PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 1.3.2014

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 3rd, 2014.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 29-8-5, 63 POINTS
@EarlSleek

Dammit. For the first time in five weeks I have to write about an Anaheim regulation loss. I know, right?

The Ducks started their week against the ol’ Phoenix Coyotes, and even though the Desert Dogs would score two late goals to force overtime, Saku Koivu would score his second goal of the game in the extra session to push the Ducks’ winning streak to 10 games. That not only gave Anaheim victories in its first four meetings against Phoenix this season, but then, just a few days later, Cam Fowler was a jerk and got named to Team USA over Keith Yandle. :)

Then the Ducks traveled to San Jose for the first of two straight games against the Sharks. And yes, friends, here’s where it happened. The Ducks’ only regulation loss since Thanksgiving (sniffle!). The Ducks’ only regulation loss to a Pacific opponent (whimper!). The Sharks scored early and beat the Ducks 3-1.

However, that loss was quickly avenged on New Year’s Eve, when both teams traveled down to Anaheim for a rematch. This time the Ducks scored repeatedly, chasing Niemi early in the third period. Between Greiss, Niemi, and Stalock, Anaheim this past week scored on every Sharks netminder since 2011-12.

Here’s the Sleektoon blow-by-blow…

Coyotes Ducks Sharks by Earl Sleek - The Royal Half

Ducks are now 9-1-2 within the Pacific Division and 15-0-2 at home. They’ve played 17 games at Honda Center this season, but have already appeared in 24 opponent buildings (twice at the Shark Tank, once in 23 other cities). Their winning is certainly buffered by their league-leading 103.6 PDO at 5-on-5 close, but they’ve so far survived a treacherous division, a crazy travel schedule, and a whack of injuries. I’m excited to see what the new year brings!

And, having watched and pitied everybody freezing their ass off at the Winter Classic, I’m also pretty excited to go to Dodgers Stadium later this month to watch two better teams play better hockey in better weather. Woo!!!

PANCAKE WATCH! Penner spent a second straight week pretty ineffective. 2 games played, 1 healthy scratch – 0 points and a minus-2. But hey, at least he’s stylish or something!

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 26-9-6, 58 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

While everyone was (justifiably) complaining about Bobby Ryan getting snubbed by the U.S. Olympic Team, the Sharks were embroiled in a hard-fought home-and-home series with Ryan’s former club this week. After notching their third straight shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes last Friday, San Jose began its slate of two consecutive contests with Anaheim seven points back of the first-place Ducks and ended it…seven points back of the first-place Ducks.

The 6-3 drubbing on New Year’s Eve was a rather anticlimactic way to end a two-game series that had plenty of drama ranging from Logan Couture snapping his 272-game (or somewhere around there) goalless drought, Jonas Hiller turning the clock back to 2009 and stonewalling the Sharks for the entire first period on Tuesday and career minor leaguer Bracken Kearns scoring in both games after being recalled from the AHL due to injury.

Kearns would score again in the Sharks’ 5-1 rout of the Oilers and is having such a great start to his NHL career that Dustin Brown is already making plans to take out his ACL.

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 25-13-4, 54 POINTS
@PumperNicholl from The Royal Half

@TheRoyalHalf is off getting calf implants, so while the cat’s away, the mouse will play!

Oh, I actually have to write something else about the LA Kings losing every game this week and extending their skid to a season-high five games?

I don’t want to write about it and you sure as hell don’t want to read about it.

OK, fine. Here’s a quick recap:

Happy New Year’s Eve’s Eve!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Happy New Year!

But instead of focusing on those losses, check out some more GIFs because those are funny.

Also, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown were temporarily added to the US Olympic Team.

This is temporary because there’s no way in hell the karma gods allow Brown to play…

…unless of course the karma gods are Canadian or have some Scandinavian blood in them. In which case, Brown will undoubtedly be a first-line center on this team.

And stay tuned for Jonathan Quick’s impending season-ending knee injury which he’ll suffer after slipping on a piece of obložené chlebíčky that Tomas Hertl accidentally dropped on the floor.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 23-12-7, 53 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Unless of course, you are Bobby Ryan. Or the Vancouver Canucks.

Sure, the Canucks just finished one of their best Decembers ever, picking up points in all but one game (damn you, Minnesota Wild, our greatest rival!) going 10-1-2 in the process. But they ended it on a bit of sour note, blowing a lead in the last minute against the Flyers and then failing to put even one by Steve Mason, yes, THAT Steve Mason, in the shootout.

On the bright side, at least Roberto Luongo doesn’t have to feel like it’s only him this team hangs out to dry in the final minute…

Our loveable heroes followed up that loss in a game they should have won, with a loss in a game they should have lost. Maybe if was from watching the Winter Classic or maybe they were just in solidarity with Bobby Ryan, but boy did they come out sleepy against the Lighting.

Speaking of which, when are we going to stop kidding ourselves about New Year’s Day:

pet bugs 1

As an aside, I was planning on making a graph comparing New Year’s resolutions to the Oilers’ playoff hopes, and how both start the year with lots of promise but are forgotten by the time February rolls around, but that joke doesn’t work with December instead.

Anyway, the only other thing I’ll say about the Winter Classic is that I wish I had spent the time watching the Avalanche Sharks game on Showcase instead. If you missed it, like I did, here’s the highlight pack:

Looks like Shanahan will be busy after than one.

As for the Canucks, they go California dreaming on such a winter’s day with quick road trip to face the Kings and Ducks this weekend. Prepare for a blue and green invasion, SoCal, as this is one of those LA/Anaheim back-to-back sets that’s perfect for Canucks’ fans to make the trip south with the team.

Luckily for the Canucks, Bobby Ryan no longer plays for the Ducks, as I suspect he’s going to go on a bit of a tear in the next few weeks, hoping to show Brian Burke that you can’t spell GOLD MEDALS without GOALS:

pet bugs 2

By the way, I bet if you’re like 90% of the population, you’re wandering about the house thinking to yourself “Crap, it’s January and I need a new calendar.” Well, are you ever in luck! The Graphic Comments 2014 Wall Calendar is still on sale at lulu.com (www.lulu.com/spotlight/GraphicComments). So what are you waiting for, a crappy calendar from your real estate agent with photos of trees and streams? BORING. Get yourself a GC 2014 Calendar instead. It’s as reliable as Jack Johnson is, uh, American.

PHOENIX COYOTES
5th PLACE, 20-11-7, 49 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

The Coyotes started the past week off with back to back extra time losses to Pacific Division rivals. On the tenth anniversary of Jobing.com Arena, San Jose grabbed the extra point in the shootout. The next night in Anaheim, Saku Koivu apparently drank from the fountain of youth prior to the contest. The veteran center scored two goals including the game winner in OT.

On Monday, Yotes fans rejoiced at the sight of Shane Doan returning to practice with his teammates. Unfortunately, there is still no timetable for the captain’s return to game action.

New Year’s Eve in Glendale was pure Yandlemonium! Phoenix gave their fans surplus hockey for the six straight time. Unlike the first two games of the week, the Yotes found a way to actually beat a Pacific division squad, though needing additional time to beat the Oilers isn’t really something to truly celebrate. Keith Yandle sent a message to the Olympic Selection Committee with a 2 goal performance.

The message was apparently not received as the old school cranks on the committee apparently only take messages via the Pony Express. The D-man from Massachusetts was left off the 2014 US Olympic Men’s Hockey Squad. We’re pretty sure this was the exact expression L.A. Kings General Manager and Yandle defender Dean Lombardi had when Brian Burke he showed up to selection meetings with bed head and his tie undone.

Thursday night one of the two franchises who went scurrying away from the big, bad West came to town. Columbus came into the desert mired in a power play slump and came away with a 2 -0 victory via two power play tallies. Even worse, the Coyotes couldn’t score on the guy who couldn’t win a game when his teammates scored six goals. The Jackets tried to take out Oliver Ekman-Larsson twice along the boards in the first period. They succeeded on the second occasion. Derek MacKenzie gets to have a nice phone conversation with everyone’s favorite Winter Classic alumni game participant this afternoon.

Phoenix’s entire first pairing is now sitting on the shelf with no timetable for either OEL or Z’s return.

The Desert Dogs continue a six game home stand with games against the Flyers, Flames, and Wild this coming week. Speaking of future games, this would be the perfect setting for a contest on New Year’s Day 2016.

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 14-20-6, 34 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

beef

burke sad

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9

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6

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13

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15

Fuck this team.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 13-25-5, 30 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

#HereComeTheOilers

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

wild card watch

At least the Kings are doing their part.

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