ first eight games will be at home.
The schedule has the Kings opening and closing the regular season against the Sharks. The regular-season finale will be April 11 at Staples Center. There could be several high-profile events against the Sharks, who blew a 3-0 series lead against the Kings in the first round of the playoffs. One could be an outdoor game in the Bay Area, possibly on Feb. 21, though nothing has been formally announced by the league.
Anaheim, coming off a 116-point regular season, opens the 2014-15 campaign with a four-game trip to Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo and Philadelphia before its home opener on Oct. 17 against Minnesota.
The first Kings-Ducks game of the season will be Nov. 12 at Honda Center. Three days later, the Kings play host to the Ducks in a Saturday afternoon game.
It’ll be slightly less frantic for both teams for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The NHL’s lockout brought a compressed schedule after the Kings won the Cup in 2012 and the extended Olympic break this February meant a mad scramble to the finish.
Anaheim will have back-to-back games 12 times and the Kings nine times. The Kings won’t be dealing with any mega trips but have four five-game trips spaced throughout the schedule. Anaheim has three five-game trips.
Other key dates for the Kings:
—Host the New York Rangers, their opponent in the Stanley Cup Final, on Jan. 8, and play at Madison Square Garden on March 24. That trip includes stops at New Jersey (March 23), the New York Islanders (March 26), Minnesota (March 28) and Chicago (March 30).
—Host the Chicago Blackhawks, a team the Kings beat in seven games in the Western Conference finals, on Nov. 29 and Jan 28.
The Kings continue to progress on other fronts, including negotiations with the representative of winger Marian Gaborik, who scored 14 goals in the team’s playoff run.
“I think Marian enjoyed, not just the time here, but everything about the experience,” said his agent Ron Salcer on Sunday. “I think to continue that is something he would like and the team would like. So I would hope we could come to a meeting of the minds and get that done.”
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