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The puck drops at 7:30 tonight at Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Kings will be hosting the Florida Panthers. And while the hockey season may be young, it’s a huge game for the Kings, who surged to the top of the conference standings early in the season but have slumped recently and need a victory to get back into the playoff picture.
The Kings also offer a good deal for Metro riders: show your ticket or pass at the Staples Center box office and get 10 percent off ticket prices for games on Wednesdays through Sunday and 20 percent off on Monday and Tuesday games. Here’s more details and a team schedule. The Blue Line station at Pico is only a block from Staples Center, the Red/Purple Line station at 7th/Metro Center is a 10-minute walk from the arena and numerous bus lines serve the area.
It’s a good ticket deal, especially considering that National Hockey League games offer a full 60 minutes of action, whereas pro football and baseball usually involve 10 minutes of actual action during a game, with everyone standing around the rest of the time. There is no standing around in hockey. The highlights above are from the Kings’ recently win over Boston.
As for the Kings, here’s a quick primer. The team has been in the rebuilding phase the past few seasons and is one of the youngest squads in the NHL. After missing the playoffs for eight years — something not easy to do in the NHL — the Kings qualified last season but were eliminated in six games in an exciting first round series against Vancouver.
The core of the team is back. Among the younger players to watch are Anze Kopitar at center, team captain Dustin Brown at wing, defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson and goalie Jonathan Quick. In the sprawling L.A. sports scene, these guys tend to be anonymous, but in my humble view they shouldn’t be — skating and stickhandling at high speeds is hard enough and even more difficult when your opponent is trying to check you three rows deep into the stands.
Oh, if you’re a 40-something boy or girl, are suffering a midlife crisis and have never been to a pro hockey game, be warned: it can be addictive. I wear #42 on my beer league hockey uniform because that’s the age in which I learned to skate after getting hooked on the Kings.