PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 10.31.14

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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 the Pacific Division standings… we present the Pacific War Room for the week of October 31st, 2014!

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 6-1-0, 12 POINTS
@EarlSleek

Last season, the Anaheim Ducks lost their season opener, then won the next seven before finally losing again.

This season, the Ducks lost their season opener, then won the next seven before finally losing again.

All this has happened before and will happen again.

Getzlaftica

(Obviously I made that image a long time ago back when Getzlaf had hair.)

Ducks 4, Blue Jackets 1: Last year, it was Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth who had the majority of the winning streak; Freddie Andersen was brought in to win the seventh game. This season, Andersen had most of the winning streak; John Gibson was brought in to win the seventh game. Insert your own version of this joke here: “But Earl, the Ducks don’t win seventh games!”

Anaheim held on for a fairly straightforward victory, though shenanigans towards the end of the game allowed me to drop a pun I’m pretty proud of:

Sharks 4, Ducks 1: Speaking of shenanigans, Anaheim’s first Pacific Division game this season was canceled and replaced by a punching contest, as everybody on the Ducks and Sharks lost their collective minds. Freddie Andersen lost for the first time this season, and Ben Lovejoy broke his hand on Joe Pavelski’s face. Good times.

Ducks 1, Blackhawks 0: Rookie John Gibson, in his 6th ever regular season start, outdueled Scott Darling, playing in his 2nd ever regular season start. Despite the inexperience in net, both goalies were pretty outstanding. Dany Heatley finally made his Anaheim debut, but even with a top-line spot he was fairly invisible. The game was decided in the 3rd period when Devante Smith-Pelly scored on a shorthanded breakaway.

Blues 2, Ducks 0: St. Louis goalie Jake Allen shut the door on the Ducks in another tight contest, while John Gibson suffered his second loss of the season. This brings Anaheim’s season record thus far to 8-3-0, the exact same record they started with last season.

Happy Halloween, everybody! May your costume be as scary as this one.

Sabre Mask Scares Shark

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
2nd PLACE, 7-3-0, 14 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

After a hit and miss stretch for your loveable Vancouver Canucks that had fans wondering if they should just watch every second game, they showed a bit more consistency this past week. At least down here at sea level.

They started the week getting blown out in Denver at then of a road trip that saw them play three games in four nights. But look, I don’t want to make excuses for that embarrassing loss, so I did a little research into just what went into that loss:

Photo 2014-10-25, 2 43 12 PM
First appeared at the Sporting News.

Talk about #gameovergate.

Anyway, the Canucks shook off the loss and have managed to put up three wins over Leastern Conference opponents on the current home stand. Now, this is a lot like the start to last season, where the Canucks managed to keep themselves respectable by feasting on the lesser conference early before completely falling apart in the second half. But despite the similarities, Canucks fans are cautiously optimistic that the coaching and roster changes might produce a different outcome this year:

Either way, somebody’s getting screwed.

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 6-2-2, 14 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half

In the past few years it’s been pretty much impossible for the LA Kings to an win afternoon game. So, naturally, they are now 2-0 in day games. But at what cost, people?!

During their 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, it appeared that Anze Kopitar had his knee bend the wrong way …which was later revealed as an upper-body injury …because the NHL gave up on labeling injuries a long time ago.

Tears from Gustl aside, That 70s Line kept doing Thant 70s Line things.


Man, I love Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson so much.

But away from the Greatest Hockey City in the World, the Kings haven’t fared quite as well.

But this may be the cutest thing ever.
Don’t you agree, Jonathan Quick?

QuickyIsMad…moving on.

Way to keep the 70s scoring streak alive, Dwight King!

Yeah, it didn’t get any better.

But at least the Kings get to play the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday!

SAN JOSE SHARKS
4th PLACE, 6-4-2, 14 POINTS
@Stace_ofBase from Battle of California

This week started at an extremely low point for the San Jose Sharks. This team was riding on a four game losing streak but things seem to finally be turning around. Wait, John Scott’s suspension is over? Crap. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Sharks vs. Sabres, 1-2

This was inevitable. If any Sharks fans thought that San Jose would win this game, they are either completely delusional or a brand new fan. I’ve seen a lot of terrible Sharks games, but this was probably the worst game that I’ve seen San Jose play in a long time. Buffalo doesn’t even want to win, like there’s no interest in trying to be a playoff team, they want to be at the very bottom of the league for McDavid. Sharks couldn’t even win against an obviously tanking team. It’s perfect. Of course this game caused mass hysteria amongst the fans.

Sharks @ Ducks, 4-1

This game really could have gone either way. Anaheim, as painful as it is for me to say this, has a good team this year and were riding on a 7 game winning streak. On the other hand, the Sharks just lost to the worst team in the league…if that isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is. Thankfully, that Buffalo loss was a wake-up call and this game was an apology letter to Sharks fans. It was a complete shit show though. The goons, Tim Jackman and John Scott, truly gooned it up, while Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were trying to take liberties with the young bucks. Not to mention, that Ben Lovejoy fought Joe Pavelski, but Pavelski ended up being the true winner of the fight because Lovejoy broke his hand on his face. The Sharks looked really good this game, it was the best game they’ve had this season. John Scott ended up getting a two game suspension, which really made it the best game in Sharks history. Also, this happened:

Sharks @ Avalanche 3-2 (SO)

Have I mentioned how much I love Brent Burns? Probably not on here so let me tell you. I love him so much. So much that it infurates me that he is on defense. He already has 13 points this season, and I’m pretty certain that if he was a forward, he would probably be on pace for 278 points (give or take, mostly give). Anyway, he’s been awesome and this game was awesome aside from the shorthanded goal that was given up. Also not awesome because somehow the shootout is still a thing, but two points are two points so whatever.

Sharks @ Wild 3-4 (SO)

Something that you may not know about the Wild (considering who cares and also who cares) is that their fan base is particularly sensitive. I feel like most Sharks fans are pretty good about taking jabs because honestly, this team deserves to be made fun of. Another team who deserves to get made fun of? The Wild. Their fans feel like their team deserves so much respect for making the playoffs three times in the past nine seasons. There’s no doubt that the team is pretty good this year, but in a stacked central division, it’s hard to tell if they’re good enough or if they are going to sustain the success they’ve had the first month of the season. Besides, we all know that October success means success in April, right? *crickets* Anyway, the Sharks looked pretty great for a while in this game, but Minnesota picked it up in the second period and the Sharks blew another lead…regained the lead…blew the lead. A tale as old as time. They lost this one in a shootout.

Upcoming

The Sharks finally aren’t playing a weekend back-to-back and they’re finally back at home! They play the Islanders on Saturday, which should be just as fun as the first game they played against them this season. Hopefully the Sharks win this one. Thankfully, John Scott is done with his suspension and he can go back to being an offensive magician–literally he makes all scoring chances disappear.

CALGARY FLAMES
5th PLACE, 5-4-2, 12 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

Happy Halloween!

/sits around campifire, shines flashlight under my face, REAL spookylike

Legend has it, your Calgary Flames played two games last week. The Saddledome was invaded by an army from Washington, and they placed a spell on the Flames that turned them into ZOMBIES. No one is really sure what the Capitals did, but the Flames, they became real slow, and dumb, and if you managed to get a look into their eyes for even a second before they tried to rip you limb from limb and suck on the juices left from your once active brain, you’d wonder if what you were seeing was actually the Flames at all, because they just did not seem to be there.

zombies

They got better. I mean they lost the game, but they stopped being zombies I think. Although sometimes it’s hard to tell with Brandon Bollig.

As if that wasn’t enough, something called a Canadien tried to descend into Calgary, a reign of evil and misery in tow. And I’ll tell you, they tried their hardest, but the Flames rebuked them at every turn.

Just kidding, they lost that game too and everyone on the Flames now looks like this:

9-30i-05

Yeah man, it’s spooky.

After the Habs, and noted helldemon clown Brendan Gallagher left the city in their dust, Mikael Backlund, Matty Franchise, Joe Colborne, and Mason Raymond were left vanquished, shells of their once former selves. Their souls, injured. Their bodies, more s0. Backlund and Stajan are expected to miss a significant amount of time. (gulp). Losing your best centerman and possession player is terrifying, and losing a good depth center in Stajan adds enough to the drama that I might just pee my pants.

Yeah, that’s my excuse.

Hey, petbugs, don’t bogart those s’mores!

Anyway, oddly enough, David Jones, who returned from injury to play in the shootout loss to the Habs on Tuesday, managed to escape injury, but the night is not over yet.

That’s it for my fireside tales of excruciating woe. I mean, it’s Halloween, there’s candy out there to be had, and…what’s that, you want more? Your levels of horror are not fully satiated??!?! You are all truly sick people.

Fine, but let’s make this quick, there’s a whole score of Coffee Crisps out there with my name on it. We’ll go with some quick #ScaryStoriesIn5Words, in the interest of time.

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words Welcome back, Mr. Brian McGrattan

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words Mikael Backlund Season Ending Injury

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words The Return Of Heather Liscano

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words Scorch Becomes Mascot For Blues

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words The First Place Arizona Coyotes

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words Royal Half Featured Columnist Floob

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words Yes I’m Still Doing This

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words

#ScaryStoriesIn5Words

I guess that’s it. That was worse than expected wasn’t it? Look man, the Flames played two games this week and all that really happened were players got injured. I will, however, leave you with one more scary story, the scariest thing a Flames fan can ever see, something that…happened…last week. It’s a tale so dark and sinister it will make your blood curdle, your fists clench, and your brow sweat for eternity. It’s an unspeakable thing, the sort of evil that only occurs once in a generation, but when it does, all you can do is let out an ear piercing shriek and recoil in fear, regressing to an infantile state that is near impossible to make your way out of.

I warn you, it’s pretty graphic:

*shudder

I guess we want a McDavid for Christmas. The rest of the season could be mercilessly impious.

Candy awaits!

EDMONTON OILERS
6th PLACE, 4-5-1, 9 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation

All good things must come to an end. The longest win streak since 2008 was fun while it lasted, but we all kind of knew it would end the second we didn’t get to play those hilariously inept Eastern conference teams.

This is more or less how I envisioned the Oilers season would go. They’d look like they finally turned a corner and then NOPE BACK TO BEING MEDIOCRE AGAIN. This team has been fairly Jekyll and Hyde for the last couple seasons, but this year looks to be more Jekyll than anything else, WHICH IS EXCITING. Side tangent: is it just me or is Dr. Jekyll a WAY more menacing sounding name than *nasally voice* Mister Hyyydddeeee. You really screwed the pooch on this one Robert Louis Stevenson. What the hell is wrong with y-

OH GOD YOU ARE TERRIFYING PLEASE DON’T HAUNT MY DREAMS THE NAMES ARE TOTALLY FINE I’M SORRY!

ANYWAY, last time we checked in the Oilers had just won two games in a row. Against all odds they doubled down and won four! FOUR! That’s almost as many fingers as I have on one hand! *Looks at hand* Yeah the math totally checks out!

The Oilers handily dusted the Connorlina McDavidanes in a game that saw everyone’s favorite lil schnitzel, Dr. Drai, score his first NHL goal!

*Please disregard the 15 clear penalties that should have been called on David Perron*

Is it me or does it smell like Du Maurier and self loathing in here?

A couple days later all the smart (and I use that term loosely) Quebecois that fled their horrible home province *buries Quebec birth certificate in backyard* co-opted Rexall Place and let me tell you it was a horrible experience.

FOR THEM! The Oilers whitewashed the best team in the league 3-0, behind another outrageously good performance from everyone’s favorite ivy-leaguer, and all-around just really great fucking dude.

Hey coach Eakins, how would you describe the Canadiens performance?

And then it was back to reality. From the jump the Oilers looked like they were in tough against Nashville, and even with the refs fully on their side the Oilers still ended up getting trounced.

Taylor Hall’s signature toe-drag failed for the 103902839082390283409823482098234098th consecutive time

and Dallas Eakins seemed nonplussed by the whole thing.

At the end of the day the Oilers are one game below .500, which is literally the best their record has been since 1993. I still don’t believe this team is going to make the playoffs but if the season continues like this then at least they’ll finally be not-the-worst, which, I think we can all agree is a bigger achievement than winning some silly trophy or whatever.

ARIZONA COYOTES
7th PLACE, 3-5-1, 7 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

If there has been one team which has been a horror show so far this young NHL season it’s been the Buffalo Sabres. The guys from upstate New York have been pinned in their own zone for over 3 weeks.


However, at least for Buffalo fans there is a silver lining in the form of Connor McDavid.

Unfortunately, for fans in Arizona they have little to look forward to except saving money on playoff tickets all while their team plays just well enough to have next to zero chance of drafting McDavid or Jack Eichel. No team with the lack of offensive firepower and relatively inexperienced blueline the Yotes have should be expected to be a playoff squad. Therefore the results so far this season have been predictable. Some good, some bad, and some, like this past Tuesday night, downright awful.

The Coyotes season is like watching a zombie movie. For all purposes they were dead before the season even began, but somehow they reanimate every couple of nights with just enough life to make you think there may be something there only to later realize, nope, they are still dead men walking.

People will talk about the team’s PDO being second worst in the NHL and how their luck is bound to change. Maybe they will get a couple of more bounces, but when you look at the roster and the problems they’ve had so far this season lots of things line up. Would you expect this roster in it’s entirety to have even NHL average shooting or save percentages? Probably not.

What other choice would the fans vote for. After all, if not for the squad’s 2nd ranked power play, the team would be another floor or two down in the Western dungeon.

This past week Arizona played three games against two teams from the other state with sunny days, large retirement communities, crazy politics, weekday crowd sizes which make the Canadian press apoplectic, and an ability to produce surf champions like Kelly Slater and Rick Kane.

As for the actual hockey games this week, the Desert Dogs split a home and home with the lowly Panthers and gave up a touchdown to the Lightning. The only highlights of note from the boys from the desert both occurred this past Saturday night in their OT win over Florida.


Coyotes’ fans should probably spend the rest of the season looking up names like Dylan Strome and Colin White or watching Youtube highlights of Max Domi because it appears they may be “Keepin’ Halloween Alive” all season long.

Arzona’s next game is on Saturday against Eastern Conference bottom dweller Carolina on Saturday. Día de los muertos indeed.

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

War Room Standings 10.31.2014

Hang in there, Coyotes fans.

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!

PumperNicholl is a lifelong LA Kings fan and actually learned how to speak English from Bob Miller by watching LA Kings games… and the Police Academy movies.You should probably follow PumperNicholl on Twitter @pumpernicholl