Monday, October 31, 2011

Not the Greatest Weekend of Kings Hockey

Poor Penner. That guy just can't get a break.

Photo by:David Sheehan
Is it just me or does Penner look like he's aged 10 years in the past 6 months?

Simon Gagne was out for both games this past weekend, so Dustin Penner was moved from the second line to the top line playing with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Scott Parse took Penner's spot alongside Dustin Brown and Mike Richards. So what happened? Mike Richards scored!!! Dustin Brown and Willie Mitchell assisted on the goal.  As soon as it happened all I could think was, "Poor Penner". As soon as he moves off that line Richards scores....coincidence? The Kings looked out of sorts against Phoenix and like the game against the New Jersey Devils, where there was absolutely no chemistry among the team, Coach Murray switched up the lines in the third period. Penner ended up playing either on the "third" or "fourth" line (although can you really associate numbers to the lines when they're so mixed up?) and Trent Hunter moved up to the top line (exception: any line with Kopitar will always be the #1 line). And TA-DA!!!! Kopitar scored a goal and Trent Hunter was credited with an assist. Poor Penner...

Other than the goals there wasn't really all that much to cheer about. Drew Doughty was finally back in the lineup, but he looked really, really, really rusty.  The Kings had a power play late in regulation and Doughty and Jack were on the ice and I couldn't help but think maybe it would have been better to have only Jack on D and replace Doughty with Stoll.  Overtime losses always suck, but I suppose it's slightly better than losing in the shootout.

The following day the Kings traveled to Colorado for one hell of a frustrating game.  The Kings had a wide advantage in shots, yet I was shocked the Kings had that many shots on goal because so few of them seemed threatening.  The Avs got a fluky goal when the puck hit the boards weird and instead of going around the net, where Quick was ready to meet it, it ended up flying back out in front of the net where an Avs player easily tapped it home.  But one fluky goal does not a loss make!  (that makes sense, right?)  The Avs also scored a short-handed goal (totally inexcusable) and capitalized on a neutral zone turnover.  Meanwhile the Kings just couldn't finish five-on-five.  I feel like it's last season all over again.

I'm beginning to get a little worried that Simon Gagne is the key to the success of the top line.  Williams-Kopitar-[anyone but Gagne] is nowhere near as effective as Williams-Kopitar-Gagne, which is scary considering Gagne's injury history. The second line looked much better in the game against Colorado; Scott Parse had a strong game (except for those freaking penalties!) and Dustin Brown was doing everything but score.  Even Penner had a good game!  I felt bad for him again because he drew two penalties, but failed to get an assist on either power play goal.  Awww, poor Penner!

But you know what? Penner didn't play all that bad this weekend. In fact, I thought he played pretty well. It might not be saying much considering how he started the season, but I thought he had his best game against Colorado (I feel like a broken record, but he did!). He looked good on the forecheck, forced some turnovers, created scoring chances, drew a couple penalties that led to power play goals, and threw his body around. It's finally looking like he's playing a complete game. I agree with all the Penner haters that he should have looked like this since Game 1, but at least he's making progress and it looks like his game is finally coming around.  The forwards are having an awfully difficult time scoring at even-strength, so hopefully Penner can get his groove back (from 2007) and Gagne can get healthy so the Kings can ice three solid lines and the guys can finally get some consistency with their linemates.  I was bummed on Sunday when I realized the next game wasn't until Thursday.  But it looks like the team could use those days off for Murray to give them a stern-talking to (I just can't imagine him raising his voice, he reminds me of my dad in that manner) and for the guys to get healthy.  At least the power play is finally clicking; Jamie Kompon must be relieved since apparently assistant coaches can get fired mid-season. The Kings are strong up top and there's no excuse for them to only eek out  two goals a game.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Forgotten Off-Season Trades and Signings

I didn't do much hockey reading this week so I'm not doing a regular "Weekly Hockey Roundup". Instead, I'm going to link to off-season trade and free agent signings that I completely missed during the summer.  For example, I was thoroughly confused recently when I read about the Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltending situation and I kept re-reading the article looking for J.S. Giguere's name. I didn't understand why he wasn't part of the Leafs' goalie mix.  Did he retire?  Nope! He's still active, but no longer with the Leafs! When did I miss that? How did I miss that? I have a really good memory and I was starved for hockey news this summer so I thought I had read about every big name deal that occurred, but somehow some of them just "fell through the cracks" (that's what we told Rushees who didn't get invited back to the next day of Sorority Rush: "oh sorry, sweetie. I'm sure they liked you, but you probably just fell through the cracks." Sorority rush is rough.)

J.S. Giguere signed with the Colorado Avalanche
I think I missed this signing because I was still in shock that the Washington Capitals totally trade raped the Colorado Avalanche by sending Semyon Varlamov to the Avs in exchange for a 1st Round Draft Pick AND a 2nd Round Draft Pick.....WHAT?!!??! How is that even remotely fair? That's like a trade you expect in a Fantasy League. Talk about highway robbery! Oh, and if you haven't read the book Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts by Gare Joyce, you must read it because the author sat through an interview with Varlamov and the Columbus Blue Jackets management and it was quite interesting.

Sheldon Souray signed with the Dallas Stars
I vaguely remember reading about this signing, but it's one of those memories you question whether or not is real or if it was something that occurred in a dream. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I was reminded of it when I read a Dallas Stars season preview on the Stars blog 'Penalty Killing'. Souray has a lot to prove after being an overrated and highly overpaid free agent defenseman a couple years ago.....hmmmm, sounds familiar.

Jamie Langenbrunner AND Jason Arnott signed with the St. Louis Blues
I had no clue Langenbrunner or Arnott played for St. Louis until I saw their names in the Blues lineup at the Kings home opener. I think I almost started laughing because why would the Blues want Langenbrunner or Arnott, let alone BOTH? Why would any team want them, especially Langenbrunner? They're both past their prime, but at least Arnott is still super sexy. I guess I figured both guys retired after last season or would sign again for their 12th tour with the New Jersey Devils. Because the LA Kings never bring back a player multiple times during his career.

Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley traded to the Minnesota Wild
I actually do remember reading about both of these trades, but I completely erased them from my memory. So I was so confused when I recently read about them scoring for the Wild. It took me a couple minutes to remember that, yes, I do recall them both being traded. In fact, I thought it was hilarious that the Sharks management sorta pulled a Holmgrem on Seto as they signed him to an extension and then DAYS later traded him to Minnesota. That would have pissed me off! But so would living in San Jose.

Kyle Turris, technically still a Phoenix Coyote, IS STILL HOLDING OUT AND IS NOW DEMANDING A TRADE!!! I vaguely remember reading about the Coyotes and Turris not coming to terms on a new contract, but the Doughty contract situation totally overshadowed this story so I completely forgot Turris still hadn't signed a new contract.  I can't imagine being that demanding, holding out, and risking sitting out an entire season.  Who does Turris think he is?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Turd of the Season!

It had to happen eventually. There was no way the LA Kings were going to make it through the season without crapping out a huge turd at least once. I guess we can be thankful we don't have to witness it on a consistent basis like we did during the Cloutier Era or that it wasn't a 0-7 shellacking.

But, wow, I cannot believe how badly the LA Kings sucked against the New Jersey Devils! I knew it was going to be a tight game since the Devils are always good at stifling the opposition's offense, but I was not expecting a complete breakdown in the Kings' chemistry among the forwards. I could not believe how off the Kings were and it wasn't just one or two players, it was a good 90% of the team.

That game was probably the worst game I've ever seen Anze Kopitar play and he rarely has bad games. Kopitar had a terrible turnover in the defensive zone that led to a Devils goal. Neutral zone turnovers can be killers so naturally ones in the defensive zone, especially when it's caused by a forward who is just strides from the blue line, were just detrimental and they kept happening all throughout the second half of the game and led to a quick three-goal lead by the Devils.

It was very obvious the team was all out of sorts when Terry Murray mixed up the forward line combinations in the third period. I could just imagine him during the second intermission, staring off into space wondering, 'How many different forward combinations can I create with 12 players?' (I am an engineer, but I'm not going to do the math...also, I still use a calculator when adding two single digit numbers. Better to be safe than sorry!)

I want to end on a positive note because I don't want to be too much of a Negative Nancy considering it was just one turd of a game and there will be plenty more opportunities for the Kings to redeem themselves.

  • I thought Alec Martinez had a great game. He almost looked like Drew out there the way he was taking charge trying to single-handedly establish some offense. 
  • There were moments in the first half of the game during which Dustin Penner played pretty well.  I was SHOCKED!  And I was certain he was going to score.  There was one shift in particular where he took away the puck in the offensive zone, not once, but twice and both times set up scoring opportunities.  He's coming around people!  Just wait for it!
  • Jonathan Bernier was not to blame for this game and despite letting in a goal on the short side (but it was from a prime scoring spot) he looked pretty good.  It always seems like the team plays shittier with Bernier in net.  One of these days he'll steal a game for the Kings and Drew will give him a much deserved kiss

Awwww, just look at him. Even my husband thinks he's adorable! 
Here's hoping the game against New Jersey was just a glitch and not the start of something awful. The next match against Dallas should be a good test. Despite my deep disgust for Mike Ribeiro, I always enjoy watching the Kings play the Dallas Stars because they're usually very competitive and intense.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kings Gameday: Rematch Against the Devils

Does anyone else get hung up with how to correctly use colons and semicolons? I thought I had it nailed down in my high school senior English class, but then when I was in college I saw them used a bit differently, so now I question whether or not I correctly use them. Please feel free to provide your opinions about colons and semicolons in the comments.

Tonight the Kings play the New Jersey Devils at home, where they are currently 2-0-0 (I refuse to count those Europe games as actual home games because that is such a farce). I'm actually surprised the NHL scheduler is providing us with a rematch so soon after these two teams first met this season. I missed the previous Kings/Devils matchup and I may miss this one too unless I decide to stay up late and watch it on my DVR. Last season Katebits at The Willful Caboose wrote about the website Should I Watch, which helps you decide whether or not to watch a game you recorded. Katebits has some great screenshots of the website, but basically, you input the game you're considering watching on tape (DVR?) delay and set your pain threshold. For example, I would choose tonight's game and then set the threshold that I'm willing to skip the game if the Kings lost by more than 2 goals. If the Kings lost by 3 goals, then the website would tell me that I should skip the game.  I *think* the only drawback is the game has to be over before you can use this site and I may get home during the third period. So I could start watching the game and then when it's finished I can go to the website and see if it's worth the pain of continuing to watch the game. I keep meaning to use this website when I miss games, but I always forget about it. Has anyone else used it?

So anyway, what should we expect from tonight's game? Well, Jonathan Quick is on a freaking hot streak right now, so naturally he's going to remain "like wall", right? Yesterday I saw this statistic and almost peed my pants with excitement:

I know it's only 6 games, but c'mon that's so ridiculously awesome.
I know Trevor Lewis is a center, but I would really like to see him play wing on the third line with Jarret Stoll and Ethan Moreau.  I think he's a more skilled player than Brad Richardson and along with his speed would work nicely alongside Stoll.  I've warmed up to Richardson over the years; I dropped his whipping boy status during the '09-'10 playoffs when he stepped it up and looked significantly better during those 6 games than he did in all the games during the regular season.  But just because I appreciate his work ethic doesn't mean I have confidence in him to consistently contribute offensively.  I can't get excited when he has a prime scoring opportunity because I know the odds that he'll score are so small.  He could move down to the 4th line and center Clifford and Westgarth (or Hunter).  I don't think we're seeing Lewis' full potential because he's not being given a fair chance at playing alongside skilled players.

So Dustin Penner has looked marginally better in each game.  However, I'm still waiting for that moment when it hits me that he's sooooo worth having on the team.  I had that feeling about Mike Richards before Game 1 of this season was even over. I'd feel a little bit better about the Kings offense if Penner looked even half as good as Brown and Richards.

It's likely Drew Doughty will come off IR this week and be back in the lineup soon. I know I said in my review of the home opener that Voynov looked good enough to stay in LA and that Martinez might be sent packing. Well, in one of the broadcasts from last week, it was mentioned that Martinez and Drewiske would need to clear waivers if they are sent down to Manchester. I don't think losing Drewiske would be that big of a deal, but I still wouldn't want to lose a guy for free. And I have no doubt a team would snatch Martinez. On the other hand, Voynov would not need to clear waivers, so even though he may deserve to stay in LA, he'll most likely be sent packing for Manchester once Drew is healthy. Technicalities....what a bitch. But at least we know the Kings' future defense is solid.

I know Quick's shutout streak will eventually come to an end, but I'm counting on the the Kings to continue playing solid defense and hopefully they'll figure out their offense. I'll be pretty disappointed and worried if the Kings only score 1 goal tonight.  I'm feeling a goal by Penner tonight....anyone else have that feeling?

Go Kings Go!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are You Really a Kings Fan?

So a noob started at my company and he noticed a Kings related item on my desk (yes, I used the singular because I amazingly only have ONE Kings item on my desk and not a shrine like I really want to have) and mentioned he's a Kings fan. Alright! Another hockey fan in the office!! We briefly talked hockey before we had to talk about a gawd-awful project I get to pawn off to him. But before he left we talked about hockey again and it came up that he's also a Ducks fan. WHAT THE WHAT?!!?!?!? I had just met the guy so it took every ounce of strength not to ridicule the shit out of him. He sorta apologized for it and mentioned that the Kings are his first true love, but since he lives down south much closer to the Ducks and (here's the worst excuse) "because the Kings were bad for so long" he needed to root for a team that was doing well. I wish had the authority to tell him, "You're Fired".

He's actually not the first person I've met who's admitted to being a fan of both the Kings and Ducks, but the other person is a girl who is an awful human being so I figured she didn't know better. There's also this other guy I knew who was a diehard Kings fan, but "tried" to be a Ducks fan because he lived in Orange County, but eventually realized it was too painful so he stopped trying. All of this just boggles my mind; it's like it defies the laws of hockey fandom physics.

Maybe it's just me, but how the hell can you be a fan of two sports teams that are rivals????? I get woozy even when I hear of someone claim to be a Kings fan, but they say they'll watch (or maybe even cheer for) the Ducks if they're on TV. Nononononononono! No! No! If that's the case, then you are not a Kings fan! If the Kings aren't playing and there is a Ducks game on TV, then I'll only watch so I can see them FAIL. And even then, it's super painful to watch because I FUCKING HATE THE DUCKS and also listening to Bryan Hayward's voice is 100 times worse than hearing nails on a chalkboard. So I usually only last for a couple minutes before I have to watch something else. I feel like a little piece of my soul dies when I hear someone praise Corey Perry and the Ducks. My stomach does somersaults when I'm reminded that Lubomir Visnovsky is still a Duck. The other night the Ducks and Sharks were playing and the husband asked me repeatedly who I was rooting for and my response was always "no one". Eventually he got the picture and said "you're rooting for God to strike down and kill them all, aren't you?". "Why yes, sweetie, that's the perfect explanation of how I feel". And the season is still young.  There will be plenty of Ducks/Sharks game this season. "What is wrong with you?", you may be asking as you read this. Well, to that I say:


I never hear of Rangers fans say they're also Islanders fans. Or Habs fans say they're Maple Leafs fans, and vice versa. Flyers and Penguins fans? I bet they'd kill each other. Penguins and Capitals fans? Same thing. Red Wings fans? Well....that's a special case because they're all bandwagon fans outside of Detroit so I have no doubt they like other teams, but I bet they DO NOT like the 'Hawks! You see what I'm getting to here? It just doesn't seem possible that you can be fans of two rival teams. I would use comparisons from other sports but I don't know enough about those rivalries with the exception of the Yankees and Red Sox. Seriously...have you met a diehard fan of both of those teams? I doubt it.

And I hate the excuse that "fans" can't root for losing teams so they switch allegiances to the nearest geographical team (possibly a rival team) because that team happens to be a winning franchise at that moment.  That does not make you a fan! That makes you a fair weather fan who can't handle the low times and has no qualms about jumping on the bandwagon of a successful team.

The easiest way for me to determine whether or not someone is serious about his or her devotion to the Kings is to find out how he or she feels about the Ducks. If that person is even remotely partial to the Ducks, then I know I'm talking to just a hockey fan, not a real Kings fan.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kings v. Stars – Random Thoughts from a Hate-Filled Madman

Hermano here.

There’s nothing I want to add about tonight’s victory that won’t be covered by pretty much everyone else, especially in light of Quick’s third consecutive shutout.

Instead of offering constructive analysis of a well-fought win, I think I’ll just do what I do best – ramble. Actually, I think what I do best is make fun of people while sitting in front of my computer.

(All images except for Tombstone and Wet Island courtesy of Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

Today’s special guest will be Douche McDouche, aka Mike Ribeiro.

Unlike most people I hate, I actually have a reason to hate Ribeiro. Almost exactly two years ago, I received a most excellent gift from the Mrs. which was an AmEx all access VIP inside look at Staples Center, center ice photo op, meet and greet with Luc Robitaille, drinks at the Lexus(?) Club (that bar next to where the Kings enter), and amazing seats between the players’ benches for the Kings v. Stars game (which the Kings won in a shootout). When the players were warming up, Douche McDouche kept firing pucks at our heads, trying to see if he could hit each and every one of our faces. I guess he considered it “practicing his aim” but I’d like to think he spotted a worthy adversary and felt threatened. (I was flexing the entire time.) Once he was on the bench and caught us uncontrollably staring at his douchehawk (that’s a real word and, unfortunately, hairstyle), he’d squirt water from the Gatorade bottles into the glass. I’m not joking. He’s like that annoying kid in class that does shitarted shit just because he loves the negative attention.

Here are some more reasons to join the Douche McDouche hate-fest:




I wonder if people see Douche McDouche and think “Oh, he’s just as annoying as Avery!” but I think that’s an insult to my boy Avery. If you told me DMcD was involved in a dog-fighting organization, I wouldn’t be surprised. If DMcD got 10 opportunities to take a penalty shot against me, would he score 2 or 3?

On second thought, maybe he’d end up scoring 7 or 8…

As for the game itself, I’m happy the Kings got the win. I’m very happy Quick posted his third consecutive shutout. But I’m extremely happy that DMcD ended up with zeros across the board. I don’t root for many people to fail at the things they’re, allegedly, best at doing in life – with the exception of the entire squad of the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks, the 1992-1993 Montreal Canadiens, and Esa Tikkanen. You’re in some pretty excellent company, Douche McDouche!

And now on to random thoughts.

- I’m not gonna lie, I’m actually enjoying the Slava Voynov era. Unless he shoots the puck into this own net, I’m rooting for him to stay on the squad. You know who I’m rooting to take a seat? Matt “Penalty-Happy” Greene. Yet another penalty for Señor Greene tonight. I continue to hold my breath every time he’s on the ice. Not a good sign. Although, there was this tonight:

Check out that fan's face. Is that McEnroe?

- Andrew Raycroft with a stellar performance wasted. Wie schade! Well, on the bright side, I think Dallas’ GM just ripped up the piece of paper containing Marty Turco’s phone number.

Do you want to know why Raycroft lost the game for his team? It’s because of his mask. It’s booooooooooooooring. Methinks Raycroft will need to spice it up.

Unfortunately, when you’re the backup to a goalie who rocks a mask entitled “The Best Mask In The Entire World,” life is kind of difficult.

How many times has Lehtonen stared in the mirror and practiced the line "I'm your Huckleberry"?

- I’m 99.9% sure that I would not be able to identify Willie Mitchell if I saw him in street clothes at the grocery store. Others include Brad Richardson, Alec Martinez, and Scott Parse. Actually, I don’t think even Terry Murray can identify Scott Parse without the jersey. I’m positive that when Parse walks into the Toyota Sports Center for practice, Murray and Lombardi do a double-take and ask security “Who the fuck is that?!”

On the other hand, I would 100% be able to identify Mike Richards in street clothes. But that’s because he’s a total BOSS and would be rockin’ bottle service (even at the grocery store) with a flock of hot waitresses behind him. Wet Island looks pretty damn sweet.

Homegirl has captured the definition of "F Me Eyes" - and it's not even the girl making eye contact with the camera. Im-pressive!!!

- Tonight was Law Enforcement Night at Staples Center. The LAPD bomb squad robot dropped the puck tonight for the ceremonial faceoff. SKYNET has now been activated. We. Are. Fucked.

Hey, give me a break. Until someone sends me a copy of Photoshop, you’ll have to settle for my stellar MS Paint skills.

Much love till my next post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Hockey Roundup

I didn't read many hockey articles/blogs this week, but here a few that caught my eye:

So You Wanna Own Shares of a Sports Team @ Daily Finance

LA Kings Jack-o-Lantern Templates @ Life in Hockeywood

Marty Brodeur as a kid @ NHL Players as Kids

NHL Players as Kids is a tumblr site that you must follow. There's usually a new photo posted daily and earlier this week I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this photo of Marty Brodeur. Another great tumblr site is 'Eff Yeah Hockey Suits!'

Come across any great articles or hockey sites lately?  Let me know in the comments.  Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Kings v. Phoenix - Drinking the Kool-Aid

Hermano here.

The Kings are looking pretty, pretty good.

But hey, as Mr. Wolf says:

The Kings look great, but let’s not kid ourselves. They received a healthy blast of adrenaline and support from the home crowd during Tuesday’s home opener and then proceeded to obliterate a shitty St. Louis Blues team that was on the last leg of its road trip. Then they traveled a couple hours to Phoenix to beat a team that has one legitimate ace (Shane Doan) and a team full of scrubs.

Guess what? On Monday, I posted a shutout and my beer league hockey team won 3-0. After the game, in the locker room, everyone was (righteously) hyped about how good we’re looking and how we’re finally coming together as a team after adding several new pieces. It’s hard to be a Debbie Downer after a big win, but let’s not kid ourselves, guys – we beat the worst team in the league.

Regardless, there’s quite a lot to be happy about how the Kings are playing right now. We’ll see how they respond over the weekend when they face the red hot Dallas Stars (side note: Is that not the strangest four words you’ve ever seen after they dealt Brad Richards and traded for Eric Nystrom after he was waived by Minnesota and no one picked him up – simply to pay his full salary in order to hit the cap minimum) this Saturday.

Let’s face it – this is the best Kings lineup we’ve ever seen, arguably better than the 1990-1991 Kings with Gretzky, Robitaille, Sandstrom, Krushelnyski (tear), Kudelski, and Taylor, along with Larry Freaking Robinson, Steve Duchesne (personal favorite), and Rob Blake absolutely killing it. (Okay, you could probably make the argument that the 89 or 91 Kings were better, but whatever.) And let’s not forget my boy, Kelly Hrudey, in net. But most importantly, aside from how they look on paper, this current Kings team is playing unbelievably well together. It’s like they’ve hit that point in February when all the players know where their teammates will be on the rink at any given moment, and the team gels together for that final playoff push – only the Kings have hit it full stride in October. It doesn’t seem like anyone, save Clifford or Lewis (and Voynov for obvious reasons), is trying to figure out their linemate or how their linemate plays the game. This team has instantly clicked and it’s a pleasure to watch them play.

I'd like to think the 18,000+ mile road trip, spanning three countries and two continents, had something to do with this current team chemistry. For those in the corporate world who are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have corporate retreats, what is the intended purpose for those retreats? I’m guessing the purpose is to build chemistry and strengthen the team bond in order to continue kicking ass for the corporation (or something like that). The Kings had two choices during their monster road trip, either get closer as a team or re-enact the movie Battle Royale.

And that brings me to my first side note – If the Kings were involved in a Battle Royale, who would win?

- JMFJ would be the reckless loose cannon of the bunch and probably blow himself up trying to toss three grenades at once, or maybe by trying to rig some ridiculous explosive contraption with 500 pounds of C4.

- Stoll would immediately end himself once he learned that Heidi Androl was not on the island.

- Westgarth and Penner would get stabbed in the back almost immediately after the game begins, simply because the collective group always fears the big guys who physically dominate others. It’s kinda like how the really good looking and in-shape people on Survivor get booted off almost immediately. Errr, I’ve never seen that show, I have no idea what I just wrote.

- Greene would probably gather all the young ones and be their leader. My guess is that Martinez, Lewis, Drewiskie, Hunter, and Voynov go with Greene. This team would probably last until the end of the game.

- Richards would immediately form a rival gang and probably convince Brown, Gagne (obviously), Moreau, Williams, Scuderi, and Mitchell to join. This rival team would also last until the end and then fight the other gang for supremacy.

- The goalies would immediately withdraw into the shadows and no one would ever see or hear from them again.

- My guess is that Kopitar would be a ninja (have you seen his visor?) and slowly pick off everyone one by one. He'd be that ridiculous character in all those cheesy martial arts movies that shoots poison blowdarts, runs up trees and then flies back down to deliver the fatal stroke, breathes underwater and then cruises up behind folks just like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, etc.

My point with all this Battle Royale talk is that it didn’t happen and the team bonded during their long and arduous road trip. The only real question is whether they can maintain this chemistry throughout the entire season, especially once the LA distractions start creeping back into their lives. For three weeks, they didn’t have to deal with their wives, girlfriends, kids, agents, homies, and all the other people or off-ice situations that affect a player’s game. I have never seen a more cohesive Kings team in October than this team we’re watching right now. (And yes, I’m blaming the ugly loss to Buffalo as a result of the back-to-back game in two different countries.)

Yet despite being incredibly happy with how our team is currently performing, I’m not ready to camp out on Figueroa to reserve my spot for the Stanley Cup parade in June.

The Good:

Slava Voynov. Voynov has been holding his own. He was asked to step up and he has. Now, he’s not exactly the offensive threat that Doughty or JMFJ are, and he’s not exactly the defensive wall that Scuderi or Mitchell are. The important thing to come away with is that Voynov is not looking like Randy Jones out there – he’s not giving up the puck at the worst possible time, he’s not letting guys beat him around the wing, and he’s making decent decisions when he gets the puck at the point. Sure, I’d like him to make some sick breakout passes or even take it end-to-end, but that’s just not gonna happen two games into his NHL career. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m pleased with his performance, especially since he was asked to fill some big (is heavy the more apropos word?) shoes. Despite almost knocking the puck past Quick during a rebound in the home opener, Voynov has been good at tying up sticks and preventing the second chances. I’m a little concerned about his inability to move guys from the front of the net when they post up on Quick, but hopefully he’ll be more aggressive in moving those guys and preventing the screen.

Anze Kopitar. Is there any doubt we would have made the finals last season but for Kopitar’s ankle injury? I remember when he first came into the league, he obviously had the skill and the vision, but he was weak on his skates and was letting defensemen strip him of the puck too often in the offensive zone. Today, Kopitar does what he wants with the puck in the offensive zone. No one can take the puck away from him. It’s scary – watch how many times a defenseman will strip Kopitar of the puck. It’ll happen maybe once every other game. But the best part is, now that he’s got Gagne on the wing, Kopitar is a legitimate scoring threat every time he crosses the blue line. Other than Gretzky or Ziggy Palffy, how many other Kings were legitimate scoring threats every time they crossed into the offensive zone?

Simon Gagne. I was completely blasé when I heard about the Gagne pickup. I don’t follow east coast teams so I basically didn’t really know what a stud this guy was. After watching him for the past two months, I’m convinced this is on par with the Mike Richards signing this summer. Why? Because he’s skilled enough to bury it in the net and, therefore, defensemen can no longer double-team Kopitar when he comes down the net. This opens up more room for Kopitar to do what he wants – and it’s showing, considering how Kopitar has a point in basically every game he’s played so far. I’m convinced it’s not so much because Kopitar got better over the summer; it’s because Gagne is a legit threat and defensemen have to respect him, too.

Mike Fucking Richards. Was I disappointed we didn’t land Brad Richards this summer? Not really. (I’m not a big believer in pursuing the top free agent and paying him billions – didn’t want us to get Kovalchuk, and didn’t really want us to lose sight of the future by overpaying B.Richards.) Was I disappointed that we gave up Simmonds? Kind of. Was I disappointed we gave up Brayden Schenn. Fuck yes. Did I even know how good of a player Mike Richards was before the trade was announced and I immediately youtubed every single clip online? Nope. Was I drinking the Mike Richards kool-aid once we traded for him? Not at all.

Guess what? I have now shotgunned the pitcher of kool-aid – I now believe in Mike Richards. He creates enough opportunities and has that scoring touch (which Schenn currently lacks in the NHL) to make him a solid offensive threat, but the main reason why I’m in love with M.Richards is because of his two-way game. On Tuesday, late in the third period, we’re up 5-0 and the game is already mentally over. The Blues are just trying to get one goal so they don’t look completely embarrassed and although the Kings should be doing everything they can to make sure Quick gets his shutout, they’re letting the Blues get one too many good looks which leads to some decent scoring opportunities. Richards ends up with the puck in the offensive zone, fires off a shot that Brian Elliott barely saves with his blocker, and the Blues immediately fire it up ice for an outnumbered attack. Richards, who is the deepest King on the other side of the rink, busts his ass and skates back just in time to tie up the trailing forward who has a clean look at a half-open net. Richards ties up the guy’s stick, the guy misses his wide-open shot, and the Kings clear the puck out of the zone.

The thing I like most about M.Richards is that he breaks up plays on the defensive end “on the reg.” As a goalie, it fires me up whenever one of my forwards busts his ass on the backcheck and breaks up plays. Shit like that won’t ever appear on the score sheet (well, I guess it “appears” as one less shot on the shot total), but it contributes heavily to team chemistry. Goalies get fired up because you just prevented a very good scoring opportunity. Defensemen get fired up because you just saved their ass. Forwards get fired up and become inspired to skate harder once they hit the ice. The other team gets disappointed because they thought they had a sure-thing goal. The only reason why this doesn’t happen all the time is because you have to not only be in amazing shape to continually skate your ass off as a center (you’re the guy who will go deepest in the opposing team’s zone and you’re expected to be one the deepest offensive guys when you’re defending in your own zone – thus you’re skating from one end to the other on a constant basis), but you have to have the mental fortitude to push through pain and fatigue to make those kinds of plays. Penner doesn’t have it (although he shows occasional flashes of brilliance on the backcheck – I saw it momentarily during tonight’s game, but it disappeared just as quick. I don’t know if that makes me more or less frustrated with Penner, although he had a great game today). Kopitar, thankfully, does.

The Bad:

Matt “Face Time, Baby” Greene. This guy has looked absolutely terrible these past few games. Thankfully Greene didn’t get a penalty tonight, but what was up with that elbow on Tuesday? He got burned multiple times in Philly which led to some awful penalties. He looks completely lost out there. I never thought I’d say this, but he needs to step up his game or else he’s gonna lose his job. I used to consider him a rock on defense, but he’s been so incredibly sloppy these past few games. Remember when the Kings used to have some atrocious goaltending (Cechmanek, LaBarbara, and Garon immediately come to mind) and you would hold your breath every time the other team took a shot? Well, that’s how I currently feel about Matt Greene. I really hope improves, because it’s getting pretty annoying rewinding the game whenever I black out.

Keeping My Eye On:

Justin Williams. Through 6 games, he’s got 2 goals and 5 assists and is a +5. He hasn’t done anything particularly flashy, but he’s been setting up that first line perfectly and the puck is hitting the back of the net as a result. I thought he had a great playoff series despite missing the end of the regular season with a shoulder injury. I’m looking forward to seeing Williams continue to kick ass on the first line and set up our main scoring threats.

Seriously, how unstoppable is this first line?! In fact, whenever that line is on the ice, does anyone else get really pissed off when the Kings don’t score? I feel like I just created three forwards on NHL 12 and, using a cheat code, maxed out all of their stats to 99 – but whenever they don’t score, I’m like “What the fuck? There must be some glitch in the game.”

Final Question:

Hey, quick question to end this post: Who is your favorite current Kings player? I have a feeling that M.Richards will be mine by the end of this weekend. To be honest, I don’t really have a favorite current Kings player. If I had to choose to get a player’s jersey from last season’s team (at gunpoint, of course – which is how I address all my hypothetical questions), I guess I would choose… uh… Brown? Maybe?

Just to show you I’m not totally full of shit, my favorite Kings player of all time, obviously, is Kelly Hrudey, but I would also love to get jerseys of: Duchesne, Nicholls, and probably Avery (I already have a Robitaille jersey, until I give it to my Hermana one of these days). Kopitar, Doughty, and JMFJ are all awesome, but I’ve never felt compelled to get their jerseys or call them my favorite current Kings player. If Schenn was playing, he’d definitely be in the running. For now, I’ll just keep that top spot open until M.Richards scores a hat trick and secures yet another shutout for Quick.

Well, I think you can already tell what will be number one on my Christmas list: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Errrrr, I mean a M.Richards Kings jersey.

Much love till my next post.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Kings Home Opener was FANtastic!

The Kings home opener exceeded all of my very low expectations! I felt like a little kid again, super excited about the little things, like a beer garden, being able to walk across the closed-off-to-vehicular-traffic Chick Hearn street, magnet schedules, and especially watching the Kings win their home opener!

My Kings home opener celebration began a little earlier than I had initially anticipated because I was so antsy to leave work and get to LA Live. The Husband was starving and the Yard House was packed as usual so we made our way to Lawry's Carvery. They serve overpriced sandwiches but they're tasty (which I can't say about the food at the ESPN Zone) and they have $3 bottled beers, including Blue Moon and Stella Artois.  it makes me happy.
The place was packed by the time we left, but the food does come out quick. We headed over to the Kings Fanfest beer garden for one last stop before heading into Staples Center. I'm glad we went because we got to witness the bottoms-up beer dispenser in full action!

Look Ma! It's Magic!
I had read about it last year on Puck Daddy, but never saw it at Staples Center. It definitely serves beer quicker and everyone around was amazed at this magical invention. I forgot about the magnetic "stopper", which you can definitely poke up into the cup. The husband was very tempted to drink the beer from the bottom of the cup, but common sense got the better of him.

Do it. Do it. Do it. 
I made a quick stop in the Team LA store. There was a Kopitar player t-shirt for women in black, but I really wanted a vintage grey Doughty player t-shirt, which the store didn't carry. Instead of buying stuff I walked around the store and made fun of the hideous shirts including this one:

brought to you by Ed Hardy
The Husband was really smitten with this baby/toddler tracksuit even though we don't have any kids and are several years away from having any:
why was my husband looking at kids clothes? i don't know....
I'm also not sure how I feel about dressing up a kid in a tracksuit. A bib and a onesie are acceptable, but a tracksuit? Umm...we're not Italian.

I really enjoyed the player intros. I was wondering what this device was:

What could that possibly be?
And then we soon found out:

now that's pretty cool, right?
Last season before the Kings entered the ice, there was this horrible animation that would play on the jumbotron. My description won't do it justice, but it consisted of animated medieval soldiers going to war and they carried flags that showed the teams' logos and one of the Kings soldiers would shoot the puck and it hit the opposing team and shattered them. Something like that. Trust me, it was terrible. Thankfully, it was not played last night and hopefully it will never be shown ever again. It was super cheesy and I cringed every time I saw it.

Another absence I appreciated? Davis Gaines didn't sing the national anthem!

The game was fantastic as well! I sat in one of the sections behind the goal where the Kings shoot twice. From that viewpoint I was able to clearly see how the Kings break out of their zone. I was impressed with how well they were passing to each other and it seemed like they were really trying to open the game up by playing laterally, making a lot of cross-ice passes, even in tight situations. There were a couple close calls when a defenseman made a cross-ice pass literally a stick's length in front of Quick, but they were confident passes. It probably helped that the Blues were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights (thanks NHL scheduler!) because the Kings looked fresh and fast. Quick was on fire and tracked the puck really well even when there were multiple deflections.

Whenever I'm at the game it always seems like there are a lot of phantom penalties being called since you only get one look at it from one angle. Last night it seemed like several penalties called on both teams were ticky-tacky, but at least it wasn't one-sided. I really enjoyed watching Dustin Brown rough it up with the Blues and draw a penalty. The Captain's got a great talent! During the coaching staff intros, the Husband asked why people were booing Jamie Kompon so I had to explain about how the power play has been pretty terrible the past couple seasons so the majority of the fans blame Kompon. Well, it seems like the fans are going to have to eat crow because the Kings power play is getting the job done. We can't expect the Kings to score on every power play, but so far the Kings have had two game-winning power play goals (thanks, Jack!) and last night the power play looked pretty good most of the time.

Here are some quick and dirty thoughts about a couple players' performances:

Kopitar: Another great game. I can't get over how amazing he looks this season. Is it too early to start the "Anze for MVP" rally?

Brown: He did all the work on Stoll's goal, including setting it up perfectly and drew at least one penalty.

Gagne: He really exploded tonight.

Penner: I saw him in warm-ups and I couldn't help but imagine him whining to Coach Murray that he couldn't play because of some injury and Murray rolling his eyes and telling him to put a band-aid on it. I don't think Penner had that great of a game. I mostly noticed him when he was standing at the blue line and someone would pass it to him and he would just deflect it into the offensive zone and then skate off for a line change. I doubt he's 100% right now, but he still needs to be better because there's no crying in hockey!

Richards: I like him more and more with every game I watch. Do I see a Richards jersey in my future???

Voynov: The kid looks a lot bigger than the 5'-11" he's listed at. He had a pretty solid game tonight. If he keeps it up, once Doughty is healthy Martinez might need to book a flight to Manchester.

Quick: Like I said above, he had a fantastic game. He wasn't tested that much, but there definitely could have been some fluky goal off a second deflection, but Quick was all over the puck.

The only way this game could have been any better is if Gagne had a hat trick. Oh, and also if the hipster douchebags sitting in front of me didn't talk non-stop throughout the game about everything under the sun BUT hockey. Seriously, if you don't know anything about the game, then at least try to learn and if you're not going to pay attention, then LEAVE or at least don't talk so freaking loudly! (rant, done.)

It warmed my heart to see the fans standing through the last minute of the game cheering the Kings for putting on a great show. 5-0 against the Blues? Now that's how you start a season at home!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Kings Home Opener is TONIGHT!

I love home openers.  Love, Love, Love, Love them! I never attended a Kings home opener until 2005.  But when I was kid I loved watching the home opener on TV.  I loved watching each player get his shining moment as he skated onto the ice to the roar of the crowd.  This was way back before the internet so I would actually sit there with a notebook and write down each player's name and his number.  And throughout the season I would tally up each player's goals and assists.  Why?  I don't know.  I was fucking crazy back then, but that's what I did.  I don't know what happened to those notebooks, I probably trashed them at some point when I moved out and my mom complained that I needed to clean out my childhood room so she could use it as her crafts room.  Anyway, the point is, that was my home opener tradition every season for years.  And it always seemed like the home opener was either the first game of the season or one of the first couple games.

The NHL Premiere in Europe has really put a wrinkle in the allure of the home opener since the hockey season is already more than a week old.  Last year the home opener was also kind of a let down because usually the Kings try to have events planned around Staples Center and LA Live to get the fans pumped up about the first home game, but last year there was a conference that had some sort of evening event and they closed off access to most of the LA Live area.  I think the big celebration for Kings fans occurred before the first weekend game, which I did not attend.  Also, the Kings played Atlanta last year and really, no one gave a shit about them because we all knew they wouldn't last....

I know these are stupid reasons for why last year's home opener didn't live up to my expectations, but it's only because I look forward to going to the home opener as soon as the previous season ends. front page screenshot taken on Sunday.....ruh-roh, there are still tickets available?
The Kings website has a list of pre-game festivities.  If you want to get to Staples Center 3 hours before puck drop you can watch the players "walk the black carpet".  Some Kings alumni will be at LA Live during the Fanfest celebration, but there aren't any real specifics of what to expect at Fanfest.  I imagine there will be loud music, a tiny area roped off for a "beer garden", and the Kings Ice Crew walking around doing something.  And if you're going to the game, then you'll be the first to take in the "brand new $3.4 million JBL Professional Vertec Audio System, a premier loudspeaker system that is in use worldwide to support numerous international tours and special events".  I have no idea what to expect from that.  It already sounds like David Courtney is yelling directly in my ear.

I have a feeling that I'll saunter over to LA Live at around 6pm, grab a beer somewhere, and maybe try to find a suitable shirt in the Team LA Store if it's not too crowded.  I guess I need to channel my younger self and realize that I'm excited about the home opener because it means it's the start of a brand new season, a fresh start, and with it brings an endless number of positive opportunities. Except this year, having played 4 games, we already have our best defenseman on IR.......and we're playing the Blues who always seem to have the Kings' number.  I promise, I'll try to stay positive today!  Go Kings!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jim Fox is Awesome on Twitter

I often wonder what it would be like to be a celebrity, athlete, or some sort of famous person on Twitter or another social media platform.  What would it be like to deal with obnoxious haters?  How would I deal with people begging for retweets or mentions? (Actually I know how I would deal with that one: I would never retweet someone asking for a retweet just on principle.)  What kind of thoughts or experiences would I share? And how would I interact with my followers?

I grew up listening to Bob Miller and Jim Fox do the play-by-play and color commentary for LA Kings telecasts and I don't like thinking about what listening to and watching Kings game will be like without that team.  So when I found out that Jim Fox had joined Twitter I immediately followed him.  I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting greatness, but I was hoping he would be more entertaining than Henry Winkler.  This past weekend, Jim Fox immediately became one of my favorite people on Twitter for two reasons.  The first is that he tweeted during the second intermission of the Kings/Flyers game!  Right before intermission ended, he tweeted:

I wish there was a time-stamp because I swear he tweeted this just before the 3rd period started.

And the second reason I love Jim Fox on Twitter is because he sent me a direct message on Sunday!!!  Actually, he send me THREE DIRECT MESSAGES!!!  He totally made my day!  So back story first.  Jim tends to tweet a link to his Facebook photo album that has photos from trips with the LA Kings.  On Sunday he tweeted about the food in Philadelphia for the press and mentioned there were no "Cheese Steaks", which by the way is a total travesty.  So, of course, I had to click on the link to see what food was offered.  The first photo that caught my eye was a buffet platter of peas and my first thought was "who offers peas at a hockey game?"  So I tweeted the following:

Seriously, they didn't look so hot.  

And then, not too long after I tweeted that, I received a direct message!

How cute is that?? I don't even know how to send someone a direct message!

And the other direct messages were in response to other tweets I made on Saturday during the game.  In one tweet I asked if he and Bob coordinate tie colors because they were both wearing red ties with different striped patterns and he responded: "Bob copies mine." Hahahaha! Omg, Jim Fox is adorable.  After I read his tweet about Doughty  I tweeted "I guess NHL twitter rule doesn't apply to color commentators" and he wrote "Players and hockey department only!".  Yes, the exclamation point is his.  I love Jim Fox even more!!  Can we be BFF?

So even though Jim Fox's twitter account isn't "verified", I'm about 99% sure it's really him.  In fact, I would be completely devastated if it's not him.  But let's just assume it's really him.   Basically, Jim Fox is awesome on Twitter because he tweets during games, shares photos of the Kings and "behind the scenes stuff", and he interacts very graciously with his followers.  If you're a Kings fan, then you better be following Jim Fox.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekly Hockey Roundup

Last week I only posted hockey links related to the Kings so some of these posts are old, but still good ones.

Financial Lessons from Sports Stars' Mistakes @ NYTimes via The Budgeting Babe

I'm actually a huge personal finance nerd so I came across this NYTimes article through a personal finance blog that I follow. A lot of the tips in this article can be applied to non-athletes. Basically, don't spend all your scrilla, don't invest in something without doing the research, and don't blindly trust family members, friends, and financial professionals with your money. No hockey players are mentioned in this article, but when I was younger I remember reading about Mike Modano going through financial issues due to blindly trusting either a friend or financial adviser. More recently there were reports of Darren McCarty going through financial problems and what Kings fan doesn't remember Lucky Luc's name being dragged through the mud over investments he made with the super shady Boots Del Biaggio. It's easy to not have any sympathy for athletes by arguing that they make so much money it should be nearly impossible for them to go bankrupt, but scale down the situation for people like you and me. I'm sure you know people who made bad decisions by investing in a "hot" stock or bought a house they couldn't afford or purchased a ton of stuff on credit cards without knowing how they're going to actually pay for these items. Everyone is vulnerable to financial pitfalls, even pro hockey players, so be smart with your money!

Player Numbers on Front of Helmets
Often times I wonder what NHL players think of changes to the game. I cracked up when I read this tweet from Joffrey Lupul:

I don't really notice the numbers on the front of the helmets when I watch games on TV, but I imagine it's much more noticeable for players....and unnecessary.

NHL Premiere
I was curious to know what Sabres and Rangers fans thought of their respective teams' opening games in Europe. Here are some bloggers' reactions:

10 Things @ Willful Caboose
Naturally Katebits was very pleased with the Sabres' performance in Europe. Can't deny the Sabres looked good....or maybe the Kings just looked that bad.

0-0-2: Take It and Run @ Scotty Hockey
I'd be disappointed too if my team lost to the Ducks, especially in the shootout. I think a shootout loss to the Ducks always feels way worse than a regulation loss and I don't always feel that way about every shootout loss. I don't follow the Rangers too closely, and I'll probably pay even less attention to the team now that Avery is gone, but Scotty Hockey provides good coverage and very honest commentary about the players.

I'm not going to provide any links to blog posts about the Ducks because my mind can't process any information about that team. However, I do enjoy reading Earl Sleek's stuff at Battle of Cali, but he hasn't posted any game recaps or thoughts.

NHL: The Movie @ Battle of Cali
I almost didn't read this, but since Rudy Kelly wrote it I decided to give it a few minutes of my precious time. I can't decide which one is my favorite: Winnipeg Jets = Blake Lively or Phoenix Coyotes = Terry Kiser
(I didn't recognize the actor's name, but based on the description I knew exactly who this was because "Weekend at Bernie's" was one of the go-to movies to rent when my parents went out for the evening and needed to make sure my brother and I were entertained. Oh the days before Tivo, DVRs, Netflix, Hulu, etc. Kids these days have it so easy.)

Where are they now: Brent Sopel @ Canucks Team Website
Kings fans, do you remember Brent Sopel? Apparently he's now playing in Siberia. I didn't follow him after his short stint in LA, but maybe he'll have success overseas like Kevin Dallman. It might be easy at first to take a cheap shot at a guy who has to (or decides to) relocate to Kazakhstan or Siberia to play professional hockey, but when you read a story like Sopel's and see the sacrifices his family is making, where his wife is raising their four kids in the States and "speaks with her husband, via Skype, at least twice a day", your heart kinda aches and then you realize that these guys just really, really want to play hockey and this is their job and will do what they need to do to provide for their families while they're still capable of bringing in a sizable paycheck. Good luck, Brent Sopel.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

LA Kings 2nd Season Opener

Even though the LA Kings season opened less than a week ago it feels like those first two games took place ages ago.  But the weather was cooling down, pumpkin ale was readily available in the stores, and it was finally feeling like hockey season!

Almost a week later, the weather is in the 90s, I'm cranky about it, I've had time to think about the games in Europe and, surprise surprise, I came to the easy conclusion that signing Trent Hunter and Ethan Moreau weren't very good signings.  Also, I forgot to mention in my review of the previous games, that I did not realize Scott Parse played in the first game until I noticed him in the second game and I wondered who he was replacing in the lineup.  Is it just me or did his development take a step backwards over the off-season?  He looked more effective in the playoffs after rehabbing from an injury than he did in the first two games after several months of training.

So, it's a good thing that on Wednesday it was announced that the Kings acquired Stefan Legein and a 6th round 2012 Draft pick from the Philadelphia Flyers for future considerations.  Who????  According to Puck Daddy, he "may have just retired at 19" or perhaps he was just joking and "was having some fun at the expense of everyone".  Basically, this kid sounds awesome.  

But I am truly excited for Dustin Penner to return to the lineup.  It's a shame that I probably won't be able to watch tonight's game against New Jersey since it'll be on at 4pm PST.  Oh, the problems of living on the West Coast....if only I could leave work at 3pm for every East Coast game.  Or I suppose I could just DVR the game.  Decisions, decisions.  Although, I can't decide if it would be worse to live on the East Coast and have to watch games start at 10pm.  Any East Coasters want to weigh-in on this discussion?

Anyway, not quite sure what to expect in tonight's game besides 5 Kings goals all scored by Anze Kopitar (Did you see him against the Rangers and Sabres?  It's totally possible, so just roll with it).  New Jersey had such a bad season last year, but I don't expect the same this time around.  I highly doubt Kovalchuk will continue to be KovLOLchuk and maybe Marty Brodeur will play like it's 1997.  I don't really care.  I'm most looking forward to Saturday night's contest again the Philadephia Flyers.  Now that should be a helluva game!

Go Kings Go!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another European NHL Opening in the Books

Can the LA Kings please never participate again? K, thanks.

Here are my super insightful, very important thoughts of the first 2 LA Kings games:

Kings 3, Rangers 2 (OT)
  • Taking a "vacation day" on Friday to stay home and watch the Kings/Rangers game was the best decision EVER. I seriously need to get my company on the 9/80 work schedule because having an extra day during the weekend is utterly amazing
  • I can't decide which person I dislike more: Bryan Hayward or Pierre McGuire. I was very disappointed we weren't treated to the voices of Bob Miller and Jim Fox, but Doc was ok
  • Mike Milbury is a very angry and highly unlikable person. I think he might also be deranged.
  • The crowd in Sweden was DEAD. Seriously, did the "fans" think they were at the ballet?
  • Pierre tends to fixate on one player throughout a game and unfortunately in the Kings/Rangers game it was Alec Martinez. Now, I like the kid and I do think he is good and will surprise people who are unfamiliar with him, but my God, Pierre's head was so far up his ass I'm surprised Martinez was able to still skate around the rink. Pierre wouldn't stop talking about him; It was a little creepy.
  • Mike Richards definitely outplayed Brad Richards and it made all Kings fans feel really good.
  • So who picked Jack to score the game winner? Anyone? Anyone? It was a pleasant surprise and I'm glad the coaching staff put Jack and Drew together on the power play.
  • Apparently you can ask Jack a question through his website. Do know want to.

Kings 2, Sabres 4
  • Why can't the Kings play well in front of Bernier? Poor kid.
  • The Sabres are a much better team than I had anticipated
  • I cannot believe Bob Miller and Jim Fox were not at the game and had to do play by play in LA while watching the game on TV. That is some super lame shit.
  • I'm going to try and forget this game even happened....except Kopitar's second goal because it was a display of brilliance.
 (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images
Kopitar is so f'ucking good! This goal left me speechless.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekly Hockey Roundup: LA Kings Edition

This week's hockey link love is all about the Kings because TODAY the 2011-2012 NHL season begins!!! YAY!!!

Even though there are quite a few LA Kings blogs I honestly only read a couple on a consistent basis. I know, I'm a bad internet Kings fan. But it doesn't mean they're not worth reading and/or following. With the start of the Kings season here are posts from on the line about the Kings by your fellow Kings fans and other hockey fans.

Season Preview: Expert Analysis @ The Royal Half
The Royal Half graciously rounded up the non-professional (read: unpaid) Kings bloggers (including me!) to talk up their own blogs and make some bold predictions about the Kings season. Most of my predictions were made under the assumption that Kopitar doesn't break his ankle again. Because seriously, that'll fuck us. (Thanks to The Royal Half for putting this together and asking me to participate. I really enjoy reading The Royal Half so I was and still am honored to have been included!)

The Royal Army is hosting a viewing party tomorrow (Saturday, October 8th) at ESPN Zone in Downtown LA (at LA Live across the street from Staples Center) for the Kings vs. Buffalo Sabres game. I can't say I've heard of The Royal Army before I did a quick Google search for "LA Kings watch party". I assume he/she is a diehard Kings fan so if you like watching Kings game with a bunch of strangers who share your passion for Kings hockey and you don't mind eating crappy food at ESPN Zone (because seriously, that place has some crappy ass food) then head over to Downtown tomorrow!

Here are links to Season Previews of the 2011-2012 Kings Season by several Kings bloggers:

Jewels from the Crown

The LA Kings Outsider

The 110 Report

Frozen Royalty

This morning I'll be sitting at home in my jammy jams wearing my Kings jersey watching the Kings take on the New York Rangers. It's a 10am game on the West Coast (on a Friday, wtf NHL!) so I'm sure at the first intermission I'll make myself an egg, bacon, cheese sammy and wash it down with some tasty pumpkin beer!

Go Kings Go!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011-2012 LA Kings Season Preview

I can't believe the first game of the Kings season is on a Friday at 10am PST against the New York Rangers in Sweden.  Who in the world put this NHL schedule together??  And why is the NHL still opening the season in Europe?  Couldn't another team have gone instead?  The Kings were in Europe just two years ago holy shit, that was 4 years ago!?  Where did the years go!?

After a little debate I decided to take a "vacation day" on Friday. I realized that watching the first game of the Kings season live was much more important than being at work on a regular Friday when I don't have any deadlines.  I'll be a much happier person for taking the day off.

So what can we expect from the Kings this season?  Hmmmmm, I'm thinking a whole lotta awesome!  The back end is pretty much unchanged from last year.  Barring any injuries or wacky trades I think it'll stay the same throughout the entire season and I think that's a good thing.  Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi will continue to be reliable and smart; they're just solid as a rock.  While I'm curious to see how Alec Martinez will progress this season I am most intrigued with how Drew Doughty will emerge this season.  He had such a fantastic sophomore season that it looked like he took a step backwards last season. We've seen what he's capable of and we expect more.

There were so many additions and subtractions up top during the off-season.  I think Oscar Moller's departure was predictable given how little playing time he was given in the playoffs.  I was sad to see Michal Handzus sign with San Jose.  I was little surprised the Kings didn't re-sign him because I definitely could see him playing on the 3rd line again.  But am I more upset that he's not with the Kings or that he's with San Jose?  I don't know.  But I do know I am not going to like seeing him a Sharks jersey.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
the teal clashes with his skin tone
Of course, my least favorite move of the off-season was seeing Wayne Simmonds traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.  But, on the other hand, getting Mike Richards in return was the best move of the off-season.  It was such a love-hate moment!  I really hope Richards just kills it this season so I can look back on this trade and immediately talk about what a fantastic deal Dean Lombardi made without adding, "but I looooooove Simmonds and reeeeaaalllly didn't want him to get traded".  How does a fan get closure?  How did Oilers fans ever get over the Gretzky trade????  I'm overreacting, I know.  Trading Simmonds doesn't even come close to trading Gretzky.  This is why the season needs to start now so we can see Mike Richards tear it up and I can let it go.

So does anyone else have the problem of forgetting the Kings signed Ethan Moreau?

Overall, I think the Kings will have a great season.  I was happy with the 2010-2011 season up until the last month and through the playoffs when shit hit the fan after Kopitar broke his ankle. Usually I enter each season with blind faith, just hoping that things aren't too bad.  I almost find it odd to enter consecutive seasons genuinely feeling good about the team.  It's like every season I'll expect more and more and I won't be entirely satisfied until the Cup is brought to LA.  I don't think this is the Kings' year to win it all, but they'll be fierce competitors.

It's hockey season! I couldn't be happier!  Go Kings Go!

P.S. I also wrote a slightly more in-depth, little less rambling PG-rated season preview at HLOG.