PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 11.15.13

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 15th, 2013.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 15-5-1, 31 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

The Ducks played four games this week, and each one got progressively worse.  Anaheim started its week by trouncing the Buffalo Sabres, a game that featured the first ever hat trick of Ryan Getzlaf’s NHL career.  It wasn’t really a noteworthy victory considering how awful the Sabres’ season has been, but that’s not going to stop me from some old-habits… BoC gloating.  :)

Next the Ducks finished their homestand against the visiting Vancouver Sedins.  Anaheim didn’t play this game particularly well, as Getzlaf joined the injury shelf along with Koivu, but they did secure another divisional regulation win and remained perfect at Honda Center thanks to heroics in net from Frederik Andersen.

Then the Ducks headed back on the road for two games in Florida, and that was a mess.  The two games would feature:

a)    The first two times this season the Ducks suffered a regulation loss with Dustin Penner in the lineup (oh yeah, this counts as PANCAKE WATCH!).

b)    The first two times this season Dustin Penner finished a game as a minus (-2 then -1, though thanks to Buffalo he was still even for the week).

c)    The first loss of the season for rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen, after six straight wins to start his career.  Andersen then got immediately demoted to Norfolk, because that’s intolerable.  (Well, really because Fasth returned from injury.)

d)    2 Floridan teams outscoring 1 flu-ridden team.

This is the Ducks’ third road trip of the season, and each one has started out pretty miserably.  In the first two games of road trips, Anaheim is 1-5-0, getting outscored by 2.33 goals/gm; they’ve allowed 9 power play goals in those 6 games.  In the rest of their season, Ducks are 14-0-1, outscoring opponents by 2.00 goals/gm; they’ve allowed 7 power play goals in those 15 games.

So maybe it’s travel; maybe it’s injuries; maybe it’s the flu – but the Ducks are dropping some standings points right now.  At least they’re being somewhat strategic – eastern conference opponents have earned 11 standings points against the Ducks; western opponents have only earned 3.  Hurry back, Baldy!

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 12-2-5, 29 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

One of the higher honors the NHL can bestow is reworking its rulebook in response to a player or team. Just ask Sean Avery. So I guess the Sharks should have been grateful that the league considers them such an unfairly invincible club that they’re no longer allowed to score in overtime.

Or at least that’s what it felt like after the Sharks had a clear-cut goal in the extra session against Buffalo last week ignored, followed by a Patrick Marleau would-be winner against Winnipeg being waived off after the officials deemed Ondrej Pavelec was incapable of making the save. If that’s an actual qualifier, the Jets should probably have goals against waived off far more frequently. At any rate, the Sharks were eventually able to work their way back to .500 when scoring in overtime over the course of this week, winning in sudden-death against Calgary when Brad Stuart appeared to redirect a Joe Thornton slapshot into the net with his skate and then downing the Canucks with a Dan Boyle power play goal that was reviewed on the grounds that, again, the Sharks aren’t actually allowed to score in OT.

 

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
3rd PLACE, 13-4-3, 29 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

Last season the Coyotes looked out of gas.  Who wouldn’t? 4 years of ownership drama compounded by a boring sitcom mini-series set in New York City whose only breakout star was an inanimate object and which Saint Doan had to help mercifully cancel. Thankfully, the 48 game Blackhawk victory lap ended in June. The Coyotes got new owners over the summer and are looking like Dave Tippett and GMDM’s usual assortment of overachievers so far in 2013-2014. They’ve been outshot in 14 of 20 games so far this season and had a number of key starters in/out of their lineup this past week, yet they currently sit in 2nd place in the Pacific.

This past week for example, the Coyotes played underwhelming hockey against three quality hockey clubs, yet somehow gained 5 of a 6 possible points. The Desert Dogs struggled against the Caps on Saturday night. Mikkel Boedker did everything he could to keep the number one power play in the NHL on the ice. However, halfway through the third period someone apparently told the Caps bench a new law had been passed and it was now May. Noted Caps killer Lauri Korpikoski and the hottest man in Phoenix at the moment helped Phoenix tie the game with 2 goals in the last 5 minutes of the 3rd. In OT the Caps got another PP, but they couldn’t convert and the Dogs owned the Bettman period.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights it was a bit of the same on the road, but much worse from a shot differential perspective. Against St. Louis on Tuesday, Phoenix eeked out 2 goals in regulation, but came away with an OT victory courtesy of the NHL’s most skilled two way defenseman/underwear king. Against Chicago last night, the Yotes watched Mike Smith get peppered with shot after shot.  Smith’s teammates managed to get four shots of their own past Corey Crawford which was enough to earn them a point before Smith succumbed to the Chicago shooters in the skills competition.

Phoenix has a light schedule this upcoming week. They face the Stamkos-less Bolts on Saturday at home followed by four days off. On Thursday night they face Patrick Roy’s Avs in Glendale.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
4th PLACE, 12-6-1, 25 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

It’s not so much that the LA Kings are ending a week in which they lost their Conn Smythe-winning and America’s #1 goaltender*, Jon Quick. Or that the Kings are ending a week in which 3 call-ups from the AHL have breathed some offensive life into this team. No… rather… the LA Kings are ending a week in which they completely destroyed the Vancouver Canucks.


Vancouver Canucks v Los Angeles KingsThis photo, forever.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
5th PLACE, 11-7-3, 25 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

Ugh. The Royal Half is going to put this below the Kings’ blurb, isn’t he?

WE HAVE MORE REGULATION AND OVERTIME WINS, DAMMIT!!!

Anyway, I’ve had just about enough of the Pacific division, and definitely enough of the San Jose Sharks. On the bright side, it’s mid way through November and the Canucks are done with the Sharks for the season. When do they get to play the Oilers again?

Speaking of which, was there ever any doubt that Bryzgalov would wind up in Edmonton?

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 6-10-3, 15 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

…to quote my good friend Jeanshorts: “Fuck this team.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 4-14-2, 10 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

“Guess who coming to dinner!?”

You know, this is what I get for continually asking myself “how much worse can this season get?” because apparently the hockey gods love nothing more than punishing me for some unknown reason (all those dead prostitutes maybe?).

Yes, friends, this season has hit such a low point* that Craig MacTavish thought it was a good idea to go out and sign a guy who couldn’t even catch on with an ECHL team ON WHAT WAS ESSENTIALLY A STUNT CONTRACT!!!

*And by low point I obviously mean we’ve smashed through the bottom of the floor, passed by the earth’s core and are about to come back up above ground in China.

If actual good goalie Tim Thomas is having this much trouble finding his game (being 40 and not playing for an entire calendar year may be part of that problem?) what hope does Bryz have, what with just having returned from the ISS and all??

At the same time, and I know I already chastised myself for this, BUT, it’s not like this season could somehow get ANY worse! Bryz has ZERO pressure to perform well at all. He just needs to play marginally better than Devan Dubnyk and his “Bernie from Weekend At Bernie’s” style of play and people will start filing petitions to get a statue erected of him outside the new arena!

I have zero expectations for Bryz going in, so judging by the way the season has unfolded thus far that means he’ll end up crashing the team plane, killing everyone onboard, Daryl Katz will be forced to fold the franchise and we’ll all be cheering for the expansion Seattle Free Trade Coffee Beans (name still pending) by January.  I CAN’T WAIT!!

And the saddest part of all is this is only the SECOND most insane thing involving a Russian-born Edmonton Oiler that has happened this week!

Nail Yakupov is having a rough season so far. That part is not in dispute. He can’t seem the find the net, he apparently is just now learning there is a thing in hockey called “defense” (as is the rest of the team), he was a healthy scratch twice in the first month of the season and when he does play his ice time rarely exceeds 15 minutes. These would normally be seen as pretty standard things that happen to 18, 19 and 20 year old kids, still getting adjusted to playing in the best league in the world, the product of a sophomore slump, etc, etc ,etc. But since this is the Edmonton Oilers we’re talking about EVERYTHING IS THE BIGGEST DEAL EVER AND OH MY GOD HE HASN’T GOTTEN A POINT IN 4 GAMES TRADE HIM BEFORE HE STARTS INFECTING ALL THE OTHER PLAYERS WITH HIS SHITTY PLAY HE IS CLEARLY HISTORY’S GREATEST BUST THEY OBVIOUSLY SHOULD HAVE DRAFTED THAT DEFENSEMAN THE RED WINGS TOOK IN THE 14TH ROUND!!!! I’m paraphrasing, but that’s essentially the stance of a nauseating majority of Oiler fans.

Local mentally deranged vagabonds, oh I’m sorry, I meant the local sports media either want the Oilers to trade the 2012 1st overall pick 60 games into his NHL career, or are singling him out as the sole reason for the Oilers defensive woes, OR BOTH. Needless to say it’s been a rough few weeks for our young Jedi. So he did what most of us would probably do in a situation like this; he vented to his agent. I’m going to assume that’s a thing that happens every day around the NHL. It’s probably happening right now. Most players DON’T have insane Russian former players for agents however, and this is where we come to our problem.

Igor Larionov is many things: a world class centreman who’s NHL success is only eclipsed by his International success.  A breaker of barriers. A producer of beautiful women. He is NOT, however, a good keeper of secrets. So Yak complained to his agent that he was frustrated with how he was being used, and Larionov did what any good agent would do; he aired this dirty laundry to ESPN reporter Craig Custance! What better way to take the pressure off of your burgeoning superstar than by making him seem like an entitled whiner who either wants primo ice time without having to earn it, or else be traded to someone who will give him said ice time! Needless to say it did NOT go over well.

Thankfully saner heads are starting to prevail, though, and I can’t stress this enough, the vast majority of sports fans are fucking morons so unless he starts scoring 3 goals a game from here on out we’re not going to get away from the “TRADE HIM HE’S A BUST NOT A TEAM PLAYER ENIGMATIC RUSSIAN” talk any time soon and as you can tell I’m SUPER excited about that!!

Aside from all of that the Oilers are SHATTERING futility records left and right, they have won ONE game at home this season, they are five(!!!!!!!!!!) points behind Canada’s Most Loveable Hockey Team(??????), and they’ve JUST BARELY managed to win one game in their last 10. So……………………………………………

Oh, and to pour sulfuric acid into this cartoonishly big wound THIS HAPPENED!

*Never stops vomiting*

Fuck this team.

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Catch The Fever!!!

BARF. CRY. BARF.

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.