If there is one thing that you know about the writers at The Royal Half, it’s that most of us don’t have criminal records.
Slightly lesser known is that WE LOVE THE DOGS OF THE LA KINGS!!!
— The Royal Half (@theroyalhalf) October 31, 2014
…and the dogs of the LA Kings’ bloggers.
We’ve created a Power Rankings of the LA Kings’ dogs before, but that seems like puppy playtime compared to what we are about to embark on. Presenting the bracket to bust all brackets…
Rece Davis: Welcome to March, where the Madness is about to begin. It’s tournament time again, the Ides of March are upon us – in fact, the bites of March are here, as we unveil the first ever Los Angeles Kings’ Dogs 16-team tournament bracket. With us – as always – is our bracket analyst Jay Bilas, who will give us insight into each dog and each matchup, telling you who you should vote for.
Jay Bilas: Happy to be here, Rece. It’s nice to take some time away from complaining about the NCAA selection committee.
Davis: And, joining us via satellite is the ever positive – and boisterous – Dick Vitale.
Dick Vitale: I’M GLAD I COULD JOIN YOU GENTLEMEN. THIS IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR, AND WE GET TO TALK ABOUT DOGS? MR. BILAS, MR. DAVIS, AND DOOOOGS, HOW COULD IT GET ANY BETTTTER, IT CANNN’T, NO WAY.
Davis: Indeed, it is an honor to determine the best dog from the defending Stanley Cup Champions with you gentlemen. So, let’s get to it. Remember, each dog’s seeding is chosen by a small committee of the Professional Hockey Bloggers Association. And we start at the top of the bracket, with the committee’s nearly undisputed choice of Gustl.
No. 1 Gustl Kopitar
Affiliation: Kopitar Household
Bilas: Gustl is known in his career for being one of very few dogs to actually spend time in an ice rink, eat out of a mini-Cup, and being cute and fluffy: Everything you would want out of an All-American, or All-Slovenian, for that matter – he’s bi-cultured, which is a huge plus. To me, this is an undisputed choice for the No. 1 seed, and my pick to run the table no matter the matchup. He’s experienced success before, and this tournament should prove no different.
Davis: Gustl’s first round competitor is:
No. 16 Bo Carter
Affiliation: Carter Household
Bilas: Look, a great young up and comer. A Carter dog, fluffy – just look at that tongue! He has a lot of tools to be a winner …but just not this year. He’s not the best dog in his own household, really came on the scene late in the season, but just has not sustained enough success to really make a true tournament push, in my opinion.
Davis: We bring in analyst Dick Vitale to provide some insight on this matchup. Dick?
Vitale: LOOK I KNOW I DIDN’T GO TO DUKE LIKE MR. BILAS HERE, BUT I DON’T THINK YOU CAN SAY GUSTL IS CLEARLY THE BEST DOG IN THE TOURNEY. NO WAAAY, TOO MANY GOOD DOGS OUT THERE. IT’S NOT A VINTAGE RUFF AND TUMBLE, UP FOR GRABS, KINGS DOG TOURNEY, IT’S DIFFERENT, TOO MANY GOOD DOGS NOW. I THINK THE COMMITTEE LOOKS AT THE DOGS FROM THE POWER HOUSEHOLDS AND HOLDS THEM TO A HIGHER STANDARD. YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE LITTLE GUY. I WAS THE LITTLE GUY BACK IN THE DAY, I KNOOOOW, I TRIED TO SCHEDULE BIG DOGS, BUT THEY DON’T WANT TO BEAT, OR GET BEAT, BY THE LITTLE GUY, AND THAT’S THE TRUTH.
Bilas: I disagree, Dick. It may not be fair, but the little dogs have to go up against the big dogs if they want to be considered the “big dogs.” It’s simple. Gustl has put in his work, he wins matchups like this. He has his own twitter account, for crying out loud. He doesn’t share it with two other dogs.
Davis: No question, gentlemen, that this is a tough draw for a dog like Bo, but what the committee is trying to do is measure how that dog has performed this season. And, look, the reality is he isn’t even the best dog in his own household. Some people may not even know he exists.
So, our 1 vs. 16 matchup is set. The fan favorite Gustl versus the young Bo. David versus Goliath, perhaps?
Davis: Moving on to their possible next opponents. First, the 8-seed:
No. 8 Mack Carter (left)
Affiliation: Carter Household
RD: Mack, the yorkie mix. Always a tough opponent. And Mack will match up against …oh wow …fellow housemate, family member, and rival:
No. 9 Miley Carter (right)
Affiliation: Carter Household
Davis: Interesting choice by the committee here, Jay. What do you think of this sibling rivalry?
Bilas: Yeah, I think the committee got this one right. This is an instance of not knowing which dog is the clear-cut best. No one dog stands out, and, in fact, the casual observer probably couldn’t tell you which dog is which. This matchup is a toss up. Do you like yorkies or bichons better?
RD: Up next is the 5 vs. 12 matchup. First, the 5-seed:
No. 5 Arnold Richards
Affiliation: Richards Lakehouse
Davis: Jay, some say Arnold should be ineligible for this tournament. What do you think?
Bilas: Look, I know it won’t be popular to say this, but Arnold deserves to be in this tournament regardless of what his ownership has done or the position they currently find themselves in. This dog is one of the best, and though this season has had its ups and downs, this dog still might be the best in this tournament. I think it’s a really bad mistake, though we’ve come to accept that from the committee, that this dog is a five seed. It really ruins the integrity of the bracket because look at who this dog has to play. This dog is a great Kings dog, one of the best ever. And how is it fair for them to go up against a poor 12-seed – a dog that might actually have a chance. I think the biggest concern you have is if the voting public remembers that this dog is still around. He disappeared for a long time. Honestly, I think the committee forgot about this dog – and, again, let’s be honest, the committee doesn’t have any dog experience.
Davis: Arnold will face off against:
No. 12 Nick Shore’s Dog
Affiliation: Nick Shore’s parent’s house
Davis: A matchup of fourth line center dogs. Jay, your thoughts as you look at these two?
Bilas: Well, Nick Shore’s dog is definitely overrated as a 12-seed, because you can’t really even call it Nick Shore’s dog – is that Nick Shore’s dad’s patio pillows? We’ve barely seen him this year – or his dog, for that matter. Look, this dog will have a chance, but Arnold should be the clear cut winner here.
Davis: To finish off the top half of the bracket, we have the 4 vs. 13 matchup. Up first is:
No. 4 Sunny Lombardi
Affiliation: Lombardi Household
Sunny Lombardi, Dean’s pup, at practice today. pic.twitter.com/06yx8nCENm
— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) November 28, 2014
Bilas: The top half of the bracket is stacked, Rece. No doubt.
Davis: And the 13-seed:
No. 13 Thor King
Affiliation: King Household
Davis: Jay, your thoughts?
Bilas: I actually like this matchup. I think the committee gets it right, here, and, look, this is anyone’s matchup. Maybe you could argue Thor is higher than a 13-seed, and I would agree with you. And Sunny Lombardi really only came onto the scene in late November. Can you trust a dog that gets very little airtime to come out and dominate? I think not, but then again, it’s the general manager’s dog.
Davis: Let’s go back to Dick with his thoughts on this matchup.
Vitale: HEY LOOK YOU CAN TALK ABOUT WHO SHOULD BE RANKED HIGHER WHO HASN’T BEEN ON TV A LOT. BOTTOM LINE IS IT’S THE GENERAL MANAGER, BABY! NO WAY THOR CAN COMPETE AGAINST THIS CUTIE! HE’S FIRST TEAM ALL-PAVLOV. HE ANSWERS THE BELL. HOW CAN YOU GIVE THOR THIS SEED? C’MON, C’MON RECE DAVIS, GIVE THIS KID A BREAK. HE’S A GOOD BOOOY, MR. DAVIS! HE JUST WANTS TO WIN, MR. DAVIS. DON’T DO THIS TO HIM, DON’T DO IIIIT!
Davis: I can assure you, Dick, I did not select the seeds.
Bilas: Careful, or he’ll mock you for attending a top university…
Davis: Moving along to the 6 vs. 13 matchup. First we have:
No. 6 Hank Martinez
Affiliation: Martinez Household
Bilas: A very under-rated dog. You could say he’s an underdog.
Davis: Hank will face off against:
No. 11 Bruno Toffoli
Affiliation: Independent (Toffoli’s house, plus whoever the hell lives with him…)
Bilas: Rece, when I look at this matchup, I think about two things. One, when we look at Hank, he’s simply not the same dog as he was early in the season. As a six-seed, he is beatable, and I don’t think it is out of the question that he should have been much lower on this list. When do we ever talk about him? This dog quietly takes care of business … that is, he takes care of business in the yard like most dogs, but I don’t know how you justify giving this dog a six-seed. Secondly, this Bruno dog is a late bloomer. He just kept improving as the year went on, and we, as a nation, really got to see what he could do during the Road to the Stadium Series buildup. He’s a young dog, he’s going to keep growing, keep getting better, and we really don’t even know what kind of dog he is yet! A scary, scary matchup for Hank, who may be outmatched against any competition in this bracket.
Davis: The 3 vs. 14 matchup will feature:
No. 3 Prince Williams
Affiliation: Williams Household
Bilas: Hey, you have to love the name, that’s for sure. He’s certainly on the Tournament All-Name Team.
Davis: In the first round, Prince will see:
#14 Habs King
Affiliation: King Household
Bilas: I just want to say that I think the committee does a terrific job all the time, but they have done an atrocious job selecting the tournament seeds this year, and now that I think about it, every year for that matter. I’ve said it before, and I will say it every year forever, if you want to select a perfect dog tournament, you have to have committee members with a dog background. And you simply do not see that with this committee. That said, I think they have done a good job.
Davis: Moving on to the 7 vs. 10 matchup, we have:
No. 7 Milo Brown
Affiliation: Brown Household
Davis: The seven-seed Milo will match up against:
#10 Trevor Lewis’s dog
Affiliation: Lewis Household
Vitale: LET ME INTERRUPT, LET ME JUMP IN REAL QUICK, RECE. BRUNO, WHAT A GREAT DOG, HE HAS ALL OF THE INTANGIBLES. HE’S ALL ALPO, HE’S GOBBLING UP THE COMPETITION, AS A VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN, IN JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS ON THE SCENE. IT’S LIKE WHO LET THE DOGS OUT, TREVOR LEWIS HAS A DOG? ARE YOU KIIIIDDING ME? IT’S PAW-SITIVELY PAW-ESOME.
Bilas: I don’t know what to say. I honestly do not know enough about these dogs. Look, Milo isn’t Gustl, that’s for sure, and Trevor Lewis’s dog, well, I just don’t know how he got on the bracket. Who knows about him? Has anyone ever seen him? He’s the dog that looks the most like his owner, that’s for sure.
Davis: And the final matchup of the tournament, but certainly not least:
#2 Reggie Doughty
Affiliation: Doughty Household
Bilas: I know I said my pick to win it all is Gustl, but I love Reggie as a two-seed. Especially seeing the competition he will face at this end of the bracket, he has a great chance. Though Reggie is young and undersized, I think that works as an advantage for him more than any of the other dogs in this tournament. Just look at those puppy dog eyes!
Vitale: ONE THING, JAY, THAT I LOVE ABOUT REGGIE, HE’S AN UNSELFISH DOG, HE PLAYS WITH A LOT OF PRIDE FOR ALL BEAGLES EVERYWHERE. THIS IS MY FAVORITE TO WIN IT ALL, I LOOK FOR BEAGLE NATION TO HANG ANOTHER BANNER IN THE RAFTERS THIS YEAR, THIS IS A FUTURE HALL OF FAMER, PTD-ER, PRIMETIME DOG, IF BOBBY KNIGHT WAS HIS TRAINER, HE’D NEVER LOSE.
Bilas: Dick, we all know you’re a homer for beagles, so this doesn’t come as a surprise.
Vitale: HEY HEY I JUST KNOW WHAT THE PEOPLE LIKE. IT’S REGGIE, HOW CAN YOU HATE REGGIE, HE’S A CHAMP, HE’S PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL.
Davis: Reggie will face off against:
#15 Harley Clifford
Affiliation: Clifford Household
Vitale: RECE, JAY, IF I MAY. IF I LET MY WIFE SEE THIS MATCHUP, SHE DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT DOGS, DIDDLY SQUAT, NOTHING, BUT IF YOU PUT HER HERE, SHE WOULD LOOK AT IT, Y’KNOW, IT’S LIKE A BEAUTY CONTEST, IT’S LIKE LASSIE WALKING IN HERE AGAINST SPUDS MACKENZIE, NO WAY, NO SHOT, MY FRIEND. MY HEART GOES OUT TO HARLEY, I WANT THE COMMITTEE TO EXPLAIN WHY HE’S NOT HIGHER ON THE LIST. WOW. I PROMISED NOT TO SCREAM AND YELL, I PROMISED MY WIFE I WOULDN’T, JAY BILAS, RECE DAVIS, WE ALWAYS ARGUE EVERY YEAR AT TOURNAMENT TIME, BUT I HATE IT FOR THESE DOGS MAN, I JUST HATE IT, IT’S SO RUFF, MAN. THE COMMITTEE’S BARK IS WORSE THAN THEIR BIIITE, I CAN’T TAKE IT. THIS IS A RAWHIDE DEAL…
Davis: Okay, Dick, that’s enough…
Vitale: I COULD GO FOR DAYS WITH THE DOG PUNS, BABY! THIS REALLY TICKS ME OFF, I HAVE A BONE TO PICK WITH THE COMMITTEE…
Davis: OK. Well, it’s up to you. Go ahead and vote for your favorite dogs in each category – 50 percent of the fan vote will account for the total number to determine who moves on in the tournament of the best Los Angeles Kings dog! We will update the bracket at the end of the week, so stay tuned! For now, take a look at all of the matchups in the bracket: