PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 11.8.13


In an effort to keep Los Angeles Kings fans aware of the comings and goings of the other teams in the Smythe Pacific Division… we here at The Royal Half have created the Pacific War Room… a wrap-up of the past week in the Pacific from some of the best and brightest bloggers who cover Pacific Division teams. In order of current Pacific Division standings… we present Pacific War Room for the week of November 8th, 2013.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 13-3-1, 27 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Finally!  First place!  Now you can read your Sleekly Ducks update without having to scroll past some dumb Sharks drivel about how oh we really did beat the Sabres but whoops boo hoo nobody was awake in Toronto when it happened.  Actually, that sounds pretty great – go scroll down and read that now.

The Anaheim Ducks went 3-0 this past week (including a legitimate victory over Buffalo), though the impressive win came at the end of the week against the Phoenix Coyotes, and even that was taking advantage of a ‘Yotes team that had gone to a shootout the night before (see below, I assume).  But the Ducks don’t take pity on other teams’ schedule problems, not while their own 8-game east coast road trip they just finished is going to be followed one week later by another 4-game east coast road trip.  The Coyotes pulled ahead twice in that game, but the Ducks were able to respond twice and finish it within regulation – kind of important in this crazy division.  The Ducks power play even scored twice, which moved them from 30th to 30th.  Yep, Anaheim’s power play has been that awful.  :)

Also this week: Ducks rookie Frederik Andersen from Denmark outdueled Henrik Lundqvist in New York 2-1 on the tail end of the road trip.  Andersen has started his career 4-0-0 (one of those wins in relief), and becomes one of three active goalies to earn wins in each of their first four NHL appearances – Kari Lehtonen did it in 2004 in Atlanta, and Viktor Fasth did it last year for Anaheim.  Haha, teams without goaltending depth.  Ha ha ha.

Also, Anaheim came into this week with zero goals from their defensemen (which frankly doesn’t matter when 15 different forwards have goals), but over the past three games all three young’uns on the blueline found the back of the net.  Sami Vatanen (age 22) netted a goal in Buffalo, then Hampus Lindholm (19) and Cam Fowler (21) both scored against Mike Smith.  It was so cool to see that Grandpa Selänne even let them stay up late and eat ice cream that night.

PANCAKE WATCH!  We’re decently into November now, and still Dustin Penner continues to ride the lucky streak of never being on the ice when a goal-against happens.  Now his +15 leads the league.  He has played 10 games this season for the Ducks; the Ducks have a 9-0-1 record in those games, outscoring opponents 39-20.  And in every one of those 10 games he’s played, Dustin Penner is a +1 or better – he has yet to be “even” once!  Can you luck your way into the Selke?

And thus, Pancake cartoon!  Not my best effort this week, but whatever!  First place!  Wooooo!!!

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 10-2-4, 24 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

Over the past seven days, the Sharks have lost to the Vancouver Canucks for the first time in eleven meetings, suffered defeat at the hands of the worst team in recent NHL history and dropped a decision to the Coyotes in which they outshot Phoenix 50-30. It hasn’t been the greatest week in Sharks Territory despite getting Dan Boyle, who hasn’t been the cure-all for the team’s prior struggles many assumed he would be, back into the lineup against Phoenix. It certainly hasn’t helped that Antti Niemi has looked positively human in his past four starts while the blueline has been giving pucks away like it’s a clearance sale. To make matters worse, the team remains without Brent Burns (who, in turn, is now without his scraggly homeless-man beard after shaving it off for charity last Friday) due to an injury the organization has been largely quiet on sharing the details of. The good news for the Sharks is that they’ll begin a five-game swing through Western Canada on Sunday and nothing busts slumps quite like games in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
3rd PLACE, 11-4-2, 24 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

The Coyotes started this past week with Shootout Fever and ended it looking like a bunch of Dogs who were feverish.  On Saturday night in San Jose it was the usual Coyotes vs. Sharks game. San Jose out shot, out-possessed, and badly out played the boys from Phoenix. However, Mike Smith did what he almost always does against the guys in teal – he put up a wall. In 2 games against the Sharks this season ,he’s saved 95 of 100 shots. Antoine Vermette scored the game winner in the shootout. Tuesday night was more of the same at home against Torts charges with just with a bit better 5 on 5 play by Phoenix and Vermette once again sticking a dagger into a Pacific Division rival in another skills contest. The Desert Dogs are now 7-0-1 at home.

The only team with a better home record than the Coyotes hosted them on Wednesday night. The Ducks looked fresh, while the Coyotes looked like a team playing back to back nights. How else does one explain going from having a 5-4 power play to being down 5 on 3 on the penalty kill in a matter of moments? The Coyotes went from up 2- to down 3-2 and without the services of Radim Vrbata in a matter of minutes in the second period.  The Ducks extended their lead to 4-2 in the 3rd and a hobbling Andrew “Coyote Killer” Cogliano twisted the knife with an empty netter at the end.

After 2 plus weeks of feasting in the Pacific, Phoenix faces teams this week with coaching and playing ties to one another. On Saturday, they host Adam Oates’ special team dynamos from D.C. The Yotes then hit the road to play one of Oates former clubs, the St. Louis Blues, followed by a matchup with former Blues coach, Capitals player, and Dave Tippett’s former Whaler’s teammate, Joel Quenneville, and his current defending Cup champion Blackhawks. Remember kids, say no to drugs.

GET WELL VRBY!!!

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 11-5-2, 24 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

It was a week of streaks in Canucksville this week. The started it by extending their decade long winning streak against the Leafs. Big accomplishment I know, but believe me, any chance to stick it to the Centre of the Universe and we’ll take it. They capped the week off with a win over the Sharks, breaking a nine game losing streak stretching back to January 2012. Despite the win, that game also saw Henrik Sedin snap a 12 game point streak, which was only a couple games short of the club record. It was only the second time this season that Henrik was held off the scoresheet.

Henrik also featured, er, prominently(?) in the Phoenix game, which was sandwiched between the two wins. That game went to a shootout, and while we call agree that the shootout is one of the more stupid things in hockey, there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do, is make sure you NEVER USE A SEDIN IN THE SHOOTOUT:

If you don’t know what I’m talking about here it is:

Sigh.

Anyway, the Canucks did manage to pick up a point against the Coyotes in what was the first game of their first real test of the season. The win against the Sharks gives them 3 of 4 possible points so far, and they finish out the stretch with three more divisional games against the Kings, Ducks and then back home to face the Sharks again next week.

In other Canucks news, David Booth was assigned to the AHL for a two-week conditioning stint. I’m not really sure why, though. I mean, that guy is always in game shape, if you ask me:

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
5th PLACE, 10-6-0, 20 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

This was an exciting week for the Los Angeles Kings organization as they took a huge step forward for the long term success of this franchise.

TRH Suite Night™, bitches!!!

That’s right, the LA Kings hosted all of #TeamTRH (except that loser in Kansas City, Flubber McGee) in a suite at Staples Center. It was a really exciting night… mainly because most of us were talking to each other and looking at our phones so we completely missed the LA Kings playing awful against the Nashville Predators and their backup goalies. But we had a lot of fun in the Suite and that’s all that matters. Here we are posing for a #TeamTRH photo:

nerds-3

j/k… it was actually more like this:

Thankfully, the Kings beat the Buffalo Sabres last night unlike that pretender of a team from up north.

 

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 6-8-2, 14 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

Bob Hartley is a moron.

I should probably say a bit more than that, so what I’m going to do is open up thesaurus.com and find all kinds of synonyms for moron and apply it to Bob Hartley.

Bob Hartley is a boob. Bob Hartley is an idiot. Bob Hartley is a nerd. Bob Hartley is a blockhead. Bob Hartley is a dimwit. Bob Hartley is a lamebrain.

Bob Hartley is a mental defective.

Bob Hartley is a dingbat. Bob Hartley is a dolt. Bob Hartley is a dope. Bob Hartley is a dork. Bob Hartley is a dumbbell. Bob Hartley is a dummy, a dunce, a fool. Bob Hartley is an ignoramus. He is an imbecile. He is, yes, he is loony.

What a loser Bob Hartley is. What a simpleton. What an addlepate. Bob Hartley is a halfwit. He is a cretin.

Bob Hartley is a bonehead. Bob Hartley is a twit, a creep, a dullard. What a simpleton, this Bob Hartley.

Is Bob Hartley a dodo? Yes. Oh you better believe he’s a dumbo. And a dumdum. And an ingonoramus. All these things, Bob Hartley is. Also a numbskull. An oaf. Bob Hartley is a grade A oaf.

A buffoon. An ass, a birdbrain. A scatterbrained donkey. A schnook. Yes, a schnook. A drip. A dunderhead. This is getting a bit tired, but this is all still stuff Bob Hartley is. Like a half-wit, a jerk, a knucklehead, lame-brained nincompoop. What a ninny you are, Bob Hartley. You pinhead.

He is a boob. A bore. A clod and a clown. He is most certainly a stooge. Good way to think of that stooge. A turkey AND a twerp. That’s unprecedented.

Okay well there’s a lot more, but I’m lazy and past deadline, so I guess I’ll just say Bob Hartley is a moron

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 4-11-2, 10 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

What did we learn this week? We learned that DREAMS DO COME TRUE!!!

We should probably back up a little first. The Detroit Red Wings rolled into Rexall last Saturday and did what they always do; embarrass the Oilers to the best of their ability (well… Not ALWAYS). Oh you’re giving your third string goalie his third career NHL start?  HERE KID, HAVE A SHUTOUT! (If a goalie has to make less than 15 saves should the shutout REALLY count?) Anybody need to score their first goals of the season? Thanks for raising your hands so quickly Darren Helm and Jakub Kindl! THE OILERS ARE NOTHING IF NOT ACCOMMODATING! (Full disclosure: I did not actually watch this game, instead I overstuffed myself with Indian food, followed by 4 hours of filming training montage sequences, which turned out to be much less painful than sitting through this shit fest. The shit fest I took part in the next morning however…)

Thankfully this season has been full of silver linings (outside of the whole “3 wins in 15 games” thing, and the “every left winger is hurt” thing and the “every other good player is rotating in and out of the injured reserved list” thing and the “Nail Yakupov has been completely MIA so far this season and everyone is already trying to run him out of town 60 games into his career cause he’s clearly a Patrik Stefan-sized bust” thing and the “None of our goalies can stop any pucks” thing and the “Defense? Never Heard Of It strategy Dallas Eakins seems to be going with” thing and the *dies of a brain aneurysm*)

They say Florida is the Sunshine State, and Tuesday’s game was the brightest ray of sunshine this team has seen in weeks. As is the Oilers way they coughed up a 2 goal lead late in the third period and almost lost in OT to one of only 4 teams that are just as bad, if not worse (LOL x INFINITY PHILLY!) than the perpetually lowly Oilers. But as a wise man once said, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. And when you’ve got a sniper the pedigree of Mark “Yeah, I went to Yale, what of it?” Arcobello scores don’t matter, momentum doesn’t matter, time and space DOES! NOT! MATTER! All that matters is getting him the puck.

*Breaks out entire crate of tissues* Bear with me for a moment because things are about to get messy. The highlight of this young season (and in all honesty it may well end up being the highlight of this entire season) was an underdog story that piece of garbage Rudy could only dream about.

We start all the way back in the year of our lord, 2011. A spry young fella fresh off of graduation from Princeton University was signed by his hometown Edmonton Oilers. He has a solid training camp and stays with the team through the preseason where he continues to impress. Just as it looked like our hero was on the precipice of living out his childhood dream, tragedy struck.

Taylor Fedun would miss the entire 2011-12 hockey season with a broken femur and there was a legitimate chance he might never play hockey again. But like all good Alberta boys he was too determined to let something as silly as breaking the largest bone in the human body keep him down…

CUT TO:

INT – BB&T CENTER – EVENING

After a solid first season of professional hockey in the American Hockey League, TAYLOR FEDUN, 25 with boyish good looks and a brain to match, suits up for his first career National Hockey League game. This was always his dream but it still seems very surreal. Everything is a blur and he’s convinced he’ll wake up at any point, still laid out in a hospital bed with his leg in an oversized cast.

CLOSE UP on Taylor’s face as he rocks back and forth on the bench, trying to settle his nerves.

MATCH CUT TO:

CLOSE UP on Taylor’s face, this time joining a three man rush as teammate RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS streams up the ice.

Everything begins to unfold in slow motion. Before he has time to process what’s actually happening the puck lands crisply on the center of his blade. All the neurons in his Ivy League trained brain begin to fire in unison. He barely has time to blink before his body kicks into autopilot and runs on pure muscle memory.

Thank god for the advent of television and Youtube, because if he had to explain what happens next he wouldn’t be able to.

He glides alongside the boards with a smile that could light up the dark side of the moon. His teammates swarm him, hugging, face washing, screaming to the heavens.

Florida goalie Jacob Markstrom fishes the puck out of the back of the net. He’s scored his first National Hockey League goal in his first game in the bigs. All of his wildest dreams have just come to fruition.

CUT TO:

An anonymous BLOGGER in Vancouver openly weeps at work, trying to stifle his sobs as to not alert his coworkers.

FADE TO BLACK

And then the Oilers went on a 50 game winning streak and we all lived happily every after!

Just kidding! They went to Tampa two days later, gave the puck away to Steve Stamkos two too many times, got another uneven performance from Devan “Seriously running out of ways to defend you without looking like an idiot you tall bastard” Dubnyk, and lost to the Western Conference devourer Lightning.

Taylor “The Legion Of” Fedun scored another goal because apparently he gained Rookie Of The Year-esque powers from that horrific injury, Linus “I SWEAR HE’S GOOD OKAY HE JUST NEEDS LIKE 400 MORE CHANCES TO MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION” Omark was a non-factor in his first call-up of the season, and Dallas Eakins summed up how every single Oiler fan has felt pretty much this entire season.

When’s the draft again?

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Catch The Fever!!!

This weekly segment of making fun of the Pacific Wild Card Race isn’t as funny
when the LA Kings are on the outside of it.

 

Thanks to all the amazing Pacific Division Bloggers. Check back next Friday for another edition of Pacific War Room! You can check out past editions of Pacific War Room here!

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.