LAPD precautions at Game 4 leave LA Kings fans disappointed

LAPD quickly emptied the plaza at LA Live when the Kings game began.
LAPD quickly emptied the plaza at LA Live when the Kings game began.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC
LAPD quickly emptied the plaza at LA Live when the Kings game began.
Kings fans arrived early at the Staples Center to join the pre-game activities and energy.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC
LAPD quickly emptied the plaza at LA Live when the Kings game began.
Fans outside the Staples Center celebrate a Kings goal before security guards turned off the small TV on one of the outdoor patio bars.
Erika Aguilar/KPCC

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Hockey fans at LA Live Wednesday night were more disappointed that they couldn’t watch the game than the LA Kings actually losing.

The New Jersey Devils won Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals on Kings home turf in Los Angeles, 3 to 1. The next game will be played Saturday in New Jersey.

LAPD asked LA Live not to show the game on the big screen in the plaza to avoid having large crowds gather.

“Are you kidding me? It makes perfect sense, but it’s not good,” said hockey fan Kyle Aayz.

Two years ago, when the Lakers won the NBA championship, the game was broadcasted on the big screen and that night small riots and intentionally set fires broke out.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a news conference hours before the Kings game that police would not allow crowds to gather.

LAPD also went around breaking up small groups of people hanging around restaurant patios with TVs. Police asked the managers to turn off outdoor TVs. That drew loud “boos” not only from the crowd outside the restaurant but the patrons inside, too. Some managers compromised and turned the TVs away from the crowd but left the game on for their customers.

“We had a table at a restaurant watching the game but we left to come out and be amidst of everything and now we have no place to watch it,” said disappointed Kings fan April Larson.

Lots of fans grew angry when security guards at the Staples Center turned off a small TV from an upstairs outdoor bar right after the Kings scored their first and only goal of the night. Police were diligent about keeping crowds from forming. They told people they must keep walking and moving and that they couldn’t stand still on the sidewalks.

“I wish the cops would leave us alone so we can just enjoy the game, at least see what the score is,” said fan David Rene Garcia.

Fans quickly got over it after seeing Kings fans slowly come out of the Staples Center not saying much. “3-1…Devils,” a few would grumble, declining to give any more details.

Drew Doughty got a shot past Devil’s goalie Martin Brodeur, tying the game 1 to 1, but New Jersey returned with fire, scoring two more in the third period and taking away the opportunity for the Kings to sweep the series.

“It was nice for them to finally come back and do something,” said Devils fan Bruce Dail. He got his fair share of fan rivalry as he walked out of the arena into a sea of black-and-white, his red jersey a dead giveaway, but Dail said the crowd was fairly well behaved.

The Kings hit the road now for Game Five in New Jersey. If it makes Kings fans feel any better, the team has been pretty successful on the road during the postseason. Kings season ticketholder Brenda Roczey said her heart was set on seeing the Stanley Cup brought out onto the ice in LA, but she’s OK with a win on the road.

“My nerves can’t handle it to go six games, so winning it in Jersey, I’ll watch it on TV, and be happy,” she said.