Tag Archives: Stanley Cup Champs

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


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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!

Pomp and Circumstance

7 Oct

This whole grad school business is going to seriously cut into my hockey watching time.

Class this semester is on Thursdays, which means that I’m going to have to tape alot of games this year, only to watch them when I get home at 9:30pm.

Chuck no likey.

Yesterday, I taped the Bruins game (natch) and couldn’t race home fast enough to watch my beloved Killer Bs raise their championship banner.

Two words.  Goose. Bumps.

I’m not an overly sentimental person (except at Pants’ wedding when she danced with her dad.  Me = hot mess), but last night, I was all dewy-eyed and loved up over the Bruins’ banner ceremony.

The old generation (1972 Bruins)  passing the proverbial torch to the new generation (2011 Bruins). 93 year old yet spritely Milt Schmidt arm-in-arm with Bobby Orr just made me all happy.

It was a well-done, exhilarating, and classy production.

Legendary.

Pants and I couldn’t have done it better ourselves.

Enough with the lovefest! Let’s play some HOCKEY!

And play we did.

Despite the loss, the fact is that there are 81 games left.  Still a lot of season left to play.

Five other facts from last night’s Bruins/Flyers match up.

1) Timmy’s smile is infectious.  Like ebola.

2) Pierre Maguire looks like a muppet.

meep meep meep

3) Brad Marchand shall now be known as Squirrel.  He’s right squirrely that one.  Quick.  Nimble.  Darting in and out of the Flyers’ defense.  Collecting hockey pucks like acorns.

SQUIRREL!

4) Jaromir Jagr has been in the NHL since he was a fetus (okay, since he was 18), but dude can still play.  Jagr + Giroux + van Reemsdyk could be a nasty combination this season.  Flyers coach said that Jagr will come back to the rink AFTER having already practiced that day to work out again.  Really?  Way to make everyone else in the hockey world look straight up lazy.

Toews, Letang, Nash ain't got nothing on my workout videos.

5) Our boy Tyler Seguin looked very mature on the ice.  Making breaks, smart plays, crisp passes to his BFF Marchand.  But he’s only 20.  Still plenty more of this yet to come.

 

 

Roll out the Black and Gold Carpet!

19 Jul

Last night, the Bruins premiered their DVD at the cinema in downtown Boston.

I, sadly, was not there.  My invite must have gotten lost in the mail.

But Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, and Brad Marchand were there.

And they brought the Cup along for all to see.

Hot, Hotter, and Motoscooter. AF and ST looking delish...but not so sure about BM's shirt/chain combo though...

BROMANCE ALERT!

Yes, that really did happen.

16 Jun

“The Bruins have won the Stanley Cup!”

We are the Champions!

Those words will live with me for the rest of my life.

For the first time since 1972, the Black and Gold have won the most beauteous and shiniest of all trophies in professional sports.  The Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks, a team which lead the regular season in points, were a #1 seed and stacked with undoubtedly offensive talent like the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler.

But when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup, stuff like that don’t matter.

What matters is Heart.  Soul.  Grit.  Grime.  Desire.

A desire that is a slowly burning fire in the hearts of each and every one of these players since they were old enough to skate.

For the Boston Bruins, that fire started in Prague at the beginning of the season.

It smoldered throughout the months, through each long road trip, overtime win,  and shoot out loss.

The sparks started to pop and crackle during the first round of the playoffs versus the Canadians.

The fire began to grow with the sweep of the Flyers  and the emotional victory over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.

When the Stanley Cup Finals began, that fire was burning bright and hot, but it IGNITED because of one hit.

Aaron Rome’s crushing hit on Nathan Horton in Game 3 was akin to pouring a can of lighter fluid on a campfire.

Once minute you’re slowing roasting marshmallows and the next, you are plucking blackened, charred, nobs of sugary goo off your sharpened branch.

That hit changed something in the Bruins.  It made them angry.  Vancouver’s post game jawing and comments to the press only fueled the fire more.

All season, the Bs played better when they were down, when people counted them out.  They crushed the Canucks in games 3, 4, and 6, and games 1, 2, and 5 were only one goal losses.

The Finals gave the decided advantage to the home team, but the Bruins were a team that would not be denied.

With the exception of a couple of minor penalties and sloppy turnovers, the Bruins played a perfect Game 7.  It was controlled yet intense.  All four of the Bruins lines were churning and working hard to shut down the Canucks, as they’d done the whole series.

Tim Thomas cemented his legacy in the pantheon of Boston sports and became the oldest player ever to win the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP.

The Bruins defense, led by Zdeno Chara and the exceedingly underrated Dennis Seidenberg, created ghosts of the Sedins and the rest of the Canucks forwards.

Mark Recchi, at 43 years young, won his 3rd Stanley Cup, and promptly retired.  The guy is class all the way and because of him, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin will be the future of the Boston Bruins.

What happened last night will be etched into the memories of every Bruins fan everywhere and with this victory, my beloved city truly stakes its claim as the “City of Champions”.  7 titles in 11 years.

7/11.

A slurpee sounds pretty good right about now.

But only if I get to drink it from the Cup.