PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 2.13.15
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 February 13th, 2015!
1st PLACE, 35-14-7, 77 POINTS
Hey, remember last week when I said that the Ducks were fully healthy? Well, that all fell apart this week, as Ryan Getzlaf, Frederik Andersen and Hampus Lindholm all missed games on the road trip.
Hey, remember last week when I said that the Ducks only twice this season had consecutive regulation losses? Well, that got added onto this week. After dropping a shootout in Washington (Bryzgalov’s third standings point of the season!), Anaheim came away with zero points from the state of Florida, including the Ducks’ second 6-2 loss to the Panthers this season.
Hey, remember last week when I said that the Ducks had a ridiculous lead in the Pacific Division? Well, even with a pretty dismal 1-2-1 week (John Gibson beat the Hurricanes yesterday, naturally by one goal), that’s fortunately still true – the Sharks seemingly refuse to gain on the Ducks; read Stace’s bit below for more on that. 13 point cushion – hooray!
Here’s a mildly popular tweet I wrote this week:
— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) February 12, 2015
Here’s an even more popular tweet I wrote this week:
Kane was notified of the trade when a nearby stack of money started ringing.
— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) February 11, 2015
And here is the most popular tweet I will ever write:
To save everybody some time, I've invented this jersey to throw onto the ice tonight. pic.twitter.com/pVIy69dZXJ
— Earl Sleek (@earlsleek) February 7, 2015
I guess the lesson is, I should be tweeting about other teams more often. :)
SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 28-20-8, 64 POINTS
@stace_ofbase from Battle of California
Greetings and salutations my Pacific Division pals! This was not a good week for the San Jose Sharks, as they finished a three game homestand 0-2-1. Oh yeah, it was against Carolina, Calgary and Washington. They allowed 14 goals in three games.
It’s no secret that San Jose’s defensive situation that have going on this season is less than ideal. The top two defensivemen for the Sharks have been Marc-Edouard Vlasic (obviously) and … Justin Braun. Currently, both Vlasic and Braun are on injured reserve so the next suitable top pairing is Mirco Mueller and Brenden Dillon. Le sigh.
Goaltending continues to be wildly inconsistent. All signs point to Niemi being shipped out at the deadline to some unsuspecting team, where he will most likely flourish, because Shorks, but the goaltender market is pretty grim. Gee, it’s almost like Doug Wilson should have capitalized on the extremely fruitful free agency with the largest amount of cap space he has had since he has been a GM for San Jose over the past summer.
San Jose is an absolutely exhausting team to be a fan of right now. The Ducks are quietly losing games at the top of the division, as predicted, and these guys could be only nine points behind them, but they shit the bed against Not Very Good teams so Anaheim continues to have that cushion.
I’ll cut them some slack because the top two defensemen are out, but this wouldn’t be an issue if the Sharks, you know, would have kept a pretty decent defenseman and acquired another defenseman (literally anyone is an upgrade over Scott Hannan) in the offseason. The Sharks have gotten a lot of production out of Brent Burns this season, as he already has 42 points on the season, six away from his career-high point total. This would be cool if he was actually defensively responsible as a d-man, but he’s a goddamn offensive forward in a defensive position.
17 days until the trade deadline and there’s no telling whether or not Doug Wilson will spin garbage into gold or continue to add bald tires to the fire. He’s an enigma.
Anyway, the Sharks play the Yotes tonight, and they are bad so it’s a good opportunity for them to squander away two more points, then they play the Lightning on Sunday, and they’ll probably lose that one too.
At least I have a friendship to rely on during these hard times…
I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a melon baller. RT @stace_ofbase: would you be interested in writing at Battle of California?
— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) February 8, 2015
3rd PLACE, 30-20-3, 63 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army
If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you’ll know how the Canucks week went. W-L-W. They have been a model of inconsistency for the last few weeks, unable to string together any kind of winning streak.
As a result, the Canucks remain on the bubble, bouncing between the 3rd seed in the Pacific and a Wild Card spot. Luckily the Flames and Sharks aren’t doing much better of late, so all three continue to bob along while the Stars, Kings and Wild lurk just below the surface waiting to strike.
But who cares about all that? The most important game of the year is upon us! Game 11 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final goes tonight, and the series is all tied up at 6-6!
Of course, the way things have been going for the Canucks, they’re due for a stinker, especially after the game against the Hawks on Wednesday. Now THAT was a game worthy of “Rivalry Night.” I’m still hoping Gary Bettman grants my request to just have the Canucks and Hawks play each other 82 games next year. I know what Zack Kassian things about that:
— Gráinne (@wholegrainne) February 12, 2015
But back to the Bruins. Other than the inevitable disappointment ahead, the one thing I’m curious about is whether Milan Lucic follows through on his promise to “never be seen in downtown Vancouver again.” Not that anybody attending the hockey games Boston has played here would notice:
In either case, games between Boston and Vancouver are usually a feisty affair, so maybe we’ll see something worthy of supplementary discipline in tonight’s game. Guess it’s time to brush up on the NHL Rule Book, just in case. But if you’re not into that type of thing, you could always go out to the movies. Although, I’m not sure the results will be any different:
And in either case, there are widely accepted ways to improve your scoring chances:
Hopefully your night has as many ups and downs as the Canucks’ season.
4th PLACE, 30-22-3, 63 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation
Your Calgary Flames had something of a B+ week, winning yet another game against the San Jose Sharks (something we can all agree is pretty fun), after being pasted by a return to form Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins.
(As an aside, Penguins are not indigenous to the Pennsylvania region, although a cursory Googling does show that the Pittsburgh Zoo does indeed house a variety of breeds. I would not call this ample reason to naming your hockey team in such an inaccurate way. I mean, come on man, I can start a fire in Calgary at literally any time)
The week was a cautious one for the Flames, a fragile young team with a tenuous grasp at a playoff spot in the most intense time of the season for any team still in the mix. Even a minor knock on the Momentum Pendulum (Arcadium?) could swing the psyche of the team into disarray. A devastating loss at the hands of, say the Los Angeles Kings would accomplish that.
Good thing the Flames didn’t play the Kings this week, no?
I could theoretically imagine that would look like. Theoretically.
There would be all this talk about how the Flames were 3-0 against the Kings this season, and how they stood five points up on their Pacific rivals, and how this could be the dagger in the back that assassinates Darryl Sutter’s shot at another Stanley Cup, while justifying Calgary’s hard working youth movement, despite a realistically better LA team consistently dominating all possession battles so thoroughly that the only way the Flames could win was through some sort of unsustainable run of luck.
Can you imagine??!?!
Let’s see some imaginary tweets documenting this:
Let's do this again some time … pic.twitter.com/lBOtDHwZKK
— Travis Yost (@TravisHeHateMe) February 13, 2015
Yikes. I’m not a nerd, but those lines shouldn’t look like that, right?
hrudey "welp, they've made a coaching errr…. goaltending change." hahahahaha
— hitthepost (@hitthepost) February 13, 2015
Rebuilds require sacrifice. Also if you play your goaltender when he has the flu when you have a beyond capable backup who you’re trying to showcase in a trade, but decide not to play that goalie (who does not have the flu), maybe you should re-evaluate your player management as a coach.
You know, theoretically.
Goalie is sick? Play him Bollig is available? Play him Sven is called up? Sit him Wotherspoon called up? Sit him
— Mike FAIL (@mikeFAIL) February 13, 2015
This never happens, much like how the Flames did not play the Kings last night.
Calgary is bad and should feel bad
— SJ (@stace_ofbase) February 13, 2015
Only if you look at the hard data!
Anyway, if any of this were to have happened, it would be PRETTTTYYYY embarrassing, so good thing it didn’t and the Flames continue to own the Kings. Pissbaby Kings. Yellow shirted pissbaby Kings. Why am I being reminded of the LA Kings throwback yellow jerseys? That kinda came out of nowhere. Did the Kings wear that jersey lately?
Anyway, the good news is the Flames are still up in the race, and this season ends with admission for the boat ride over the Postseasontopia, that is terrific, but if it doesn’t, well, that’s good too. The progress made by this team this year has been superb, and going forward there is a lot to like on this team.
I hope you Kings fans have a fun trade deadline trying to figure out what to do with Mike Richards.
I wonder if there’s any sort of visual out there I can use as a metaphor to wrap up the overall theme in all my points in this piece.
GIF lolol quick pic.twitter.com/efk8e6oxQC
— Steph (@myregularface) February 13, 2015
Hmm … that looks REALLY familiar, but as we discussed, it never happened.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
5th PLACE, 24-18-12 60 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half
The LA Kings did something this week that we haven’t seen them do since mid-November: They won three games in a row.
I was all excited about this turn of events until I saw that. Seriously? This team hadn’t won three consecutive games since before Thanksgiving?!
Well, at least they’re winning now. And it’s all thanks to That 70s Line Part Deux!
The trio (RIP Tanner Pearson) scored seven of the Kings 13 goals this week.
It was a helluva three games for Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter and Dwight King:
Toffoli – 5 goals, 1 assist
Carter – 1 goal, 4 assists
King – 2 goals, 2 assists
Despite the impressive stretch, the Kings still find themselves three points behind the Calgary Flames for the last Wild Card spot.
But maybe, just maybe, we’re starting to see the LA Kings that we expected all along…
If the Los Angeles Kings win the 2015 Stanley Cup, they should raise a banner that says "Made a Mockery of the Regular Season."
— James O'Brien (@cyclelikesedins) February 13, 2015
6th PLACE, 20-28-7, 47 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling
The schedule got tough and the Coyotes struggled this week. Losses to Detroit at home and on the road against the team which has seemingly owned them since the Yotes choked a 3-1 playoff series lead to them in 1999, the St. Louis Blues. This time around a loss to the Blues was a bit more understandable given what took place about 24 hours earlier in Chicago.
Less than three weeks prior to Monday’s game, the Blackhawks handed the Coyotes their worst beatdown of the campaign. Like Atlanta when Sherman came to town. Or when the Sharks play the Sabres. Remember this tweet from a War Room in the not so distant past?
Chicago finishes with 51 shots on Mike Smith. Arizona goes to the All-Star break riding a 6-game losing streak (0-5-1).
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) January 21, 2015
Smith and his teammates made sure he didn’t suffer as bad a fate as 51 shots and a 6-1 loss again. The puck itself decided to chip in and give him a bit of help. The game was 2-2 late in the 3rd and then this happened:
No goal. Barely.
— Five For Howling (@Five4Howling) February 10, 2015
Off to OT and then a shootout. Mikkel Boedker was/is still on the shelf so no OT theatrics were allowed.
Lucas Lessio brought some in the shootout however.
(So did Patrick Kane, but you don’t want to see a Hawks highlight do you?)
Arizona won the shootout 2-1 and there was much rejoicing!
— Steph (@myregularface) February 10, 2015
Smith happy, thus making Hawks fans pissed. I'm good. #Coyotes
— Dave Zorn (@davezorn72) February 10, 2015
In addition to a week involving the most thrilling contest involving Arizona all season, Smitty continues to wow on his post all-star break redemption tour.
Tough, 2-1 loss for Coyotes. Mike Smith stopped 32 of 34 shots (.941 SP%). Now has SP% at or above .920 in 7/8 starts since All-Star break.
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) February 11, 2015
News off the ice was as prevalent as on it this week. On Wednesday the Yotes pulled the season’s most travelled player, Mark Arcobello off waivers. It’s a good thing the young center went to Yale. He’ll need all the smarts he can to remember his FOURTH set of coaches/players/staff names this season. Arcebello’s signing was likely, in part, related to Thursday’s distressing news about Martin Hanzal undergoing back surgery and likely being done for the season.
Before the Hanzal news dropped, the Yotes lost another player. This one for good.
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) February 12, 2015
The Coyotes went into the season with a young blueline. Now the roster is filled with even more youth and AHL vets. With the trading deadline approaching the roster is likely to only get younger and less experienced before the temperatures hit the 90’s in the Valley.
Seven players currently on the Coyotes roster started their 2014-15 season in Portland.
— Carl Putnam (@CarlPutnam) February 12, 2015
7th PLACE, 16-31-9, 41 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation
We’ve now entered what I like to call the “Jekyll And Hyde” portion of the Edmonton Oilers season. The playoffs have been out of reach since the second week of the season. The team is on their second (and-a-half) coach of the year, and fans are rooting for whatever it takes to get the best shot at the first overall draft pick. Which of course means the Oilers have now started playing not-completely-terrible every night and are winning games here and there.
After a completely unsurprising win over the Sharks and a pretty-okay-by-Oiler-standards loss to the Penguins it was off to Toronto for the first game of a six-game Eastern road trip (in Alberta we consider Winnipeg to be part of the east. AND YOU CAN KEEP EM!).
Things in Toronto……….. did not go well.
Next if was off to New Jersey for a match up agZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
UH! Sorry. Just thinking about this game made me fall asleep (GET IT? CAUSE IT WAS A VERY BORING GAME AND NEW JERSEY HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN AN INCREDIBLY BORING TEAM TO WATCH). The third period was so uneventful I literally started reading about BASEBALL!
Pitchers are even bigger weirdos than goalies! http://t.co/sDY6qv9PEc
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) February 10, 2015
Hell, even Sportsnet had no faith in this one; they awarded the Play Of The Game FIVE MINUTES INTO THE 2ND PERIOD!
The Oilers won, Nail Yakupov scored and honest to goodness goal (WE ALL SAW IT WITH OUR OWN EYES), the Devils managed less than 15 shots on net total and the Oilers pulled 2 points further away from Connor McDavid.
Games in back to back nights saw the Oilers roll into
a pile of rusty, old refrigerators Nassau Coliseum for one final game before they tear the place down and start exhuming all the bodies Billy Smith buried underneath.
Islander fans were PUMPED!
"Just super happy to be here!!" pic.twitter.com/t4TAp9bFWM
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) February 11, 2015
This game was a PERFECT example of E.L.P.H. #ELPH stands for exciting last place hockey; a phrase coined by Oiler fans back some years ago during the eternal rebuild, which represents the Oilers playing well in an entertaining game, but still not collecting any points, lest they move from their natural habitat of 30th overall.
They put close to 40 shots on net, and were tied with 5 minutes left in the game, and had multiple stretches with minutes (yes, plural) of sustained pressure in the Islanders end. Great fun was had by all! I mean, except for the Oilers probably because they played their taints off and still managed to lose, but I digress.
Finally it was off to La Belle Province for a meeting with the Habs. Carey Price is having an MVP season, and yet for some reason the Oilers always seem to roll him for his lunch money any time they meet, so it was up to Dustin “Made Pierre McGuire Orgasm On Live TV” Tokarski to save the day. And he almost did! There was point in this game where I figured Tokarski was never going to let in another goal for the rest of his life (either that or the Oilers just kept whiffing on chances…….) BUT THEN overtime rolled around, and rather than doing things the traditional way he figured he would try his hand at the ol’ Barking Dog Play.
— john mahoney (@mahoneygazette) February 13, 2015
Anton Lander and his pirate facial hair were unfazed by it, and the Oilers won another exciting game in which they managed to mount TWO comebacks! Where the hell was this team at any point between games 1 and 50 this season?? *Looks at roster from start of season* OOOOHHHHHH, right…
Four out of a possible 8 points so far on this road trip is literally the most you could ask for out of the Oilers at this point, so I’m fully expecting them to lose the final two games by a combined score of 831 to 2. I CAN’T WAIT!
TRH WILD CARD WATCH™
All-knowing Stanley Cup prophet: The team in super ugly yellow shall be champions! Nashville Predators: Whoohoo! Finally! LA Kings: Hold on…
— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) February 13, 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!