After the game tonight, I wondered who the Los Angeles Kings are playing next. I looked it up on my handy L.A. Times Schedule and saw it was “PHO.” I thought, “Who the hell is “PHO?” I looked at some of the other team name abbreviations on the calendar I held in my hand. “COL” was easy. That would be Colorado, and “PIT,” Pittsburgh, but then I came to “NAS” and “VAN.” Nassau and Vanilla, I thought. No? Probably not.
I was, of course, far too embarrassed to ask anyone. Perish the thought. Down with “PHO,” I thought, whoever you are. This led me to think of other Very Important Things I don’t know about the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. I’m a new fan, I oughtta know! And if I don’t know, I’m going to guess. So here goes.
First, what is a “neutral zone” and why did the Kings “have trouble getting through” it last night against the NJ Devils, as their coach Terry Murray said? All the talking heads on TV agreed when he said it, sagely nodding their assent. They never explained what that meant, though? Anybody?
Second, what is “icing”? Every time I ask someone that question, they start to explain and then quickly need to refresh their beer. Is it that complicated? Really? It seems important because everyone jumps up and roars in disbelief when the goalie calls it during the game. Someday I want to find out.
Third, and now I’m going to get technical on you, what are the following abbreviations in those little charts on the sports page in my newspaper? GF, GA, SHO, GAA and SV.Pct. It’s all Greek to me. I do understand that W stands for “win and L for “loss.” OL is that weird overtime loss thingy that only exists in Hockey, where they get those odd-looking standings such as 5-2-1 instead of just wins and losses like every other sport.
[Side note: I learned this one day: Wins and losses during the regular game are the first two numbers in the triad 5-2-1, for example. The last number is showing one loss in overtime. It only counts if they lose in overtime, for some reason. If they win in overtime, it goes in the “win” column. Then, just to make things more complicated, they assign points too: Two points for a win, no points for a loss, and one point for an overtime loss. It’s all fun math hockey stuff. Who knew?]
This is why I feel confident as I try to guess what the above abbreviations mean. I’m learning new stuff everyday! After much thought, I decided that GF on the standings chart must mean “girlfriends.” Could it be the number of girlfriends each team has? Not too sure about that one, but as of this morning, the Kings had 17. That’s about how many guys are on the team, right?
Moving on, GA on the same chart must mean, naturally, Georgia, as in how many times the team members have been to Georgia. Right? The chart shows 10 times for the Kings, 17 for the Ducks. Which baffles me. Why would the Ducks go to Georgia so many times?
SHO appeared on the “Career Numbers” chart. I decided, after more thought, that it must mean Showtime, as in the movie channel on my television. The little chart in my newspaper shows Jonathan Quick with 17 SHOs in the last five years. This leads me to believe he does not watch a lot of movies, at least on cable.
GAA must be some kind of Georgia average because the number in the little chart is a percentage (2.38 over five years for Quick). I have no idea why the Kings have this obsession with Georgia. Crazy. Finally SV.Pct. must stand for Service Percentage. That sounds a little dirty to me, and I’m not going there, here!
By the way, I finally learned that PHO stands for Phoenix. I can’t wait to learn more soon. Go, Kings, go!
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