Category Archives: Musings of Mateo

It’s time! Bring the Stanley Cup to Long Beach!

Minnesota North Stars goalie Gary Baumann sprawls awkwardly on ice at Long Beach Arena after narrowly deflecting goal attempt (arrow to puck) by Los Angeles Kings last night. Kings clicked five other times against Baumann, however, for 5-3 victory--their second in as many NHL outings on the West Coast. Photo dated: October 16, 1967.  (Milton Martinez, Herald Examiner)

The Stanley Cup has once again been raised in Los Angeles after the Kings tore down the Rangers in five games. And Lord Stanley’s chalice will soon start it’s storied tour around the Southland.

In 2012, it made it to Chavez Ravine and it visited the Coliseum. It’s even found its way to the Fabulous Forum. But there’s one place that the Cup has not been yet, and I’m a little bummed about it.

When the 1967-68 season kicked off, the Forum wasn’t quite finished yet. So the team scrambled to find an alternate venue, so they made their NHL debut at the Long Beach Arena on Saturday, Oct. 14 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Brian KilreaIn front of 7,035 people, the Kings found themselves down 2-0 to the Flyers when center scored early in the second round for the club’s first goal, with assists going to Jacques Lemieux and Ted Irvine.

This sparked the team in the third period, when Bob Wall, Gord Labossiere and Kilrea’s second of the game lifted the Long Beach Kings over the fellow expansion team Flyers for their first NHL victory.

Continue reading It’s time! Bring the Stanley Cup to Long Beach!

Hockeywood’s Road Games to Watch in 2013-14

Hockeywood's Road Games to Watch in 2013-14In what has become a tradition, I’ve always opened up the upcoming schedule of the Kings and point out five games that should be on everyone’s DVRs from the beginning. With the advent of NHL Gamecenter and other streaming possibilities, opportunities to catch an early Kings game are more commonplace.

But there are some games that should be circled on the calendar as MUST WATCH. This season, I had to pick more than five, mostly because I included ALL the games during the Grammy stretch in January, because it’s a unique situation. Half the games are against Eastern Conference teams and half are important divisional rivals.

I also took it a step further this season and selected games that have epic goaltender matchups. Since L.A. has a legit All-World netminder in Jonathan Quick, many of these games are against other notable netminders.

So without further ado, I represent my own version of Must See TV.

Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings is congratulated by Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils after the Kings won won Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final with the score of 6-1 at the Staples Center on June 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings won the series 4-3. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)• Nov 15: Kings at New Jersey, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West

The one game that all Kings fans were dying to watch last season but never happened: the Kings facing off against their Stanley Cup foes, the New Jersey Devils. Because of the lockout, Kings fans were ROBBED of the opportunity  to rub the Devils (and the league’s) nose of being the defending Stanley Cup champions.

This year, the Devils look to be ripe for the picking. Martin Brodeur looks to retire at the end of the season. There’s gaping holes left from Ilya Kovalchuk, Zack Parise, and their leading scorer from last season, David Clarkson. Sure, Lou Lamoriello signed Jaromir Jagr, but even that won’t come close to filling their scoring woes.

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Kings center Dwight King (74) in the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 in Las Vegas. The Kings won 4-1. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)• Nov. 17: Kings at New York, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West

Another opportunity for the fans squandered, thanks to the bickering of millionaires and billionaires. Both the Kings and the Rangers have built their teams from the net out. In 2012, Henrik Lundqvist beat out Jonathan Quick for the Vezina Trophy, despite having a worse goal-against average, fewer games played and fewer shutouts. That’s OK, because Quick went on to nab the Conn Smythe for the Kings magical run to the Stanley Cup. Suck it, “King” Henrik.

The Rangers fired John Tortorella and brought in Alain Vigneault in the hopes of shaking things up with a clean slate. As those of us in Los Angeles know, a coaching change can do wonders. And while the blueline looks to be solid, there seems to be a question in the depth of their forwards. Regardless, a little East Coast/West Coast rivalry always makes for a good game to watch.

Goalie Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates with teammates after defeating the Ottawa Senators in an NHL preseason game at the Bell Centre on September 26, 2013 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Senators 3-1. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)• Dec. 10: Kings at Montreal, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West & TSN

Maybe it’s just me, but I still get fired up for Kings/Canadiens matchups. Sure, the Habs are the gold standard when it comes to the Stanley Cup. It’s hard to argue with 24 championships. But part of me really wanted to see the Kings skate into the Bell Centre, finally as the defending Stanley Cup champions. (Which they still are, remember?)

The Canadiens were a surprise last season, taking full advantage of the shortened season, they finished first in the Northeast division after finishing dead last in the Eastern Conference the previous season. But many feel they will come back to earth this season, especially grouped in the Atlantic division. This should be another good game to watch, if for no other reason to finally see the Kings skating around without that weight around their neck from 1993. That weight now lies solely on the Canadiens, who haven’t returned to the Finals since 1993.

Bobby Ryan #6 of the Ottawa Senators celebrates a first period goal with teammates Mika Zibanejad #93 and Colin Greening #14 against the Montreal Canadiens during an NHL pre-season game at Canadian Tire Centre on September 25, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
• Dec. 14: Kings at Ottawa, 11 a.m. NHL Network and Fox Sports West

I don’t think I’ve ever thought of the Kings/Sens as a must watch game. But  I’m intrigued to see how far Ottawa has come. There really is no major history between these two franchises (unless you count that bench-clearing slobberknocker back in 2001, featuring the WORST goalie fight ever.)

No, this isn’t your father’s Senators. This team has the feel of a sleeper squad. Plus, I’m a little curious to see how former Duck Bobby Ryan does in a new uniform. I think he has a breakout season, which will pay dividends for coach Paul MacLean, who will need some firepower with the loss of Daniel Alfredsson.

 Nikolai Khabibulin #39 of the Chicago Blackhawks follows the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an exhibition game at United Center on September 19, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)• Dec. 15: Kings at Chicago, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West

This is personal. The Blackhawks are kinda the current defending champs, but really they have an asterisk after that accomplishment. Shortened season and everything, you understand. No, this game will be a true measuring stick for the Kings. The last two Stanley Cup winners going head-to-head, to see just who is the better team.

Another reason why this game is must-see: there’s a Long Beach connection! Former Long Beach Ice Dogs goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will be backing up Corey Crawford. The Bulin Wall will always hold a spot in my heart, thanks to his tour of duty in the LBC. Also, this game will be the second of back-to-back games for the Hawks, meaning that we might just see the 40-year-old Khabibulin in net. Being in the 40s myself, I will always root for the old guy.

Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty, left, and Jeff Carter, second from left, pose for a photo at home plate with Anaheim Ducks' Dustin Penner, second from right, and Emerson Etem, home plate after an NHL hockey news conference Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, announcing the outdoor hockey game between the Kings and Ducks. The game will be played on a temporary rink on the baseball field on Jan. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)• Jan. 16-28: Grammy road trip

Ah, the annual Grammy roadie. Not since the 2010-11 season will the Kings be away from home for such an extended stretch. And it seems that the team has struggled a bit recently during their exile from Staples. (2-3 in 2013; 2-4 in 2012; but 6-4 in 2011).

But this year’s Grammy roadie has two major differences. 1) half of the games will be played west of the Rockies and 2.) One of those games are actually a home game. (Remember, the Kings have “home ice” when they play the Ducks in the NHL Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25.) But despite having so many games in the Western U.S., they will still log over 7,500 miles, the most since their 10-game bender across Canada and the east Coast in 2011 (9,600+).


• Extra credit: Mar. 25: Kings at Washington, 4 p.m., Fox Sports West

This is solely a personal pick. Not because I think the game will be good. But the fact that I may be at the Verizon Center! I am currently making plans to visit a friend in March, who recently moved to Virginia. He sold me on getting tickets to the Caps/Kings game. All I have to do is hop on a plane and come. How can I resist that?

That said, this game should also be a must watch. Alexander Ovechkin is coming off a brilliant season, winning the Hart Trophy. One of my all-time favorite NHL 94 players, Adam Oates, is entering his sophomore season as head coach. The team should be near the top in the East, so why not watch it?

All hail the Birthday Kings!

Marty McSorley, Jim Fox, Jari Kurri and Jay Wells

One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was to open the newspaper on my birthday and see which people shared my birthday, which is May 18th. And I was always greeted with names like director Frank Capra, singer Perry Como and Pope John Paul II. Admittedly, not the sexiest of names, but it is what it is.

Stanley CupcakeAs it turns out, the newspaper routinely left out a bunch of names, mostly because they weren’t “big enough” names in the world of news. They are, however, some decent names in the world of sports. In baseball, there was Babe Adams, Reggie Jackson and Brooks Robinson.

Basketball players Sam Vincent, Donyell Marshall and Ron Mercer are all Tauruses. Race car driver Dario Franchitti, quarterback Vince Young and professional wrestler James William Reiher were also born on the 18th. (What, you do recognize Reiher’s name? Perhaps you know him better as Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.)

But the craziest thing that I have learned with the advent of the Interwebz is the discovery that I also share a birthday with four former Kings. (Actually five, but I’ll touch on that in a moment.) Jay Wells (1959), Jari Kurri (1960), Jim Fox (1960) and Marty McSorley (1963) were all born on the 18th. Wells and Fox played together in L.A. from 1981 through 1988, while Kurri and McSorley donned the black and silver from 1991 to 1996.

The fifth player I eluded to was Oleg Tverdovsky, who had four assists in 26 games in the forgettable 2006 season. The only thing memorable about Tverdovsky’s arrival in L.A. was he accompanied current Kings defenseman Jack Johnson in the trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. (A Jack Johnson also shares a May 18th birthday with all these Kings players, although it’s that singer Jack Johnson.)

Since there’s only 366 dates in a year, people are going to share birthdays. But I’m not entirely sure if there’s a date that has more athletes that have played for a particular team. I’m sure there might be, but I’m not going to research it. In fact, the only thing I’m going to do right now is help myself to another serving of cake.

Happy Birthday Jimmy Fox, Jay Wells, Jari Kurri and Marty McSorley! Oh, and Happy Birthday me!!!

Not So Winter Classic: Kings reportedly to host outdoor game

 photo kingswinterclassic_zps1e4edf95.jpg

The last thing I expected to read on a lazy Sunday was something coming across my Facebook feed that The Fourth Period is reporting that we’ll be seeing an outdoor game during the regular NHL season at Dodger Stadium.

I’ve been championing this for ages, and to have this possibly come to fruition is kinda cool. I mean, not as cool as Seeing the Kings win the Stanley Cup Cool, but still pretty tremendous.

I was convinced that AEG would stick to its guns and hold onto the Winter Classic for when Farmers Field became a reality. But with the uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of that venue, I imagine the Kings ownership want to strike while the iron is hot (and the team is still a contender).

According to TFP, the league wants to stage multiple outdoor games on the same day, which makes sense for Hockey Day In America, which usually is played in February. There’s talk Yankee Stadium may also host a game, which would make the above image improbable.

Worried about the condition of the ice? According to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, the temperature on the dasher boards in Philadelphia back in 2012 was 71 degrees. They used an insulated blanket over the ice, leaving the ice playable by gametime. Obviously they wouldn’t play the game in the middle of the day, so that suggests the game would be the second of a doubleheader.

Obviously, the two teams that would most likely play in L.A. would be the Kings and the Ducks. Two teams who have previously won the Stanley Cup on the West Coast. (LOL @ San Jose. Suck it, Sharks.) EDITOR’S NOTE: As of Sunday afternoon, the L.A. Times’ Helene Elliott reported it would be Kings/Ducks and it could possibly be on Jan. 25, 2014.

Although, if the league wanted to guarantee a sellout, they’d be better off scheduling the Red Wings, the Canucks or any other cold weather team with a bunch of transplants living in L.A.

All I know is I’ll pay ANY price to see this game in person. I don’t care if the sightlines are crap, the weather is crap or if the game is crap. It’s something I’ve envisioned for a long time.

Anze Kopitar is an Angry Bird Superstar!!!

Anze Kopitar in an Angry Bird Superstar

No, you are not seeing things. That’s the Kings Anze Kopitar slapping a pig from Angry Birds into a snow drift. What the what?!?

Rovio's HockeyBird

It’s part of a new promotion featuring the Slovenian Stunner alongside some of the biggest app stars in the world: Rovio’s Angry Birds. The creators of one of the most successful mobile app of all time is kicking off Angry Birds Superstars.

Angry Birds Superstars is a run of limited edition prints, with our new superstars doing what they do best, Angry Birds style! A must-have for any NHL or NBA fans… Or Angry Birds fans for that matter!

According to Rovio’s website, you can win this autographed Anze Kopitar photo by tweeting out why YOU (that’s right, YOU) consider yourself an Angry Birds Superstar.


– Tweet your answer

– Include a link to this blog post: rov.io/absuperstars
– Tag a tweet with #ABsuperstar 
– For those who want to nominate a friend, be sure to include their Twitter handle.
This isn’t the first time Rovio has courted the sports crowd. In 2012, Rovio unveiled Hockey Bird, the official mascot of the 2012 Ice Hockey World Championships. Rovio is a Finnish company, so it makes perfect sense to have them create a mascot for the IIHF. No word if this means Hockey Bird will be coming to an Angry Birds app near you.
You have until Friday, Feb. 8 to tweet why YOU deserve an autographed print of Anze Kopitar, giving one of those dastardly piggies the what for. But beware: you’ll have some serious competition!

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Kings get a home opener do over in NHL 13

NHL 13

One of the things that I looked forward to when I bought NHL 13 was the opportunity to play the myriad game options, in addition to the usual season mode.

The one that really intrigued me was the NHL Moments Live, where they offer up 26 different scenarios to see if you can rewrite the record book. In addition to that, EA says they plan on updating the Moments throughout the season.

Well the first update is in, and guess what one of the Moments that can be rewritten? Yup, last Saturday’s third period by the Kings…

From the website:

Raining On Their Parade

Summary: Last Saturday, the Los Angeles Kings took on the Chicago Blackhawks in the first game of the NHL season. This was a special night for the Kings as they celebrated their Stanley Cup® victory with a ring and banner raising ceremony. The Blackhawks were not intimidated by the champions as they got off to a fast start by scoring 3 goals in the 1st period. With the score at 4-1 in the third, the Kings got a glimmer of hope from a Jordan Nolan goal.  The comeback was short lived as Chicago’s Marian Hossa put the game away just seconds after Nolan’s tally.

Objective: With 10:25 left in regulation, win the game as the Los Angeles Kings. CAN YOU CHANGE HISTORY?

I will change history. As God as my witness, I WILL CHANGE HISTORY!!!

As a lifelong gamer, this is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The game is so interactive, I can try to rewrite a scenario that I witnessed first hand days ago. Amazing.

Let me know if you do it as well… Snap a pic and send me your score…

BTW, here’s a video of the banner raising I grabbed from NHL 13 before the season started. If they actually changed the banner to the real one, then I’d be FLOORED!

Hockeywood’s Five Road Games to Watch in 2013

TV Dude

O.K., so the truncated season is now underway, and the Kings will be on the road 11 of the next 14 games. So naturally many Kings fans will be watching from the comfort of their homes (or assorted watch parties, more on that in a few).
And has been the semi-annual tradition here on the blog, I’m going to look at the shortened schedule and give you five games that should be worth your while to record on your DVRs. (Which reminds me, I still have to take Game 6 off mine. Although that might be a little hard.)
Back when I started this feature, Kings away games were often hard to find on the tube without a satellite dish. But now that they are Stanley Cup champions, almost all the games will be broadcast in HD (as they were last season, thanks to Fox Sports West.)
But this season, there are NO Eastern Conference games to choose from. Which means no rematch against their Stanley Cup opponents Devils (which is a shame, IMO. But what can you do?)

Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts alongside a referee after Brown checked Michal Rozsival #32 of the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime of Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on May 22, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

• Jan. 26: Kings at Phoenix, 5 p.m., FSW
What better way to kick off the Kings’ Pacific Division campaign than against the team that they defeated in the Western Conference Finals 4 games to 1. The Yotes actually won the Pacific Division last season, on the back of goaltender Mike Smith.  Smith deserved Vezina consideration, especially over Pekka Rinne. But Smith will need another stellar showing this season, since the Desert Dogs are offensively challenged. But they are a Bitch with a capital B on D. I doubt the team will be making any moves prior to their game next week, so you can feel good about watching this one.

Dustin Penner #25 of the Los Angeles Kings throws the check against Doug Janik #37 of the Detroit Red Wings at Staples Center on March 13, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

• Feb. 10: Kings at Red Wings, 9:30 a.m., NBC, TSN
Nationally broadcast game pits Hockeywood vs. Hockeytown. Detroit lost Nic Lidstrom at the end of the season, leaving a gaping maw on that blueline now. Plus all their gambles to try and lure a high-priced FA failed, actually leaving  them in an unusual position heading into the season: also-ran. They may be deep on offense, but they will need a miracle to regain a defensive stranglehold like they have had in the past. I know it’s mighty early to start talking playoffs, but how sweet would it be to see these two rivals go at it in the postseason?

Disappointed Vancouver Canucks fans watch the end of Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Rogers Arena on April 13, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Los Angeles Kings beat the Canucks 4-2 to take a 2-0 series lead. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

• Mar. 2: Kings at Canucks, 7 p.m., FSW/NHL Network/CBC
Another Stanley Cup playoff rematch, this time as the Kings return to Vancouver, the site of one of the greatest upsets in NHL history. The Canucks are the three-time, three-time, three-time President’s Cup, and like the Kings, are virtually the same squad as they were back in April. The X-Factor here is what the team gets in return when they eventually trade Bob Long. They might be able to bolster that already deadly lineup. Seeing that this game will be broadcast on three different networks is a testament to just how big this game is.

Head Coach Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues stands on the bench during the game against the Los Angeles Kings in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

• Mar. 28: Kings at St. Louis, 5 p.m., FSW/NHL Network
O.K., so it’s a bit of a cop-out to select the Kings’ third playoff opponents as the games to watch. But this one will be particularly interesting. Especially if the Blues continue their ascension in the West this season. A hardcore defensive squad (tops in the NHL last season), St. Louis is being tabbed by many to have the best record in the West. The shortened season also benefits their goaltending tandem of Brain Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. This one will be a true slobberknocker, just like last postseason.

Justin Williams #14 of the Los Angeles Kings and Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks battle for position in the second period at Staples Center on March 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Sharks 5-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

• Apr. 16: Kings at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., NO TV (yet).
I can already hear your complaining. “You said these are games to watch ON TV.” Which I fully expect will happen by the time the season winds down. Considering how the Kings played last season, where they didn’t clinch until Game 81, I’m expecting this game to have major playoff expectations. The Sharks are now the ONLY team in California to not have raised Lord Stanley’s Cup, and as of right now, January 20th, their window is closing. They also couldn’t add much in the offseason, but their core of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Martin Havlet still boast one of the league’s deepest rosters.

Looking back at my Summer of Stanley

They see me rollinI
started riding my bike for health during a weight loss competition that I was in. 

It also coincided with the NHL Playoffs. I found that I
was filled with a lot of nervous energy watching the Kings play the
Vancouver Canucks in the first round again, and blowing off steam on my
bike seemed to work.

Like many other fans, I have a lot of old
Kings garb. I would always make it a point to wear something when I rode, as
sort of a way to represent the team while I hauled my fat ass up on my
mountain bike.

Very often, other cyclers would be wearing
their team of choice, be it the Lakers or Dodgers or USC. Usually, these
fans also wear old, well-worn items representing their respective
teams. Invariably, these things would be touting championships.

Most
of the time, I’ll see title stuff from the Lakers, as well as USC’s
National Champion shirts and Angels World Series shirts. (Amazingly, I
haven’t come across a Ducks shirt yet, which is surprising considering
how close I live to Orange County.) I even saw someone wearing an old
Laker shirt from 1987, with caricatures of Kareem, Magic and Pat Riley
barely visible after years of wear.

As I would pass other fans on the bike paths,
wearing my old Kings gear, I would get fleeting smirks and condescending
glances from them. But I didn’t care. This team, these playoffs
felt different. Maybe it was the nervous energy that kept me riding, or
maybe it was superstition. All I knew is before I knew it, it became a
habit.

When the Kings knocked off the President’s Trophy-winning
Canucks, riding on game day became a must. I took it as a superstition. A healthy superstition. And as the team progressed
farther, I started to ride further. Toward the Stanley Cup Finals, I was
making it down to the beach, heading deeper into Orange County.

Rollin in the LBC
Slowly, I started seeing newly-pressed LA Kings shirts on other bike riders. It
was bizarre, but not unheard of. Everyone loves a winner in L.A.

When
the Kings defeated the Coyotes to the Finals, I was riding every
morning. I was so nervous, I needed to blow off that anxiety. I also made the decision to try and make it to one game. Just
one. I wanted to say I was there. So, thanks to the help of a good
friend, I secured tickets to Game 4.

Turns out, the Kings were on
the verge of sweeping the Devils, and Game 4 tickets were at a premium.
I remember riding down to the beach on Game Day, and I saw Kings swag
everywhere. It felt incredible. It felt as if Southern California was willing the Kings to win.

The
atmosphere was incredible outside Staples that night. Hundreds of
people were milling around L.A. Live, all clamoring for a ticket. My
buddy and I sidestepped the crazies and made our way inside. The
electricity prior to the faceoff was amazing, as fans were waving their
light tubes in unison and cheering wildly.

However, the Kings
lost Game 4 and I found myself shrugging my shoulders and thinking to
myself: “Figures.” There were three games left, and the Kings only
needed one win. But, as we all know, it’s the last win that is always
the hardest.

Game 5 came and went with another Devils victory,
and all the scenarios were running through my head as I rode my bike. As
I was at dinner, I got a text from my friend Ben that seemed too
good to be true.

Me at Game 6“Matt, I have tickets to Game 6. Interested?”

The
next morning, I was still in a state of shock. As I was riding down the
Bolsa Chica boardwalk, I did something I never do. 

I stopped.

I
walked my bike across the sand to an empty lifeguard tower. My mind was
racing and I needed some perspective. As I have done many times in the
past, I stared out at the relentless surf pounding the shore, a calm
washed over me. Out went 25 years of doubt and uncertainty. I remember
thinking to myself: “You are going to Game 6 and you will see the Kings
win the Stanley Cup.”

As we all know now, the Kings had a huge
first period. I have NEVER seen Staples more raucous. And when the clock
counted down the final ten seconds, it seemed as if the frustrations
from 47 years were finally exorcised. The Kings had won the Cup.

I now can understand and appreciate the feeling of rooting for a true champion.
Even though I don’t play on the ice, I feel an overwhelming sense of
pride for the players and my fellow fans. 

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I allowed myself to bask in the glow of the Kings’ epic Cup run. Since then, I’ve watched Game 6 numerous times. I snapped up countless memorabilia commemorating the occasion. I posed with both of my kids for Chaz Curry’s fan project benefiting BeTheMatch.org. I got my chance to pose with the Stanley Cup when it was brought to the Los Angeles Times building. 

Now I ride my bike not just to burn off my nervous energy, but for fun. I bought my own championship hat, which I wear during my
rides. And instead of getting smirks or head shakes from Laker fans or Trojan fans or Angel fans, I
now get respectful head nods.

And now that the league and the players have gotten on the same page and have saved the season, I can once again get excited. Like many other fans, I was upset about this lockout, especially since it gives Kings fans an abridged opportunity to tell the rest of the league to suck it.
Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on doing that.

The schedule is released and it’s disappointing

Yup, you read it right. 11 of the first 15 games of the season are ON THE ROAD. 

Now, don’t fear. Gary Bettman is not to blame. Remember, January is always a heavy travel month, due to the Grammys, which will be on Feb. 10th at Staples. So they set up shop for a week, which makes for a long trip.
But still… after waiting SOOOOOO long for the season to start, to have the team start the first month of action on the road… it’s just… typical.
Hey, the Ducks don’t have it much better. Nine of their first 15 games are away from the Pond. I’ll be making a blog post later about the top five games to watch. 

L.A. Kings schedule 2013

That is NOT the Kings Stanley Cup ring. It better not be

Stanley Cup Rings

Above you see nine Stanley Cup rings. Which one of these is NOT like the other?

Thursday night, the Internet struck again. A rampant, baseless rumor appeared about the Kings Stanley Cup ring being leaked on Instagram. As rumors tend to do, it spread like wildfire until it reached the ultimate Kings blogger, Greg Wyshynski, where he posted it late last night.
As soon as I saw these alleged ring, I knew it had to be a replica one, and a bad one at that. Don’t get me wrong, it looks fantastic. It’s everything you’d want in a championship ring. Except for one thing: it’s not blingy enough.
So, Friday morning, as I sipped my coffee, I decided rather than try to refute individual claims to this imposter ring, I’d do a post about it. I quickly compiled eight other Stanley Cup ring, and placed them all on the same image. (Please note, I said “quickly” compiled. All of these may not be the real deal. But even if one or two are fakes, they look WAAAAY better than the Kings one.)
Now, do you see it? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? This is NOT the Kings championship ring. It’s CAN’T be. Oh, it’s a ring. And it’s got the Kings logo on it. And there’s the Stanley Cup. But that’s not the REAL Stanley Cup ring. At least, it better not be.
Have you seen a real Stanley Cup ring? It makes a grown man’s finger look small. (Or at least Sidney Crosby’s finger). The Kings imposter ring was supposedly leaked by the daughter of Tim Leiweke on Instagram. It looks nice and snug on her finger.
The concept is sure to be used for the real deal that will be handed out Jan. 19, but will have WAY more diamonds and jewels and have better detail. There’s even been a replica for sale since summer that’s better looking than this replica.
Plus, look at the other rings by comparison. That Kings ring looks like one of my daughter’s plastic dress-up princess rings. What is that black stuff around the logo? I’ve never seen anything but plastic look like that.
Hell, the DUCKS ring looks way better, although that webbed foot is a blight on Lord Stanley’s chalice. Look at the Tampa Bay ring, that’s pretty impressive. And I’m pretty sure I could punch through a steel wall wearing the Blackhawks one.
My guess (and many other people not prone to spread rampant, baseless rumors online) is that this is a replica that will be handed out by McDonalds to fans. After all, the Kings announced a new partnership with the Golden Arches Thursday at their mundane press conference. (Nice to see Bob Miller though.)
Again, I bring this up not to be a dick, but to try and be level headed about this whole thing. I’ve been waiting to see what they will unveil Saturday afternoon when they finally drop the puck on the 2013 season. And I’ll probably fork out some coin to get a replica one for my desk.
But if this is the real ring, I’ll eat my hat.