The Royal Half has returned from its Winter Vacation and thanks to the magical NHL GameCentre app for the iPad... I was somewhat able to follow the Los Angeles Kings over the past 13 days. And it seems that the record of the Kings in those 6 games directly paralleled the situation I was in during my vacation.
In New York, concrete jungles where dreams of a beach vacation are covered in horrible, horrible snow.
For example, when I was stuck in Brooklyn during the crazy blizzard that hit New York City last week, the Los Angeles Kings went 3-0, with victories over the Oilers, Ducks and Sharks.
This is me walking on 2 feet of snow down 9th Street in Park Slope.
You can tell it's me from the old school Kings beanie.
And when I finally arrived at my tropical beach winter vacation destination that was amazingly relaxing? 3 straight losses to the Coyotes, Flyers and Sharks.
If you look closely, that is Dan Cloutier on the beach living off his buyout money.
When I returned home to Los Angeles for Monday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center... I figured I'd be able to see exactly why the Kings had been playing so poorly lately. But instead, I saw this.
Which is even worse than a 4 game losing streak.
Kings 3, Blackhawks 4, NHL Guardians Project 0
There has been a ton of press written about the NHL Guardian Project which "will encompass the creation of 30 Guardians (one to represent each NHL team) as a new series of superheroes, with a creative concept that organically and authentically incorporates various NHL elements but is not set in the world of hockey." And who exactly is the Stan Lee - NHL supergroup known as Guardian Media Entertainment (GME) going after?
"With an initial plan to reach an all-family audience and narrower target demo of tween boys, GME hopes to bring a new audience to the NHL, while engaging the existing, established hockey fan base through a compelling tale of good vs. evil."
I wonder if "engaging" was a typo and should have read "enraging" instead. Yesterday, the Los Angeles King Guardian, simply known as The King, was unveiled.
Let's take a closer look at the skillz of The King, shall we?
The Power of Accelerated Healing?!? Isn't that a big slap in the face to longtime Kings fans as we've suffered through concussions and free agents that never played? But as Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy said to me, maybe the research team that came up with this NHL Superhero actually did their homework as The King sure could have helped during the 2003-2004 season, where the Kings sent an NHL record with 629 man games lost. Maybe now that The King is around, Willie Mitchell can put together a string of games without hurting himself? And with The King in town... maybe Dean Lombardi looks like a genius trading for Marco Sturm and giving up nothing.
"Hey, The King, you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Me neither, now please help me up."
And The King has a sword that creates earthquakes! That's sweet... earthquakes are SO extreme!
Who exactly is The King battling here? Insurance Adjusters?
But the real question with the NHL Guardians Project is why recycle a concept that was already done perfectly 20 years ago?
Doesn't feel dated at all, does it?
Seriously, who do you want as the cartoon mascot for your team? The Penguin?
Or Wayne Gretzky balancing a huge club sandwich?
I think the answer is clear.
So in the era of HBO's 24/7 and the NHL being the first league to really embrace Social Media, here comes another tired gimmick that tries to get people interested in the game of hockey... even though it has nothing to do with the game of hockey. And if Stan Lee and his hockey buddies are trying to create a "compelling tale of good vs. evil"... well they've accomplished that. The fans of hockey are the good. And the NHL Guardians are the evil. I'm ready to fight the ultimate battle!