PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 1.31.14

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 31st, 2014.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 40-11-5, 85 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Let’s talk some Stadium Series!  Wait, where are you going, majority of TRH readers?

It was the most expensive ticket to a hockey game I’ve ever purchased, but I’m really glad I was there – it was fantastic.  My enjoyment obviously has a lot to do with the game’s outcome, but the event was well done (even if corny), the ice held up fine, the weather was perfect, and the NHL really did give California the hockey spotlight for a night – well, at least the teams with Cup banners.  I got to meet bloggers at the TRH Friday night meetup, got to start excitedly drinking early the next day with my buddies, got to cheer for some legends in Vin Scully and Wayne Gretzky, got to see a historic Ducks win, and later in the week I got to see people freeze to death at Yankees Stadium while listening to Jersey Boys.

Sadly for the most of the crowd at Dodgers Stadium, the Kings stole the Team Slovenia playbook and really stuck to the strategy of “Anze will score a goal every two games and nobody else help him”.  Kopitar potted a nice goal early in the prequel to the outdoor game, but Andersen and Hiller would stop the Kings’ next 65 shots on goal, indoors and out, including Kopitar’s outdoor penalty shot.

And while that was a loud moment in a big game, my one kind-of regret even as a Ducks fan is that we never got to hear Dodgers Stadium erupt after a Kings goal.  But I guess that did lead to the real highlight of my week – a retweet from Bailey! :)

 

Now some Ducks fans are upset that the Kings didn’t participate in postgame handshakes, but I’m not one of them.  It wasn’t really a tradition then and it needn’t really become a tradition any time soon – you can cheapen things with overexposure (see also: penalty shots and the existence of shootouts).  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to cartoon about it – the Kings players were out of there in a hurry.

DodgersStadiumNoHandshake

Oh yeah, and there some indoor games last week as well, I guess.  The Ducks lost to the Wild and beat the Flyers, all under the cover of a roof.

p.s. PANCAKE WATCH!  A one-goal and zero-breakfast-injuries week for Dustin Penner.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 34-15-6, 74 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

Presumably, the Sharks’ past week was one long attempt to one-up the team chasing them in the Pacific Division standings, Los Angeles, in the worst way possible. The Kings got shut out by the Ducks on a national stage and the Coyotes, scoring three goals in five games in total? That’s nothing; the Sharks took offensive futility to its logical conclusion by firing 100 shots at the Edmonton net on Wednesday, none of which beat Ben Scrivens.

It was San Jose’s second consecutive shutout and gave way to a 4-1 loss to Calgary the following night. Suddenly, the team’s slew of forward injuries up front appears to be catching up to them. Which perhaps explains why they locked up two of their forwards who have remained healthy all year and also happen to be the two best players in franchise history. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton will be spending three more years after this one in teal, which is especially significant because it gives Jumbo Joe at least 246 more opportunities to flash Lil’ Jumbo in a four-goal celebration. Hey, it’s possible, as long as he never has to face Ben Scrivens again.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 30-20-6, 66 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

Little did I know that when I came up with the idea in September that TRH should create a weekly column that looks back at the week in the Pacific that I’d have to experience the week ending January 31st, 2014.

The Coors Light Stadium Series™ game at Dodger Stadium was everything I’d hoped it would be… it was a spectacleit was an event… and the Kings embarrassed themselves so it gave #TeamTRH plenty to write and discuss about. And the stupid LA Kings couldn’t even score a goal.

The Kings continued to torment their fans as the week went on… barely beating the San Jose Sharks 1-0 and then getting destroyed by the Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins. And the only thing keeping the LA Kings barely breathing at this point is Drew Doughty…

Drew Doughty OEL Hipcheck 2 - The Royal HalfDrew Doughty OEL Hipcheck 1 - The Royal HalfDrew Doughty OEL Hipcheck - The Royal Half

Jon Quick…

Jonathan Quick robs San Jose Sharks - The Royal Half

Jonathan Quick Keeps His Glove Hand Strong - The Royal Half

… and Anze Kopitar???

If Anze Kopitar is the only person scoring for the LA Kings in January, then the Olympic Break can’t come soon enough. I’m just glad Kings fans are staying totally sane.

Ok, maybe some fans are still sane.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 27-19-9, 63 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

It seems like a year ago that the Canucks were on the verge of a team record 11 wins in a month. They blew that with a no show against the Flyers and have been blowing it ever since, and are now on the verge of putting up 11 losses in a month as they face the Jets in Winnipeg tonight.

I’m not going to look it up, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a record.

You can blame the horrible month on their aging core, a lack of effort, or just an LA King-like inability to score, especially on the power play. But given that Henrik Sedin, Chris Tanev and now, Kevin Bieksa, are all out, you can’t tell me that they can’t catch a break:

image

I would say they need to go on a tear, but Mike Santorelli begs to differ.

Luckily for the Canucks, it’s not like the rest of the Horrific Division is doing any better lately:

The Canucks contribution to that dismal showing this past week consisted of blowing a couple of two goal leads to the Yotes, only to pull out an OT win on a good second effort from Bieksa:

They followed that up by blowing another two goal lead in a 4-2 loss to the Hawks.

Oh, wait. I seem to have looked past the Oilers game. So did the Canucks, apparently.

They lost that one too. And yes, Oiler fans, the Canucks’ window appears to be closed, but just remember, there are no windows in the basement:

image copy

Anyway, I’ll be happy to see this month go by. (Although it is my favourite graphic in the Graphic Comments wall calendar!)

The one thing I’m looking forward to in February is that there’s no way the Canucks can lose 11 games next month. You can take that one to the bank.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
5th PLACE, 25-19-10, 60 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

The Desert Dogs’ spent the first part of the week finishing second Western Canadian roadie. Last Friday night the Coyotes dispatched of the Lowe-ly Oilers, but like most games this season they refused to make it easy. Phoenix built a 4-0 lead against Edmonton and then decided to head for the postgame meal midway through the 2nd period. Luckily, the Oilers still couldn’t score enough goals to win.

Two nights later in the barn where diving is legal and visiting team’s dressing rooms aren’t safe, the Dogs took the Canucks to OT because of another outstanding performance by Antoine Vermette.

Regrettably, the boys from the Sonoran Desert let Kevin Bieksa part the Red Sea in OT.

The second part of Phoenix’s week was spent hosting a family from Garden River Ontario, the Nolans. Jordan Nolan decided early in the game since Rusty Klesla was down in Portland, he had to find someone else to pick on. He chose 4th liner Kyle Chipchura.

Nolan’s borderline hit and Drew Doughty’s hip check on Oliver Ekman-Larsson were as effective as the Kings offense has been as of late. The Coyotes played one of their best games of the season in a 3-0 route of the Kings.

Jordan’s father’s team, the Buffalo Sabres, swept their season series with the Dogs last night. Their shorthanded winner may not have been as ugly as #buttgoal, but it wasn’t pretty either.  Phoenix again decided to go for their postgame meal well before the game ended. For a good part of the 2nd stanza the Coyotes decided they didn’t want to bother Ryan Miller, so didn’t take any shots on goal.

The fans weren’t the only ones not happy about the team’s lackluster performance against the team with the worst record in the league.

Following a game with the Pens on Saturday night, Phoenix plays six straight games against teams from the Central Division.

And now the most frightening picture of the week.

Phil Knight should be forced to wear those pieces of refuse to every business meeting he attends for the next four years.

 

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 20-27-7, 47 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

The Flames have beaten the Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, and San Jose Sharks over the course of a 4 game winning streak. That’s right, the Flames own both Conference III and The Pacific Division.

I mean except for all those other teams that beat them in those divisions, right, Los Angel….oh wait, right.

It’s amazing what getting rid of Shane O’Brien can do for a team’s healthy bottom line.

So let’s talk about it shall we? The Flames beat the Predators in OT in a game I surely dreamed up, because that was a game where ERIC NYSTROM scored 4 goals.

That name again, was Eric Nystrom, previously known for making more money than he’s worth and doing Slap Shot style stripteases at AHL Skills Competitions, where he belongs.

(Seriously though, how awesome is Slap Shot?)

But it didn’t matter, as the Predators have Devan Dubnyk now, a Pac War Room Hall of Famer, and that was enough for the Flames to come back from a couple of two goal deficits and some awesome work by the Flames best players (yes, they have some, assholes)

But it’s the Predators. The Predators suck. The Flames, who are going to finish 3 points out of a playoff spot, 2 points ahead of the Kings, as this season draws to a close, need a real challenge to win games and make #TankNation fans really hilariously mad and pouty. How about the Blackhawks?

HOW ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS?

Oh Mikael Backlund. Sploosh. How you are not going to Sochi blows my mind.

Another back and forth affair that ended with both teams pulling their backup goalies in place of their slightly better counterparts, and it had to be done, especiaally after this happened:

We found a solution for this issue at Flames Nation at least:

TJ Brodie won the game in OT, because he’s awesome, but you knew that, because you totally don’t scroll past this section when reading the War Room, right?

What can you say about the Flames win over the Sharks that hasn’t already been said in 102 Jokes About Sharks:

Q: Why aren’t there any shark puppeteers?

A: They have no hands!!!!! (this is a direct shot at Joe Pavelski)

Q: What would they call a quarter pounder with cheese at a hypothetical McDonalds for sharks

A: a quarter flounder with cheese (Joe Thornton was floundering all night)

Q: What is the shark worlds most popular comic strip

A: Seanuts (Alex Stalock sucks)

Q: What did the deaf, dumb and blind shark excel at?

A: Finball (Our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of a nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who necessarily by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom)

To end off the week it was, I’m going to play a game: using only the following image, can you name the Flames player most responsible for the Flames turnaround of late? I’ll bet you can’t!

mikael-backlund

Yeah, good luck buddy.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 18-32-6, 42 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

War Room 1-31-14

The Pacific Division is still good, right? RIGHT?!?

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!

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.