Friday, October 31, 2008

Kings 0, Canucks 4: Not Good.

Tonight's game against the Vancouver Canucks on Devil's Night was so bad for the Kings on so many levels. Traffic getting to Staples Center was horrendous (it took me 3 times as long to get there), the crowd was practically nonexistent, and Brown was assessed a double minor before I even sat down after the anthems. I kept waiting for the Kings to turn things around but their best showing was during the 4-minute penalty kill when LaBarbera was downright awesome. He made save after save on shots that I thought were definitely going in. Then they took another penalty, killed the two-man advantage but eventually let in a power play goal. After the first goal the Kings never showed much brilliance. Sure, they hit the post at least 3 times and Fro was awarded a penalty shot, but there were way too many instances when it looked like either it just wasn't their night or they were missing just a bit of focus and drive, or probably a combination of the two.

The Kings play was so broken; a great pass but then the puck was mishandled. As the game lingered on it seemed like more passes were connecting to each other's skate than stick to the point where my two companions started making up drinking games, but realized they wouldn't be able to play the game because they would end up either too drunk or too broke. Drink when someone passes to his teammate's skate. Drink when they turn over the puck. Drink when they can't get it out of their zone. Drink when they can't score on the power play. Drink when they look like they've never skated before. Drink when they shoot like a girl.

(Photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images)
(The breakaway that led to a hook
that led to a penalty shot
that led to absolutely nothing.)

There were a couple non-game related highlights of the night.

  • I finally met Greener of He Score, He Shoot fame and was able to finally put a face to the voice. (Great meeting you, Greener!)
  • The group of Canucks fans in my section showed their Country's pride by singing along to their national anthem...incredibly loudly, severely out of tune, and a couple beats too early. I have never laughed so hard during a national anthem and while I wasn't laughing at the anthem I still felt like I was committing a sin. I really wish singing along to the anthem would catch on in LA because I think it's awesome to hear an arena full of fans singing the Star Spangled Banner
  • My fiance kept telling his friend that he never wins anything at hockey games and somehow tonight he "won" 2 shirts and one of them had a Team LA Store gift card in it. What are the freaking odds of getting one shirt, let alone two?? Of course, they're both XL and say "Pride=Passion=Power" which is totally gay but whatever, he finally won free stuff so he can never complain about it ever again.

So yeah, those were my highlights of the night. I'm terribly disappointed in the lackluster effort put forth by the Kings tonight and really hope they get it together by Saturday. My two cents on how to get a better result? Kick Calder down to the fourth line, remove Ivanans from the lineup, place Moulson on the second line with Stoll and Moller, put Boyle in on the fourth line with Calder and Armstrong, yank Harrold out of the lineup before I blow a gasket and place Preissing on the blueline. Moulson has no business being on the fourth line and Calder is not going to make Moller or Stoll better. Harrold looked like crap tonight and I think Tommy P deserves another chance. Kopitar, Brown, and Sully need to find their chemistry and make it work because I want results from those three. Oh, and a power play goal once every 50th chance would be nice too. I know, I'm demanding. And yes, of course, I know more than the coach that's why I'm blogging.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I F'ing HATE Fox Sports

I fucking HATE Fox Sports and their need to force the Rinkside View upon the unfortunate viewers of tonight's Kings/Wings game. I was really hoping that the last televised abomination was a once per season occurence but I was sorely mistaken. I do not enjoy watching extended periods of play from behind the net. I do not enjoy watching the game from the rinkside view and not being able to see the puck because the camera angle is piss poor. I feel like I'm going to hurl when the puck is stationery behind the net and the camera assumes the bird's eye view of the puck while some idiot fan bangs on the glass causing the camera to violently shake. I fucking HATE watching hockey games from the Rinkside View and it irritates me to no end hearing everyone on the damn broadcast talk about the Rinkside View as if it's this novelty attraction that's gaining so much traction among the NHL and aren't we fans so damn lucky to be able to experience a hockey game from home in this manner?

I found the Fox Sports feedback webpage and I did my American duty by leaving them the following feedback:

"I'm an avid Kings fan and thoroughly enjoy watching games from home. However, I have been incredibly disgusted with the recent broadcasts using the Rinkside View. The rinkside view is more limited since the cameras are much closer to the rink and because the cameras are mounted on the glass, whenever a fan pounds on the glass or someone gets checked, the cameras violently shake, which isn't pleasant to watch on TV. It's more difficult to make out each player's number and as soon as the puck is on the other side of the rink it's much more difficult to see the puck compared to the regular broadcast view. Since the rinkside view is more limited there is more need for the "behind the net" cameras which is ok for a short amount of time but is annoying to watch for an extending period of time. The Rinkside view is absolutely terrible and should never be used. Does Fox Sports think it's necessary to reinvent the wheel? Abandon this idea because it's an embarrassment to the sport of hockey."

Yes, all that with 4 words to spare! Please, please please, leave them feedback, especially, if you hate the rinkside view.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kings 0, Preds 3: middle of the first period

This game is (fortunately) not televised. After playing a fantastic game last night against the Blues, the Kings have come out in the first period looking sounding like sitting ducks. Last night the Kings continued their perfect penalty killing statistic, notched the first shutout of the season, and played an all-around solid game.

Today, the Kings found themselves in the box three times in the first half of the opening period and finally allowed a power play goal and then allowed another. 13 minutes into the first period the Kings are behind 0-3, were outshot at one point 2-14, and Ersberg came in for relief of LaBarbera.

I am turning off the radio.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kings 4, Blues 0

Bear hug from Oscie!

I may provide an actual review later...maybe.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No, No, No, It's All Wrong

I can't recall the last time I disliked a Kings player as much as I currently loathe Jon Zeiler. I cringe every single time I hear his name and I get pissier by the minute whenever I hear bad news that he might play.

Today Rich Hammond of 'Inside the Kings' reported that "Zeiler is skating hard in practice and is just about ready to go."

*Exasperated Sigh* REALLY?! Damnit! F*$#!! *Exaggerated Sigh and Several Foot Stompings*

No, No, No, No. (You're supposed to stop when I say no.) Yet the Kings still insist on keeping him on the sidelines just a moment away from playing in an actual game. Who would he replace? Hmmm, I kinda like the team how it is right now. As I see it putting him in the lineup will only make the team worse. I hate every single idea that has him playing alongside any of the other Kings. I'm going to go throw a temper tantrum.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Would Wear That

On Monday night, while roaming throughout Staples Center in an effort to kill time before warmups, I headed to the Team LA store with Connie and AJ so they could pick up their new Brownie jerseys. I made a pitiful attempt to look interested in the women's section because I knew that I would vomit if I ventured too far. We all remember The Horror of the $325 Kings purse and while I doubt that actually sell that it in the store I was fearful of running into something much cheaper that I know other teams have produced, such as the Red Wings, Penguins, or Senators.

Today I thought there has to be something I would wear from the women's section. After browsing the store I have finally found something I would wear. I present to you, a not so hideous, but still feminine, grey Kings sweatshirt with pink accents sweatshirt with an appropriately-sized crown:

Not too shabby.

And the best part about this sweatshirt? It's currently on sale for $23! Would I be willing to pay the full $45 price tag? Ehhh, maybe not. (It's actually $62 on the Team LA Store...WTF?! Definitely not worth $62.) Now that is something I would wear, if only it was available in my size. Now, I realize it is not perfect but let me explain why it works. While a black sweatshirt would be ideal to reflect the prominent team color and provide a more masculine, strong appearance, I tend to avoid dark cotton fabrics because they have a tendency to easily fade. And nothing is worse than shelling out money for a brand new item of clothing that ends up looking like you stole it off the hobo down the street because the color is completely faded from just a couple washes. Grey, on the other hand, does not fade as easily and, therefore, will allow the wearer to enjoy many memorable, comfortable moments in the sweatshirt.

My biggest problem with the sweatshirt is the pink in the crown. On the jerseys those areas are in purple, my favorite color. However, I realize that purple isn't a color most people wear...but they should because it's a fantastic color (and the color of royalty). I happen to like the pink in the underside of the hood because it reminds me of jackets that have lining in a different color and fabric. The pink provides a little bit of pop to a hoodie that would otherwise risk looking drab from the grey. Overall this is a decent hoodie. I'm very glad the NHL merchandising group didn't break out the bedazzler* or shower it in glitter. Now, if only I can find it in my size.

*omg, click on that link. Remember Tana and her failed attempt to find a bedazzler in NYC when she was Project Manager on The Apprentice? Hahahha, she sucked. Go back to Mary Kay. Although Kendra really sucks on that show "My House is Worth What?" so I guess Donald Trump is the one that sucks the most for having those two broads compete to be his slave.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kings 3, Avs 4: Well, that kinda sucked...

Let's start with the negatives and end on the positives.

LaBarbera is back to playing like a backup rather than a No. 1 goaltender. 4 goals allowed on 14 shots!? Guhhhhhh... One was on a turnonver by Handzus and one was when Smyth schooled Doughty but Barbs should have had the other two. It's like there's a hole in his glove...

The Kings played like crap in the second period, the second time in as many games that this has happened. However, unlike the game on Friday night during which the Kings bounced back with enough goals to tie the game, tonight the Kings fell short. The Kings started the game strong and ended the game even stronger but what in the world happened in the middle of the game? Where did they go?

The top line of Brown-Kopitar-Moulson has been surprisingly quiet on the scoreboard. The three of them still play well, but they're getting shut down a lot. However, even though they're quiet, the second and third lines are putting the puck in the net.

Rookies Oscar Moller and Drew Doughty each scored their first NHL goals and O'Sullivan got his second of the season. I was especially excited to see Doughty score a goal because it sort of made up for the bad play he had in the second period and it showed how amazing he is not only on defense, but also on offense. (It's a good thing I'm no longer 19 because otherwise I would be swooning all over him.) Handzus and Stoll were spectacular on faceoffs, however Stoll did not win the most crucial one with only 5 seconds left in regulation. It's great to the see the Kings "scoring by committee" but I'm getting impatient waiting for Kopi to get his first of the season.

And can someone explain to me how the Kings are still perfect on the penalty kill? It's unreal. The last penalty kill in particular was stellar. One guy applied pressure up top and three guys held the blueline barely letting the Avs even step into the Kings zone.

It's unfortunate the Kings didn't win this game and it really puts a damper on the goaltending situation. The Kings don't play till Friday when they take on the St. Louis Blues so hopefully LaBarbera can shake off the bad juju, fix the hole in his glove, and get it together and his teammates can figure out how to not fall asleep in the second period.

It really bothers me when I hear fans boo the Kings when they don't get a power play going. Dude, chill people, it's one freaking power play. Give them support. Cheer them on. Get the rest of the arena into the game and hope it rubs off onto the players. Booing? Naw, not happening from me. My new motto this season is "stay positive and keep faith alive". I promise not to boo my team unless they really deserve it, like allow 7 goals in one game.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kings World Podcast - Episode 15

Connie and I review two games from this past week in our newest podcast episode. We discuss the improved play exhibited against Anaheim and Carolina, rant about the Fox Sports Network Rinkside View broadcast, and preview the upcoming games against Colorado, St. Louis, and Nashville. We also started a new feature called "Player of the Week" so listen to find out who we collectively picked.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kings 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)

Seeing Michal Handzus score the first and last Kings goals tonight almost brought tears to my eyes. I was a huge fan of Handzus last season despite his endless struggles on the ice and I was convinced he would be better this season. Only 4 games in and he's already proving what a different and improved player he is.

The third line of Alexander Frolov, Michal Handzus, and Wayne Simmonds played very well and were predominantly the best line for the Kings tonight. Even though Handzus and Frolov rarely, if ever, played on the same line last year, they looked amazing together. I'm still in awe of how well that line looked tonight. Before the season began I was anxious to see Frolov and O'Sullivan or Frolov and Stoll, but Frolov and Handzus? How did I not see this earlier? I think I was too preoccupied with the fact that if Calder was in the lineup it just seemed like he would play with Handzus. But fortunately, Calder has only been given the privilege of suiting up for the season opener. After re-signing O'Sullivan and keeping Oscar Moller and Simmonds, the Kings now have three solid lines.

Tonight I was impressed by three players: Handzus, Doughty, and LaBarbera. I already spoke about my wonderful amazing Handzus. Drew Doughty is f'ing good. The past couple games there have been moments when he would carry the puck and make moves that look so easy. But you know that it isn't easy. And when you think that he's just a couple games into this NHL career and he's already making opponents look bad, you know this kid is good. Crazy good. I'm so torn right now. I stated last month that I really liked what I saw from Hickey in the preseason games and I wanted to get his jersey. But I didn't want to get his jersey before he played with the Kings. And I didn't really want a Doughty jersey because during preseason he was wearing 80 and frankly, that's a shitty number. It's a multiple of so many other numbers. 37? Awesome! 80? It's so round... But when Matt Ellis was claimed off waivers, Doughty switched to 8 and 8, I can live with. And, he's amazing. So, yeah, if he shaves that horrendous facial hair then I'll definitely get a Doughty jersey.

Now, LaBarbera. I was a pretty tough critic of him during preseason but I was being honest because he looked like crap. He played ok against San Jose and played well against Anaheim, although he was hardly tested, but tonight he was ON. He did allow three goals tonight but all of them came from shots that were deflected by at least two players before they made it past him. The only way he could have saved them was if he had stolen Hasek's lucky horseshoe that's been stuck up his ass the past 15 years. Otherwise, Barbs was very solid tonight. (In fact, he's been the best goalie on my fantasy team this week. So thank you Barbs for not screwing up like Turco and Biron.) He had the save of the game in overtime when it looked like Eric Staal had an easy goal, but somehow Barbs got a pad on it and kept the game alive for Handzus to win it. He's getting better every game and is now making the saves that he should and coming up with some huge ones too. He's giving the Kings the goaltending they need and hopefully the W's will instill more and more confidence in him.

Ahhh, 2 in a row. It feels good. I wonder what 3 in a row feels like.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Versus 1, Fox Sports (West) 0

I'm going to keep a running tally this season of things each network (Versus and Fox Sports) does so wrong that I can't help but be pissy. Each time one network ruins my night of hockey, the other network will record a tally in the win column. Basically, the more you suck the better the other network will look. Right now, Versus is on top because last night Fox Sports (West) tried once again to convince viewers that watching a hockey game on TV is SO MUCH BETTER with the rinkside view.

Re: Rinkside View

Dear Fox Sports,


Do you really think hockey has been incorrectly televised for decades?

Do you really think viewers at home only want to see a small portion of the play?

Do you realize how many times I missed a play because the rinkside view was incapable of capturing a larger portion of the ice?

Do you really think viewers want to suffer from nausea due to the rickety motion of the camera at rinkside?

I understand that you think viewers want to see the game from ice level since behind the glass tickets are so expensive. However, those tickets are severely overpriced because of the total in-house experience. The emotions that overcome you while sitting that close during a hockey game cannot be replicated at home with the rinkside view. I absolutely hate watching a hockey game on TV from the rinkside view. Fox Sports should be ashamed of themselves for even thinking that televising a game in this manner is a good idea. Rinkside View Sucks. Rinkside View is utter trash. Rinkside View should never ever be used to televise a hockey game ever again.

Also, Fox Sports, you still suck at correctly lighting the game. It's a good thing last night's game was also on HD because otherwise I would have given Versus 2 wins for the night.

Fox Sports, get your shit together and learn how to broadcast a game.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kings Manhandle Ducks

Now that was a great game. I thought the Kings were done when the Ducks took an early 2-0 lead, but the guys held strong and, despite a couple hiccups here and there, executed a very solid game that was completely different than the ones they played this past weekend.

Everything the Kings did wrong in the home opener on Sunday they fixed in tonight's game. Passes were crisp and made tape-to-tape, they skated through the neutral zone with ease, and faced little difficulty applying pressure in the offensive zone. The Kings matched the Ducks' physical game and on more than one occassion I was very glad we picked up some big defensemen during the off season.

Save for a few players, every one played exceptionally well. Rookie Wayne Simmonds got the Kings on the scoreboard with his first NHL goal. He really kept that play going so it was fitting to see him jump on the rebound and bury it. Moulson was kept on the top line and potted a beauty off a feed from Brownie. Stoll got his first of the season with a slap shot on the power play, which was aided by Handzus screening Giguere. Handzus may have only had one assist in the game but his play tonight was very deserving of the third star of the game. O'Sullivan had an incredible game and got some help from Pronger on his firt goal of the season. Tom Preissing knocked in a power play goal and hit the post on another shot and Frolov finished off the Ducks with an empty netter.

It felt so good seeing the Kings take it to the complacent Ducks and hand them their third consecutive loss. I couldn't help but laugh every time the Ducks took another power play. It took the Kings awhile to get the power play going but when you have 9 opportunities you're bound to capitalize. Tonight the Kings showed how well they can play together so hopefully they keep it up and string together some wins.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Eat Shit, Getzlaf. That's what you get for running my goalie.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Starting the Season 0 for 2

I knew the Kings were screwed when the NHL schedule was released during the off season and it revealed that the Kings would open the season with a home-and-home series against the San Jose Sharks. It seemed very unlikely that the Kings would be able to handle the experienced and very skilled Sharks team. Even with backup Brian Boucher tending net in Game 2 the Kings couldn't even come close to taking the upper hand.

Kings fans were super excited to see Blake

Both games featured sub-sub-sub-par playing by the entire Kings lineup, which fully exposed the complete lack of chemistry. The season opener on Saturday had most of the lines rather unchanged throughout the game. However in the home opener on Sunday, the guys were mixed around forming various combinations among the forwards, and even on defense, reminiscent of those horrible Crawford days. Kopitar received a 10-minute misconduct which forced Murray to find players to rotate in his spot during that duration. But since no one line could consistently be counted on to execute any sustained pressure, I suppose it's no surprise that he mixed up the lines hoping to spark some kind of offense.

LaBarbera looked average in the first game and better in the second game less the moment he allowed the lone goal. There were several scary scrums in the second game but he and the guys in front of him always managed to keep the puck out of the net. He even looked solid on shots that went through traffic and rarely let up many rebounds. But, of course, the one shot that beat him looked so easy to stop, low to the near (glove) side, that it seemed inconceivable that the puck was able to sail by him, but yet it did.

The defense encountered so much trouble clearing the zone and, along with the forwards, was so miserable at connecting passes through the neutral zone to begin the attack. The Kings had so much difficulty getting shots on goal because they failed time and time again at crossing the opponents' blueline and gathering the puck on the dump and chase. The passing deteriorated as the game went on to the point where they couldn't even make one clean pass as the clock slowly ticked to zero among boos resonating through Staples Center. Seeing the Kings getting booed in the home opener was brutal. It was even more brutal knowing that the biggest cheer happened when the score of the Dodgers game (7-2 win over Philly) was revealed on the Jumbotron. It doesn't even matter that two goals were disallowed (man in the crease and kicking the puck in the net) in the second period, because the Kings didn't deserve to win. So many things went wrong in these two games and hopefully the Kings will find ways to quickly remediate the issues otherwise it'll be a very long, excruciating season.

x-posted to HLOG

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kings World Podcast - Episode 1.13

Connie and I are back with another King World Podcast Episode. We almost can't even believe the Kings season opener is this weekend!! We review the end of the preseason, discuss the roster, and look ahead to the season opener.

Visit us at Kings World Podcast, subscribe to our podcast in iTunes, and friend us on Facebook.


Sully In, Zeiler (Hopefully) Out

O'Sullivan's Back!!

So...can we send Zeiler back to Manchester now? Or, how about this Richardson guy? I'm still not convinced he's an actual hockey player...

I'm actually really surprised at the dollar amount of Sully's contract. It's front loaded so he'll make the most this season, but over three years his contract averages out to just under $3 million/season. I know he only has one solid season to his name but he definitely has great potential and Lombardi definitely pinpointed that last season during interviews. I expected him to sign for an average in the $3.25 range but I guess the difference is miniscule when you're making that much money. I was worried that Sully was going to sign for an average of $4 million but I guess Lombardi knows how to get his way. With Dustin Brown and Alexander Frolov and now Sully signed at what seem like cheap contracts in comparison to guys around the league, I wonder what the contracts for Kopitar and Johnson will look like. Will Lombardi be able to re-sign them to relatively inexpensive contracts or will he give them contracts inked in gold?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Twinsies! (Stoll + Hamm)

"Twinsies" might be misleading because I realize these two guys don't look exactly alike, especially not as similar as Hemsky and Moller. But whenever I watch 'Mad Men', as I longingly gaze at Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) I can't help but see a little bit of Jarrett Stoll in him. Don Draper is like the older, wiser, more hair-endowed, steamier version of Jarrett Stoll.

Hello there, Don Draper

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Frozen Fury XI Ridiculousness + KW Podcast Ep 1.12

Why have I never gone to Frozen Fury in the past? I'm so glad that I made a promise to myself to make it out there this year because I had an amazing time. The drive to Vegas was a surprisingly easy 4-hour drive that got me into town at 10 am. I immediately met up with Connie and soon after I finally met Cat. Two half-asians and one full asian = tons of pictures being taken and an immediate bond. We spent the rest of the day till game time eating at Mesa (Bobby Flay's restaurant...amazing), drinking, napping, eating, and more drinking. As much as I hate the dry heat in Vegas, the only good thing about it is that it always seems like I can drink more in the heat, but Cat was still the best drinker of the three of us.

It's a good thing that Connie went to FF last year because I would have had no clue where to go. I didn't even know MGM had a theater and I couldn't believe at how horribly wrong it seemed to corral thousands of drunk hockey fans through the casino floor into the corner of MGM, attempt to filter out outside drinks and poorly check everyone for illegal items (my purse was never checked). All I know is that if there had been a fire or any need to evacuate, I would have been trampled to death.

On our walk to MGM Connie pointed out that the chick in front of us had one of those hideous overpriced Kings purses!! I could not believe it! I tried my best to follow her and take pictures of her purse, which also meant I was taking pictures of her ass, and this was the best pic I could get:

I know. I have no shame.

The arena was much smaller than your normal hockey arena but the energy was just as lively. For all the slack that preseason games garner, Frozen Fury really is in a league of its own. Fans were going nuts over everything. There was minor bickering among Kings and Avalance fans but hardly a real spat. Everyone just seemed to be enjoying the moment. Enjoying the fact that hockey was finally here. That hockey was in Vegas! It didn't matter that it was a preseason game because we were all drunk hockey-starved fans there to enjoy subpar hockey in an incredible environment.

I was excited to watch my Kings and the new faces on the team. I'm growing fonder of Doughty and Hickey with each game I see. Wayne Simmonds doesn't even have to try to be a fan favorite, he just is. Denis Gauthier was being Denis Gauthier (*sigh*), LaBarbera was...underwhelming (blerg. yes. blerg.), and Kopi looked fantastic, especially when he rocketed the most perfectly placed wrist shot into the far upper corner of the goal. I barely paid any attention to any Avs players, except for Adam Foote who was trying so hard to be the biggest D-bag of the night. It felt so good to let out those 'Boooooooos'.

Connie, Cat, and I recorded a podcast during the first intermission and after the game. We decided to make it this week's podcast for both "I'm Not a Puck Bunny Podcast" and "Kings World Podcast". When I finally listened to it I was shocked at how fast we were talking. If you haven't listened to it yet, do so and you'll understand the Frozen Fury energy that I just can't describe in words. And if you like Vegas and hockey, it doesn't matter if you're not a Kings or Avs fan, because chances are you'll enjoy Frozen Fury. So mark your calendar for September 2009 for Frozen Fury XII.

x-posted to HLOG