Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kings vs Blues: Home Opening Happines!

Home openers can be a tricky thing in Hockeywood. I've seen fantastic wins and terrible losses, with the latter ending in the entire team being booed as they left the ice. Thankfully this year the Kings got their happy ending playing at Staples Center for the first time this season, soundly defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-0. Hopefully this is an omen of things to come for the season.

When Ricky's happy, we're ALL happy.
Before the game, we had the Black Carpet (formerly known as the Purple Carpet) walk by the players. It was a lot of fun once again this year and totally worth taking a vacation day from work, even though MY King Mr. Doughty was a no show, as was Kevin Westgarth and his magical white Bronco. They showed up later on the Jumbo during player intros, so apparently only the starting line-up got to walk the carpet. But there were plenty of other memorable moments:
  • Dustin Penner was the first to arrive, which led to a lot of jokes about whether he was early for some extra time in the hot tub or getting a snack. 
  • Jack Johnson revved the engine a few extra times on his fire-engine red Ferrari as he pulled up. You know he's the favorite with the valets this season.
  • Jonathan Quick chopped off his hair. No more goalie porn moments when the lifts his lid to wet his head down. Damn.
  • Jonathan Bernier was determined not to spend more time walking the carpet than he had to, so he tried drafting behind Justin Williams, who was being followed by a pack of cameras and working the crowd as SLOWLY as humanly possible. Guess that didn't work so well.  No one keeps Willy from the cameras.
  • Matt Greene stormed the carpet with a look on his face like he was ready to kill someone. Hey, if intensity wins games, BRING IT Greener.
  • Slava Voynov looks much better with shorter hair. He also looks about 13 with it styled that way.
  • Mike Richards honestly looked afraid for his life. I guess he's not used to fans smiling at him.
But the fun didn't end at the Black Carpet. We actually got to see an AWESOME game! Some quick thoughts from The Queen on tonight's effort:
  • It's so wonderful to see 4 lines with an equal amount of energy -- sustained through the entire game! In particular, I loved the amount of speed on the Richardson/Lewis/Moreau line. Apparently old Chop still has some moves left in him.
  • Mike Richards has mad skills. That is all.
  • Simon Gagne healthy is a beautiful thing. He's a lot like Justin Williams that way. Maybe this will be the season nothing happens to either of them. Watching them pass to each other makes me happy. I think it makes them happy too.
  • Voynov fits right in. He's got speed, stick work offensively AND defensively and he reads plays well. I don't care who gets injured on D this season, we will be FINE as long as we can call this kid up.
  • I think we've started to find the power play.
  • Quickie did not have to work as hard as usual, but there were a couple of flurries when he made 3 or 4 tough stops in a row. If he's feeling any threat from Bernier taking his spot, he's using it to stay right where he belongs -- in the crease.
  • The fans ALL stood and cheered the entire final minute of the game. Every person in Staples Center. I almost cried.

There is just something different about this team this year, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's early in the season and I tried the whole game not to get too excited, but I also smiled bigger as every moment passed. This team is going to be something special. I can feel it. Can you feel it too?


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