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What It Feels Like for A Kings Fan

13 Jun

Today, WUYS has a very special guest post from my friend and über Kings fan extraordinaire, Aaron Vaccaro.  As you may remember, I wrote a dedication post to Aaron and my cousin Tom right before the Kings started the Stanley Cup Finals.  Now that they’ve actually won it, we wanted to bring Aaron into the WUYS fold to share what it feels like to be a Kings fan right at this very moment.


Let me start off by saying it’s a good thing this isn’t a vlog otherwise you’d be watching me fill my playoff beard with tears of joy.

Here’s what you need to know about me…

My name is Aaron Vaccaro.  I am a Los Angeles Kings fan. I’ve been a Los Angeles Kings fan for twenty-five of my twenty-nine years on this Earth.

Baby Aaron. Just as cute as Baby Toews.

Being a Kings fan has been a rough road. very rough road. The kind of road you only expect to encounter in a third world country.

But none of that matters anymore. Because as I write this, the Kings have been Stanley Cup champions for just over twenty-four hours and I’ve had a case of goose bumps for just as long.

For those who have been living under a rock for the last two months, you unfortunately missed one of the most historical runs by any NHL team ever.

I could give you all of the record-setting facts and figures, but Chuck and Pants didn’t ask me to do a guest post to bore you with that kind of stuff. They instead asked me to try to convey what it feels like to be a Kings fan right now… Well, I’ll tell you… it’s amazing.

Aaron is all his hockey glory.

This has been a rollercoaster of a year for us fans as much as it was for the team itself. We came into the season with high expectations only to have them all but dashed by December, which unfortunately was not unfamiliar territory for Kings fans.

We all started to drink a lot heavier, thinking it was another season where we’d be on the outside looking in as some other team would taste the glory that we’d never gotten to taste.

But then the tide started to turn after a coaching change was made, a trade deadline acquisition brought Jeff Carter to the team, and everything started to click. The Kings managed to squeak into the playoffs and the “Team of Destiny” train left the station bound for eternal glory.

Was I at the game? No. Mainly because I’m not a celebrity, agent, doctor, lawyer, or fan willing to sell off the rights to their first born.

Okay, to be honest, I would’ve sold off the rights to my first-born if that was acceptable tender.

Do I wish I could’ve been at the game? Of course. That’s a dumb question, and I’m mad I even asked myself that.

But alas, I was instead relegated to watching the game at our local dive bar. But this wasn’t just any dive. Sure, they have PBR on tap, and a mean plate of onion rings, but they were also filled with wall-to-wall Kings fans making it the best dive bar in Los Angeles as far as I was concerned.

We were surrounded by other fellow fans that had spent years bleeding black, silver, white, purple, gold (okay, so we’ve had a lot of different jersey colors…)

There was lots of drinking, cheering, high-fiving, and bearded men hugging complete strangers, most of which were also bearded men.  It was a truly beautiful site.

Aaron and his friend…who looks suspiciously a little like Mike Richards.

Up until two months ago, I was used to getting this question: “You’re a Kings fan? Why?”

My answer – “We don’t choose the teams we want to be fans of.  They choose us.

They captivate us, enthrall us, and make us realize we’ll do whatever it takes (including murdering a hobo) if that means we would get the chance to see that team win a championship. And believe me, I was close to committing homicide.

People don’t realize what it was like for us to watch the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup back in 2007.

I’ll tell you what it was like…utterly humiliating.

Not only did we have to watch a team based on Emilio Estevez movie win our trophy, but we also had to watch them do it in only fourteen seasons of existence. For those of you counting at home, it took the Kings thirty one years longer. Compound onto that every Ducks fan reminding us of this fact for the past five years and you could probably taste our pain and sorrow.

But that all ended last night. We will know longer be ridiculed. We’re once again the only team that matters in Southern California.

Disco Inferno.

Los Angeles is a town that isn’t considered to have much of an identity. Geographically spread out, it’s easy to think there is no unity in this city. Hell, I even questioned it for a period of time. But these last few weeks, I’ve never felt closer to my fellow Angelenos. Sure, you can scoff and say, “Well, those are just bandwagoners. They’re not real fans.” You’re right. They probably are just bandwagoners. But who cares?! It’s people paying attention to hockey in a town where all the AM sports talk radio is completely dominated by Lakers, Clippers, and Dodgers. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon for all of you. People accuse Los Angeles of simply just “loving a winner.” Hell yeah we do. Every town loves a winner. Tell me a town that hates to see their teams win and I promise to streak naked through Downtown L.A. in nothing but my Stanley Cup champion hat.

Dan Patrick is boss, ya’ll.

2012 will go down as easily one of the greatest, if not the greatest years of my life. Not only did I get to witness the Kings hoist that beautiful piece of metal, but I’m also getting married to the love of my life in three weeks. It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

Ooh! Unless I can convince Dustin Brown to spend his day with the Cup at our wedding. Anybody got his number?

Hey Dustin, call me. Maybe.

I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a Kings fan for these past twenty-five years and have no doubt I will be one till my dying breath. Because that’s what it means to love a team this much. Now, go enjoy yourselves, Kings. You deserve it. We did it, boys…

Go Kings Go!

Check out Aaron on the twitter at @badmovienitecom or on his website www.badmovienite.com


Los Angeles Kings – Stanley Cup Champs

12 Jun

Remember yesterday when I said that the Kings needed to play like a hockey Borg to win the Stanley Cup

Well, folks.  They did just that.

New Jersey Devils resistance was utterly futile.

Shiny.

Last night, the Kings went into full-on beast mode and beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to clinch the first Stanley Cup in the franchise’s 45 year history.

This team, and their entire playoff run was epic – one of firsts, impressive records, and feats of altheticism and skill that make us super jealous.

The Kings barely made the playoffs and are the first ever eight-seed to win the Cup.  They did so with an impressive 16-4 record and a unimaginable 10-1 road record.

They rolled over the #1, #2, and #3 seeds in the Western Conference in dominating fashion and matched the second-fastest run to a Stanley Cup Championship in modern NHL history.

It was no surprise that Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.  Pretty sure his goals-against-average was like -4 and he had a save percentage of eleventy billion.  (It was actually 1.41 GAA and .946 save percentage – both NHL records)

Quick also became the 3rd American-born player to win the Conn Smythe.  Fellow goalie Tim Thomas won last year (like we could forget) and waaaay back in 1994 (when Quick was 8 years old), Brian Leetch from the NY Rangers won it.

Another little tidbit of trivia info – Leetch and Quick both went to school at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut and played in Hockey East (Leetch at Boston College, Quick at UMass Amherst).  Oh and Thomas went to University of Vermont – also a Hockey East school.  HOCKEY EAST REPRESENT!

Daddy, you won! Can I have some M&Ms?

The game itself had a intensity befitting a potential Stanley Cup cliniching game and there can be no doubt that its defining moment came in the first period when the Devils’ Steve Bernier boarded Rob Scuderi.

Scuderi was left bloodied and bruised.

Bernier felt shame and was ejected, resulting in a five-minute power play for the Kings.

During that five minutes, the captain Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, and Trevor Lewis each scored goals.  The Kings never looked back.

Brown also added two assists and became just the 2nd American-born captain to raise the Cup.  He managed to accomplish that which the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, could not do in his eight year tenure with the Kings.

Anze Kopitar has poised himself on the edge of NHL super stardom.  He tied for the playoff lead in points (20) and goals (8), and finished a ridiculous +16.  Not only is he the first Slovenian to play in the NHL, but now he’ll be the first ever to have his name engraved on the Cup.

He also is the first ever to wear this in a post-game interview.

All hail King Kopitar!

This team was chockful of talent and size and skill and they peaked at the most perfect time.  Their regular season was inconsistent at best as they struggled to score goals, but something special happened after Darryl Sutter took over the team midseason.

So special in fact, that it earned them the most coveted and respected trophy in all of sports.

We are very much looking forward to the Kings’ summer with the Cup and all the photos, tweets, and stories that will undoubtedly follow.

We want to see Dustin Penner eat some pancakes out of the Cup.

We want to Carter and Richards take the Cup on a sunset stroll on the beach.

But most of all, we want to see the players, and their family, friends, and fans, savor every moment of this incredible accomplishment.

CONGRATS to the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion, Los Angeles Kings!

One Win Away…

11 Jun

So Game 5 didn’t exactly turn out as we hoped, but tonight, the Kings have the chance to close out the series (again) and win their first ever Stanley Cup.

While we don’t like the Devils, we have to give them props for not laying down in front of the purple and black freight train and for pushing the series to a Game 6.

Last week, the Devils were down 3-0 in the series, teetering percariously on the edge, Jonathan Quick poised to send them tumbling into the abyss of the SCF sweep.

No goal for you.

But leave it to Marty Brodeur, the 4o year old future Hall of Fame netminder, to bring the Devils back and for the players like Parise, Salvador, and he of the creeper ‘stach, Henrique, to step up big time.

Have the Devils totally messed with the Kings’ hockey chi?  Will they come from 3-0 down to win their 4th Stanley Cup?

Mike Richards and his heterosexual life partner, Jeff Carter are determined to not make that happen.

Their epic bromance will conquer all.

Most epic of bromances.

If there ever was a time that these two needed to step up, it is tonight.

Time to silence all those hater and critics and to show the Flyers fans what they could have had.

I have confidence in the Kings.  They just need to play the way that they’ve been playing the entire playoffs.  With physicality, skill, strength. But most importantly, to play like one being,  a hockey borg, if you will.

Take a deep breath, boys.  Keep calm and carry on.

Exhale.

Stanley Cup Finals Beard Appreciation Post

30 May

At 8pm EST tonight, the puck will drop on THE greatest sports champion series in the world.

Obviously, we’re slightly biased because we pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe hockey since we’ve started this blog.  I mean, not like we didn’t follow hockey closely before WUYS but we’ve progressed to a Beautiful-Mind-writing-on-the-window level of crazy.  But I honestly believe that there is no greater trophy in the history of sport.

Yesterday was the Stanley Cup Finals Media Day, when all the players don their Tuesday best (hooded sweatshirts), trims up their playoff beards (except Dustin Penner), and face the press gauntlet.

Not only does the day allow writers to ask important (and totally ridiculous) questions of the players but it provides us with amazing photos of playoff beards.

Here are some highlights from yesterday’s Media Day at Prudential Center.

Got a craving for some Penncakes.

  • Just when you thought Mike Richards couldn’t get any dreamier, he goes and does this.

Dustin Brown. Fully committed to this Amish look.

*harumph* *crosses arms*

A beard like a beautiful sunset

Faustian.

Richards and I ’bout to tear this mutha up!

 

You’re welcome.  🙂

Our Post on Puck Daddy – SCF Preview: Best Beards

30 May

If you go seven months without seeing an acquaintance, you might greet them with, “Wow, you look so….” The word the Devils and Kings need here is hairy. These teams last met in October and it’s a wonder if they’d recognize each other now without the numbers on their backs.

Each team has been presented with one trophy this year. Both captains opted not to touch their Conference chalices, but only one will lift the Cup in 2012.

Will a playoff beard be the first to kiss Lord Stanley’s prize, or find itself waiting to see whom the captain hands the Cup to next?

Click [HERE] to read more…

Captain Brown vs. Captain Parise.

Foxy Friday: Dustin Penner

25 May

Foxiness can come in many ways, shapes, and forms.

Sometimes it can come in the way of physical beauty.  Other times from athletic prowess.  Still other times from humanistic endeavors like building houses for the poor.

In the case of Dustin Penner, it comes in two ways.

The Facial Hair and The Funny.

Dustin Penner is…subdued.
[click pic to watch the video]

When combined, this two forces have amazing foxy force, thus this week’s honor for the hero of Game 5.

There are few who can doubt that Penner’s “Man of the Mountain” facial hair is a thing of wonder.  Clearly it is one of the best things about the Kings’ unexpected journey from #8 seed to the Stanley Cup Finals.  (Besides the stellar goaltending of Jonathan Quick)

I’m legit obsessed with it.  Its fullness and ebony hue are exquisite.  It just looks SO RIGHT AND PERFECT.

If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
[click pic for video]

Then add to that his dry and witty sense of humor, and well, I’m in love.

Other reasons why I’ve seen fit to bestow this great honor –

  • He shares a birthday with my mom.  Momma Chuck would approve.
  • He’s 6’4″, 245 lbs – a whole lotta lumberjack for us to love.
  • He LOVES the LA Kings twitter.  So do we, Dustin.
  • He’s funny, just like his mom and grandpa.  Now this is a family BBQ what we’d love to go to. DP and I would crush the competition in the three-legged race
  • He injures himself eating a stack of delicious pancakes…then buts that self-deprecating humor to good use by hosting a charity breakfast at a local IHOP.

Hmmmmm….pancakes

  • He leads the Kings in penalty minutes (26) and has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in 14 playoff games this season.
  • He scored the OT winner in Game 5 vs. the Coyotes to send the Kings to their 1st Stanley Cup Finals since 1993.  Like a boss.
  • He’s rocking the hillbilly smile and he don’t care who knows it.

So, come on!  Get on board this Kings bandwagon.  I even saved you a seat!
Also, THIS.

So fluffy. Want to touch.