PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 3.14.14


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 March 14th, 2014.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 43-16-7, 93 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Good-bye, Cushion!  Hello, Regression!

This past week, the Ducks took 97 shots on goal and scored 5 times.  Anaheim’s three opponents took 65 shots on goal and scored 12 times.  And as a result, I didn’t get to watch that much hockey – gave up on the Leafs game after the first period and gave up on the Flames game before the first period was even over.

Thank goodness for the Pacific Division standings points cushion, which is essentially gone now.

GoodbyeCushion

There is exactly one upside to this losing streak – at least the last 16 games on Anaheim’s schedule will have some meaning and urgency.  Save us, Robo-Das!

Robodas

(Losing means recycling – made this image for BoC back in 2008)

I lied last week – one last PANCAKE WATCH!  Even Ducks on other teams are struggling – Dustin Penner is scoreless in his first five games as a Capital.

Sigh, I miss Sochi.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
TIED 1st PLACE, 43-17-7, 93 POINTS (33 ROW)
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

Two months ago, the Sharks were 13 points back of the Ducks in the standings. This morning, they’re tied with Anaheim atop the Pacific Division. A predictable collapse into mediocrity by the Ducks as well as the Sharks finally getting healthy has helped bridge that gap and move San Jose further away from what once seemed like an inevitable collision with the Kings in the first round.

This week, it was big wins over three Eastern Conference opponents (as expected, since the Sharks don’t play Western Conference teams anymore for whatever reason) that propelled them into a tie for first. The Sharks welcomed Douglas Murray back to the Tank on Saturday by making him look silly on a Matt Nieto goal en route to a 4-0 win. They dominated the Leafs on Tuesday (and inexplicably were the only California team to notch a win against Toronto) by a score of 6-2 before capping the week with a shootout win in Columbus. With a game against the Ducks scheduled for a week from now, the Sharks’ first contest against a Western foe since February 5th, the battle for the division title could depend largely on the events of the next seven days.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 38-23-6, 82 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

Last week, several members of the Los Angeles Kings organization completely rolled over most of Canada.

323x431.png.998c2f608c4d01316ffd22000ae18f56

Were you expecting something else?

The LA Kings played so well last week that even the biggest of Scrooges couldn’t contain their excitement.

Well, until last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs of course.

Sure, even though the LA Kings have played so well in their last 8 games and outshot the Leafs 41-29 last night… Kings fans are still always expecting the worst…

Anaheim Ducks v Calgary Flames

… but it will never be as bad as what’s going on in Anaheim right now.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
4th PLACE, 31-25-11, 73 POINTS
@BrendanPorter from Five For Howling

 

I know this is supposed to be all about the Phoenix Coyotes, but in honor of the team below us in the standings, let’s all take a moment of silence.

HOW DID YOU GIVE UP SEVEN GOALS IN ONE PERIOD TO THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS? HOW?

I’m sorry. I couldn’t keep that in.

The Coyotes collapsed twice in two weeks, yet in both of those collapses gave up the same number of goals as the Canucks did against the Islanders. Strictly speaking, that’s probably worse, since it is four points the Coyotes left on the table to Vancouver’s two, but come on. Seven goals?

(Even Sea World thinks this is too much torture for Orcas to endure).

Anyways, back to the Desert Dogs. Phoenix embarked on an East Coast road trip which coincidentally began in Washington, the temporary refuge of Martin Erat from the horror that is the Nashville Predators’ offense. Sure, Erat and Phoenix may have blown a two goal lead in the third period without so much as a consolation point. But that’s okay, because Phoenix fans could drown their sorrows in some Bachman & Turner thanks to CanadaFest!

This was in fact a thing. I’m not kidding.

The Coyotes then rolled through South Florida, first by playing the Tampa Bay Lightning and then by playing Roberto Luongo and the Island of Misfit Hockey Players (formerly known as the Florida Panthers). The Coyotes won both of these games; the former by conceding the tying goal against Tampa Bay late enough in the 3rd period that they couldn’t score again, and the latter because they played the Florida Panthers.

If this is the way you celebrate on-ice success, there probably isn’t much to celebrate.

The Coyotes then took their two-game winning streak to Boston, a place they hadn’t visited in five years. They also apparently brought the power play they had in 2009 with them, because the 3rd ranked power play in the NHL went 0 for 5 against a Bruins team that played the night before.

So the most mediocre team in the Pacific Division ended up going 2-2-0 on their road trip, the mediocrist record possible. Phoenix will be lucky to edge out the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the West, where they will assuredly get rolled over by the Anaheim Ducks.

Or not.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
5th PLACE, 30-28-10, 70 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

Well, this season has gone from bad to outright comical.

There’s really no other way to describe it.

Well, I suppose if the Titanic had run aground on Long Island instead of hitting an iceberg, you could describe it like a sinking ship.

But really, that game was the Canucks season in a nutshell.

Get off to a good start, look to be in good have heading in to the final stretch, then completely fall apart for no apparent reason. And boy did they fall apart:

And here it is in GIF form:

But this brings me to an interesting observation. There’s quite a lot of joy out there among fans of other teams as they watch the Canucks carom through this season like a blogger looking for some stats drunk looking for a light post.

And you know what, that’s ok with me.

It’s when the rest of you clowns start feeling sorry for the Canucks that I’ll start to worry. It’s after years of ineptitude that derision turns to pity:

image

And with that, I turn you over to my friends from Alberta…

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 26-33-7, 59 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

I’m just going to let Andrew Cogliano be the Flames correspondent for the War Room for the rest of the year, because he says it better than I could ever hope to.

“If we lose 7-2 to Calgary, and we don’t get our heads out of our asses, it could get a lot worse”

“No offense to them, but they haven’t been scoring that many goals. To give up seven is just stupid”

(I do wonder if the pun was intended when he said “no offense”)

Those quotes from Cogliano, of course, come after your 26th place Calgary Flames, uh, let’s say trounced the 2nd place and legitimately Stanley Cup contending Anaheim Ducks 7-2 on Wednesday night, officially becoming the best thing I’ve seen all season except for that one day coming up where it mercifully ends for the Flames.

It’s funny, the Canadian Dollar is dipping, the Saddledome is only packing in around 15,000 a night to close out the season, the team employs a ragtag group of young players that no one has ever heard of (some that aren’t even any good, BEN HANOWSKI), and will be missing the playoffs for the 5th season in a row. It’s like it’s 1999 all over again, and yet, on any given night, like say on Wednesday when the Flames, let’s say dismantled the Ducks with a swift precision, it can be really fun to cheer for this team.

This game had it all. Flames rookie goaltender and goddamn stud Joni Ortio stood on his head, giving us flashbacks to that other Finnish goalie who patrolled the Flames crease and faced more quality competition than you could realistically ask him to (the other of course being Karri Ramo).

It had High River native (High River is a town in Alberta but it’s basically Calgary. Keep up, California) Corban Knight scoring his first NHL career goal.

It had longtime Oiler and current pylon Ladislav Smid score his first goal as a Flame, and it was actually a pretty nice goal too, which surely justifies why he was one of the two Flames who went to the Olympics even though he’s not Jiri Hudler or Mikael Backlund.

Backlund himself put up a couple snipes as well, leading him closer and closer to his first career 20 goal season, which would be a really nice way to cap off the season that the rest of the world (and actually too much of Calgary as well) to realize just how good this guy is and can be. Sky’s the limit. Although it should be noted that in this case when I say “sky”, I actually mean “Brian Burke”.

The Great Anvil, I’ll call him.

So yeah, the Flames played 4 games this week (3 if we forget the one against the Kings ever happened, which I did. But seriously, Kings fans, you got to watch Brian McGrattan score on Marty Jones. Breathe THAT in. What are you, the Canucks?)

(Apologies to Kings fans for that last remark)

So the Flames played THREE games this week, including one where they came back from a 3 goal third period deficit to the Islanders, which somehow became only the SECOND most interesting Islanders third period related factoid this past week, but yeah, all I want to talk about is that Ducks win, because there are no Isles bloggers in the war room, and Earl’s team has lost 4 in a row, which must be scary. I’d know. I see it happen all the time.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 23-36-8, 54 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

Oh what Islanders? You think you’re the only team that can rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a game against a team fighting to stay on the playoff bubble? YOU THINK THE INTENSE RIVALRY BETWEEN THESE TWO FRANCHISES HAD JUST DIED OFF IN THE 90’S???

*Rips off tearaways. Does Magic Mike routine.*

HOW DO YOU LIKE DEM APPLES??

*Continues to dance overzealously. Slips. Smashes face on floor. Concussed*

Oh hey, have I mentioned the Oilers are presently* 3-1-1 in the month of March? Watch your back Calgary, we’re coming for 14th in the West and there’s nothing you can do about it!!

*Looks at 7-1 win against Anaheim*

Okay, fine, but not every game is going to be against soup cans like the Anaheim Ducks.

MEANWHILE….

Ales Hemsky seems to be adjusting fairly well to his new life in Ottawa.

 And Oilers Goaltender #20943573094, err, sorry, Victor Fasth looked pretty solid in his Oilers debut.

I feel like I’ve missed something. I can’t quite put my finger on it though. We covered the trade deadline last week. The Olympic break was a while ago, so that can’t be it.

What was it? Something about a couple war criminals seeking asylum in the greatest country in the world? That sounds VAGUELY familiar.

Ugh, I’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night, screaming about whatever it was I’m forgetting.

You know how these things are, sometimes they just come out of nowhere, and BAM, it hits you right in the face.

106 Days until the draft

*Writing this before what will inevitably be a loss to St. Louis. IGORNACE IS BLISS YOU GUYS!

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

WildCard3-14

That literally is the funnest fact ever.

Thanks to all the amazing Pacific Division Bloggers. Check back next Friday for another edition of Pacific War Room!  Also, be sure to check out the DemocraThree, the Central Division’s answer to the 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.