It’s a question many have pondered, as most of the ‘tools’ used in 2005 won’t be available this time around. Back then they rolled out a slew of rule changes and ideas designed to make the game more fan-friendly. And for the most part they worked too, as the general consensus was the game was better when compared to the hooking, grabbing and trapping era that preceded it.
This time around, realignment and all teams playing a more balanced schedule are two of the items on the table. Ultimately, both will be good for the league and its fans. However, neither concept can be implemented until next season due to the 48-game schedule that would start in a few weeks if the NHL and NHLPA sign a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Additionally, beyond the removal of the trapezoid, there aren’t any major rule changes expected to take place initially either. So, what can the NHL do to create some excitement?
Well, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the league is planning on scheduling a full slate of rivalry games – including the Flyers against the Penguins.
Which leads to this… if this idea plays out, which team should the Kings play on Opening Night?
For LA, the answer takes on additional meaning. It encompass both the thought of who’s their biggest rival at the moment and which team they should they raise their Stanley Cup banner against.
One’s brain quickly jumps to the Anaheim Ducks. After all, that’s their most natural rival given the geographic proximity of the two teams.
Yet, a few other options easily work themselves into the thought process.
What about Vancouver?
After meeting the Canucks in the playoffs two of the last three years, not only do Kings fans and players seem to have a particular disdain for them (Drew Doughty puts his hatred level at a full-blown 10), but they’re probably the most hated team in the NHL as well.
Plus, there’s always San Jose. The Kings lost a five-game playoff series to the Sharks two seasons ago and they’ve been the best team in the Pacific Division for the past few years. Plus, who doesn’t like a good NoCal / SoCal feud?
What do you think? Which team would be the ideal opponent for the Kings on Rivalry Weekend?
(Yes, this assumes the lockout ends soon.)
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