C’mon, your nose doesn’t actually bleed when you’re navigating the sherpa-style incline to seats somewhere in the 300 level at Staples Center for a Kings game. It just sparks a natural curiosity: Would the quality of life be better if given the chance to slide up to the glass at an NHL contest.
Every night, the Kings have a sponsored promotion at the game that emancipates two fans from their blimp-view perch to a spot right up against the boards. We tried to recreate the experience the other night during a Kings-Blue Jackets game.
We tried to recreate the experience the other night at a Kings-Blue Jackets game. Right on the blue line, just five seats over from the penalty box. Even with the Kings’ 6-2 pasting of these clowns from Columbus, we weren’t completely sure if we actually had the best ringside seat for the circus.
It all depends: Is your view on the glass is half full of fun, or of half empty promises.
Pro: It rocks. It rolls. With no seat belts. With the barrier there for protection, it’s better than swimming with sharks at a barrier reef at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The speed is breathtaking. The agility on display is remarkable — did you see how Rick Nash skated backward and still made that pass? Watch a faceoff, or fisticuff, just a few feet in front of you. An in-your-face hip check has you checking bladder control. Get the camera ready to shoot because …
Con: There could be a goal about to be scored in front of you – only to have a ref skate right into your line of vision. Good ol’ No. 91. Don Henderson (bio linked here). That happened on the Kings’ first score of the night. I had to watch it on the replay screen. Thanks buddy. You can even see the reflection of me taking the picture.
Pro: The crunching, shushing and slapping sounds are unlike anything you’ll get on a Bose TV stereo system, or anywhere else in the building
Con: The sound of a puck hitting the Plexiglas is like a rock hitting your windshield when you’re not expecting it. You jump, your heart skips, you see if you’ve rear-ended anyone, there are no shards in your hot dog, you realize you’ve just missed the last 20 seconds of action.
Pro: Despite expectations, it’s really not that cold down there.
Con: Despite the fact it’s now not all that cold, you’ve overdressed and are now too warm to sit comfortably. Layer accordingly. Laker socks optional with flip-flops.
Pro: Stand and pound on the glass, to show approval.
Con: Don’t do it when an usher is nearby. He won’t approve.
Pro: When you least expect it a ref could flip a game-used puck over the ice to you.
Con: He meant for it to be given to the little girl sitting behind you, meathead.
Pro: A kid sitting nearby us yells: “Slam him into the wall! Make his face bleed!”
Con: The kids weren’t back for the second or third period. Some other couple was sitting in their seats. And making out for most of the action. Hey, get a room.
Pro: On the inside of the boards, you can show off to everyone else behind you by lining up your beer cups on the ledge.
Con: One lowered shoulder check into the boards, and you’re wearing a couple of $10 beers on your pants.
Pro: The Kings’ Rob Scuderi puts a check on the Blue Jackets’ Jason Chimera, sending him skates over head, bleeding from the face, right along the board.
Con: We had no idea what happened. The fans went nuts, and it happened on our side, but on the other end of the rink. Why all the pushing and shoving and ref tackling? Later, we read that Scuderi was fined by the league for the hit. Hope he got his money’s worth. We didn’t.
Pro: The Kings’ ice girls leisurely glide right past you. And they may wink.
Con: The Kings’ Zamboni machine churns right past you. And it may stink.
Pro: When the game ends, a Kings’ player who’s named one of the three stars skates over and hands his stick over the glass to you.
Con: A 6-year-old boy with puppy-dog eyes, whose parents led him down to the front moments before the final siren just to stake out a position, will guilt you into giving it up.
Pro: Your ticket could include access to the Chairman’s Room (where Jack Nicholson sneaks off to during Laker games, or the suite-level restaurant. Take advantage of it between periods.
Con: That’s included in the $455 face value of the ticket. Or $350 if you buy it as a season seat. Then, you also have to spring for the price of the cocktail, hors d’oeuvres, or dinner. You want an $18 sushi sampler? Take the lobster risoto with it ($14, but very rich). It can start adding up and send your credit card to the penalty box. (And the waitress is taking our order while Jarret Stoll is scoring … thanks for the distraction). But then, the glass up there separating you from the game is very clean, no smudges, no streaks, no scratches …
Pro: You can brag to your friends about how you were down with the players, got on TV, brushed past Jerry Bruckheimer, almost ripped the jersey off Rick Nash and lie about how the glass almost broke a few times.
Con: One idiot friend will always come back with: Yeah, I did that once, and it was OK, but I really like my top-deck seat, especially when I’m on the rail, because you can really see all the plays develop, and it’s only 12 bucks, and … blah, blah, blah … puck, puck, puck …
Pro: You can tell him to shut the puck up. … And hey, could you reach down to those loose wires down by our feet, the ones that lead to that small puddle over there … just grab one of ’em and slide it over to the left …. here, with the other hand, hold this metal post and ….