Monday, November 29, 2010

Kings vs. Ducks: The Curse of the Ponda

When you become a Kings fan, you instantly adopt an innate hatred of our crosstown rivals, the Anaheim Ducks.  It's one of those unspoken and automatic things, like Caps fans hating the Penguins, or Leafs fans despising the Habs.   The sight of a Ducks jersey prompts an uncontrollable gag reflex.  Mention of Corey Perry makes you see red.  And Bobby Ryan...well, don't get me started.

This is why I refuse to set foot inside the Honda Center.

It's like the Bermuda Triangle of hockey.  Bad things happen there.  Unexplainable things, like The Blair Witch Project meets The Exorcist bad stuff.   The Kings drowned in The Pond tonight, suffering their fourth loss in a row and the seventh one in their last eight games.  I was home listening on the radio and doing my best not to break my Doughty stick in half.

Some observations:
  • When Kevin Westgarth has more shots on goal in the third period than any other forward, you've got offensive problems.  And by offensive, I don't mean how bad his nose looks. although apparently he plays better with it broken.
  • When your best shooter has the puck and gets robbed by the opposing team goalie, you're either snake-bitten or your shot needs work.  Thoughts on that, Kopitar?
  • When your Norris Trophy-nominated defensive phenom creates a turnover and two penalties that lead to the game winning goal, you've got work to do.  How about it, Drew?
  • When your defense overall coughs up the puck enough times that you lose count, you're thinking someone is getting benched.  I'm looking at you, Jack Johnson.
  • When your hallowed defensive core turns into your Achilles heels overnight, you're re-evaluating the depth chart if you're Dean Lombardi.  You're probably also working the phones a little harder trying to fill some holes at both ends of said chart.
  • When you're wondering when Coach Murray is ordering a bag skate, you know EVERYONE in in the doghouse, unless your name is Jonathan Quick.
November cannot end soon enough for the Kings.  This game did confirm at least one thing -- The Moustache Conspiracy theory is REAL.   As my fellow blogger Matt Reitz of View From My Seats Tweeted me tonight....

Is it December yet?

If there was one bright spot tonight, it was the Kings FANS.  A kick-ass group of folks, led by the Die Hard Los Angeles Kings Fan group, rocked the Ponda so hard the Ducks fans were put to shame.   Keep those chants going, my friends!  Our team will find the answers, and our next visit to Anaheim will have a different outcome.   The Queen salutes you!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Kings Alumni Score and Support Local Hockey

Every hockey player remembers the place they first fell in love with the sport - their local rink.  Those young players who grow up and enjoy the ultimate success of a professional career in the NHL always remember where they began, and many return to give back to the communities that gave them a start.  Tonight, a group of LA Kings Alumni supported that very idea with a charity event at Ice Station in Valencia, CA.

The Kings Alumni entertained a capacity crowd, playing a high scoring contest against the Ice Station All-Stars and raising money to benefit the Valencia Flyers Junior A squad.   

The Alumni proved they still have moves to spare, led by Kings Player Development staffer Nelson Emerson who scored a hat trick en route to a 14-9 win.  But the best parts of the game were the less serious ones, including a goalie swap, a brief scrap on the Kings bench, and one tossed stick sliding half way down the ice courtesy of Ian Turnbull.

And then there was Marty McSorley.  Say what you want about Marty, but he knows how to have fun AND he makes sure everyone else has a great time too.  Before the game, he flashed a huge smile for fans looking down from the bleachers hoping to get his photo.  On the ice, he was like a stage director, coordinating group photos and generally organizing everyone and everything.  But his finest moment was in the shoot-out.

During the first intermission, the Kings staged a shoot out skill event against players from the Valencia Express Youth Hockey Club.   I'm pretty sure our Alumni were getting a little tired already, because not too many shots went in.   The kids in goal may have been a little on the small side, but they sure had focus!  Especially the kid that went up against Marty.   Check out the video!

So nice to see a hockey legend provide such a memorable moment for a kid learning to love the sport!  

That was exactly the point of the evening.  Work hard, compete, but above all have fun.  And when you grow up to be a famous hockey player, remember to give back to the place that got you started.


P.S. - You can check out more shoot-out videos and event photos on the Kings Court Facebook page!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Moustache Conspiracy

You can point to a lot of reasons why the Kings aren't winning these days.  Defensive breakdowns, a still power-less power play, too many penalties or a weakened penalty kill.  But lately, I've been thinking none of these are the REAL reason.  So what is?


I am not a girl opposed to a little scruffiness, but for some reason moustaches have never really appealed to me.   They always make me think of bad TV from the 70's, or B-movies, or The Village People.  I appreciate our boys are helping the NHL support Movember and bring attention to prostate cancer research, but I'm really starting to think the extra facial hair is stealing our mojo.

"I think I've done my part for the year...I know I look weird, but I'm still cool....right?? And for the last time, I am NOT Italian!  Leave me alone, already!"
So if we want to go back to our winning ways, I think a shave-down is in order.   The sooner, the better.  Is it December yet?


Hockey Watch, Montreal Style!

There are plenty of places to enjoy a Kings hockey watch party in Los Angeles.  But when the Kings play on the road in Montreal, there is really only ONE place to watch --  The Redondo Beach Cafe. 

Home to the best Canadian food, beverage and hospitality in the South Bay, RBC is owned and operated by proud Canadians who are also incredible Kings supporters.  For that reason, we regulars forgive the fact that they're also Habs fans.

I like to know when things are happening at RBC, so I subscribe to their e-mail newsletter.  For the unacquainted, here is more information about RBC from one of their recent e-mail posts:

The Redondo Beach CafĂ© is owned and operated by native Montrealers. We proudly serve a Montreal Menu, featuring Smoked Meat brought in from Montreal, authentic Poutine with real Curd Cheese, Montreal Style Greek Food “Awarded South Bay’s Best” including our famous Tzatziki Sauce, Montreal Style Subs, Hamburger Steak as well as Montreal Bagels and Tim Hortons’ Coffee. Our homemade desserts sont incroyables! This year’s featured dessert will be Maple Syrup Sugar Pie!

Montreal food aside, these folks love the Kings so much they name food after our players!  That's right!  I can personally attest to the warm goodness of "Foxy's Chicken Noodle Soup," and "Lucky Luc's Original" foot long legend submarine sandwich is a do-not-miss.  And of course, it's the best place to get that Canadian artery clogger we all love -- POUTINE!

Tonight, RBC hosts a watch party with some pretty sweet ticket giveaways!  Check out this link to the event info on RBC's site for more information.

Section 117 Ticket Giveaways - Tonight only!

The puck drops on all the fun at 4:30 PM, but be sure to get there early.  The Queen and her entourage will be there, so you don't want to miss it!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kings-Predators Recap: Mullets Are Awesome

The Kings have been unstoppable at home this season, but when the Nahsville Predators rolled into town, I started to worry. 

Yes, they were dealing with key injuries.  Yes, Shane O'Brien would undoubtedly plan to rattle my boys.  And Shea Weber....well, we all remember the Olympics last year, yes?  The shot so hard it nicked the back of the net and put the fear of God and Team Canada in everyone's hockey hearts?  Yes, that Shea Weber is CAPTAIN of the opposing team. 

Saturday games were quite simply Kryptonite for the Kings last year -- especially Saturday afternoon games, especially against the Predators.  Thank goodness the hockey powers that be rescheduled the game from 1 PM to 7 PM to help us out!  And this year, we had a secret super-power more critical than rocket-hard shots and $10 million sniping left wingers to help bring home a win.

We had mullets.

If you missed Kings "Mullet Mania," you were sleeping under a rock for the past 24 hours.   Go to the Kings Court facebook page and fix that...NOW.

It started at practice, with all the Kings players wearing mullets in honor of Ryan Smyth's 1,000 NHL game.  It continued when the players skated onto the ice wearing said mullets, taking a few laps around the ice, and then tossing them over the boards to the elation of fans.

I think this look works for Westy and Willy....
I love this team!

Beyond the obvious comedy factor, this is when you know you have a group of hockey players that are a REAL TEAM.  They care enough about each other that they think of something unique and personal to honor one of their own.  Anyone can chip in to buy a watch.  It takes a real team mate to make a fool out of himself to show the love.  Well played boys, well played. 

Of course, the real mullet has power of it's own.

The man, the mullet, the legend....
The power park it in front of the net for the 1,000 time, screen yet another superb opposing goaltender, take a feed from the team mate that wants you to have your moment of glory be as magnificent as possible -- and score a goal.    A momentous night for a gentle warrior and model King.

And thank goodness for the power of the mullet to energize the crowd, because after war with Tampa Bay Thursday night, this game felt like a bit of a snooze-fest, albeit a winning one.  It was probably especially boring for poor Kevin Westgarth, who still can't get a fight.  Nice to see Shane O'Brien brought his brain to the game for once and kept his mouth shut.

So with the 4-1 victory, the Kings are perfect at home, hold a 10-3 record and sit at the top of the NHL standings, 1 point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. 

The Kings look good, even with an out-of-date hairstyle....