Sunday, February 18, 2018
Sports

New York-Los Angeles final in major sport long time coming

The last time New York and Los Angeles teams met in a major sports final, the Dodgers found themselves against a pitcher who had undergone Tommy John surgery.

How long has it been? Well, here's a clue: The lefty on the mound was Tommy John himself.

Thirty-three years after the Dodgers won a World Series against John and the Yankees, L.A. and New York meet again. This time it's on the ice, with the teams from the country's two biggest cities squaring off in the Stanley Cup final.

Kings-Rangers might not bring thoughts back of Willis Reed limping onto the court, willing his Knicks to a win in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals over the Lakers. Or Reggie Jackson hitting three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series as the Yankees beat the Dodgers.

But there's buzz on both coasts for the first Big Apple vs. Hollywood major final since that Dodgers-Yankees 1981 Series — which came months after the Kings and Rangers had their only NHL playoff meeting, a first-round best-of-five matchup which New York won 3-1. Game 2 in that series saw a bench-clearing brawl.

"The big markets, that adds another level to the excitement of the finals here," the Rangers' Dominic Moore said. "I know New York is excited."

The Lakers and Knicks met three times in four years for the NBA title in the early 1970s and the Dodgers, who moved from Brooklyn to L.A. in 1958, met the Yankees in the Series three times in five years in the 1970s and early '80s.

Longtime broadcaster Vin Scully said the Dodgers-Yankees rivalry was more intense than any other sport. The teams have met a record 11 times in the Series. The Dodgers' biggest title was arguably 1963, when they swept the Yankees.

"The ultimate was not only beating the Yankees but sweeping them in four," Scully said.

The ultimate for Knicks fans was when Reed gutted out a thigh injury to play Game 7 in Madison Square Garden and help beat Los Angeles.

"I think it's important for the league. This league has done everything for us, I want it to grow," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "These matchups are great for the game, and we understand that. It's great for hockey."

Carcillo ban cut: Commissioner Gary Bettman cut Daniel Carcillo's suspension from 10 games to six, meaning the Rangers enforcer will be eligible for the final. The commissioner had a hearing with Carcillo on Friday. Carcillo was suspended May 23 after he appeared to twice elbow linesman Scott Driscoll, who was trying to keep Carcillo away from a fight, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. Carcillo, who has served three games, is eligible to play in Game 4.

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