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Los Angeles Kings still searching for respect

Fans cheer on the Los Angeles Kings. (Thinkstock)
Fans cheer on the Los Angeles Kings. (Thinkstock)

They’ve been selling out Staples Center for the past few years. They’ve won two of the last three championships in their sport.

Yet oddly enough, the Los Angeles Kings still seem to be searching for respect. Hollywood has long been a hoops town dominated by the Lakers’ glory years and the currently hot Clippers, but the Kings have recently come on strong with a pair of Stanley Cups.

The fact the Kings might not get the respect they deserve probably has to do with hockey still lagging behind football, basketball, and baseball in overall popularity when it comes to favorite American sports. Yet the Kings have managed to stay popular in Southern California with a large and loyal fan base.

Non-hockey fans, however, would be hard-pressed to come up with names of current L.A. hockey players. But Kings fans are very familiar with superstar goalie Jonathan Quick, scoring leaders Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, and top defenseman Drew Doughty.

It’s a very talented roster and one that expects to compete for another Stanley Cup this year, although currently the Kings are fighting for a playoff spot in a highly competitive Western Conference.

But all that matters is making the playoffs, and then every team seems to have a chance. Remember, last year the Kings were a low seed but overcame many improbable deficits (including an 0-3 start against the San Jose Sharks in the playoff opener) to win it all.

Admittedly, the regular season does seem to go on too long (like the NBA) and the NHL season could be shortened to 50 games, instead of 80.

In contrast, the NFL has the perfect formula with only 16 regular season games and each week is critical. The current football playoff format is also ideal. Let’s hope commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t mess things up some more by adding more playoff teams.

In contrast, many teams make the NHL post-season. A total of 16 squads in all compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs, giving everyone a chance at the coveted prize.

While football is an ideal sport to watch on television, hockey seems to be best viewed up close at the arena. Hockey is a fast-paced, hard-hitting game and fans at the arena are often on the edge-of-their-seats with excitement.

Once the NHL playoffs get underway, the intensity is cranked up to the highest level. For sports fans, there’s nothing more exciting than watching playoff hockey in person, especially if your favorite team gets on a roll and goes a long way.

The Kings are hoping last year’s magic can be repeated again this year. And if L.A. wins its third Stanley Cup in four years, let the debate of a dynasty begin.

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