Guess Who’s Back. Back Again.

After a slight detour to the far east during the Los Angeles Kings ill-fated attempt at securing an 8th seed playoff spot… I have returned to the world of hockey blogging. Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes. For this particular instance, the inspiration to return came while crawling to work one day on the 110 South.

I am so hiring this for my next birthday.

So what has gone down in the last few months? Well, Kings fans were given the slightest of hopes as the Chicago Blackhawks made it deep into the playoffs and the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup. Here are 2 teams that were absolutely brutal for a few seasons… then rebuilt themselves completely through high draft picks, trades and free agent signings. Sure, for Pittsburgh, having the 2 of the 3 best players in the league on your team helps a lot too… but these 2 teams can be looked at for inspiration as the over the past few seasons… the Los Angeles Kings have been just as shitty as these teams once were.

This week is going to be an enormous one in the history of the Kings. The NHL Entry Draft is on Friday and the Kings hold the number 5 overall pick. And on July 1st, the NHL Free Agent Frenzy begins. The Kings have the salary cap space and the need to trade for an impact NHL player. But a #5 pick is nothing to be ashamed of as a team can easily draft a potential superstar at that position. The dilemma for GM Dean Lombardi is to trade the pick or not. For this Kings fan… I say trade it. I don’t care who, but get Vinny Lecavalier, or get Danny Heatley, or get Ilya Kovalchuk… just don’t have Kyle Calder playing first line wing next season. (Ed. Note: I know there is no chance in hell that Calder is playing 1st line next season, but you get the analogy.) The elements are available to give this team a serious chance to make a run at a low playoff spot for next season. Whether or not Lombardi goes after them this week is what makes being a Kings fan all that much more fun.

And yesterday, Luc Robitalle was selected to the NHL Hall of Fame. Sure, former Kings Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Larry Robinson, Paul Coffey and even Grant Fuhr have been selected in the past, but Luc is the first true King that I grew up watching to make it into the Hall. (Sorry, Marcel Dionne.) But Luc’s entry into the Hall of Fame is significant in another way… it means I’m getting old. Especially when Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Brian Leetch join him. These are players I dominated with while playing NHL 94.

Um, listen. There is something I need to tell you.

And just when you thought it was safe to re-join the world of hockey blogdom… something like this tragedy happens. If Rachel Hunter and Jarret Stoll can’t make it work in this world… then who can? There are 2 scenarios for this one… either Stoll is going to be traded soon and is so heartbroken that he can’t go through with marriage… OR… the Melville, Saskatchewan native has just spent his first season in Los Angeles and realized what several pro athletes discover when they move to LA… the girls of Manhattan Beach.

Be sure to catch all the great draft previews going on over at Cycle Like the Sedins. I had my chance to do one for James… but I blew it with my blogging laziness. But stay tuned for some great summer features by yours truly and James over there.

It’s good to be back.

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.