PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 11.7.14

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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 November 7th, 2014!

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 10-3-1, 21 POINTS
@EarlSleek

A fairly crazy week for the top-of-the-league Ducks, as they lost more players this week than hockey games.

Ducks 2, Stars 1 (OT): The Ducks went into high-scoring Dallas and shut them down (see below on the Kings update for more of that). In the second period, the Ducks allowed only one shot on goal, though it did require a pretty amazing save out of Andersen. Anaheim scored both its goals 4-on-4, as Corey Perry had a goal and an assist while Nate Thompson tipped home the overtime winner.

Ducks 3, Avalanche 2: Goalie panic! Freddie Andersen had a minor leg tweak, so Jason LaBarbera was flown in to be the backup. But when John Gibson got hurt during warmups, Labs became the instant starter, while 45-year-old goalie consultant Dwayne Roloson hastily suited up to be the backup for the night.

LaBarbera was pretty awful, though he was playing in his third game in three nights. But the Ducks clamped down, only allowing 7 Avalanche shots over the last two periods. In the end, three different Ducks goaltenders had picked up wins on a pretty scary four-game trip.

Islanders 3, Ducks 2 (OT): News came out that Andersen’s injury was day-to-day, while Gibson will be out six weeks, so Jason LaBarbera started his second consecutive game. Then, just to be sporting, the Ducks also announced that both Getzlaf and Perry would miss the Islander game thanks to the flu! I have to go deep in the Sleektoon archives to recycle a cartoon about that! :)

avianflu

LaBarbera was pretty awful again – his rebound control is pretty nonexistent. The Islanders scored twice before the Ducks, minus their top two players and their top two goalies, responded. Anaheim managed a standings point (nearly two – not sure how that third period puck wasn’t in the net) against a solid team in some pretty crummy circumstances, and I’m pretty happy with that.

I wrote last week about the Ducks mirroring their season start from last year, and it’s still holding true. Through 14 games, Anaheim is 10-3-1, the same record they started with last season. Again they’re dealing with a lengthy goalie injury (last year it was Viktor Fasth) and with roster fluctuation, but they’re finding ways to win.

Get better, everybody!

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
2nd PLACE, 10-4-0, 20 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

It was another eventful week in Canucksville.

They started off the week with another game against the Oilers, which they managed to win on a short-handed goal by Derek Dorsett.

Yes, you read that right. A short-handed goal. By Derek Dorsett.

Oh, Oilers.

But look, I should stop picking on them. There’s many reasons why the Edmonton rebuild is into it’s ninth year, but I’m starting to think that maybe it was never about the rebuild:

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First appeared at the Sporting News.

Somebody really should start up an #Oilersgate hashtag.

Anyway, back to your loveable Canucks.

Appropriately enough, they moved on from playing the team who’s fans invented the schedule loss right into a schedule loss against the Nashville Predators, who were waiting for them back in Vancouver the next day. And to add injury to insulting scheduling, the Canucks lost Kevin Bieksa to a freak injury as the puck squirted straight up in a scrum to catch him just below the eye. Bieksa left the game pressing a towel to his eye and did not return, leaving the Canucks with four defensemen and Luca Sbisa.

Luckily Bieksa escaped serious injury and returned unscathed for the next game. He was, however, still not wearing a visor despite the close call and calls for him to wear one from pretty much everyone. You would think that after being on a team where both Matthias Ohlund and Manny Malhotra suffered near career-ending eye injuries, he would finally give in. But nope.

Fine. It’s his call, I suppose. But one day, he will no longer need to wear a visor:

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I just hope when that day comes, it’s of his own choosing.

The loss to Nashville ended the Canucks’ modest four-game winning streak, and sent them off on a four game road swing that started with a rematch against the Avalanche, in Denver. Although Bieksa was back in the line-up for this one, Tom Sestito was not. Mercifully, he was also injured in the game against the Predators, and with #alexfromVancouver sitting out the second of his three game suspension, it meant that Cory Schneider Bo Horvat finally got to see action as a Vancouver Canuck.

Trololol

But it was Bo Nino that stole the show, notching two in the third to help the Canucks come back from a 2-0 first period deficit to the Winter Disasters. It’s a good thing that Roy saved that franchise. Too bad Corsi scored on the rebound:

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First appeared at the Sporting News.

From Denver, the Canucks moved on to face the Sharks in the first serious test of the young season. Yeah, I know they’re 14 games in, but those extended pre-season games against AHL (Alberta Hockey League) and ECHL (Eastern Conference Hockey League) teams don’t really count.

Despite a rather rocky start to this one, the loveable Canucks fought their way back into it and hung on for the last second win. Literally. The Sharks once again showing that they just don’t match up to the LA Kings, either on the ice or in their mastery of the coulombs.

At this time, I would also like to retract an response to a hypothetical question that was posed on Twitter yesterday:

After watching the Canucks/Sharks game, I would like to change my answer.

Also of note in this game, Zack Kassian was a healthy scratch. I’m not sure if it has to do with his work ethic or his lack of scoring. I’m just glad Tom Sestito wasn’t available to take his spot, so head coach Willie Desjardins went with rookie phenom Bo Horvat, who once again didn’t score. Luckily Bo Nino continued on his hot pace.

Now, speaking of scoring troubles, it wouldn’t be Graphic Comments if I didn’t comment on this whole Michael Del Zotto thing. I’m sure you’ve all heard the story by now, but just want to offer him a bit of advice. The worst thing you can do when you’re having trouble scoring is tightening the grip on the shaft:

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CALGARY FLAMES
3rd PLACE, 8-5-2, 18 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

Since we last checked in, the Flames haven’t lost a game, and if I’ve done my math correctly, we can reasonably project that they’ll never lose another game ever again (I mean, if you project their 100% winning percentage over these last three games over the course of the rest of the season, that percentage jumps up to about 600%, which is pretty, pretty, preeeeeettttttyyyy good).

As a result, the Flames sit tied for fourth in the West and ninth overall and I don’t know about you, but I’m getting vertigo from being this far up in the standings.

But how does this happen? The Flames have been decimated by injuries, losing key players in Backlund, Raymond, Colborne, and Stajan, and even lost a member of the recall cavalry in Michael Ferland making his NHL debut. The team’s success lately has come by committee, with a couple of Smurfs in Johnny Gaudreau and Paul Byron, the establishment of Markus Granlund (affectionately known as The Good Granlund” ’round my place), and of course, the usual unreal play of whichever goalie gets tossed between the pipes on any given night and the Superhero Commando Elite that is TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano (who score more than GRETZKY, at least more than Wayne has scored this year, anyway).

But still, it makes little sense. This team is not supposed to be this good. What is going on? Surely the fact that they’re mostly being outpossessed and outshot and riding a higher than average PDO and this is all going to come crashing down at some point is bullshit right? It has to be something else.

And then I did the math (which as we’ve seen, is unassailable). The answer, of course, is the St Louis Blues and bacterial infections. The Brodie and Gio of filth:

(eating stray dogs builds up an immunity to human autoimmune diseases)

Anyway, it turns out the story was a hoax, the CDC was never in St Louis, but their bacterial infection was a real thing.

Yeah, sure it was. I know what’s really going on here:

(pause for dramatic effect)

(Man I could use a hot dog right now)

(Catch Saving Christmas, starring Kirk Cameron, in theatres everywhere November 14th)

ZOMBIES!!!

It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? The Blues are patient zero and they have spread zombie mucous germs across the league, and everyone is falling prey to it.

Think about it. How hard would it be to win a hockey game when your opponents are skating around like this:

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I mean, sure, it’s well coordinated, but you’d skate around that every time.

If you saw the Flames past two games against the Habs, and the effort the CH put into those games, you’d be buying into this theory pretty damn quick.

So why hasn’t it affected Calgary? What makes them so damn special anyway? Altitude, man. That thin mountain air makes the Flames stronger and is known to kill off even the strongest iterations of the zombie bacteria known to fester in full grease traps and roadkill (things you’ll find in abundance inside the St. Louis Blues dressing room) Simply put, Calgary is geographically advantaged to survive the zombie outbreak. One would say they’re about as high elevation-wise as they are in the standings.

(There are no answers for the Colorado Avalanche)

In completely unrelated news, Johnny Gaudreau was suffering from some pretty legitimate flu like symptoms earlier in the week.

Oh shit.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
4th PLACE, 7-4-3, 17 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

I wish there was some way to visually represent the past week for the LA Kings, in which they went 1-2-1, including 3 losses to… *shudders*… Eastern Conference Teams!

Williams Wink - The Royal Half

Nope.

Darryl Sutter Tongue - Oct 31, 2014

Closer.

Chris Sutter Tickling MattGreene

No way at all! But doesn’t this make you smile?

JonQuickSmile11_4_14

It sure does.

Antoine Roussel vs Gatorade

Nailed it.

Sure, the Kings struggled mightily over the last few games. But there was one bright, shining light from last week.

At least the Kings weren’t the first team to lose to Carolina.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
5th PLACE, 7-5-2, 6 POINTS
@Stace_ofBase from Battle of California

The Sharks had a well deserved four days off between games this week. After having to play back-to-backs almost every week since the season started, it was nice that they were able to get some time off to lose any and all momentum they had from their game on Saturday. Let’s Vancouver right in, shall we?

Sharks vs. Islanders, 3-1

The Sharks had failed to do well at home so far this season, to pay homage to their loyal fans who have stuck around and barely have the will to live. This was the first game back since a week long road trip where they seemed to get in the swing of things again and got points in all three games. The Isles kicked off the game with Kyle Okposo scoring but the Sharks got one back less than three minutes later from Tomas Hertl due to the prowess of Tommy Wingels. Tommy Wingels has been brilliant this season, in fact, he’s been one of the best players this season. It seems like being made fun of for having a little boy name has finally paid off. At the end of the period, Sharks lost Scott Hannan due to injury and surprisingly did not give up any goals the rest of the game. Couture got the game winner and a sugar cube, whilst Sheppard scored the insurance goal.

Sharks vs. Canucks, 2-3

Due to scheduling, it has been almost a year since these two teams have met (outside of those preseason games that nobody cares about) and it was a pretty fun, yet frustrating game. Vancouver has been doing extremely well this season, even with their window being closed and all. Sheppard opened up the scoring midway through the first and Vrbata, who I had no idea was even on the Canucks, tied up the game at the end of the first. Couture got the go-ahead goal halfway through the second. A go-ahead goal in hockey terms typically means the goal that puts a team ahead, but for the Sharks it is actually the go-ahead-and-blow-it goal. The Canucks got goals from Elder and Bonino and were up at the end of the second. Historically, the Sharks had played awful in the third period but they looked pretty damn good. In typically shorky fashion, they failed to score, except at the end the very last second. The goal was so last second that time had actually expired before it crossed the line and they failed to take the game into overtime. If only the Sharks had coulombs on their side…

Upcoming

The Sharks are getting back to their hectic schedule, going on yet another road trip. They won’t be back home until the 19th. This weekend they are playing a back-to-back against Dallas and Chicago, two teams who have been slumping as of late, which typically means that they will play their best games of the season against the Sharks. Not sure why Dallas is even playing games since they have already been named the 2014-2015 Stanley Cup Champions, but whatever. Even though Dallas hasn’t been doing well as of late, I’m excited to see the game because they’ve been pretty fun to watch the past couple of seasons.

Chicago, on the otherhand, has been a bore and I will probably take a nap during that game.

 

ARIZONA COYOTES
6th PLACE, 5-6-1, 11 POINTS
@BrendanPorter from Five For Howling

WE’VE WON TWO GAMES IN A ROW!!! LOOK OUT PACIFIC DIVISION, THE COYOTES ARE ON A ROLL.

*Looks up Pacific Division standings*

Oh.

Well, suck it Edmonton at least?

The Arizona Coyotes climbed their way back into 6th place thanks to regulation wins against both the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Edmonton tried their hardest to hold onto not-last-place in the Pacific, activating sleeper agent Devan Dubnyk in the game against the Capitals to the tune of five conceded goals.

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I’m on to you “Devan”, if that is your real name.

Surprisingly though, Arizona decided that it was in the mood to score six because everybody in Washington should be miserable in the days leading up to Election Day.

Continuing the theme of nothing blue winning on Election night, the Coyotes hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday evening, winning 3-2 thanks in large part to faulty Edmonton sleeper agent Sam Gagner:

Pictured: “Bad Leafs Defense” is redundant, but whatever.

The Coyotes also received offense from Tobias Rieder and Martin Erat, in what is probably the first recorded instance of a German and a Czech working together to accomplish something voluntarily. Their newfound and heartwarming friendship (citation needed) will be tested as they play the Anaheim Ducks this evening and the Brooklyn Islanders of the Team Formerly Known as New York.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 4-8-1, 9 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation

We’re officially out of the honeymoon phase with Dallas Eakins and have started to transition nicely the “everything you do drives me fucking crazy, how can any human being on earth even breathe that loudly” phase. I will still dumbly give him the benefit of the doubt but I’m starting to believe there’s definitely an argument that he’s just not a good fit to coach this team.

DeadManEakins

Buffalo tonight. WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?

 
 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

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Somewhere, the Northwest Division sheds a tear.

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.
  • Jefferson

    It’s easy to believe that the FLAMES will win all the rest of
    their games this year from this point on, and also win all the individual trophies at the end of the year.

    Of course they will then make history by taking the STANLEY CUP
    in a three game sweep (because nobody would be stupid enough to play them for
    four games).