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NOTE FROM TRH: As part of our season-long celebration of the 6th Year Anniversary of The Royal Half (6 YEARS OF SUCK™), various writers will be taking a look back at the humble beginnings of TRH… and pointing out everything that we got wrong. For example:

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For the first installment of Back to the Beginning, rookie KnickRickle takes a look at the first ever blog post by yours truly… all the way back to a time when I actually wrote for this dumb site. Take it away, KnickRickle!

Believe it or not there was a time, many fortnights ago, when the Los Angeles Kings were not winning Stanley Cups, pulling off #ReverseSweeps or playing in Stadium Series games. They were flat out bad. But while there was a fanbase dealing with their flat out bad team, in 2008 our fearless leader decided to devote a website to telling the stories of being a tormented fan.


Wrong Fearless Leader

In the beginning of TRH – back before there was the heralded #TeamTRH, back before the site became the Internet titan as it is today – it was just The Half, trying to get himself through another season of LA Kings futility.

Fast forward six years, five playoff appearances, two Cups and a lifetime of sweet, sweet redemption for long time Kings fans and TRH is in the elite of the elite of hockey bloggers. No seriously, for some reason Sportsnet said TRH is one of the Top 50 people in hockey to follow.

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Yup, right where he belongs.

In honor of the sixth anniversary of a blog that blew up from humble beginnings by being good at making fun of things, I am going to try and make fun of the blog’s humble beginnings.

So here is a paragraph-by-paragraph breakdown of the post that sparked an empire: the very first blog in TRH history! (Original blog in italics)

October 8, 2008. A date that would go down in history as the day The Royal Half hit the ground running…

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 11.18.20 PMWith a glaring typo in the title*

During the summer of 2002, my good friend and I decided it was time. We had been to a handful of Kings games over the past few years; free tickets from my parents’ connections, a 3 game gift pack from a boss, an Ebay-bought Game 6 playoff ticket versus the Avalanche that sent the series back to Colorado. The first time I truly understood the power that Tivo held was during a playoff series against the Av’s, when the pizza arrived and my friend paused the live game to pay the delivery guy. In 2002, we decided to become Season Ticket Holders. Well… Half Season Ticket Holders. Because 41 games is way too much.

I had been a Kings fan since 1988, when Wayne Gretzky arrived in Los Angeles and changed the landscape of hockey forever. I was 12. The thrill of making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993 was the high that I have continued to chase for the past 15 years… with each new season, the hope is always there. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year. Little did I know, that becoming a Half Season Ticket Holder was the biggest mistake I could ever make as a fan of the Kings.

There have been a lot of introductions around here lately. With the new crop of bloggers getting their starts, each of our first posts started with a brief introduction, which primarily focused around the question “when did you climb on the Kings bandwagon?”

It seems like TRH is doing the same thing here, but when you think about it there was no bandwagon for him to justify joining. In fact he was doing just the opposite, he was explaining his own masochism.

Since that fateful first season in 2002, the Kings have not made the playoffs. 6 glorious years that ended each time in early April. (Well 5 seasons plus the lockout.) We survived Andy Murray, John Torchetti and Marc Crawford. We got to see the great LAPD line, Palffy, Deadmarsh and Allison, but unfortunately due to injuries, they were never playing at the same time. Across various years, our playoff hopes had been held in the gloved hands of such trade deadline pickups as Dmitry Yushkevich, Anson Carter and Mark Parrish. Make that the stone hard gloved hands of Carter and Parrish. Don’t even get me started on the goalies we’ve seen. Oh alright:

Jamie Storr
Felix Potvin
Travis Scott
Cristobal Huet
Roman Cechmanek
Mathieu Chouinard
Milan Hnilicka
Mathieu Garon
Adam Hauser
Jason LaBarbera
Barry Brust
Sean Burke
Dan Cloutier
Yutaka Fukufuji
Jean-Sebastien Aubin
Jonathan Bernier
Erik Ersberg
Jonathan Quick
Daniel Taylor

We’re all well familiar with this list and the Kings’ goalie troubles. No we are really, really familiar with it, we see it after every one of TRH’s blogs. But alas, nowadays LA’s goaltending problem is no more, and this list has become nothing but a hilarious (albiet painful) memory of the past.

However, one part of TRH’s 2008 prognosis of the Kings has not changed a bit since it was originally postulated.


Anson Carter is still making Kings fans shake their heads.

This franchise has never had a “Plan.” They’ve always ended up in the Black Hole of the NHL Standings. Not good enough to make the playoffs, but not horrible enough to get a high draft pick that changes everything ala Ovechkin or Crosby. It’s actually quite impressive how well the Kings have drafted during these past 6 years… Brown, Kopitar and Frolov all came out of this Black Hole. But it wasn’t until last year that they hit rock bottom. Or at least 2nd to the bottom. The team couldn’t even come in last place right. And now we have our future franchise defenseman to go with our future franchise goalie to go with our young up and coming forwards.

So Dean Lombardi has a “Plan.” I can’t say I agree with all of it. I would have liked to find a way to keep Cammalleri. Maybe Dean shouldn’t have given Visnovsky such a large contract before trading him away… because he had such a large contract. (I know that AEG has been tightening the budget and that was the main cause for the Lubo trade, but still, come on. Seven million a year?) But today, October 7th, Dean made me believe in the “Plan”; re-signing Patrick O’Sullivan for just under what Dustin Brown makes. 3 million a year. This leaves the money available for Kopitar, Johnson and who ever else out of this crop of young players the team will need to re-sign over the next few years. But getting O’Sullivan for that price helps a fan believe that maybe the players are excited to be a part of this “Plan.” Maybe in a few years, we might have a shot at making it back to those finals.

A couple thoughts here…

1. alexander_frolov_avangard-1

Our little Frolov is all grown up! And retired!

2. Future franchise defenseman and future franchise goalie you say?


Nailed it.

3. According to TRH, the catalyst to the Kings’ two Stanley Cup Championships was the re-signing of Patrick O’Sullivan.

But that is definitely in the future. At least a year or two in the future. Can any fan really sit there and think that this 2008-2009 squad is going to place higher in the standings than San Jose, Anaheim or Dallas? Or even Phoenix? No. They are not. 

Take a look at that optimism folks. Things have come a long way from when fans made peace with a last place finish before game one to now when most Kings fans know they don’t have to start paying attention to game one of the Western Conference Semifinals.


You know how confusing this would be to circa-2008 TRH?

And wow, this article really is old. He said Phoenix.

This is what sets my Half Season Ticket Holder partner and myself apart from a lot of the other fans at Staples Center. We love the Kings. We love to cheer when they score. We love to talk about how bad they are. We love the pretzel dogs and Nachos Camachos.Eventually we might even have a winning team to cheer about. But for now, I take one look at the defense pairings and the goaltender options (yes, yes Bernier is the 2nd coming, but LaBarbera and Esberg are the now) and I know that me and my buddy are in for a long season.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Bernier! He thought it was Bernier!

But for a quick flash, as I’m reading hockey preview articles on Kukla’s Korner or watching experts talk on the NHL Network, I think maybe they’ll get it together. Maybe Terry Murray is the perfect coach for this team; not flashy, a teacher, patient. Maybe the kids will click and Doughty and Johnson will outplay their expectations. Maybe LaBarbera will be the same goalie he was when he first started with the Kings. Playoffs. I just want playoffs. Maybe they’ll make it?

“Maybe Terry Murray is the perfect coach for this team”…”Maybe Jack Johnson will outplay his expectations”… more like maybe the two funniest jokes ever made in TRH history. But in all seriousness, it is in these last few sentences that you truly see what stage Kings fans were in only six years ago.

Personally I joined the Kings family in 2009-2010, so I am one, relatively spoiled as a fan and two, mostly unaware of how bad things were in the depths of the Kings’ black hole years. But I can still appreciate (or try and understand) where they came from. Just how I appreciated reading the first post ever on TRH and seeing how quickly the mindset changed from “I just want playoffs” to “I just want a third Cup in four years”.

So happy 6th anniversary, The Royal Half, and may you never forget where you were on October 8 of 2008:

And then… I watch the Kings 2008-2009 preview on FoxSportsWest. And I see this:

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And I realize it is going to be a long fucking year.

Bracing for the Terry Murray era.

*Oh, “1st Seaon as Kings coach”…


I’m an idiot.


Knick Rickle was a former junior and college goaltender and is a current aspiring journalist and mediocre adult league goaltender. While growing up in Minneapolis, he learned how to play by attending Robb Stauber's goalie school, which unbeknownst to him at the time was the first step in becoming a Kings fan. The rest of the steps came when became probably the first person ever to move to California from Minnesota to play hockey. He currently is unemployed, holds an English degree, while contributing to #TeamTRH, so you be the judge how his hockey career turned out. You can follow KnickRickle on Twitter @KnickRickle.