THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
NHL 2014-15 SEASON OPENERS:
KINGS vs. SAN JOSE
Details/TV: Staples Center, Wednesday at 7 p.m., NBC Sports Net:
DUCKS at PITTSBURGH
Details/TV: Thursday at 4 p.m., Prime:
An excerpt from the SBNation.com home for the San Jose Sharks, also known as www.FearTheFin.com: “As if watching the Los Angeles Kings win their second Stanley Cup in three seasons after trailing San Jose 3-0 in the first round (last season) wasn’t bad enough, the NHL’s schedule maker has decided to empty several shakers worth of salt into the Sharks’ still-open wound. The Sharks will be forced to bear witness to the Kings raising their Cup banner to the Staples Center rafters prior to Los Angeles’ home opener … and commemorate the Cup win that the Sharks should have never allowed to happen. … At least we can look forward to the Sharks (suffering) a gritty, hard-fought 5-1 loss.” If we remember all the way back to the regular-season opener a couple years back – Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, to be precise, following that ridiculous labor dispute that pushed the ceremony back a few months – the visiting the Chicago Blackhawks weren’t so accommodating when forced to watch the Kings raise their first championship banner, size up their Tiffany rings and then skate around again with the Stanley Cup amidst a fired up Staples Center crowd. Chicago scored three goals on Jonathan Quick in the first period and cruised to a 5-2 victory — then went on to win the 2013 Stanley Cup, eliminating the Kings in the Western Conference final. The Kings’ Summer of Cup II Tour was more subdued, as will be 30-minute ceremony planned in the building for this celebration that won’t include the players out on the ice for more than 12 minutes, followed by a three-minute warmup skate before the puck drops, according to Kings officials. “(The ceremony) just went on a little bit too long, I think, last time,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene told LAKingsInsider.com’s Jon Rosen recently. “We really weren’t too ready to come out and play, and Chicago came out and just beat the doors off us. I think we want to make sure we’re ready to go out more on point than we were … This is huge starting off in the division and against a team that we’re going to be fighting to make the playoffs against.” The next night, those Anaheim Ducks of Anaheim, who also couldn’t put the Kings away in the recent playoffs, must begin the season on a bruising four-game road trip that finds them in Pittsburgh, with a new coach and higher expectations. Both the Ducks and Penguins are listed as 12-1 odds to win the Cup by OddsShark.com. That is, if you can trust any Shark-related information at this point.
Also this week:
Kings at Arizona, Saturday at 6 p.m., FSW
Ducks at Detroit, Saturday at 4 p.m., Prime
Kings vs. Winnipeg, Staples Center, Sunday at 7 p.m., FSW
Other NHL games on opening night:
Montreal at Toronto, 4 p.m.; Philadelphia at Boston, 4:30 p.m., NBCSN; Vancouver at Calgary, 7 p.m.
THE REST OF THE WEEK:
Oh, right. The Dodgers are in St. Louis, not so much on the cusp of elimination, sending Hyun-Jin Ryu out for Monday’s Game 3 (6 p.m., FS1), with a Game 4 on Tuesday (2 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., FS1) and, if necessary, a Game 5 at Dodger Stadium on Thursday (5:30 or 6 p.m., FS1). Then comes the start of the NLCS on Saturday. In college football, UCLA plays host to Oregon (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11) while USC goes to face undefeated Arizona (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2), and then the Lakers and Clippers start exhibition games. It’s posted here.