CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy had a special visitor at training Wednesday: the Stanley Cup. That's one of the perks of sharing ownership with the NHL champion Los Angeles Kings.
“It's certainly nice to see such a historic trophy,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, who says he might have followed his hometown New York Rangers “back in the '60s” but has been a Kings fan since coming to Southern California. “We won [a championship trophy] last year. Maybe it helps the guys think about the fact that we'd like to win one this year as well.”
The trophy was on site because the Kings are staging an event for season-ticket holders Wednesday at the Home Depot Center.
The players huddled around the Stanley Cup after practice, posing for photos.
“I want to take it home with me!” said Tommy Meyer, who reports he's a St. Louis Blues fan.
No A.J., no cry
A.J. DeLaGarza's absence the next month with a sprained left medial collateral ligament certainly will be felt by the Galaxy, no matter who steps into his spot – and no matter how well they do.
“He's our maybe more reliable defender this year,” captain Landon Donovan said. “He's been a rock now for years, and he makes plays. He's always in the right spot. He's always in the right spot, he's always dependable. You know if something breaks down, he's always going to be in the right spot. So we lose a lot.”
Omar Gonzalez, DeLaGarza's partner in the middle (and his old college roommate), called the injury “heartbreaking,” and associate head coach Dave Sarachan noted that things will be different no matter who takes his spot.
“A.J.'s a unique player for us and even in this league,” Sarachan said. “Like any player on the field, you can't take one off and put one on that's identical. It's like fingerprints: Everyone's different, has a different way of doing things. But we've all trained the same way, we've all worked together, and so I don't think it's going to be a transition that we'll struggle with.”
Said Arena: “A.J.'s been good. He's been real good. It's all part of the game, unfortunately. People lose players all the time. You got to move forward and get the job done regardless.”