PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 12.13.13

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 December 13th, 2013.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 22-7-5, 49 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

The Ducks had four games this past week – the three top teams from the Central Division (well, the Wild were top-three on Wednesday) plus the worst team from the Metro Division – and guess what?  They won ‘em all.  Getzlaf and Perry combined for 7 goals, the rest of the Ducks combined for another 7 goals, and their opponents – Blackhawks, Blues, Islanders, and Wild – also combined for 7 goals.

I do want to focus on one of these opponents: the St. Louis Blues, and in particular their inability to play competent hockey against teams from California so far this season.  Well, that’s not exactly true – the Blues have played some decent third periods against California teams (2 goals scored each 3rd period), but that’s after the Californian opponent has put the game essentially out of reach.

Consider:

    • The Blues are 0-4-0 against California teams and 21-2-3 against everybody else.
    • Through the first two periods against California teams, the Blues have been outscored 15-1.  Through the first two periods against everybody else, the Blues have outscored opponents 66-33.
    • Against California teams, the Blues have a power play operating at 5.3% and a penalty kill operating at 66.7%.  Against everybody else, the Blues have a power play operating at 27.8% and a penalty kill operating at 87.1%.
    • Against California teams, Jaroslav Halak has a 4.53 GAA and an .885 sv%, while Brian Elliott has a 4.56 GAA and an .821 sv%.  Against everybody else, Halak has a 1.94 GAA and a .920 sv%, while Elliott has a 1.66 GAA and a .932 sv%.
    • Against California teams, Alexander Steen has 0 goals and is a -8 this season.  Against everybody else, Steen has 22 goals and is a +21.

Blue hoo hoo.  What a bunch of Californian bullies.  No real punchline to the cartoon today, but hey – it’s thematic:

PANCAKE WATCH!  Only 1 assist for Dustin Penner this week, but he did pick up a game misconduct towards the end of the game in Chicago – he disagreed with an offsides call, fired the puck angrily towards the boards, and was promptly ejected.  There isn’t any video readily available, but trust me – it was hilarious.

And a bonus shoutout to 11th-on-the-depth-chart defenseman Alex Grant!  2 NHL games played, 2 NHL shots taken, 2 NHL goals scored, then promptly sent back to Norfolk.  If for some reason Ovechkin fails to score 50 goals in 50 games, he may be the NHL’s only chance.  :)

 

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
2nd PLACE, 20-6-6, 46 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

Remember that time the Sharks were sitting relatively comfortably in their seat atop the Pacific Division? Like a week and a half ago? Well that’s ancient history at this point as San Jose went on a four-game losing skid at exactly the same time the Ducks, Kings and Canucks were laying waste to NHL teams not good enough to count themselves members of the best division in hockey. As a result, despite their terrific October, the Sharks are now just three points back of Anaheim, tied with the Kings and only five points ahead of Phoenix and Vancouver in the race for the division title and all-important playoff positioning.

On the bright side, a win over the Minnesota Wild served up with a side order of Mike Yeo’s tears brought their losing streak to an end and hopefully is a sign that the Sharks are back on the right track. They’ll need to be firing on all cylinders when they take on the Kings this week for as big a game as it gets in mid-December.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
3rd PLACE, 21-7-4, 46 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

Seriously… think about that above for a second. The LA Kings franchise and fans lose the goalie they’ve been waiting their whole life for… and it’s NBD. I wish there was someway to see where people’s heads are in regards to Jon Quick right now.

Oh and FYI… Martin Jones is the real deal, yo.

If you don’t believe me… just ask Ben Scrivens… who spent some time watching Martin Jones highlights the other night:

Sad Ben Scrivens is sad.

I don’t envy Darryl Sutter one bit… he’s going to have some tough decisions to make once Jon Quick returns from his groin injury.

I get the feeling every decision is a hard one for Darryl Sutter.

 

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
4th PLACE, 18-8-5, 41 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

With their captain and leading scorer out of the lineup all week with an unexplained illness, their most veteran defensemen, Derek Morris, out due to a personal matter, defensive forward Lauri Korpikoski still on IR, and goalie Mike Smith dealing with a stomach ailment in the middle of the week, the last seven days could have turned as frightening as Brian Burke’s bed head for Phoenix’s hockey club.

Instead, all the Coyotes did was irk the rest of the Western Conference by gaining five of a possible of six points in three games. They claimed an OT point in Vancouver by coming back from a two goal deficit, had Phoenix fans again sending thank you notes to Sharks management for giving up on Thomas Greiss, and baked twenty Fishsticks in the desert.

The highlight of the week wasn’t the news on the Valley being a potential site for an outdoor game in 2015. No, it was the boys in Phoenix colors making Patrick Roy’s blood boil on Tuesday night. Or maybe he just saw someone who looked like Krys Kolonos in the crowd.

The Yotes head to East next week to take on the Canadian half the Atlantic division. Fingers crossed that the Eastern Conference will continue to be cannon fodder.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
5th PLACE, 18-10-5, 41 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

Well, it was a rather slow week for the Canucks, who picked up six points over three games between Friday and Monday, and then had themselves a break before the gong show of a weekend ahead. But we’ll get to that.

First, we should probably cover what the Canucks family got up to during their mini-break this week. Sure, there was the obligatory family photo:

But as always, it’s those candid shots that really give you some insight into the true nature of relationships:

This was of course followed up by a family sing-a-long, featuring the Canucks’ rookies:

Don’t quit your day jobs, boys.

But seriously, it was all part of the Canucks’ annual Dice and Ice fundraising event to benefit local charities. So clearly, anyone who makes fun of any of this, like by photoshopping any of the ugly sweater photos, say, is a big meanie who hates sick children. Just sayin’.

Ok, back to business. Tonight marks the return of Sam Gagner to the scene of the crime:

Kassian, of course, was sent to the electric chair for that criminal act.

But other than a few machete wielding Oiler fans, nobody really cares about tonight’s game.

Instead, all eyes are focused on tomorrow’s deciding game in the best of nine 2011 Stanley Cup final!

Unfortunately, both the heroes of Game 8 no longer play for the Canucks:

#sigh

The Bruins will also be without one of the stars of that game, Shawn Thornton, who single-handedly defeated 38 Canucks at once during a second period altercation. Thornton, of course, will be unavailable after helping Brooks Orpik understand how the NHL’s code works:

That’s it for this week. Tune in again next Friday to see if the Canucks have finally claimed hockey’s highest honour or if we torched a few more cop cars again.

And remember, the Graphic Comments 2014 Calendar is still available. Not sure if lulu.com is still offering free shipping, but try the FREESHIP coupon code anyway. So buy one. If you don’t, you’re probably just a big meanie that hates sick kids, like you know who.

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 12-15-4, 28 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

All I wanted to do was talk about Jarome Iginla.

There he was, in 3-D, at the Saddledome, just like he had been day in, day out for 16 years. Decked out in skates, pads, and a weird coloured jersey, gliding along the ice, smiling his larger than life smile, his larger than life forehead crease creasing all the way.

They wouldn’t let him off the ice. We didn’t want him to leave the ice. He skated. We watched. We had closure. It was beautiful.

I could have only talked about this for this edition of PACWAR, and I would have been happy, and you would have loved it, even though you’re all godless heathens from the pit of despair that is Southern California.

But of course, as I’ve come to learn over the years and years I’ve been obsessed with this team, they would not give me what I want.

That happened. As a Flames fan, I was elated. I’m sure anyone who doesn’t cheer for the Flaming C was devestated at the news, as admittedly Jay Feaster is GREAT theater. Aggressively guaranteeing a playoff spot on National TV and essentially coining the term “underwear bloggers” will go down as some of his more Citizen Kane type moments. You’ll all probably lament the fact that there is at least one less GM out there with which the team that bears your colours can fleece in a trade. Sorry for your loss.

But he had to go. He was a laughing stock. He may not have been as bad as he looked, which obviously, because have you seen how he looks?

The only question now is, who do you get to replace him? Brian Burke has the answer:

I hate that guy. Fear The Fin isn’t going to be reading this is he? I hope he does so he can know that I hate him.

Oh dear.

Can’t be worse than Joe Nieuwendyk. That guy traded James Neal and Matt Niskanen for Alex Goglioski. That would be downright lunacy.

oh okay. Well, that jives. Does he live up to what Brian Burke wants in a General Manager? Does he share the philosophies Burke has in how to build a hockey team?

/flips table

At least with Feaster being fired, we can expect the Flames to make a coaching change too, yes? Bob Hartley is not the guy going forward in a rebuild. He’s too hard on his young players, and he’s made expendable with the firing of Feaster. Hartley is the godfather to Feaster’s son, Ryan. Now that the personal connection between the two has been separated, there’s no reason to keep who is VERY CLEARLY the wrong coach on board, right

I can’t. I just can’t. This is going to be a long…how long did it take Burke to rebuild the Leafs? What? WHAT? Guys, I think I’m going to retire.

(Also, Sven Baerstchi got sent to the minors. This is the least surprising or shocking news of the week, somehow. And good for Sven, he gets to play somewhere now where his moron coach doesn’t hate him)

I just might not be here next week for the War Room. This team may have finally killed me.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 11-19-3, 25 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

Pretty quiet over here on the planet Hoth. The Oilers laid an egg against the Flames

*never stops dry heaving*

blew a 2 goal lead in the third period to the Hurricanes only to barely win in OT, came out looking like bags of hot garbage in the first period against a typhoid ridden Bruins team, stepped it up in the 2nd and 3rd and STILL managed to lose.

Apathy is starting to set in along with the seasonal frostbite. But hey, the Oilers passed the 10 game win mark for the season! So, I mean, that’s…..

*scratches out 2013 on Annual Draft Lottery Countdown Calendar, pencils in 2014*

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

5 Pacific Teams back in the Playoffs.
The way hockey was meant to be played.

This actually should be something the Western Conference Champs do.

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.