Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kings Limited Edition Christmas Ornaments On Sale Tomorrow!

In just a few hours, Movember will officially be over -- thank you, Hockey Jesus! -- and December finally arrives! That can mean only one thing -- time for all your Kings-themed gift shopping to begin in earnest!

If you're looking for a special gift and shopping on a limited budget, the fine folks at the Kings Care Foundation have just the thing. For the last few seasons, they have been selling Christmas ornaments and the new design is all ready to go on sale at the Kings-Panthers game tomorrow!

Several Kings players sign limited numbers of the ornaments as well, so you can purchase them signed or unsigned.
  • Signed ornaments are on sale from December 1st through the 10th and cost $25. Each player will only sign 75, so get them while supplies last! Two new players will be available each game.
  • Unsigned ornaments are only $10 and are available in unlimited quantities.
To purchase your ornament, stop by the Kings Care booth, located across from Section 103 on the lower level concourse at Staples Center. Be sure to tell them The Queen sent you!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Checking Into The Penalty Box

Ever since ESPN Zone opened at LA Live, I've struggled to like it. They've never seemed especially Kings fan friendly, even when the Kings would hold official watch parties there. But all that is changing thanks to the the grand opening of The Penalty Box this past Saturday. Now Kings fans have their own special place to watch games, enjoy some refreshments and talk everything Kings!

I stopped by the grand opening before the game Saturday and was totally impressed, so I caught up with the man responsible for this great new venue -- Mike "RinkRat" Zampelli of, the Official Fan Community of the Los Angeles Kings! He graciously agreed to talk a little more about how The Penalty Box came about and what fans can expect when they visit this season.

KC: How did the idea for The Penalty Box come about?
RR: "It was ESPN's idea to wake up "The 19th Hole", a room upstairs that was dead. I was appointed as "Mayor" to bring it all together. Sitting by the front door and watching reactions as people enter is priceless, they are in awe!"

KC: You did a great job with the design, featuring tons of Kings memorabilia! Where did everything come from?
RR: "Most was loaned by Luc Robitaille, myself, Mike Altieri and Jon Lowe. They put a cool plaque thanking us under the Dave Taylor painting. A few more things are coming including a surprise for Luc."

KC: Are there regular food and drink specials fans can expect when they come in?
RR: "There are a few specials like $2.50 glass/$7.50 pitchers of beer and a build your own burger combo with fries and a brew for $15 (the burgers are GREAT)."

These Kings fans look happy!

KC: I also hear they're doing personalized beer mugs! How do those work?
RR: "They are $30, and will feature the Penalty Box logo and your name (or LGK username). Each time you come in, your personal mug is waiting for you. They sold out right away and are going to build another display case and do another batch. $10 from each mug goes to "Be the Match"! (Tanner has got an enormous smile on his face right now!) 

KC: Now that The Penalty Box has had its grand opening, when is the next big event there?
RR: "I was apprehensive about Monday night against the Sharks since it wasn't opening night, but the place was packed with Kings fans, Ice Girls and even Bailey, so it looks like a success! The next test will be the first away game. I'd like to see this place packed for EVERY away game, it's the perfect venue for a game watch!"

The next time you're headed to a Kings game or need a place to watch while the team is out of town, stop by The Penalty Box and tell them RinkRat sent you!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Kings vs. Sharks: Sanity and Fighting Spirit Return

Today was an interesting day around the NHL. Two coaches got fired, but in spite of protestations from many Kings fans, Terry Murray wasn't one of them.

My last game review talked about the insanity of doing the same things over and over expecting a different result. Tonight some sanity returned to the Kings. The patented TM Line Blender came out. Pre-game warm-up routines and on-ice entrances changed. I even changed MY game routine and skipped my Wetzel's butter and salt pretzel. Lo and behold, the Kings looked better!

In truth, none of those things were really the difference maker in tonight's game. The difference was WORK. HARD WORK. Play like the Kings got from Dustin Brown and Slava Voynov on the disallowed goal was the difference. That grind it out and battle for every puck attitude -- that level of "compete" as Coach Murray calls it -- was the difference. If the Kings can bring that attitude every night, this team will continue to win games.
  •  Jonathan Quick deserves the most enormous kudos possible! He was INCREDIBLE tonight and more than earned his #1 Star of the Night, appearing in his 200th NHL game and earning his 4th shut out of the season. He is our honey badger.

  •  Ethan Moreau took a major step towards redeeming himself by scoring the first goal of the game and his first as a King tonight. He even did it unassisted. I'm still not sold, but you have my attention. Keep this kind of play up and all will be forgiven -- eventually.
  • The Kings left the castle doors closed tonight and came out from the bench. Coincidence that we won after changing up the entrance? Maybe, maybe not. I'll be interested to see what they do at the next game.

  • A vocal group called Committed sang the National Anthem in six part harmony. It was a nice change of pace from our normally bombastic anthem signers. No offense to Davis Gaines, but I was desperately in need of a musical palette cleanser.
  • Mikael Handzus was scratched from Sharks the lineup, which was sad and happy at the same time. Even though the Kings not re-signing him after last season was a forgone conclusion, he brought smarts and skill to Terry Murray's defense first system. I wasn't looking forward to playing against him.
  • I know some of you folks like to chant the opposing team goalie's name to get them rattled. But starting that chant in the first period when we're only leading by ONE GOAL is asking for trouble. Stop already.
Chanting with Cartman is OK, though.
  • Sometimes zebras really ARE blind. Even I saw that too many men penalty coming. I guess all the Kings players are still remembering which line they're on.
  • Terry Murray lives to fight another day.
Make no mistake about it, the Kings still have a lot of work to do. They still took too many penalties tonight. The power play still isn't powerful enough. And this was just one win, but it was an important one. Now we prepare to get another one Thursday against the Florida Panthers.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kings vs. Blackhawks: Insanity

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. It's starting to look like Terry Murray's motto. Same line-up, same system, same outcome. Once again, the Kings spent most of the night chasing the game. Once again, they lost.

If only beating the Blackhawks was this easy....

Despite the 27-27 matched tally for shots on goal by the end of the game, the Kings were badly outmatched by the Blackhawks from top to bottom. The Hawks had better puck possession, better passing, and more speed through the neutral zone. The Kings, on the other hand, have forgotten how to pass and were largely inconsistent in the speed department. Jonathan Quick, our rock so far this season, had a major off night starting with poor positioning on the play that led to the Blackhawks first goal.

Credit the Kings for hanging in there as well as they did and preventing a scoring blowout, but just hanging in doesn't get you 2 points and it certainly doesn't win championships.

One thing that does seem to work for Terry Murray is publicly calling out players to push them to perform better. Jarret Stoll's goal should help him feel a little vindicated after all the bad press he got today (nothing like the coach calling you out publicly to make you want to score).

Perhaps most surprisingly, Ethan Moreau finally played a game without taking a "horseshit penalty." I still think the team would benefit from him watching a game or two from the press box. The Kings could have used Brad Richardson's speed in the line-up tonight.

On the positive side, the Kings notched another sell out -- woo-hoo. Although somehow I think the substantial contingent of Blackhawks fans helped a bit, including these fine gentlemen in my section chanting "Let's go Blackhawks!"

A few other quick hits:
  • The Penalty Box at ESPN Zone was a big hit!  Look for photos and a longer story about The Box in an upcoming blog post. It's going to be a great place to commune with your fellow Kings fans this season.
  • The Ice Crew has boys shoveling snow now. That's cool.

  • As much as I can't wait for Movember to be over, I love Willie Mitchell's mustache more every time I see it.

  • I still miss this guy. 
Hey there, Papa OD....

The Kings are back in action Monday at home against the San Jose Sharks. Let's hope we can stop the insanity and win at least one more game before November is over.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Season Brings Two Grand Openings to LA Live

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season is officially here -- and that means plenty of excitement for Kings fans at LA Live!

If you love the thrill of zooming around an ice rink OUTSIDE, you're in luck. LA Kings Holiday Ice at opens tonight at LA Live, right across the street from Staples Center. And don't worry about having to carry your skates around because you can rent them on site. Get ready to take a twirl before or after Kings games from now until January 5th.

If outdoor fun isn't your style, belly up to the bar at the new LGK Penalty Box at ESPN Zone. Luc Robitaille, the Ice Girls and Bailey will be there to kick off the fun at 5 PM today and celebrate the official party spot for the best hockey fans on Earth! Kings Court will be there to check out the fun and give you a peek inside.

Whatever activity you choose, enjoy your holiday season to the fullest right in the heart of downtown LA! And don't forget to cheer on the Kings while you're at it.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kings vs. Oilers: Starting November DOA

Tonight's Kings-Oilers match-up had all the potential elements of a great story.
  • The Oilers were on a 5 game win streak
  • The Kings had beaten the Oilers in their last 4 meetings
  • The NHL's #1 GAA (Khabibulin) met #2 GAA(Quick)
  • The Kings played in their 22nd consecutive sellout game
It should have been an exciting Western Conference contest. It should have been a fantastic goaltender battle. It should have been a lot of things. But this November and this IS the Kings. Remember last season? Long home stands after tough road schedules. Complacent, non-energetic play. Moustache problems. They all added up to losses at home.

Watching it all unfold much the same way tonight brought back bad memories. It was like watching the same movie remade with a slightly different cast. The 3-0 loss the Kings suffered was no shock to anyone watching at Staples Center. The Kings were dead on arrival and it only got worse as the game went on.

"Un-freakin' believeable, dude...."

"This didn't feel good last season either."
"What have I gotten myself into?"

To a man, no one on the Kings roster played a game they could be proud of. No one worked hard enough. No one looked like they cared. The got what they deserved tonight -- which was nothing.

Other quick hits of interest:
  • Colton Teubert made his NHL debut wearing #33. Westgarth wore that same number before Willie Mitchell joined the team. What a shame they didn't dress Westgarth -- THAT is a fight I would have enjoyed!
Proof Teubert actually touched the puck....
  • No one should be surprised Ryan Smyth got booed. It's the LA way to crucify anyone who thumbs their nose at Hockeywood. But I must admit it was much less booing than I expected. Until he scored, that is.
  • Speaking of Ryan Smyth, I remember telling him at Tip-A-King that I hated him before he came to LA. He was happy I changed my mind. Sadly, I had to change it back.
  • In spite of their taste in jerseys, these guys were cool. They still love the Kings for knocking the Leafs out of the playoffs ages ago. That's our Canadian fan base folks -- people who hate the Leafs.

  • These guys -- were NOT cool. The guy in the gray suit who was the LEAST cool normally sits behind me with his kids. Apparently he turns into a jerk on "guys night." It's gonna be a long season if he brings more buddies.

  • It occurred to me tonight that the only problem with Penner screening the goalie is that none of the shooters on his own team can see a hole around him.

  • Best Movember moustache? Willie Mitchell. Not even a contest. Although Dustin Penner is making a great case for the best porn-stache.  Cliffy is trying hard to grow one. He's so cute!
"This mo makes me look even more badass than I already am...."

"I could do porn if this gig doesn't work out, right?'

"Can you see it if I hold my lip like this?"
  • Best warm-up moment besides Willie Mitchell's 'stache? Justin Williams going ass over tea kettle. Even better? Gags explaining how it happened. And Ricky laughing at him.

  • It was nice seeing Drew back on home ice. It's a shame his return didn't give the team any momentum.
  • I absolutely LOVE that you can see Matt Greene's stitches peeking out from under his helmet. Chicks dig scars so we know what that means. Face time, bebeh!

  • Can someone PLEASE make Davis Gaines go away? This is LA. There HAVE to be more entertaining National Anthem singers that need a gig.
  • There were "Fire Murray" chants in my section tonight. I like Coach Murray. He's a nice man. But with this season's Kings looking eerily like the Kings of last season, he may not be the man to take this team to the next level.
Let's hope the Kings find their mojo and bring it against Pittsburgh on Saturday. If I'm going to have to miss two weeks of home games (more on that later), it would be nice to leave LA on a high note.