PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 1.24.14


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 January 24th, 2014.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 38-10-5, 81 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Oh no!  A multiple-regulation-loss week for the Anaheim Ducks!  Jonas Hiller entered the week winner of 14 straight, but he picked up losses in both starts this week, including the Ducks’ first regulation loss at home.  Thank goodness Freddie Andersen was ready to pick up the slack with two wins of his own (pushing his record to an impressive 13-2-0), and at least the Ducks continued California’s dominance over the St. Louis Blues.

Just to remind you, the Blues have only 11 regulation losses this season, but 7 of them have come at the hands of the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings.  Not only that, but in the 8 games played between the Blues and the California trio (6 of those games in St. Louis), the Blues have fallen behind 3-0 six times!

Here’s the seven times this season the Blues have trailed 3-0 in a game – only teams from California or the District of Columbia have done it.

Blues Trail 3 to 0 Table

The week ended with a close win against the Kings which I probably don’t need to tell you about – a pretty nice prequel to the Dodgers Stadium matchup.  PANCAKE WATCH!  Over the Ducks’ past 18 games, Dustin Penner has been a healthy scratch 5 times and has picked up points in only 2 games.  But yeah, one of those was the game-tying power play goal he scored against the Kings last night.  Penner has scored 12 goals in 40 games for the Ducks this season, which is one more than the 11 he scored in 117 regular season games with the Kings.   And the Ducks improved to 16-6-1 when allowing the game’s first goal.

I drew this cartoon with different punchline in mind, but it required too much text so I changed the joke on the fly.  And in some ways, this works out better.  No matter who wins the Battle of California game at Dodgers Stadium, there’ll be one team that loses for sure.  :)

StadiumSeriesGloat

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 33-12-6, 72 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

Move over, Alex Ovechkin. There’s a new Great Eight in town. Granted, even after his torrid 19-goals-in-21-games run, Joe Pavelski is still seven goals back of the Capitals’ sniper so maybe Ovechkin doesn’t need to move over just yet. But Pavelski’s 28 goals on the season is just 3 fewer than his career high, and there are still 31 games left in the Sharks’ schedule.

Maybe Dustin Brown’s assassination attempt on Tomas Hertl, which opened up a spot in the San Jose lineup alongside Joe Thornton and Brent Burns that Pavelski has been capably filling, was done out of national obligation, as Pavelski’s emergence as a bona fide sniper in his newfound role gives Team USA the premier scoring center they had lacked. Pavelski started the week with a natural hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning, powering the Sharks to a win in spite of Martin St. Louis’ four-goal game, which is only fair given that Little Marty never even made an appearance when St. Louis celebrated his fourth tally.

Pavelski also scored two of the Sharks’ three goals in their win over Calgary on Monday and notched the only goal last night in a victory against the Jets that gives San Jose five wins in a row.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 29-17-6, 64 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

The Los Angeles Kings losing 4 straight games to the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks was not the worst thing to happen to this franchise last week… no, it was this travesty that should have Kings and TRH fans in an uproar.

So naturally, I did what any good Jewish Hollywood Executive would do…. I LAWYERED UP!!!

C&D TRH-imp

And J.R. Lind and his legal team responded

January 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Lawyer:

I am writing in response to your letter (hereinafter: The Demand)  of January 17, 2014 to my client Mr. J.R. Lind in his capacity as the editor of the outréCentral Division blog III Communication in which you “directed” him to “cease and desist all copyright infringement” related to III Communication’s new feature “DemocraThree.”

Courtesy: Mighty Mike D

Sir, I am like a combination of Atticus Finch and Boss Hogg and your demand, like your TV shows, is two hours late.

Using the Ding-Ding Standard established by the courts in the seminal trademark case D. Bowie et al. v. V. Ice, it is clear my client, while certainly inspired by the work of your client, made it his original work product by making material additions.

I proffer the videotaped deposition of Robert Van Winkle (a/k/a V. Ice) from 1990:

Making material additions has long been an affirmative defense against the rebuttal presumption of “what’s yours is yours” (cf. the Racing Stripe Precedent established by “Homer’s Enemy“).

Therefore, my client must politely decline your request to “cease and desist.” It is his intent to continue producing “DemocraThree” in light of your far-reaching assertion that your client owns “The Internet.” My client, indeed, continues to bring insightful hockey analysis and strained historical metaphors to the people of Real America (and also Winnipeg).

I consider this matter closed — Res ipsa loquitur.

If you have any further inquiries, you may direct them by email to conferencethree[at]gmail[dot]com.

With warmest regards,

T-Murda, Esq.
A Simple Country Lawyer

TS/jrl

Well, I considered J.R. Lind to be a great friend up until this point. And now… now I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back.

Well, you get the point.

Seriously though, check out the Central Division’s version of TRH’s War Room. It’s just like the Pacific’s version… but with less playoff spots!

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 26-17-9, 61 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

And you thought last week was an eventful week for the Canucks.

Wow.

Of course, looking back on it, it probably wasn’t eventful in a good way. This is probably what John Tortorella was thinking, if he was thinking, on Saturday night when he decided to go ballistic and charge the Calgary Flames dressing room between periods. I’m not going to get into the festivities that kicked off the game. They have been hashed and rehashed enough times already. Plus, “we all know the Canucks started it.

But Tortorella clearly wanted to take the spotlight off the simmering tire fire that was the Vancouver Canucks last week, so there he was in the bowels of Rogers Arena making a show of trying to confront Flames head coach, Bob Hartley in between periods. At least I hope that’s what he was trying to do. I mean, if he was seriously trying to get at Hartley, I’m kind of concerned for his mental health. Really, I hope this isn’t just a side effect of the new and improved Tortorella we’ve seen all year, with all his rage being contained and building up pressure until with just one tap he explodes like one of those Black Birds on Angry Birds. But more on that later.

Anyway, Tortorella was predictably suspended for 15 days by the league, which I have no problem with.

What I do have a problem with, however, is Colin Campbell coming out and telling us that Tortorella was suspended in part for being “an embarrassment to the league.” I mean, I’m glad the NHL has decided that it wants to start dealing with things that are detrimental to the league, but it seems to me there’s one big embarrassment that still remains unpunished:

Photo 2014-01-24_1

That part that really gets me, though, is the temerity and complete lack of self-awareness that allows this Colin Campbell to call anyone an embarrassment to the league. I hope he looks both ways before he crosses the street so he doesn’t get run over by the irony truck.

Within minutes of the announced of the suspension, a tweet from @strombone1 started a movement:

Er, I suppose I should avoid referencing Luongo and “a movement” in the same sentence, but this thing is late enough already, so I’m not going back to change that.

Thus #freeTorts was born. Only to be quashed by the team’s lawyers. #freefreeTorts

Finally, I want to get back to that Angry Birds reference. I’m sure somebody up above there has already covered this, but it appears that the folks at Angry Birds have created an NHLHockeyBird mascot to be featured at the LA/Anaheim outdoor game this weekend. I’m not really sure what to say about this, other than, like say an outdoor game in California, it sounds like a really bad idea:

Photo 2014-01-24_2

Oh, uh, yeah. The Canucks actually played some hockey games this week too. They beat Calgary and Edmonton, and then lost to Nashville, which included this little bit of deliciousness:

#sigh

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
5th PLACE, 22-16-9, 53 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

The question of the week is whether or not the Coyotes recent play is better or worse than the choices of musical artists on the player’s iPods?

We’re going with their play. Coyotes fans would probably rather watch Hannah Montana than their team’s offense as of late.

Phoenix started their week off with a 3-2 win over old man Brodeur and the Devils. Marty looked as expected for a soon to AARP member goaltender. Wonderful one moment, not so good the next. The biggest damage New Jersey did all night was to Jordan Swarz’s chin.

Phoenix played the CBC’s unofficial squad on Monday night. While Phoenix controlled play a majority of the game and outshot the Leafs, the Yotes took bad penalties, paid the price for defensive lapses, and someone was likely wondering after the game why the game across from him gets to go to Sochi.

On Wednesday night, the Desert Dogs were at the Saddledome taking on the Flames. As they had against the Leafs, the Dogs outshot their opponent, yet still lost. This even with Bob Hartley’s secret offensive weapon, Kevin Westgarth, receiving 2 minor penalties in less than 6 minutes of ice time.

Hey, remember the scoring problem thing?

The plus of the week was Antoine Vermette netting two shorthanded goals. This after the team hadn’t had a shortie all season prior to Monday’s game. Phoenix’s next four opponents are not exactly on a roll, so champagne and caviar dreams might be right around the corner. The Coyotes finish up their trip to the Northwest portion of the Pacific Division with games in Edmonton and Vancouver.  Things have been so bad, for so long in Oilers country even old school guys like Barry Trotz are piling on.

The Yotes will miss seeing former Phoenix assistant coach and the NHL’s leader in temper tantrums, John Torterella, on Sunday night. The plus is they will be able to head to their locker room in peace. Phoenix returns home to face the Half’s squad on Tuesday and Ted Nolan’s plucky bunch on Thursday. Maybe by then we’ll see Andy Miele back in Coyotes sweater or another hockey player capable of shooting into a net.

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 17-27-7, 41 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

So petbugs invented a new term yesterday, called truculasm, and while it sounds like it might apply incredibly well to, say, THIS situation:

I’ll let you guys fill in the blanks.

No, truculasm is in relation to Brian Burke’s quip that the line brawl from last Saturday’s American Gladiators episode was started by the Canucks. You remember the line brawl, don’t you? If not, let me refresh your memory:

Yeah, I remember it looking a bit different too, but the tape doesn’t lie. Anyway, that was the big news this week, the showdown at the Rogers Saloon. It would have been way better if the game was in Calgary, because the Saddledome is right next to the old Corral where the Flames used to play, and everyone knows you can’t have a good showdown if it’s not by a corral.

After the dust had settled, and by dust I mean John “Crazy Eyes” Tortorella rushing the Flames locker room to get his hands on Bob Hartley, who in the face of danger was brave enough to hide behind ten hockey players and Brian McGrattan. Tortorella had one thing on his mind that day:

/lights go dim

/insert dramatic music

/extreme close up

MURDER.

/dun dun dun!

Of course, OF COURSE Torts never came even close as he would have had an entire hockey team to get through and one pitbull in Flames goalie coach Clint Malarchuk. Malarchuk is so crazy he once shot himself in the face, so he would have eaten Tortorella and no one would have blinked.

I’m not one for goons and staged fights, but the whole thing was pretty damn entertanining. Still, part of me would have liked to have seen Tortorella get a shot at Hartley, just to see if it would help:

Still, it ended up in a 15 day suspension for the guy Larry Brooks once called “John”, and in an interesting twist, left Hartley with a $25,000 dollar fine, which I’m assuming was paid off on Ken King’s platinum card (for the miles!)

Why Hartley got the fine is anyone’s guess. The NHL says it was for his decision to allow Flames “center” Kevin Westgarth to go out there and clearly initiate the entire brawl, which is a coded message, but luckily for you guys, I spent a good amount of my free time deciphering it for the War room:

“We have nothing to actually get you on, so we’re making this up as we go along”

If you’ve ever paid attention to the way the NHL gives out suspensions for headshots, that message really starts to make a lot of sense.

Anyway, this all led to a quote from Brian Burke, crazy person, suggesting the Canucks initiated the whole thing. It’s very obvious the Flames were responsible here, so the fact that Burke hinted otherwise made the whole world lose their damn minds, which is hilarious when you realize he’s likely joking.

Hence the term, TRUCULASM! We did it guys, we came full circle!

/breathes

The other big news this week, and was a bit of a surprise, was the re-signing of center Stone Cold Matt Stajan:

stajan

Stajan, or as he’s known around Cowtown, Matty Franchise, was scheduled to be a UFA this summer, and with Franchise playing some of the best hockey of his career, many thought he’d be a prime candidate for a playoff rental on a contending team.

Not so, as Matty re-upped to a 4 year deal for about 3.1 million a year, which if you can believe it, is less than the deal he had inked previous. Darryl Sutter was crazy, man. Whatever happened to that guy.

A lot of people were sour on the deal, as they wanted Stajan gone for draft picks or prospects, as Flames fans are terrible people who want to see the Flames lose every possible game until they draft Connor McDavid. I get it, but I don’t.

I loved the move. Stajan’s the perfect guy to keep around during the rebuild. He’s serviceable, can play a 2 or 3 C, and his cap hit is pretty much inconsequential considering how the Flames need to hit the floor anyway and the ceiling will keep rising over the course of his contract. I’d go into it more, but my homeboy Kent Wilson pretty much hit the nail on the head the other day, as he usually does.

This likely means the end for Lee Stempniak, who I will miss dearly (I liked to call him Stemper Fi whenver he scored), but hey, there’s always casualties in war.

We are in a War Room after all, aren’t we?

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 15-31-6, 36 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

The movement has begun. Stop at nothing….

#Lowe2014

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Wild Card 1-24

The Western Conference, everyone!

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.