I may have been a little late to jump on the hockey bandwagon this year, but it's been quite a ride, and it's still going. First, the Los Angeles Kings came from 0-3 down to beat the Sharks, then they went the seven-game distance to beat the area-rival Ducks, and now they have hung on in a seven game series to beat the Chicago Black Hawks. I have been really into the whole thing since late in the Sharks series, but I didn't realize how into it I was until last night.
Sunday was the deciding Game 7, but I had a baseball game that evening, so I taped it. I also had to work Monday morning at 5am (which means getting up at 3:50), so after the baseball game, I rushed home to watch. Los Angeles fell behind early 2-0. I felt a knot in my stomach. Before the end of the first period, the Kings had tied it 2-2. They would trail 3-2 after one, and I wanted to quickly skip ahead the 15 minutes or so to period two.
Since I was up anyway, I decided to do some laundry, so I put the clothes in the washer and hurried back. Kings tied it at three about halfway, through, but fell behind 4-3 with less than two minutes to go. I yelled an obscenity at the television for something that happened hours ago, and then realized that some of my windows were open. Well, I'm sure my neighbors have heard those words before. End of the second period, and time to put the clothes in the dryer.
The third period was agony for the first ten minutes. Not much was going on, and the clock was running. Finally, with under 8:00 to go, Marion Gaborik scored the tying goal. It was 4-4, and I was cheering and applauding, and the windows were still open. It's also after 11pm, the score is tied, overtime is looming, and I have to get up in less than four hours.
I work at a radio station, and my boss is a big hockey fan. There's no way I'm going to get through the day and not know who won. Plus I've spent all this time. I have to watch. I get the clothes out of the dryer, put them away, and get ready for OT. I hope it's quick, but only if it means a Kings win. I got my wish, and at 5:47 into the overtime, Alec Martinez has a deflection come right to him, he puts the puck easily past Corey Crawford, and the Kings go on to the Stanley Cup final for the second time in three years.
I'm not sure how I got so wrapped up in this post season. The Kings actually won the Stanley Cup two years ago, and I didn't even remember who they beat to do it (it was the New Jersey Devils). That was was the only trophy in their hockey history, but for some reason, this one, if they get it, would mean a lot more. Maybe it's because all three series have gone seven, and the Kings had to win on the road.
Los Angeles will now have home ice advantage in the finals against the New York Rangers, so a game seven would be at home. Maybe four sevens and a Hollywood ending is what's in store. The Rangers have their own story, and weren't supposed to be here, either. I have stuff to do with baseball, and my regular job, but even though the calendar has turned to June, there will be about two more weeks of hockey. Game One is Wednesday night. I'll try to remember to close the windows.
Added interest: Gold Sox manager Jack Johnson is from Chicago, and a big time Black Hawks fan. He had been watching the games on his tablet, but like me, taped games six and seven. So we were both going home after the baseball games to watch hockey. We didn't wager, but had fun talking a little trash, mostly by text...My boss at KNCO, Tom Fitzsimmons, is taking a lot of credit for making a hockey fan out of me. I think he deserves some of it, but I'm mostly crediting the 0-3 comeback against the San Jose Sharks. Tom, who is from Jersey City, is probably the biggest hockey fan on the west coast, and is also a New York Rangers fan. He asked me today how my termination should be handled if LA prevails.