Season Preview: Expert Analysis


So far, in our Los Angeles Kings season previews we’ve taken an in-depth look at Team Communication and Team Responsibility. But now it’s time to delve deeper into the upcoming season and find out who the winners and losers will be… what the biggest addition and worst subtraction was… and who is primed for the biggest breakout. They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In professional ice hockey, a franchise is only as interesting to follow as its bloggers are. So we here at The Royal Half present the 1st Annual Los Angeles Kings Bloggers Season Preview. 

I don’t know about you guys… but I’ll take these nerd hockey bloggers
matched up against Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan any day of the week. 

Click Here to Read The Royal Half’s 1st Annual Los Angeles Kings Bloggers Season Preview!!!

This is an in-depth look at the current LA Kings hockey bloggers out there and what they think about their upcoming season… as a hockey blogger. Now obviously I’ve excluded real, actual journalists that get paid and are members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association like Gann Matsuda and Dennis Bernstein and um… HockeyBuzzBarry. Instead, we are focusing on those passionate fans who come home after each game and sit at their computer until 3am pounding out their thoughts on the keyboard… and we wonder how in the hell do they have girlfriends? So I assembled a venerated team of Blogger All-Stars and I put them through a blogging bag skate until they puked. 

QUESTION #1 - EVALUATE YOUR BLOG’S PERFORMANCE LAST SEASON

 Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

I’m fairly proud of my blogging performance last season.  Got linked a few times on Puck Daddy (not as much as Pundays, grrr) (EDITORS NOTE: Ha-Haaa!) and on a few other blogs as well. It’s tough being a one-man show at ProSportsBlogging for the Kings but I’d like to post a lot more entries next season.  Stupid day job gets in the way.  I guess you could say my blog was like Alexei Kovalev.  At times it was great, but some nights it just doesn’t show up.

 LA Kings Outsider

After a strong start to the 2010-11 campaign, a trip to the ER for Vertigo and severe viral ear infection which resulted in loss of hearing in one ear definitely threw me off my blogging game in 2010.  But much like Scott Parse, I expect to bounce back in a big way this season.

 Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Well, I was great.

 Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Since we failed to launch the joint Battle of California/Jewels from the Crown all-puppet pod-cast, I consider last season an abject failure. (EDITORS NOTE: The Royal Half would love to throw its puppet into consideration for the all-puppet pod-cast.)

 Waving Back at Gretzky

I’d give myself a failing grade.   My blog suffered as a result of my lack of motivation to write about the Kings.

 Life in Hockeywood

I guess the blog did well. All I know is I was spent at the end of the season. So I guess you could say I left it all on the ice. I do know I doubled my page views from the previous season. So that’s something, which is nice.

 The 110 Report

We lacked a shot mentality.

 Crowned Royal

Last season was actually our first season, and all things considered I’d say it was a success. Though, since our only goal was not give up in November, admittedly, the bar was set pretty low.

QUESTION #2 – WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ADDITION TO YOUR BLOG COMING INTO THIS SEASON?

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

I just bought a refurbished PC laptop from a shady looking auction website, so hopefully that will allow me two or three extra posts this year before it dies.  I also plan on reviewing some greatly under-appreciated hockey films this year.  I don’t want to give too much away, but if you like hockey and you like chimps, you’re in luck.

LA Kings Outsider

No idea.  Hopefully, just more content.  I may steal this idea from The Royal Half and have some monthly discussions amongst other Kings bloggers. (EDITORS NOTE: The fuck you won’t… unless you want to talk with The Royal Half legal team.)

 Keith from Kingscast

The brand-new rumors section.  We have worked hard assembling many sources who are deeply entrenched in the Los Angeles Kings.  Like Cameron the Usher…and Fernando The Bartender.  We are also working on The Candy Guy.  Shit’s real.. Oh yeah, we also added the Google +1 button.

 Alex from Kingscast

I can’t put a finger on any specific add-ons you’ll see, I don’t usually lay out long-term plans unless it’s a specific project, which there will be a couple. I’d consider myself a freelance blogger, various topics, themes, bad photoshops, etc. 

Protect This Throne

My favorite substantive addition to the blog is definitely my “debate” feature- a few months ago I had three friends debate about Sidney Crosby, and it got a lot of hits (mostly because someone- not me- kept posting links to the “pro-Crosby” blogs on “Does Sidney Crosby Have A Girlfriend” webpages.) I’m hoping to do more debates in the future- not just because it gives me a break from writing, but because it gives me insight into what truly experienced hockey fans think.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

We’re going to subtract comments. I think it’ll be a big addition!

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

New logo. New grumpier Niesy.

Waving Back at Gretzky

I hated the name of my blog (‘Purple Crushed Velvet‘…seriously, what was I thinking?) so I decided that with the new season I would throw my old blog to the curb and start fresh with a new one (‘Waving Back at Gretzky’). I decided to start a new weekly feature where I link to other hockey blogs through captivating posts they’ve written from that week. After years of following blogs, I finally realized that the most common way I discover new ones is through blogs that link to them.  Usually, if I enjoy reading a blog, there’s a high probability that I’ll enjoy blogs the author likes too.

Life in Hockeywood

I want to do more video preview stuff, but time is always a crucial element. So, I’m also tinkering with the way I go postgame wrap-ups. I’m also considering an app for fans to download for free, as well as more t-shirt designs.

The 110 Report

Since this is the first season of our blog, the mere sight of us is an addition. I started it in May, and amassed a staff around July. So we’re still in our infancy.

QUESTION #3 – WHAT IS THE BIGGEST SUBTRACTION TO YOUR BLOG COMING INTO THIS SEASON?

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

Since it’s only me and I’m still awesome there isn’t really a subtraction, per se.  Although I will miss writing the name “Zus” affectionately into my posts.  It really stinks that I’m sworn to hate him now.  Another big subtraction will be in Dustin Penner’s waistline!  But seriously I hear Dustin has lost weight, which will deprive all of us of “Penner is fat” jokes, which we all know is a true loss.

LA Kings Outsider

My pleas for Dean Lombardi to sign Paul Kariya.

Keith from Kingscast

We have an agreement in principle to subtract nothing.

Alex from Kingscast

Writing post-game recaps, bad ones, which I actually stopped doing two seasons ago – but still remains to be my biggest addition by subtraction. I’m glad you didn’t read those.

Protect This Throne

Probably my lack of hockey knowledge generally. I’m a new hockey fan- I started watching less than 3 years ago, and blogging only last year, and to be honest, I still don’t understand what half the penalties mean. The last thing people want to read are blogs from someone pretending to know everything. There’s no point in pretending, so I just try to be very up front about the fact that I’m brand new and still learning. But I think that gives me a fresh perspective on hockey and on the Kings, and I plan to learn as much as possible with each passing season.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

The old logo is gone. It never made sense to me anyway. And the blog name is not in the logo now, which has got to be a plus, since the name is so stupid. (EDITORS NOTE: Quisp is correct… the name is SO stupid. Just change it to Quisp’s Qorner and get on with it already. At least you got rid of that Pink Floyd rainbow for christsakes.)

Waving Back at Gretzky

I’ve never been that into analyzing stats and trying to find meaning in all the numbers and I haven’t found a way to make it interesting, so I can guarantee you that I will not even try to do that this season.

Life in Hockeywood

Other than re-jiggered recaps, I’ve finally decided to forego MySpace as a viable way to gain readership.

The 110 Report

Definitely addition by subtraction, as we’re the new guys in town.

Crowned Royal

The biggest subtraction will be whatever mass from our livers which are compromised due to trying to cope with such high expectations.. for the Kings, not for Crowned Royal. Don’t expect anything better from us.

QUESTION #4 – WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR BLOG IS DUE FOR THE BIGGEST BREAKOUT THIS SEASON?

 Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

My favorite blogs are the more opinion-based blogs so I plan on doing more of those.  Whether or not people give two damns about my opinion is another story but hey, it’s my blog so I’m going to do what I want.  This year you can expect some thoughts on impending issues that the league is facing such as the CBA, realignment, and expansion (God forbid).

Keith from Kingscast

I think we might change the header on our website so that would be pretty epic.

Alex from Kingscast

Hard to say, I always like to put my ideas to the test, some of them hit and some of them don’t. I make an effort to keep the content balanced, so graphic aspects don’t overshadow the scripture. However, I’m sure it doesn’t come off in that form to the readers at times.

Protect This Throne

Another tough question- mostly because my blog doesn’t have a whole lot of aspects to it. I get fired up about something, I write about it, and like 10 people read it. So if I had to be completely honest, I’m hoping that readership levels will go up, and that- in my eyes- would feel like a breakout in terms of numbers.

I’m also hoping to do a “questions” feature where I ask questions that a new fan would ask, and that more experienced fans can answer, like:
(1) Why DON’T they have video playback for potential goalie interference penalties?
(2) Why did they start tying jerseys down so that players can’t pull someone’s jersey over their head during fights anymore- just safety, or for some other reason?
(3) Why is Sean Avery such an asshole sometimes? No really, why?

So, hopefully that will be popular.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Meg’s herpes.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

I really would like to do the all-puppet pod-cast. Puppet me, puppet Niesy, puppet Rudy, puppet guests, we could have a little ice surface to re-enact games on. Think The Land of Make-Believe From Mr. Rogers or Kukla Fran and Ollie.  (Rudy says it would take too much time.) (EDITORS NOTE: No, seriously… I’d love to do this. Please, for the love of all things Kings do this puppet show and have me on as a guest… I’ll show off my collection of Heidi Androl screengrabs… OMG!!! A Heidi Androl puppet!!!)

Waving Back at Gretzky

Consistency.  My goal is to write a minimum of 2 posts per week.

Life in Hockeywood

I’m hoping more fans take part in the photo contest. Last year, I had 50+ fans send in pics rocking Kings’ jerseys. I’d like to double that this season.

The 110 Report

Probably our Kings coverage, and I’m not just saying that. I’m an Ice Pack holder, so I’m not as cool as those guys who are lucky enough to attended a half season, but it’s pretty fun nonetheless. Last season, through StubHub and my plan plus the playoffs, I made it out to 18 games. I think it definitely helps seeing games live, and so the passion that comes from being there is definitely going to be seen in how I personally write about the Kings. We also have another Kings blogger, Sarah, who’s going to be a interesting read as she’s LA transplant and a new Kings fan. So overall, I think it’s going to be a pretty exciting year for how we blog about Kings hockey.

Crowned Royal

Our biggest breakout this season will be the selfless whoring out of advertisement space. No joke. If anyone wants to advertise anything, we listen to all offers. Have you seen how much booze costs at Staples Center??

QUESTION #5 – WHY IS YOUR BLOG THE BEST LA KINGS BLOG OUT THERE?

 Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

My blog is the best LA Kings blog out there because of my ridiculous ability to be impartial.  How can you be a fan of anyone and be impartial, you say?  I have no idea.  All I know is that my brain interprets things logically and reasonably to a fault.  The good kind of fault that can destroy your rose-colored glasses and tinfoil hat with one blog post.  So if you want someone who keeps it real, I’m your man.

LA Kings Outsider

It’s not.  I like to think of myself as the Peter Harrold of Kings bloggers.  I offer a little bit of everything.  You want straight facts? You’ve got Rich Hammond.  You want the old Rich Hammond who gave you ten posts a day? Check out Mayor’s Manor.  Illiterate or too lazy to read a blog post?  Tune into Kingscast.  Looking for the funnies?  The Royal Half’s got you covered. (EDITORS NOTE: Truth.) You want all that statistical, numbers, in-depth analysis?  Quisp is your man.  You want to read the TJ Simers of Kings bloggers?  Nobody does it better than Dancing Boy aka HockeybuzzBarry.  And if you still haven’t had your fill than check out my blog.

Keith from Kingscast

Because we don’t write.  Writing is for pussies.  We vlog and we’re dead sexy.

Alex from Kingscast

Because you’re going to get witty (I think) humor, sweet photojobs, all complimented with some intelligent LA Kings analysis. Not to mention, my blog is directly affiliated with the renowned Kings multimedia fan-site KingsCast. Here, you’ve also got access to classic Kings podcasts as well as the highly acclaimed webcast hosted by Keith Korneluk and Chris Kaliszewski, which just aired it’s 121st Episode covering Hockey Fest last weekend.

Protect This Throne

It’s not. It’s not even close. I’m so new at this- both in terms of fandom and blogging- that I can’t claim to be the best. But I can probably claim to be the newest in terms of level of experience with hockey. So in that regard, my blog is kind of unique- there are so many great, knowledgeable Kings blogs written by longtime fans who clearly know their shit…and then there’s me, a brand new hockey fan who is seeing the hockey world for the first time. It’s a pretty exciting experience that I wanted to chronicle somehow. Plus, I’m discovering that as a sports fan, all I want to do is talk about hockey, and this blog lets me get out all my questions, fear, frustration, stress, and excitement about hockey, so that I can then interact normally with my co-workers and not be that crazy person who is always talking about hockey.

I have a great time writing it, and I know that I will be a Kings fan for life, so maybe in a few more years I might be able to say that my blog is somewhere in the top 50 LA Kings blogs…assuming there are only like 60 Kings blogs.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

It’s really not.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

No sources.

Waving Back at Gretzky

I try not to use it very often, but I’m going to use the female card here because I think females can provide a different voice to sports.   It’s possible that there are other active LA Kings blogs written by female(s) but I haven’t come across any yet (but if you know of any, then please let me know!) (EDITORS NOTE: Look up two spaces to Protect This Throne.) Also, I try to write posts so that it sounds like I’m talking.  I may ramble a lot, there may be run-on sentences, sometimes it may sound like I’m spewing out garbage, or maybe you think I use too many lists. But in reality, that’s how I am in person.  I often combine multiple thoughts into one sentence and I like making lists, so just go with it.  I think it’s important to stay true to yourself and I think my blog is a good representation of myself.

Life in Hockeywood

I don’t know about being the best. I just keep trying to reach new fans and retain dedicated fans by changing the way I report. There is so many outlets vying for attention, I just try to maintain some journalistic integrity and infuse it with humor. Seeing how the page views increase is encouraging, but until the blog starts spitting out money, it’s continue to be my training ground for writing.

The 110 Report

Because we had the opportunity to blog about the Ducks too, and we decided against it.

Crowned Royal

Because we know what Kings fans want: sporadic coverage, amateur photoshops, politically incorrect tweets, and unnecessarily numerous references to South Park and drinking.

QUESTION #5A – WHY DID SURLY AND SCRIBE REFUSE TO ANSWER THE ABOVE QUESTIONS?

 Surly & Scribe

The above questions are far too narcissistic for our taste. If the casual fan considers us overzealous and obsessed, the mainstream media considers us savages and the diehard L.A. Kings fan considers us their voice, we have succeeded. That is the sole measure of our worth.

TRH2

Well, there you have it. An in-depth, meticulous look at the upcoming season of fan hockey blogging (and vlogging, sorry Kingscast… sheesh) in Los Angeles. You didn’t actually expect that this season preview would A) involve any sort of effort on my part and B) actually have us hockey bloggers talk about the actual Kings, did you?

OK… BONUS HOCKEY BLOGGER KINGS ROUNDTABLE… GO!!!!!

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #1 – WHO WILL BE THE KINGS LEADING SCORER?

Surly & Scribe

Anze Kopitar, for there is now, in Mike Richards, a yin to Kopitar’s yang.

Mayors Manor (EDITORS NOTE: Ironic that the dude that gets all the interviews wouldn’t answer the first 5 questions, huh?)

Goals – Dustin Penner.  Two reasons – it’s a contract year and he’s out to prove last year was a fluke.  Did I mention it was a contract year?

Points – Anze Kopitar.  He’s the Kings best all-around player and one of the most under-appreciated forwards in the NHL.  Poised for a truly breakout year.

 Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

You can’t bet against Kopitar.  In my opinion a Selke candidate for sure before his injury late last season.  At one point he was the only top ten scorer who was also in the top ten of almost every other statistical category (including hits, plus/minus, PIMs).  With Richards taking some of the defensive burden off his shoulder and (knock on wood) a full season with a steady left-wing (due to his weight, zing!) Kopitar should put up at least point-per game numbers.

LA Kings Outsider

Mike Richards.  I’m not convinced that Kopi is 100% recovered from his broken right ankle.  Richards is more than capable of putting together another 75-80 point campaign. Pairing Richards with Simon Gagne should be a no-brainer for Terry Murray and hopefully both players can regain their 2008-09 form, which saw them combine for 64 goals, 90 assists, a +43 rating and 58 points on the man-advantage.

Keith from Kingscast

Anze Kopitar because I drafted him in the first round (tenth overall) in my fantasy league and I’m a genius.

Alex from Kingscast

Anze Kopitar. Not only will he return from his ankle stronger physically, but mentally as well. Toss in the addition of Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, hopefully a reborn Dustin Penner, and he’s got the makings to be an Elite name by the numbers in the NHL this season.

Protect This Throne

Kopitar. I am guessing that it pained him terribly to sit out the last few weeks of the season and all of the playoffs, and I hope he comes back with a fire in his belly, ready to score. I’m also hoping that (and this is probably never going to happen) Murray decides on some lines and lets those lines gel in terms of chemistry, and Kopitar becomes part of an amazing and reliable line that allows him to rack up those points.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Anze, because he’ll have a combination of better linemates and easier competition. I think Anze will have 80+ and Richards will have 65-75.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Penner. Thinner. Thinner Penner.

Waving Back at Gretzky

Anze Kopitar as long as he doesn’t break his ankle again.

Life in Hockeywood

Kopitar, naturally. But I’m also expecting career highs for Brown and Doughty this season.

The 110 Report

Kopitar, because he takes a huge step this season and makes a run at the Hart. Just seeing him last week against the Ducks, you can tell he’s feeling both 100% and confident. He’s got an absolute chip on his shoulder this year, as do a lot of the Kings. Plus, I think Penner puts up 25-30 goals easily, and helps Kopitar rack up assists and create goal scoring opportunities.

Crowned Royal

Kings leading scorer? Jack Johnson, hands down. Wait. You are talking about being scored on, right?

 The Royal Half

Mike Richards. Dude is going to get SO laid in Los Angeles, he has no idea. In fact, it’s already started

Oh, you mean on the ice? Did you know that the Kings haven’t had a 90 point scorer since Wayne Gretzky got 130 in 93-94? (Sorry, Ziggy Palffy, your 89 points in 00-01 don’t cut it!) Anze Kopitar isn’t going to go deep into 90 points, but he’s gonna damn near touch it. 

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #2 – WHO WILL BE THE KINGS WHIPPING BOY?

Surly & Scribe

Drew Doughty. Nobody will have a greater pressure to surpass mortal success.

Mayors Manor

Brad Richardson.  He’ll be a healthy scratch most nights.  Thus, when he gets into a game, he won’t have his sea legs under him and will make errors.  Plus, his point production will drop.  Most are probably thinking he will play like he did in the playoffs.  He won’t.

 Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

It’s got to be Penner.  Every move this guy makes is going to be scrutinized with incredibly unfair judgment.  If Penner was traded to the Kings in the off-season it would be a totally different story.  No one would care about his weight or his training regimen.  However, since he was so dismal at the tail end of last season he’ll be under an electron microscope of criticism.  Hope you don’t read blogs, Dustin!

LA Kings Outsider

Drew Doughty. I don’t care if he’s pissed that DL traded his bosom buddy away or whether he thinks he’s the next Bobby Orr.  He followed up his Norris-candidate/Olympic Gold Medal performance season with a very mediocre 2010-11 season that shouldn’t merit half of what Kopitar’s making. 

Keith from Kingscast

Jamie Kompon.  Yes, again.

Alex from Kingscast

If Drew Doughty’s holdout lasts for more than 10 days, there’s no question he takes the role for a while among the fanbase – unless he goes ‘Anze Kopitar early ’09-’10 season-mode’, at the defense position. I don’t like Brad Richardson that much. He doesn’t do enough to be a whipping boy, though.

Protect This Throne

Penner. Unfortunately for him, he made a terrible first impression on the fanbase and he has to climb out of the hole he dug last season before people will support him. Even if he performs well in the first few games, anytime he screws up, people will jump all over him. Myself included, probably.

However, depending on how Doughty’s contract negotiations play out, he might become the new favorite whipping boy. He wants Kopi’s pay level? Then he better play like Kopi. And every time he doesn’t, fans will become outraged. His inconsistency is unacceptable. And while I remember him having an awesome Game 2, I remember this even more.

Another possibility is Parse. I feel like Murray is handing him a roster spot that could go to a more deserving player. I just don’t understand why Murray seems to fall in love with certain players (like Penner and Parse) and then abandon other players (Moller). Parse needs to earn his spot and every time he screws up, people will remind him of that and question Murray’s devotion to him.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Dustin Penner because LOL fat.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Doughty. WHY??

Waving Back at Gretzky

Davis Drewiske, assuming he plays enough games to royally screw up.

Life in Hockeywood

I saw The Royal Half’s writeup on this, and I LOLed. (EDITORS NOTE: Life in Hockeywood is one of the greatest hockey minds we’ve ever come across.) If the Kings continue to falter on the PP, it’s not going to be a player. It’ll be a coach. Sorry Jamie Kompon, but you better hope this team delivers with the man advantage. Otherwise, you’ll be following John Van Boxmeer out the door.

The 110 Report

I’m going to have to go with a tie between Ethan Moreau and Trent Hunter, and not because I don’t like them. I love what they bring to the roster, I just think that the Kings are so deep that the ‘whipping boy’ is probably going to be in Manchester if anywhere. So therefore, I gotta go with Moreau and Hunter as the two most likely to make routine mistakes.

Crowned Royal

Whipping boy? In our eyes, it will always be Charlie Huddy.

The Royal Half

Surly & Scribe. Kings fans are gonna have a hard time getting over the fact that it took 70 days for Drew Doughty to sign the contract that he agreed to in principle

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #3 – WHO WILL BE MISSED THE MOST – MICHAL HANDZUS, WAYNE SIMMONDS OR BRAYDEN SCHENN?

Surly & Scribe

Brayden Schenn because his potential is unknown and boundless.

Mayors Manor

Handzus.  Was perhaps the Kings best defensive forward last year – if not, second best.  Could handle faceoffs too.

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

I, and I think the Kings, will miss Handzus the most for this coming season.  He provided a lot of intangibles that no one else on the roster can fulfill.  However, in the long run it’s going to be excruciating to watch Simmonds and Schenn achieve success elsewhere.  I wish them all the best, but I just wish the Kings more success, if I’m being brutally honest.

LA Kings Outsider

As a fan, I’m going to miss Simmer.  I drove the Simmer bandwagon ever since his first development camp back in 2007.  I’ve got his Owen Sound Attack game-worn jersey collecting dust in my closet to prove it.  It’s tough to see one of Dean Lombardi first homegrown picks leave but I’m sure I’ll get over it when I’m rioting on Chick Hearn Court after the Kings hoist the Cup this year.

If I’m Terry Murray or Jamie Kompon or the pet monkey that draws up the Kings power play, I think the Kings will miss Handzus and Smyth the most.  Zeus & Smitty were two of the only Kings willing to stand in front of the net on the man-advantage and I’m not sure who will fill that role now.  Penner would be the obvious choice but he plays more like a 5’9 sniper than the 6’4 behemoth that he is.

Keith from Kingscast

I am going to miss the hell out of Wayne Simmonds.  Sure Kyle Clifford slid by him on the depth chart but he kind of looks like the little girl from The Exorcist.

Alex from Kingscast

Brayden Schenn. I got over Handzus in an instant, knew it was coming and also realized the team is straying away from what he has to offer at his position. As for the Wayne Train, I feel like his play was always enhanced. Does that make sense? He always looked like he was doing much more than he actually was, flamboyant in playing style. Speedy winger with grit and touch with the puck, any team would love to have him.

Protect This Throne

Handzus. He seemed like a good guy- a veteran who could kind of steer a locker room full of eager young guys into good practice habits. He worked hard and wasn’t flashy. He was reliable. Consistent. And the fact that he is now with the Sharks (I just threw up in my mouth a little) just adds insult to injury, because we play them so many times, so I’ll have to see him sporting teal on no less fewer 6 occasions this coming season (more, if the Sharks make the playoffs, which I think they will). Ugh. Makes me sick.

Also, we only play the Flyers once and it’s an away game. So it’s not like I’m really going to have to see Schenn and Simmonds on the ice too much. Unless, of course, they start lighting it up for Philly, in which case I might need to change my answer to this question!

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

I’ll miss them all for different reasons: I’ll miss Zeus’s glum 1,000 yard stare, Simmonds’ end-of-game celebrations, and Schenn’s name when I write up future line-ups. I think the Kings will miss Wayne Simmonds the most. Man, imagine if we had Richards AND Simmonds on the same line. So sweet…

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Oscar Moller, Peter Harrold and Drew Doughty. (I love those three guys you mentioned though.)

Waving Back at Gretzky

Wayne Simmonds!!!  He’s just so freaking awesome.  But I’m actually not sure if it’ll be more gut wrenching to see Simmonds in a Flyers jersey or Handzus in a Sharks jersey.  Both of those situations are equally vile.

Life in Hockeywood

Wayne Simmonds. Oh man, you asked why. O.K., because even though he was bounced around the lineup, he always played balls to the wall. I liked his intensity and I hope he goes onto bigger things in the East. What I won’t miss are certain fans calling him “The Night Train.” Because that’s just dumb.

The 110 Report

Probably Wayne Simmonds, if only for the fact that he’s the hardest to replace of the three. Simmonds brought a distinct kind of game to the Kings, as a fusion between Brad Richardson and Kyle Clifford. There’s not anyone else on the roster that plays his game, while Trevor Lewis will fill in beautifully for Handzus and Richards is Schenn during his prime. I will miss those penalty kill dives from Zeus, however. But once I see him in a Sharks jersey, he’ll pretty much be dead to me.

Crowned Royal

Handzus will be missed most. Michal’s selflessness in sporting a beard all season helped fans pretend the Kings were in a playoff run lasting longer than the 1st round.

The Royal Half

Oscar Moller. None of the other current roster players can be used for this.

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #4 – WILL TERRY MURRAY BE COACH OF THIS TEAM COME DECEMBER?

Surly & Scribe

Yes.

Mayors Manor

For sure.  Bet on it.

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

Murray will definitely be coach come December.  He’s not on the hot-seat yet and considering Lombardi’s resistance to knee-jerk moves, I wouldn’t expect the hook for Murray.  If Murray fails to navigate the ship out of round 1 of the playoffs, then I’d expect some coaching turnaround.

LA Kings Outsider

Yes. TM’s system works.  But I wouldn’t be opposed to John Stevens and Terry Murray switching roles at some point during the season.

Keith from Kingscast

Calm down, Kings fans, Terry Murray got us to the playoffs.  We would have gone a hell of a lot further if we weren’t missing Kopitar and if Williams’ shoulder wasn’t mangled.  Let’s see what happens now that Penner is less out of shape and Dwight King isn’t your top line left-wing.

Alex from Kingscast

I seriously questioned his employment during that time last season, maybe more January-ish. But yes, I think he will be coaching the team. A complete disaster of a first-half is needed for Murray to be shown the door since he was able to sustain last winter’s slump, and I don’t see that happening right now.

Protect This Throne

Yeah. I think so. I have a love-hate relationship with him that is half-based on the team’s performance and half-based on how much of a dick he seems at any given time. But putting my own personal feelings aside, I think he does an ok job, and unless we come out of the gates and blow the first 20 games, I’ll be happy to see him at the helm for the rest of this coming season.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Yes. He will not be the coach come next September, however.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

If the Kings stumble out of the gate — with or without Doughty — Murray will get fired.

Waving Back at Gretzky

Yep.  If the team totally craps the bed in the first couple months, then everyone can just blame Drew.

Life in Hockeywood

Yes. No reason to fire him. And no, he’s not my dad.

The 110 Report

Of course he will. I think the Kings start out hot, then cool like last season, but they won’t fall to the depths that they fell to a year ago. This team is way too hungry to make Terry Murray the focal point again.

Crowned Royal

John Stevens is breaking down the door with the same fire ax he just killed Jamie Kompon with.

The Royal Half

I know we all take our shots at Coach Murray… but he has built this team just as much as Dean Lombardi has. And I’d hate to lose a coach who is so honest and upfront with the fans of the team. 

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #5 – WHO WILL BE THE BIGGEST SURPRISE ON THE KINGS THIS SEASON?

Surly & Scribe

Kyle Clifford. He will fight less, score more and begin to fulfill his destiny as Adam Graves carved from steel.

Mayors Manor

Trevor Lewis, Dustin Penner, Alec Martinez.  Take your pick.  All for different reasons.

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

I think expectations are pretty low for Simon Gagne right now because of his injury history.  I can imagine Gagne having a fantastic season if he stays injury free.  Not that Brown hasn’t been very consistent for the past several years, but I could also see Dustin having a big year.  He’s managed to produce with just as much line juggling as Kopitar has endured.  Playing with guys like Richards and Gagne for a full year, I don’t think it’s too far fetched to think Brown could reach 40 goals and 90,000 hits.

LA Kings Outsider

Simon Gagne.  It feels like he’s been playing forever but he’s still only 31 years old. After a slow start, there weren’t many players that had a better second-half than Gagne last season.  He posted 27 points (8 goals, 19 assists), a +7 rating, and 10 points on the man-advantage in 27 games after the All-Star break.  If he can stay healthy and play alongside Richards all season, he could easily reach 30+ goals and 70+ points.

Keith from Kingscast

Trent Hunter.  Sure he has to actually make the team but this guy is going to score 20.  Book it.

Alex from Kingscast

Maybe being a bit biased here and off-centered since I really came to like his play last season, but Alec Martinez. He could be a late bloomer, not everyone makes stops in the USHL and the NCAA for a four-year combined period in this era before the NHL calls.

Protect This Throne

Penner. I hope. (Because if he doesn’t totally suck, it will be a big surprise.)

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Either Viatcheslav Voynov or Andrei Loktionov will score 20+ points this season. It won’t realy be a surprise (since they’re both awesome) but it’ll be a surprise that they actually got the opportunity.

Waving Back at Gretzky

Kevin Westgarth.  Hopefully he’ll finally learn that throwing kidney punches is not acceptable in hockey fights.

Life in Hockeywood

Jonathan Bernier is going to make a case for the team to still believe in him. Even though Quick is established, I think Bernier knows he needs to play out of his mind to be considered a top goaltender, whether it’s in L.A. or elsewhere.

The 110 Report

I’d like to say Dustin Penner, as I really think he’s going to have the best season of his career, but that’s the sexy assumption right now from everyone. I’ll go with Alec Martinez, and I’ll say he puts up numbers comparable to Jack Johnson, minus the minuses.

The Royal Half

Drew Doughty. Dude’s gonna have a monster season. He seems focused and ready to show the world what he’s truly got. Besides an enormous wallet.

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #6 – WHICH KINGS PLAYER WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET A BEER WITH?

Surly & Scribe

Justin Williams, because being at the same table as him will make me even better looking.

Mayors Manor

Davis Drewiske because he’ll be available most nights as a healthy scratch for a drink. (EDITORS NOTE: Having drinks with Drewiske will also make people even better looking.)

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

Matt Greene.  The man is A) Hilarious and B) good friends with Heidi Androl.  Plus I’d also like to pick his brain on the Oilers Stanley Cup Finals loss from 2006.

LA Kings Outsider

I don’t drink but based on some photos floating around the interweb, it looks like Mike Richards knows how to have a good time.

Keith from Kingscast

Anyone who doesn’t answer Matt Greene is an asshole.

Alex from Kingscast

Jarret Stoll, and at Stolly’s crib during a banger he was hosting. Maybe one for having me there, and we all made Davis Drewiske jokes all night.

Protect This Throne

That is so tough. All of them. I tend to be completely star-struck when I encounter any of them. For example, I am completely star struck by Scuderi- he is my favorite player, but I don’t think I’d be able to squeak out more than 10 words around him. so I’d have to go with Westgarth. He’s not my favorite player, but he seems approachable and fun and completely aware of his role on the team, plus in every interview I’ve seen he seems very smart and funny. I think we’d have fun. (EDITORS NOTE: I like Protect This Throne… but this is actually nowhere close to a tough question.)

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Kyle Clifford.

Me: How’s it going, Kyle! Nice to meet you. Say, uh, it looks like you got a little blood on your shirt.

Kyle: Don’t worry, it’s not mine.

(*Awkward silence for the next 45 minutes)

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Mike Richards. Because I’ve seen the pictures.

Waving Back at Gretzky

Well it would have been Wayne Simmonds and it’s definitely not Mike Richards.  I’d probably want to get a beer with Jonathan Quick because he seems like a cool guy.

Life in Hockeywood

This is easy. Dustin Brown and I have kids. I thought we’d have the most in common to converse about. If it were a “Hangover”-type situation? Greene. I think he’d be the type of guy to hijack the Blue Line, steal a llama and get knocked out by Hulk Hogan.

The 110 Report

Rob Scuderi or Matt Greene. Scuderi seems like the guy you’d love to sit down and talk about everything from Civil War battle strategies, to the evolution of the Tampa 2 defense in the NFL. Greene? Well he’d make that beer memorable.

Crowned Royal

Anyone but Matt Greene. Guy just seems like he’d be no fun and definitely wouldn’t be able to pull chicks at the bar.

The Royal Half

Not Mark Hardy.          Too soon?

ACTUAL HOCKEY QUESTION #7 – OMG ARE YOU STILL READING THIS? MAN, YOU HAVE NO LIFE….WHERE DO THE KINGS FINISH IN THE PACIFIC & THE CONFERENCE?

Surly & Scribe

First and first. Believe anything else and you have already surrendered.

Mayors Manor

They will win the Pacific Division and finish second in the West.  Full predictions coming up on MayorsManor soon!

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

I think the Kings will manage 2nd in the Pacific and 4th in the conference.  I don’t see the Sharks letting go of their stranglehold on Pacific dominance just yet.  To me, Burns and Havlat are upgrades over Setoguchi and Heatley, so they’ll be a dangerous squad once again.  Although, I’m still not sold on Niemi.  He’s the new Osgood in my opinion.  As far as the Kings in the Western landscape, they’ll be swimming up top with the Sharks, Canucks, and Hawks.

LA Kings Outsider

First in the Pacific.  Third in West. A team’s success can always be traced back to their top two centers and/or their goaltending. With the acquisition of Mike Richards, the Kings are my favorites to win the division.

Keith from Kingscast

Second in the Pacific, fourth in the Western Conference.

Alex from Kingscast

1st Place in the Pacific Division

3rd Place in the Western Conference

Oh no, that means Home-Ice. Does that mean it’s in 5-games this year?

Protect This Throne

I’m going to be optimistic and say second in Pacific (after the Sharks) and then hopefully fourth in the Conference. Hopefully. I want them to have home ice advantage first during the playoffs.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

2nd in the Pacific, 4th in the Western Conference.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Higher than Dallas. In the west, somewhere between 4-8.

Waving Back at Gretzky

2nd in the Pacific and 5th in the Western Conference as long as Kopitar doesn’t break his ankle again.

Life in Hockeywood

If they solve their scoring problem, I don’t think vying for the Pacific title is out of the question. I also envision them obtaining home ice advantage for the first round.

The 110 Report

First in the Pacific, and second in the West, so we can let Luongo feel all of the pressure that the President’s Trophy brings.

 Crowned Royal

Our consensus is that the Kings will finish first in the division, which will again be the toughest in the league. Since Vancouver will run away with the Northwest, the Kings will likely finish 2nd in the conference. The Central is going to be 2nd best division in the league. I just had an involuntary bowel movement after typing that sentence, but I stand by it.

The Royal Half

Last in the Pacific. 15th in the West. That way, when the Kings take the Bruins to the 7th game of the 2011-12 Stanley Cup Finals I can say “well, at least we’ve made it this far!”

AND THE LAST QUESTION… IN HONOUR OF MR. DOUGHTY #8 – TEAM QUISP OR TEAM SURLY & SCRIBE?

Surly & Scribe

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Chaucer?

Mayors Manor

(EDITORS NOTE: DID NOT ANSWER.)

Eric Cooney @ Pro Sports Blogging

I’m on Team Quisp, all the way. Nothing against Surly & Scribe, but Quisp is the Spock of the Kings Blogosphere with his unfailing logic and ability to reason anyone into a corner.  Also, I’m a sucker for charts.

LA Kings Outsider

Team Quisp. I’m not a big fan of those blogs that report rumors from ‘special sources’ etc.  Quisp has built a reputation on providing solid analysis for years.  I never heard of Surly & Scribe until fans on Twitter began directing me to their site because they were ‘reporting’ Doughty’s contract numbers. 

Keith from Kingscast

I’m on Team Helene Elliott.

Alex from Kingscast

Team Quisp.

Protect This Throne

Quisp. Definitely. I read Surly and Scribe to fulfill my emotional side. But sometimes it’s just too much speculation for me.

Rudy Kelly @ Battle of California

Team Quisp because he offered me purple drank.

Quisp @ Jewels From the Crown

Exactly.

Waving Back at Gretzky

Who? What? Why?

It’s all about Team Royal Half (EDITORS NOTE: Waving Back at Gretzky is one of the greatest hockey minds we’ve ever come across.)

Life in Hockeywood

Wow, loaded question. Both have really embraced covering the team very analytically. More recently, it seems both are also finding a more humorous side. which is good. So, I’ll put it up a challenge. The first one to embrace their real name instead of posting using their online handle gets my vote.

The 110 Report

Both, depending on the mood. Quisp is for when you need an appeal to logic, and Surly & Scribe is when you want to get riled up and have free reign.

Crowned Royal

Quisp is the best team centric hockey blogger in existence. I actually think that he is Dean Lombardi’s assistant or mother or that he is from the future. His coverage of the Doughty situation cannot be explained any other way. Then again, Surly and Scribe are the Kings of Hockey and inhabit LAKingsnews.com so I’d say it’s a toss up.

The Royal Half

Neither. They are both nerdy fucking hockey bloggers. Why would I ever want to hang out with them? Now that Rudy Kelly… he’s a good looking man. And SO funny.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the roundtable. It was a lot of fun and 75% more accurate than the Kings Power Play. The season is just around the corner… I can smell it on the breath and the feet of each and every blogger on this page. Jesus Christ, take a shower you nerds!

Just another LA Kings blogger getting their game face on. GO KINGS GO!!!

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.