Friday, February 5, 2010

NHL Freeway Face-Off

Carl Melhorn, a teacher at Rio Mesa, called me yesterday offering Laurie and I two free ducats to last night's National Hockey League . . .

at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks (27-23-7)
The Los Angeles Kings (34-19-3)

The tickets were courtesy of long-time Rio Mesa H.S. boosters Jim and Karen Gramacki who own season tickets to the Kings' games.


Laurie Hanging Out

We got there early and hung out across the street from the Staples Center at L.A. Live. Lots of very cool spots here besides the ESPN Zone like . . .

The Grammy Museum

We did not go in to see their current Elvis Exhibit but did enjoy their Walk-of-Fame on the sidewalks nearby.

Notice that the Italian song "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu" better known as "Volare" by the Italian singer Domenico Modugno won the very first Grammy back in 1959!

Claudio translate "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu" please.

The Staples Center

Home to the NHL Kings, the NBA Lakers and the NBA (barely) Clippers

The Hall-of-Fame "Voice of the Lakers"

REALLY Fat Goalies

NHL owners . . .

A Corona for ONLY $13 . . .
Such a Deal!

We wisely ate at Barney's Beanery in Hollywood before coming to the game.

All quiet now . . .

Soon we would be surrounded by testosterone filled, blood thirsty men who could all star in the lead of The Merchant of Venice! The girl next to me probably should have provided Security with a urine sample as well.

Fortunately it was mostly tough talk but I was REALLY glad that I was not a Ducks fan . . . death before dishonor don't you know.

Enjoying The Quiet Before the Storm

The game would be a sell-out with paid attendance announced at 18,118 but there were empty seats to be found.

These were great "End Zone" seats that I love at football games as well. They allow you to see spacing and the artistry of hockey.


Suddenly the quiet was broken as someone tossed all of these pucks onto the Kings end of the ice.

The Symmetry of Hockey Warm-Ups

Artsy, it IS L.A. after all

Dueling Zambonis

The Kings in black Facing-Off

A quick check of the roster showed that the Kings have two Swedish players.

One was #9 Oscar Moller, a 5-10, 186 lbs., Center from Stockholm, Sweden.

The other one was #31 Erik Ersberg, a 6-0, 165 lbs., Goalie from Sala, Sweden. WAY too skinny for my revolutionary new Goalie philosophy.

The game itself was a strange one. The Kings were trying to tie an all-time 43 year franchise record with an eighth straight win. The Ducks were just trying to keep their bills above water.

The Ducks' Jason Blake scored first but the Kings' Anze Kopitar from Slovenia countered. After one period it was 1-1.

The Kings dominated the second period as first Wayne Simmonds and then Slovakia's Michal Handzus found the net. Kings cruising 3-1 after two stanzas.

Then it got very interesting. L.A.'s Jack Johnson scored to extend the Kings' lead to 4-1. We thought about leaving early but opted to stay just to listen to the manly talk all around us in the stands, especially the girl next to me. She was getting bolder with each Kings goal.

Anaheim's Troy Bodie then scored to make it 4-2 Kings, no sweat.

Suddenly the Ducks' Matt Belesky put one in, Kings 4-3, what the . . .

Next the Ducks' Ryan Carter snuck one in on Kings' Goalie Jonathan Quick to tie the game 4-4 with 10:25 still left in the game!

Fortunately for my newly found Kings comrades in the seats around us, the home team woke up as Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar again each blew the puck past usually reliable but tonight's rather hapless Ducks' Goalie Jonas Hiller who is a native of Switzerland.

Final Score
Kings 6 - Ducks 4

We had such a GREAT time!
Thanks again Jim, Karen and Carl!

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