October 27, 2006, six years ago this month. The LA Daily News unveils its blog devoted to the Los Angeles Kings, to be written by reporter Rich Hammond. Dean Lombardi had been GM for all of five months. Jonathan Bernier and Trevor Lewis had been selected in the first round of June’s draft. Pavol Demitra had been sent to Minnesota in a draft day trade that brought the Kings the Lewis pick and Patrick O’Sullivan. Jonathan Quick is still in college. Drew Doughty, still two years from draft age, has just started his second season in juniors in Guelph. Kyle Clifford is fifteen years old, playing bantams somewhere. Justin Williams, playing in Carolina, just got his name engraved on the cup the month before. Lombardi’s most recent move (two weeks before) was to send Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger to Carolina for the rights to Jack Johnson.
Thanks to our online guru, Josh Kleinbaum, putting this together, we now have a forum to discuss the Kings. So let’s dive into tonight’s game against Columbus…
Here’s the lineup tonight for the Kings:
Forwards: Armstrong, Kopitar, O’Sullivan, Cammalleri, Cowan, Avery, Willsie, Conroy, Brown, Frolov, Thornton
Defensemen: Miller, Blake, Weaver, Norstrom, Visnovsky, Tverdovsky, Dallman
Starters: Avery, Conroy, Cowan, Miller, Norstrom
A couple interesting things of note immediately: Sopel is out with an ankle injury, the Kings stay with seven defensemen — with Dallman serving as a forward and Weaver in the lineup for the second time this season — and Cloutier remains in goal. Crawford is probably looking for a confidence builder for his goalie against the (so far) dreadful Blue Jackets.
There wouldn’t be any comments on any of the first seven posts. On the 8th post, the first ItK comment came from someone named “Patrick.” The second ever comment, on November 1, 2006, came from a familiar source:
Gann Matsuda said: Rich…just discovered your Kings’ blog. Congrats! We can use all the Kings-related resources for news and info that we can get these days! I’ll be sure to let folks on kingshockey.com know about your blog.
The post was on a trade rumor Rich was reporting, speculating that Craig Conroy might be moved at some point in the near future. He was. For Jamie Lundmark and a pick that turned into a guy named Dwight King.
Skimming over the posts from that first season, the first thing that leaps out at me is that about half of the comments for the first several months are from Gann Matsuda. The first of the regular commenters who shows up, I believe, is Marc Nathan, in March (praying we never see Fukufuji in the NHL ever again). I don’t think I show up until August or September. I’m still digging.