It was January 27th, 1996. 15 years ago today. The Los Angeles Kings were coming off an 8-2 drubbing by the hands of the Hartford Whalers and headed into this game against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim with a 16-22-11 overall record. The Kings would go on to finish that season 23rd out of 26 NHL teams while missing the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year since making it to the Stanley Cups finals in 1993. Over the course of the 1995-96 season, the Kings would trade away such fan-favorites as Rick Tocchet, Pat Conacher, Darryl Sydor, Jari Kurri, Marty McSorley and yes, even Wayne Gretzky. But when talking about that game on January 27th 15 years ago, none of this is important. For this was the game where it was unveiled.
Hypnotizing, isn't it?
That's right, 15 years ago today, the 3rd jersey affectionately referred to as "The Burger King Jersey" made its Hollywood debut at the Great Western Forum. And in a Royal Half Investigative Team Exclusive.. we take an in-depth look at how this logo came to be… how it came to be worn on a jersey… and how it went away, just as soon as it arrived.
I'm not sure what I like more about this...
The fact that he wrote "Your Pal" to me...
Or the fact that he's wearing the "A" as a King.
Wayne Gretzky was 27 years old when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. And now he's 50. Happy Birthday, Wayne! Thanks for hockey!
What was the biggest difference in the Los Angeles Kings team that took the ice Monday night against the Boston Bruins? It wasn't that they finally played a full game for the first time in a month, or that they were relentless in shutting down the offense of one of the best teams in the NHL. No, the biggest different tonight was that these guys showed up...
No, I'm not talking about the couple in the front.
And of course... in a town where a young womans' dream is to make it onto the big screen...
Dreams do come true.
Oh, and this might of had a little something to do with the Kings 2-0 victory as well...
Must. Eat. Thornton. Face.
Don't look now, but Kyle Clifford is tied for 5th in the league for fighting majors. Who needs Westgarth? Let me be the first to welcome the Los Angeles Kings back to the 2010-11 NHL Season. Now do it on Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks when it really counts. None of this beating the Eastern Conference bullshit. For all your Jack Edwards and Boston Bruins needs and wants... check out what some people are calling "The Royal Half of the East"... Days of Y'Orr. EDITORS NOTE: I am the only one who calls Days of Y'Orr that.
2 Men, No Cup.
But at least Hextall made it to one Stanley Cup Final.
3 Men and a Foxy.
"Foxy, I told you. Everytime you say "WHOAA" during a game, that's 1 dollar to me."
"Here's 500 dollars, Dean."
"Jim and Dean, this reminds me of a story. You see in 1973, Sheldon Kannegiesser went to Toronto to buy a hat. And in those days..."
"Shut the fuck up, Bob. I've got a trade to make."
As any Kings fan knows... Jarret Stoll does his best work lying down.
Okay, let's see that awesome goal one more time:
Jarret Stoll hasn't jumped that far since he realized Rachel Hunter was hitting the wall.
"No goal for Los Angeles."
"But, Murph. I'm asking you about Florida-Washington. LA doesn't even play tonight."
"I said no goal. You need me to have Colin email you or what?"
"No goal, Los Angeles... sir."
While I'm glad that someone in the Los Angeles Kings Or-gan-i-zation is finally trying to do something to stir up this team... what GM Dean Lombardi said last night was Crazytown, USA.
“When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.’s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls,’’ Lombardi said. “However, we have put ourselves in a position where these calls have a monumental effect on our season, and we’re going to have to find a way out of it ourselves."
The next big management move by the Kings that I'm excited to see? How much they have to shell out to the league in fine money for Mr. Lombardi's choice words.
Reminder: Not a goal.
Thursday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes wasn't part of my Half Season Ticket Package. But I had scored 2 free tickets to the game and called up one of my oldest friends... who happens to also be my oldest "long suffering Los Angeles Kings fan" friend. She and I met around 1993, at the height of King Fandom in Los Angeles. How old-school Kings is she? Well, her jersey collection consists of replica Robb Stauber and Darryl Sydor jerseys. So what do two 30-something, 20-plus year Kings fans do when the current incarnation of their favorite team is slogging its way through a 2-0 loss to a division rival? You try to name the most obscure Kings from the past and then top one another. That's what you do!
We called it a tie after she said Doug Houda and I said Todd Elik.
But spending the majority of the night throwing out names from the last 25 years got me to thinking about this current Kings team. They were so ready for prime-time... the "Next Chicago Blackhawks"... just one impact player short of Stanley Cup Contenders. And now... well, while the playoffs are not out of the picture at all, the 2010-2011 Los Angeles Kings have to find an identity. And they have to find it quickly. The Kings may just be 5 points out of a playoff spot, but they are 2 losses away from being a .500 team. And there is no excuse for that. Not even this:
Even if the War Room in Toronto pulls their head out of their asses to see this wasn't a goal... the Kings still lose 1-0. People might say "oh, well that 2nd goal wouldn't have been scored if not for that emotional, controversial goal in the 2nd period." That my friends is bullshit. This is a professional sports team who is supposed to be able to endure the ups and downs of the game. Not cave in after being told a goal was scored against them. But, as long suffering Los Angeles Kings fans... we'll continue to show up at Staples or watch on tv... and hope our favorite team won't let us down again. Because that's what we do... we are Kings fans. We are used to being disappointed.
And in regards to what Dean Lombardi said after the game... in regards to that emotional, controversial goal in the 2nd period. Good for him. It's about time someone involved in this hockey team showed a little fire and made it seem like they actually care about what is going on.
The St. Louis Blues have won 2 of their last 8 games. Which team did they beat for those 2 wins?
The Los Angeles Kings have won 2 of their last 11 games, beating such powerhouses as the Edmonton Oilers and the Columbus Blue Jackets. What has caused this recent slump?
This might have something to do with it.
Couldn't pick a worse time to start growing a new mustache, Richardson.
Fox Sports West HD screwed up again...
that graphic should read "3rd and Final Season with Kings."
So when your favorite ice hockey team is incredibly unmotivated and underachieving... all that's left to do is see what comes up on Google Image search for "Los Angeles Kings Suck."
So I went to an official Los Angeles Kings Watch Party... and all I got was this...
...lousy photograph with the only Kings employee hotter than Heidi Androl.
... lousy personalized autograph from the star of one of the greatest Kings memes of all time.
... lousy team autographed "Kings Fans Parking Only" sign that I won in a raffle for 6 dollars.
So I went to an official Los Angeles Kings Watch Party and all I got to see was a lousy hockey team lose the 7th of its last 9 games.
"Thanks, Joe. I shall use this stick to crush the dreams of Kings fans... everywhere!"
Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy says the Kings should feel confident about making a coaching change with a somewhat capable head coach, John Stevens, already on the existing coaching staff. I have been firmly in the "Don't Fire Coach Murray" camp the last few weeks... but the old saying goes... if you can't fire the players... you gotta fire someone. Sure the Kings may be only 3 points out of a playoff spot, but not many of the teams in front of them seem to be willing to slow down and let the Kings catch up.
A ROYAL HALF UPDATE:
Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy in no way endorses a coaching change for the Los Angeles Kings, but rather just states that if a change is made, there is a capable replacement there.
See! That's what he said!
It was Legends Night at Staples Center and after a week that already featured Canadian Pride Night and Dodgers Night... I started to think. Aren't promotions like this the kind of thing that is done by teams that are struggling to win and allientating their fans? Oh... wait.... nevermind. Bring on the Purple and Gold!
I think this girl didn't realize what jersey the Kings were wearing tonight.
And this guy was confused about which Kings legend was being honored.
And this guy was just confused.
Legends of Players That Banged Alyssa Milano Night is next Thursday.