PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 1.10.2014

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 current Pacific Division standings… we present Pacific War Room for the week of January 10th, 2014.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 33-8-5, 71 POINTS
@EarlSleek

Ten times this past week the Anaheim Ducks found themselves in a tied-game situation. Six times their opponent took the lead; four times Anaheim took the lead. Six times their opponents blew it; four times Anaheim held the lead for the rest of the night. Yup – four more improbable wins.

In their last dozen games, the Ducks have allowed the game’s first goal 9 times and the game’s first two goals 4 times. They’re 11-1-0 over that stretch – it’s downright robbery.

StandingsPointsRobbery

To start the week, the Ducks hosted the Oilers, and though Edmonton would score the first and third goal of the game, they only led for about six minutes before Ben Lovejoy would score identical goals and steal the game away. Oilers would only get 8 shots after the first period – after a shaky start, the Ducks woke up and won.

Then the Canucks came to town, twins and all, and Vancouver scored the game’s first two goals on power plays. But the Ducks fought back, forcing overtime late in the third and winning the game in overtime’s dying seconds. Oh Perry, you game-winning scoundrel. Canucks would only get 8 shots after the first period – after a shaky start, the Ducks woke up and won.

The other 2011 finalist Bruins were next, and they became the only opponent who didn’t have a lead this week against Anaheim. Jonas Hiller won his 12th consecutive game, a franchise record, and the Ducks’ special teams shockingly won this game for a change, scoring 3 power play goals and 1 shorthanded goal. The Bruins outshot Anaheim 16-3 in a scoreless first, but play leveled out after that – after a shaky start, the Ducks woke up and won.

Finally the Ducks hit the road to visit the Predators, and within 3 minutes were trailing 2-0. The Ducks responded once again on the back of Captain Baldy, scoring four times in the second period, including a game-winner by old man Selänne – after a shaky start, the Ducks woke up and won.

This is the Ducks’ fourth winning streak of 5+ games so far this season. No other team has more than two, and 17 teams have none. Anaheim is 18-0-2 at home and 16-1-2 since Thanksgiving, and while the Ducks have certainly benefitted from luck in achieving both those records, it’s still nice to have a slight cushion on Pacific teams for a bit. :)

PANCAKE WATCH! Another pointless week for Penner, though in his defense he did miss the last two games with some sort of inflamed elbow, presumably picked up at some point during breakfast.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 28-11-6, 62 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

While they’re now nine points behind the surging Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division standings after an uneven week, the Sharks can still look back on their shootout win over Chicago with pride.

Despite five top-nine forwards – Tomas Hertl (to whom Dustin Brown still owes an apology), Marty Havlat (to whom Marty Havlat’s pelvic floor still owes an apology), Tommy Wingels, Tyler Kennedy and Raffi Torres – being out of the lineup due to injury, the Sharks decisively outplayed and eventually defeated the best team in hockey on the second half of a back-to-back with backup goaltender Alex Stalock in net. It was certainly one of the highlights of the season so far and more or less overshadowed losses in Colorado and Nashville as well as more bad news on the injury front, with Logan Couture now out 3-4 weeks with a hand injury.

Speaking of Couture, he, Dan Boyle and Joe Thornton were left off the Canadian Olympic Team while Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who have probably been the team’s best forward and best defenseman so far this season, were named to it. Revoke my citizenship if you must, but the only thing I’ll now be cheering for next month is Marleau scoring the overtime winner against Team USA in the Gold Medal Game, triggering another tear-filled Jeremy Roenick Depression Hour on national television.

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 27-13-5, 59 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half

To start the week, the LA Kings made a huge splash that very well may have shaken up the landscape of the entire NHL…

…sorta.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

That’s right, the league’s No. 1 defensive team addressed its biggest concern by adding a third goalie to the roster.

Needless to say, this angered Jeff Carter.

So Carter responded by single-handedly destroying the Vancouver Canucks.

He then proceeded to take a victory lap around the rink.

Jeff Carter: Olympian.

The Kings followed up this big win by, naturally, completely dominating a game and still managing to lose in a shootout to the injury-depleted Minnesota Wild.

At least we’ll always have this.

Oh, and the Kings also probably played their best game of the season and defeated the Boston Bruins.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 23-13-9, 55 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

Ouch.

pet bugs pancake watch

Oof.

pet bugs damien cox

Argh.

If you’d like to track the Canucks on-going losing streak, you might find it helpful to use a calendar.

Sigh.

PHOENIX COYOTES
5th PLACE, 21-13-9, 51 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

Phoenix started a week with three homes games by blowing two 2 goal leads to the boys from Philly on Saturday night. The Yotes power play continued its poor performances of late and their penalty kill stayed the mess it has been all season. On Tuesday, most countries announced their Olympic rosters. After what seemed like a marathon mash up of the worst 1980’s U.S.S.R. Politburo speeches, Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was named to the Canadian squad.

Four other Coyotes players will be joining the goaltender at Russia’s premier Summer Winter resort next month. We are going to assume the Czech squad won’t be medaling since their coach wasn’t bright enough to pick Radim Vrbata for the squad. Luckily, a team from the province of Alberta came to town on Tuesday night. Speaking of things from the Great White North, look what else arrived at Jobing.com Arena recently.

Sure beats hanging out with two dudes from America’s most famous tribute band.

Looks to us like Bailey may have hit rock bottom. He’s even scaring people who spend part of their day in hockey locker rooms.

Back to the recapping. The Flames showed once again that charity begins at home, the other team’s home that is. The Desert Dogs got their second home win over Alberta’s second worst NHL club and their first shutout of the season. Thomas Greiss has been playing so magnificently in net a goalie controversy may be brewing in the Valley before too long.

One of Shane Doan’s horses got loose prior to the contest and followed him to work. The horse even hung around after the Flames game to check out Martin Hanzal’s postgame interview on the plaza.

The Coyotes could have used a couple of horses last night to help them against Justin Fontaine and the Minnesota Wild. Keith Yandle performed like a guy you wouldn’t pick for your NHL team much less your country’s Olympic team and Fontaine netted his first NHL hat trick.

This coming week the Coyotes have a two game trip to the Midwest which is book ended by home dates against division mates Anaheim and Vancouver. They need to right the ship or risk digging themselves a large hole to dig out of after the Olympic break. As the media and fans debate what is wrong with the club and what winger they need to acquire to finally replace Ray Whitney, the good news is they mayfinally have a fully healthy roster with Zbynek Michalek moving closer to returning. Plus, even on their worst nights they aren’t the Leafs.

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 15-23-6, 36 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

The Calgary Flames inspire me.

Here we are in 2014 in the middle of an energy crisis, and the Flames seem to be the only ones concerned about it. While all their surrounding peers seemed to be consumed with mass consumption and an overzealous greed for more, Calgary, itself seen as one of the energy capitals of the world, choose to be more efficient and go without.

What a responsible, green decision.

In 3 out of the 4 games since we last checked in on the Pacific Division, the Flames have decided to take the economical route by scoring no goals. None. Opponents so hastily racked up 16 goals on the team in that span, proving to be selfish, uneducated finks who can’t see the bigger picture here. That includes the Coyotes, by the way, so hey Carl, how can you defend a team that so clearly hates the Earth?

You’re part of the problem, Carl. 6 goals? In one game? That’s reckless.

This is truly groundbreaking stuff, but not unprecedented, as the team has dabbled in long term zero goal production before. In September 2002 they shut themselves out (make no mistake, it’s a conscious decision not to score, or else clearly they’d be lighting up everyone) 4 out of 6 games, presciently showing the potential for future conservationist revolutions, but with a reaching his potential Jarome Iginla and a decent young core ready to discover itself, the drought ended prematurely and everyone assumed the experimenting may have been done forever.

Not so! This time around, the Flames have taken the proper precautions to ensure that there is almost zero offensive output within their charges. Whether that’s by taking their potentially great raw rookie and placing him in situations where he can’t possibly EVER create offense, or anchoring some of your best playmakers with slow footed scrubs, or just generally employing a workforce heavy in grit and truculence but not skill, goallessness is reaching heights even fans of the Ottawa Senators early days will pretend to have not seen.

By refusing to score goals now, the Flames are ensuring a better future for themselves (AND SOCIETY) by ensuring to find local, SUSTAINABLE alternatives to goal scoring when the goal shortage in hockey reaches critical mass (and you better believe it’s coming). Things like needless penalties, or thug powered goonery, or “moral victories”. None of these things comes close to goals, but it will still bring people to the rink, and isn’t that what we’re all in it for in the first place?

The Flames are pioneers. The Teslas of the hockey world. History books will not look kindly on them in the near term, but one day everyone will look back and marvel at how spectacular this stretch of hockey has been and how it just CANNOT be forgotten.

earth-day

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 14-27-5, 30 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

We’ve reached the halfway point in the NHL season, and this year more than ever ORF has begun to sink in with a fierce vengeance.

For those of you who don’t know, ORF is the acronym for Oilers Related Fatigue. You know, that point in the season where you’re team has been so monumentally bad for so long that not only do you stop caring about watching their games, you start to get physically worn down by the mere thought of watching another one. Oh, none of you other A-holes have ever experienced this? I HATE YOU ALL GET OUT OF MY ROOM!

If I may take a minute to show you how the sausage is made, this is essentially the same routine I go through every week when writing these posts:

11:30PM – Thursday Night – “Well, might as well start getting ready for be- OHMAN I FORGOT TO WRITE MY ROYAL HALF POST AT WORK AGAIN!”

11:35PM – Thursday Night – *Opens Word document. Goes to Oilers website.*

“Okay, who did we lose to since the last post and how badly did we lose?”

*Looks at terrible week of game outcomes*

“Maybe I should stop tweeting so much during the games and actually start watching them, so I have an understanding of what’s going on in these games, and maybe start to piece together WHY we’re as bad as we appear to be.”

*Takes a hit from vaporizer*

“WHO AM I KIDDING I’D PROBABLY WANT TO KILL MYSELF IF I ACTUALLY WATCHED THE GAMES INSTEAD OF MAKING TERRIBLE JOKES ON TWITTER ALL NIGHT WHY AM I YELLING RIGHT NOW OH MAN DO I STILL HAVE PIZZA LEFT IN THE FRIDGE?”

11:55PM – Thursday Night – “I immediately regret eating all that cold pizza right before bed. What was I doing again?”

*Looks at terrible week of game outcomes again. Never stops sighing. Reevaluates life choices made up until this point. Wishes he never stopped being a Colorado Avalanche fan. Hates self for having that thought. Looks at picture of Jesse Joensuu on sidebar of Oilers website. Remembers why he hates being an Oiler fan. Mashes fists on keyboard until something vaguely coherent makes it onto the page. Another vaporizer hit. Re-reads what he just wrote. Double-checks that the Oilers are, in fact, this bad. Never stops taking hits until there are no more feelings. Horrific smelling pizza fart. Accidentally sends email to therayolholf@gmail.com*

11:30PM – The Following Thursday – *Repeats process again. Throws in a few GIFs this time*

#HereComeTheOilers

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

NHL Wild Card Watch 1.10.2014 - The Royal Half

Never stop trollin’, Bruce Boudreau.

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