PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 10.18.13

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 October 18, 2013.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
1st PLACE, 6-0-1, 13 POINTS
@FearTheFin

Well, it’s time to burn the parade plans, cancel the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions merchandise pre-order and curl up in the fetal position. The 2013-14 San Jose Sharks will not be going 98-0 en route to the franchise’s first championship victory after all. That much was made certain when the Dallas Stars proved that, Pacific Division foes or not, they’re still very much the bane of the Sharks’ existence. Alex Chiasson was the only player to score in last night’s game-deciding shootout and handed the Sharks their first loss of the season.

But that outcome, and pretty much the rest of the past week’s events in Sharks hockey, were rightfully overshadowed by Maxim Lapierre’s gruesome boarding of Dan Boyle in St. Louis after which Boyle was escorted off the ice in a stretcher and kept overnight at a local hospital. You might remember Lapierre from such dirty hits as this one on ex-Shark Scott Nichol, for which he was suspended four games. He’ll likely get the book thrown at him today in New York but it probably won’t be a beheading and it certainly won’t bring Boyle back so who even cares at this point? Hopefully Boyle will be okay and at least the Sharks were able to embarrass the Blues on the scoreboard with a 6-2 win.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
2nd PLACE, 5-1-0, 10 POINTS
@EarlSleek

The week that was: The occasionally-Mighty Ducks picked up two more wins over Canadian opponents this past week, but stylistically the two victories were night-and-day.  On Sunday, the Ducks celebrated their 20th year of existence with their throwback night, wearing the old eggplant-and-teal and even bringing back members from the original 1993 roster (STUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!).    But even though the evening tried to stick with the theme of 1993 nostalgia, once the puck was dropped the Ducks crushed the Sens like it was 2007.  Shockingly, Anaheim threw 56 pucks on net that night, which simultaneously set both a Ducks and Senators record, and for one night only Ducks fans were believers in Corsi.

In addition, the decisive win meant that the Senators had lost three straight games in California, so I did my ex-blogger duty and threw together a map-shattering fanpost at Battle of Cali.

Then on Wednesday, the Ducks hosted the welcome-to-the-Pacific-Division Calgary Flames, and everything went back to normal – Anaheim returned to their boring modern jerseys and played a Corsi-defying game that you may remember from last season: outscoring an opponent 3-1 at even strength while losing the 5-on-5 shot count battle by a 2:1 ratio.  It was a stark contrast to the Mighty performance earlier in the week, but wins are wins, and any time Teemu Selänne pots a game-winner these days it’s automatically an instant classic.  But yeah, the lesson?  Boy, that eastern conference is awful.  I can see why the Wings and Jackets couldn’t wait to escape the west.

But even with five straight wins, not all is roses in Anaheim.  The most troublesome stat so far is the Ducks’ miserable power play, which has produced only one goal (and allowed one goal) in just over 47 minutes of power play time.  Per Extra Skater, the Ducks are scoring 1.35 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-4 and 3.86 goals per 60 at 5-on-5.  Ha!  Thank goodness it hasn’t mattered yet – even if the Ducks had scored on every power play this season, they’d still be 5-1-0.

Today’s cartoon is a little bit lazy (get used to it!) and only marginally relevant towards the Ducks’ past week, but hey – it’s a whole new Pacific Division.  May as well Sleektoon it!

And lastly, PANCAKE WATCH!  After sitting out Sunday’s throwback game with an injury, Dustin Penner returned to the Ducks lineup triumphantly on Wednesday, scoring a goal on his second shift of the game on a nice feed from some bald dude.   His 2 goals already this season already matches his total from last season with some slightly-more-northerly team at a slightly-more-northerly cap hit.  The Ducks are 4-0 when he dresses, he’s still point-a-game, and Penner’s plus-minus is at +6, tops amongst Ducks forwards.  Now if he could only score a power play goal!  :)

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
3rd PLACE, 5-3-0, 10 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

Ok, I know this is supposed to be about the Canucks, but as if any of you guys care what they’re up to. Heck, most of you don’t even care what the Kings are up to for God’s sake.

So yeah, I have to tell you about this dream I had this morning. No word of a lie, but I was startled awake by a dream that the Leafs won the Stanley Cup. Not abstractly, either. No, I dreamt I watched them score the Cup winning goal, throw their sticks and gloves in the air, jump on each other and hoist the Cup around.

I can’t recall who they were playing, but I think they beat Math four games to two.

It was truly horrifying.

But the worst part of the whole thing is that in my dream, my first thought was, “Damn. And just after I proclaimed that the Leafs would never win the Cup before the Canucks do as part of my TRH Neighbourhood Watch piece back at the start of the season.”

Anyway, it was enough to put me off thinking about hockey all day.

But it turns out that I’m contractually obligated to send something in to TRH so here goes nothing. Literally.

The Canucks are out on a seven game eastern road swing, so who the hell knows what they’re up to. I mean, the games are over by the time I get home, and seriously, the first game was against Philadelphia and I had episodes of Downton Abbey to catch up on:

I’m actually writing this during the second game of the trip, this time against the Sabres. Apparently Tortorella thinks the Sedins are conjoined or something, and is determined to split them up. He split them up for the third period against the Flyers and the experiment coincided with the Canucks coming back and eventually winning the game. All I can say is I hope he has a better success rate than the medical community.

But if you ask me, the evidence is clear, the chance of scoring is higher when Swedish twins are involved:

Er, wait. Maybe I’m dreaming again.

Hmmm, if so, don’t wake me.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
4th PLACE, 5-3-0, 10 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

The LA Kings began their week-long 4 game road trip with a particularly amazingly boring game in Raleigh, barely beating the Hurricanes 2-1 on yet more shootout heroics from Jeff Carter.

Back…. hand to the left.
Back…. hand to the left.
Back…. hand to the left.

Then, the LA Kings continued their FloriDUMB roadtrip with an impressive 3-0 shutout of the the Florida Panthers by The Professor, Ben Scrivens. But let’s be honest… what team DOESN’T have an impressive victory over the Florida Panthers? Oh sorry… didn’t see you there Pittsburgh Penguins.

Come at me, CarcillBRO!

Then, in Tampa Bay… the LA Kings played like a bunch of boobs.

And finally, Thursday night in Nashville… the LA Kings did what they are probably going to do like 40 more times this season… win 2-1 in a shootout on a goal from Anze Kopitar. (Now 24 games without a regular season goal!) But most importantly…

We learned that no one likes to celebrate with Daniel Carcillo.

The LA Kings finish the roadtrip 3-1 and leap past Calgary (?) into 4th place in the Pacific.

 

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
5th PLACE, 4-2-1, 9 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

Note – This blurb is designed to be read with the strains of a tenor sax, the preferred instrument of 80’s movie soundtracks, playing in the background.

The Dogs continued their road turnaround last Friday dispatching the Flyers like Daniel LaRusso did to Johnny Lawrence and another bunch of famous bullies. The Boys, certainly not a literal term when it comes to their roster (more on this later), then headed down to Tobacco Road.  Before their Sunday matinee game in Carolina the Yotes brought Jeff Halpern home from his Scandinavian exile by signing the veteran to two-way deal. More on this later. The move shouldn’t have surprised anyone. After all the team needed more depth at center, and the Maryland native is a triple bonus score in the Coyotes’ home game. He played for Dave Tippett in Dallas, played for GM Don Maloney’s former club, and he’s over 30.

Between the re-signing of Mike Smith, the FA signing of Ribeiro, and now Halpern, one has to assume management watched Cocoon one too many times or the marketing focus this season has targeted the Valley’s retirement communities. Or maybe they are geeky geniuses – geniuses who have made a 37 year old defensemen into the lynchpin for the club. Yes, Phoenix is undefeated (4-0) with Kelly Lebrock’s male alter ego, Derek Morris, in the lineup.

This past Sunday’s contest against the Canes resembled a 60 minute display of special teams practice. Both teams racked up enough penalties to make one think they were watching a less violent version of a contest between the Hamilton Mustangs and Thunder Bay Bombers. The Yotes pulled out the win and came home for another whopping one game home stand against Ottawa. The Valley’s squad forgot to set their alarm clocks on Tuesday and showed up to Jobing.com Arena just in time for the second period. Sens’ center Jason Spezza looked like Alex Morgan playing the Starfighter video game in his trailer court.  His hat trick along with Cory Conacher’s OT winner helped end Phoenix’s 3 game win streak.

The Yotes play 5 of their next 6 games against the Pacific. They start this weekend off back on the road tonight against the double elbowed attack of Emperor Getzlaf and Darth Perry. The Quack Attack has apparently decided to harken back to the 90’s (I know, Anaheim ruins everything) when their unis were straight out of the movies and their radio play by play guy looked like this. After the Ducks game the Desert Dogs then head back home for their longest home stand so far this season (2 games) for a Rocky II style rematch with the Wings and the Rocky V worthy matchup with the Flames. To end the week Shane “Marty” McDoan and crew take Doc Tippett’s DeLorean for a spin to the City of Angels to meet up with Dustin “Bif” Brown and friends.  One would suspect both clubs will look a bit like Frank Dux at the end of the Kumite by the time the game concludes.

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 3-1-2, 8 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

So, uh, well hey, did your teams’ play any hockey this week, because the Flames, well not so much.

Two games. Two games this week, because the Hockey Gods are cruel, cynical assholes. The Flames, who were – terrible pun both intended and unintended – a team on fire to begin a season that everyone assumed would be doused from the outset (puns. puns), played two games since the last War Room check in, including one THAT NIGHT, and then one against the Ducks, those smug, reproachable birds with their flying V’s and Quack chants on Wednesday.

They beat the Devils, because that’s just what you do when you play the Devils. It took a late winner from young Sean Monahan to do it, but it was just a matter of time. The Devils are the mittens of sadness on the snowsuit of despair.

But then they had 5 days off, and while playing a particularly David-esque game vs. okay well I guess the Ducks aren’t Goliath, but whatever, Teemu Selanne scored and the Ducks won again, as the Flames at the Honda Center (where the team has not won since fire was actually discovered) is a bit like me in high school – they don’t score enough and leave feeling dejected and sad.

So we look ahead. The Flames finish off a 5 game road trip against 3 very good Western Conference foes and also Phoenix, and the Sean Monahan watch is officially on. If Monahan plays against Dallas on the 24th, it’ll be his 10th game of the season, meaning he’s on pace for 82 on the year, and not, if my math is correct, 9. If his play drops off against some legitimately tougher competition in the coming days, Sven Baertschi loses his centerman, and Sean plays for the awful Ottawa 67′s and nothing much changes except maybe he gets some PK time and a shot at a gold medal in wherever the hell the World Juniors are being held this Christmas.

That’s the most interesting thing about the week ahead for the Flames. Yeah, they play the Kings, but Jonathan Quick has something resembling a nine or ten hole this season, so any intrigue surrounding this game is basically trickling between his legs and into the net.

In closing, let your brainholes feast on this nugget: Jiri Hudler is 10th in the league. In scoring. And we’re not even talking about hookers this time.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 1-6-1, 3 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

Well, that sure seemed to go from bad to unconscionably bad PRETTY quickly, didn’t it?

Devan Dubnyk assured us he wouldn’t let in 5 goals every game, and he’s nothing if not a man of his word.

Nail Yakupov was scratched for two whole games after doing a whole lot of nothing in his first 4, and that turned out to be the death knell for his careerapparently. (Side note: he’s done nothing in the two games he’s played since, so, I mean, there IS that)

Edmonton fans think it’s a GREAT idea to trade Yakupov for Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek *places cyanide capsule in mouth*

The Oilers are off to a blistering 1-6-1 start, while giving up a league leading 35(!!!) goals, a full 7 more than historic goalie powerhouse Florida *dumps entire bottle of cyanide pills in mouth*

And to top it all off Taylor Hall is doing everything in his power to sully the good name of Wanye Douglas Gretzky! *never stops chewing*

This feels like it may be a good time to remind everyone (OILER FANS) that the Oilers went 7-2-2 to start the 11-12 season, only to miss the playoffs by a measly 21 points and finish 29th…

Am I trying to say that maybe we, Oiler fans, should cool it a bit on the “THIS SEASON IS OVER THEY’RE FINISHING LAST AGAIN TRADE EVERYBODY FIRE THEM ALL LET’S FINALLY ENACT THAT SUICIDE PACT WE’VE BEEN JOKING ABOUT BUT WERE ALSO SORT OF SERIOUS ABOUT I LOVE YOU BRO PLEASE DON’T TELL MY WIFE I JUST SAID THAT OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE” rhetoric? Maybe.

Am I going to wash these pills down with a Texas Mickey of Crown Royal (Canadian for whiskey)? Absolutely.

Do I think this years Oiler squad, despite current appearances, will be much better than the previous 4 years combined? Yes, yes I d- *watches Oilers team plane crash into the side of a mountain*

Hey, have I ever told you guys about the time when I was 10 through 14 and was a big Colorado Avalanche fan? *Banned from Edmonton forever*

I’ve made a huge mistake….

 

Thanks to all the amazing Pacific Division Bloggers. Check back next Friday for another edition of Pacific War Room!

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.