NORTH AMERICA’S NEXT TOP BLOGGER – DAY TWO

It’s Day Two on North America’s Next Top Blogger… and the stakes are even higher! That’s right, today we are about to witness something that has never happened in the one-day history of North America’s Next Top Blogger…. A DOUBLE ELIMINATION!!!

This is the same reaction in the LA Kings locker room when Jeff Carter disrobes.

The rules are simple… each day this week, we are going to feature a potential new writer for The Royal Half and post their answers to the TRH Questionnaire. (Check out Day One here.) Then… it’s up to you, loyal TRH reader, to decide who is going to move on to the next round by posting your comments below and voting in the poll at the bottom of the page. Emotions are high… and we need to make sure these bloggers are here for the right reasons.

First up is Brian Rowland, who you can find on Twitter at um… well… @BrianRowland. Here are some of Brian’s answers to the TRH Questionnaire, as well as his sample post.

1) Please give us a brief history of your level of Los Angeles Kings fandom.

20+ year fan. I was 9 when Gretzky showed up and was hooked from then. My great uncle was the head usher at the Forum for many years, so I was lucky enough to get in the locker room a few times during the Gretzky years. I’ve seen Peter Ahola naked and it’s not a pretty site. I wasn’t able to follow the team as closely as I would have liked from about 1999 to 2004 due to me living out of the country for a few years and then going to college out of state. I was back in full force the year after the lockout, though, due to moving back to California and my buddy having season tickets. I go to about 10 games per year and follow the team religiously, mostly through the internet. Sad to say, that aside from my family, the Kings are probably the most important thing in my life. I’ve been playing hockey off and on since high school and attended the Kings’ fantasy camp in 2011.

2) Besides the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup, what is the greatest moment in LA Kings history for you?

I know this is cliché, but it has to be game 7 in Toronto in ’93, right?

3) Why do you want to write for TRH? What sort of stories/articles would you want to do that you aren’t seeing currently on The Royal Half?

I want to write for TRH because I love the Kings and really enjoy seeing them covered in an informative and humorous, way. I enjoy writing, feel like I do it well enough and know that I could contribute to the site. I’d love to see an analysis of each opposing team’s fan base before each game, so TRH readers would know specifically how to chirp/provoke them on twitter during the game.

4) Who is your favorite member of #TeamTRH and why? Who is your least favorite member of #TeamTRH and why?

I know this will come off as being a suck up, but I don’t care. My favorite is The Half because he makes following the Kings so much more enjoyable than it would be otherwise. Close second: The Dick Whisperer shirt. Least favorite would be HSTHB because I don’t know anything about him.

5) What is your least favorite part of The Royal Half? Please be honest.

The fact that most of the T-shirts only come as the tight fitting “American Apparel” style. Not all of us have the heroin-chic thing going on.

6) Gretzky or Robitaille? Please explain.

Can I say Hrudey instead? His was the first jersey that I ever bought and I’m a sucker for blue headbands made out of torn up t-shirts.

No? I’ll go with Gretzky, being that he’s the reason that I first got interested in the Kings and Hockey in general.

What is the biggest missing piece heading into the season for the LA Kings?
By Brian Rowland

I imagine that most people will say something intelligent like “a left wing that can score,” or “an Anze Kopitar that wakes up from whatever was going on last year and gets back to being Anze Kopitar again.” However, if you’re looking for something intelligent, you’ve come to the wrong place, pal. (Notice that I like to use hip slang like “pal.” TRH can look forward to that type of cutting edge rawness if you bring me on board.)

Before we get into what they need, let’s review a few things that the Kings already have. I mean, this is a team one year removed from a Stanley Cup. They should be in pretty good shape, right? Right?

The Best Goalie in the NHL? Check.

Because if Puck Daddy says it, it must be true.

A plethora of defenseman? Check.

With nine defenseman under contract for next year, Coach Sutter won’t have to look far for quality d-men. What’s that you say? Mitchell’s health is questionable? Regehr is older than dirt? Their best shutdown defenseman bolted for the east coast so that he could be closer to his family? Muzzin was horrible in the St Louis series and his performance tailed off after he wasn’t paired with Doughty? It’s ok, that can only mean one thing: More minutes for Keaton Ellerby. If there’s anything that the Kings and their fans need, it’s more Keaton Ellerby. It’s like More Cowbell, but 100% more Canadian.

Actual photo of the defensemen’s section of the Kings’ bench this season.


Someone to fill the void of Dustin Penner’s twitter account, even though we all know that it can never be replaced?
Check.

Oooh! Burn!

Ben Scrivens is awesome.

A solid group of top six forwards? Check.  Seriously, guys. How awesome are Brown, Williams, Kopitar, Richards, Carter and Toffoli?

An Assistant GM that most hard-core fans hate (even though I don’t consider myself in that camp)? Check.

Rob Blake, at your service.

The Dick Whisperer? Check and mate.

“I’ll mesmerize you with my piercing eyes and stunning good looks, and then score on you at will.”
-Jeff Carter, speaking on something that has absolutely nothing to do with hockey.
So if the Kings have all of that going for them, what more could they possibly need, you say? A major piece, says I. What was the biggest difference between the championship team and last year’s team? Let’s look at some photographic evidence:

2012.

 
 2013. Sweet tats, brah.
Boom.
Science.
It’s as simple as this: Kompon=Cup. Who cares if he sucks as a power play coach? He knows how to win championships. Bring him back and the team is all set. You’re welcome, Dean. You can have that one for free*.
*Drops the metaphorical mic and leaves the room.

Alright, North America! It’s time for you to decide.
Place your vote above and let’s hear what you have to say in comments below!
And now, let’s hear from our 2nd contestant for Day Two of…
North America’s Next Top Blogger!

Next up is King Of The Horns who you can find on Twitter at… well… @KingOfTheHorns. He has a LA Kings blog called… umm… King Of The Horns. Here are some of Horn’s answers to the TRH Questionnaire, as well as his sample post.

1) Please give us a brief history of your level of Los Angeles Kings fandom.

I was born in the fall of 1992 and attended a Kings playoff game in the spring of 1993. I wanted to be Stephane Fiset but then realized I was a terrible goalie so Luc Robitaille was my new hero. Parents have been/are half-season ticket holders (but we got bumped from our seats this year) pretty much since I can remember. My friend dated Marc Crawford’s daughter in 8th and 9th grade. Gasper Kopitar (Anze’s little brother) sat at my lunch table for a semester. My family doesn’t invite friends over to watch games because we are sick, sick people and feel like we have to focus otherwise the Kings won’t win. I cried when we won the Cup.

2) Besides the LA Kings winning the Stanley Cup, what is the greatest moment in LA Kings history for you?

It’d have to be Adam Deadmarsh’s OT goal against the Red Wings in 2001. I was hoarse and sleep deprived going to class the next day, but I was in second grade so it wasn’t really that big of a deal. It was the first time I’d seen the Kings win a playoff series, if I’m not mistaken. Plus the fact that it was against Satan’s favorite team made it that much sweeter.

3) Why do you want to write for TRH? What sort of stories/articles would you want to do that you aren’t seeing currently on The Royal Half?

The answer you want to hear: I love hockey, writing, and writing about hockey without being too serious. I like your blog and it’s humor.

My real answer: Everything I said above, and that I’m a journalism student looking to build my resume so that I can hopefully take Patrick O’Neal’s job in the future. On second thought, it’d be a lot easier to take Dan Moriarty’s job.

What I write on my current blog is what I like to call, “If Jim Fox were to do Fox Talk during Sunset Sip with a Greater Awareness of Pop Culture.” So basically, I’ll throw in embedded tweets, youtube videos, gifs, etc. but still analyze the hockey that was played. That shows I know what I’m talking about (I don’t) hockey wise but am still hilarious (I’m not).

4) Who is your favorite member of #TeamTRH and why? Who is your least favorite member of #TeamTRH and why?

PumperNicholl. I like his writing style the best and his tweets. Not sure if she’s technically a part of #TeamTRH but One Girl One Puck just doesn’t do it for me. I like her use of profanity, it’s hilarious, but otherwise I don’t see much else going there. But to her defense, I haven’t looked at her blog, only her posts for theroyalhalf.com.

5) What is your least favorite part of The Royal Half? Please be honest.

Along the lines of what I said in question 3: The Royal Half is more based in humor and satire, which is awesome because some people in hockey reporting (read: Jeremy Roenick) take themselves too seriously. But at the same time, it’s nice to get perspective on the game and how it’s played, what certain teams are doing/aren’t doing well, etc. There isn’t really a strong presence of this type of writing on the blog, which is why I should be “hired” to do it.

6) Gretzky or Robitaille? Please explain.

Robitaille. He’s a lefty (like me), not very good at skating (like me). He isn’t a pompous asshole like Gretzky. He was also in an episode of Rocket Power, which was a show that was basically a biography of my childhood (except my dad isn’t a stoner…anymore). I also grew up watching Luc because the Gretzky Kings era was a bit before my time. But Paulina draws me closer and closer to choosing Gretzky with every Instagram post.

What is the biggest missing piece heading into the season for the LA Kings?
By King of the Horns

Well, I’ve finally been able to acknowledge the fact that the Kings are no longer the defending Stanley Cup Champions and that the Blackhawks stole that sacred goblet from our hands. This means I can actually write about hockey with…without…hold on…

IT WAS A SHORTENED SEASON, OKAY?!?!

Back to the Kings. There have been a few changes to the roster in case you haven’t heard. Our third best goalie, Rob Scuderi, was picked up by the same team he actually made that save for; Jonathan Bernier went to be a backup goalie for a team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs; Dustin Penner was let go, so what the team now lacks in personality, they made up for in efficiency during the regular season; Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens were added to the roster in the trade for Bernier and the Kings signed defenseman Jeff Schultz and winger (because the Kings apparently don’t care which side you prefer to play on) Daniel Carcillo.But we still have some unanswered questions:

Are these new guys good? Frattin is decent, 13 pts in 25 games played. That’s incredible improvement from the previous season. Put him on a line with pretty much any of our top 3 centers and he’ll be just fine. Scrivens? Eh, he’s a backup for a reason.

Who is going to play defense? Dude, IDK. Everyone from last year, except Scuderi. The Kings have way too many defensemen anyway, we’ll be ok.

Does Willie Mitchell still exist? According to Dean Lombardi and Mitchell’s twitter/instagram, yes.

But seriously, who’s going to play defense in place of Scuderi?!?

The loss of Scuderi is arguably the biggest hole to fill on the roster. Dude was intense. I mean, who on our current roster is going to slam their face into the boards just so that we can win the Stanley Cup again? We CAN’T let Jeff Carter do that. Scuderi’s facial hair is rivaled by few and with Penner gone too, it’s going to be a tough spot to fill, especially with all the talk of these prospects coming in. What is it with young hockey players and not being able to grow facial hair? I’ve been shaving since the freaking 7th grade. Do zamboni fumes delay puberty?

What about the actual playing of hockey? You know, blue line, penalty kill, etc.?

“We made it to the playoffs last year without a key defenseman, and if Mitchell comes back we’ll be fine.” But that’s the thing. Mitchell is unreliable. He’s like a drunk friend. He says he’ll be there. He says he’ll pick you up from the airport. But he doesn’t. He says he’ll slam his face into the boards to win a Cup, but he does it at a completely inappropriate time and on accident. Could you potentially put Doughty into the lineup as a stay at home defenseman? Yeah, he did a decent job at it last year. But everyone is happier when he scores a lot.

And even when he gets assists

If Mitchell comes back and stays healthy (there’s been video of him skating and shooting…alone, but skating and shooting nonetheless) there isn’t TOO much to worry about. He’ll probably be off his game early on in the season, just as Matt Greene and Jonathan Quick were after they came back from injury. The good news is that the NHL extended the regular season this year to 82 games instead of 48. Crazy, I know.You’d think a team with 9 defensive players on their NHL roster alone, not including prospects in Manchester, and the best goalie in the world would be able to win games and give up no more than 2 goals.

Offensively, there’s no excuse. They have all of the right guys up front, but just can’t seem to score when it matters (read: against the Blackhawks in the WCF). If Slovenia expects to get out of group play in the Olympics, Kopitar better…ah, who am I kidding, they won’t get out of group play regardless. But score more goals for the Kings, dammit.

All in all, I am fully expecting the Kings to lead me on like we are going to have another Cup run, go through an early/mid/late season slump which potentially compromises a playoff spot, and then play the Penguins in the final. Let’s see how we can face off against an old friend.

Side note: Stoked to see Jonathan Quick stay healthy all year and win the US a gold medal in Sochi and then a Stanley Cup in the spring.

Alright, North America! It’s time for you to decide.
Place your vote above and let’s hear what you have to say in comments below!

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.
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