Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly Hockey Roundup

Since last Friday here are posts that I hope you didn't miss:

What the S*** @Battle of California
Last Thursday night the Flyers played a preseason game in Canada. As Wayne Simmonds (former LA King!) went on the ice for a shootout attempt some asshat in the stands threw a banana at him. If it wasn't a racist act, then it was the hugest coincidence ever, so yes, everyone and their mother assumes it was. I never wrote a post about it because (a) I couldn't figure out a way to put all my angry thoughts into nicely formed sentences and (b) Rudy Kelly at Battle of California said it best with this post.

Canucks' Mason Raymond Unsure When He'll Play Again @Vancouver Sun
I came across this article through Puck Daddy and absolutely had to read it because I remember watching the hit during the Stanley Cup Finals and thinking it was such an awkward hit. Even after watching several replays I couldn't quite figure out what happened. I thought maybe Boychuck got his stick up in Raymond's boys. As Raymond struggled to get off the ice with help from his teammates you could definitely tell that something was very wrong. It didn't seem like Boychuck needed to finish his check, but he did and unfortunately Raymond was in a very unusual position that left him vulnerable to an injury. Such a strange situation. Hopefully Raymond will fully recover and be back on the ice.

Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Engraving @Days of Y'Orr
It still makes me sick that another effing Boston team won a championship, but it's the Stanley Cup so I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed looking at the awesome (hand?) engraving. I think it's a little odd the players' names aren't at the top since they were the ones working their arses off to win that Cup.

The preseason is almost over. It feels like it's lasting for-GD-ever. It started to feel way too long when I heard that players were being suspended for 5 preseason games. I think this is the first time ever that I even realized teams played that many preseason games.  Earlier this week I saw this tweet from Alix of The Humming Giraffe  at the exact moment I was thinking of how tired I was getting of preseason games.

Seriously, it's such a snooze.  I can't wait for the season to begin!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


If the chatter is true, then HE'S BAAAAACCCKKKK!!!

Now that's a $7 million/year face
I've held back on writing about Drew during his holdout because I have so many conflicting opinions about sports contracts and I can't decide with which side I agree more.  On one hand I think it's ridiculous that athletes have the gall to hold out and demand so much GD money when the people that are supporting them, and are the reason why they can even ask for a huge salary and actually get paid that amount, only get paid a tiny fraction of an athlete's annual salary.  But, as a part of the community that supports sports and so avidly follows hockey, I only have myself to blame.  If I so strongly hated the greed that some of these athletes express, then I could easily walk away and never watch another professional hockey game or any sports event ever again.  But I can't do that.  I love watching hockey.  I love going to games even though ticket prices rise and rise every year.  I love obsessing about hockey, the Kings, the players, everything about the game.  Basically, I can't imagine my life without hockey or most other professional sports.  Hearing about salary disputes will always irk me, but in the end because I support this game and this culture of paying athletes exorbitant salaries I can't fully blame players for being greedy.

I never thought Doughty's contract negotiations would go past July.  With each passing day in September I got a little more nervous the season would start without Doughty.  There's no doubt that he's a franchise player so it's reassuring to know he's signed for the next 8 years.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hoping the Regular Season is Better Than the Preseason

I tried watching Sunday's preseason game on live stream through the Kings website, but the quality was so poor* and I got sick and tired of watching gross overweight dudes get way too excited to be featured on the jumbotron and gyrate to arena music. (I missed getting the screenshot by a nanosecond!) Besides, I was too busy fretting over the Steelers/Colts game because I was *this* close to winning my first fantasy football week. Instead I lost by 0.40 points. But back to the Kings preseason game.

Based on Rudy Kelly's pre-game analysis I felt pretty good about the Kings' chances to destroy the Junior Ducks, but instead the Kings somehow managed to lose 3-1. I cringed when I read the AP post-game report:

The Kings went 0 for 6 on the power play.

Oh goodie, just like old times!

Offseason acquisitions Mike Richards and Simon Gagne played with captain Dustin Brown on the second line and the three were a combined minus-6

Uhhh, excuse me?

And the recap failed to mention that the first line of Penner-Kopitar-Williams was a combined minus-3. So our top two lines were on the ice for every single goal against. Lovely....just lovely.

(AP Photo)
Westgarth got a little banged up so send him some love
So, uh, here's hoping the regular season is better than the preseason when the Kings will have to play against a real lineup.  Otherwise, this could be a loooooonnnng season.

*I actually really appreciate that the preseason games can be viewed via live stream.  I'm just a little confused as to why the quality isn't better.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

HLOG is Back and a New Q&A

HLOG is Back!

Hockey's Ladies of Greatness (aka HLOG) is back, but at a different website so update your links!: 

Some of the old writers are back and we're excited to provide a central location where you can read and learn about all the teams and players from a female perspective. As with the old HLOG, each member has filled out a short Q&A to introduce herself. You can read my Q&A to learn more about me. You can still read my old Q&A from three and a half years ago. I can't believe that much time has passed! So much has happened in my life since I started writing for HLOG.

There are still some teams that are not represented by a writer. If you're interested in writing about your favorite team there are three requirements that you must fill: (1) you must be female, (2) you must be passionate about hockey, and (3) you must write a minimum of 2 posts per month. Check the HLOG website for contact information. And remember, you don't need to be a female to comment and/or contribute to discussions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Hockey Links

Here are a couple article/blog posts that particularly amused me this past week.  I didn't spend as much time on the interwebs as I usually do so I hope to provide more links on future Fridays.

"The first rule of the fight club is to never look down" - Brent Severyn
I don't normally read Sports Illustrated articles, but whenever I'm at the CNN mainpage I tend to click on any hockey related headlines in the sports section. The other day I came across this interview with former NHL enforcer Brent Severyn as told to writer Adrian Dater. It's a good one for hockey and non-hockey fans as it gives you a quick first-hand look into what an enforcer goes through.

Social media in the NHL has been a hot topic recently. There are four Kings players on Twitter: Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Kevin Westgarth, and Mike Richards. (that's also the order in which I rank their twitter feeds in terms of entertainment. Richards' feed is definitely a snoozer.)

The Royal Half looks at what fans can expect the Kings to tweet about during the season. What I want to know is: What in the world is the "Peanut Butter Stomp"? If you have to be a parent to know what it is, then I'm not so sure I ever want to be a parent.

This is an older one, but I was reminded of it after I read The Royal Half's post about twitter. A couple weeks ago Megalodon from Battle of Cali(fornia) compiled the Top 5 Bryz Tweets, which have most definitely been replaced by the deluge of brilliant Bryz tweets within the past week, especially this one that includes a photo of Scott Hartnell. Seriously, 90% of his tweets absolutely crack me up.  If you can't get enough of the "why you heff to be mad?" video, then you have to follow Bryzgalov on Twitter.

Patty at Penalty Killing (a Dallas Stars blog) wrote about the emergence of Mike Modano on twitter.
I'll be honest, I was and still am skeptical that it's actually him on twitter and not a close friend or relative.

We'll see if I can make this "Friday Links" a weekly trend.  If you see any articles that you think I may enjoy, then don't hesitate to notify me.  I love taking breaks throughout the work day to read about hockey.

I sign-off with a quote I overheard from Crazy Bus Rider Guy #54,690 - "you gotta search the Googles better".  Amen, brother.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kings Training Camp - Day 2

Today I headed out to Toyota Sports Center to watch Day 2 of the LA Kings training camp.  I had consulted with Connie the previous day about whether or not going to training camp is worth the drive down there.  She assured me that it's definitely worth it if I had never been and that I should be prepared for lots of kids and suggested that I download the training camp roster so I would know who was out there.  When I showed up in the afternoon I was pleased to see that it wasn't too crowded and there weren't too many obnoxious kids around  (yeah, I'm definitely not ready for parenthood yet).  I stayed up top at first and saw one session split into 4 groups and they were taking turns doing skating drills.  Someone made a comment that it looked like a speed skating competition, which it did, just not as graceful. 

Terry Murray captivating the troops with his dynamic personality
The next session started on the other rink so I walked on over to check it out.  So despite receiving advice to print out the roster, I failed to do so and immediately regretted it because I had no idea who was on two of the forward lines, those in the green and red (or maroon?) jerseys.  I did make a mental note to check on #62 because he was SO ITTY BITTY compared to everyone else.  Who was #62?  Justin Azevedo. He's listed as 5'-7", 175 lbs; he definitely looks compact, a little more solid than Oscar Moller.  But awwww, he's so tiny!   You know who else I thought was small?  Mike Richards.  I know he's not a huge hulking presence, like Dustin Penner, but woah, he's a lot smaller than I thought he was.  

I had no idea who was going to be on the ice when I got there, but I was very excited to see Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, and #12.  Seriously people, it took me probably an hour to finally realize that I was watching Simon Gagne.  The whole time I kept thinking, "Who is #12?  Who could that possibly be?  Is It Loktionov?  Didn't he wear #12 last year?  But that guy doesn't look Russian.  Nope, not Russian at all."  Until, all of a sudden a lightbulb went off and immediately I knew it was Gagne.  Sheesh, I felt like a dumb blonde.  But, despite all this internal debating, I was able to pay attention to this trio and Shheeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiit, they looked good together.

Gagne trying to make sense of Murray's coaching.  Hickey asking Bernier for dating advice, to which Bernier responds, "I dunno dude.  I just smile at a girl and....sploosh"

The other moment I questioned the color of my hair?  When I couldn't figure out who was playing alongside Kevin Westgarth, and Brad Richardson.  Thankfully it didn't take me as long to realize it was Trevor Lewis, still wearing his usual #22.  Jeez, was I having a stroke today?  I was definitely off my hockey-watching game.  

I can haz friend?
I don't know what I expected training camp to be like, but it was way more intense than I was expecting.  It was very fast paced, lots of 3-on-2 rushes back and forth, back and forth.  I thought it was cool how they had two sets of defensemen out there and one forward line and they would rush up one end trying to score, and when the play ended they turned around faced the other set of D-men and the forward lines would switch on the fly as well.  It was crazy how fast the guys were going without finishing their checks.  There were definitely some close calls, but it was impressive to see them competing that hard without killing each other.  

I'm glad I went today because it definitely got me even more excited about the season!  Seeing how hard the guys were working, I'm sure they can't wait till training camp is over.  As a fan, I can't wait for it to be over either because it'll mean the regular season is here!  Ahhh, it's so close.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When Do I Get to Hang Out with the LA Kings???

A couple years back when I read that Sidney Crosby hand delivered season tickets to a season ticket holder (STH) I thought that was the coolest thing ever.  If I was that STH I would have acted like I just won the lottery.  But you know what's even cooler and more amazing than being handed tickets by a hockey player from your favorite team?  Getting to hang out with them while they deliver those tickets!!!    Which is exactly what two of my favorite Buffalo Sabres bloggers got to do the other day.  Katebits of The Willful Caboose and Heather of Top Shelf were selected to be part of the Sabres entourage.  You can read Katebits's story here and Heather's recap here. The players are just as endearing and adorable as you would expect.  

Neither Katebit nor Heather are season ticket holders, but were selected to join some of the players solely because they are bloggers who have been actively participating in blogger forums that the Sabres have held since Pegula took over the team.  I've been following the Sabres' embrace of their online community through Katebit's blog.  It seems like the new Sabres owner is truly welcoming Sabres bloggers with open arms and I think other teams should pay close attention to what they're doing.  (And now, after writing "Sabre" 20 bajillion times, I keep getting the urge to pronounce it "Sah-bray".)

But while I would die at the opportunity to spend the afternoon in a limo with a couple Kings players chatting them up about their favorite local spots and convincing them to live in LA year-round, I would actually be pretty terrified of doing it.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've personally interacted with a player, and by personally interacted, I mean, ask a guy if he can sign something, shove it in his face while my face is frozen with a silly smile, and say thank you when he's done and scurry hurriedly away. 

Luc talking, just before I jumped out of my chair, tackled him to
the ground, and told him how much I idolize him and want to be BFF.

Even at Frozen Fury a couple years ago, when I could literally walk right into a player, I was too star struck to ask a guy for a photo.  I also felt weird bothering them for a photo even though there were tons of other people (mainly females) asking them for photos.  I also have this image in my head of how every hockey player is supposed to be and I don't want to be disappointed.  The only guy I expect to be an asshole is Sean Avery, which is why I really, really, really want to meet him because there's no way I would be disappointed.  So I'm perfectly fine just admiring hockey players from afar.

But what if I had the opportunity???  It's an opportunity of a lifetime so, of course, I wouldn't turn it down!!  Based on the recaps by Katebits and Heather I was pleased to hear how polite the players were when meeting fans, but I was surprised they didn't like wearing their jerseys and were itching to take them off as soon as possible.  Are you kidding me?! I would wear my Kings jersey all the time if it was socially acceptable!  I'm sure I would have a list of questions to ask them and then forget all of them as soon I saw the players...or forget how to speak.   But really the dream day would be perfect by just shooting the shit with them as if I was hanging out with my friends.  No interview type questions, no pestering for autographs, not doing anything to make them uncomfortable or pissed off that they have to do this.  I imagine the day would be absolutely perfect because after all they're LA Kings and they could never do anything to make me think any less of them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Remembering Pavol Demitra

As if this off-season couldn't get any worse in terms of tragedies, the hockey world was dealt another blow with today's plane crash in Russia. I was shocked to hear that an entire KHL team possibly died and was deeply saddened to read that former LA King Pavol Demitra was one of those lost today.

Pavol Demitra was one of my favorite Kings during his time in LA. The Kings as a whole were mediocre at the time so it was a joy watching Demitra because he was incredibly talented. He was Mr. Automatic in the shootout as the Kings could always count on a tally from him. He's one of a few guys who were predictable in the shootout, yet deadly. As soon as his stick touched the puck he would curve out to the side making a long winding path to the net, his slow pace controlling the shootout as he eventually would make his way to the center and wrist one home.  I couldn't find a video of him destroying the shootout as a King, but here's a clip of his game winning shootout goal in the Vancouver Olympics:

I loved seeing his ice-cold demeanor while playing; he wasn't a mean player, but he looked so freaking serious all the time that when he did slightly smile on occasion it made me smile as well. I remember how well he played alongside Craig Conroy and Alexander Frolov. I think my affinity for Conroy was a result of his on-ice chemistry with Demitra because the following season he didn't fare so well without Pavol in the center. I was upset the Kings didn't keep him for another season or two (I mean, hello, we kept Smyth till he was 58....or something close to that), but the youth movement/rebuilding phase was underway. I thought he played really well in the 2010 Olympics and was secretly hoping he would keep at it till Sochi so I could see him play again.

I usually try not to dwell on these type of tragedies because rarely am I ever familiar with anyone involved. But this one was a bit different because of my passion for the Kings and appreciation for Demitra's contribution to the team and sport. It's a shame he and his teammates died in a plane crash, it's a shame that any tragedy happens and takes away great people. There's really not much you can do in these instances except pay your respects for those that were lost and remind yourself to live your life fully because you just never know when it'll all go away.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to 'Waving Back at Gretzky'

Welcome to 'Waving Back at Gretzky: A Blog of Kings and Ice'.  You may be completely new to my ramblings about the LA Kings or have seen them on 'Purple Crushed Velvet'.  This blog is sort of a re-branding of my previous blog.  "Why change the name and site?", you ask. Well, here's the background on how I started my previous blog about the Kings:

Way back in late 2004,  after 4 long, but wonderfully amazing, years of undergraduate schooling in the Midwest I was back in California and ready to watch my LA Kings every chance possible (on TV).  But alas, I came back just in time to endure the entire lockout.  What a tease!  I had only just started a personal blog and I was bored in grad school because I purposefully did the minimum amount of work to graduate so I started sporadically blogging about the LA Kings.  Around 2005 I discovered HLOG and, in turn, a passion to write down my thoughts and rants about how terrible the LA Kings were at this time.  Seriously people, they were really freaking bad in those years.   I promptly created a new blog devoted entirely to the LA Kings and started blogging on HLOG as well.  I didn't export my old posts to my new blog and eventually lost those posts when I permanently deleted my personal blog.  I thought I was super creative and artsy when I came up with the blog name "Purple Crushed Velvet: the color and fabric of royalty".  In hindsight, what the hell was I thinking?  6 years later and I hate the blog name.  I absolutely hate it.  Also, my writing style and direction have changed over the years and with the 2011-2012 season approaching, I decided it was time for a change.   I reached out to my Hermano for some advice and suggestions for a new blog name and like the supportive, unconditional loving brother that he is, he came through with some great ideas.  (don't worry, that sentence will be the most emotional I'll get on this blog.) This blog name is his brainchild and I loved the name as soon as I read it.  

A short and quick background of myself: My early memories as a Kings fan are sorta blurry.  I don't quite remember the exact moment I realized I loved the Kings and I can't remember the first game I watched.  All I do remember is talking hockey with my 2nd grade teacher, playing indoors nurf hockey as a kid with my brother, and at one point Bernie Nicholls was my favorite player, but not for long because Lucky Luc eventually stole my heart.  My Hermano is older so his memories are probably a little clearer than mine.  But what I do know for a fact is that we both grew up watching Wayne Gretzky as a King and listening to Bob Miller and Jim Fox as the voices of the team.  The 1992-1993 season are a definite bright spot in the Kings history and Gretzky was such a huge factor in growing the sport in LA.  

Come back, come often, subscribe to the feed, and enjoy reading about the LA Kings, obviously the most amazing NHL team in California.