Monday, December 14, 2009

Sellout Crowd

Well, the rumors from Eklund were true... The Royal Half is moving to the Bloguin group. It seems there is a need for sarcastic content about the Los Angeles Kings apparently. Come check us out at our new home...

Please, please let me know if you have troubles with the new site.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I don't know what makes me happier with this image above. The team at the top... or the team at the bottom. It doesn't matter that it's the same amount of points as the San Jose Sharks... on December 13th, 2009... the Los Angeles Kings are in first place in the Western Conference. At the end of the 2008 NHL season... the Kings were 2nd to last. That's quite a 3 year rebuilding plan, huh GM Dean Lombardi?

"I warned you guys... we hit first place... you get noogies!"

Kings 3, Stars 2, Kings Fans, Elated

A solid effort by the Los Angeles Kings. They look tired out there... they looked over matched... but they found a way to win. They played another solid defensive game and once again, goaltender Jon Quick kept them in it. Oh, and look who got his swagger back?

#11 is just 1st twice.

With the news that Wayne Simmonds was injured and going to be out for at least this game, Coach Murray once again was forced to juggle his lines to find the right combination. And that means Teddy Purcell, with 1 goal in his last 28 games found his way back onto the top line. And the other line that was created for most of the 3rd period was Alexander Frolov, Michal Handzus and Oscar Moller... I kinda love the idea of this line.

"Awww, man! THIS is the season I'm going to get traded?
Shark farts!

Tonight was "LA Dodger Night with the Kings" at Staples Center. I don't know about you, but when I think of baseball... I think of cold, cloudy nights spent in Downtown Los Angeles.

You can almost smell the grass...
... being smoked in all the artist lofts.

I'm all for team pride in Los Angeles... and if any two sports are going to come together... I'm glad it's baseball and hockey. Because I hate basketball and I especially hate the Lakers. I guess having Dodger Legend (?) Eric Karros drop the first puck tonight was payback for this guy throwing out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium over the summer.

How can a guy look so cool in one uniform
and so dorky in another?

But people don't realize that there has been a long tradition of Dodgers and Kings coming together in the Los Angeles community. And the LA Kings website has the AMAZING pictures to prove it!

Greatest. Photo. Ever.

The Bulldog signing autographs at the Great Western Forum.
If you squint your eyes, you may see your author way in the back as a 12 year old.

Not really a stretch as Shawn Green did start out playing for Toronto.

I kinda want to frame this and put it on my office wall.

So how do the Kings honor the long tradition of winning baseball in Los Angeles? WITH ICE GIRLS WEARING DODGER T-SHIRTS!

And Dodger caps too.

The worst part about this promotion was that the Ice Girls only wore the t-shirts and hats for the 2nd period. By the 3rd period, they had slipped back into something more comfortable.

And tonight, our lucky section even was visited by one of these Space Age Santas and their little elf... bringing the row in front of us what everyone wants for Christmas... Popcornopolis!

"I said who wants some chocolate drizzled popcorn, bitches!"

The newest nominee for worst job ever... the Ice Girl Elf Helper.

Hate to rain on the first place party too quickly but huge news for the Kings came out after this exciting game. Royal Half favorite, Battle of California favorite and the 2nd best Wayne to ever play for the Kings, Wayne Simmonds (sorry Wayne McBean!), is heading under the knife for some surgery on the meniscus in his left knee.

This is a HUGE loss for the Los Angeles Kings. If Simmonds was playing this well over the past few weeks with this type of injury... I can only imagine how much better he can get. Oh and what else? Ryan Smyth is not available for the 3 game Canadian road trip this week... but should return to the Kings lineup at home on December 26th. Finally.

This is the Los Angeles Kings curse. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I have seen it before. Just when the Kings get rocking with overall play... they get decimated by injuries. The Kings have played amazingly well during the absence of players like Ryan Smyth and Rob Scuderi. But the Kings will miss what Wayne Simmonds brings every night... and I'll miss seeing this guy out there each night.

Oh I'll be back... and I'll be badder than ever.

Sunday is an off day for the Kings and then it's time for the players to put on their toques and head up north to Canada... America's Largest National Forest... for 3 tough games in 4 nights against Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Let's see what this first place team is made of. Damn, it feels weird to say that.

A Long December: Take 2

Normally, December in Los Angeles is something you live for. It hovers around 65 degrees and most years it's sunny on Christmas Morning. Sure, sure... my friends from the East Coast always complain about the lack of snow and how it just feels weird shopping for presents without it being cold and I think about how people I know in New York have to shovel snow out of their driveway to get to work in the morning... mainly I think about this with my sunroof open as I drive to work.

For the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, December has been a month of horrors over the past few seasons. Let's go to the Sports Machine!

DEC 05 (aka the last season the Kings had an overall winning record for the NHL season)

DEC 06

DEC 07

DEC 08

As you can see the last few Decembers for the Kings have been much less Miracle on 34th Street and way more the story about Phoebe Cates' dad dying in a chimney from Gremlins.

This December has been a different story for the Los Angeles Kings. So far, they are undefeated in regulation and have points in all December games for a record of 5-0-1. Does this mean they are destined for the playoffs? No, anything can change, just ask the 2003-2004 Los Angeles Kings team that was all set for the playoffs and then lost 11 straight to end the season. Thanks, Anson Carter!

Tonight, the Kings take on the Dallas Stars at home. The Stars are coming off an 11 round shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks last night. And I'm just going to go ahead and say it... if the Kings win tonight, they'll be tied for first in the Pacific Division. In December.

Check out the always awesome Defending Big D and The Other 6 Seconds for all your news, notes and predictions of all things Dallas Stars. Man, I hate the Dallas Stars. And I hate Turco.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Twenty Spot

I encourage you, Royal Half reader, to find the NHL pre-season prediction article that has the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes battling it out in December in a match-up of 2 of the NHL's hottest teams. The Coyotes, who have been living out the real life story of the classic motion picture, Major League, came into this game winners of 5 straight. While the Los Angeles Kings were coming off points in 6 straight games. Go ahead, look it up... not Wyshynski, not Mirtle, even yours truly had them barely making the playoffs. What does this all mean? This is why we love professional sports. Because you can do all the research, crunch all the stats, go to all the practices... and you still have no clue that on December 11, 2009... your favorite team is 1 point out of first place.

Yeah, I'd say that was a major improvement.

Kings 3, Coyotes 2, Losing Franchises Elsewhere, A Glimmer of Hope

This was another excellent game. You didn't have to be a fan of either of these teams to enjoy the amazing goaltending and defensive play of both opponents. It's just so fun to watch Los Angeles Kings hockey right now as the team is firing on all cylinders... and doing it without Ryan Smyth. As a fan, and especially as a season ticket holder (even a Half Season Ticket Holder) the greatest reward is sticking with a team through thick and thin so that one day you see it all come together. Right now, it is all coming together for this team. I mean, I know it's only early December but check out this IM conversation between myself and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy after the San Jose game.

I'm the little crown. There is no way Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy would cry.
He's too much of a man.

GM Dean Lombardi has molded this team in his own image, given them an identity and allowed them to excel. The only question now is who will he pick up later in the season to really push these guys over the edge. I mean, how can you not love a team that has this on their 4th line?

"Hey, Teddy... it only took me 5 games to score. Suck it."

"Act like you been there before, Oscar."

Lil' Swedish Scamp, Oscar Moller, had a great goal tonight on an even better pass from Wayne Simmonds. Over at Battle of California, RudyKelly is having a great debate about his nickname "MeatTrain" for Wayne Simmonds. While I love this nickname, I suggest a new one for the 21 year-old 3rd line winger... "Midas." Because from Alexander Frolov to Scott Parse to Oscar Moller... everything this kid touches turns to muthafuckin' gold.

Oh right, he already won gold in 2008 as a junior.

The 5-4 shootout in San Jose on Wednesday may not show it, but ever since Rob Scuderi has returned to the Kings lineup, their defense has been stellar. And last night, Coach Murray decided to dress 7 defensemen in order to give them a bit of rest throughout the game. It seemed to work.

The newest award-winning drama from AMC.... "D Men."

But the biggest news last night was the triumphant return of Kings sideline reporter Heidi Androl to the Fox Sports West HD airwaves. In all honesty, I'm really proud of their decision to not suspend Heidi because of her pending DUI arrest. When it comes to the media, people can be crucified for bad decisions, but it's nice to know that Fox Sports West HD has Androl's back. Did someone say Androl's back?!?

I promise to be good.

The Kings have done a few "Spotlight" nights on different players throughout the season and tonights one was on Kings forward and former supermodel dater, Jarret Stoll. Heidi took a tour of the new home that Stoll is building in... guess where? Manhattan Beach. Did you know that Stoll currently lives with Brad Richardson and Teddy Purcell. I bet those are some fun friday nights! I call first game on Xbox!

So, yeah I play hockey.

Oh, Jarret... you are SO funny!

Jarret took Heidi on a VIP tour of his new home showing off some of the challenges that go into building a home from scratch.

Man, Coach Murray's power play diagrams are intense.

Stoll also showed off his soon-to-be new pool. But with all that rain last night in LA, I could only think about Poltergeist.

A real Canadian would have built a backyard rink.

This was a real life construction site... people are working 24 hours a day to build Jarret Stoll's new home. I'm sure being a pro athlete and potentially having fans working at your house all the time can be difficult.

"I still can't believe we traded Visnovsky for this guy."

And then Stoll pulled a move that I'm sure he's pulled countless times before in his young life... he brought the chick upstairs.

"Yeah, I just want to show you my trophies. Right this way."

Also, throughout the night during the celebration of all things Jarret Stoll, they showed pictures of him playing hockey as a child. But I'm not sure how this current photo of Oscar Moller snuck in.

This game truly had everything... even a surprise celebrity guest at the end!

Hey guys, remember me! I'm the reason this team was doing so well!
Oh... right. See ya soon?

Check out the awesome HipChecks and Five For Howling for all things Phoenix (and eventually Quebec) related. The Kings take on the Dallas Stars Saturday night at Staples and Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I will be there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Drought Resistant

Wow. What a game. Those were two elite NHL teams out there on the ice in San Jose tonight and it's still hard to believe that the Los Angeles Kings are one of them. The Kings skated up and down the rink with the Sharks all game long and saved one of their best efforts for this important matchup. The Kings are playing with incredible confidence right now... how confident are they?

The Kings are so confident, they can blow snot rockets while they celebrate a goal being scored.
Stay classy, Randy Jones!

Coach Murray rolled the dice on this one by dusting off Kings backup goaltender Erik Ersberg and throwing him into a game against the NHL's #2 overall team. Sure, Coach Murray's reasoning was sound enough... he felt that the more important game is Thursday's game at home against Phoenix... but even Erik Ersberg was surprised by the decision to start him tonight.

"I'm starting against whom?
Shouldn't we wait until we play Edmonton?"

But lil' Erik Ersberg played his heart out tonight. Throwing himself in front of everything the Sharks came at him with... and the Sharks came at him strong and often the entire game, taking 34 shots against the young Swede. Ersberg did his job... he made the saves when he needed to and kept the Kings close. Sure that Manny Malhotra goal was one he should have saved... but who gives a shit... the Kings beat the Sharks!

"Could you get Quick's autograph for me? My kid loves him."

The Royal Half Whipping Boy™ Teddy Purcell came out of his shell tonight with a beautiful power play goal, thus justifying Coach Murray keeping him in the lineup during a 27 game goalless streak. Purcell was pretty much the only dude not named Scuderi or O'Donnell to not score in the last 27 games.

"Okay, I finally scored one. So you said you'd give me Rachel Hunter's number.

As a fan of a team, you always hope that your best players will step up in a big game. And by step up, I mean break a 14 game goal scoreless streak. Welcome back to the NHL, Anze Kopitar. You want to see what the exhale of a deep sigh of relief looks like in Slo-Mo?

Oh thank god.

Kopitar's goal was off a beautiful pass from newly 20-Year-Old, Drew Doughty. This was one of Doughty's best games yet. I have a question to the hockey world... when do we start talking about Drew Doughty as a potential Norris Trophy candidate? Cause he's kinda leading NHL defensemen with 8 goals.

From Prince to King is the wrong analogy. It sells Drew too short.
How about "From King to Atilla the Hun."

That 3rd period was quite a doozy with enough back and forth play from both teams to make your hair turn blue.

Must be the San Jose player's wives section.

And the 3rd period was a perfect time for Fox Sports West HD to unveil their latest breakthrough in television advertising... covering the lower half of the screen with an ad!

Hmm... I wonder if Drew Doughty gets a discount?

And then, wouldn't you know it, with Teddy Purcell and Anze Kopitar breaking their futility streaks... Captain Dustin Brown just wanted to get in on the action a little bit with this game-winning goal, his first in 15 games.

Sure, Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was definitely off his game tonight and really didn't look solid at all. But the Kings took advantage of that and won the game. Want to know what it looks like when a young team that is having fun wins? It looks like this:

I mean how could any Kings fan in their right minds not be happy with this game?

Maybe it's because they didn't make the Ice Girls?

Check out the great Fear the Fin and Couch Tarts and see if they say "shit... the Kings are finally good." Thought this was an important game? Well, Thursday at Staples Center, the Phoenix Coyotes come into town a mere 4 points behind the Los Angeles Kings. Michal Handzus... I believe it's your turn!

Wow... this graphic was from 5 games ago... and they didn't even include Teddy Purcell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flame Retardant

The Los Angeles Kings had not beat the Calgary Flames since February 15th of 2008. For the hockey layman... 1 time in their last 11 meetings. The Kings once again did not bring their best game... but they still walked away with a victory. Having Rob Scuderi back in the lineup made a big difference on defense as Scuderi and Matt Greene did a great job of smothering the Flames and preventing any real offense from the team. And young goaltender Jon Quick hands-down had his best game of the season. He out-Kiprusoff'd Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Don't believe me? Then check out this save.

Kings 2, Calgary Flames 1

This night featured a couple great highlights... the kind of highlights that would be on Sportscenter...if Sportscenter still featured hockey nightly. Kings rookie Scott Parse now has 11 points in 21 games and 9 points in his last 9 games. And last night... he scored one of the prettiest goals of the Kings season.

Not sure if I'd describe Scott Parse as "lanky."

With leading scorer (and former NHL league leader) Anze Kopitar now scoreless in 13 straight games, just try to imagine where the Kings would be without Scott Parse, Wayne Simmonds and Michal Handzus. I love watching this line play every night and with Coach Murray making incredibly quick line changes last night, even Murray seemed eager to get that line out as much as possible.

It may have taken you 5 years, Scooter Parse... but welcome to the NHL.

As far as Teddy Purcell and PurcellWatch '09?

Teddy Purcell had 09:45 minutes on the ice and newly bearded Oscar Moller had 06:52. Moller still gets pushed around out there, much more than Purcell does, but his potential offensive upside seems to excite Kings fans much, much more than Purcell's can. Well at least the fans that showed up to this game.

Pleeeeenty of good seats available.

The LA Times might be worried about the lack of attendance at Kings' home games... but last night was the first game all season I felt like the arena was empty. I mean... a Monday night home game against a team from Calgary when it's close to freezing outside doesn't bring in the crowds? Bah! It sucks that more people weren't there last night because they missed the new space-aged Santa costumes on the Kings Ice Crew.

They should just go ahead and wear these year round.

And since it is the holiday season, the Team LA store was busting out some great holiday gifts for Kings fans of all ages.

It's a former King Michael Cammalleri power bracelet!
This bracelet proves that you are tall enough for rides at Disneyland.

If you watching you money this holiday season then check out this heavily discounted lovely bobblehead.

If you push the button on the base it goes:

There was a lot of talk last night around the arena from fans about the recent legal troubles and subsequent absence of Kings sideline reporter Heidi Androl from the game last night. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I thought it strange that Rich Hammond had made no mention of the arrest. We got into a discussion of just how "free" Hammond was to report on Kings coming and goings. Well after the game, Hammond threw this into his post-game notes:

"Heidi Androl, who does on-camera work for the Kings on TV and online, did not work Monday. She was arrested early Monday morning, reportedly for suspicion of driving under the influence."

I certainly DO NOT want the Kings Insider to turn into a gossip blog. There are plenty of other blogs for that. But I do think it is important for the Kings organization to acknowledge what happened... even if they get into all the details. I didn't watch the game on Fox Sports West... but I can only assume that Heidi was not a part of the broadcast. Because she sure wasn't on the ice for her traditional post-game interview with the games' first star.

Your post-game interview with the Kings' #1 star of the game... now 150% less sexier.
Who knew that Patrick O'Neal had such a wicked bald spot?!

A nice victory against the Calgary Flames puts the Los Angeles Kings in a 3-way tie for 3rd in the Western Conference. 3 big games all in a row coming up this week... San Jose on the road Wednesday, Phoenix at home on Thursday and Dallas at home on Saturday. Those are 6 possible Pacific Division points at play. It's almost mid-December and these games mean something. It's the greatest gift a Kings fan could get.