Kings ready to ring in a new season

Kings ready to ring in a new season
The Kings received their Stanley Cup championship rings at a private dinner Monday, two days before kicking off the 2014-15 season. (Andrew D. Bernstein / Associated Press)

There's no time for sentiment for the Kings. Players were businesslike Wednesday morning after their first game-day skate of the season, already in mid-season mental form and ready to defend their Stanley Cup championship.

"We want to get this over with. Get the game going and start it up," defenseman Matt Greene said after the team prepared for the regular-season opener against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.


"I think guys are ready to get the season underway. We've had enough meetings and enough days of camp. We just want to start playing."

In keeping with that sentiment, players and team executives agreed to shorten and streamline the pregame ceremony that will feature the raising to the rafters of the team's second Stanley Cup banner in three seasons.

The ceremony that followed their 2012 triumph was delayed until Jan. 19, 2013 because of a lockout that postponed the launch of the 2012-13 season. The festivities were 25 minutes long and included players getting their Cup rings from Nancy Anschutz, wife of principal owner Phil Anschutz. Players stood around a lot and weren't sharp during their 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

This ceremony is scheduled to be only one minute shorter but players won't be on the ice for as long as they were during the first one, so they can stretch or stay warm in the locker room. They got their rings Monday at a private dinner hosted by the Anschutzes.

Incidentally, the Stanley Cup will be in the building but it has not yet been engraved with the names of the players, coaches and executives from the championship team. The engraving will be done soon, with names hammered in by hand by Montreal resident Louise St. Jacques.

Greene said players prefer having a quicker ceremony this time around.

"Just be done with it and move on," said Greene, who injured his back during that season-opener and didn't return until mid-April.

"It's a new year now and I think we've got to move on. Last year's done. Get going with the season at hand here."

Winger Kyle Clifford said the ring ceremony was special because "there's a lot of memories behind it and the guys you shared it with." But, like Greene, he said he never wore the first Cup ring and doubts he will wear the latest one, which is massive and shaped like the shield on the front of the players' uniforms.

"It's more for show," he said of the new rings. "They're pretty big."

And so it's on to the pursuit of another ring.

Club officials have asked fans to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. The ceremony is expected to start a few minutes after 7 p.m., depending on the conclusion of the first game of NBCSN's doubleheader, the Philadelphia Flyers against the Boston Bruins.

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