Saturday, May 26, 2012

What the puck is this?

The Los Angeles Kings are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Long-suffering fan are ecstatic, and this town (now that the Lakers have been eliminated in the NBA) has really gotten swept up in Kings fever.   Me too.  Go Kings!   But I must admit -- I know nothing about hockey.  But being ignorant has never stopped me before.   Here is a re-post from November 14, 2006 about my night out watching a Kings game.  Hopefully this will get you into the spirit for the Stanley Cup or at least give you a couple of laughs.   Plus, it's the Memorial Day Weekend.  Nothing say summer like hockey.

Among the many things I know nothing about are computers, women, and hockey. Last night I was invited to an L.A. Kings hockey game where the other two things I know nothing about were nowhere in sight. A friend offered to teach me the sport so I figured, what the hell? It was a night out at the Staples Center and I needed more three-hold paper. The mighty Kings had lost 9 of 11 so getting tickets was not a problem. In fact, they said if we were running late, call, and they’d hold the game for us.

Big difference from a Laker crowd. Celebs for the Lakers include Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington. Here it’s actor, Larry Mann and Jaimie Farr. More Hollywood stars used to attend Kings games when Gretzky was playing for them. That was back at the Fabulous Forum. They would sit right on the glass in the seats actual fans could never afford. There was a lip protruding from the glass which these celebs thought was for putting their drinks on. They didn’t realize players would be crashing into it. Goldie Hawn and company were unceremoniously drenched. It was a beautiful thing.

Different dress code, too. Laker fans come all pimped out. Kings fans all wear jerseys. More than a few should also be wearing goalie masks. But they were loud and boisterous and unlike me, seemed to know what was going on.

I sat next to a lovely gentleman who had had seven Red Bulls. But he assured me that until nine he was okay. Meanwhile, he spent the last two periods doubled over with his hands covering his head. Now I know why the Kings are off to such a poor start. I suspect he is one of their scouts.

Two 17 minute intermissions made for a lot of beer sales. By the third period everyone was rowdy. A Shark player got hit in the kisser with a puck. As he staggered over to the bench fans were yelling, “Get back on the ice, you baby!” The NHL is the official sport of the American Dental Association.

The P.A. system at the Staples Center is the worst. It was like how the Peanuts characters used to hear their teacher. Of course it didn’t help that every hockey player has fifteen consonants in his name.

As a novice I had just as much fun during the intermissions. Fans were invited to send text messages that would be posted on the scoreboard so we tried to send cleverly veiled obscene ones. I’m guessing we weren’t the first. None got posted. But truthfully, who gives a shit about “Hi, Mom,” “Kings rule”, and “Jess, would you marry me? Alex”?

The game was good but not nearly as exciting as the human bowling event between the first and second periods. The only way to be eligible to play was to fail a breathalyzer test.

No major brawls which was disappointing. Although there was a lot of physical contact. A penalty is defined as something that maims a player for life. Usually that’s a two minute infraction.

What’s wrong with this picture? The Sharks actually have a player who’s Afro-American. Mike Grier. That’s even more astounding than a white guy in the NBA. (His dad, Bobby Grier, is a coach for the New England Patriots).

Met up after the game with the Sharks radio announcer, Dan Rusanowsky. Even the broadcasters have long unpronounceable names. Boy, you REALLY got to be a fan to listen to hockey on the radio. “Tverdovsky over to Kostopoulos, now to Visnovsky, intercepted by Nobokov.” It’s like a Russian novel book-on-tape.

One thing I do know about hockey, it’s wall-to-wall action, great fun. And when you get down to the last five minutes and the game is tied, it’s totally wild. The Kings won 4-2 and the human bowler knocked down four pins.


Ref said...

"Bob" Grier was a player personnel director for the Patriots during the Pete Carroll error (I spelled it like that on purpose!) Bluntly, he sucked bigtime. Mike was a much better hockey player than his dad was at front-officeing.

HogsAteMySister said...

The Zamboni. 50-cent beer night. The Turnpike Series. Dale "Who Sez" Smedsmo, the worst hockey player to ever put on skates. Fights in the stands. OKC Blazer Central Hockey League action in 1974. It was awesome. Maybe even more than L.A. Cheers for the story and the memories.

VP81955 said...

Apparently since that time, the Kings have done a good job of cultivating the Hollywood crowd, though it may not equal the bling of the Lakers or even the Clippers. More power to them; hockey is a wonderful sport in person (but one you can't really appreciate on anything less than a high-definition TV).

I'm sure many of the fair-weather celebs probably will decline to show up now that the Kings are facing the New Jersey Devils in the finals rather than the glamorous New York Rangers. (Imagine the Grammys being held at the Prudential Center in Newark -- the Devs' arena, virtually next door to Newark Penn Station -- rather than Madison Square Garden, for an idea of what I'm talking about.)

Wonder whom Laura Prepon is rooting for, now that the public has answered "Are You There, Chelsea?" with "no"; I know she was an avid Devils fan about 2000 or so (she's from New Jersey). Perhaps she should restore her hair to red in the team's honor.

And finally, even at age 66, Goldie Hawn (whose son is a hockey player, so her affection for the sport is genuine) can still look great with her front drenched in soda...depending upon the blouse she's wearing.