TRH RECAP 3: The Relegation Game

NOTE FROM The Royal Half: We are beyond excited to welcome John Siegel to the pages of The Royal Half as one of the winners of North America’s Next Top Blogger™: Season 2! John is an accomplished hockey writer and he’s even watched several Florida Panthers hockey games. ON PURPOSE EVEN!

457078878

There is a lot of Kings history going on in this photo.

Let’s get to know John, shall we?

TRH: Please give us a brief history of your level of Los Angeles Kings fandom.

JVNS: I was a moderate fan until I moved to Chicago in 2008 for school (from S.O.). My teen angst turned towards the suburban Chicago yuppies and their newly beloved Blackhawks, and my fiery love of the Kings was born. It’s since become a problem for me.

TRH: Besides 2 Stanley Cups in 3 Seasons, what is the greatest moment in LA Kings history?

JVNS: Jozef Stumpel, Fukufuji, or The Goon Squad.

Seriously though? Miracle on Manchester, Adam Deadmarsh’s winner in 2001, Bernier’s attempt to kill Rob Scuderi, or the time Darryl Sutter sang Happy Birthday to Alex Lintuniemi, although this is only reported.

TRH: Ok, Kopitar or Doughty… who ya got?

JVNS: Doughty. Because of his partial mustache, Reggie, and his love of partying. Points against him: his alleged manhood makes me feel inadequate.

Now that John is writing for a hockey team that draws more than 12,000 people to its home opener, we are proud to present his first contribution to The Royal Half! Take it away, John!!!

KINGS 4, JETS 1

So this is what it feels like? As the second period of the second game of the regular season got underway, the consensus amongst the guests at the snack shop at a nondescript, affluent Little League Field in the heart of the San Fernando Valley (gasp!), was that of apathy.

“Is this still the preseason,” a middle-aged gentleman with a Corona in a clear, plastic cup (masked by a paper cup; the middle class equivalent of “paper baggin’”) asked his friend. The friend, upon finishing the process of pouring his Coors Lite, looked up and rasped “no.”

The long, arduous postseason took a lot out of Kings fans, and with its culmination in the second Stanley Cup in three years, a wave of change seemed to take place amongst casual Kings fans. Is it the next step in the Hockeytown-ization of the Los Angeles Kings fanbase? Progressing from “our team is built for the playoffs, not this regular season crap,” towards becoming the St. Louis Cardinals/Detroit Red Wings pomposity that everyone outside of St. Louis and Detroit, two lovely cities that DESPERATELY need winning franchises to distract their citizens from the fact that they live in Detroit and St. Louis, absolutely abhors.

Probably.

So as the second period got underway, and it became apparent that this was the tip of the iceberg, I started taking notes.

Sunday’s victory over Winnipeg featured That 70’s Line. We get it. Jeff Carter could be skating with Matt Greene on one wing and Ľubomír Višňovský (look at those accents!) on the other, and the numbers would only continue (can you imagine Greene skating at forward?). But as I got lost in a feeling of “you don’t know what it’s like, maaaaan” that naturally goes along with watching That 70’s Line in all its youthful elegance, it became evident that there was something … awry.

A REMIX!

That’s not Tanner Pearson wobbling around on the ice like the teenager he will always be…

While it’s more likely to see Greene skating with Toffoli and Carter, the fact that Nolan was somehow involved in a scoring opportunity to served to break up the monotony of watching the Kings beat the Winnipeg Jets in the second game of a long season.

Apparently, at one point, a major knock on Tanner Pearson was that he wasn’t a great skater. I love hockey scouting terminology, but to say that a prospect isn’t a great skater almost seems like the scout in question is just phoning it in. It’s akin to saying “eh … he’s okay.” But as Tanner streaked towards the net–thinking undoubtedly how far he has come from being a part of “The Kids Table,” his skating looked fine. Sure the goal was a cupcake, but he must have trained a whole hell of a lot to go from “poor skater” to Louis Mendoza (Tanner can stop).

It was easy to see that the Kings were the better team, but damn did the Jets play with a chip on their shoulder.

(full disclosure: I was looking for a .gif of a kid attempting to hit
someone much bigger than himself, but found this one instead.
I decided to link to it because it. is. glorious.)

Things got chippy, Kyle Clifford – predictably – lost a fight, and there were scrums after virtually every shot on goal.

In the end, it was your average “the Kings are built for the playoffs” affair. Joner – which might be the worst nickname a hockey player has ever been given – was too much for the Jets. While it never felt that there was any chance for Winnipeg, it was still watching the Kings skate around and fist bump each other (and punch other guys in the head).

The Kings play the Oilers on Tuesday night, while the Jets were relegated to the Western Hockey League, and will play the Moose Jaw Warriors.

RANDOM THOUGHTS OF THE GAME

  • What do the dudes in the penalty box do? Is it really necessary to document – on a clipboard, no less – that someone served a penalty? Are they there to make sure that the penalized players behave themselves? If they aren’t there, how will we ever know that a penalty actually happened?
  • Poor Alexander Burmistrov. Yes, he is a well-regarded young dude, but he has the unenviable choice of choosing to play in Winnipeg, or Russia. I bitch from time-to-time about having to choose between LA and Chicago, but Russia must be really terrible if there are rumblings that he is desperate to get back to Winnipeg.
  • Remember When Luke Schenn and Mike Del Zotto were as highly regarded by the hockey powers that be as comparable to one Andrew Philip Doughty? Now the only time the only time those three are mentioned together is when Bob Miller talks about the 2008 NHL Draft.
  • When did T.J. Galiardi sign with Winnipeg?
  • The game jumped the shark with Kopitar’s goal, but when Bob said “Big Buff?” and Jim followed-up with “zoom zoom,” I thought long and hard about just going to bed.
  • I can’t be the only one that had an “AHA” moment when Jim Fox talked about how Dwight King worked over the summer to improve his release, as if THAT was the missing ingredient to King’s game that all of us had been pondering.
  • If there was a theme to the 2014-2015 Los Angeles Kings, it’s nonchalance. Seriously, the dudes look inconvenienced after they find the back of the net. Even Martin Jones seemed reluctant to admit victory.

 

John Siegel is a lunatic who writes about hockey, east coast bias, and content marketing. He rarely takes anything seriously, there's a good chance he's drinking right now. You can follow him on Twitter @JVNSiegel but you probably shouldn’t.