TRH GAMEDAY: FROZEN ‘EFFIN FURY

After a 1 year hiatus due to the NHL Lockout… Frozen Fury is back. For anyone who has never experienced a Frozen Fury… you are missing out. This morning myself, Indiana Matt, PumperNicholl, Spike Coffman, Flubber McGeeDuke of LA Hockey and a few other close hockey friends are all heading to Las Vegas. So now is a really, really, really good time to start following everyone on Twitter if you don’t already. Unless you are my parents. If you are my parents… do not, whatsoever, follow me on Twitter this weekend.

An artist’s rendering of what #TeamTRH will look like this weekend.
Well, mainly what PumperNicholl will look like this weekend.

And because of the incredible success of TRH 3.0… we are doing it in style!

Unlike the LA Kings…
the Royal Half One isn’t having any issues with the Left Wing.

Apparently there are actually two hockey games being played this weekend. So since I’m already sipping drinks in a cocktail lounge at Burbank Airport… I’ve asked a couple of Blogger Buddies™ to give us a preview of the teams the Los Angeles Kings will be facing this weekend… the New York Rangers and the Colorado Avalanche. For Friday night’s tilt in Las Vegas… let’s hear about the 2013-14 NY Rangers from a man that I’ve shared beers with in foreign countries, Scotty Hockey! Take it away, Scotty!

Twenty-two years to the day the Rangers are facing the Kings in Las Vegas again. This time it won’t be outdoors, the weather won’t turn the ice into slush and bugs won’t bother the players. This time it’s just a preseason game, and the final one for the Rangers.

Thank goodness. The Blueshirts have been utterly brutal under their new bench boss Alain Vigneault.

This Ranger team appears to have gone from Rocky I to Rocky III without winning the championship in Rocky II. Torts battered and beat them into a gritty team that had what it took to beat your Cup-winning Kings, had they not faltered in New Jersey in 2012. Then they became complacent and had their coach canned after last season’s stutter. Now, instead of rising after Mickey’s death, they seem to be sailing along without a care.

Torts was notorious for his tough training camps and, with him in Vancouver, his former charges hung out at the country club.

After splitting their first two preseason games in Jersey and Philly, they enjoyed Alberta and played some golf last week. After working on their putts, they set out to play four games in five days. They’ve lost the first three entering Las Vegas and are coming right off an 5-0 embarrassment at the hands of their old boss last night.

The Rangers had Tortorella fired, then went right out and proved that it wasn’t his fault that they failed. Ugh.

However, amid the awfulness there have been positives. The biggest so far has to be the play of Marc Staal, who has shown no signs of struggle after that awful eye injury last year (I’m not linking it, as I never want to witness that again – I could hear him scream from my seat in the last row of the nosebleeds). Also impressive has been the play of a few of the youngsters, but not the ones you expect: Kreider and McIlrath underwhelmed to say the least, while unheralded Euros Lindberg, Fast and Hrivik made good cases while in camp. JT Miller missed the first three games due to injury but he returned Tuesday and was the best Blueshirt against the Oilers (although that’s not saying much).

But the best news has to be the re-signing of top-line center Derek Stepan. Glen Sather called out Stepan on MSG for not accepting an under-market deal and the Oldest Boy in the Old Boy’s Network ripped apart the only decent center in his franchise for not taking the dog food left out for him. Luckily for us the future Sochi star finally decided to accept his fate and get back on the ice.

Stepan is not expected to be inside MGM tonight, but at least he won’t be left out once the real season starts next week.

 

Thanks, Scotty. Sounds like the LA Kings are primed to destroy the NY Rangers Friday night in Las Vegas. Which obviously means the Kings will lose 6-0. Now, for Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche… here is the “unique” Anthrax Jones with his outlook at the 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche.

 

Hi, Kings fans! My name is Anthrax Jones, and I’m a Colorado Avalanche fan. The Avalanche are a team in #ConferenceIII, and a rival of your Kings in the NHL’s Western Conference. We’ve been away for awhile, so you’re forgiven if our name doesn’t ring a bell. You may remember us from such notable moments as “the Rob Blake trade”, and “Chris Drury dismembers the Kings in game 7″. Something else you may remember us from is the annual “Frozen Fury” preseason game in Lost Wages, Nevada. My friends at The Royal Half requested I stop in and give you a brief overview of some things you may be on the lookout for this weekend from an Avalanche perspective.

The Series: the Kings and Avs have played each other 13 times in this event, as detailed in this surprisingly extensive Wikipedia entry. The Kings have an 8-5 series advantage over the Avs, in addition to victories over the San Jose Sharks in the 2001 edition and Gary Bettman’s Glendale Orphans in a 1999 tilt. Some goal scorers from these games over the years include Josef Marha, Donald MacLean, Dan Bylsma, Antti Laaksonen, and Vladimir Dravecky. What I’m saying is, if you want to throw a few bucks down at the sports book on the game-winning goal scorer, you may be looking at Guillaume Desbiens or Linden Vey rather than Matt Duchene or Anze Kopitar as your man.

The Big Avs Storyline: Can Nate Guenin supplant Matt Hunwick as a regular on the Avs’ blueline?

Or, if you prefer, there was a coaching change in Denver this offseason. New GM/Executive VP/Hall of Famer/Stanley Cup champion/Legend Joe Sakic reached into franchise glories past and hired former teammate Patrick Roy to replace permanently befuddled nosepicker Joe Sacco as coach of the young team. While Sacco was best known for eating boogers behind the bench when his hands weren’t shoved down his pockets to the elbows, Roy is best known for his calmrational presence behind the bench. St. Patrick was able to win the 2006 Memorial Cup while coaching the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, and diligently served his time riding the buses in junior hockey while honing his coaching skills. It will be interesting to see how Roy matches up against Kings head coach Rogie Vachon, or Kelly Hrudey, or whatever legendary former goalie Kings GM/Executive VP Luc Robitaille hired to coach in LA. Wait, they don’t do it that way everywhere?

INTRIGUE: The Avalanche claimed now-former Kings forward Marc-Andre Cliche off waivers over the weekend. Can Cliche step in and burn his former club in the most trite, unimaginative, hackneyed way possible? Did the Avalanche simply claim Cliche to gain deeply held Kings secrets they can use to their advantage in front of the beautiful people of Las Vegas? Is Cliche a Manchurian Candidate-style assassin planted by the Kings to “accidentally” shoot a puck in Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog’s face?

Check Out The New Kid: that would be Avs super-rookie Nathan MacKinnon, compared by some to Pittsburgh Penguins captain “Sydney” Crosby. Not only is MacKinnon from Crosby’s hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, his style of game is also similar to Crosby. Personally, I’m waiting to see MacKinnon screw up his face into a lippy snarl and snivel his way to the penalty box before I’m comfortable with that comparison.

VEGAS, BABY! VEGAS! Hey guys, who wants to be Avs goalie JS Giguere’s roommate this weekend? Remember, back in the hotel room no later than 8, and lights out at 9, you whippersnappers. Will Giguere skulk the casinos, camouflaged among the elderly slots players by both age and his bald melon, making sure none of his young teammates are actually ENJOYING their time in Las Vegas?

Who’s Gonna Dance??? It’s our turn to provide the entertainment, but which Avs player is most likely to break it down during a break in play? My choice would’ve been broodingly handsome Ric Ocasek-lookalike Duncan Siemens, but alas, Dunc and his mug were sent to the farm club in Cleveland over the weekend. Gabriel Landeskog is my choice, given his upbringing in Sweden, where it’s all ABBA all the time. Let’s hope Gabe realizes that not all dances that are legal in Sweden are legal in the US.

Prediction Time: Who cares? I only wrote this because I wanted to say HEY ALYSSA MILANO IF YOU’RE READING THIS I LOVE YOU AND PLEASE TWEET AT ME @ANTHRAXJONES

Thanks to Scotty Hockey and Anthrax Jones for giving us LA Kings fans an in-depth look at the LA Kings Frozen Fury opponents. Now, if you’ll excuse me… Indiana Matt and I are going to do some Duty Free shopping so that we can drink on the plane.

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.