I've done a lot of great things during my 20+ year career as a Los Angeles Kings fan. I was able to watch Wayne Gretzky play nightly, I saw Peter Forsberg lose his spleen and I was there when a young team won its first playoff game in 8 years. And while I never thought that a pre-season NHL game could land high on my list of greatest Kings experiences… making it to Frozen Fury 13 in Las Vegas is something that every Los Angeles Kings fan should check out. Don't get me wrong, it's the pre-season for chrissakes. I would take watching the Kings play for real in the playoffs any day of the week. But watching nearly 10,000 passionate Kings fans descend on the city known for the manufacturing and selling of Sin is quite a sight to behold.
Indiana Matt and I grabbed a 5:30 pm flight out of Burbank into Vegas and once we landed, we couldn't wait to meet and greet all of the Los Angeles Kings fans that had flown in for Frozen Fury.
Why did it have to be the Red Wings? Anyone but the Red Wings.
Sure there may have been Red Wings fans at the airport, but once we got to the MGM Hotel and Casino… we knew right away we were in Kings Country.
I mean if you are going to go for it... why not paint the truck purple?
It's one thing to be at Staples Center and surrounded by fans in Kings paraphernalia, but it's another thing to be roaming the floor of a giant casino and see hard-core Kings fans where ever you look.
I think this could perhaps be the couple that is the most in love with each other in the entire world.
Before the game started, the awesome two-some at Kingscast put together a Kings Tweetup (which is Web 2.0 speak for a bunch of strangers who talk with each other on the internet meeting up in person and then avoiding eye contact) at the Rouge Lounge in the MGM. And there was quite the turnout.
Hrudey is on duty tonight. If "on duty" means doing shots of tequila before the game starts.
"Hey… so any of you guys Av's fans?
No? That's cool, I'll just stand here alone then."
Even while hosting a Tweetup, the Kingscast guys are always working.
I'm wondering if the "Kings Suck!" version that is sold in Denver says "except Smyth".
The Rouge Lounge is located at the mouth of the trash-talking river that you must navigate to make it to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This is an amazing gathering of drunk, screaming Kings fans that will tell you that you suck… whether you are wearing an Av's jersey, a Blackhawks jersey or a Capitals jersey.
I was actually amazed by the amount of non-Kings and non-Avalanche jerseys I saw fans wearing. Mayors Manor was keeping track and actually saw all but 3 NHL teams represented. I guess if you live in Las Vegas and are a huge NHL hockey fan… Frozen Fury is your Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Apparently there was a discount on Chicago jersey in the gift shop.
And then... this happened.
The coolest thing about the MGM Grand Garden Arena is that it could easily be mistaken for a buffet or gift shop because it's right off the casino floor.
And I thought that the ushers at Staples Center were well-dressed… but this is Vegas… and Vegas is classy.
The arena is like any other minor league hockey arena… except for the aquamarine seats straight out of 1994.
So now I understand why the Kings never play the San Jose Sharks at Frozen Fury.
Since the MGM Grand Garden Arena only hosts NHL Preseason games, they don't have a fully functioning scoreboard. So they do the 2nd best thing… a powerpoint presentation projected on a giant screen!
No, really.. it was a powerpoint program. You could see a little mouse move over the scoreboard and click every time they needed to start the clock or add a goal or a penalty.
Indiana Matt and I were seated in the infamous Let's Go Kings section... ground zero for loudmouth Kings fans. The couple next to us even flew down to the game from Portland, Oregon and had come the last 3 years. I guess if you are going to be a Kings fan and not live in Los Angeles why not come and see them play where you can gamble, drink on the street and catch a Cher impersonator show? Either way… the seats were great.
In between periods, Indiana Matt and I enjoyed our favorite hockey related pastimes…
Bud Light Lime and taking photos of lonely Nordiques/Avalanche fans.
A Nordiques jersey and an Av's hat? Talk about an identity crisis!
At the end of the day… this is a pre-season game. And the Kings won. And it was fun. I'm not going to get into the details of which player did what because I only do that when it counts. (But I will say I was really impressed with Trevor Lewis.) But even though it may not count in the standings, Frozen Fury is a total blast and even if you are the most marginal of a Los Angeles Kings fan… I recommend checking it out at least once. Even though there is a lot of screaming and booze... it's the kind of event where you can even cuddle up with your sweetheart and fall in love… once you've draped her with a vintage 1990's Kings flag.
But the biggest move of the weekend? Betting it all on Black to win.
If the Kings win the Stanley Cup… I'm taking all of The Royal Half fans to Frozen Fury next season. 3 tickets for Frozen Fury 14, please.