Friday, January 30, 2009

All This Time...

The Los Angeles Kings struggles were simple... the team missed Jack Johnson! Did you see that spin-o-rama tonight? He may not have scored, but this team has looked much stronger since Jack Johnson has returned to the lineup a few games ago.

Well, what does a 5-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks tell us? Blackhawk blogs will tell you it was just because the team was tired. Sure, they played the Ducks the night before but as Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy said tonight, the Blackhawks did their job... a win in Anaheim and a loss in LA. Who cares what they do in San Jose? (Well, it would be nice if they lose.)

But this win tells us that the Kings still have some life left in them. They have gained 7 out of a possible 8 points in the last 4 games. They took advantage of a sluggish Blackhawks team tonight... and that's what good teams do.

And now, the first of 3 big road trips looms ahead. Montreal on Saturday, then Ottawa, Washington, New Jersey and then the Islanders. That's right, the first of 3 road trips... the Kings also have a 5 game and a 6 game roadtrip coming up before the end of the season. This should get interesting.

The highlight of the night for me.... the Kings first power play that featured #23 Dustin Brown, #24 Alexander Frolov, #26 Michal Handzus, #27 Kyle Quincey and #28 Jarret Stoll. Nearly perfect symmetry... where is Matt Moulson when you need him???

Monday, January 26, 2009

Is 19 Year Old Drew Doughty dating Taylor Swift?

The Royal Half prides itself on serious hockey journalism rather than celebrity gossip. But it's hard to ignore this breaking story.

Drew Doughty's best score may not be on the ice.

I use Statcounter so that I can get a sense of where all 6 of my readers are coming from. And one of the bonuses is that you can see what Google searches people have made to end up at your blog. Over the last 2 weeks, I have received an alarming amount of searches based upon the dating habits of 19 Year Old Drew Doughty and previously unknown to me country superstar Taylor Swift.

These were all unique IP addresses, so there seems to be quite a number of people out there searching for an answer to this pressing question. I've looked around on the internet to see if there is an answer, but apparently TMZ doesn't seem to care about the Los Angeles Kings and the dating habits of its rookies.

If this is true... then Doughty should totally get Rookie of the Year.

Anyone out there see Taylor and Drew out on town together? If so, send your anonymous tips here. If Drew Doughty is getting chicks like Taylor Swift, can you imagine the scene when these 3 Kings rookies hit up the Manhattan Beach bar scene after a game?

Oh yeah, these 3 must be getting a TON of action.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mid Season Report Report

Well, it's a little past the mid-way point for the NHL season and while Dustin Brown is playing with the rest of the NHL All-Stars in Montreal, I thought I'd take the time to review the Los Angeles Kings first half performance... by reviewing other peoples thoughts about the Los Angeles Kings first half performance.

First off is The Battle of California. "2000 words to say 'They're Ok."

Overall theme: The Kings won't make the playoffs, but look out next season.

Most insightful comment: 1st Half MVP: Mark Hardy

I couldn't agree more and in fact have talked about this before. The return of Mark Hardy to the Kings coaching staff has done wonders for the team this year. Sure the offense hasn't been what it was last year, but the Kings are giving up much less goals and good defense wins games in the New NHL.

Best line: "The Kings may not be very much fun to watch right now, but it's like dating a woman: yeah, you have to listen to her talk ("Oh really? Oprah said that? FASCINATING.") and do stupid stuff (nobody on Earth actually likes bowling) and everyone kind of laughs at you ("What, you would sit through Twilight too if it meant you got laid, don't lie!") but it's all worth it when you finally get to poo on her chest."

This is why I read Battle of California daily.

Mid Season Report Report Card: A+

Next, the Bleacher Report: "Is a .500 Record Considered a Legitimate Success?"

Overall theme: The Kings won't make the playoffs, but look out next season.

Most insightful comment: The Kings have been held to one-goal or less in 14 games so far this season, while not employing a player near a point per-game average. So much is to be expected from a team that traded away two of their top offensive talents, Lubomir Visnovsky (to Edmonton) and Mike Cammaleri (to Calgary), in favor of defensive stallwarts Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll (in the deal with Edmonton) and prospects. Becoming defensively responsible is one of the building blocks of a winning team, and the Kings seem to be taking the proper precautions, one baby step at a time.

Yes. (This is much easier having other people make my point for me.)

Best line: With enough salary cap space to take advantage of the mass salary dump predicted for the trade deadline (names like Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg), the Kings of Los Angeles are looking forward to bringing in their own era of Purple Reign.

While I highly doubt that Hossa, Franzen or Zetterberg would be traded at the deadline (considering they are all on the Detroit Red Wings and appear headed for a Western Conference Showdown with the San Jose Sharks) there is no hiding the fact that the Kings have a lot of salary cap space available this summer to make a big play for a top 6 forward.

Mid Season Report Report Card: A-

Next up, Life in Hockeywood's: "The Doughty Manifesto"

Overall theme: The Kings needs to step up their efforts to make 19 Year Old Drew Doughty the NHL Rookie of the Year, also know as the Calder Trophy. Also, the Kings won't make the playoffs, but look out next season.

Most insightful comment: Doughty is everything that is right about the direction of the franchise. Passionate, talented and young. Doughty just turned 19 and is already showing the poise of a young Ray Bourque. Night after night. Shift after shift. Minute after league-leading minute. And now he's a legitimate contender - if not the front-runner - for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year.

See! I'm not the only Kings blogger to have a man-crush on 19 Year Old Drew Doughty.

Best line: If Doughty wins Rookie of the Year, it validates all this waiting we've all done as Kings fans. It legitimizes the franchise's direction as a whole, as we now have a definite direction that we are heading. No more slapping Band-Aids on long-festering wounds. We have scraped away the scabs of seasons past and have started on fresh ground.

While it would be a great achievement for Drew Doughty to win the Rookie of the Year this season, most Kings fans will be crushed when it ends up going to Anaheim's Bobby Ryan. Ryan has 30 points in 31 games and since Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason has come back to earth, Bobby Ryan might have the edge over 19 Year Old Drew Doughty.

Also, winning Rookie of the Year doesn't necessarily translate to success for a franchise. Just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had 5 straight Rookie of the Years from 1992-1996. And no World Series appearances since 1988.

Mid Season Report Report Card: B-. But, an A+ for his most recent pro-Doughty post which includes potential for the best Kings ad campaign ever.

And now, the Mainstream Media. Scott Burnside at ESPN:

The Kings hung around for a while, but that's the problem when you don't have a real No. 1 goaltender and a lot of kids. Maybe next season.

Overall theme: The Kings won't make the playoffs, but look out next season.

From the McDonald's of daily newspapers, the USA Today:

Although the Kings aren't likely to make the playoffs, they are again starting to look like a competitive NHL team. Their young talent base is among the league's best, and they now have a look of a team on the rise. That was not true a season ago.

Overall theme: The Kings won't make the playoffs, but look out next season.

And finally, hockey blog The Red Light District chimes in:

Los Angeles Kings (16-17-6, 38 pts.)
My pre-season prediction: 5th Pacific, 15th West
1st Half MVP: Dustin Brown
Look Back: It kinda looks like the wheels are starting to fall off in LA, going 3-5-2 in their last ten. But you gotta commend their effort in every game. They’re talent is still young, and once again playing musical chairs in net.
Look Ahead: I think finishing .500 would be a big step in the right direction for LA. I know that sounds stupid… but c’mon, the Kings in the playoffs?? They’re becoming the NHL’s Cincinnati Bengals, but are turning the corner for the future.

I'm not sure what it means to be the Cincinnati Bengals of the NHL... mainly because none of the Kings players have been arrested in the last few years.

Overall theme: The Kings won't make the playoffs, but look out next season. Especially the LAPD.

Well, that was a lot of words to learn that the Kings won't make the playoffs this season, but have laid the foundation for a bright future. For me and the Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy... we'd rather make the playoffs this season. It's been a long 6 years since we last saw playoff action. And while I declared the Kings DOA after the Detroit loss last week, 2 victories in the 2 games before the All Star Break have put the Kings in a precarious position... the Kings are only 6 points out of the 8th playoff spot! But only 3 points out of being last in the Western Conference! But thanks to the New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers, it's safe to say the Kings won't be in the race for worst team in the league this season.

The Kings are back in action Thursday against the Blackhawks and we'll be in attendance for the last 11.50 game of the Kings season (hopefully!) The Kings have 36 games left to make the 8th seed or get a high draft pick.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Life is full of big decisions. So tonight, I chose Lost. I shall watch the game tomorrow. (but I know the Kings won!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Miller Gone Wild

A "Clutterbuck" is:

a. one of the 7 dirty words you can't say on tv
b. a brief 1940's dance craze
c. the leader in hits for the Minnesota Wild
d. the Rooster from the Warner Brothers cartoons

Kings 5, Wild 2

A good win. A strong win. A win the Los Angeles Kings desperately needed if they have any hope in the world of getting into the playoffs. Right now they are 8 points out of the 8th seed. That is a lot of ground to make up in NHL world of 3 point games. But the effort was there tonight, a full 60 minutes. And perhaps inspired by the Facebook/CNN collaboration of Obama's inauguration, the Kings chose tonights game to unveil their presence in social networking.

Because nothing screams internet social networking like 37 year old Sean O'Donnell.

I'll bet you anything Bob Miller isn't on Facebook. Because he's old school. Like 71 years old school. He doesn't look a day over 60. I love Bob Miller. He's been calling Kings games since 1973 and I have grown up listening to him. I can be critical of other NHL play by play announcers... but I will never criticize Bob Miller. But I've noticed that this season, he does seem to be slipping up here and there. In fact during tonight's game versus the Minnesota Wild, Bob must have thought he was back in 1973.

I think that no more wine is necessary in the broadcast booth.

And later in the game I think he confuses the Chicago Blackhawks with the (now defunct) Minnesota North Stars.

Are the Kings playing the Hartford Whalers the next game?

But let's not forget that Bob Miller is a scrapper. And when he sees something that he doesn't like... he goes after it... with fury!

I'll take a half-aware Bob Miller over most of what the NHL offers for play by play announcers any day. Could you imagine listening to the Boston Bruins jerkoff Jack Edwards each game?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


January 15th, 2009 10:05pm. The day the playoffs died. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy is giving the Los Angeles Kings till the end of this upcoming 3 game road trip before he throws the towel in... but I think any chance of making the playoffs in 2009 is done.

Kings 0, Red Wings 4

The view from Section 217.
Thanks, $11.50 tickets for making this a Detroit home game.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fast Forward to the Future

I like to consider myself a pretty dedicated hockey fan. I Tivo all the Los Angeles Kings games that I don't attend as part of the Half Season Ticket Package and watch them in full at home. Sure I'll fast forward through commercials and lame in-between period segments, but I'll even listen to what Jim Fox says in between stoppages in play just to see if he'll say "Wooooah!" But there comes a time in each season (especially over the last 6 years) that I just say "fuck it" and I start fast-forwarding through games in which the Kings are stinking it up, only hitting "play" when I see a goal scored.

Tonight was the first game all season that I sped through. I can't believe I made it this far.

Kings 1, Bolts 3


Not exactly the effort a fan would hope for from the Los Angeles Kings tonight. It's going to be tough to keep pace with the rest of the league after these 2 losses. It's obvious that none of the Kings showed up to play tonight, obvious because the Kings held a closed-door, players only meeting after the game. The team is now in 14th place in the Western Conference, yet still only 5 points out of a playoff spot. Are they going to be able to make up the difference? Only time will tell... meanwhile, at least I have the Kings broadcasts to keep me entertained.

I know exactly how you feel, Bailey.
I'm bored by Coach Murray's team too.

I had no idea who the hell Taylor Swift was when I saw her singing on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. And now I still have no idea who the hell she is.

City of Angels Angels.

The Kings also unveiled their latest marketing scheme, a Valentine's Day Kings Pack delivered to your home or your seat by everyone's favorite lovable team mascot named after someone who died during September 11th, Bailey!

Does he also deliver the divorce papers once you buy this for your wife?

Oh great... here comes Detroit on Thursday. Awesome. What's that? 19 Year Old Drew Doughty is injured? Sweet. Too bad I'll be in the crowd Thursday because I can't use the skip button at the game.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Devil Ain't No Friend of Mine

There was nothing positive about this game. The New Jersey Devils came into Los Angeles and taught the young Kings a thing or two about how a defensive team is able to score. The one consistency about the Kings this year is that they throw 35 or so shots at a top level team and aren't able to capitalize. Devils goalie Kevin Weekes was definitely channeling 2003 last night as he looked incredible in goal. And the Kings gave the Devils fans a reason to be happy after a couple loses in a row. The Kings should be disappointed about this one. If they are truly going to have a chance at making the playoffs... they are going to need to string together a couple victories in a row. They can't just win one and lose one. Win one and lose one. Win one... and lose one.

Actually, there was something exciting about last nights game... it was "Robeks Juice Presents Significant Other" night at Staples Center!

Kings 1, Devils 5

Robek's Angels.

Taking advantage of the $11.50 ticket sale, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I brought along our individual domestic partners, as well as a good friend and his domestic partner. The friend is a life long New Jersey Devils fan (as well as a dedicated Charlotte Checkers fan). And he was not without company... there were plenty of other Jersey douchebags fan in attendance. Including marginal Hollywood director, Kevin Smith!

Not Kevin Smith, but a douchebag.

If there was one thing I learned from seeing all the Devils fans at the game is that there is only a limited number of jersey-worthy players in their past:

Kudos to the Zack Parise fan.

But that is not to say that Devils fans are all front-runners. In fact, here is a woman that LOVES unheralded, defensive forwards:

I've got Selke Trophy fever!

And of course, someone is always rocking it old school. And I'm jealous.

Rockin' it Red Army style.

Our plan was simple. Since the Staples Center had been a relative ghost town this season (especially our section) we would be able to have everyone sit with us in and around our seats. Well, I don't think we counted on the $11.50 ticket sale being such a success, because once again, the Staples Center was packed. And we spent the game rotating between the Half Season seats in 217 and the cheap tickets in 303.

I'm not in the 200's anymore.

I spent the 3rd period up high with my girlfriend. With about 8 minutes left in the game she said "the Kings should just start fights. It's not like they have any chance of winning... at all!" She really is learning the game at an incredible pace.

I hadn't sat up in the 300's for a Kings game since 2000, when the Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I received a Kings 3 game pack as a gift from a co-worker. It was actually a great view. You really do get a sense of the game unfolding left to right and even though you are so high up, you feel like you are right on top of the players. Fun for a period, but I have no intention of leaving my Half Season seats anytime soon.

All in all, it was a great night. Except for the horrible and uninspiring play of the Los Angeles Kings. Jon Quick did the best he could on most of those goals, but the team in front of him just plain didn't show up. Tomorrow the Kings play an awful Tampa Bay Lightning team... who just happend to beat the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Shake It Up

Kings 4, Ducks 3

A great game to watch on tv. I'm way too tired to go full on blog about it... but Coach Murray spoke and this team responded. More to come tomorrow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Well, after almost 3 years of playing on the same team, Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov are finally getting the chance to skate on the same line tonight, with wunderkid defensive specialist 20 Year Old Wayne Simmonds on the other wing. In Coach Murray's quest to find some offense, these are the lines tonight:


Last season, the Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I were walking back to our cars when we came across a Kings fan wearing this exact jersey:

Yup, it looked just like this.
But someone actually paid money for it and was wearing it.

It took us a few moments to figure it out. At first, we thought the guy got screwed on the spelling with his lettering. But then it hit us... Frolov, #24 plus Kopitar, #11 equals Fropitar, #35. This guy was giving way too much credit to the logic functions of hockey fans. Especially Kings fans.

The discovery of the existence of this jersey led to our thoughts on some possible future jerseys: Bropel (Dustin Brown and Brent Sopel), Frolovsky (Frolov and Lubomir Visnovsky) and of course, the 2nd line from early in this season, Frostoller.

I look forward to seeing what Anze and Alex can do together tonight. Their games are a bit similar, but if Frolov can do his puck protection magic and get the puck to Kopitar, it could work out. And Wayne Simmonds will continue to do what he does best... be the wildcard!

At this point, Coach Murray would put Peter Harold, Tom Preissing and Gabe Gauthier on the 1st line if they could get the puck in the net.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shoot the Glass!

Rule 63 – Delaying the Game
63.2 Minor Penalty -

A minor penalty for delay of game shall be imposed on any player
or goalkeeper who deliberately shoots or bats the puck outside the
playing area during the play or after a stoppage of play.

When any player or goalkeeper, while in his defending zone,
shoots the puck directly (non-deflected) out of the playing surface,
except where there is no glass, a penalty shall be assessed for
delaying the game. When the puck is shot into the players’ bench, the
penalty will not apply. When the puck is shot over the glass ‘behind’
the players’ bench, the penalty will be assessed.

What an completely asinine rule! I understand calling a penalty if a player in the defensive zone intentionally shoots the puck over the glass... I mean, I actually applauded the NHL when they introduced that rule a few years ago. It eliminated an easy way for defensemen to get a whistle under pressure... but 19 Year Old Drew Doughty shot the puck from the neutral zone!!! over the glass of the opposing net!!! on a penalty kill!!! and he didn't "deliberately" try to shoot it over the glass!!! There is no rhyme or reason to why that should be a penalty. Oh, and guess what... teams that play strong defensive systems, like what the Kings have turned into, they score less. But it's pretty hard to score less than 7 goals in the last 5 games! So say goodbye to any hope of the explosive offense the Kings were once rumored to have. Coach Murray has bred a "shut-down" defensive team in the model of the New Jersey Devils of the 90's or Minnesota Wild of the 00's. So last year, the Kings biggest problem was keeping the pucks out of their own net... while this year, they can't hit water if they fell out of a boat.

Kings 1, Ducks 3

The only thing worse than losing a game on an obscure penalty is having to watch it unfold on the Ducks broadcast on FSW Prime Ticket. Now, I grew up during the heyday of Prime Ticket in Los Angeles, so this "re-branding" of Prime Ticket for FSW will never be the same to me. I had the Center Ice package for a few years before giving up on it this season and if I learned anything from watching NHL hockey around the country it's that Ducks broadcasters John Ahlers and Brian Hayward could quite possibly be the worst announcing team in the NHL.

Brian Hayward is just awful as a color announcer. He's egotistical for no apparent reason, he overreacts to EVERYTHING and all he did during tonight's game was repeat over and over and over that the Kings were not sending any forecheckers into the defensive zone. Great analysis, Brian. Plus, he agreed to this segment (which I assume is a regular segment, Ducks fans?):

I guess Robert Hays wasn't available.

Play by Play announcer John Ahlers is just as bad. And there must be something going on in his personal life that has allowed him to use the word "rimming" non-stop when referring to a puck's movement along the boards. As in "Pronger rims it around the boards." And tonight during the Ducks-Kings broadcast he broke out this beauty:

In case you where wondering he just said "Los Angeles has not won a game in any of their last 12 victories where they gave up more than 2 goals."

Say what you will about the beautiful and talented Los Angeles Kings sideline reporter Heidi Androl... but I'd rather have her interviewing quasi-celebrities and talking about hockey charity functions than listen to one more word from this fake tan from the Ducks broadcast crew:

I guess weatherman school didn't pan out like you thought it would.

Forget about the broadcast team... when did Skeletor start coaching for the Ducks?

"I Am Skeletor, Overlord of Evil! And Power Play coach!"

"The offensive breakout is completely failing!"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

At first I was a bit skeptical about the $11.50 ticket special that the Los Angeles Kings held for the month of January. Having spent full price on my tickets as a Half Season Ticket Holder, I was a bit annoyed that now anyone could sit anywhere at Staples Center for just $11.50. But tonight, as the arena was packed full of people (it was an actual sellout, not just an "announced" sellout) I realized the genius of the $11.50 ticket. It allowed actual hockey fans who couldn't afford it normally to come see a Kings game. There were none of the regulars in my section tonight, but everyone in their place knew their Kings hockey... player nicknames... that 19 Year Old Drew Doughty is the future... that Kyle Calder has hands of stone. And it made the game fun. There was a definite excitement in the air tonight... and for every reason... that was one hell of a game!

Kings 2, Flyers 1

Welcome to the NHL Wayne Simmonds. Sure you've been playing for the Kings all year, but if there was any game that you've "arrived" in, it was this one. Simmonds has looked very strong the last few games and tonight, during the 2nd period, he was rewarded with some 1st line time with Anze Kopitar and Patrick O'Sullivan. And you know what... he didn't look too out of place. Give this 20 year old a few years and 20 extra pounds... and the Kings will have one of the top 2-Way players in the game.

The always great Battle of California had a posting today asking if 19 Year Old Drew Doughty was still in contention for NHL Rookie of the Year. They mention that players like Kris Verteeg, Patrik Berglund or Steve Mason may have passed him in the hype for the Calder trophy. To that I say... what if rookie goaltender Jon Quick has emerged ahead of his teammate?

Quick did in 1 game what LaBarbera could never do.
Stop a breakaway.

I was skeptical at first. Going with a tandem of 22 year old Jon Quick and 26 year old Erik Ersberg was a bold move by the Kings... a move that can work out for the teams that have the guts to do it. But the Kings franchise has never been about taking this huge step... it's always been about trading for "stop-gap" goaltenders. Now the Kings are moving forward with 2 of their own... Quick drafted in the 3rd round in 2005 and Ersberg signed as an entry-level free agent in 2007. Jon Quick impressed tonight. He was solid in a way that LaBarbera never could be. Plus he stopped the Flyers both on a penalty shot and in the shootout. And he made an unbelievable stop on a wraparound attempt from NHL goal leader Jeff Carter. He did the job that an elite NHL goaltender is supposed to do... he kept the team in the game.

Have you seen my offense?!?

Offense is the real concern right now for the Kings. But that is the tradeoff a team must make for improved defensive responsibilities... a lack of offensive opportunity. The Kings definitely got their chances tonight, but only Wayne Simmonds was able to score in regulation. Teddy Purcell looked very strong tonight, as he has over the past few games. Brian Boyle was a bit more physical in his return from Manchester and Alexander Frolov was invisible for most of the night. Putting back together the Kopitar, O'Sullivan, Brown line wasn't the answer for offense tonight. And Kyle Calder continues to skate on the 2nd line. Oscar Moller will be returning soon from the world juniors, so that could add another offensive player to the mix.

But here is the question to you loyal readers and Kings fans... do the Kings need to go out and trade for a top 6 forward? And if so... who should that player be? Is a dominate top 6 player even available? Are the Kings willing to lose a piece of their future to get close to that 8th playoff seed this year?

The trade deadline is March 4th, 2 months from today. Your move Dean Lombardi.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winter Classic Light

I'm a little late posting this, but Jason LaBarbera is 1-0 in 2009 as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Nashville Predators in one of the NHL games on New Year's Day that you probably didn't hear all that much about.

He's wearing his Kings pants and goalie gear.

Unless Jason goes 32-0 for the remainder of the season, I won't be writing about him all that much. But March 9th and 13th the Kings have a home and home series with Vancouver... and if Roberto Luongo's groin doesn't magically heal... LaBarbera should be in net.

I'm heading to the Flyers game tomorrow night and I can't wait to be back at Staples. It's been 2 1/2 weeks since I've been to a game... the downfalls of the Half Season Ticket Package. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy is still on the east coast, but he happens to be in a town that can receive the Flyers broadcast, so he'll be watching live on the East Coast. My brother will be taking his place.