Category Archives: Musings of Mateo

Jonathan Quick starring in his own Toy Story

Jonathan Quick

I was busy watching the Presidential elections when something came across my Facebook feed that had NOTHING to do with politics and EVERYTHING to do with AWESOMENESS.

KingsMcFarlaneFigureOver at Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn.com, they have announced L.A. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick will be immortalized as a toy. Considering it doesn’t do much but sit there, I guess you could call it an inaction figure. But it does comes with a Stanley Cup, which is nice.

I have the other three McFarlane L.A. Kings figures, Luc Robitaille, Marcel Dionne and The Wayner. (I didn’t bother getting Jeremy Roenick, for obvious reasons) I had hoped that we’d see another figure before now. But the last King to come out was Dionne back in 2006. I had all but given up hope.

It seemed the only way a King would get the call would be to win one of the big individual trophies, like the Art Ross or the Vezina. Seeing Quick romp through the playoffs on the way to not only hoisting Lord Stanley’s chalice, but also the Conn Smythe trophy brought the hope that MacFarlane couldn’t possibly ignore that performance. Well, they didn’t, and they produced a fantastic sculpt that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

This also breaks a very important tie: both the Kings and the Ducks had four representatives in the toy aisle. Anaheim has had Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, J.S. Giguere and Sergei Federov (I forgot about him.) Jonathan Quick’s Casteline doppleganger tips the scales in favor of Los Angeles.

Here’s the catch, the figure is only going to be available online at Spawn.com. I imagine you’ll also be able to get it on eBay. But Quick will not be gracing the pegs at your local Toys R’ Us. Also, the figure will debut in December.

But hey, who cares! I just added yet another trinket to collect dust on my shelf.

Luc Robitaille is returning to the ice!!! (Sort of)

Phineas and Ferb and Luc Robitaile

I have two kids. two kids who watch a lot of TV. Well, I watch a lot of TV, and sometimes I let them in the room.

Who am I kidding? These kids rule my 54-inch Vizio. I have been subjected to a lot of crappy kid’s television. Excuse me, educational children’s television.

But since I like cartoons like the next person, there are some shows I don’t mind. Disney’s Phineas and Ferb is one of those I really don’t mind. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Phineas and Ferb are extremely crafty brothers who spend each episode figuring out what they want to do that day, then doing it.

They have a pet platypus named Perry, who leads a secret identity, he’s also Agent P for the esponage organization called The O.W.C.A. (or the “Organization Without a Cool Acronym.”) His arch enemy is named  Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, with whom the platypus  spends the better part of his day fighting.

The show also boats an impressive amount of guest stars: Michael J. Fox, Tina Fey, Kevin Smith, Malcolm McDowell and Tim Curry just to name a few.

Well, the show is about to premiere it’s fourth season on Dec. 7, and the show will be adding a Hall of Famer to its list of notable voices: the Kings vice president of business operations.

On the show, Luc will provide support to the two brothers, who decide to make ice hockey more extreme. No word if Luc will share screen time with Agent P. Be sure to set your DVR for Friday’s season 4 premiere on Disney XD. After all, there’s gonna be plenty of room on your machine since there’s NO FREAKING HOCKEY!!!

First Kings Stanley Cup baby reported!

Nicholas DeLuccio holds proof of what the Stanley Cup can bring!

The Kings finally raising Lord Stanley’s chalice has brought a deafening roar across Hockeywood. The first NHL championship in L.A.’s 45 year history has brought yells of joy, hollers of excitement and screams of ecstacy. For at least one couple, it also brings the crying of new life.

I came across this picture of my friend and fellow Kings fan Nicholas Thursday night with the caption “Oops I think I made a booboo….. ;)” Turns out, the Kings winning the Cup may have been the best thing that has happened to Nick (other than meeting and marrying his lovely wife Rachelle.)

“I just held up my hands in the air and cried,” Nick said when I asked how he responded when the Kings beat the Devils in Game 6. “If you can make that sounds manly, please do.”

Hey Nick, we all cried. Own it, brother.

Like many fans, Nick watched the deciding game on TV, although, he was a lot farther than most. Try over 1,100 miles away from his current home in Everett, Washington. Nick and his beloved moved away from Southern California in 2010 and has had to watch the team from afar ever since.

“I usually watch games online or listen to them streaming from the radio,” he said. “I plug my laptop into my TV when I stream the online games.”

During Game 6, Nick was wearing his personalized Kings jersey, which was a wedding gift from Rachelle. She was sitting next to him that glorious day.

“When the game started she could barely watch,” he explained. “Then they got the three goals on the extended power play and she was excited. She stood up and gave me a hug.”

The rest of the game, Nicholas and Rachelle were making dinner and “bouncing around,” smiling at one another.

“We didn’t want to jinx it, so we never said ‘Holy crap, they are gonna win it!'” he continued.  “We just kept smiling at each other.”

And when the Kings won? Well, a gentleman never speaks of such matters.

“Oh, there was much ‘celebrating,’ my friend,” he assured me.

I asked if they were kicking around baby names, and he said a few. I suggested “Stanley” or “Anze” or “Luc,” as he’s a big fan of Lucky. But he sidestepped it (although he didn’t say no).

“We are kicking the tires on some names but they are surprises for family members so far,” he said.

Fair enough.

I did ask about what his thoughts about the lockout, and he’s understandably frustrated.

“I’m bummed,” he admitted. “I want to see that banner up in Staples so badly just like every Kings fan. We already lost a full season not long ago, and for this to be happening again, it really irks me.”

“I want to hate the NHL so bad for doing this again, and right now I do. How dare they take this beautiful sport away from us again. But at the end of the day, I love hockey and I love my Kings so I’ll be back.”

Not that he’ll have much free time soon with Baby Stanley coming.

“Every once is a while, I’ll will think about the fact that the Kings won the Cup and I’ll start laughing,” Nicholas added. “Chelle looks at me and asks ‘What’s up?’ THE KINGS WON THE STANLEY CUP!  Matt, can you believe it? THE KINGS WON IT!”

It is unbelievable, Nicholas. Congrats to you and Rachelle on your latest draft pick. I have a feeling the only banner you’ll be hoisting anytime soon will be a cloth diaper.

Oh and by the way, despite the above picture, Nicholas and his lovely wife are ecstatic.

The Faces of L.A. Kings Fans wants you

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This Sunday, something remarkable and unique is happening. A project is forming and it needs your help.

As the Kings have been making this remarkable push to Lord Stanley’s Cup, the desire to document those fans who have been there all along arose. And an idea formed: let’s make a video showing the world just how passionate they are.

The project is the brainchild of Chaz Curry, a Long Beach-based photographer who wants Kings fans to come on down to the Smash Photo Studio, 2176 Pacific Avenue in Long Beach between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. He hopes he’ll attract fans of all types, especially those who have glorious playoff beards.

The catch? There is none. Come on down and Chaz will take your professional portrait in all your Kings glory. Wear your Kings jersey, lucky Kings hat, Kings earrings, show off your Kings tats, spiked hair… whatever!

The fan base of the Kings is wide reaching, from successful studio execs to struggling rock stars, button-up professionals to tie-dyed surfers, pin-up models to button-down moms. Chaz hopes to document them all.

“I really think this would be amazing because most fanbases assume the Kings don’t even have fans out here in L.A,” Curry said. “I think it’s a statement to hockey, the L.A. fan base, and the love that we have with our team.”

So come on down to Long Beach this Sunday and bring your game faces. Hell, I might even break out the face paint.

The Winter Classic IS coming to L.A.!

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AEG released a new video touting their vision of Farmer’s Field on Tuesday. The L.A. Times does a pretty good job reporting how the stadium looks.

The rendering shows an open-roofed venue that almost looks as if it’s wearing transparent shoulder pads, with outdoor concourses. The idea calls for a light, accordion-style roof that is somewhat translucent, as well as lighter and less expensive than a typical retractable covering.

It’s also got some pretty cool computer animation of everything inside and out of the new sports and entertainment complex. But the thing that caught my attention was what I had pointed out last February: AEG is making a play for the Winter Classic.
 
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A map shows where everything is supposed to fit, complete with on-site parking. That stadium looks awfully cramped nestled right next to the 110 Freeway. And call me kooky, but that parking is really lacking for 15,000 more fans.

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One interesting note: the extremely popular Holiday Ice event will be heading to the new Gilbert Lindsey Plaza on the southwest side of Staples Center. Notice anything odd? Hey, that ice rink is practically the same size as a regulation NHL rink! (No, I’m not saying they are going to hold the Winter Classic off Figueroa.) But that rink is pretty huge compared to the tiny one they shoehorned in at L.A. Live.

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The video proclaims a “family-friendly tailgate for 15,000 fans.” One of the images is a little disturbing: Chick Hearn Court disappears! In it’s place is a small football field? I’ve walked across Chick Hearn Court many times. There is NO way there’s that much space to put in the street. (Yes, I know it’s just a mock-up. I’m just saying…) By the way, where’s the Magic Johnson statue?

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Then they show a fly-thru of the new stadium, featuring some video of the NFL, featuring the Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars (my bet for the next NFL team in L.A.), Patriots, 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, Cardinals, Cowboys, Dolphins and Saints (with a flying Reggie Bush). Note no Raiders, Rams or Chargers. Hmmm.

Then they show images for the Final Four and the World Cup (with a diving Landon Donovan.)

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Then around the 3:08 mark, the video shows the image of the flag above, then shows footage from the 2010 Winter Classic between the Flyers and the Bruins.

Finally, I feel vindicated! I’ve been telling everyone that if Farmer’s Field is built, AEG was going to make a play for the Winter Classic. This confirms my suspicion that we’ll be seeing the Kings playing in the NHL’s first outdoor game in Southern California!

Keep in mind, this video is just a promotional campaign to try and garner excitement for the new football stadium that they are going to build right behind Staples. This has no bearing on any real negotiations between AEG and the NHL. But you better believe if AEG is including it in their presentation, you best believe they’ll make a pitch.

Check out the video for youself!

Drew Doughty gets his own internet meme

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Money bagsIt’s amazing what happens on the Internet when you aren’t paying attention.

Saturday, I decided to unplug and take a monster bike ride. Fresh off a Kings victory in Game 2, my ass was flat, thanks to three days of blogging on my couch (plus three glorious hours at The Lazy Dog Cafe.)

So, I slapped on my headset and jammed off toward the beach. When I got back home 3 hours later, an internet meme was born.

Over on the HockeysFuture board, someone had posted this Getty Images picture of Drew Doughty after a scuffle late in the game. I used a different version of it from Rueters for my Game Two Across The Aisle feature. Rinkrat over at LetsGoKings picked up on it and started a similar thread.

That’s when hell broke loose.

The artist madmen on LGK started cranking out Doughty images, leaving many with sore sides and sprayed Dr. Pepper on their monitors. It’s amazing what a little Photoshop knowledge and some spare time can yield. Here’s a sample of my favorites.

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Full Disclosure: I love jumping on Kings-based memes like this. I helped usher in an Abe Vigoda meme in the Mid-Aughts. So, I quickly set to work and created two (so far). It’s refreshing to see fellow hockey geeks can bring the funny on an off-day.

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Quick for the Vezina? Unquestionably!

Los Angeles Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick looks at his stick during the national anthems before NHL hockey action in Vancouver, British Columbia on Monday March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Quick for the VezinaNow that Jonathan Quick has registered his league-leading 10th shutout on the season, it’s time to crank up the machine to tout the virtues of L.A.’s most valuable player.

The past two seasons, I’ve been able to write about two players on the Kings’ roster that were deserving of postseason trophies. In 2010, Drew Doughty was a finalist for the Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman). Last season, I made a case for Anze Kopitar to at least get mentioned for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (showing high levels of sportsmanship and playing ability).

This year, I actually get to write about the Kings’ All-Star netminder, Jonathan Quick, making a case for one of the most storied trophies in the history of the NHL, the Vezina. And no offense to Drew or Anze, but this argument easier to make.

Game in and game out this season, Quick has been The Man. Heck, he’s been the man since he rose from the depths of the 2006-08 Kings’ goaltending carousel. He’s been very impressive, setting Kings records for wins on a season (39 wins) during his breakout season of 2009-10. That was the season he played in 72 games (another record). During that season, he became the quickest (pun slightly intended) King goalie to reach 20 and 30 wins, as well as set a Kings record for his nine-game win streak.

Last season, Quick was money in the shootout: 10-0 when the Kings went to the extra frame, tying the NHL record. He also improved his save percentage and was really the only reason why the Kings were in the playoffs.

When I tried to explain why I was pumped after a Quick shootout win to a friend who is non-hockey fan (I have a few of those), I explained it was akin to the streak closer Eric Gagne had with the Dodgers when he had 84 consecutive saves over two seasons. (Sort of). I explained Quick is the Kings’ closer, was was easier to explain than why regular season games are decided with a skills competition rather than play out to a final score.

This season, Quick was named to his first All-Star game, and was teammates with the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (More on him later). He set a franchise record with a shutout streak of 202:11 in October. That’s 92 saves, people.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers and Team Alfredsson poses with goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings and Team Alfredsson during the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft at Le Theatre du Casino Lac Leamy at Hilton Lac Leamy on January 26, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) He has become the first Kings goaltender to register at least 30 wins in three seasons. And his goals against average is sick; barring a huge breakdown, he’ll set a franchise record this season (which he set last season with 2.24).

Obviously, Quick is making a case for becoming the best goaltender in Kings history. But like so many have pointed out, the Vezina is not a career accomplishment award. It’s the award for the best goaltender in the league in a particular season.

In my opinion, no other goaltender means as much to his team than Jonathan Quick does.

The only goaltender who stands in the way is the Rangers’ Lundqvist, a player who can only be referred to as a “media darling.” As early as January, some of the media had all but etched Lundqvist’s name on the trophy. I guess the same guy who named him King also decided LeBron James was royalty. I just don’t see it.

And I’m sorry St. Louis, but having tandem goaltenders skews the stats. I
don’t recognize any goaltender with less than 50 games under their belt.

Basically, the argument is going to come down to East Coast vs. West Coast. And that’s pretty funny, considering Quick is from New York. I doubt he would have ever thought, growing up, he’d be going up against a netminder who plays for the same team as Quick’s idol, Mike Richter.

The fact that it’s East vs. West doesn’t bode well for Quick. Lundqvist plays on the best team in the East. His numbers are
admittedly impressive. And this has been a down year for the other big two East Coast netminders, Tim Thomas and Martin Brodeur. All those writers have been
DYING to crown their King Henrik, and this may will be the season.

Since the Rangers is in a time zone where most general managers pay attention, I’m sure their blind allegiance to an east Coast netminder will finally allow them to award the Vezina to Lundqvist. And that is wrong.

Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings warms up prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center on November 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)That is what you call playing the East Coast Bias card.

How do I know there’s an East Coast bias? Think all the way back to Game 1. The Kings beat the Rangers, 3-2, in Stockholm, Sweden. Quick out-duels Lundqvist in net in “The King’s” own home country, but it’s Henrik who gets named the second star of the game. Huh? Lundqvist got beaten badly by Johnson, yet he rates better than Quick? A little hometown cooking?

How do I know there’s an East Coast bias? Just two weeks ago, Lundqvist was interviewed by Bryant Gumbel for HBO Sports, where the motto is “There’s Nothing Out Of Bounds.” The only thing out of bounds was Gumbel’s bromance for Lundqvist, where he did his best to make him look like Bradley Cooper.

How do I know there’s an East Coast bias? This is the most damning evidence I could come up with: Since 1988, only three players outside the Eastern Time Zone have won the Vezina (Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff in ’06, Chicago’s Ed Belfour in ’91 & ’93 and Edmonton’s Grant Fuhr in ’88).

Compared to “King Henrik,” Quick has a better goals-against average, shutouts and games played this season. And he’s done all this while not getting any scoring support from the under-achieving offense of the Kings. Lundqvist has been able to post more wins, thanks to the Rangers’ 11th ranked offense. L.A.’s offense is an embarrassing 29th.

Has there ever been a goaltender who has had the same amount of shutouts as being shut out? Only two other players had registered 10 shutouts in a season since 1997. Lundqvist did it last season and Brodeur did it four times. That’s pretty heady company.

Quick is better than Lundqvist this season because he’s HAD to be. Any miscalculation by Quick any given night could result in an unsurmountable goal. All the while, he continually dons the pads and hits the crease. He credits his defense when he wins, and takes the blame for himself when he loses.

So really, there’s little to discuss. While both players are deserving of the prize, Quick edges Lundqvist in the categories that matter the most, including balls.

How great would it be if these two teams happened to play one another for the Stanley Cup? Never mind the two largest markets in the final dance. It would be Quick vs. Lundqvist in a goaltending smackdown rarely seen in the Finals.

What they are saying

• LAKings.com: Jonathan Quick deserves Vezina Trophy consideration

• NHL.com: Vezina: Quick gets our nod in a photo finish

• NHL.com: Quick deserves Vezina Trophy consideration

• ESPN.com: Debate: On Stamkos heroics, playoff wobbles

• Yahoo.com: Why Quick should overthrow Lundqvist from the Vezina Trophy throne

• The Hockey News: Jonathan Quick for the Vezina Trophy

• The Throne Room: Vezina or Bust for Quick

• ProHockeyTalk: Doughty says Quick would win Vezina if he played in a different market

• CBS Sports: Quick overtakes Lundqvist for Vezina

• The Hockey Writers: Kings’ Quick for Vezina…and Hart?

• Rant Sports: Is Jonathan Quick The Favorite For The Vezina Trophy?

• NationalPost.com: Quick, who is the league’s best goaltender?

Supporting videos

The Anz says “Sit on it!”

The Anz

Ever since I saw this picture last night, I’ve been saying the same thing: Ayyyyyyyyyyyy.

Never mind that people outside of Los Angeles have no clue how to pronounce the Slovenian’s first name: (Ahn-jay). It’s just become Kings fans’ cross to bear, politely correcting anyone who calls him “Ann-zee.”

With two goals and four assists in four games this season, Kopitar definitely has shown that, like The Fonz, The “Anz” not afraid to jump the Shark. In his career,  Kopitar has 12 goals and 19 assists against San Jose since his rookie campaign. He probably would’ve had more had he not gotten injured down the stretch last season and missed the playoff matchup.

So his on-ice contributions definitely bodes well for Los Angeles, considering the Kings play the Sharks twice more this season. But the good news doesn’t stop there.

The Kings also play the Oilers twice more this season and Anze has enjoyed success against them as well, scoring 6 goals and 12 assists since 2008. Not eye-popping numbers but certainly something to note.

The Canucks have been a thorn in the Kings’ side for a long time, but Kopitar has found he thrives when he plays Vancouver as well, tallying seven goals and 16 assists, which includes two goals and three assists during their playoff series in 2009.

The Blues may have the best record in the NHL, but that hasn’t fazed the Slovenian Stunner, registering nine goals and 19 assists against St. Louis. Kopitar also runs wild when he skates against the Wild, scoring seven times while assisting 11 other players for goals. He also stampedes against Calgary, lighting the lamp 9 times and collecting seven assists.

Finally, the Kings and the defending Stanley Cup champs Bruins may only cross paths sporadically, but Anze has four goals and two assists when he ships off to Boston.

Crunch the numbers and you’ll find that 33 percent of Kopitar’s goals AND assists in his career have come against these seven teams. Talk about cool.

So with nine games left, look for the Kings’ alternate captain to lead the way. After all, he seems to be playing with a little more Swagger. He told Dan Arritt of ESPNLA:

“It’s fair to say the scoring has come around and even the playmaking ability is there. I’m a lot more relaxed than I was before and that certainly helps.”

And as we’ve seen in the last four games, a relaxed Kopitar is a deadly Kopitar.