I’m Too Old for this Ship

I think when the Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I exchanged our tickets from a November game against the Stars for this mid-February games against the Thrashers… we had the hope that it would be a meaningful game for the playoff race. We did a similar exchange for a March games against the Phoenix Coyotes last season… only to not even bother going to that game because the Kings were so far out of any playoff race. But I think we had NO idea that this game against Atlanta would end up being a game like the one we witnessed last night. The very definition of a Barn Burner… The Kings were never dominate in this one like they were against Edmonton last Saturday. Tonight they were always having to fight back from 2, 3 goals down. During the 2nd intermission, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I were talking about the thrill you get from following a pro sports team… the feeling that we experienced last Saturday when the Kings tied up the game against Edmonton with a few seconds left. There really is nothing like it to compare to in your normal life. If you do something successful at work… you don’t scream and jump up and hug strangers like a fool. But tonight, when Anze Kopitar shoots a cannon into the opposing net with 5 seconds left… and the Kings salvage a point in one of the tightest playoff races in memory… it feels kinda like this:

How can you say this team is NOT going to make the playoffs?!?

Kings 6! Atlanta Thrashers 7!

As you might of heard, it was Armenian Heritage Night at Staples, celebrating the first game in LA by Atlanta Thrashers rookie Zac Bogosian. (Strange coincidence that they changed the scoring to give Bogosian a few extra assists, huh? A NHL-Armenian conspiracy is brewing!) The Kings did a similar event when Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals came to town, having a Russian Heritage Night celebration. Hands down… the Armenians are definitely the better fans when it comes to cheering at Kings games by former republics of the Soviet Union.

And they party… double fisted style!

It’s a shame that former King and current Jew Mathieu Schneider was traded earlier in the day from Atlanta to Montreal. Because the Kings could have combined Armenian Heritage Night with a Jewish Heritage Night to create a night of hockey with the most delicious ethnic foods ever!

Give me another blintz! And more challah! And some shawarma from Zankou!

Unfortunately, there was no promotional tie in with Zankou at the game. Another missed opportunity from the Los Angeles Kings marketing department. Hopefully next time the Atlanta Thrashers come to town Zankou will be there at the game.

As for the hockey, well you don’t like to see the Kings get points like this. You want the team to be dominate while getting and keeping a lead. The play in the first period was just plain sloppy… and it reminded Kings fans of our goaltending troubles from earlier in the season. Still… we kinda knew the Kings would come back. This team is on a mission. If it’s not the playoffs… then it’s as close as they can damn get. The team is maturing in front of us nightly… but the Kings could have really used those extra points in the last two games.

What does it all mean? Well, it means that the Kings must win this week with crazy important games against the Ducks on Wednesday and the Coyotes on Saturday. Oh and for fun… the team gets to play the NHL best San Jose Sharks on Thursday. I don’t mind seeing the Kings struggle for points at home… if they play on the road like they did last week. Because the majority of the remaining games are on the road.

All in all… this crazy playoff ride on the USS Kings is worth every penny. Especially since, as my Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy likes to remind me daily, I had the Kings out of the playoffs a few weeks ago.

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.