|I'm gonna be in you soon, are you ready Staples Center? |
It's been a long time coming for me. It's been 10 years since I went to my last Kings playoff game. My family had season tickets from 1999 until 2006, but unfortunately we couldn't keep them after that. We moved a lot, and went through some tough times. Sadly hockey tickets just weren't in the cards for us. I went to the odd game here and there, but I just couldn't afford those elusive playoff tickets. I've been through my fair share of ups and downs as a Kings fan, but there's no better feeling than walking through those doors at Staples Center during the playoffs. There's an energy and excitement that regular season games just can't match. There's something about the playoffs that makes you believe in miracles, even as a realist I find my head in the clouds.
My first ever playoff game was in 2000. I watched my team get swept by the Detroit Red Wings, it was devastating. I was a kid at the time, but I was still crushed by those loses. The next season the Kings were again matched up against the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs. I don't know if I fully grasped how good that Red Wings team was, or how much of an uphill battle the Kings faced. All I knew was I wanted the Red Wings eliminated, I believed in my team.
The Kings, as usual, didn't make it easier on themselves by letting the Red Wings get a 2-0 series lead heading home to Staples Center. I remember getting on my jersey and heading out to the arena for game 3. I was nervous and excited, but mostly I just couldn't wait to watch some hockey. We got to our seats, which weren't our normal season ticket seats. They had moved us across into section 110, for those who aren't familiar with Staples Center it's the section on the penalty box side next to net the Kings shoot at once. It's also the side where the Kings shoot in overtime, this is a key point for the story. We were about 10 rows up and had a great view of the ice. The Kings pulled out the victory and I was overjoyed, at least this year they weren't going to be swept. It was the first playoff victory I had been to, and the crowd was just unbelievable. The next game however is one that will forever be engraved in my memory. This game is easily my greatest childhood memory, game 4 was something I'll seriously never forget. For those who don't know what I'm talking about well check out the highlights.
I get chills every time.
I remember thinking the roof at Staples Center was going to come down. There's no way that building has ever been that loud again. I don't think it gets much better than that. The Kings only tied the series that night however, there was still a lot of hockey to be played. The Kings went back to Detroit and won, which meant the Kings had a chance to eliminate the Red Wings in game 6. Same as the two games before we sat in our seats and the Kings were down late in the third period until Adam Deadmarsh decided to become a hero.
What a player, what a team.
The last Kings playoff game I attended was a rematch one year later against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche. It was game 6 and the Kings again could push the series to seven. They won the game convincingly, but again fell short in Denver. The Kings failed to make the playoffs for the next eight seasons, but for those brief games the Kings were amazing. (Game 6 highlights below)
The Kings have given me amazing memories throughout the years. I practically grew up at Staples Center, but none will ever compare to those post-season memories. I hope the Kings have a few more miracles up their sleeve, I know I can't wait to experience them. I'll be there tonight cheering as loud as I can for my team trying to will them to victory. If you're going you should do the same. Go Kings! Let's do this!