Monday, September 5, 2011

I've Moved so Change Your Feed!

With the 2011-2012 season approaching I have decided to re-brand my blog. This blog has moved to:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No, Not Simmonds!

I shed a tear today when I saw this photo of the new Flyers in those awful orange jerseys.

photo sent to me by Connie. Actual source: ?

No...not Simmonds...
And why is Schenn smiling so hard?
Voracek still only knows how to say "Hi, my name is Jakub" in English.

So, where is the fancy press conference and photo op with the new LA King, Mike Richards?  

Maybe once the Kings search party has finally found Dustin Penner
they'll then refocus their efforts to hunting down Richards.  
'Cause, ya know, the Kings could use some scoring next year.

I know, I know, I shouldn't complain.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Great Crosby Debate

Hermano here.

[Edited on 06/09 due to mi Hermana's superior memory - for the record, she smoked me every single time we played that ridiculous game Memory when we were kids.]

My law school friend has a blog about the Kings and, being a relatively new fan to hockey, wondered why people either hated or loved Sidney Crosby. She solicited people to write for or against Crosby. After reading the first two submissions, I felt compelled to respond.

Read the first pro-Crosby entry HERE.

Read the next anti-Crosby entry HERE.

Here is my response:


Debating about Crosby is like debating about cats: you either love cats or you hate them. People either love Crosby or they absolutely despise him. I certainly don’t love Crosby, but I definitely don’t despise him. This is my submission for the pro-Crosby camp.

Let’s start by saying that I am a Kings fan and do not own, nor have I ever owned, a single piece of Pittsburgh Penguins memorabilia. (In my book, hockey cards are not “memorabilia” for purposes of this discussion. Therefore, my O-Pee-Chee Premier Jaromir Jagr rookie card, which is, sadly, the most valuable card in my antiquated collection, does not count.) I have never cheered for the Penguins, even as Jagr and his mullet were crushing it with Lemieux back in the early 90’s. Even as the Penguins were on the brink of beating the hated Red Wings in 2009. (Actually, I cheered when Fleury made that unbelievable save on Lidstrom to win the Cup – not because the Penguins won the Cup, but because it was the most clutch save I’ve ever seen in my life.)

So why am I in the pro-Crosby camp? Because every single hockey fan out there wishes his or her team would’ve drawn the Number One pick in the 2005 Draft, a.k.a., the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes. [1] In other words, every single hockey fan wishes Crosby played for his or her team. If not, they’re fucking lying.

Yeah sure, you’ll probably argue “I’d rather have Ovechkin than Crosby” on my team. But would you argue “I’d rather have Eric Staal than Crosby” or “I’d rather have Toews than Crosby”? Benoit Pouliot was still on the board. Hell, I’m a lifelong Kings fan and I’d trade Kopitar for Crosby (straight up) any fucking day of the week.

Would I do the same for Ovechkin? Probably not – the guy is one dimensional. Teams shut him down by limiting his shots on net and forcing him to pass – something that’s not in his nature. Apparently, the only way to shut down Crosby is to throw a blindside hit directly in his face. Don’t tell me Steckel’s hit wasn’t dirty – it’s the same hit that Torres slammed on Eberle, only Torres is a ginger and gingers deserve to get suspended. And don’t tell me you’d rather have “any other player than Crosby” playing for your team. Would you rather have Phil Fucking Kessel than Crosby?

People argue that Crosby isn’t tough. If this is your argument, then did you bitch back in the day (assuming you’re old enough to remember) when Gretzky was lighting up the NHL? Did you complain that Gretzky isn’t tough because he just cherry-picks the blue-line, he doesn’t hit anyone, and he doesn’t fight anyone? It pains me to state the obvious, but not every hockey player is put on the ice to start a scrap with someone.

Crosby haters like to argue that he showed his lack of toughness for not bouncing back after getting concussed back in January. Haters argue Crosby should’ve shaken off the cobwebs in his head and played the rest of the 2011 season. The fact is that Crosby got his shit rocked on January 1st and suited up for the next game four days later, only to get his face slammed into the glass, compounding his injury and forcing him to miss the rest of the season. If you argue that he should’ve toughed it out like Eric Lindros, then hear this: I guarantee Lindros can’t remember what he had for breakfast today, let alone anything that anyone might have said to him the day after Scott Stevens ended Lindros’ career. There’s a reason the NHL has been cracking down on headshots and teams are taking extreme precautionary measures for players dealing with concussions: SO THEY DON’T ALL END UP LIKE ERIC FUCKING LINDROS!

If I’m the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and I’m sitting on the billion dollar lottery ticket known as Sidney Crosby, I don’t care if Crosby is pointing a gun to my head and telling me he’s fine to play the rest of the season – I’m not risking it all just so that the face of the NHL can prove to his critics that he’s tough enough. I’m not sending him out there until I have every doctor in a 2,000 mile radius telling me that Crosby is 100% good to go. I’d be fine forfeiting one season in order to ensure many more seasons with Crosby. (Which is, apparently, what Pittsburgh smartly did.) It’s not like Crosby pulled a Jay Cutler and quit on his team during the biggest game of the season. [2]

You want to know the reason why I’m in the pro-Crosby camp? Because he’s a team player. There’s a great story in Gare Joyce’s incredible book Future Greats and Heartbreaks that I’d like to mention. Apparently Jonathan Toews[4] and a few of his junior hockey teammates were criticized for getting preferential treatment taking a chartered plane and getting comp’d a hotel while the rest of his team schlepped it out overnight on the team bus to the next event. When asked about it, Toews said he didn’t think twice about it and didn’t think it was a big deal. Joyce compared this to his dealings with Crosby (when he wrote his book on Crosby), saying Crosby would go out of his way to make sure that he never stood out above his teammates. When Crosby landed his enormous sponsorship deal with Reebok before he was drafted to the pros, he made sure the company outfitted his entire junior hockey team with new gear.

Yeah yeah, it’s just one story and with the money Crosby received from Reebok he could’ve bought a new plane for his junior hockey team instead of having them ride on a bus. We’re all suckers for feel-good stories and I’m no different. But we’re not talking about a lone story that deviates from the norm. Even during HBO’s coverage of the Winter Classic, there is no way a true hockey fan could dislike Crosby. I was prepared for a face-palm-worthy HBO dick-sucking fest of Crosby for four straight episodes – yet it never happened. The guy is the face of hockey for a reason: he’s not some stuck-up athlete clamoring about not hitting the incentives in his multimillion-dollar contract.

Why do I want Crosby to succeed (unless it’s at the expense of my Kings)? Because I love hockey. Anyone who can appreciate the game of hockey knows deep down that Crosby is one of the most skilled players to play the game in the last decade. He makes the game better in almost every way and hockey is better off with him around doing his thing. [3] He absolutely KILLED me when he scored that overtime goal against Ryan Miller in the Olympics. A piece of me died that afternoon. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to hate him for bringing America’s Hat a gold medal.

These days, when baseball is dealing with post-roid fallout, basketball players are ditching cities to create Voltron-esque squads, and football is about to miss a season because the owners love how much pie they’re eating, I’m fucking sick of the NHL staying the fourth most popular sport in America. I’ll gladly accept seeing Crosby’s mug and conquistador-esque moustache everywhere I go in order for hockey to be in the hearts of every American.

Much love till my next post.

[1] For you new hockey fans, the entire 2004-2005 NHL season was cancelled due to a lockout resulting from a labor dispute. NHL Entry Drafts are usually conducted by having the team with the worst record select first, and so on (although one team that didn’t make the playoffs in the prior season will win a lottery and move up four spaces) until the team who won the Cup picks last in the first round. Since not a single fucking game was played in 2004-2005, every team was given one to three balls based on prior playoff appearances and first round picks for the last three years prior. The balls were drawn to determine who would be picking first, second, third, etc. Therefore, every single team had a chance to win the first pick, i.e., Sidney Crosby.

[2] I should also note that I’m a huge Chicago Bears fan and did not appreciate Cutler’s mopeyness during the NFC Championship game.

[3] With the exception of diving, of course. But then again, all players have been known to take dives. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, DREW DOUGHTY!!!)

[4] Mi Hermana pointed out that it was Kane, not Toews, who took a plane (with Sam Gagner and other top prospects) for certain playoff games while the rest of the team rode the bus. Personally, I love Kane because he punches cabbies and apparently doesn't put up a big fight when ladies want to steal his shirt before taking pictures with him. But that's another post for another day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Game 6 Review Part I

The Kings are 0 for 2 in playoff series when The Briggs perform at home games.  Superstitious much?  Yes.

They're just taking up seats!  What a disgrace.

Do not ever allow The Briggs to perform at home playoff games.  This isn't Nashville.  We don't need live music before and during games.  We don't need a live faux punk band attempting to pump up the crowd.

Better Solution:
Do not ever play The Briggs song "This is LA" in relation to anything Kings related.  Also, get a new freaking team motto.  I'm sick and tired of seeing Pride = Passion = Power.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Very Superstitious...

Hermano here.

Yesterday I asked my buddy which team he considers his absolute "favorite" out of the "Big 4" sports (hockey, football, basketball, baseball). After thinking about it, he gave me his initial answer. I then told him about what I'm going to tell you, and then my buddy suddenly changed his answer to the L.A. Kings. What caused this reversal? Superstition and the ridiculous belief that ANYTHING we do as fans (aside from pulling a DeNiro in The Fan) has an effect on the outcome of a sports game.

Granted, I will accept the following arguments which thus form the exception to the above belief:

- Seattle Seahawks home games and the incredible number of false starts for the visiting teams
- Boise State's atrocious blue field and the fact that their home jerseys match the color of that "grass"
- UCSB Basketball games at The Thunderdome, where visiting teams are forced to endure insults from fans that are positioned right behind the bench, as well as forced to dodge flying tortillas

Other than those three scenarios (and to be honest the third one really isn't that big of a deal ever since UCSB lost their TV deal back in the day because of the flying tortillas and subsequent technical fouls assessed on our team), whether you cheer loudly at games and hurl insults at opposing players will generally have no outcome on the final score. Yet we still believe it does.

Similarly, whether I put on my left skate before my right skate before playing a hockey game should have absolutely no effect on the final score. But the truth is that I follow the exact same routine putting on my goalie pads as I've done for the past 16 years. Why? Because I'm extremely superstitious and deep down I know that if I don't follow that exact routine, I'll get shelled for a ton of goals and lose the game.

I am now faced with the following dilemma. On the one hand, the Kings are my favorite team out of the four major sports here in the US. By far. Not even close. I would love nothing more than the personally witness the Kings win tonight's game, forcing a Game 7 which would lead to an inevitable Sharks collapse. On the other hand, I'm currently 0-2 this playoff series while watching the Kings in person. In fact, I'm 0-3 if you factor in watching the Kings with my eyes. (I was at a bar with friends watching Game 1.) For Games 2 and 5, I had commitments which kept me from watching those games - and so I risked the wife's fury and continuously checked the progress of the games via ESPN mobile and Twitter.

My record doing this? 2-0.

Now, do I go to tonight's game? Do I stay at home and watch the game on TV? Do I only follow the game via ESPN mobile and Twitter?

My brain is thinking Option 3, but superstition might blow back in my face because I'm not "forced" into checking the score via ESPN mobile and Twitter. Plus I'm airing this out to the general public, something that I almost never do with my superstitions.

This is what caused my buddy to change his answer. He said out of all of the teams he loves, he'll adhere to his superstitious ways only for Kings games. Whether it's wearing the exact same jersey to all the games, ordering the exact same drinks from the bar, doing the exact same celebration when they score - whatever it takes. That, he said, is how he knows the Kings are his favorite sports team.

Me? Right now I'm thinking of watching the game at the concession area of the Toyota Sports Center seeing as how I have my first game of the season right after the Kings game. I've had extremely good luck watching games there. (Cough cough, Lakers-Celtics, Game 7...)

Much love till my next post.

Game 6 Preview: Win One, Just One for the Home Fans

I know not everyone's going to love all the same Kings players I love, but at the very least I hope hockey fans will show respect to certain players that deserve it, such as Anze Kopitar, the 2nd Season Drew Doughty, and Dustin Brown.  Another Kings player that deserves recognition?  Jonathan Quick.  It really pisses me off when hockey fans outside of LA can't see what a top rate goaltender he is.  So naturally, I became enraged this morning when I popped on over to Puck Daddy and read the "What We Learned" feature by Ryan Lambert.  He described a save by Quick in Game 5 as: 

A great save on a great night from Jon Quick, a not-great goalie

Are you fucking kidding me!?!?  "A not-great goalie"?  Get the fuck outta here Ryan Lambert.  Just because he looks like he'd fit in better in a Charlie Brown comic strip than on an NHL team, doesn't mean he's a not-great goalie.  

(Photo by John David Mercer / US Presswire)
Team USA goaltender, Jonathan Quick

Look through the games this past season and you'll find plenty of evidence that proves Jonathan quick is a great goaltender. It's no secret offense has been a problem all season long.  A season where the power play was more of a negative and the penalty kill was one of their strongest points, in order to win games the Kings had to rely on their defense, especially their goaltender,  and Jonathan Quick routinely saved his teammates's asses this year.  The Kings wouldn't be where there are right now without him. So yeah, I'm a little offended that someone would call Quick "a not-great goalie".  

So, Game 6 is tonight...I still don't have much faith in the Kings' chances to advance, but it would be so effin' awesome if they could force a Game 7 in San Jose.  And seriously, it would royally suck if the Kings didn't get at least one home playoff win this year.  C'mon boys, just win one home playoff game.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game 5 Review: You Wanna Kiss the Goalie!

Three of the lines were completely mixed up in Game 5, but the one constant throughout this series was the success of the Clifford-Richardson-Simmonds line.  It looked like Clifford was going to be credited with the first two goals, but Simmonds barely got a stick on the puck for the first goal.  Regardless, Clifford has 5 points this series (3G, 2A) and Joe Thornton has 3 points (1G, 2A).

Thornton celebrates his goal by blowing kisses,


 while Clifford celebrates by looking like a crazed lunatic


Despite the amazing offensive production of the "third" line, the story of the Game 5 was Jonathan Quick's unbelievable performance in goal.  I lost count of the number of times he made a huge save and I said, "Quick deserves a kiss for that save".

(from CardiacKid67)
Drew Doughty & Jon Quick
everyone's jealous of the hug and kiss

When the final buzzer sounded and the team congratulated Quick, it looked like Doughty may have planted a kiss on Quick's helmet, but it was difficult to see.  I couldn't find any evidence online, so instead I'll assume it looked something like this:

(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
i can haz kiss too?

And in case you missed it, history was made last night when Dustin Penner finally decided to show up and score a goal.

I bet Niemi was so far back in his crease because he, like all Kings fans, was also thinking "there is NO WAY he's going to score".

So the series continues on Monday in LA.  Who the eff knows what'll happen or who'll be playing or who decides to show up and contribute.  I'm just glad the Ducks have been eliminated.  Good job, Predators!

 And if you're bored, watch The Little Mermaid, or play the song "Kiss the Girl" and replace 'girl' with 'goalie':
Sha la la la la la don't be scared
You got the mood prepared
Go on and Kiss The Goalie
Sha la la la la la, don't stop now
Don't try to hide it how
You wanna Kiss The Goalie

Now I can't get the song out of my head. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Game 5 Preview: at least we know the team will still be in LA next season

I grew up playing AYSO, club, and high school soccer and had many coaches over the years with personalities all over the spectrum.  I had coaches that blew off the handle at any little mistake, another coach that routinely screamed "YOU'RE KILLING ME!!" to 12-year old girls, and another coach who went so ape-shit during a game that parents on the other side of the field were scared for us.*  I truly appreciate coaches who can calmly navigate a team through highs and lows, bad refereeing, mistakes, etc. and still bring out the best in his players, especially when they're playing from behind and are able to finish on top.  But even the calmest coaches can lose it.  And sometimes it's these rarest of moments, when the coach who has kept his cool for so long finally lays into his team, that can be so meaningful and have the most impact on his players.  

So tonight, if the Kings look like shit again and Terry Murray reluctantly calls a timeout, then I sincerely hope he turns into Bruce Boudreau and goes absolutely crazy at his team and finishes his 30 second tirade with a line as awesome as "GET OUR ASSES OUTTA OUR HEADS!"  Sometimes it takes a real stern talking to in order to get the point across, especially if coddling them isn't working in the playoffs.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)
happy?  sad? angry? concerned? constipated? who knows.

And in case you haven't heard, LA Kings Insider reported that Scott Parse, who's been broken almost the entire season, will be back in the lineup, Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll will be dropped to the 4th line, Alexei Ponikarovsky will be sitting on the sidelines (because obviously he was the problem this whole time), and Oscar Moller is still scratched so Kevin Westgarth can pretend to be a useful NHL player.

Well, it was a good run.  At least we know the team will still be LA next season.

*after I read that sentence several times I realized that all those years the parents were ok with having these crazed men scream at their little girls.  And this is girls soccer we're talking about.  It's not like we actually have a chance of making it big as a professional girl's soccer player.  This is only makes me realize how insane youth sports can be for boys, especially junior hockey, where parents will probably let anything go as long as it means their son has a shot at the NHL.  I think it made me mentally tougher as a kid, but I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about this when I have kids who play youth sports....or maybe I'll be thankful someone else can yell at my kids the way I wish I could.