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2014 NHL playoffs preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks

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Joe Thornton (left) and Drew Doughty are both crucial figures in a potentially thrilling first round California series. (Don Smith/Getty Images)

Joe Thornton (19) and Drew Doughty (8) are crucial figures in a possibly thrilling first-round series. (Getty Images)

By Gabriel Baumgaertner

Regular Season recaps

Wed. Oct. 30: Los Angeles 4, San Jose 3 (OT)

Wed. Nov. 27: San Jose 3, Los Angeles 2 (SO)

Thu. Dec. 19: Los Angeles 4, San Jose 1

Mon. Jan. 27: Los Angeles 1, San Jose 0

Thu April 3: San Jose 2, Los Angeles 1

Notable injuries

Kings: Drew Doughty (upper-body, day-to-day), Dwight King (undisclosed)

Sharks: Raffi Torres (knee, doubtful), Scott Hannan (head, day-to-day)

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • Ducks blank Kings at Dodger Stadium as Wayne Gretzky’s influence lingers

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    Wayne Gretzky was instrumental in bringing hockey to California, even forseeing the Stadium Series (Robert Beck/SI)

    Wayne Gretzky was instrumental in the growth of hockey in California, even forseeing the Stadium Series. (Robert Beck/SI)

    By Gabriel Baumgaertner

    When Jeremy Roenick interviewed Wayne Gretzky before the puck dropped at Dodger Stadium, he revealed that Gretzky considered this idea about 20 years ago: What could an outdoor game do for hockey’s popularity in L.A.? The Kings had history, but no one had really ignited the city’s passion for the sport until The Great One arrived in 1988. Five years later, the NHL formed the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks) — an expansion team across the 5 freeway with a Disney-inspired name.

    Southern California had two NHL teams, but the wrong kind of weather and limited access to ice. Growing the sport would be no easy task in that sun-drenched environment.

    Two decades later, Gretzky’s vision came together at Los Angeles’s most iconic stadium. Dodger Stadium wasn’t merely hosting the Ducks and the Kings, it was the site of a regular season game between two of the league’s best franchises in front of 54,099 fans. By the end of the season, either the Kings or Ducks could feasibly hoist their second Stanley Cup in a decade. The Ducks now have the best record in the NHL and it will be a shock if the Kings don’t make the playoffs. As legendary broadcaster Vin Scully helped emphasize before the game, Dodger Stadium had hosted the World Series, the Pope, the Harlem Globetrotters, Real Madrid and The Beatles. Now, it was hosting hockey.

    GALLERY: NHL outdoor games through the years | NEWCOMB: The making of stadium hockey

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  • Published On Jan 26, 2014
  • Video: New York Rangers alumni race Zambonis in midtown Manhattan

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    Is that Bon Jovi? No, it's New York Rangers alum and Zamboni race champion Ron Duguay. (MSG)

    Is that Bon Jovi? No, it’s Rangers alum and Zamboni racer Ron Duguay. (Angela Cranford/MSG Photo Services)

    By Gabriel Baumgaertner

    Decorated in racing jumpsuits, armed with a pit crew and seated behind the wheel of two massive ice cleaning machines, Rangers alums Stephane Matteau (also known as Matteau! Matteau! Matteau) and Ron Duguay competed in a Zamboni race on Monday afternoon to celebrate playoff hockey at Madison Square Garden. Rangers icon Adam Graves, who works as a special assistant for the team, stood at the finish line to greet the riders. Even model Alejandra Cata waved the green flag to kick the event off.

    Perhaps street Zamboni racing should be the Rangers’ new playoff tradition; they came back in a thriller to beat the Capitals and pull the series to within 2-1.

  • Published On May 07, 2013