Monday, May 28, 2012

As for Kings' ups and downs, he's been there


While the NHL team readies for the Stanley Cup Final, a longtime loyalist savors their postseason run and keeps hoping — but with a sense of history.

A Kings fan cheers after Dwight King scored the winning goal in the third period to beat the Coyotes in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Western Conference finals. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / May 17, 2012)

-- By Hans Tesselaar May 26, 2012, 4:05 p.m.

When the Kings played at the Forum in the late 1980s and early '90s, there was an elderly vendor

who would set the tone for most games with his sales pitch. "Peanuts, peanuts, peanuts," he'd bark

out in a split second. "Get your peanuts. Three hours of torture coming up." He knew. Anyone who

has ever claimed to be a Kings fan knows. If you're new to this and ready to invest yourself in the

fortunes of the Kings over the next two weeks, be prepared. You may just get poked in the gut by a

stick, perhaps even an illegally curved one. I have been asked often these last few weeks if I've

enjoyed the Kings' incredible playoff run, which has them in the Stanley Cup Final for the second

time in team history. Sure I have. But that other skate is going to drop at any time, right? Teams just

don't go unbeaten on the road in the first three rounds and 12-2 overall while pursuing the most

cherished trophy in sports, do they? At least not teams called the Kings. The Penguins, the Red

Wings, the Oilers of the 1980s, the four-Cups-in-a-row Islanders, yes. The Kings? Until I see one of

their team captains (paging Dustin Brown) lift the Cup, I won't be fully able to appreciate the

journey. It's a defense mechanism that any long-suffering fan of any long-suffering team would

understand. Ask Red Sox fans pre-2004 and New York Rangers fans pre-1994. This madness started

in 1975 when I was 12 and my father took me to the Forum to see the Kings play the mighty Montreal Canadiens.



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