PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 12.6.13


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 December 6th, 2013.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
1st PLACE, 19-4-5, 43 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

It’s hard to care about anything that happened over the past seven days, which shall henceforth be known as Wookie Week, in Sharks Territory as all of it seems to have been more or less overshadowed by defenseman-turned-unkempt-homeless-man-turned-forward Brent Burns scoring a hat trick against the St. Louis Blues on Black Friday. It was a 6-3 win for the Sharks over one of the best teams in the Western Conference and represented the perfect dose of revenge after the Blues’ Maxim Lapierre sent Dan Boyle off the ice in a stretcher the last time those clubs met.

#NeverForget

The Sharks also outlasted the Ducks in a shootout in another round of the second-best rivalry in hockey and were the benefactors of Toronto Leafing all over themselves on Tuesday night.

The one lowlight of the week was a 5-1 rout at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins but given that San Jose had won six in a row prior to that and currently stand alone atop the Pacific Division, it’s hard to be too disappointed.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
2nd PLACE, 18-7-5, 41 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

The Ducks had three divisional games this week.  First, on Black Friday, Anaheim squashed the Flames 5-2.  That victory really shouldn’t be considered very impressive – Calgary hadn’t earned a regulation win in over a month – but read the Kings’ and Coyotes’ updates below for a timely rebuttal.

Then came the season’s first games against the Sharks and the Kings, not optimal timing with the Ducks missing a majority of their blueliners.  Both opponents were daunting, but Anaheim managed a standings point each time, thanks to the California Intrastate Mandatory Shootout Act of 2013-14.  So far this season every game involving two California teams has gone to a shootout, and thus here’s a cartoon I drew back in 2010 when I was playing too much Red Dead Redemption.  Go recycling!

PANCAKE WATCH!  Dustin Penner scored 4 points in 3 games this past week – in 23 games since returning to the Ducks, he has scored 9 goals.  In his entire stint with the Kings, Penner played 161 games (including playoffs) and scored a total of 18 goals.  Halfway there, Penner!

Plus, this week… before anyone else did… Dustin Penner debunked the internet’s most talked about story.

And lastly, I personally don’t care very much about the Stadium Series jersey unveilings this week – the last jersey I bought had a Mighty Ducks logo up front and the name VISHNEVSKI on the back, so yeah, I’m not a regular buyer in this market.  But for any Ducks fans who do buy an orange jersey, but aren’t happy about the silly “OC” patch on the shoulder, but do feel like showing some support for a hockey blog I used to write for, I’ve come up with a Sleekly dumb solution:

Battle of California, indeed (I suppose that means an outdoor shootout).  See you there, Kings.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 18-7-4, 40 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

Ben Scrivens is known for a lot of things… but you can add “master impressionist” to his resume as he did a near flawless interpretation of what Jonas Hiller looked like each morning that he woke up in February – April of 2011.

I wish there was some way to visually represent what it looked like for the LA Kings to lose to the Calgary Flames last Saturday, in the last minute of the game for the 2nd time this season.

Nope.

Closer.

Nailed it.

Thankfully, after struggling against their difficult divisional foe, the LA Kings had two “gimmie” games back-to-back against some of the easiest competition in the West. First was the St. Louis Blues… whose passionate fans obviously have never seen a hockey game outside of the 314 area code.

After reminding Blues fans that both they and their team suck… the Kings turned their attention to the 3rd Best Hockey Rivalry in California, the Anaheim Ducks. I just wish there was some way to visually represent what it looked like to Ducks fans when they were stopped 9 straight times by a rookie goaltender in a shootout.

Not even close.

Better.

Nailed it.

And finally… Coors Light Stadium Series™ Chrome Jersey Fever™ swept through the southland this past week… and fans everywhere were filled with excitement!

And apparently… Ryan Getzlaf was filled with Thanksgiving leftovers.

At last, there is one thing that all bloggers and fans in the Pacific Division can finally agree upon… we all hate the Coors Light Stadium Series™ Chrome Jerseys™.

Preach.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
4th PLACE, 16-8-4, 36 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

This is pretty much the look Coyotes’ fans have nowadays when the puck goes into Phoenix’s zone.

The Coyotes underwhelming defensive play and atrocious penalty killing continued this past week. A blowout win over the hapless Oilers was sandwiched in between losses to the Blackhawks and the Flames. Yes, the Calgary Flames. Zbynek Michalek’s and Lauri Korpikoski’s extended shelf time certainly hasn’t made things easy defensively, but the team wasn’t exactly looking like an impenetrable wall when both of them were healthy.

The team ends their Western Canadian road trip tonight in Vancouver. With a loss the Desert Dogs could find themselves out of a playoff spot. On Tuesday, Phoenix will take the quick trip to Denver to play the Avs. On Thursday, the schedule lightens up when a team playing even worse defensively than the Coyotes, the NY Islanders, arrives in town. In other positive news, Phoenix still has the best captain in the NHL and one of the best offensive defensemen in the league who are currently starring in the coolest caroling video this holiday season.

 

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
5th PLACE, 15-10-5, 35 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

Well, it was a tough week to be an Alex on the Vancouver roster. The Canucks ended an otherwise successful four game swing through the Leastern Conference with six more points but two fewer Alex’s. The only blemish being a loss in Tortorella’s return to Madison Square Garden. As somebody pointed out on twitter, perhaps the only game in NHL history where both teams were paying both coaches.

It was a rather poor outing for the Canucks against the Rangers, but then, who plays hockey at 11:00 am on a Saturday morning? The only thing worse is a 10:00 am start on a Sunday, which is what the Canucks had to endure on this trip as they completed their tour of all things Staal.

Not sure if it was the early starts or the back to back games, but that Carolina game saw your two favourite Canucks get felled by pucks to the head. First Kesler taking an Alex Edler shot in the back of the head, and then Burrows getting dropped by a Chris Tanev clearing attempt.

An artist interpretation of Kesler getting hit by Edler.

The result was a broken jaw for Burrows, which means he’ll be sucking his food through a straw for the next four weeks. So not that different from the last four weeks:

But say what you want about Burrows, he came back out and finished the game with a broken jaw. Clearly way tougher than Stamkos.

The Canucks are back home for four games in the next week, starting with a Pac division game vs the Coyotes tonight and finishing with another one against the Oilers next Friday. The Oilers will come into Rogers Arena just over a week after signing a deal to name their new arena Rogers Place. Rogers clearly has a lot of money to burn these days, which tells you everything you need to know about how cheap mobile phone plans are in Canada.

But hey, Rogers can invest all they want in the Oilers, on top of the $700 million they’re putting into telecommunications infrastructure in Alberta, I still don’t think it’s going to address the biggest Internet connectivity problem in Edmonton:

Finally, a reminder that the Graphic Comments 2014 wall calendar is still available. It’s like Christmas, your birthday and April Fool’s Day all rolled into one:

Not only has lulu.com extended the free shipping offer to Dec. 15 (coupon code FREESHIP), but looks like today they’re offering a 30% discount site-wide with the #decktheshelf coupon code. So buy some gifts for your friends from The Royal Half store, but for your enemies, nothing says “slap in the face” like a cheesy wall calendar.

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 10-13-4, 24 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

Christmas Miracles really do happen.

Bob Hartley, a stodgy old miser, cared not for the NHL season. He thought of it a petty waste of time. When it came to matters of hockey, he would casually dismiss them, and berate anyone who tried to bring it up. He’d say things like “Hershey is your next stop, where you’ll be smelling chocolate fumes all day long”, and then go back to his first love, which was counting his money.

Then one day, after dipping particularly hard into the cherry brandy, Bob went to bed, alone, as usual, but felt a strange sensation that he couldn’t quite shake.

He had pissed himself. But there was more.

He turned around. It was the ghost of Scott Parker! “You (expletive!) You’re supposed to be in Hershey!”

“Hershey sucks,” replied the ghost. “I’ve got a new gig now. I’m a financial analyst for the Denver Post, a respected publication probably,”

“But you have brain damage from all those years of me making you fight”

“Yup”

There was a pause, and then Parker remembered why he had come to haunt the stubborn French Canadian.

“Anyway, I’m here to let you know that the universe is pissed at you for neglecting your duties as a hockey coach. It’s an important job that people all over the world would like to have, and you just don’t care. And seeing as it seems impossible for you to get fired, we feel you need a bit of an attitude adjustment”

“Ain’t nobody got time for that shit,” interrupted Bob. “I’ve got to go to the bottle depot tomorrow.”

Parker then punched Bob, sending him sprawling.

“The bottle depot can wait. This is non negotiable. Like your contract, apparently. At the stroke of midnight, you will be visited by the first of three spirits.”

“Like vodka, or more liquers than anything”

Parker smacked Bob again.

“Shut up. These spirits will rejuvenate your passion for Christmas and make you realize that you make dumb decisions, and if you pay attention, good things can happen”

So in the interest of time, as I see this is dragging on and also I’m lazy, we’ll just recap how the rest of this story goes.

The ghost of hockey’s past brings him back in time to Hartley’s days coaching the Colorado Avalanche, where he shows him how well the team does when it plays it’s true starting goaltender, Patrick Roy. The team, loaded with talent, wins a lot. But when Hartley plays his much less skilled, much less adept Swiss backup goaltender, David Aebischer, the team loses more than it wins, and it really doesn’t make sense to play him much. The ghost somehow makes Bob realize how stupid he’s being by NOT following this strategy with the Flames, and thus Bob starts Karri Ramo for two straight games, and the dependable, positionally sound goaltender wins two games in a row and looks great in the process.

Like the game where he beat the Kings. Do you guys remember that one? When the Flames beat the Kings? The Kings. They beat them.

That was fun. Beating the Kings and all.

On the big high of beating the Kings, the second spirit, the ghost of Hockey Present, showed Bob clips of Mark Giordano being awesome, and reminded him that “SHOULD Gio be ready to play this week, go ahead and do that, because you have Chris Butler playing over 20 minutes a game, and no one in their right mind should ever be letting that happen”

Turns out Gio WAS available, that he is awesome, and he played against the Coyotes, played brilliantly, and kept Christ, Butler (the thing Flames fans say whenever he’s on the ice) to under 20 minutes, anointing Giordano as some kind of hockey messiah.

Which is in no way over-exaggerating.

What did the ghost of Hockey Future have to say? We’ll find out soon, but don’t be surprised if it involves the Flames beating the Kings again.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 8-16-2, 18 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

Since we last left our heroes Crazy Uncle Ilya had arrived to save us from the deep, dark depths of depression. Since then?

Let’s just say Ilya has adapted to being an Edmonton Oiler quicker than even Miss Cleo herself could have predicted.

Sorry, what was that MacT?

BUT HOW ABOUT DECEMBER THOUGH, AM I RIGHT?

So they needed TWO goalies and a shootout to edge the Dallas Stars, BIG WHOOP WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT? The Oilers win their ninth game of the season *never stops blowing own brains out* and that one point for Dallas helped keep Winnipeg’s non-existent playoff hopes out of reach, so, I mean, EAT SHIT WINNIPEG!

Then they lost to the god forsaken Coyotes Of Not-Actually-Phoenix.

And they carried that momentum all the way to Thursday where they took down Patrick “Trying To Give Bruce Boudreau A Stroke My First Day On The Job” Roy and the Colorado “Totally nailed their rebuild this year you guys, OH SHIT WATCH YOURSELF THE AVALANCHE ARE FREEFALLING DOWN THIS ELEVATOR SHAFT AND OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS” Avalanche, proceeding to beat them worse than *Insert one million mediocre Twitter jokes about Semyon Varlamov beating his girlfriend*

The Kingston Cannonball can’t stop, won’t stop, so you might as well get used to it and figure out a way to deal with it (don’t worry Drew Doughty you’ve already aced this one).

*As an aside can we just pause to give props to the guy working the goal horn at Rogers Rexall Place tonight? That thing has barely been used all god damn year so I’m glad to see he really put his entire weight into pushing that button*

The Oilers are 6-4-0 in their last 10 and 2-1 to start December, so way to turn it on when it really matters guys! Big game coming up Saturday as the second round of the Cripple Fight Of Alberta heats up, with the Oilers looking to catch the Flames in the standings, but more importantly, to hopefully move me up like 4 or 5 inches on this blog!! Look out @PetBugs13 we’re coming up right on your t- OHWHAT THEY’RE HOW MANY POINTS BEHIND THE CANUCKS????

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Catch The Fever!!!

Soccer jokes!

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.