The last time I was at the Honda Center, I had a glorious hot fudge sundae with Oreo from Ruby’s Diner. It made my Ducks watching experience even better than it already was.
I had no such luxury at the Staples Center. I wandered around looking for ice cream. Nothing. Two different employees told me the Ben and Jerry’s was in two different spots. When I went to those spots, there was nothing there but another boring pretzel and overpriced beer-toting concession stand. What a letdown. The food selection in general at the Staples Center is absolutely horrible.
Enough talk about the disappointing food. My seats were fantastic. One of my readers offered to take me to the Ducks v. Kings game and I accepted when I found out he’s a firefighter. My favorite show is Rescue Me, after all, and from our email correspondences he seemed extremely knowledgeable about the sport.
A number of things at the game went wrong, in addition to the Ducks playing like they were exhausted from their match up with Detroit the night before. First of all, I’m pretty sure the person running the scoreboard at the game was blind. When the game first started, a few minutes into it, we looked up to see that the Kings supposedly had 15 shots on goal while the Ducks had two. Yeah, um, no. At one point the Kings had 24 shots on goal in the first period. I’m guessing that during most entire games the Kings don’t have that many shots on goal. Finally, toward the end of the first period, it seemed to be sorted out. But, not so fast, when the second period started it was incorrect again. I was hoping to look up there to see the shots for Los Angeles at infinity and the shots for Anaheim at 5.
There was a point in the game when I got all sorts of emotional. George Parros and Raitis Ivanans threw their gloves on the ice and went for it. I had my hands on my face; my face painfully cringed during the fight. I wanted to shout, “Leave the moustache alone!” but I refrained and held my breath instead. I must have looked like I was going to cry, because my hockey pal said, “Don’t cry!” I realized at that point that I’m starting to become emotionally attached to Parros.
It was just an emotional game overall because my Ducks weren’t playing like my Ducks. And the Kings had some sort of energy that probably could have helped them in the majority of their past games. Anaheim’s backup goalie, Hiller, stepped in for Giguere in the second period after Giguere let three goals fly past.
The Ducks were scoreless in the first two periods, with an almost goal by Ryan Carter in the last milliseconds of the first period. The goal looked like it could have gone in before the buzzer rang, but after a quick review, it was disallowed. Los Angeles goalie Jason LaBarbera played impressively, saving 31 of 32 shots in the game.
The game ended in a Kings 3-1 victory, with Rob Niedermayer scoring the solo Ducks goal to prevent a shutout. Gloating Los Angeles fans were all around me at the end of the game. I was fine with their gloating, because their team doesn’t usually win. My team won the Stanley Cup last year. Enough said.
Since the last time I wrote, I’ve watched hockey with a few different companions besides the fireman. I met up with the subway guy one night for some hockey watching fun downtown. He and I now refer to the evening as “The Belgian Beer Fiasco.” I enjoyed Guinness and he had six Belgian Beers (he said it has higher alcohol content – you look it up if you’re curious). All I know is after the game, I was a little scared his drunken 6’4” frame would slip in the rain and fall on me. Luckily it did not.
I also got together with a German guy who had claimed to never have seen a game before in his life. He was good enough company but didn’t seem at all interested in the game. And, I watched hockey, I believe, a couple times with my Kings fan friend. I don’t know if I could sustain a long-term hockey relationship with an eternal Kings fan. Perhaps there isn’t such a thing as a perfect hockey buddy. I may need to learn the art of compromise.