TRH RECAP 2: YOU MUST BE JOKINEN

KINGS 3, JETS (non-football) 5

 

It happens every year.

I look forward to the Kings’ season all summer, and as the opening week draws closer, my thoughts and hopes are buoyed by memories of thrilling King victories, clutch goals, incredible saves… I selectively conjure the most dopamine-soaked moments in my LA King fandom and can’t wait until that faucet of good feelings and competitive triumph is turned back on.

Then, the inevitable happens.

The Kings lose their first game. Or, they could simply be losing a game, and all the usual physical ailments start to set in. My temples pound as I unwittingly clench my jaw tighter than Muzzin’s buttcheeks during the ’12-’13 playoffs. My fist grips my beer with the force of a Drew Doughty hipcheck, warming it into undrinkable swill. My dog’s flatulence, once a source of limitless humor, now stings my nostrils like so much smelling salt waved beneath a Slovenian nose before a 3rd period shift.

Los Angeles Kings v Winnipeg Jets

The Kings’ ill-fated second game of the ’13-’14 season against the Mystery, Alaska Jets was the perfect example of the type of game that leaves me muttering to myself like a senile, pigeon-feeding old man on a park bench.

The first period, of course, set up my impending misery perfectly. The Kings come out flying, nearly imposing 20 shots on the Jets despite what I can only imagine to be diarrhea-inducing levels of adrenaline on the part of the Winnipeg players. Even Matt Greene got in on the action, leading to several dozen hilarious and totally unexpected Twitter jokes about the fact that he doesn’t usually score!

Things were looking good for Kings fans, many of whom were like me and just returning home from a long work week, ready to unwind and plug into that sweet, sweet hockey fix.

Once the second period rolled around, though, things got ugly fast. And that’s just Olli Jokinen.

jokinen

The Kings lost all their mojo, running around constantly and unable to establish their cycle game for any real length of time. King and Greene each took terrible penalties, and LA seemed to be slipping back into their “bend, but don’t break” gameplan, which also incidentally seems to describe the construction of my TV remote. By the time the second intermission arrived, Darryl Sutter’s tongue had exerted more pressure than the Kings’ forwards, and I was wringing my hands, my half-finished beer now forgotten and sweating.

Los Angeles Kings v Winnipeg Jets

In the third period, Devin Setoguchi (who’s never seen a coochie) ran up the score for the Jets as the crowd continued to lustfully boo anything and everything that wasn’t instantly favorable to their team. Passionate, yes, but the Winnipeg faithful are so homer-rific that it’s farcical, a complete parody of sports fanaticism. “Net off the moorings when our team scored and the goal’s disallowed? LET’S START A REFS SUCK CHANT!!”

I admit, I nearly changed the channel at this point. After all, I had already white-knuckled the life out of my beer, given myself a tension headache, and experienced the first pangs of that annual bout of nausea that is watching a Kings loss.

Then it happened.

Jeff Carter, he of the 82-goal pace, deftly scooped home a wrist shot that brought the game within reach.

Carter Eyes Are Watching YouCarter Eyes, they’re watching you.

Soon after, birthday boy Justin Williams tucked away a Matt Frattin rebound, and suddenly the Kings had life. This instantly brought to mind the realization that the Kings do this ALL THE DAMN TIME. They save their best effort for the ends of games. It’s just a thing with this team. Now I remember! Why was I so tense, so pessimistic before? This is a Stanley Cup Champion team we’re talking about here!!

The pounding in my skull subsided. I gleefully took a swig of my now disgusting beer. I petted the dog enthusiastically, eliciting a sympathetic fart. This is Kings hockey, baby! Haha!!

But, just like those cardiac Kings of old, Robyn Regehr found a way to crush my spirits just as they were revived. Taking an ill-fated tripping penalty with about 4:00 to go, I knew then that we were likely toast.

Los Angeles Kings v Winnipeg Jets*Insert Old Man Joke Here*

Yet I tortured myself and watched to the bitter end, anyway. The petulant child in me was furious once again that, for the 28th season in a row for me, the Kings would not go 82-0-0. I consoled myself by seeking out moose-themed tweets that antagonized Winnipeg.

When all was said and done, ironically, the Kings’ best chance to tie it all up came on a shorthanded effort by Dustin Brown… but sadly he forgot to shoot the puck as he rocketed into the Jets’ zone. This is like driving to the ATM, entering your PIN, withdrawing the daily limit, and then walking away as the machine dispenses twenties.

As the final seconds ticked down, the Fox Sports West cameraman zoomed in on a particularly ornery-looking Kyle Clifford. His bald spot burned angrily under his helmet, sympathetically resonating with my own, and that was that. Another Kings game in the books.

LA Kings record: 1-1-0

Game #2 Tufficult Index:

Not Tufficult // Somewhat Tufficult // Very Tufficult // TUFFIC(#*)WDV)SD{SY

 

As always, find me on Twitter.

Love,

King Tufficult

@KingTufficult

As a child, King Tufficult liked to hang out at Iceoplex to watch his dad's summer skating group that included many gloriously mulleted individuals. Some of the people attached to those mullets played for the early 90's LA Kings. It was destiny. Since then, King Tufficult has enjoyed such hobbies as: watching his lifelong favorite sports team achieve their first championship in history, being unable to pee at Staples Center if too many people are waiting for his urinal, and "contributing" to The Royal Half.If you're a glutton for punishment, you can follow King Tufficult on Twitter @KingTufficult.