Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Old Gray Lady

When I set out to start this blog just about a year ago, I had one goal in mind. No, it wasn't to provide witty analysis and hilarious screencaps of the inner workings of the Los Angeles Kings. (although that has been a great bonus) No... my goal... as it is with any hockey blogger that sets out to put their thoughts on their favorite team to an internet bulletin board for a handful of people to read... was to make it into the New York Times. And that goal, my friends, has been achieved.

Ha-ha-ha! He is right! Heidi Androl is so ridiculous!

I was asked by the awesome Slap Shot Blog at the New York Times.com to be the Los Angeles Kings voice for their Hockey Night in Blogdom series. So, here it is... the Western Conference preview. With a special appearance by yours truly.

In other, less cool news... the Los Angeles Kings have set their roster for the 2009-2010 NHL season.

Doughty - Doughty - Doughty
Doughty - Doughty - Doughty
Doughty - Doughty - Doughty
Doughty - Harrold - Doughty

Doughty - Doughty
Doughty - Doughty
Doughty - Doughty

That's right. The Kings are going on all-out blitz to make 19-year-old Drew Doughty the NHL's most marketable player. Okay, fine... here is the real line-up:

Smyth - Kopitar - Williams
Purcell - Stoll - Brown
Frolov - Handzus - Simmonds
Ivanans - Lewis - Harrold
Richardson/Clune (IR)

O'Donnell - Doughty
Johnson - Scuderi
Drewiske - Greene


Of course, this won't be the opening night line-up due to O'Donnell's suspension, but this is pretty much the team you'll be looking at all season. Until Frolov gets traded.

Yup, it's gonna happen Kings fans.

Is there an NHL player with worse luck than Richard Clune? (Hmm, I can think of one.) Last preseason, he impresses the management and then suffers a freak chest bone breaking incident during a fight. This year, he impresses again and then suffers a groin pull and now will start the season on the sidelines.

Just a quick stretch to the right and OH MY GOD THE PAIN!! NOT AGAIN!! WHY MEEEEE!?! WHY!

It's a shame because Clune seems like a great little agitator, something the Kings have been missing since they parted ways with fashion icon Sean Avery. As I look over this line-up it's hard to not be pleased with it. It's a good mixture of scoring potential and solid defense. That 3rd line of Frolov, Handzus and Simmonds will be definitely one to watch this year as I feel Simmonds is ready to "tear shit up" in the NHL this season.

NHL... get ready to be my bitch.

And the other thing I look at with this roster is the lack of that one player that all you do is make fun of. (Although Rudy Kelly at BOC makes a great case for one player.) Last year you could take your pick... Calder, Gauthier, LaBarbera. Since, I'm actually the one Kings fan who enjoys watching Peter Harrold play, I guess for me, this year it's gonna be Brad Richardson. But I'll reserve my judgment till opening night. Which is in 4 freakin' days!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009


It's a new season at The Royal Half and this year we are going to have giveaways just like the Los Angeles Kings do!

Worst. Giveaway. Ever.

So we are going to start this season off right and introduce the first ever FoxyTone!

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

That's right... it's a ring tone made up of Jim Fox's favorite phrase... WHOOA! Sure this may not be every WHOOA that Foxy said last season... but it's enough to wow your friends and family every time you get a call on your hot celly.

In the immortal words of Keanu Reeves... WHOOA!

So here it is as a download for your iPhone as a ringtone. Or for you people stuck in the 90's here is a MP3. Collect and trade!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tipped Off!!!

Of all the unemployed Head Coaches, in all the NHL, in all the divisions, he comes back to mine.

Today, the no-name coach of the Phoenix Coyotes stepped down and in his place, Dave Tippett is returning to the Pacific Division... after not even being unemployed for a full NHL summer.

Yes, this is a photo from a professional sports league.
Yes, that is a smiling whale on his left shoulder.

My man-crush on Dave Tippett has been documented on this blog before... fired in June after leading the Dallas Stars to a 271-156-59 record in six seasons and two division titles, Dave Tippett has returned to torment me and the Kings... even if he is coaching that train wreck of a franchise formerly known as the Winnipeg Jets.

Yeah, I don't think this is really working out.

It's no surprise that Wayne Gretzky stepped down today. The fiasco that has been going on in Phoenix over the past few months is just the first of what could happen in all the pro sports leagues in the post-economic crash world, not just the NHL. This will be the first season in the NHL that the true affects of people not spending money will be felt and in truth, there are just some teams that shouldn't be operating. Relocation will probably be the answer for this team but it really should be contraction. The Coyotes made all the wrong decisions... from putting their arena in a part of town that hockey fans weren't willing to drive to... to bonehead free agent signings and trades that have kept the team from winning for 10 years. If the team wins... it stays. Everyone loves a winner. But now, this team will probably play out its last season in the desert and then head east. Somewhere in Canada would be the best economic answer... but the NHL is too idiotic to let it be that easy. No, they will probably force the team to move to Kansas City or now maybe the Pacific Northwest... where it will be another 10 year project that is doomed to fail. It's a sad fate for a franchise that once had a great logo.

I really don't care where the Coyotes move to... as long as it's out of the Pacific and they take Dave Tippett and his power play mastery with them. Check out the great coverage of the Tippett hire and the Gretzky fire (step down, rather) over at Five For Howling. So Tippett returns to the Pacific AND we have to play 6 games against this assclown who is now coaching in Dallas.

In either an awesome coincidence or the greatest programming move ever... the NHL Network is showing the 1985 Oilers-Jets playoff series tonight. Gretzky vs the Winnipeg Jets. I love it.

October 3rd can't get here soon enough.

Jamaican Me Crazy!

Well, I just returned from a 5 day trip to Jamaica where I was able to rest and relax after a long summer of working my real job.

This is as close to Jamaican Ice Hockey as you are going to find.

As I suspected, the Los Angeles Kings continued to play their pre-season games even though I was out of town and for the first time in a long while... it seems like the Kings have their first 3 lines all set. Especially their top line of Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams. This trio has 8 points in 8 pre-season games and gives the Los Angeles Kings the possibility of a dominant first line that hasn't been seen since the days of the LAPD Line.

Not that LAPD line!

No, I'm talking about the line of Jason Allison, Ziggy Palffy and Adam Deadmarsh that lit up the NHL for one glorious season. That was the last time the Kings had a bonafide first line and the last time they made the playoffs. No offense to the recent first line of Brown, Kopitar & O'Sullivan... but these players were definite first liners.

Now Dean Lombardi is hoping his acquisition of Jason Williams and Ryan Smyth pays off in some chemistry with Anze Kopitar. Smyth is on the downside of his career, but has consistently been a first line player. Williams is full of potential... the only limit to him is how he rebounds from some big injuries the last few seasons. If these 3 can get going as a first line... the only real challenge will be coming up with a name for them.

How about the "Only a Face a Mother Could Love" Line?

Finally, I want to put one rumor to rest... I have not been asked by the Daily News to take over for Rich Hammond when he leaves to blog for the Kings. Even though Eklund has it at an e12. Many congrats to Rich for making this move and he has assured his readers that the Kings will not be censoring his reports. But before all you nerd hockey bloggers out there feel like blogging for an NHL team would be the next logical step for you after having a Blogspot site... please remember that Rich Hammond worked at an actual newspaper (even if it was the Daily News) for over 10 years and is a seasoned sports reporter. It's not like the Kings emailed me and said "hey dipshit, awesome screenshot of Heidi Androl... wanna come blog for us?" But that would be awesome if they did.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ad Wizards

With the start of a new NHL season rapidly approaching, the ad wizards of AEG have taken to the streets to sell this product known as "the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Kings." It looks like we are entering year 2 of the relatively unknown Einstein equation "Pride=Passion=Power." At least they are sticking with it for more than one year in a row... anyone remember the multitude of slogans the team has had over the past few years? Serious Hockey. Play Hard. We Play For LA. We are the Kings. Kings Rule.

As Don Draper would say, there is truth in advertising. AEG should just be honest and have the tagline "this could possibly/maybe/better be the year... that we make the playoffs."

This is the closest image I could find to Don Draper on ice.

Over the past few weeks I've noticed more and more ads around Los Angeles for the Kings. The Kings may be a small time ticket in the big LA Sports market... but that doesn't mean that can't afford one of them fancy electronic billboard thingys.

Look ma! We on TV! Kinda.

What's that you say? Getting hit by Jack Johnson is like having a bus run over you? Well now's your chance!

Look, I'm sorry my iphone doesn't have a zoom.
But trust me, it's freakin' Jack Johnson on the back of a bus.

Jack Johnson is starting to blow up as a marketable player. Check out this commercial that he appears in for a millisecond. But he's rockin' the old school crown.

It's like when J.S. Aubin was in that AMP commercial a few years ago. What marketing executive is sitting around and says "GET ME JACK JOHNSON AND GET HIM NOW!"

But then yesterday, I was driving in Silverlake on Santa Monica Blvd and I saw this on the side of a building:

Now that is a cool fucking poster. That is a poster I would want for myself. Even if they did have to lighten up Kopitar's tinted visor. (Yeah, that's right, your most marketable player basically wears sunglasses every game. Really helpful for selling identity.)

Ugh, you are always covering your eyes. You have such beautiful eyes!

Oh, and of course. In true Hollywood fashion, the Kings are "launching" a new commercial on Monday for the upcoming season. And in true self-absorbed Hollywood fashion... they created a behind-the-scenes for the commercial.

Sadly, this isn't even the best commercial in the Pacific Division. That honor comes from our rivals up north... the San Jose Sharks.

I'm off for a little R&R for 5 days to a far away land where hockey and hockey coverage does not exist. So hopefully nothing crazy will be going on with the Kings till I get back next Wednesday, like them trading Doughty or Oscar Moller and Raitis Ivanans getting into a fight.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Training Camp 09: Day One and Only

Training Camp is a lot like the "Deleted Scenes" feature of a DVD... you get excited about watching them at first... but then you realize there is a reason that scenes are deleted from a film... they usually suck. So as I was driving down to El Segundo to watch my first Los Angeles Kings training camp since the Gretzky years... I had visions of fireworks, dancing girls and an all night party going on in my head. But once I arrived and checked out Training Camp... I remembered that it is pretty much like this:

"and now the right leg for 45 seconds..."

Since I am currently "funemployed" and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy is his own boss... we decided to check out the training camp sessions Wednesday morning. And all we saw was this:

Ever since I broke up with Rachel...
I don't feel like I can skate with anyone.

That's right, we saw 27 year old arthritis sufferer, Jarret Stoll, skating by his lonesome out on the ice. In a way... this was probably a good thing as Stoll hasn't participated much in camp and seeing him out skating was a move in the right direction. But I will say... when you google image search "arthritis sufferer"... this is the first thing that comes up:

Not exactly my idea of a 2nd line center.

So after Stoll used his walker to get off the ice, out came the 1st group for Training Camp... now was our chance to see Ryan Smyth, Rob Scuderi, Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar and the rest of the "young gun" Kings... up close and personal.

Hmm, these are all high jersey numbers and I'm not seeing "94" anywhere around them.

That's right, I sat in traffic on the 110 and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy left work early so we could check out Group B! Or as I like to call them "all the guys that were going to be cut or sent back to Juniors by the end of the day." Actually, this was a great opportunity to see all of the young promising skaters with big potential in the organization... and to also see Kevin Westgarth.

Oh my lord... Westgarth is a douche. He is the kind of player that annoys the fuck out of you when you play with them. Little to no actual talent... but first guy to say "come on, boys!" and yell motivation towards you during drills. Maybe it's because Kevin was the most experienced NHL player on the ice during this session (unless you count Scott Parse who was drafted in 2004... has this guy been a prospect for like 5 years now?).

So ignoring Westgarth... there were some impressive players out on the ice. Juraj Mikus looked very solid in controlling the puck. Brayden Schenn looked worthy of being a first round draft pick. Justin Azevedo had the passion (and size) of Cammalleri in him.

But a couple others stood out... for not-so-good reasons: Andrew Campbell is tall and lanky... but not much else. And I had high hopes to see Colton Teubert out there... but he seemed outmatched each shift. Except when he went against Westgarth. And Jeff Zatkoff looked like he was ready to continue the Kings tradition of shitty goaltenders.

Also, it seems that the Kings organization had a hard time trying to remember which hemisphere they were in... so they had jackets created for their coaching staff (this was also discovered by the great Rudy Kelly in the comments over at BoC):

LA Kings. Western. Hockey. (Not Eastern)

The session ended and we headed out. Sure, it would have been cool to stick around for the next session with the real pros... but we'll watch them in 2 weeks when it counts. But we did get to see the re-retiring of the jerseys of a couple of Kings legends:

It was incredibly rude. None of the players stood and tapped their sticks as the Jerseys of Rogie Vachon and Wayne Gretzky went back up on the wall after being sent out for dry-cleaning. By the way... if anyone knows which dry cleaner they took these to, let me know, I need to get my over sized Chris Kontos and Todd Elik jerseys cleaned up... but only at a place that is Eco-Friendly!

This was a good warm up for me and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy as we polished up our uncanny ability to make jokes at the expense of the players of the Los Angeles Kings. But as I was walking out the door to head home... I saw the biggest joke of all:

Oh, Jamie Storr, the #7 overall pick of the 1994 draft. I always wondered what happened to you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photo Day

It's the first day of training camp! And what better symbolizes the start to the fresh, clean slate of an NHL season like some really goofball photos of your favorite players? From Puck Daddy came these gems:

Hey, what's up... I'm Dustin.

Dustin Brown's Team USA publicity photo

His audition for the role of Andy Dufresne in "Shawshank: The Musical!"

Your 2009-2010 Los Angeles Kings Captain.

And then this morning, in a Helene Elliot article about Kings Saviour Goaltender, Jon Quick, this beauty was featured:

The Boy in the Striped Goalpads

That's right, an article about the emergence of Quick as the Kings #1 goaltender going into training camp and we are treated to a photo that displays Quick as the shy nervous kid who never gets picked to play kickball and would rather hang out underneath the bleachers. I'm just glad to see that Jon Quick has really matured over the off-season... he looks much older than last season.

So your captain and your goaltender. One is 24, one is 23. Both get ID'd where ever they go to drink. It's a young team this year Kings fans.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Complete Bull

Sometimes I can't stand the internet. And with Twitter and Hockey Rumor Mongering... I hate it even more. Check out this monstrosity from one of my favorite go-to hockey sites, Kukla's Korner:

But wait... there's more....

I love Kukla's and I don't blame them for this at all, they are just reporting it. But seeing it all laid out like that is ridiculous. It all starts with a fucking twitter post (from John Buccigross!) and explodes into a full-on ESPN.com article about how this trade is a go. Thank god Sheriff Dean Lombardi is there to be able to call this trade what it really is... complete bull.

Do I look like I'm fucking kidding?

This trade makes no sense. Sure Marleau is a Lombardi guy. Dean drafted him and Marleau played under him for 6 years. But would the San Jose Sharks really trade their former captain and one of their best players to a division rival? And would Dean really take on a 29 year old with a 6 million dollar cap hit who will be a Free Agent at the end of the season? Even if the Kings re-signed Marleau to a new contract... there goes the money to keep Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson and Jon Quick and Wayne Simmonds around. Marleau would be the #1 center the Kings have been looking for... and with Stoll going the other way (at least to Canada) could you imagine how great Anze Kopitar would be without the pressure of having to be the #1 center? Hmm, I'm starting to like this trade.

No... are you serious? I'm going back to Canada?
But the waitresses are WAY hotter in LA.

But Frolov is the problem with this trade. One of the major storylines for The Royal Half this season will be tracking Alexander Frolov. He is an UFA and is due a big payday... and probably not with the Kings. But trading him now makes no sense. Especially for a player that will be in the EXACT same situation with free agency at the end of the year. Besides, with Frolov gone...the Kings are back to square one with scoring wingers. Is Ted Purcell really going to be able to step in and take the place of 30 goals this season... no.

In a few hours this trade will probably go down and I'll look like an idiot. But the fact that some jerkoff posts a "tweet" that so and so is going to so and so... and then it gets picked up as a major news story... that's just idiotic. Everyone is trying to outscoop each other. But that's the new NHL... in terms of reporting. It just shows you how great Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings is in terms of having all the facts before reporting them. I used to really enjoy reading John Buccigross... but then I realized I only liked him because he was the one personality at ESPN that actually liked hockey. His columns bore me now and instead of posting twitters that drive hockey fans crazy... he should just spend his time thinking of some clever song lyrics to feature in his latest NHL preview.

Be sure to check out Fear the Fin for your Sharks perspective... they have been doing a great job of providing all the coverage of this crazy trade.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Holy Shit!!!

Training camp starts this Sunday, the 13th! In fact, Rookie camp has already started. After a long and much needed summer slumber... The Royal Half is ready to launch back into its in-depth and patented "Los Angeles Kings Hockey Coverage."

How I spent my summer... in hockey pajamas and carrying a stick.

First off, Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I did renew our seats for the 8th straight season (I count the lockout since we put money down for that year) and we are keeping the same great seats we've had for the past 7 non-playoff years.

But the biggest news of the summer has been the introduction of High Definition into TRH World Headquarters... that's right, I finally bought an HDTV.

I asked for the large one.

I've usually been on the forefront of gadgets and technology, but over the past few years, I've sat quietly by as I've watched most of my friends (and parents!) upgrade to HD. When the question came up "why don't you have an HDTV?" I dug my heels in the sand and proclaimed "not until the Los Angeles Kings are broadcast in HD!" And I continued to wait patiently... as the WNBA broadcast in HD, as the XGames broadcast in HD, as Paris Hilton's My New BFF broadcast in HD...

Just another night of watching pre-HDTV at The Royal Half headquarters.

But this summer... everything changed. Turns out that all of the Los Angeles Kings games for the 2009-2010 season will be broadcast in HD. So naturally, I went out the next day and bought a HDTV. And it's been glorious... better than I could have ever imagined. Sure... watching baseball and football and tennis looks incredibly awesome in HD... but the real deal is hockey. And thankfully the NHL Network has been airing a 2009 HD playoff game each night at 10pm since I bought the television.

I cannot wait to see Ryan Smyth's mullet in glorious HD.

So season tickets... check. Over-sized HD television... check. So what is left for the upcoming NHL season? Oh right... a hockey team!

I'm going to save my Season Preview for when we are closer to the opening faceoff... but it's safe to say that for any Los Angeles Kings fan... this is the season we've been waiting for. No one is thinking Stanley Cup... this season is all about getting that 7th/8th playoff seed. And I'm sure the players have been spending all summer getting serious about making the playoffs.

Ladies and Gentlemen... your starting goalie and top 2 defensemen.

Not exactly the summer training program I think Dean Lombardi has in mind. But at least the veterans have been working hard. Or at least they are just exhausted from showing Ryan Smyth around.

Worst American Idol Audition ever.

The first pre-season game is 2 weeks from yesterday. Opening night is 3 weeks from this Saturday. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Oh and apparently the Kings had some sort of festival last weekend celebrating hockey. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I had no desire to go check it out... at all. It's kinda like how we aren't big jersey wearing guys either. We just care about what happens on the ice. Besides... it doesn't look like we missed anything cool.