PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 11.1.13

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 November 1st, 2013.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
1st PLACE, 10-1-2, 22 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

San Jose’s wins over Montreal and Ottawa, denizens of the lowly Leastern Conference, last weekend were enjoyable enough but ultimately came to be overshadowed by the familiar gut punch of the loss the Sharks suffered in Los Angeles Wednesday night. They dropped yet another one-goal game to the Kings at Staples, with the only solace being that at least it didn’t eliminate them from playoff contention this time. In the Sharks’ defense, they remain without two of their best players in Dan Boyle and Brent Burns although defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is doing his best Boyle impression so far this season. He scored thirteen seconds into the game against the Kings and now has 10 points in 13 games, a pace that would shatter his career high and places him behind only P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the blueline scoring leaderboard. Ultimately, the Sharks need to get healthy before they can resume having their way with teams as they did earlier in the season. Hopefully Burns and Boyle will draw back into the lineup by the November 27th Sharks vs. Kings rematch in the Bay Area.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
2rd PLACE, 10-3-1, 21 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

The Ducks started this week with three straight W1Njuries (when you pick up two points in a one-goal win but lose a key player while doing so) before closing the week with a shockingly-healthy shootout loss.  The week in bullets:

  • Ducks 2, Senators 1.  Frederik Andersen is excellent in net, but a Jared Cowan slash breaks Jakob Silfverberg’s hand, putting him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks.
  • Ducks 4, Blue Jackets 3.  Corey Perry scores another gimme game-winner towards the end of regulation, but a Brandon Dubinsky check gives Saku Koivu a concussion, putting him out of the lineup indefinitely.  (The Ducks do score their one power play goal of the week on the ensuing major, though.)
  • Ducks 3, Flyers 2.  Kyle Palmieri scores two 3rd period goals to win the game, but a Luke Schenn high stick smashes Teemu Selänne in the teeth.  Teemu gets 40 stitches and some oral surgery and is out 2 weeks.
  • Bruins 3, Ducks 2 (shootout).  Ducks come really close to earning their fourth one-goal victory of the week, but since all of Anaheim’s players made it through the game healthy, by virtue of this week’s theme they fail to hold on to the late lead.  Still, standings point!

And while the woeful power play is still a concern, and while the Ducks are the only team without a goal from their defensemen, there’s still lots of bright sides to choose from.  Despite all the missing bodies from the lineup (haven’t really mentioned Souray, Sbisa, or Fasth), the team continues to play really well 5-on-5, getting contributions from all over their lineup.  And in a twisted upside, these power play deficiencies have made Ducks games much more exciting.  This past week featured four straight nail-biters that would have all had less interesting endings had the Ducks scored on ANY of their 2-minute man advantages throughout the week.  :)

PANCAKE WATCH – Dustin Penner did return to the lineup yesterday after a 5-game absence, and naturally picked up an assist on his first shift back.  It was the first time this season that the Ducks lost a game when Penner dressed (6-0-1 now), but Dustin had an excellent and lucky October.  He was on the ice for 10 goals for, 0 goals against; his resulting +10 ranks 3rd in the league; his resulting 122.5 PDO is hilarious.

Sleektoon!  This one not only features multiple panels, but since I drew it a day early, I even had two alternate endings to use, depending on how the Bruins game went.  Here’s the “Ducks lose to the Bruins” version – W1Njury!

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
3rd PLACE, 9-3-2, 20 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

Who is this team and where has this offense come from? They scored 13 goals in 3 games this week and now sit third in the league in scoring averaging 3.36 goals per game.

The week started with a home meeting against the franchise whose grave the rest of the Pacific is visiting today for Día De Los Muertos, the Edmonton Oilers. The Phoenix Coyotes did what they have done best all season…score goals. The Oilers in turn did what they do best…lose. As a side note, Marty Hanzal also did what he does best.

On Tuesday night, with 4 regulars missing from their lineup, the Yotes starting met up with the Half’s team for the second time in a week. The first period looked more like a 10 meter springboard competition than a hockey game. Thankfully, for the final two periods the Coyotes and Kings decided to focus on playing instead of acting.  Phoenix got payback for their 7-4 loss the previous Thursday with a 3-1 win.

Howl-O-Ween night brought what was expected to be a less than frightening Perds team to town. The Coyotes played a trick on their fans by playing what seemed like their tenth sloppy first period of the campaign and then spent the rest of the night treating their fans to a stunning comeback shootout win. The Dogs still haven’t lost a home game in regulation this season.

After playing two Pacific Division opponents this past week, the boys from the Valley of the Sun play three more next week. They’ll be in Silicon Valley on Saturday night and in the O.C. on Wednesday. In between they’ll face the Canucks at home on Tuesday.

 

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 9-5-1, 19 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

Well, the Canucks finally got home from their 7 game road trip only to face…3 more eastern conference teams. Although I’m not sure Detroit should count. They were in the West so long that they don’t quite suck like the rest of the east just yet.

So while the ‘nucks managed to pick up 11 of a possible 14 points on that road trip, and another 2 more in an entertaining game against the Caps on Monday, they came away with nothing after a lacklustre effort against the Wings on Wednesday. Guess which one of those two home games I went to?

Sigh.

The Canucks wrap up this 3 game eastern home stand against the math impervious Leafs on Saturday night:

By the way, you Kings fans should take some solace from that table…

Anyway, with the Leafs making their annual visit to Vancouver on Saturday, you know what that means, right? Yeah, not going to that game either. Not when there are people out there willing to pay almost 3-4 times what the tickets cost me.

So yeah, it’s going to look like a Leafs’s home game. It’s also going to feel like one because of the 4:00 start time to accommodate Hockey Night in Canada’s eastern bias. Hey, if the NHL can move the game time just to make a few extra bucks, I might as well join in on profiteering. And heck, given how the Canucks made out on the trip, maybe that road atmosphere will be a good thing…

The Canucks will also be retiring Pavel Bure’s jersey. But if you ask me, it would have been way more fitting to do that on Halloween:

 

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
5th PLACE, 9-5-0, 18 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

The LA Kings continued their “off and on” trend as they beat the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks in OT but lost to the Phoenix CoyOH WHO ‘EFFIN CARES… THE SEASON IS OVER!!!

Ugh… this is awful, just awfu…

Ok, he brings up a really good point.

I just wish there was some way to visually represent what Mike Richards is feeling right now

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 5-5-2, 12 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

No I did not forget to write my review for the Pac War Room until 8 o’clock this morning. Never happened. Much like how the Kings never beat the Flames last time we…

Okay, well you knew about that part.

But no, I definitely remembered to write this last night, and I remembered that there was no sobering news about Mark Giordano and Lee Stempniak missing significant periods of time due to broken feet. FEET. Good thing that’s not a thing that ever happened.

I am not curled up in a fetal position in the corner right now as a result, wistfully recalling better days, days when Jarome Iginla would score 50 goals in a season, and everyone’s feet worked to their proper function and ability, and Anders Eriksson was….okay, maybe sometimes it’s better to forget.

Like forgetting that somehow the Flames, who put 43 shots on YOUR ENEMY AND NOW MINE Jonathan Bernier (have Kings fans ever heard about this guy?) and the Toronto Maple Leafs, spend so much time living in the offensive zone that they might as well have been The Guy On The Couch, the opposition being a team called the MAPLE LEAFS, and yet still, STILL, everyone went home that night wondering how the game slipped away.

 

Your Calgary Flames

I blame Colton Orr. He didn’t fight any Flames tough guys, how the hell else were the boys in red to get motivated for this one? What an asshole.

There was the little matter of the 5-2 win over the Great 8 and the Washington Capitals. It’s always nice to quell a talent like Ovechkin and win at the same time, but you know what, everyone’s doing it. It’s like they’re the Edmonton Oilers only hahaha no even the Capitals are better than the Oilers.

Thinking about the Oilers does make me feel better. Thanks guys, I needed this.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 3-9-2, 8 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

Fuck this team.

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Catch The Fever!!!
It’s not a question of “if” 5 teams from the Pacific will make the playoffs…
…it’s a question of “when” 5 teams from the Pacific clinch a playoff spot.

 

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.