Much like the Edmonton Oilers' trade for Ryan Smyth... the final edition of Pundays for the 2010-2011 NHL season might be better late than never. We aim to please here at The Royal Half, so compiling the best and the worst NHL.com pun headlines of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final was almost as fun as the series itself. But in the end, only one team can win. And for our friends in the city of Boston, there was only one word to describe the feeling.
Well, the NHL Draft is upon us tomorrow and I thought I would take an in-depth look at the several prospects out there in this years Draft. Now, everyone is talking about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins... but for me the real steal is lower in the draft with Alexander Khokhlac... OH MY FUCKING GOD, THE KINGS JUST TRADED FOR MIKE RICHARDS. ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!?!?!??!?!?!
Hey there. I'm Mike. Nice to meet you.
I mean... holy shit! GM Dean Lombardi pulls the trigger on a massive trade, giving up Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2012 2nd Round Pick for Philadelphia Flyers Captain Mike Richards and throwaway player Rob Bordson. I've been saying since last September that the one thing the Kings needed the most was a 2nd line center. I just had no idea that 2nd line center would be Mike Fucking Richards.
Yeah, I'd say that might work for a 2nd line center. I can't remember... what were the Kings using at that position last year?
Sure, Wayne Simmonds was a fan favorite. But let's be honest here, hockey fans. At the most he's a 22 goal right winger who is going to throw his skinny 175 pound frame around in the corners. He struggled this season and with the emergence of Kyle Clifford, it's made Simmonds expendable. But man, I'll miss those chats he had with Michal Handzus.
Brayden Schenn has all the potential to be a world-class hockey player. But he's 19 years old and as 80,000 people said on Twitter today.... Schenn is projected as a "Mike Richards type." Well, the Kings just traded Schenn for Mike Richards.
Good thing they got rid of Wayne Simmonds.
Now I'm a Los Angeles Kings fan... so I have every belief in my heart that once he laces up for this hockey franchise, Mike Richards will completely forget everything that he knows about the game of hockey and struggle to score a goal. It's just how it works here in Los Angeles. Right, Dustin Penner?
The biggest question facing Kings fans right now is "Will Mike Richards, a small-town boy from Kenora, Ontario, be able to adjust to living in Hollywood?"
"Are you kidding me? I saw that chick on The Apprentice."
And best of all... Richards wouldn't look out of place as an extra on Entourage.
But what everyone seems to be forgetting about Mike Richards is the one big intangible he brings to the Los Angeles Kings...
Winter Classic experience!!!
Oh, and this.
Oh, and this.
Oh, and this.
I wonder if the Los Angeles Kings Marketing Department is excited about this trade?
But the person most excited about today's trade?
Yeah, I'd say with this trade you've got about 4 months top to show that this team is a winner.
We are a long way away from the start of the 2011-2012 NHL Season. But in a few swift hours, the Los Angeles Kings have made a great move that makes them a bit tougher of an opponent in the already tough Pacific Division. And until Mike Richards goes scoreless in the first 2 months of the season... Kings fans can feel really excited about this team. And they still haven't traded Bernier yet!
Your LA Kings 2nd Line Center.
Did you really think that The Royal Half would go more than 6 hours without creating a Mike Richards t-shirt for our Gift Shoppe?
The fans of the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning can finally understand what it feels like to be a fan of an NHL team that hasn't made the playoffs... because they are going to sit around for the next few days and watch every team play except for their own. The Eastern Conference Finals are all locked up. While in the West, the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks struggle to close out their series. But for serious fans of the NHL... watching the Canucks and Sharks choke in the playoffs is nothing new.
It's the first week of May and here in Los Angeles, it's nearly 90 degrees. But for the cities in which their NHL team is still playing hockey, it's even hotter. The 2nd round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs began this past week and some may say that due to all the heated games being playing inside NHL arenas... the temperature is rising.
The NHL season may be kicking into overdrive with the start of the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but for the Los Angeles Kings organization and its fans... the NHL season is over. The Kings management team have begun their evaluation of the past season, while looking to see how they can improve on the next. It's no secret that Dustin Penner failed to perform for the Kings after his trade deadline acquisition. When GM Dean Lombardi gave up a 1st round draft pick, former 1st rounder Colton Tuebert and a 3rd round pick for the former 30 goal scorer... I doubt that 8 points in 25 games is what he expected. Kings fans have been ruthless in their evaluation of Penner's performance (or lack there of) but the fact of the matter is that Dustin Penner is signed through next season as a King. So Dean Lombardi partnered with Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, to see if there was a way during the off-season that they could use Penner's skills on the ice in and around the great city of Los Angeles. I mean, the guy is getting paid 4.25 million... he might as well earn it, right?
LAX Airport Decorative Light-Up Pylon
Built for the 2000 Democratic National Convention, the LAX Pylons are works of public art that welcome over 58 million people each year to Los Angeles. And since Dustin Penner looks sharp in his Kings purple vintage jersey... having him spend the summer standing there like a plyon really is a natural fit.
110 Freeway Support Beam
Los Angeles residents spend nearly 4 days a year just sitting in freeway traffic. So it's important for the city to provide proper upkeep of the dozen major freeways that crisscross the city. Dustin Penner has been praised for his size, so placing him under the 110 Freeway Carpool Lane as a support beam seems like the best use of his hulking frame.
Jon Hamm Lighting Stand-In
At 6' 4", Dustin Penner is the perfect height to stand in for the role of Don Draper on the set of the hit AMC drama Mad Men. You see, actors would rather be preparing for a scene in the comfort of their trailer instead of standing under the hot lights as the Director of Photography tweaks the set to get it just right. Many productions use a "stand-in" that is similar to the actor in height and complexion. All you really have to do all day is stand in place and you collect a paycheck. Dustin Penner would be excellent at this. Besides, it's a perfect match... Jon Hamm is tall, dark and handsome and has a passion for the game of hockey while Dustin Penner is tall, dark and handsome.
Los Angeles is the mecca of the film world, so for many actors, the ultimate prize is taking home an Oscar Award in recognition of their excellent performance in a film. It's like their version of the Stanley Cup! An Oscar Statuette stands 13½ inches tall and weighs in at a robust 8½ pounds of pure metal. Some Hollywood celebs have won so many Oscars, there really is no other use for them than as a paperweight. Again, a great way to capitalize on Dustin Penner's skillset.
The "Y" in the Hollywood Sign
Sure, a lot of these alternative uses for Dustin Penner involve working in the entertainment industry, but many prominent Los Angeles sports stars have been able to carve out excellent careers entertaining people off the playing field.
After 2 1/2 months, Kings fans are used to screaming "WHY!" when it comes to Penner's performance on the ice, so in the battle to keep the Hollywood sign looking fresh and new, Penner can really help out.
Penner might as well try one of these alternate jobs... cause he sure as hell ain't good at the ones listed above.
Of course, only Dustin Penner knows what he plans to do in the off-season to make up for his poor showing as a Los Angeles King. But off the ice, maybe he'll catch on while trying out one of these alternate jobs so that he can help re-pay his debt to the great city of Los Angeles.
If you would have told me that without Anze Kopitar and with a 80% Justin Williams that the Los Angeles Kings would take the Pacific Division Champions to 6 games in the 1st round of the playoffs... with 3 of those games ending in overtime... and with one of those games losing a 4 goal lead... then I would have said you were a fool. A damn fool!
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 3 times in OT, well... we're fools.
Kings 3, Sharks 4
The Kings did much better than anyone who wasn't a crazy fanboy thought they would. The Kings played hard, but couldn't play with a lead. Luckily, after the game, Coach Murray did his best to distract anyone from talking about the Kings failure to close out games.
"Hey Kyle, great series. Listen have you seen your Coach? He's about 6'2", grey hair... no facial expressions."
"I ate him."
If there was one great thing to come out of this 1st round series, it was these guys.
Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds was the one line that Coach Murray kept consistent throughout the playoffs. This line delivered all that it could in this series, only being shut down in Game 6 once the Sharks started to pay attention to them. Chemistry is key in the sport of hockey, and with the way this line has played over the last 2 weeks, Brad Richardson just may have earned himself a multi-year contract with the Kings... or another NHL team that will totally overpay for him based on his playoff performance.
There will be changes for this team over the summer. You have to assume that Michal Handzus has played his last game for the Kings. With the emergence of Trevor Lewis, Handzus is no longer needed on this team. Brayden Schenn is waiting in the wings (or in the centers) to make this team in the fall which could mean that Jarret Stoll is on his way out of Holllywood to discover a whole new batch of women to bang. Anze Kopitar will return healthy and the Kings top line could easily be Kopitar, Justin Williams and Dustin Penner... assuming Dustin Penner doesn't retire over the summer based on a complete lack of interest in the sport of ice hockey.
"I know, Dustin... It's called a goal! You were brought here to score them. My 80% is your 250%."
The defense for this team is set for a while. Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Matt Greene, Rob Scuderi, Alec Martinez and Willie Mitchell should be back for next season, with only Doughty and Martinez as RFA's. Sure, this defense collapsed in Games 3 and 4, but they also showed how strong they could be in Games 2, 5 and 6. Jon Quick has established himself as a big game, elite NHL goaltender... so this may be the summer Jon Bernier gets traded. I imagine a few teams could use a goalie.
Why did it have to be Joe Thornton?
Even with the Ghost of Wayne Gretzky (and the real Wayne Gretzky) in attendance... and even with an awful blown call on a high stick (We all know it was Wayne Simmonds and not Joe Thornton who took out Brad Richardson's tooth)... the Kings couldn't win Game 6. And Joe Thornton showed the world just how uncomfortable being a clutch player he is...
Even when everyone is saying that Kings fans should hold their head up high because the future is bright... it's still hard. It feels like the future has been bright for 2 years now. And quite honestly, this NHL playoffs was a total wash for the Kings because of the loss of Anze Kopitar. Coach Murray will be back next season. Which means that Power Play Coach and Kings fan whipping boy Jamie Kompon will probably be back as well. GM Dean Lombardi may tweak the roster a bit this summer, but in all likelyhood the core of this team will remain. Thankfully, the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs didn't make the playoffs this year... so the tradition of Stanley Cup droughts continues.
It could be worse. I guess.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Kings for keeping me invested in this team for the past 6 months. Thanks to Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy for being my Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy for the past 9 years, through thick and thin. Thanks to Indiana Matt, Jersey Brian and Twitter Doug for getting caught up in Los Angeles Kings Fever. Thanks to all the great Kings blogs out there that continue to cover this team with a passion unmatched in the NHL. And thanks to you, the loyal readers of The Royal Half. Thanks for reading this silly blog, thanks for commenting on these silly posts and thanks for being silly with me on Twitter. This battle is long from over... and we will always have this to remind us of what the ultimate goal is.
Sure, making it into the NHL Playoffs can be the most exciting part of a players career. But making it into the 2nd round is the truest test for the strength of an NHL franchise and its fans. The NHL season is long and when players report for training camp in September, everyone is working towards the goal of playing hockey deep into April and May. The season is over for the New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks... so there really is only one thing left to say amongst their fans and players...
Because it's still too cold out to golf. Except in Anaheim and Phoenix.
And for the other 13 teams that are still battling for position in the post-season? Well, in my opinion, this years NHL playoffs have never been better.
When Coach Murray announced that he was putting Scott Parse into the starting lineup for Game 5 as well as benching Alex Ponikarovsky for current whipping boy, Dustin Penner, it's safe to say that Kings fans had their doubts. Well, imagine what the players were thinking!
"I'm sorry, who? Scott Parse? I thought we traded him last season for Jeff Halpern."
"Are you there God? It's me, Dustin. Please don't let Penner be on my line tonight."
"What? Parse is playing tonight? What?!? You are my new center?!?"
"No, coach, I'm just saying... it's a LOT harder to get trim after the game when I'm on the 4th line. I didn't say it was impossible. Just a lot harder. And who is Scott Parse?"
"Awesome! I really do have good looking elbows. You are the man, DD!"
"See! I told you all that the only thing this lineup was missing was a 5' 11" left winger who hadn't played since mid-November. Wildcard, bitches!"
Kings 3, Sharks 1 Sharks lead series 3-2 Sharks Choke Meter: Hopeful