It's an all-new Pundays at The Royal Half, where we feature the best and worst of the NHL.com pun-filled front page headlines from the past week. And since I no longer have anything to live for, I can focus my attention on the amazing... aw, forget it... just get it over with, alright?!?
I mean, seriously. All of these injuries to the Los Angeles Kings have made me want to turn off the hockey game on tv, curl up underneath a blanket and just get drunk on a nice bottle of wine.
I've never been in an abusive relationship... but I have to think that being a Los Angeles Kings fan is the closest I'll get. As I've experienced several times before, just when things are feeling right and happy... and we are getting along great... my favorite hockey team comes home one night and beats the shit out of me in a drunken rage.
The 5 Stages to Being A Los Angeles Kings Fan When You Lose Your Best Player with 7 Games Left Before the Playoffs.
Denial. "No way we are fucked."
Anger. "We're fucked!!!"
Bargaining. "We are not fucked. We are NOT fucked."
Depression. "Why! Why does this always fucking happen to me!"
Acceptance. "We're fucked."
I think it's really cute how Kings fans are trying to believe that losing Anze Kopitar to a broken ankle is no reason to think that this team is finished being a contender in the West. Some even point to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the job they've been able to do all season with the loss of Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Problem is that the Penguins have been adapting since mid-January... not with 7 games left in the middle of the craziest playoff race ever. The loss of Kopitar isn't just his 72 points and his quarterbacking on the Power Play. He was this teams one true offensive threat... the kind of player that opposing defenseman would back off from. And now that is gone. I have no doubt that this Kings team will still qualify for the playoffs, but even for the most die-hard of fans, it's nearly impossible to think they will do anything in the post-season. And for myself, being a fan of this team for 23 years... and living through disappointment after disappointment and injury after injury. It's enough to make you scream.
I'd like to remember Anze Kopitar as I last saw him before that horrific injury... with the exact same face... but skating.
You know you want to see it again.
I know I give Jim Fox a lot of shit... but man, he is heartbreaking in this video.
Some people have claimed that the Los Angeles Kings have been cursed since 2002, when they erected a statue to Wayne Gretzky in front of Staples Center. Since this statue went up, the Kings are yet to win a playoff round (making it to the post-season just once, last year), have gone through 17 goalies and suffered many, many injuries. But I don't think the Wayne Gretzky statue had anything to do with Kopitar's injury today. No, instead I blame this piece of Kings history instead...
This dude was so embarrassed to wear the Burger King jersey that he waited until he was at warm-ups to put it on.
Worst. Clan Meeting. Ever.
This was actually the ugliest jersey I saw at Staples Center today.
So there you have it. Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. #1 and #2 leading scorers for the Los Angeles Kings gone within 5 days of each other. Your top 5 scorers for the Kings are now Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner (kinda), Ryan Smyth, Jack Johnson and Jarret Stoll. God help us all. Indiana Matt and I had planned to unveil our latest Royal Half t-shirts after the victory over the Avalanche today. Little did we know, that we'd be delivering a eulogy. So here they are! Yay?
The "I ♥ AK" t-shirt. Now, only $11. Never forget.
All of these and many other t-shirts are available at The Royal Half Gift Shoppe. Perfect for wearing during MRI's! Use the code "SPRING2011" or "CADSPRING2011" for $10 off an order of $50 or more.
As it always seems to be when it comes to Los Angeles sports teams... as soon as they get hot... the celebrities show up in mass. And Thursday night at Staples Center against the San Jose Sharks was no different...
Seeing Craig Ferguson at the game didn't cause the biggest gasp amongst Los Angeles Kings fans... no, that came from the mouth of Terry Murray after watching his team give up a game-tying goal with 3.2 seconds left in the game.
If there is one thing we love writing about at The Royal Half, it's Justin Williams injuries and Oscar Moller getting a chance to play on the top 6 lines. Luckily today... we get to do both!
The last time Justin Williams was an un-healthy scratch.
On the bright side, the latest damage to Justin Williams should stop all that talk of his legs being prone to injuries. Instead, Williams has suffered a dislocated shoulder and plans to re-hab it for a few weeks before making it back for the later part of the first round of the playoffs at 80% strength... or in other words... exactly what he did last year in the playoffs. Rehabbing from a dislocated shoulder is a bit of a crap shoot. Marian Gaborik was out 12 games earlier this season with a dislocated shoulder. While the Islanders Mark Streit dislocated his shoulder during pre-season and is out for the year. (Here is a great breakdown of Streit's injury.) Heck, even Alex Ponikarovsky came back 7 games after dislocating his shoulder in 2008.
Funny enough, this is the same position a lot of Kings fans have seen him in this season.
So what happens when your 1st line Right Winger goes down with a season-ending injury? You go down to the farm for help, that's what you do.
Hello, I'm a professional hockey player.
So you all know the love we have for Oscar Moller here at The Royal Half. He made the Kings in 2008 out of juniors when the team was awful and after suffering a... well... shoulder injury during the World Juniors, he's never been able to keep a roster spot on the team, even after scoring 3 points in 4 games during a quick December call-up this season. So tonight, Moller gets his chance on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Penner. Here is an artists rendition of what that could look like.
The biggest knock against Moller is his size. Listed at a generous 5'10", Moller hasn't been able to keep from avoiding bone-crushing hits by bigger men during his time in the NHL.
Yet, Moller still gets up after each hit. Something that can't be said for Justin Williams. And even the littlest of NHL'ers take a while to adjust to the league. Moller hasn't looked too shabby at all this season in Manchester, where he has 50 points in 59 games.
Do I think Coach Murray views Oscar Moller as a bona fide solution to filling the gaping hole Justin Williams leaves? No effin' way. Coach Murray will give Moller two shifts on the 1st line before replacing him with Wayne Simmonds, Brad Richardson or my personal guess... Kyle Clifford. But at the very least, Oscar gets to play with his friends again.
So what do you do when your favorite hockey team has an important Western Conference battle at the exact same time you are flying back from the East Coast to Los Angeles? Simple, in this day and age of Wi-Fi on airplanes you can watch the game using NHL Gamecentre or find an illegal stream, right? Well, what if your airplane doesn't have Wi-Fi? Simple, you watch the game using the several channels of DirecTV that your airline offers. Well, what if the DirecTV on your airplane doesn't offer Fox Sports West as an option? Sheesh... what the hell sort of low-frills airlines are you flying anyway?!? Well, if that's the case, you may just have to follow the Los Angeles Kings - Calgary Flames game the old fashioned way... listening to live play by play on Satellite Radio as you fly across America!
Go Kings Go!
It seemed like the 1st period was a low-shot, tight-checking battle.
And after 40 minutes of play, the teams were still scoreless.
Damn, that red goalie just keeps making glove saves.
And then finally, Jarret Stoll scores a beautiful goal! What a great play, huh?
But then a defensive lapse a few seconds later leads to a great breakaway goal by Olli Jokinen. What a move!
Quick had no chance on that one.
Looks like this is gonna be a classic 3-Point Western Conference game.
Of course, right around Overtime is when my plane decides to land at Bob Hope Airport. So I did what any other hockey fan would do...
I switched to the iHeartRadio app on my phone and didn't miss a beat! iHeartYou iHeartRadio app!
After a dramatic shootout, the Kings gain the 2 points they needed. Hmm, I wonder who won the Pens-Red Wings game?
This sounded like an exciting game. I can only imagine what it felt like to be there in person!
I'm not saying that the Los Angeles Kings were starting to believe their own hype over the past week, but Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues the team seemed to come into Staples Center wearing rose-colored glasses.
As a Los Angeles Kings fan... when it comes to the NHL Playoff Race, March tends to not be the kindest of months. In fact, usually it blows. When the Kings are in a playoff race in March, they don't have a winning record.
2009-2010 W 6 L 8 S 1 - Playoffs
2005-2006 W 6 L 8 - No Playoffs
2003-2004 W 3 L 11 T 1 - No Playoffs
2002-2003 W 4 L 9 T 2 - No Playoffs
But here we are, on March 17th, 2011... in the middle of the craziest playoff race ever... and the Kings have a winning record... so far.
2010-2011 W 5 L 2
Tonight against the St. Louis Blues is the very definition of a trap game.
No, not that trap game.
Loosely defined, a "trap game" is when a team looks past a current opponent to another team, and underestimates the game against the current team. So with the St. Louis Blues in town, losers of their last 2, 10 points out of a playoff spot and now up for sale... this is not the time for the Kings to fall back into their old March habits. And to make things worse, this shit will distract the Kings tonight.
I'm not sure when the whole "St. Patrick's Day Customized Team Merchandise" trend started. But I hate it. Even for Boston teams. And since the Kings will be wearing special-edition Green jerseys tonight during warm-ups... the Kings Marketing Department decided to go full-throttle in terms of marketing to their Irish fans with a line of St. Patrick's Day Inspired Collective Giveaways:
This just in from the Hollywood casting couches... there is a brand new Iron Man!
"Hey guys! I'm like the Iron Man... and stuff."
Anze Kopitar is now the all-time Los Angeles Kings leader in consecutive games played. And although Kopitar has come close to serious injury before, he's not joking around when it comes to being in the Kings lineup each night.
But the real story here is Anze Kopitar's play over the last 7 games, which happens to coincide with Dustin Penner's first 7 games as a Los Angeles King. Kopitar has 10 points in the last 7 games and it seems Penner and Kopitar are getting along just fine.
"Hey assholes. I've been asking 3 years for a top line left winger. Really big surprise that I'm doing well with one, huh?"