If you’re a Los Angeles Kings fan — or you just need a dose of hockey during the dog days of summer — you’ll want to circle tomorrow on your calendar. The official Kings Stanley Cup Champions DVD and Blu-Ray hits stores on Tuesday, and it comes loaded with extras.
The main program is an 86-minute recap of LA’s Stanley Cup-winning season. The film begins with the Kings hoisting their 2011-12 championship banner to the rafters of the Staples Center, but the celebration comes to an abrupt end with LA is defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2012-13 Western Conference Final. The loss stings the team, and players and coaches talk about how the experience drove them to find redemption in 2013-14.
LA had an up-and-down season in a super-competitive Pacific Division. But after weathering injuries (most notably to franchise goalie Jonathan Quick) and personnel changes, the Kings finished 46-28-8, good for third place in the Pacific and a fifth-straight postseason berth. The film wastes no time getting to the playoffs — it only spends 12 minutes on the regular season — which makes sense. The Kings’ run in the postseason was epic.
Down 3-0 against the San Jose Sharks in the first round, the Kings roared in historic fashion back to win the series, 4-3. They met the seemingly unstoppable Anaheim Ducks in the second round, won the first two games, then were pushed to the brink of elimination again by losing the next three. But LA bounced back to win the series in seven games, 4-3. And that set up a Western Conference Final rematch with the Blackhawks. This time, the Kings went up 3-0 and looked to sweep the defending Cup champs out of the playoffs. But Chicago won the next three to set up yet another Game 7. It took overtime, but the Kings defeated the Hawks to earn their second trip to the Finals in three seasons.
The film spends a whopping 41 minutes on the Finals series between the Kings and Rangers — which LA won in five games — and the post-Cup celebrations and parade. Like the rest of the film, this section is told loads of drama and emotion, and if you’re not a Kings fan you might not want to watch another team raising the Cup (especially if you’re favorite club lost). Still, it’s a cool inside look at what goes into a championship season. Even better, the video quality is stunning — especially on the Blu-Ray, where there are more than a few moments where you feel like you’re on the ice, in the middle of the action or about to be passed the Cup.
But if that’s not enough, the disc offers a bunch of special features to take you further into the Kings’ experience. There are extended celebration videos from the ice, locker room, and parade; NHL Network interviews with the team; and a one-minute day-in-the-life of the Stanley Cup. For hockey fans, there are also recaps of the 2014 playoffs and a series of Top 10 highlights (hits, goals, and saves) from both the regular season and the playoffs.
Overall, a nice set, especially for Kings fans who want something more than a t-shirt to remember the team’s championship run. For everyone else, though, you could probably get a bunch of the non-Kings content on the NHL’s website (though the video quality won’t be nearly as good). Still, if you’re looking for a way to get a hockey fix before the start of the 2014-15 season, this is a good way to do it.