Bark Madness: Elite Eight

Rece Davis: Well, the votes are in, the top dogs have been chosen, and the first ever Los Angeles Kings Bark Madness is off to a howling start!

Bark Madness Elite 8

We have many familiar faces moving on to the Elite Eight, and a major upset to talk about. To do so, let’s bring in our bracket analyst Bill Walton to help us preview the next matchups. Welcome, Bill.


Bill Walton: Hello, I am happy to announce you have been awarded the sportscaster of the year. Rece…? It’s Rece, right? I would like to present you with a cake, this Jerry Garcia book, Harrington Street, and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Read it, we want to make sure you believe in time. Time and space will make you think differently about your daily caloric intake.

Davis: OK… um … thanks.

Walton: Nice suit. You work for the police lookin’ like that?

Davis: Uh, let’s move on to the Elite Eight matchups. First up is Gustl Kopitar. Gustl beat Bo Carter convincingly in the first round. No doubt he is still the favorite to win the tournament.

No. 1 Gustl Kopitar


Davis: Gustl will matchup against Mack Carter. Mack is the winner of a first round matchup against sibling and housemate, Miley. Mack eventually pulled away late in the back-and-forth battle to move on.

No. 8 Mack Carter

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Davis: Bill, what are your thoughts on this matchup. Does Gustl win in another landslide? Or does Mack eek out another win in a close battle?

Walton: Approximately 30 million years ago the Pacific Plate and the Farallon Plate subducted and created what is known as the San Andreas Fault. It was absolutely spectacular! And because of this subduction, great, noticeable shakes occur in the great state of California. And 30 million years later, we see Gustl doing the exact same thing, causing great shockwaves across California. Not many people know this, but Gustl is the greatest thing to have happened to the state of California in the last 30 million years.

Davis: It sounds like your pick to win this round is Gustl. But what are the chances for an upset by Mack Carter?

Walton: It was 1967 when I became a Deadhead. The Grateful Dead was playing in San Francisco. I’ve been to nearly 800 shows over 43 years. They are my best friends. That’s less than 20 shows per year, though. But I see the Carter dogs everywhere, maybe 20 times per year. The synchronicity between the Grateful Dead and the Carter dogs is just fantastic. Mack is like the Jerry of the household, he’s on top of the world, fierce, tough, and tenacious.

Davis: Certainly no argument here…


Davis: Up next, we have the winner of the 5-12 matchup – avoiding the upset – Arnold.

No. 5 Arnold Richards


Davis: Arnold beat 12-seed Nick Shore’s dog fairly convincingly to move on to the next round. He will face off against the dog of the man who waived his owner, Sunny Lombardi.

No. 4 Sunny Lombardi


Davis: Sunny moved into the next round without much room for error, only beating the 13-seed Thor King by five percentage points. Sunny avoided the upset in the last round, and has the better seed here. Bill, does Sunny squeeze out another close win, or is Arnold just too strong?

Walton: Look, you say “squeeze” and that reminds me: I’ve milked a dog before, and I have been milked. I have been to the edge of the biosphere, which reminds me of when I was at Berkeley. I could feel color, I could see sound, I could hear the smell of the grass. This is what I think about when I see Arnold … think about it: Nelson Mandela, Bob Dillon, Bill Russell, Thomas Edison, the light is on! Born out of darkness is Arnold. Has there ever been a dog better than Arnold? Arnold is as great a champion as this nation has ever known. One day, Arnold will be President of our United States. If Arnold Richards is your hero, you’re doing well.

Davis: It sounds like Bill is picking Arnold. What do you think?


Davis: Now we move on to the biggest upset of the tournament, so far. Bruno Toffoli beating the 6-seed Hank, Alec Martinez’s dog, by nearly nine percentage points. The bandwagon of Bruno, a young dog new to the game, is taking on new riders during his run through the tournament.

No. 11 Bruno Toffoli


Davis: Bruno will face perhaps the stiffest competition of his young career in Prince Williams. Prince soundly defeated Habs King, thus eliminating both of the King-family dogs from championship contention.

No. 3 Prince Williams


Davis: Bruno, the underdog in this bracket, has a steep hill to climb.  Maybe not the most glamorous dog, but he’s getting the job done. Bill, what do you think?

Walton: I will say the war on drugs has been an absolute failure across the board. Somebody’s got to step forward. And we’re looking for Obama to step up and say “why are we punishing people for things that are legal … why are people languishing in jail for things that are legal?”

Davis: Um, well, first of all…

Walton: And the dog people, the administration, they can’t say anything because of privacy rules. But I can read, and I can ask people questions.

Davis: Wait, wait, what does this have to do with the bracket? I don’t think any dog is doing drugs, or smoking marijuana. That’s not what’s at issue here. Just tell us which dog you like the most.

Walton: You know how I talk every week about not modernizing the rules of dog shows. And they try to slander me and call my bluff. Go ahead. Talk down to the underdogs, the dogs that may not follow all the rules. That’s what the underdogs are in today’s world. They are the dogs that we ostracize from our perfect society because they chose another path. But these dogs are a part of me, and they are a part of you. So, while you are glorifying hate, glorifying glory dogs, glorifying selfish dogs, I’m going to celebrate the birthdays of peace and love with Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Taylor, and underdogs like Bruno. Those dogs who are punished in our archaic legal system for not being beautiful, for not conforming. But just take a look at their inside, look at the color of their soul – such beautiful colors! And you will know that the meek inherit the Earth. You know, in Colonial American history – after the Mayflower landed here – there were these things called stocks that were used as punishment for people awaiting trial. That’s where they would restrain your arms, legs, and head between wooden boards, and display you in public to be humiliated for crimes you were accused of committing. That’s what our society, today, is doing to poor Bruno. We punish him for being an underdog. We need to take our great American underdogs out of the stocks.

Davis: I don’t even know…


Davis: Our final matchup features the No. 2 and No. 7 seeds, but it was not so easy for Milo Brown to make it this far. Milo beat Trevor Lewis’s dog by a margin of just one percentage point! Talk about a buzzer beater.

No. 7 Milo Brown


Davis: The labradoodles march on into the Elite Eight, with a potential matchup looming in the final. But standing in the way of Milo is the 2-seed Reggie Doughty. Reggie beat Harley Clifford without issue in the previous round, and one wonders if Harley’s window of success is closing with such strong new opponents in his own household.

No. 2 Reggie Doughty


Davis: Bill, your thoughts on the favorite of many Kings fans, Reggie Doughty?

Walton: I just don’t understand all of this Kings talk. This is about dogs, not hockey. That said, Reggie might be the best dog in the history of Western Civilization. When you look at Reggie and what he has done for this franchise, he’s changed everything. Are you old enough to remember Snoopy? Reggie is Snoopy incarnate, His Beagleness the Second Snoopy Lama. And as we celebrate his brilliance – and when you play with Reggie – what a classical dog he is. It was 210 years ago today that Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat escorted in the age of Romanticism in music.  And when I look at Reggie, I think of Beethoven and the age of the Romantics. This dog has it all. Throw it down, beagle man!


Davis: Quite a bold, if not bizarre, statement. Bill, Any other thoughts as we wrap-up the Elite Eight preview?

Walton: I’m a disgrace to humanity, and I’m sorry. Have you ever been to a volcano when it was erupting?!

Davis: OK, well, there you go. Vote for your favorite Kings dog and decide who makes it to the Final Four!

Sweet 16

Elite Eight

Final Four

Flubber McGee is TRH's resident Kansas City correspondent, and has survived as a Kings fan long before the dawn of Internet streaming sites. He has seen the Kings win exactly zero non-exhibition games in person. Have you ever achieved enlightenment? Flubber has, because he once witnessed Kevin and Brett Westgarth fight in, and get kicked out of, the same game (they didn't fight each other, unfortunately). In addition to being a part of TRH, Flubber runs a Kansas City hockey blog. It's exactly what you think it is. You can follow Flubber McGee on Twitter @FlubberMcGee.