Robby's excellent post on marketing got my little blonde head thinking about something that's consistently bothered me over the years - "The Freeway Faceoff". See what I did there, how I put quotes around the title? I did that because, for Ducks fans, that is exactly what the Ducks vs. Kings rivalry has come down to, a gimmicky name.
I'm going to do something that burns my soul to the core, and something you'll probably never witness again. I'm going to give credit to the game night entertainment crew for the Kings. As I describe later, they do what they can to take jabs at the Ducks, and fuel the hate-filled energy at Staples.
In full disclosure, I have never been to a Ducks vs. Kings game at Staples for three reasons: 1) I am far too lazy to drive up there and back, 2) I don't want to get stabbed at the game (I'm generalizing since this always seems to happen at Dodger games), and 3) the stench is really hard to get out of my clothes and hair. Instead, I am relying on my good friend and fellow Ducks' fan, Josh, who frequently attends the "rivalry" games at Staples, for insight into the Kings' take on the games against the Ducks.
Josh points out that the fans don't really come into the game with anything more than cat-calls relating to Getzlaf and Perry's relationship and the usual barrage of boos. Instead, it's the Kings' organization itself that encourages the fans' hatred. There are three specific instances that Josh pinpointed:
First, the organ player (do the Ducks' even have an organ player? Does ANY hockey team still have an organ player?) plays a little ditty that begins the chant of "Ducks suck". It's already unfortunate that our team's name rhymes with "suck", but now the effing organist rubs it in (...that's what she said).
Second, when a Ducks' player commits a penalty (say whaaaat???), a video goes on the jumbo-tron of a "Ducks player" (a Kings' staffer in a Ducks uniform) entering in the penalty box. The impostor Duck grabs a blanket and a girly pillow, and curls up for a nice nap. The fans love this. I must admit that I, too, found it kind of funny.
Finally, Josh reminded me of a Puck Daddy blog post from the good old days (i.e. when we had Pronger). As the post shows, Staples Center was adorned with special targets in the urinals of the men's restrooms. I can only assume this is necessary because the Kings' faithful were having trouble keeping their (ahem) streams in the toilet. So, just like a mom teaching her toddler where to aim by putting Cheerios in the potty, the fans were given some assistance. Now, this can't be traced back directly to the Kings, but seeing as it had happened a couple times, you can't say they exactly discouraged it.
OK, so I showed three different instances where the Kings, as an organization, treat the rivalry with the Ducks as just that, a rivalry. Albeit these are not earth shattering events, but you would think the Ducks would respond, right? NOPE. The very most they have done is show the Bobby Ryan hit on Oscar Moller over and over.
Maybe the Ducks organization is taking the high road and leaving the rivalry business to the boys on the ice? I understand the "turn the other cheek" mentality, but what fun is that in a rivalry? It doesn't exactly encourage our already passive fans to become more invested in the team.
On a random tangent, one thing I thought was awesome during the playoffs was a Twitter conversation between the official Devils' twitter account and the official Flyers' account. The Devils tweeted to their fans something to the effect of "who's gonna show up at the game?" Within minutes, the Flyers replied with "we are". SO COOL! Almost the entire hockey universe re-tweeted the conversation. BOOM! Instant PR.
I would love to see the Ducks do something, anything, to get the fans talking like that. No more sound bites from Getzy and Bobby reiterating what we've heard a billion times, how important the game is because it's a rivalry, bragging rights, blah blah blah. I want tangible, organization-sponsored belittling of the Kings. For example, the team store could sell a shirt that says on the front: "Lord Stanley, the only royalty that matters". On the back: "Anaheim - 1, LA - 0".
I welcome all of your ideas, too. Just keep 'em clean, folks. Don't stoop to the Kings' level (à la urinal targets). Remember, we are fans of an organization from The OC. Based on that fact alone, we are pretentious and better than everyone else; make sure the others don't forget it.