Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Hockey

Dodger Stadium hockey: The night in pictures


By Jon Weisman

Here’s a link to Jon SooHoo’s package on Saturday’s Kings-Ducks fiesta.

At Dodger Stadium, hockey blossoms as baseball beckons

OverviewBy Jon Weisman

WilsonI met Brian Wilson in a flash for the first time tonight and never figured I was on exactly the same mental wavelength as the Dodger reliever, but shortly before the Stadium Series NHL game between the Kings and Ducks began tonight at Dodger Stadium, he said in an interview with NBC Sports Network precisely what I had been thinking.

“It makes me kind of want to start baseball right now.”

As much fascination as tonight’s successful notch on history brought — once the puck dropped on a material previously only seen inside beverage cups in the ballpark’s 51-year-history, the first outdoor NHL game ever in California began — it was the pregame that revved the engine. It was the sights and sounds of Dodger Stadium flying back to life.

Atmosphere is so much of the appeal of baseball, and tonight’s event brought a tremendous one, from the crescending anticipation, the marveling at the classic ballpark’s transformation and the roar of the fans of the Kings (the home team in this scenario) and their counterparts exhorting the Ducks. If you were a Dodger fan in attendance, you’d be hard-pressed not to be champing for Opening Day’s arrival (take your pick: Australia on March 22, San Diego on March 30 or Chavez Ravine on April 4).

King-Duck fansThree months have gone by since Dodger fans have had the chance to go into full-throated cheer, and even if you were already antsy for the arrival of Spring Training, watching tonight’s extravaganza made you seriously stir-crazy.

A great regular-season hockey matchup in a pristine setting was plenty. And then, there was this:

“It’s time for … NHL hockey,” said Vin Scully.

Scully joined his peer, Kings announcing legend Bob Miller on the field, for the pregame introductions, and also narrated a special video shown on the scoreboard that mixed Dodger and NHL lore.

“Today, California’s best venture outside to a fabled playground,” Scully said. “Welcome, the boys of winter, to the place where dreams come true.”

* * *

Below, a look at the red carpet scene at Dodger Stadium tonight before the game.

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Puck Dodgers in the 21st Century

Friday Hockey

A snapshot of Friday’s skate

By Jon Weisman

Well, today’s the day. The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks are set to play their historic hockey game at Dodger Stadium tonight at 6:30 p.m. surrounded by extensive hoopla – or, to use a less basketball-friendly word, puckla. Dodger Insider will be on site, and of course you can also follow the Dodgers on Twitter to keep up.

Ken Gurnick of posted a piece late Friday setting the stage:

… The forecast for Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT is 66 degrees. An unseasonably balmy winter, even for Southern California, has made for tough sledding in ice-rink management. The sport was never meant to be played in Santa Ana wind conditions, so NHL official Dan Craig has been sweating out the past two weeks of preparation, even though the 53-foot, 300-ton refrigeration truck has kept the sheet of ice icy, an elaborate system removing the heat to stabilize the temperature and ensure player safety.

Whether the ice is frozen or melted, the game already is a box-office hit with an anticipated attendance of 50,000. TV cameras will pan the expensive seats for Hollywood “A-listers,” while the Dodgers will be represented by stealth hockey aficionado Yasiel Puig.

Both teams gave the rink a test skate Friday, the “home” Kings emerging from the Dodgers’ dugout at 4 p.m. under hazy skies and a temperature of 72 degrees.

Forward Kyle Clifford described the ice as “slushier” than he hoped. Defenseman Robyn Rogehr said, “I’ve played on a lot worse.” …

… In addition to the ambitious ice rink, which runs from just past each dugout and out to shallow outfield, the field has been transformed into a multi-entertainment center.

There’s a beach volleyball court (of course) in left field, a “duck” pond in right-center, a concert stage in right field where KISS will perform, a roller-hockey rink between the mound and home plate, a netball court expertly resurfaced by, and a mini stage between home plate at the backstop screen that will feature performances from recording artist Jordin Sparks and singer/songwriter John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting. NHL Network has erected a studio on scaffolding in the Dodgers bullpen.

“It’s such an iconic stadium,” said Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy. “It’s so cool. Nothing I did as a kid was as cool as skating at Dodger Stadium. It’s crazy, nothing any of us thought would ever happen.” …

Gurnick also talked with Dodger team historian Mark Langill about where the game ranks in Dodger Stadium’s non-baseball history. Read the story to find out.

In case you missed it: First take from Orel Hershiser

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By Jon Weisman

Above, Orel Hershiser talks about coming back to the Dodgers as a broadcaster for SportsNet LA.

  • Ned Colletti’s trip to the Dominican Republic included a look with Dodger scouts at the private workout of 26-year-old outfielder Rusney Castillo, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.… Castillo, 26, left Cuba at the end of 2013, and while he’s not a free agent yet, he’s expected to draw considerable interest from major league teams given his tool set and track record in Cuba, including playing for the Cuban national team.

    At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Castillo is a righthanded hitter with experience playing second and third base in addition to center field, so his versatility could be intriguing to a variety of teams. …

  • We’ll turn to Jon Rosen at Kings Insider for the latest leading up to the Kings-Ducks hockey game Saturday at Dodger Stadium, which included a celebrity skate.
  • Bill James is doing a big series of stories on big game pitchers, and as Rob Neyer points out at Baseball Nation, while the list of top big-game pitchers includes Johnny Padres, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Don Sutton, one name on there that might surprise you is former Dodger pitcher Jerry Reuss.
  • Neyer also points us to an video offering the history of Japanese pitchers in the majors.
  • Joc Pederson ranks seventh on’s list of top 10 outfield prospects.
  • Dodgers Digest is running down the top 50 Dodger prospects, and Dustin Nosler kicks things off with Nos. 41-50.

Ho(t)ckey at Dodger Stadium just seems really cool

Hockey Jan. 13

SunBy Jon Weisman

So it’s pushing 80 degrees in downtown Los Angeles today and even warmer than that on the field at Dodger Stadium.  I took a photo from the outfield that reminded me of the “Midnight Sun” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

But the NHL Stadium Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks on January 25 will be plenty cool, literally and figuratively.

It doesn’t even matter that the outdoor temperature will dip as the 6:30 p.m. gametime approaches. Doesn’t matter if you’ll be in T-shirt and shorts for the day or bundling up for the night. That rink crossing from third base to first on the Chavez Ravine infield will be 22 degrees, period, according to NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations Dan Craig. (And no, there won’t be a hump in the middle where the pitcher’s mound is.)

“It’s a hard concept for anybody not in the field to understand,” Craig said today at the event’s media gathering, citing the proven refrigeration technology of the imported floor and the 53-foot mobile refrigeration unit, which arrived today from Ann Arbor, Michigan. “We have two very efficient systems that were married together.”

In short, you’re going to see first-rate hockey conditions, featuring — as a bonus — two first-rate teams. The red-hot Ducks have the best record in the NHL, while the Kings sit in third place in the Pacific Division and eighth in the league overall.

It’s an event unprecedented in Southern California, not to mention impossible to foresee when someone like Wayne Gretzky dominated the local hockey scene.


© Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2014

“Twenty-five years ago, I don’t think we envisioned two teams in Los Angeles, (let alone) playing an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium,” Gretzky said.

For the Dodgers’ part, they’re happy to provide the backdrop for the game and let the NHL worry about cooling that rink. When Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robataille called Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten in the spring, Kasten said it was a no-brainer.

“We’ve always wanted to expand the use of Dodger Stadium,” said Kasten, who was friends with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau when both were plying their trades in Washington, D.C.  “The NHL is so good at this. They know exactly what to do and how to lay it out.”

Joked Robataille: “We’re trying to get (Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti) on the ice, but he found an excuse to make sure he couldn’t skate next week.”

More photos from Jon SooHoo here.

In case you missed it: Adrian Gonzalez flipbook fun

Just me goofing around while enjoying the embarrassment of riches that access to the official Dodgers’ team photography provides. (These were Jon SooHoo’s shots of Adrian Gonzalez during last year’s playoffs.)

  • Miguel Rojas, stealth second base candidate, was interviewed by J.P Hoornstra of the Daily News. Omar Vizquel is a big influence for the fellow Venezuela native Rojas.
  • Looking ahead to the January 25 Kings-Ducks NHL game at Dodger Stadium, Helene Elliott of the Times celebrates Wayne Gretzky, who will be on hand today when the refrigeration equipment arrives at the ballpark.
  • A fan’s perspective of the Sydney Cricket Grounds, site of the Dodgers’ Opening Series in Australia, is provided by Stadium Journey.
  • Dodger farmhand Corey Seager (not to mention Raul Adalberto Mondesi) makes the list of top 10 shortstop prospects.
  • What does the site of home plate at Eastern Park, the home of Major League Baseball in Brooklyn from 1891-97, look like today? Carson Cistulli of Notgraphs shows us.
  • Check out this history of Dodger knuckleballers, courtesy of We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field (via Blue Heaven).
  • Here’s a good set of 14 questions (and speculative answers) for MLB teams heading into Spring Training, from David Schoenfield of
  • Changes regarding the rules surrounding instant replay and home-plate collisions that have been expected for 2014 have yet to be approved, writes Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.
  • You can see how Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in “42,” will look as James Brown in the upcoming “Get On Up” at
  • Sean Lahman bought a copy of Roger Angell’s “The Summer Game” at a used book sale for $1, and it turned out to have been autographed by Angell for longtime New York sports scribe Dick Young.

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