PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 1.16.15
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 January 16th, 2015!
1st PLACE, 28-10-6, 62 POINTS
Teemu! Teemu! Teemu!
— MikaSandell (@HjuulioSandell) January 12, 2015
— George Parros (@GeorgeParros) January 12, 2015
The Ducks threw together a tremendous gathering for their first number retirement, which was fitting for Anaheim’s favorite son Teemu. Scott Niedermayer, Saku Koivu, Chris Pronger, Todd Marchant, J.S. Giguere, George Parros, Jari Kurri, Steve Rucchin and Guy Hebert were all part of the ceremony – pretty much everyone except Paul Kariya, which I’ll get to in a second. Plenty of fanfare and hardware were utilized, plus both the Ducks and Winnipeg Jets wore historic Selanne jerseys during warmups. It was a pretty fabulous night, especially compared to the Buffalo Sabres’ quick-and-dirty Dominik Hasek retirement later in the week.
Sure, the Hasek retirement ceremony was a scrambled flop, but I think that was to celebrate his style of play.
— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) January 15, 2015
Now when it comes to Kariya, Ducks fans are pretty split – some care too much about the insulting way he left Anaheim; some care too much that he was the face of a developing franchise with a silly fucking name, and did it well. If it were up to me, I’d retire No. 9 as soon as possible. But then again, he didn’t show up to Teemu’s night, and that was conspicuous. I do know that Teemu got Paul to attend the last regular season game last year (the night he paraded around with Giguere), but Kariya just doesn’t show up in Anaheim – tough to really know what that’s about.
Anyways, awesome night, Ducks. Thanks for everything, Teemu.
And oh yeah, the Ducks beat the Jets and the Leafs this week – Corey Perry even got a mumps trick.
2014-15 team photo. pic.twitter.com/zhMTmU818b
— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) January 12, 2015
SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 24-16-5, 53 POINTS
@stace_ofbase from Battle of California
Hello and good day to you, my beautiful Pacific Division friends and foes. This week got a little bit better for the San Jose Sharks, considering they did not have to play the St. Louis Blues. Also for the fact that they did not play any Pacific Division rivals – sorry
Phoenix Arizona. The All-Star break is almost upon us and no one is more excited than me, you’ll understand once you see my content for the week!
San Jose Sharks vs. New York Rangers, 1-3
Whatever, I don’t care. I was just happy to see Dan Boyle again. He’s the best.
And just like that I’m crying all over again.
San Jose Sharks @
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes, 3-2
Man the Coyotes are bad, they’re like a couple more trades away from quite possibly being Edmonton bad. They’re tanking hard and fast. Whenever I got a bad grade in school growing up, my dad would always tell me you have to TRY to fail, which never really made sense because trying means actually completing assignments.
Phoenix Arizona is TRYING to fail – I get it now. My dad was right all along. I think my school work still was of the Edmonton caliber rather than Phoenix Arizona though, but whatever.
Tomas Hertl scored a pretty little goal, his first in 12 games, and Devan Dubnyk was punished by being traded to the Minnesota Wild the very next day. I wonder which goaltender’s career Hertl will ruin next…
San Jose Sharks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-1
OK so, I’m not on Twitter for the time being but eight people sent me this exchange and it’s amazing:
— Dudicle of doom (@CHolton14) January 16, 2015
God damn, that’s good shit right there. I’ve been laughing about it for 14 hours. You got goosed Kevin Kurz, yous a chump, SON.
Oh yeah, the Leafs lost yet again to a California team, which makes them 0-3 on their little roady. California rules, Canada drools.
Patrick Marleau scored his first goal in 16 games!! Now the flood gates have opened and he will score 69 goals by March. Patty is No. 1!
Tommy Wingels scored his second goal in 17 games but I was unaware there was a problem because he does so many wonderful things on the ice that I don’t really care if he isn’t contributing to the scoresheet. So yay, he scored, he’s amazing, he’s the Wind Beneath My Wingels, etc.
It felt like everyone got off the schneid this week and I’m pretty happy because the Sharks can quite possibly get back to having reliable scoring rather than banking on people who time traveled to 2015 from 1845 to shoe some horses and play some stick and puck.
Niemi update: He’s still not very good… That bounce back year everyone was talking about … is that in the near future, or…
It’s almost like he had a couple good seasons and winning a Stanley Cup caused him to be overhyped and he actually isn’t very good! Wait, this seems like a familiar storyline….
This weekend the Sharks play the Flames, who if you recall, went on a eight-game losing streak after the Sharks graced them with their presence at the beginning of December. Will the Sharks break them again? Tune in next week to see my dear friend Floob sobbing.
3rd PLACE, 24-15-3, 51 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army
The Vancouver Canucks’ roller coaster season continues, although the ups seem to be gettin a lot shorter than the downs of late. After scoring only twice in their previous three games, your loveable Canuckleheads rolled into Philadelphia and coasted to a 4-0 shutout victory.
Yes, that’s how bad it’s getting. I’m resorting to silly word games.
What else is there to do other than repeat myself.
But look, if you’re not sure how you’re supposed to feel about the Canucks at any given point in time, just consult this handy chart:
And you thought that #fancystats were a waste of time.
Anyway, since I don’t want to just repeat myself and either compare this year’s Canucks to last year’s train wreck, or tell you how things are looking rosy again, let’s instead look to the future.
And the theme for the week ahead is Canucks’ defensemen past.
With three games remaining on the road trip, the Canucks will be seeing some old faces on the blue line over the next week, starting most importantly with the return of Dan Hamhuis in Carolina tonight (or maybe last night, depending when I actually get this post finished).
But Hamhuis will actually still be wearing Canucks colours.
When the team swings through Florida next week, they’ll get to visit the retirement home for former Canucks defensemen, starting with Willie Mitchell
and Shane O’Brien (ooops, shockingly now in the minors) now with the Panthers, and then Jason Garrison and Matthias Ohlund (ooops, on injured reserve, again, poor guy) in Tampa Bay.
Ahh, remember the good times when we had any one of those guys on the blue line instead of Luca Sbisa? Heck, I think I would still take any one of them over Sbisa today.
Speaking of defensemen who are not Sbisa, the NHL will then break for the weekend to showcase the #NotAllStars Game, which will not include P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson or Viktor Hedman:
Orginally published at The Sporting News.
Good job, good effort NHL.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
4th PLACE, 20-14-10 50 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half
Anyone else concerned that the LA Kings have lost more games than they have won this year?
No? Well, OK then.
It was more of the same for the Kings this week:
Yep, another 1-1-1 week while the rest of the Pacific Division’s (good) teams continue to win.
Frustrating as it may be, this has sadly become the norm for the Kings:
Kings friends don't let Kings friends log in during December and January.
— THX BUD (@thxbud) January 15, 2015
Well it can’t be THAT bad can it?
Kings had NHL best .935 save % through first 20 games of the season….NHL worst .857 in last 10 games.
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) January 16, 2015
WHY DID I ASK?!
To make things even cheerier…
Per hockey ops, Tanner Pearson (fractured left fibula) will require surgery later this week. No timetable for his return at this point.
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) January 12, 2015
Indeed Toffoli does have mono – apparently got the test results back last night
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) January 11, 2015
…at least he’s scoring off the ice!!!
On the plus side, the Kings are sending two players to the All-Star game. And the East Coast media may actually talk about them during the regular season!
Which means Drew Doughty may finally get a Norris Trophy.
And Anze Kopitar is crafting his Selke bid with 21 points in his past 13 games.
The week ahead could be huge for the Kings as they face the Ducks, Flames and Sharks before the All-Star break.
So expect another 1-1-1 week, Kings fans!
5th PLACE, 23-18-3, 49 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation
(Last week, PumperNicholl edited out all my correctly placed u’s to Americanize all the spellings in my post. Let’s see you try to pull that one off this week, smart guy)
EDITOR’S NOTE: *crying* Fine, u win.
Your Calgary Flames went into the week knowing that they were going to have a lot of time off to practice and get things right before heading out on a long road trip. I guess what they realized during that time is you’re going to play
Phoenix Arizona, so don’t worry about it.
Yes, after blanking the Canucks on a hard fought, well earned, the Canucks are the bowel cancer of the league win, the Flames took for days off to prepare for a western road swing that will see them probably go 3-0 against the Kings this season, because if there’s one thing the Flames do, it’s beat the Los Angeles Kings.
So long as Jonas Hiller isn’t in net, apparently. Last Friday’s game against the Panthers was the most fun I’ve ever had at a hockey game in my life, but maybe it was more fun for Hiller, who perfected his Al Montoya impression against Al Montoya in a 6-5 loss. It was like watching two Goldberg’s play against each other.
But Hiller’s hilarious impression opened the door for Joni Ortio, on the Flames due to the injury to fellow Finn Karri Ramo, to steal the stage this week, as he stopped a billion shots against the Canucks for his first NHL shutout, and now basically confirms that Ramo is getting traded.
But he almost didn’t make it. With inclement weather and plane delays, Ortio arrived in Calgary to backup Hiller in Florida almost an entire day late. At times no one knew where he was, which allowed for the Bob Hartley comedy hour to take full effect:
#Flames coach Bob Hartley on G Joni Ortio's travel issues: "Check with NORAD. He's like tracking down Santa."
— Wes Gilbertson (@SUNGilbertson) January 9, 2015
The other news of the week is that Mikael Backlund continues to forget how to not score. It has been four days since he returned from injury and all he’s done is be the best and grow a great mustache and score in every game.
Also, this team is the best:
— Ryanosaurus (@ryan_jt) January 11, 2015
To close out the week, some quick news. Mark Giordano is going to the All-Star Game, and Johnny Gadreau (Johnny Hockey™) will join him as one of the Rookie stars, but the All-Star Game is fucking stupid and no one cares so it’s not worth talking about. Also I hear Fall Out Boy will be there, so you don’t really need any more star power than that.
The Flames also made a pretty significant move this week, trading Corban Knight back to the Florida Panthers for centerman Drew Shore, who is pretty good, and should factor nicely next week when the Flames beat the Kings again. Hope to see you there. There being the next time the Flames beat the Kings.
6th PLACE, 16-23-4, 36 POINTS
@BrendanPorter from Five For Howling
What are Coyotes fans clinging to for hope now this season?
You guessed it: it’s only losing by one goal to a Pacific Division team!
Arizona lost Tuesday night’s game 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks, which is either a sign of improvement (Note: the first 12 times we said this don’t count) or an aberration. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk really did a great job giving his team a chance to win, so naturally…
We know you’re tanking, but do you have to make it this obvious?
So the Arizona Coyotes will ride Mike Smith for the rest of the season. What does that mean for the Coyotes? Well, there are two goaltenders on the Edmonton Oilers. Both have better save percentages than Mike Smith. In fact, Mike Smith’s save percentage is so bad ESPN won’t even put it on the first page of stats.
The word “qualified” at the top of the table is one way of putting it
How did the Mike Smith Experience work out? Well, last night, Arizona lost 4-1 to the Calgary Flames. Smith made 21 stops on 24 shots, which very nearly bumped up his save percentage on the year.
Arizona does not come back to Glendale until February 5th, thanks in large part to some football game happening there this year. When they return, they will play a playoff game versus the Carolina Hurricanes. Granted, it’s a Connor McDavid playoff game, but who cares?
“Who Cares?” is also an accurate description of the Coyotes’ season.
7th PLACE, 10-26-9, 29 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation
The Oilers beat the Blackhawks. I REPEAT, the Edmonton Oilers beat the Chicago Blackhawks! This is not a drill!
This is actually not surprising in the least, because no matter how terrible the Oilers are in any given season they somehow always seem to find a way to humiliate the Blackhawks when they come to town (PLEASE DISREGARD 7-1 BLACKHAWKS WIN FROM NOVEMBER A.K.A that time all the fans booed the Oilers when they walked back to the dressing room). There was Sam Gagner’s eight-point night. There was a 6-5 win in which YANN DANIS was the winning goaltender. There was a 9-2 drubbing back in 2011 that saw a 13-year-old Ryan-Nugent-Hopkins recordfive5 assists.
A broken clock is right twice a day, and the last place Oilers will somehow blowout the Blackhawks once a season. It’s one of the universe’s most unexplainable mysteries.
Was this team turning a corner? Was Todd Nelson actually the answer to the Oilers problems? Were the Oilers about to make a huge push for a 28th place finish?
LOL NOPE THEY IMMEDIATELY WENT ON TO LOSE ALL THE GAMES!
They pulled out some classic Exciting Last Place Hockey against the Panthers, even going so far as to only be down by one goal with five minutes left in the game! Thankfully TheCaptainAndrewFerence is nothing if not a team player, and he’s sticking to the “Acquire All Of The First Overall Draft Picks” mandate set by management five years ago.
It was then off to St. Louis for the first of a 4 game road trip leading up to the All-Star break. Tarasenko’s goal to put the Blues up 1-0 basically sums up the entire game for the Oilers.
And as it turns out the Oilers defensive coverage could still use a little work…
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) January 14, 2015
#ELPH was back in Tampa, with the Oilers soundly outshooting the Lighting and still somehow finding a way to lose! And by somehow of course I mean having Justin Schultz anywhere near Steve Stamkos (or in an NHL game for that matter).
That’s So Jhultz!
That Is Also So Jhultz! Believe it or not this buttfumble ended up in the back of the Oilers net as the game winner.
You know what gang, I’m starting to get the feeling that this has more to do with just plain ol’ bad luck, and that the Oilers might actually be a terrible hockey team. Thankfully the Oilers are in the thick of an internal audit to find out just what exactly is wrong with this team, and they should release the findings by 2024 or so. I CAN’T WAIT!
162 days until McDavid.
TRH WILD CARD WATCH™
Leafs are taking Horachek's five guys in a zone talk too literally pic.twitter.com/829zUMHf8b
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 16, 2015
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!