I’m soon heading back home to Las Vegas after a three-day stay in the city of Angels, Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers and Kings.

Here in Los Angeles, the Kings currently dominate the sports headlines, capturing the imagination of this city’s fair-weather sports fans and re-energizing the relatively small (compared to the interest in the Lakers and Dodgers) but tremendously avid hockey fan base.

Darryl Sutter’s team is 13-2 in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a record-breaking 9-0 mark on the road in the postseason.

Los Angeles is making its first trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 19 years after losing to the Montreal Canadiens in 1993, the Kings’ only other Stanley Cup appearance in team history.

Here are a few things I learned (gambling-related and otherwise) over the past few days:

—The playing conditions for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last Wednesday night did not promote scoring or enhance scoring chances.

The heat and humidity inside the Prudential Center made for a sluggish ice surface causing the puck to bounce and roll, not lay flat on the ice.

—The NHL calls its Best-of-7 championship a “Stanley Cup Final” while the NBA refers to its championship showdown as the “NBA Finals.”

I prefer the terminology used by the NBA.

—Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks was disinterested in playing the Tulsa Shock last Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Parker is one of the most talented female players in basketball history yet she picks her spots when she’s going to apply herself.


—Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers is on the disabled list again.

The Dodgers went 9-5 on Kemp’s last stint on the DL but this latest injury — a more severe re-aggravation of his left hamstring — will sideline the 27-year-old superstar for at least four weeks.

Prior to the original injury, Kemp appeared in 399 consecutive MLB games.

—Hot dogs at Pink’s, a legendary Hollywood eatery since 1939, cost $3.50 apiece.

I paid only 75 cents for a similar hot dog last week at Michael Gaughan’s South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

—Medical marijuana is solicited heavily by sidewalk vendors in Venice Beach.

The Compassionate Use Act, passed in 1996 to permit the sale of medical marijuana, has spawned a cottage industry of pot shops in California, exploiting the intent of the original law and allowing recreational users to gain access to illegal drugs.

—Horseplayers at Hollywood Park Casino are treated like second-class citizens, from the emphasis on poker over horse racing to the price of admission ($10) to the limited out-of-state simulcast schedule offered at the drab “wagering facility” inside the casino.

No wonder the sport is dying a slow death.

FRIDAY’S BEST BET…..Play 658 Seattle -8 over Tulsa. This year’s Shock team has improved over last year’s edition that finished 3-31 on the season. That said, this is a tough spot for the young Shock as they now must face a winless Storm team led by head coach Brian Agler and point guard Sue Bird. Tulsa is a team that needs to outscore its opponents in a helter-skelter type game because a lack of size and strength makes it difficult to get stops on the defensive end. Final score: Seattle 80 Tulsa 67.

COMING SATURDAY…..Krackman’s back on the job. The Las Vegas-based professional sports gambler texted me earlier this week to say he would release his list of MLB selections to our EOG community tomorrow morning at 9:00 Pacific time. Two weeks ago, “Krack” posted a record of 5-2-1 (+3.6 units) from his Saturday card.

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