PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 3.21.14


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 21st, 2014.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
1st PLACE, 46-18-7, 93 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

It’s that time of year again. Time to get blackout drunk in guilt-free celebration. No I’m not talking about St. Patrick’s Day, I’m talking about the time-honored annual mid-March tradition of the Sharks taking over the Pacific Division lead.

Call in sick to work, get loaded and plan the parade route from the Adobe Software Headquarters to the Shark Tank because, after last night’s come-from-behind (literally) 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose currently has sole possession of the top spot in the division for the first time since December 5th.

Sure, the Ducks have a game in hand and there’s still nearly a month of the season to go…which is why we’d better move fast in creating the “Pacific Division Champions, circa March 21st” banner then raising it to the rafters. Sure that sounds pathetic but is it really any worse than this?

In all seriousness, as much as none of this matters if the Sharks aren’t able to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, it’s remarkable that the team has turned what was a 13-point deficit in January into a 2-point lead atop the Pacific. The big prize, of course, would be avoiding the L.A. Kings in the first round although I’d be sort of disappointed if the Kings rather than the Sharks are the ones to end Teemu Selanne’s career.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
2nd PLACE, 45-18-7, 97 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Oh no!  Ducks find themselves in second place this week, though they still have a game in hand and all the tiebreakers  (San Jose leads the league with 10 shootout wins; Ducks have participated in 8 shootouts total).  But hey, not all bad news – Anaheim shockingly scored a power play goal this week!

Since the Olympic Break, the Ducks have played 10 games – in those games, Anaheim has only scored 2 power play goals in 35 chances (59:15 of power play time), while their opponents have scored 9 power play goals in 37 chances (57:45 of power play time).  Yikes!

And here’s the one power play goal they did score before last night – not exactly a play any coach would draw up.

So here’s two panels about that.

TowerPlay01

TowerPlay02

Oh yeah, and almost forgot – the Ducks beat the Kings again. 

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 39-25-6, 84 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

Two weeks ago, LA Kings fans were all…

… and then this past week, they were all…

Sure, last week might have been a big bump in the road for the LA Kings… but not as big a bump as this:

Sure, the Incidental Contact call in the LA Kings 2-1 loss to the Ducks was frustrating… but not as frustrating as losing a 3rd Period lead for the first time in 23 years to the Phoenix Coyotes. It was enough to make you yell at someone!

The weird part is that he’s talking to Mike Smith.

Thankfully, last night the Kings beat the Washington Capitals and all seems to be right in the LA Kings Universe  once again. Of course, I’m speaking to the fact that the Sharks are in 1st Place.

I just wish there was some way to visually represent how Kings fans are feeling right now.

Nope.

Not even close.

Jon Quick Is Pumped - The Royal Half

Nailed it.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
4th PLACE, 34-25-11, 79 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

What a week for the Desert Dogs! Three one goals wins against two Pacific Division foes and another against former Pacific Division goalie/freed prisoner, Roberto Luongo.  The Dogs are now four points clear of the Stars, though Dallas has a game in hand.

The win over the Kings was especially gratifying just so we could all see Kings’ fans lose it and start grasping for straws.

Poor Jesse really needs to jump on the Clippers’ bandwagon before the hockey team at Staples breaks his heart.

None of the Yotes wins was easy, in part due to Phoenix’s continued inability to hold or extend two goal leads. However, Mike Smith’s continued his recent run of excellent performances (.935 save % for the week) was enough to hold off the opposition.

The Coyotes power play, now fifth best in the NHL, contributed a goal in each game this week. Remember this one Crowned Head enthusiasts?

Another bit of good news came on Thursday, when the Martys finally got to play together as the Czech Line debuted.

The Coyotes next face the Big Bad Bears at home on Saturday night. The Dogs then hit the road for three straight 80’s flashback games against former Patrick Division squads.

The mantra for the Coyotes’ faithful the rest of the season…

 

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
5th PLACE, 32-30-10, 74 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

The Canucks wrapped up a successful road trip in the Leastern Conference over the weekend. They managed two shoot-out wins a loss to the Caps, and a moral victory over the Lightning.

Do those count for anything in the standings yet? #sigh

Pretty sure nothing else happened…

Oh wait. One of those shootout wins was over the Florida Panthers and some guy named Roberto Luongo. Thank God we got rid of him. He was horrible in shootouts.

The delicious irony of it all was the fact that it happened on Tim Thomas bobblehead night down in Florida. Luongo, Thomas and the Canucks will forever be intertwined in some sort of cosmic symbiotic relationship. I mean, there was Thomas last night stinking up the game against the Flyers, thus eating up one of the Stars’ games in hand over your loveable Canucks:

image

But I digress.

That roadtrip through Florida did give us a glimpse into the Canucks’ future.

No, I’m not talking about the fact that’s where Canucks’ defensemen go when they hit free agency and want to retire on the job.

No, it was this Niklas Jensen kid that has Canucks nation abuzz…

Hmmm…. let’s Google this kid, shall we?

image copy

Er, that can’t be good.

image copy

Oh, well. At least they haven’t hit rock bottom. The same can’t quite be said for their next opponent:

image copy 12

With that in mind, I sure hope the Canucks don’t lose to the Sabres on Sunday. That would be the worst thing ever:

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 28-34-7, 63 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

The only thing worth mentioning about the Flames from this past week is that Mike Cammalleri is on a 5 game point streak, and that might make a lot of you laugh considering the Flames tried to trade hm at the deadline (they’re saying they didn’t, but come on now), and it took the passing of the deadline going unmoved that finally allowed Cammy to round into trade bait form.

And yeah, that’s hilarious. The Flames are in full rebuild, and Cammalleri represented the only real trade chip capable of acquiring a 1st round pick in return (getting ANYTHING for Reto Berra still makes the Deadline a massive win, so whatever, Cammy is Forever A Flame). Cammy will now probably walk away at the end of the year, and there’s a good chance even one of your podunk teams will take a chance on him, so maybe you didn’t lose out in the end, but I don’t know, Pacific Division, to me this just sorta exemplified how you all really cocked this up. Let’s just move down the line and examine this:

Anaheim: Teemu is days away from being whisked away from the mortal coil. Sure he can still play at 96 years old, but hip dysplasia is not a totally uncommon thing. San Jose just overtook your once untenable spot atop the division. You were contenders, man. Now all your players are falling victim to the plague and your season is in jeopardy of becoming the butt of a lot of jokes. Are you sure you don’t want a winger capable of playing 20 minutes a night who has scored 20 goals despite an injury shortened season?

Los Angeles: Oh, I know you wanted Mike Cammalleri. You can act all coy and rest on the laurels of your good Canadian kid Olympic gold medalists (and Jonathan Quick: failure). But remember when the Kings used to be a team that scored goals? Do you?

I think you do.

wayne-gretzky-kings

Those days are over. Now you’re in trouble when Trevor Lewis goes on a goal drought (also known as being Trevor Lewis)

Phoenix: Mike Cammalleri is a good guy. Shane Doan is an asshole. You need Cammalleri just to swing the karmic hockey balance back in your direction. Also, you’re going to be short a forward when it’s revealed Mike Ribeiro died six years ago and is no longer an eligible forward.

ribeiro

/shudder

Vancouver: Well, I believe the Canucks were in on Cammalleri at one point, and then, well..uh

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they’re down here now, so it didn’t make much sense. Lu looks good in Florida red, doesn’t he?

Edmonton: No.

San Jose might be the only team that’s probably in good enough shape to not need Cammy’s services. That’s a deep roster that’s only going to get better when Tomas Hertl eventually comes back. Good up and down the roster.

And we all know the Sharks are going to blow it in the second round anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to give up the asset to get him.

So in the meantime, Flames fans are going to cherish the time we have left with Cammalleri. Some fans argue that he might sign a one year contract if Brian Burke gives him a decent chunk of change to stay on. Others argue that he might be near the top of the class in this year’s free agent pool and it’s possible that competing teams will trade a draft pick for Cammalleri’s negotiating rights ahead of the Free Agent bonanza.

These people are all, of course, horrendously wrong, but it’s fun to dream, isn’t it?

 

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 25-37-9, 59 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

You know, I was fully prepared to sit down and write a well thought out, insightful piece on how the Oilers are finally starting to play with some consistency. (5-3-2 since the Olympic break being the benchmark for “playing with consistency” says everything about the hell we’ve been living through AGAIN this year)

How they had finally started sticking up for each other on the ice and generally acting as, well, a TEAM for once.

There was going to be numbers and records and maybe even some graphs.

I was going to mention how great Martin Marincin has played since his call up, and how that’s been a beacon of light shining through the shitheap that is the Oilers defense.

I definitely would have talked about how the Kingston Cannonball has 9 points in his last 9 games, continuing his ascent to the throne as the best winger in the NHL.

And you can be SURE there would have been plenty of highlights featuring Jordan Eberle single handedly taking down the Nashville Predators on one good knee.

But instead the Oilers had to go out and lose to the Buffalo Sabres tonight so if you’ll excuse me I have to go swallow all of the pills.

P.S THIS GUY more or less beat the Oilers by himself.

#HereComeTheOilers

99 Days Until The Draft

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

PacDiv3-21

Yes, because we all know that winning the Pacific guarantees a Stanley Cup for the Sharks.

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.