The Return of Jungle Dave – Monarchs Mid-Season Report

Well how ‘bout that? Punxsutawny Phil didn’t see his shadow (predicting an early spring), and here I am, alive and well, bringing you the skinny on the Kings’ baby brothers, the Manchester Monarchs. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a little sad that it’s been well over a year since my last blog. I wish I had some sort of clever excuse. I really don’t. But Surly and Scribe have been gracious enough to welcome me back. I promise that this time, it’ll be with a renewed vigor! 

So it’s February, a week removed from the mid-point of the Monarchs season. The AHL just had its All-Star Classic where one of the Monarchs’ young guns, Tyler Toffoli, laced up to represent Monarchs Country down in Providence, Rhode Island. I for one tip my hat to him; mainly for making the roster, but also for braving Providence for three whole days.

Toffoli participated in two events, the Breakaway Relay and the Rapid-Fire Challenge. He lit up both the Abbotsford Heat’s Barry Brust in the former and the Charlotte Checkers’ Justin Peters in the latter at least once. Boy’s got a shot, there’s no question about that. Wings off a fly and all that jazz.

Man, I really miss Oscar Moller. He was equally as sick of a sniper.

But what about the last four months the Monarchs have been playing? They actually started off really well, recording an amazing 5-1-0 record for the month of October. They were scoring goals like it was going out of style with Jones and Manny back-stopping ‘em to victory. The team’s appearance of being nearly unbeatable on paper looked as though it was the real deal.

The rest of 2012 following an amazing start — one of the team’s best — weren’t quite the same story. Goaltending looked lethargic at times, scoring seemed like an uphill battle, and frankly, it was a frustrating time to be a fan. All of these problems added up to them winning 4 of 13 games in November, and 5 of 14 games in December.

Although last night’s 1-4 loss against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins might not bode well for the start of February, January was actually a really good month (a 7-4-0 record). Dare I call it a turnaround? I sure as hell hope so. The past four months, the Monarchs have gone all the way to the top of their division and then down to the bottom. At the current time, they’re sitting tied for third place with the Worcester Sharks.

At least they’re ahead of the St. John’s IceCaps.

As much as I would like to be able to say that the loss of the Monarchs’ resident Stanley Cup winners — Slava, Noley and Kinger — after the NHL season finally started hurt ‘em, I really can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of ‘em. They’re great players and cool guys. I just felt like they were holding back down in Manchester, never really seeming willing to finish all their checks or take that extra few strides to chase the puck. I mean I can’t say I blame them. I wouldn’t take any unnecessary risks either if I knew that my real season could start any day.

When the Kings’ season started and those guys went on up, we actually got our own little taste of Stanley Cup celebration down in Manchester. The team brass organized an “LA Kings Night” where there was a pre-game ceremony raising a banner bearing the name of all former Monarchs that won the Stanley Cup. They also tailored the pre-game video intro to be Kings-themed with footage of the Staples Center and Kings games to the tune of G&R’s “Welcome to the Jungle” (the Monarchs entrance theme). The high point of the night was the specialty jerseys the team wore; LA black with Monarchs emblems on the shoulders.

Being stranded here on the east coast, the silent auction for the jerseys was pretty much my only chance to get any sort of authentic game-worn LA jersey. Against my better judgement — finances be damned — I put my money where my mouth was and bid on one. I was happy to come away with a game-worn, signed Bodnarchuk jersey!

BodnarchukJersey

Of course as fate would have it, he got called up mere days after I got the jersey, but I’m still happy. I’ve worn it proudly in the jungle every home game since.

So what now? Well, tonight they square off against the Hershey Bears down at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. I’m really hoping that they did some soul searching last night after getting their asses handed to them by former Monarch and current Penguins goalie, Jeff Zatkoff.

Thanks for reading, and I promise to report back soon with more news and insights from the jungle. Go Monarchs and Kings!



Categories: L.A. Kings News

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. What? I heard Voynov was playing incredibly well while in Manchester. Slava is cool though.

    What about my favorite player, Deslauriers? How is he doing? Should be getting more playing time now, I think.

    • Slava played well, he just had a lot of moments where it seemed like he was a little too lax in his approach. It could just be my perception though; obviously I don’t know their system or what the coach tells them to do in certain situations.

      Regarding D-Lo, he’s been playing really well. He actually got into a fight a month or so back where he wrecked the guy on the other team and was elated — huge grin on his face — when the ref pulled him to the box. The crowd loved it! It’s good to see him really stepping up and bringing a physical presence to the game; losing Clune (to waivers) was a big hit to the Monarchs’ physical play.

      • Nice! Thanks for the info! I know our boy D-Lo has a nasty mean streak and skates really well. Seen some highlights and was really impressed. Hoping to see him soon in Black and Silver putting some hits on fools.

        Thanks again.

        • He’s feisty for sure. We love him in Manchester!

          My wife comes with me to most of the games and is always taking pictures. She got a few choice ones of D-Lo’s scuffle. I put together two that pretty much tell the story in the link below. Enjoy!

          http://lakingsnews.com/?attachment_id=15188

          • I watched his scrap against Haley. Haley is a tough guy so D-Lo didn’t fare too well but I think he can still be a good middleweight along with being a good defensman. Like to see him called up. Maybe he can provide a spark.

  2. Hey Jungle Dave, Thanks for that. I listened to the Monarchs during the lockout. Do you have TV telecasts that can be found on some bizarre link somewhere? Peace

    • No problem, I’m glad to be back!

      I’m not sure of anywhere free to watch the telecasts, but AHLLive.com allows you to pay to stream a game for something like $6.99. I’ve found that the quality is hit or miss though.

  3. Thanks for the update.

  4. I’ve always wondered why wear an autographed jersey? It doesn’t make sense to me, you can’t wash it. Why wear clothes you can’t clean?

    • hahaha. You know, that is a pretty good question… I guess it’s not really something I’ve ever given much thought to. I’ve always got a t-shirt on underneath it and I’m careful not to get food or drink on it.

      I mean when it really comes down to it, I never plan on selling any of my signed jerseys. I’m just not that kind of fan. But I am the kind who likes to show my respect for the player by proudly wearing their jersey, signed or not.

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