PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 3.20.15

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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 March 20th, 2015!

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 45-20-7, 97 POINTS
@EarlSleek

Three weeks ago, the Ducks won all four of their games. Two weeks ago, the Ducks lost all three of their games. And last week, they won all three. Rollercoastering back to the top of the league!

First they ended a road trip in Minnesota, edging the Wild 2-1, in a game where shockingly all the scoring happened before the third period. Because the rest of the week was all comebacks.

The Predators took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission, and the Kings took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission. Neither lasted very long afterwards – Anaheim’s third period voodoo was in full effect. The Predators were losing 3-2 with 10 minutes remaining the third (final score 4-2), and the Kings were losing 2-1 eight minutes into the third. Justin Williams would tie the game and earn L.A. a precious standings point, but yeah, you guys know the rest *cough*Kesler*cough* :)

Anyways, here’s something fun and disturbing I once made about the Predators and the Wild.

pred-wild-love

Sami Vatanen should be good to return to the lineup this weekend, meaning the Ducks are pretty healthy, outside of Tim Jackman. But it’s tough to know if Jackman would be playing anyways – this week’s forward healthy scratches were Pat Maroon, Tomas Fleischmann, then Jiri Sekac. Freddie Andersen didn’t see any pucks all week, and now Vatanen will push a regular blueliner out of the nightly defense lineup, too. Ah, depth.

Anaheim has the next couple of weeks to tune things up, and perhaps discover the secret to scoring some first- and second-period goals. I’d complain, but hey, things could definitely be worse.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
2nd PLACE, 40-26-4, 84 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

You can tell that’s it’s getting near the end of the season because teams are just starting to mail it in many nights. While this really should be limited to teams that aren’t in a playoff race, that’s not the case, as the Canucks have show of late.

I mean, how else to explain losses to Buffalo, Edmonton and Columbus in the last few weeks? Thank God they managed to beat the Leafs on Saturday, but last night was a complete fiasco. Giving up six unanswered goals to the Blue Jackets when you’re trying to secure a playoff spot is the epitome of mailing it in.

You can also tell that it’s getting near the end of the season when the Pacific War Room contributors start mailing it in as well.

So continuing in that tradition, I’m going to mail it in this week by going back in time to when I drew up and tweeted @GraphicComments much like how Larry King tweets:

OK, not quite. I can’t afford an assistant, and I sure as hell don’t have 2.6 million followers (heck, I can’t get over 1,000), but you get the idea. See, here’s what I used to think of the Canucks’ leading scorer, Radim Vrbata, who had a breakout season with Phoenix a few years ago approximately just after I dropped him from my fantasy league:

2012.01.13 Radim Vrbata

Typical.

And while the Sedins have had a bit of an offensive resurgence this year, they are still nowhere near the prolific goal producers they were from 2008 to 2012. And as I remarked at the start of the decline, when it comes to Swedish twins, the ability to finish depends a lot on how tight they are squeezing their sticks:

2012.03.08 When Swedish twins can't score

Just ask David Pastrnak:

Which is a good segue to talk about NHL rule changes. But as I said, I’m mailing it in, so no, I’m not going to talk about the potential rule changes that might be introduced next year, like 3-on-3 overtime or the coach’s challenge. Instead, here’s what I thought three years ago about the dumb idea to start calling penalties for a hand pass in the defensive zone:

2012.03.12 Hand passes

Luckily, there was a happy ending to that one.

 

CALGARY FLAMES
3rd PLACE, 39-27-5, 83 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

Look guys, you can’t just keep coming to me being all like “What’s with the Flames this year?”
“Are the Flames for real?”
“Are the Flames sustainable?”
“Are the Flames going to make the playoffs?”
“Will you date my niece?”
“Are the Flames going to get a new arena in which the Flames will play sustainably in the playoffs?”
“Will you date my nephew?”
“Did the Flames let the dogs out?”
“Is Johnny Gaudreau tall?”

IS JOHNNY GAUDREAU TALL?

You can’t ask me these things. I know the answer to all of them, but it’s really rude, so I’m not going to tell you. You don’t even ask me how I’m doing or if I want a coffee or anything. I’m always bringing you coffee.

But I can’t blame you for asking. When you look at your Calgary Flames’ past week, it’s really hard to get a read on just how close they are to clinching their playoff spot. In part because the Western playoff race is tighter than Doug Wilson’s sphincter whenever Joe Thornton passes him in the hallway, but also because, true to form, this team continues to be like a Russian enigma, a veritable Alex Semin of results.

I mean we can throw away any analysis from the Leafs game, because it was the Leafs and it was hilarious, but I’d like to spend some time on it because it was the Leafs and it was hilarious.

Just some quick hits: The Flames led 4-1 after the first period, and they didn’t get outshot in the game! (shots were tied, but baby steps here, people)

Also Lance Bouma got a five-minute major and a game misconduct for almost making contact with a player and the Flames scored two shorties to the Leafs zero power play goals. All in all a pretty good night.

(He’s talking about the Flames, I don’t believe it)

I mean it was so easy for the Flames out there that they could have thrown out, oh, I don’t know, let’s say Douglas Murray and they would have been fine.

Hahahaha, good joke Floob, like the Flames would ever have Douglas Mur…

Oh goddamn it. Are you sure you didn’t mean the Leafs, awful Flames twitter account? That seems like a real Tank Nation move.

I can’t talk about this, it hurts too much to even think about, so let’s get back to the rest of the week.

Because it was the the Leafs, and you expect the win. The loss against the Blues was also MAYBE kinda expected, because they’re good and feed off sewer protein which makes them like, mutant strong. Still, the Flames have beaten other powerful toxic sludge mutant teams this year, so you wouldn’t have been surprised if they snuck one out. They didn’t, but they could have.

It was the loss against the Avalanche that you could really look at as a potential turning point this season (though let’s not). If the Flames win, you might as well go ahead and put that beautiful little “clinched playoff spot” x next to their name that I haven’t seen in years and wonder if it ever still thinks about me. Lose, and things get interesting. And things got interesting.

It doesn’t help that the Avs sunk the Flames on the backs of some former prominent Flames:

No, not him (that is also untrue, btw).

Not him either.

Yeah, that’s the one. Somewhere out there, Cory Sarich smiles.

The two losses knocked the Flames out of the playoffs, so surely a loss against the Flyers would leave them reeling, and well … nope.

The Flamea handled the Flyera with such grace and poise it was like they were a team of anyone against a team of Roman Cechmaneks. It was so fluid, so easy, so … not really the Flames ever this season.

So what does that mean? Is this team going places? Who fucking knows man, this season is probably all a dream I had once.

Oh, and because you asked: Yes, Johnny Gaudreau is tall.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
4th PLACE, 34-22-14 82 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half

Remember when the LA Kings were in third place in the Pacific Division a couple of days ago?

That was a fun 14 minutes.

Now the Kings find themselves outside of the playoff picture again. Sure, a shutout win over the Arizona Coyotes was fun and all, but the Kings managed to win only once this week despite having a third period lead in all three of their games.

In each of those losses, Jeff Carter put the Kings up 1-0 in the first period.

The Kings actually managed to score in the third period against the Predators. Unfortunately for Jake Muzzin, it wasn’t on the right net.

Sigh.

Later in the week, the Kings would this time blow their 1-0 lead against the Anaheim Ducks. But they were able to salvage a point thanks to Justin Williams late-game heroics.

Then Ryan Kesler happened.

Sigh again.

So to sum up the entire week for Kings fans:

Jonathan Quick mad pushes net

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
5th PLACE, 35-28-8, 78 POINTS
@stace_ofbase from Battle of California

Instead of talking to you, faithful hockey consumer, about the San Jose Sharks and how their season is coming to a close, I’m going to be dropping some historical knowledge on you. I know that all of you have been wondering just who Barclay Goodrow is and if he is indeed a real person, not just someone who traveled down the Mississippi on a raft with Huck and Jim. Below I will be providing a quick snapshot of his life:

1804 – The world reaches a population of one billion when Barclay Rutherford Goodrow is born

1814 – Barclay’s father, Winston Goodrow, taught him how to fire his first pistol, a flintlock revolver

1820 – Just shortly after his 16th birthday, Barclay discovers Antarctica

1825 – Barclay rides the first public railway system in the world, the Stockton and Darlington Railway

1836 – Barclay traveled through the Republic of Texas by horse to complete his life’s work, telegraphy

1837 – Barclay patents telegraphy

1843 – Barclay and his wife, Bessie Margaret Goodrow, leave Missouri in the first wagon train

1844 – Whilst in their travels, Bessie passes away after falling ill and being left behind to wait for the next train

1844 – Barclay arrives in Baltimore, Maryland, to celebrate the first publicly funded telegraph line

1848 – Barclay sets forth to California with his new wife, Nellie Rose Goodrow

1849 – Barclay and a group of goldminers, the 49ers, arrive in California to begin their prospecting

1856 – Neanderthal man, later discovered as a descent of the Goodrow family blood line, is first identified

1860 – In order to save money for their newborn daughter, Edith Louise Goodrow, Barclay acquired a job on the Pony Express

1865 – In the wrong place, at the wrong time, Barclay was questioned in connection of the assassination of President Lincoln

1866 – The Goodrows make a small fortune as the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable is made

1869 – Nine-year-old Edith Louise and her little brother, William Arthur Goodrow, break the first champagne bottle on the first transcontinential railroad train in the world

1872 – Barclay attends first recognized international soccer match between England and Scotland

1877 – William Arthur falls ill as the Goodrows struggle financially due to the Great Railroad Strike

1880 – The Goodrows get electricity for the first time

1886 – Barclay buys William Arthur the first ever commercial automobile

1889 – Barclay invents cordite, a type of smokeless gun powder

1894 – Edith Louise gives birth to a healthy baby girl, Effie Mae

1899 – Barclay Goodrow is the first man to be frozen

Oh yeah, and the Sharks lost two, won one, and are five points out of a playoff spot. They play the Habs this weekend, byeee!

 

EDMONTON OILERS
6th PLACE, 19-39-13, 51 POINTS
@JSBMjeanshorts from Oilers Nation

WHAT A WEEK!

Our friends from Violent Gentlemen came all the way out from California to come hang out with Oilersnation at Red Bull Crashed Ice. I got to watch people careen down an insane ice track and smash into each other AND stare at George Parros’ moustache!

We then broke into Rexall Place to stink up the ice there worse than the Oilers could ever dream of!

Living the dream #JeanshortsCity

A video posted by JSBM (@jeanshortsandbaggedmilk) on

Here’s a recap of the whole, incredibly amazing weekend!

Also there were some hockey games, or whatever. Two losses to Columbus (WHO SAW THIS COMING??) and an incredibly fun game against the Leafs.

Here was the first shot on net:

And here was the fifth:

Great fun was had by all! Well, I mean, except for Beriner, and Kessel, and like the entire Leafs team and all their stupid fans who paid way too much money to take over Rexall.

Nuge and Eberle are on fire, putting up 23 points since March 8th, and during that stretch the Oilers have won a grand total of *super long drum roll* ONE GAME!! Exciting Last Place Hockey is alive and well! I mean, aside from the whole “losing a bunch of games in OT or shootout and pity pointing our way out of the McEichel sweepstakes” but, like, OTHER THAN THAT everything is going according to plan! Noah Hanafin is supposed to be pretty good, RIGHT???

Three more weeks of Oilers hockey until I’m FREEEEEEEE!!!

 

ARIZONA COYOTES
7th PLACE, 21-42-8, 50 POINTS
@BrendanPorter from Five For Howling

I’d like to dedicate this segment of the Pacific War Room to the great city of Buffalo.

Hello, Buffalonians. Now that we have your attention, here’s where things stand.

You all were so smug in October when you saw your roster. You believed with all your heart that this was the team. This was the team that would be bad. So bad that the rest of the NHL would roll over and give you the right to one of Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

Boy, how wrong you were.

It is now March 20th. The Buffalo Sabres’ seemingly indomitable failure is not only being challenged, it may be exceeded. How? By this:

Yes, the Arizona Coyotes have somehow managed to close the gap between 29th and 30th to three points. They’ve done this in spite of the heroic efforts of one Mike Smith to propel the Coyotes back into contention via vintage 2012 play.

Mike_Smith.0.jpg

Yes, it’s true. We checked.

And that’s what should scare you, Sabres fans. You acquired Anders Lindback, who is 61st out of 88 goalies who have played at least once in the NHL as far as save percentage goes. Yet he appears to be single-handedly elevating the Sabres out of contention for 30th in the league.

By contrast, the Coyotes’ starting goaltender has been playing out of his mind since the Trade Deadline, and yet Arizona is still 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. They were blanked 1-0 by the Los Angeles Kings on Monday (you’re welcome Team TRH), and lost 5-2 to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. The Arizona Coyotes are Brett Hull’s skate to Buffalo’s McEichel dreams, as well as Tim Murray’s designs for the 2014-15 season.

fba7ba274ee6883cf6641dcb3a4a.0.jpe

No goal.

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Pacific War Room Standings 3.20.2015

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