PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 3.13.15
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 March 13th, 2015!
1st PLACE, 42-20-7, 91 POINTS
Anaheim lost all three of its games this week in regulation, which I guess kind of sucks, but at least there’s no pressing need for standings points, and two of the losses were kind of strategic.
The Ducks lost 5-2 to the Penguins, 2-1 to the Canucks (yup, the first one-goal regulation loss of the season), and 6-3 to the Flames. Had the Ducks beaten either of those last two teams in regulation, the Kings entry would be higher up this week. :)
But hey, new acquisitions are still getting acquainted, I guess – Fleischmann and Sekac have done well up front, and Wisniewski and Despres are finding their way into the blueline system. Andersen and Gibson have been alternating the net, and even Matt Beleskey figures to rejoin the lineup tonight, with Vatanen not far away.
But yeah, pretty much the only Ducks highlights from this past week were Kesler interviewing Fowler, then Kesler interviewing Maroon. It’s a nice level of silliness from guys who frankly don’t have a ton of personality between them, but still manage to pull it off decently. B-plus!
2nd PLACE, 38-25-4, 80 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army
Your loveable heroes hung on for wins against the Sharks and Ducks but once again let the Kings have their way with them on
prima nocta Thursday night.
Oh well, que sera sera, I guess.
Unfortunately for the Canucks, they still have two more games against the Kings, which doesn’t bode well for their ability to hang on to a playoff spot. It’s looking more and more like the Pacific Division teams are going to have to settle for one of the three divisional seeds because that Wild Card spot literally has the Wild written all over it:
So yeah, it’s very likely that the last remaining playoff spot is going to come down to those two remaining head-to-head games between the Kings and Canucks, and the winner takes it all.
“What about the other teams in the race?” you ask.
Well, I still think Winnipeg has enough to hang on to that other Wild Card spot over the Pacific Division, including San Jose. That being said, they will just be a Shark in Jets clothing if they actually make the post-season. So, yeah you can expect them to choke in the first round.
As for Calgary, I think it’s safe to say that with Giordano sidelined for the rest of the season, any hope they had of riding this magical mystery tour much farther has been shot down in Flames. That being said, this news that they’ve signed Douglas Murray to a try out contract is sure to help their penalty killing down the stretch:
3rd PLACE, 37-25-5, 79 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation
If you guys don’t mind, I’m going to emulate the Flames on this week’s edition of the War Room, and I’m going to do nothing until the third period.
In the meantime, enjoy this video detailing how to make your very own quilted oven mitts!
Once that’s over, why don’t you go ahead and learn about the trials and tribulations of former North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan. Says here her husband’s name is Chip, because of course it is.
Now time for some filler material to get us through this awkward transition.
Well, OK, let’s call this the third period now, where shit is about to get downright offensive.
And I see I’ve already put myself in a giant hole here this week, but don’t worry, much like the Flames, I’ll find a way to come back.
Ask the Senators, when it comes to your Calgary Flames, the most dangerous lead in sports is however large your lead is on them currently. Time was, if the Flames were down two goals in the third period, it seemed like that was insurmountable. And then they rebounded from those deficits with alarming regularity, and eventually it became somewhat pàsse.
Yawn, ho hum, let’s try coming back from three goals down. I know that sounds crazy, but this team has a free pass, so why not just accept the challenge and go for it.
And go for it they did. And there were a couple of times this season where Calgary has come back from three goals. Maybe the team was feeling a little bit froggy, maybe the delusions of grandeur are amplified in the midst of a road trip where all that travel away from home left the team weary and beat down. Whatever the case may have been, something within the cogs that drive this team decided “fuck it, let’s give them a four goal lead and see what happens”
And the lesson learned is that no, you will not come back from that, but you will still get a point.
So I don’t know, maybe let’s call that the limits of what is acceptable and try to start playing games with leads and ones where you don’t need last second Herculean efforts to be successful.
Yeah that’s the one. Kinda. I mean, not having to score four goals on seven shots would also be nice, but you know, baby steps.
Anyway, all this to say if you’re the fan of a Californian hockey team, you’re probably about done with the Flames, because it means they’re either still ahead of your team in the standings (I DON’T GET IT EITHER), or they just embarrassed your team and you’re named after common waterfowl to begin with, and how embarrassing is that?
This team, man, I don’t know, I have no idea how they’re doing anything that they’re getting done, because it defies all logic. All the old detractors of fancy stats are starting to revert to their old “watch the game nerds” mentalities because this unlikely run confirms all their prejudices. And while that’s stupid, I find that I don’t care, because a) those guys are idiots, and b) this is so much fun and I really miss the playoffs:
this team is unsustainable as fuck and have no business being where they are. but if you try to take this away from me I will cut you
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 12, 2015
(I really mean that)
LOS ANGELES KINGS
4th PLACE, 33-21-13 79 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half
All things considered, the LA Kings had a pretty good week.
Sure, they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime on Luc Robitaille Statue Night. But even with that loss the Kings managed to pick up a much needed point in their quest to make the playoffs.
From there, the Kings got to their winning ways on the road. Wait, that must be a mistake. Well I’ll be… The Kings actually won games on the road!
Soak it in, Top Line Trevor Lewis.
The biggest of their back-to-back road wins came against the Vancouver Canucks last night. It wasn’t even close. The Kings had their way with the Canucks…
They now hold the final Wild Card spot, but if the Kings hope to return to the postseason, there best chance will be to pass the Canucks and Calgary Flames in the Pacific Division. Where, suddenly, the idea of the Kings having home ice advantage in the first round is no longer far-fetched. Seriously, I have no idea how that’s possible.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
5th PLACE, 34-26-8, 76 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation
Hey guys, Floob here. As I write this, Stace is on a giant boat in the Pacific just off of Mexico, overcoming all her anxieties about life at sea, as well as celebrating her honeymoon, because you had to know one of the nerds who write here at this site had enough game to lock down a spouse despite all the traditional reasons to be rejected by everyone around us that we live with daily, haunting us like a fever dream we never quite wake up from, cruelly taunting us by offering us a glimpse of happiness but keeping it just out of our reach so that the madness eventuall… uh, so that’s to say that she won’t be doing anything for War Room this week, and because I have a lot of time on my hands for indeterminate reasons, I’m covering for her.
Now I won’t lie, I didn’t see much Shorks hockey in the past week, but let’s be real here, neither did you, so this should work out pretty well. The good news is they’ve only played two games since the last time we checked in, not including the game they’re going to play tonight after I’m done writing this, but you better believe I’m not waiting for that train wreck to end before submitting this.
So let’s jump right in, shall we? The Sharks began the week by facing off against the shitheel, burn victim lookin’ motherfuckers from Vancouver, and I hate those guys so much that I’m pretty pissed that the Sharks dropped the game to them, despite the fact that I’m a Flames fan and having the Canucks win actually helps Calgary’s playoff chances. But in that moment, man, who gives a shit, it’s infuriating.
The good news is, as always, there were bigger questions that needed answering, and although we never got them, we’re closer to finding an answer:
.@bgoodrow23 what is the best way to prospect for gold? Obtaining lode gold from a solid rock or panning for gold from placer deposits?
— SC (@stace_ofbase) March 7, 2015
— Bread Frathwaite (@bookofloob) March 7, 2015
— SC (@stace_ofbase) March 7, 2015
He can’t keep us in the darkness forever, guys. We will get our answers.
Anyway, this new sense of scientific discovery seemed to motivate the Sharks, as they ended up besting Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1 in a shootout. The game featured the best things about the Sharks, including a goal from Matt Nieto, whose hometown currently eludes me, and a shootout winner from Tommy Wingels, who is the greatest and I want to hug him, if he’d just let me.
Presumably Patty Marleau and Joe Thornton were also there, but I cannot verify at this time.
Anyway, the week ahead for the Sharks is, I’m sure, fraught with implications, both playoff wise and also regarding their character or some other narrative bullshit or whatever.
I’m sure we’re all very excited about it. I know I am. Does Pat Falloon still play for the Sharks?
I guess that’s it for me. Congrats are in order again to Stace and her decision to throw away her life by choosing marital bliss like some sort of idiot. Mexico … yeah, it’s been done. How come no one ever goes to Winnipeg for their honeymoon?
6th PLACE, 21-39-8, 50 POINTS
@BrendanPorter from Five For Howling
Not a busy week for Arizona. The first of two games this week was against the Nashville #Perdators. The goaltending was dazzling; the star of the show put the team on his back, and carried the offensively struggling forwards and defensemen through regulation with a series of highly acrobatic, athletic moves worthy of the best at his position. Oh, and Pekka Rinne played well too.
In the spirit of Team TRH: *swoons*
Arizona goalie Louis Domingue made sure a team that didn’t really deserve to win the game at least got a shot at overtime. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the squad took that “didn’t deserve to win” remark a tad bit too seriously…
Is … is that bad?
But despite the offensive struggles, Arizona has looked considerably more composed on defense. Domingue and Mike Smith have both played well in March so far, and the simplification of the Coyotes’ defensive game probably has a lot to do with that. They were going to need to be good for the second game of the week, when they played the Chicago Blackhawks.
You know, you gotta hand it to Arizona fans. As rough as their season has been, and as much as they get criticized for not being as numerous as other fanbases, you can’t help but admire the number of fans who made their way to the United Center to cheer on their team. I mean, just look at them all!
Wait, this game was played in Glendale? Seriously? Oh.
How bad was the visitor/home fan disparity at Thursday night’s game? Well…
That is Arizona Coyotes’ Goaltending Coach and Special Assistant to the General Manager Sean Burke, if you were wondering.
Losing is frustrating for everyone. Management doesn’t like it, fans don’t like it, and the players certainly don’t like it. So it’s understandable if the players need to vent a little bit. Thankfully for Mike Smith, Kris Versteeg eagerly stepped up slid to the plate to help Smith overcome this year’s difficult stretches and emerge positive and optimistic about the future.
Talkin’ about Peace, Love and Understanding!
So the good news is that Smith actually looked like his 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs’ self in every way tonight, stopping 43 of 45 Chicago shots. Youngster Tobias Rieder scored another goal, suggesting that the necessary steps to a rebuild are at least underway. The team lost 2-1, but at least they put up a fight.
Nordstrom boards Ekman-Larsson, who is still down with 37.5 seconds remaining in regulation. #Blackhawks
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) March 13, 2015
Just end this stupid season already.
7th PLACE, 18-39-11, 47 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation
Well, the Oilers have been officially eliminated from the playoffs (I know, I thought it had already happened in December, too) which gives them sole ownership of the league’s longest active playoff drought. FINALLY THEY’RE LEADING THE LEAGUE AT SOMETHING OTHER THAN DRAFTING FIRST OVERALL!! But let’s back up a bit here first.
The Oilers rolled into Chicago on Friday, and as usual they defied all logic and played a really good game against the Blackhawks. The Oilers have this uncanny ability to either thrash or, at the very least, hang in tight with the Blackhawks while both teams are at complete opposite ends of the standings (PLZ DISREGARD 7-1 THRASHING FROM NOVEMBER). Scrivens went supernova, the Oilers put almost 50 shots on net, but they stuck to the #ELPH plan and came out with just a single point.
Next it was off to Carolina where things … didn’t go quite as well.
Now, I’m not a member of the MSM and don’t get to go watch practices, so take this with a grain of salt, but I THINK I can see where the major problem was.
The Canes scored SIX GOALS before the Oilers registered ONE SHOT from midway through the second to midway through the third #TankGameStrong
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) March 9, 2015
Only the Edmonton Oilers would get seven points out of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle in a single game and still manage to lose by four. NO ONE can touch the Oilers tank game.
The defense is still very suspect but at least they’re trying some new things out there!
"Maybe we should try making a wall like they do in soccer?" pic.twitter.com/TxoorobA8N
— Jeanshorts (@JSBMjeanshorts) March 8, 2015
The next night it was off to Detroit where… look, you guys already know how this ends. We’ve only got 14 games left, the Oilers will (hopefully) lose all of them and I will be rid of the Oilers for another summer. THIS is literally the most intense rivalry the Oilers have had in years.
Things going very well for Hometown Hockey guest tweeter Jordan Eberle pic.twitter.com/ubG7q8GqPD
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) March 11, 2015
The team is 2-7-1 in their last 10 and at this point I’m mostly interested in seeing how people will try to bend over backwards to keep telling us how much better this team is ever since Todd Nelson took over. It’s like a horrible college play; It makes no sense but you can’t help but get wrapped up in it all.
We have a six game home stand coming up starting next week so I get to play my favorite game: How Many Excuses Can I Think Of To Turn Down Free Tickets To Oiler Losses! I’m getting very proficient at it but I’m starting to run out of dying grandparents so this will be a big test for me.
Just 106 days until the draft.
TRH WILD CARD WATCH™
— Indiana_Matt (@Indiana_Matt) March 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!