Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Devil Went Down to Georgia"....Uh, Make That LA!

Halloween always makes me think of the Charlie Daniels' song "Devil Went Down to Georgia."  Couple that thought with the pending appearance in Los Angeles of an overly priced NJ Devil who formerly played in that lovely state, and inspiration struck.

Here's my Kings-Devils version of the song.

The Devil went down to LA, he was looking for a game to steal.
He was in a bind 'cos he was way behind: he was willin' to make a deal.
When he came across this young man shootin' pucks and hitting nets.
And the Devil jumped up on top of the bench and said: "Boy let me tell this:
"I bet you didn't know it, but I'm a hockey player too.
"And if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you.
"Now you play a pretty good hockey, boy, but give the Devil his due:
"I bet a stick of gold against your soul, 'cos I think I'm better than you."
The boy said: "My name's Kopi and it might just be a sin,
"But I'll take your bet, your gonna regret, 'cos I'm the best that's ever been."

Kopi, you tape up your stick and shoot those pucks real hard.
'Cos hells broke loose in Jersey and the Devil deals the cards.
And if you win you get this shiny stick-blade made of gold.
But if you lose, the Devil gets your soul.

The Devil opened up his bag and he said: "I'll start this trick."

And fire flew from his fingertips as he taped up his stick.
And he slapped his stick and launched the puck and it made an evil hiss.
Then a band of demons crashed the crease, but still the puck just missed.
When the Devil finished, Kopi said: "Well you're pretty good ol' son.
"But sit down on that bench, right there, and let me show you how its done."

Fire on the mountain, shoot boys, skate.

The Devil's in the house, but our Kings are great!
Quickie in the goal crease, pickin' off shots.
"Simmer, does your bruise hurt?"
"Absolutely NOT."

The Devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat.

He laid that golden stick-blade on the ground at Kopi's feet.
Kopi said: "Devil just come on back if you ever want to try again.
"I told you once, you son of a gun, I'm the best that's ever been."


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Happy Homecoming: Kings vs Thrashers

Oh what a difference a year makes!  At the Kings home opener last year, they endured a brutal loss, played terribly and ultimately got booed of the ice.  Fortunately, that disaster ended up being a case of opening night jitters for a young team that moved on to it's most successful season in 10 years.
Fast forward 12 months and the Kings kicked off their residency at Staples Center in much better fashion, beating the Atlanta Thrashers 3-1 in regulation.

Things got off to a chippy start and the Kings were down 1-0 at the end of the second period, but perseverance and experience paid off, thanks in large part to the hard-working Ryan Smyth and a rock solid performance in goal by #1 Star of the Night Jonathan Quick.

Here are some other observations I had from the game and game related festivities:
  • Hockey themed cupcakes rule.
  • The fact that a bunch of solar energy nerds got a bigger portion of LA Live than the Kings still bugs me.  
  • The sight of Kevin Westgarth exiting a Ford Bronco just emphasizes why the dude is so cool.
  • I had a brief Hendrix air guitar moment watching Slash play the National Anthem.
  • The Kings brass had better lock down Wayne Simmonds.  He got the biggest applause of the night during player introductions -- HANDS DOWN. 
  • Brayden Schenn is the real deal, people.  Brian Burke hates us even more now than he did when we drafted the kid.
  • I am all for Terry Murray changing lines to get the best offensive production, but I hope he gives Lotkionov more time with Kopitar.  I really think that could be magic.
  • Drew Doughty has spent so much time in the box so far this season, he's started putting his hands in the air immediately after her makes contact with anyone.    I think the refs are being paid off by the "Mike Green for Norris Trophy" committee.  Drew isn't having any of it, people.
  • Brent Sopel's hair is still as greasy as I remember.
  • Dustin Byfuglien is HUGE.  Just...HUGE.
  • He was only with the Kings a small portion of last season, but I kinda miss Freddie Modin.
  • It was nice to see the Kings honor the sizable Armenian community here in LA since Thrashers' Zach Bogosian is the only Armenian player in the NHL.  It's also good the players from the Armenian National Hockey Team in attendance have very broad shoulders -- that's a lot of letters on the back of a jersey.
  • And finally....the fact that roster cards are gone SUCKS!  This will require a separate blog.
Congrats to the Kings on a fabulous start to the season so far. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pre-Game Rituals

Much has been written about athletes and their pre-game rituals.  For hockey players, it's everything from eating the same meal to napping to putting on your gear left to right, or vice versa.  As a fan, I have my own pre-game routines.  Now that the home opener is finally here, it's time to get back into the groove!

Today is a little different for two reasons.  It's the home opener, so there are special events going on before the game I want to be involved in.  And this year, I actually had the sense to take the day off from work so I could really enjoy the whole game experience. 

But I do have a "normal" pre-game routine I follow for the rest of the home games during the season.  Here's a look inside what it takes to get The Queen game ready!

Night before the game
Yes, I actually start the evening before.  Planning in crucial to a successful game day, and I've learned through hard experience that tons of stress can be avoided on game with a little pre-emptive strike.
  • Plan game outfit. (Which jersey is the team wearing? Is it clean?  Is everything that goes WITH the rest of the outfit clean?)
  • Do laundry if required by findings of bullet point one.
  • Put ticket in wallet.
  • Manicure.

Purple? Check! Sparkly? Check!

Day of the game
  • Check pre-game news and reports on-line during breakfast.
  • Post anything noteworthy to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Make notes of things to watch for post-game blog.
  • Get dressed for work.  Game day outfit MUST include purple or black.  No exceptions.
  • Work
  • Leave work by 4 PM.
  • Arrive home, check on-line sites again for any critical pre-game news (injuries, line changes, etc.).
  • Pre-game 30 minute power nap.
  • Dress and perfect purple eye make-up.  Make sure all appropriate game day accessories are included with outfit.  
I have lots of Kings jewelry, but this is the critical piece.                                                                                                                

  • Double check wallet for ticket.
  • Stop for pre-game Starbucks on walk to Staples Center.
  • Check Kings Care booth and LA Team store for must have apparel and collectible items.
  • Stake out good photography spot for warm-up skate.

And of course, the most important step....chant GO KINGS GO!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kings Music Monday

Sports and music are a natural fit, and many athletes have music they use to get them in "game mode."  The Kings are certainly no exception.  Alternate Captain Matt Greene, in particular, has gone on record as a Hall & Oates fan!

The Kings are continuing the tradition of combining great sport and great music via a new partnership with Pandora Internet radio.  Here are the details I received in The Royal Report, the Kings season ticket holder newsletter.

LA Kings Partner with Pandora Music
Your LA Kings recently partnered up with, Pandora, the leading personalized radio service, to launch a new "LA Kings Mix" radio station on Pandora. The Kings are the first professional sports team to use the help of Pandora and disseminate a mixtape of the team's favorite music to connect with fans. 

Kings players Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, Rob Scuderi, Jack Johnson, Brad Richardson, Peter Harrold, Kevin Westgarth and Jonathan Bernier provided Pandora with a list of their favorite songs that fans can add to their Pandora station. Visit

 It's been a while since I've used Pandora, so I thought it would be fun to re-engage with the site.  It has a pretty cool look when you log on, featuring the Kings logo and defenceman Drew Doughty!

The playlist I got featured plenty of expected hard rock and up-tempo tunes.  The big surprise was Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl!"  Apparently one of our hard hitting Kings is a closet softy!

If you haven't tried Pandora before, don't be afraid to jump right in!  It's completely free, and registering for the service only takes an e-mail and a few minutes time.  Then you're on your way to enjoying the same music as your favorite Kings!  And you can even share the whole station or specific songs with friends in all your social networks through Pandora's built-in networking features.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hits and Misses: How Well Did The Queen Predict The Roster?

It's a few hours until puck drop in Vancouver, and before I head out to enjoy the action at the Kings official Watch Party in Burbank, I thought it would be a good time to follow up on my roster predictions.  During training camp, I offered my best guesses on which players would make the cut. 

Looking at the results, a few things are clear. 

1) I was wrong more than I was right.
2) I will never make money as a NHL scout.
3) Scott Parse getting injured during camp messed me up big time, since many of my picks were contingent upon him starting the season healthy.
4) Dean Lombardi still has the power to surprise me.
5) I'm actually happy to be wrong.

Let's start with the hits.  

I correctly predicted Davis Drewiske, Peter Harrold and Kevin Wesgarth would make the roster.  I was also right in predicting Bud Holloway, Alec Martinez, Dwight King, Justin Azevdeo and Oscar Moller would return to Manchester.

Now for the misses.

Who saw Jake Muzzin coming?  He won the open defensive spot fair and square from Thomas Hickey, in part on on the strength of his size, which has always been one of Hickey's downsides.  That said, I don't think we've seen the last of Hickey, and this story will be one to watch throughout the season.

Trevor Lewis making the team still surprises me based on his performance in camp.  He also seemed just a step off in his pre-season appearances, but perhaps he'll find his groove with more NHL play.   If not, I predict he'll be a scratch if Scott Parse gets healthy later in the season.

The Clifford-Clune battle was one of the more interesting in camp.  Clune came into the season with the best fitness testing scores and a partial season on the Kings roster last year.  Yet who dropped the gloves during the pre-season and brought the more openly physical game?  That was Clifford.  The kid clearly saw his chance to make the squad, risked some penalty minutes with his aggressiveness and earned the right to stay.  Clune was placed on waivers and remains Kings property, now playing in Manchester.

I am actually thrilled I was wrong about both Andrei Lotkionov and Brayden Schenn. 

Schenn was determined to make to big squad.  Hard work pays off!

They were both terrific in camp and more than earned their shot.   I thought they wouldn't get it because of the number of roster spots.  They are both also young and have long term NHL potential, so risking their development would not be a good option for the Kings organization.  In Schenn's case, the WHL rules meant he could not have been sent to the AHL, so putting him on the NHL roster was the best option.  I have been a Lotkionov fan since I first spotted him in camp 2 years ago, and he played in Manchester last year, so no complaints there either.

As the regular season kicks off tonight, Kings fans will know pretty quickly whether these picks are true winners.  Schenn, Clifford and Wesgarth are the fourth line tonight in Vancouver...


Friday, October 1, 2010

A Beginners Guide To Frozen Fury

So you've rolled the dice and journeyed to Las Vegas to take in the Kings annual pre-season classic in the desert - Frozen Fury XIII!

You have many reasons to be excited, and trust me when I tell you you're going to have a great time tomorrow night with your fellow Kings faithful.  But it's also normal to be just a little stressed about what to expect.  Fear not, because The Queen is here to guide you on your quest for the ultimate Frozen Fury experience.

So without further ado, here are some Frozen Fury do's and don'ts to help you prepare for your big day tomorrow.

DO Dress Appropriately
This is Las Vegas, so go big and glam, or go home.   These ladies have the right idea.  Team colors are essential, but accessories really make a Frozen Fury outfit.  Vegas is full of sparkly things, so I'm sure if you didn't pack correctly a quick shopping trip before the game tomorrow will fix you right up.

DO Participate in Pre-Game Festivities!
The guys over at KingsCast hold a little soiree every year that fits the bill perfectly, so make sure to stop by and see them!  The Queen will be making an appearance as well.  Here is a link to the party:

DO Cheer Loudly When You See These Guys
Your Kings like the MGM Grand Garden arena LOUD!  Trust me, they score more goals that way.  And when in Vegas, one should score, if you know what I mean.

DO Heckle These Gentlemen
And by heckle, I mean reduce them to tears with chants of "Go Kings Go" and "Avs Suck!"  It is the way of the Kings fan to loudly taunt the opposing team, and Las Vegas should be no different than Staples Center in this regard.

DO Celebrate Safely
There are SO MANY Kings fans (rightly so, I might add) packed into this place that accidents can happen if you're not careful.  We want fun, but dislike injuries.  So when you're riding your friends shoulders after the Kings big victory, just make sure you have a spotter or a "safe word" in case things start to get a little too intense.  Otherwise, be sure to wear your hockey helmet with your game attire.

And most importantly. don't forget the magic words....