Well That Was Something
I couldn't have imagined a more perfect setting for my final story on LAist. It was a perfect intersection between the two teams I covered the most on this corner of the net: the Dodgers and the Kings.
Let's make no mistake about it. This Stadium Series game was a spectacle. Who couldn't be in awe when Vin Scully serenaded the crowd with "It's time for…" before pausing. The normal refrain of "Dodger baseball" on the tip of everyone's tongue. With Bob Miller beside him, Scully continued on with "NHL hockey," to the cheers of 54,099 at the Ravine.
The teams entered from the centerfield gates as the USC marching band surrounded them. It was quite the spectacle.
Just to see that opening act narrating the introduction to the game was worth the price of admission. It didn't matter that I was in the auxiliary press box located on the third base side right behind the glass. I could only see the top half of the players and nothing on the ice.
Sure there were some missteps. KISS and Five for Fighting performed. The NHL hired extras to play in the outfield during pregame and the first and second intermissions.
"Hollywood could not have scripted a more magical launch to the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series and this historic weekend for the National Hockey League," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "On behalf of all who enjoyed every minute of this exceptional evening, I congratulate the Kings and Ducks for writing another remarkable chapter in the history of hockey in California."
With the vantage point I had, all I could see is that the Ducks got out to an early 2-0 lead and didn't relinquish it. They added an empty-netter in the waning minutes of the game. It seemed par for the course for the Kings: 36 shots on goal and very few scoring chances.
But nothing could trump the spectacle that was the game.
"That was probably the coolest thing I've ever done playing hockey," Ben Lovejoy said.
Even Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was taken back by the experience. "People say Californians are laid back," he noted. "I thought they were pretty into it tonight."
As the game progressed the sounds from the Kings fans gave way to the joy from the Ducks fans whose team now took a 19-point lead in the standings against the hated rivals.
While I can't vouch for the quality of the game, I can say that it was probably one of the most interesting games I've been a part of. With this I'll drop the mic. Thanks to everyone who has read me over the last seven years. It's been fun.