PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 11.29.13

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 29th, 2013.

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
1st PLACE, 16-3-5, 37 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

As a team with an obviously lengthy history of playoff disappointment, the first time San Jose defeats the team that eliminated them from the postseason the previous spring is a momentous annual occasion in Sharks Territory. The fact that this year’s edition of Regular Season Revenge came against a Los Angeles Kings team that has to be considered the club’s current biggest rival, particularly given Detroit’s departure to the Eastern Conference, and led to the Sharks reclaiming first place in the Pacific Division made it all the more special.

San Jose’s 3-2 shootout victory over Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Eve was one of just two games the Sharks played this week but it more than made up for the light schedule. With the exception of Tomas Hertl’s disrespectful 4-goal night against the Rangers, there hasn’t been a more exciting game played at the Shark Tank so far this season than Wednesday night’s Battle of California. If that was a preview of next May’s Pacific Division Final, hockey fans everywhere (especially the ones who have been stuck watching the Eastern Conference all year) are in for a treat.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
2nd PLACE, 17-7-3, 37 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Hey, everybody!  Short update this week – Ducks won two games, including a State Rape finisher and Phoenix’s first home regulation loss, before dropping a game in Dallas.  And yeah, PANCAKE WATCH!  Dustin Penner scored 3 goals this week; he now has 18 points in 20 games-played for Anaheim, which I’m obligated to point out is one more than his highest in Los Angeles (2011-12: 17 points in 65 games-played).

 

Speaking of returning to where it all got started, Jer (my replacement Ducks blogger at Battle of Cali) is out of town for a few weeks, and he pegged me to write today’s Ducks Gameday against the Calgary Flames.  But rather than focus on only the Flames and Ducks for that post, I looked at all three teams that are new to the Pacific Division and how frequently the “Old Pacific” teams have been winning against them.  Here’s how the Sharks, Ducks, Kings, and Coyotes have collectively fared against the “New Pacific” trio of the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers:

14-2-0!  0.875 win percentage!  Just for reference, the four teams from the “Old Pacific” have a collective record of 3-0-2 against the Sabres, the worst team in the league – that’s only an 0.800 win percentage.  For the Sharks, Ducks, Kings, and Coyotes so far this season, the “New Pacific” has been easier to get standings points from than the Buffalo Sabres.

Three Pacific Division games this coming week for the Ducks, and four defensemen out.  Exciting times, I hope.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 16-6-4, 36 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

Although “2 Rivals and an Assailant” might sound like an early 2000s Guy Ritchie movie… it clearly sums up the week that was for the LA Kings. First, last Saturday… the Ben Scrivens-led Kings came face to face with one of their toughest opponents in a week or so…

… and stared right back at it.

Sup, bitches.

Sure, the Kings lost 1-0 to the Colorado Avalanche in OT… but Ben Scrivens continued his dominating NOvember as he moves closer to a starting role at Sochi and eventually his first Vezina Trophy.

Oh, I’m sorry… you thought I was making a joke?

On Monday, the LA Kings headed up North to Vancouver, where they beat the Canucks 3-2 in a game that led to one of the greatest Pacific Division GIFs ever…

FYI, this is completely unedited.

Then on Wednesday night in San Jose, after the Kings lost in an 8 round shootout… the Sharks players looked anxious to dive into their Thanksgiving meals.

I wish there was someway to visually represent what opposing teams in the Pacific must think it feels like to face the LA Kings or the San Jose Sharks right now.

Nope.

Closer.

Nailed it.

 

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
4th PLACE, 15-6-4, 34 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

The Coyotes decided to start the gift giving season a bit early. They started the week continuing their season long theme of giving their three opponents a multitude of gifts in the form of shots on goal.  They also continued to deal with a variety of injuries to key players.

Phoenix is now 0-2-1 against Anaheim after they allowed Twitter enforcer (and Pancake aficionado), Dustin Penner, to score two of the Duck’s four goals in a 4-2 loss at home on Saturday.  On Monday night in Music City, instead of treating Mr. Carrie Underwood like fans of Julie Andrews are treating his wife, the Yotes spotted him and his teammate’s three goals.  The three spot was enough as the Perds held on for a 3-2 win.

The team’s overall poor play helped hasten Rusty Klesla’s exit out of town. Klesla may not be all that pained about the situation if he ultimately gets traded later in the season to an Eastern Conference club. He likely wants to see Jordan Nolan as little as possible for the rest of his career.

nolanhitanni

Klesla’s demotion wasn’t the only change before Wednesday night’s game against the Wild. The team recalled forward Chris Brown and defensemen Conner Murphy, both of whom suited up. Coach Dave Tippett then mixed up the lineup a bit more by starting backup goalie Thomas Greiss in goal. The German netminder had looked excellent in his two prior starts this season and nothing changed in his third start. Add in excellent play on the part of David Moss, Derek Morris, Radim Vrbata, and MIkkel Boedker and the Yotes three game losing streak came to an end in Minnesota.

The Coyotes will take on the defending Cup Champs at home this coming Saturday in front of a sellout crowd before heading up to Western Canada to play the two dregs of the Pacific.

If there is something for Coyotes fans to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, it’s not being a fan of a hockey team located in the province of Alberta…or of any team in the Eastern Conference.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
5th PLACE, 13-9-5, 26 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

Happy Black Friday, everyone. Or as I like to call it, Mail It In Friday.

I mean it’s not like anybody’s actually reading this. You’re all out shopping.

Well, actually, you’re more than likely standing in a line. That’s if you’re lucky and didn’t get trampled in your quest to nab that last [insert latest must-have cheap Chinese product] that your grandfathers were fighting for your right to buy as they stormed the beaches of Normandy in much the same way.

Speaking of Thanksgiving and greed, for some reason this time of year always reminds me of the NHL lockouts:

Anyway, your loveable Canucks lost a couple of games they really shouldn’t have this week. Sure, going in you knew they’d be in tough against the two top possession teams in the league, but they held their own against the Hawks. And as for the Kings, well, as fellow @CanucksArmy blogger @Thats_Offside put it… “god fucking dammit”.

Oh well, you know what they say about the worst lead in hockey:

But hey, in the spirit of greed, Black Friday and all those other things your forefathers died to protect, now is your chance to get your very own Graphic Comments 2014 Calendar, which includes 12 of your favourite graphic comments from the last year or so.

Check it out. Tell your friends. And I’m sure you Kings fans will appreciate January…

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 8-12-4, 20 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

Hi everyone,

I’m Karri Ramo. The Book of Loob was too busy celebrating your fake American Thanksgiving, and as such cannot participate in your Pacific War Room this week. Instead I, a goaltender with a 2 year, 5.5 million dollar contract with the Calgary Flames, will give you my own perspective of the week that was, and it’s a doozy, because I have the best seat in the house on the Flames bench.

(Is it weird that as I write this there is no recognizable hint that English is my second language?)

It was a short week this week, especially for me, as once again I saw no action. I have the best job in sports. A big money ticket without the confidence of your head coach? You wish you had a piece of that. I haven’t played a game in two weeks. And even then I only played half the game.

The reason is because of my friend Reto Berra (Rey-toe Beh-rah). Who is he? A lot of people ask me this question in my head. The truth is, I don’t know. I guess he’s a goalie because my coach keeps putting him in the net. He’s a big man, so sometimes he stops the puck, but I think he might have traveled through time to get here, because I’m pretty sure he must have been a goaltender in 1992. His style is so nineties that it has a bowl cut and a Walkman. He doesn’t look like Grant Fuhr, but he sure plays like him. And what I mean by that is he’ll let in 4 goals a game, but when he makes a save, BOY HOWDY is it ever acrobatic, and well I mean I guess if he wasn’t so out of position he probably could have just stopped it with his chest.

But that doesn’t make it onto Sportscenter, DOES IT?

So Reto, well he’s from Switzerland, and I guess Mr. Hartley loves him because he used to coach there and his team probably beat Reto’s team, and as we all know winning releases endorphins in the brain. Bobby just wants to keep that endorphin train chugging along down the track, and Berra’s the conductor.

Which is too bad for me, I guess, because I have a bird’s eye view of Reto and the D (which is going to be the name of my band once I learn how to music) cough up 2 goal leads TWICE in the last two games. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have given up those leads, but I’m certainly NOT not saying I wouldn’t give up those leads.

Okay, it’s becoming clear that English is my second language.

But this is what I saw from my platinum front row seats. Up 3-1 against the Florida Panthers, who I guess is allegedly some kind of senior men’s hockey team, and to the Chicago Blackhawks, who are the Chicago Blackhawks. And yeah, we beat the Panthers thanks to our new Gretzky, Sean Monahan’s shootout winner over crazy pants Tim Thomas, but the one to the Hawks…man that hurt.

Or at least it would have if I had anything to do with it.

Patrick Kane is a hell of a hockey player, but his 3 mile an hour backhand in the last minute that somehow beat professional NHL goaltender Reto Berra really killed a lot of momentum this team was building off of the win against the Panthers…okay, my grasp of Engligh is worse than I thought, because that sentence makes no sense to me, so let’s just move on.

I don’t know guys, should I be worried? I’m not even playing tonight. Should I just collect my paycheck and go back to Russia, or is it going to eventually become obvious that Reto, who by the way was a very average goalie in the inferior Swiss League, is not meant for this NHL thing and disappear off the face of the Earth like the majority of Kings fans now that that team is no longer winning Stanley Cups?

Any input on the matter would be helpful. Also, say hello to my friend Ilya Bryzgalov. You’ll be seeing a lot of him.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 8-16-2, 18 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

HAAAAALLLLLLOOOOOOO EEEEEEVVVVVVEEEEEEERRRRRYYYYYYYYBBBBBBOOOOOODDDDDDYYYYY!!!!
I’M HEEEEEEEEEERRRRRREEEEEEEEE!

I’ve never tasted more delicious crow!

Oh and I more or less predicted the future with pinpoint accuracy.

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Catch The Fever!!!

Seriously… read this article now.

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.