PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 1.2.15

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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 January 2nd, 2015!

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 24-9-6, 54 POINTS
@EarlSleek

Anaheim had a so-so record the last two weeks, going 2-2-1, mostly against Pacific opponents. It was enough to keep them atop the league in points, while players like Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry were getting back in the lineup, but did continue a weird trend: the Ducks went 2-0-1 in their one goal games and got blown out in their losses. Here’s how their season has gone, graph-wise: OneGoalGraph

Ten regulation losses by a single goal; zero regulation losses by a single goal. That’s winning a lot of coin flips (and missing a lot of empty nets). And of the 6 OT/SO losses, 5 of them came during a two-week stretch in November when Perry and Beauchemin first came down with the mumps, then both goalies Andersen and Gibson got injured as well. For whatever reason, even with pretty depleted lineups, the Ducks have had a strong run in making games close, then frequently taking the W.

MiniatureWs That sort of success isn’t really sustainable, but it’s nice to be sitting atop the league considering all the injuries and illnesses. Going into the new year, Anaheim’s lineup is starting to look more and more complete, many of its young prospects have gotten a taste of NHL experience, and at least one experiment appears to be over – Dany Heatley was waived then sent down to AHL Norfolk.


Happy New Year, everybody!

LOS ANGELES KINGS 2nd PLACE, 19-12-8, 46 POINTS @PumperNicholl from The Royal Half

Wait, wait, wait… you’re telling me the LA Kings LOST to the Edmonton Oilers and somehow also propelled themselves into 2nd place in the Pacific Division?!

Suddenly, 2015 doesn’t feel scary at all. Especially since Kings fans have their fearless captain leading them into the new year!

Well, um, there has to be something that we can all find comfort in…

That’ll do nicely.

BONUS:

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
3rd PLACE, 21-12-3, 45 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

It was an ominous end to 2014 in Canuckland

Despite seemingly coming out of the early December slide with three wins and a shootout loss over the Christmas period, there is definitely a sense of foreboding among the faithful.

And the New Year’s Day outing against the Kings did nothing to dispel it, as the Canucks turtled their way through another game with an early lead only to blow it late.

Except this time, they didn’t even manage to pick up a loser point like they had in Anaheim earlier in the week. The last minute collapse brings back memories of a similar late collapse and subsequent overtime loss to Pittsburgh early in 2014, which is seen be some as the beginning of the end for Tortorella and the Canucks last season:

Ring in the New Year indeed. I’m starting to feel a little like a Leafs fan:

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But despair not, Canucks fans. There is hope on the horizon. Dan Hamhuis is skating again and is expected back in mid to late January. Of course, by then the Canucks could be completely out of it because as Hamhuis goes, so does the blue line:

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Kevin Bieksa especially is a complete tire fire when paired with anyone but Hamhuis. Well, maybe Chris Tanev, but he’s busy making Alex Edler into an NHL defenseman again. So Hamhuis’ return can’t come soon enough for the beleaguered defense corps.

As for those comparisons to January 2014, I remain skeptical. I mean, it’s a week that starts with a one goal loss to the Kings and ends with a Saturday night game against the Flames. What can possibly go wrong?

SAN JOSE SHARKS
4th PLACE, 20-13-5, 45 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Battle of California

Hey guys, Stace is busy this week, so I’m covering the Sharks for her.

I will be writing about how the Flames beat the Kings and the Oilers and the Kings and the Oilers, and how they don’t really seem to lose so much anymore, but at some point, when you keep beating the Kings and the Oilers, you start saying the same things over and over, so taking on both Flames and Sharks duties this week was really not much of a challenge. Especially when I only saw one of the Sharks games this week, meaning I can really phone this in.

Get ready for Barcaly Goodrow puns and Ryan Getzlaf bald jokes! Since we last checked in, the Sharks have gone 2-2-1, with all the games against other Pacific foes, except for the Blues, who kinda had their own thing going on this week:

The Blues twitter account gaining sentience is the most St. Louis thing since Steve Ott ate David Backes eating a dog (the St. Louis turducken, as it were) But back to the Sharks.

My favourite thing about the Sharks week was them beating the Ducks on New Years eve on 80’s night. You may recall, if you’re old enough or have stopped drinking for just enough time for a long term memory to kick in, that neither the Sharks or Ducks existed in the 80’s. I can’t find any photographic evidence to back it up, but to put it in perspective, back in the 80’s, Ryan Getzlaf had hair.

Anyway, clearly nobody who works for the Ducks has ever seen Back to the Future, because if they had, they’d know that returning to the past and altering the course of history (i.e. playing a hockey game between two teams yet to exist) is just timeline chaos waiting to happen. The Sharks won that game 3-0, so good work Anaheim. You’ve ruined the future, and this was the year we were supposed to get hoverboards, assholes.

The other best part of the week was Stace’s implementation of her patented #fancyshats methodology, which she unveiled in the Sharks’ loss to the Canucks. Never before have we ever had such scientific means to properly identify and quantify the Vancouver Canucks’ level of shitheadery. Now we do:

I’ll let the creator give a brief synopsis of how it works:

The main way to display FancyShats is by using a Hot Poop Map (HPM). The heads that are closest to the center and the biggest in size represent the biggest shitheads. As the heads get smaller and closer to the sides of the coil means that the players are kind of-to-not really shitheads. A majority of the players on the Canucks are in the RBS (Real Big Shithead) category, so many overlap in the center of the coil.

This is groundbreaking stuff, and it will translate nicely to other teams, but outside of the Canucks and probably the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins, and I guess the Ducks, and the Penguins, and the Coyotes, and the Kings and the…uh, most teams won’t be able to give you such a concentrated HPM reading.

Anyway, I know Stace and Tomas Hertl wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year

…and she also wanted to remind you that every Minnesota Wild game from here until eternity will be played indoors, the way God intended (for Minnesota).

Also Friends is on Netflix now, so there’s a good chance we (as well as her family and assorted loved ones) may never see her again. So thanks for that, Netflix.

…oh right, I forgot, Barcaly Goodrow puns. Well here you go:

GEORGE CANNING REFERENCE IN PACIFIC WAR ROOM

and just for good measure

The Sharks are great for educational history facts

CALGARY FLAMES
5th PLACE, 21-15-3, 45 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, or whatever other truly inspiring upper class elite alternative holiday you invented in California to you, from me.

It’s been a couple of weeks and there’s a lot to go over.

We can talk about how the Flames keep beating the Kings, or we could talk about how they’ve won 4 in a row and collected points in their last 5, or about how the keep beating those Los Angeles Kings, or about how Johnny Gaudreau has been named the player of the week and the rookie of the month in consecutive weeks, or we could talk about how the Flames in two straight games, scored more goals and allowed less against the Los Angeles Kings of Los Angeles.

I don’t know, what do you want to talk about Flames wise, because there’s a lot.

We could talk about how Mark Giordano is a runaway favourite for the Norris Trophy, or about how Calgary handed the Kings two straight defeats in 3 games, or how TJ Brodie is probably a solid third place for the Norris as well and will probably win a few in his day before it’s all said and done, or maybe how The Kings have yet to solve Jonas Hiller this season (which I hear is kind of a recurring theme), or that She Weber is probably going to win the Norris and that’s cool because he’s good, but let’s face it, Gio should be the guy, or how Las Llamas derrotaron a los Reyes, or how Drew Doughty is good and all, but I see you down there in 4th place.

The Flames did beat the Oilers twice as well, and that’s always fun, but you can only kick a dead horse so many times before you start getting parts of that horse on your shoe.

So it might be a more fun idea to talk about how the Kings can’t beat those plucky young Calgary Flames. Maybe we can talk about this:

(I wanted to talk about Quick breaking his stick on the post, but he does it so many times it’s really hard to find the right gif, so we get this instead)

Anyway, remember when the Kings were up 3-0 on the Flames and then Johnny Gaudreau scored his first career hat trick in the third period to tie it?

you might remember it. If you don’t, ask Drew Doughty.

this joke is irrelevant now, but it was good at the time

blatant copyright infringement by Jonny Quick

Anyway, there was a whole other game to play and you’d assume the Kings would have learned a lesson, right.

Well, maybe not the right lesson, but like, maybe they did a better job brushing their teeth or something, I don’t know. Anyway, the Kings went into Edmonton the next night, so I’m sure they really turned things around after that game.

ARIZONA COYOTES
6th PLACE, 14-19-4, 32 POINTS
@BrendanPorter from Five For Howling

We’ve come a long way since the 2012 Western Conference Finals. So far, in fact, that the landmarks and stars that used to guide us are now completely unrecognizable.

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I’m never gonna let you go, I wanna hold you in my arms forever…

As the calendar changes from 2014 to 2015, we experienced an incredible week of hockey from the Coyotes. Any by incredible, I mean utterly confounding.

Let’s begin after beating the Edmonton Oilers, because beating Edmonton is nothing remarkable or unexpected. Right, San Jose?

Anyways, the Coyotes took on the Anaheim Ducks last Saturday, a game that featured a goaltending showcase between Devan Dubnyk and Frederik Andersen. Both played some of their best hockey of the year, so it’s only fitting that this is how the game ended.

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There’s an allegory for the Coyotes’ season in there somewhere

Yes, Shane Doan, champion of the 2009 NHL All-Star Shootout Competition (a fact he would like you to know), won the game by using the most under-handed of tactics: make the goalie stop two objects at the same time. Andersen picked the wrong small black object and the Coyotes won the game.

Arizona then welcomed the Philadelphia Flyers to Glendale. Somehow, they managed to overcome two R.J. Umberger goals by realizing that they were playing the Flyers’ defense, and won that game 4-2.

Okay, it looks like we’re finally turning a corner here Arizona. The team is on a three game win streak and appears to finally be playing the style of hockey that made it so successful. We may not be Connor McDavid bad anymore, but at least we’ll get to watch some wins this year.

So let’s close out 2014 with a quick jaunt to Dallas, and welcome in 2015 full of optimism for the future!

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 8-22-8, 24 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation

The Edmonton Oilers ended 2014 much in the same way they started it; with a string of humiliating losses broken up by an odd win against a California based team just to really confuse the whole issue. Since we last saw our hilariously incompetent heroes they: -Took a 5-2 lead over the Stars into the third period, and promptly ended up losing 6-5 in the most Oilers way possible.

-Got absolutely rolled by the Coyotes on the strength of a Sam Gagner 4 point night, and a Devan Dubnyk 27 save performance. The silver-lining is the Oilers don’t have to automatically forfeit 2 points to Arizona again until next season!

-Gave up 3 goals to Calgary in 90 seconds, including two to Johnny “Insert Sport” Gaudreau in less time than it takes for NHL Gamecenter to load and then not work on my Playstation.

Thankfully Viktor Fasth continues to pull his weight in the Season’s A Gonner For Connor campaign.

-After a game like that in Calgary the only logical thing to happen now was for the Oilers to beat LA despite giving up almost 40 shots on net, and Daryl Sutter breaking out some old-school coaching mind games.

Congrats to Todd Nelson on his first and, if the season continues to go the way it has so far, last win as an NHL head coach!

-And finally it was off to Calgary for another New Years Eve Battle Of Alberta Classic which saw Edmonton blow 3 separate leads on route to their 12th loss in December. 4 wins in their last 25 games and 8 wins total to ring in 2015. Everything is going according to plan, if that plan is to be terrible for another 3 to 5 years, buttfumble the development of yet another top draft pick

and ruin the careers of two goalies, rather than just their usual one. All in all it was a GREAT 2014, and I can’t wait to see what the Oilers have in store for us in 2015! The horror. The horror…

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Pacific War Room Standings 1.2.2015

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!

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