Regal Cinemas and Warner Home Video rolled out the red carpet for Matt Greene, Jarret Stoll and the Los Angeles Kings at the Stanley Cup DVD premiere in downtown Los Angeles Monday night as the team’s championship accomplishments were broadcast on a movie screen only one block away from where unadulterated joy emanated 42 days ago.
In an enormous theater that erupted in applause during key moments of the team’s postseason run – Dustin Brown’s hit on Henrik Sedin, along with Stoll and Dustin Penner’s series-clinching overtime goals drew loud applause – the team received some Hollywood treatment where the joke was that the movie was great, even if everyone already knew the ending.
“It is a great ending, Bob,” Luc Robitaille said to Bob Miller while welcoming the attendees.
“I was there,” Miller responded. “I know the ending is really good!”
Supporting actors Greene and Stoll were on hand to discuss the roles that proved to be defining moments in their careers.
“Seeing that footage – Kopi’s overtime goal in Game 1,” Stoll said of what he looked forward to. “Watching that from the bench, it seemed like 30 seconds, him grabbing the puck and going in on a breakaway. It just seemed so long.”
Neither player confessed to having extensively watched highlights of the team’s historic run, with Greene saying that “you see it on tape when we were going through the video sessions,” and Stoll admitting to having checked LAKings.com video from time to time.
“It gets you fired up, that’s for sure,” Stoll said. “You want to start driving to Staples Center and put your gear on again.”
While crediting the entire team, Robitaille pinpointed one forward whose highlights he was excited to see.
“Some of the goals Anze Kopitar scored, you think No. 66 has done those in Pittsburgh years ago,” he recalled.
The Stanley Cup and Clarence Campbell Bowl were displayed in the lobby, where Howie Borrow, a Hockey Hall of Fame archivist and one of five “Keepers of the Cup” stood watch after having traveled through Manitoba to Alberta last week, where assistant general manager Ron Hextall and equipment manager Darren Granger eventually passed the Cup along to Colin Fraser and Darryl Sutter, who hosted a party at his homestead on Sunday.
“A week on, a week off,” Borrow said of the traveling rotation with the Cup. “Just take turns that way. It’s tiring to travel, but its fun. You need a break once in a while.”
A break certainly would have been warranted following the week the Cup was spotted in Las Vegas, where it was photographed being hoisted at the TAO nightclub inside the Venetian, and inside the players’ suite at the Palms.
“We go to the nightclubs with the guys because that’s where they want to take the Cup, so we’re just go along and make sure everybody’s having a good time, but also there to make sure the Cup gets back to a safe place later that night, too,” Borrow said.
While a movie likely could have been written about the things we never heard about during the Cup’s trip to Vegas, on Monday the attention was on the players’ first experience seeing themselves and their teammates on a movie screen.
“This is my first feature length, so it’ll be exciting,” said Greene, who said that he hadn’t appeared in any student films while at the University of North Dakota.
“I was in acting class, but I never made the cut.”
There aren’t too many details of the DVD that we want to spoil, other than it also spans other high and low-water moments of the Kings’ existence and takes viewers through a game-by-game visually intoxicating account of the team steamrolling through the Western Conference before finishing the New Jersey Devils in six games.
Images that were only briefly broadcast or that may have slipped our minds while witnessing the two-month surge are captured acutely. Following Los Angeles’ Game 5 win in Vancouver and as the teams lined up for the handshake line, an emotionally distraught Ryan Kesler is captured in a moment both vulnerable and focused. Fans in Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix repeatedly hide their face in their palms. Opposing goaltenders thrash their sticks against the goalposts in vain frustration.
Among the most DVD’s most poignant moments was the recollection of a speech Justin Williams gave to the team before the series-clinching Game 6 win on June 11. It was recalled in detail by Stoll on Monday.
“He was just basically telling us to take advantage of it,” he said. “He got a little emotional. For himself, he felt very lucky to be in a position to win it again. Just being honest, how he felt. Hearing it from a different voice as opposed to the coaching staff or anybody else, it means a little different, I think. He was just honest with himself and how he was feeling. Look at the guy to your right, look at the guy to your left and play for them. Play for whoever. Play for your wife, your kids, your grandpa, your grandma, your parents, whatever. It was a great speech.”