PACIFIC WAR ROOM – 12.27.13

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 27th, 2013.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS
1st PLACE, 27-7-5, 59 POINTS
@EarlSleek

 

Well, I went effort-heavy with Christmas music in last week’s edition, so here’s a Ducks carol that was easier to write:

On the twelve games before Christmas, the Ducks team gave to me…

2 points against the Flames,

1 point against the Sharks,

1 point against the Kings,

2 points against the Blackhawks,

2 points against the Blues,

2 points against the Islanders,

2 points against the Wild,

2 points against the Oilers,

2 points against the Red Wings,

2 points against the Devils,

2 points against the Islanders again,

And 2 points against Boudreau’s old team.

Yup, Ducks have continued to roll, now on a franchise-best 9 game winning streak.  What’s impressive about this stretch is that in those 9 wins, the Ducks have scored the game’s first goal only 3 times – I guess that’s playing with some holiday spirit.  Last week, they gifted the Devils a 1-0 lead, the Islanders a 3-1 lead, and the Capitals a 2-0 lead.  And still, the Ducks won every game, netting the game-winner within the game’s final ten minutes.

Beware the Ducks and their come-from-behind wins, says this week’s Sleektoon:

And sure, I suppose Anaheim’s winning methods are unsustainable, but still: Ducks have played 39 games this season – 24 of them on the road.  60% of their remaining schedule will be at home.

PANCAKE WATCH!  Not much to report on Dustin Penner this week – he’s had only 1 point over the Ducks’ past 8 games.  He’s been spending more shifts away from Getzlaf and Perry, and was even a healthy scratch against the Islanders.  But hey – Ducks are finally getting healthy!  Well, except for Fasth, Souray, and Sbisa, but hey – there’s always 2014!

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS
2nd PLACE, 25-9-4, 54 POINTS
@TheRoyalHalf from The Royal Half

 

FYI, I will never be able to write anything funnier than this “article” from Kevin Kurz featuring Bret Hedican’s “analysis” of Dustin Brown’s “hit”on Tomas Hertl. Via CSNBayArea.com

Some say Dustin Brown’s hit of Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl last week was an accident. Replays appear to show that Brown was trying to avoid the 20-year-old rising star when the knee-on-knee collision occurred late in the first period on Dec. 19.

Others aren’t so forgiving of the Los Angeles captain, who has a history of “accidental” hits that result in significant injuries to his opponent. Brown’s apparent lack of empathy towards Hertl hasn’t helped his reputation among his detractors, either.

So Kurz begins the article by making a sweeping generalization by using “Some say…” and then references a “history of accidental hits that result in significant injuries to his opponent” without citing or providing examples of these alleged instances. Journalism!

The game moves so quickly these days, there’s really only one guy who knows what the actual intent was, and that’s Brown himself. CSNCalifornia.com asked our own analyst, former NHL defenseman Bret Hedican, what he thought of the hit that quite possibly ended Hertl’s season.

FYI, Kevin Kurz uses only one source in this article, an interview that he likely didn’t conduct seeing as he references it as “CSNCalifornia.com asked our own analyst.” That aside, take a deeper look at what Bret Hedican says here….

“Looking at the play after the fact, it’s easy to say the officials made the right call or the wrong call. At that level and at that speed of the game, the officials called it as a knee-on-knee hit. The way Dustin Brown plays on the edge, you would think that, yes, it was intentional,” Hedican said.

“After looking at it again, he did at least attempt to get out of the way. But, knowing the way Dustin Brown plays and understanding the mindset, he was going down those railroad tracks to do one thing — to clean Tomas Hertl’s clock.

“Hertl chipped it away in enough time to not have Dustin Brown hit him clean. Hertl did try to get out of the way. But, I have a hard time thinking to myself with the history that Brown has had, that Brown clearly wanted to get out of the way of that hit.”

So to sum up Hedican’s analysis… the refs either made the right call or the wrong call. Dustin Brown’s hit was obviously intentional but he also obviously attempted to get out of the way. But despite attempting to get out of the way once Hertl had passed the puck… Hedican is able to read Dustin Brown’s mind and he knows for 100% certain that Brown was trying to injure Tomas Hertl and end his season in December.

But to be honest… Hedican’s analysis of the Brown-Hertl hit isn’t even the most absurd thing he’s quoted as saying in the entire article…

According to Hedican, GM Doug Wilson has some work to do in order to fill that hole, but Wilson probably didn’t expect Hertl to have the kind of impact that he did so soon into his first NHL season.

“I think in looking at Hertl, they didn’t expect him coming into the season to be the guy that he has been,” Hedican said. “Now that the injury has happened, it’s a big loss for the hockey team. They’ve got to find a way for other guys to step up.

“You’ve got Raffi Torres potentially coming back after the Olympic break and that should help, but Doug is going to have to do a lot to fill that 15-goal hole.”

Well, at least Bret Hedican can provide insightful analysis on one thing that San Jose Sharks fans know nothing about…

Winning Stanley Cups.

THIS WEEK IN COORS LIGHT STADIUM SERIES™ NEWS:

Well, at least the ticket price reduction for the best seats at the game wasn’t the worst Stadium Series™ news LA Kings fans received this past week!

 
 

SAN JOSE SHARKS
3rd PLACE, 23-8-6, 52 POINTS
@FearTheFin from Fear the Fin

 

Maybe it isn’t entirely in the holiday spirit to still hold a grudge against Dustin Brown for possibly-unintentionally-but-almost-certainly-intentionally kneeing Tomas Hertl last week in Los Angeles. But the initial estimate of a month on the shelf for the Sharks’ star rookie was upgraded to at least two months and perhaps longer than that depending on how Hertl’s surgery goes next week. It denies Hertl a chance to represent the Czech Republic at the Sochi Olympics and denies the Sharks the services of the Calder Trophy frontrunner and 15-goal man until March at the earliest.

So, for all intents and purposes, Dustin Brown is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas this December. San Jose won a couple of games in shootouts earlier this week or whatever. But the NHL’s three-day holiday break wasn’t filled with festive celebration, it merely mirrored the void in the Sharks roster and our collective hearts that won’t be filled by Tomas Hertl anytime soon. So I leave you with this bit of yuletide cheer: fuck Dustin Brown.

 

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
4th PLACE, 22-11-6, 50 POINTS
@PetBugs13 from Canucks Army

 

So, sure enough the Canucks got back to their winning ways last week, thanks to a matchup against the Hawks. Yeah, they may be the best team in the NHL but they also seem to bring out the best in the Canucks, at least since this happened:

Last week was no different, as the two teams engaged in a spirited affair that finally ended with a Ryan Kesler “goal” in the 9th round of the shootout. Despite the gimmick ending, the game was just what the Canucks needed to wake themselves from the post-Bruins slumber they were in. They followed it up with a lacklustre 2-1 win over the Jets before commencing their full week Christmas break.

Since nothing much happened in Canucksland since then, lets recap the week in holidays. First, there was Christmas Eve, or as they call it in Edmonton… “September”:

This was of course followed by the only day during the year when you ungrateful sods wouldn’t be happy to find some new socks in the morning:

And then yesterday, which for the civilized peoples around the world, was Boxing Day. It’s like the metric version of Black Friday, the day we brave the crowds to find that one incredible deal on the thing we really didn’t even need. And sometimes, it’s not even that great a deal after all and you feel like Dave Nonis in July:

With that, you’re up to date on the week in Vancouver. The Canucks get back at it on Sunday in Calgary with a game against the Flames before coming back home to face the Flyers on Monday as they try to close out a very successful 9-1-1 December with a couple more wins.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES
5th PLACE, 19-10-7, 45 POINTS
@CarlPutnam from Five For Howling

 

This past week had two games and three storylines.

Top Two Sidelined – Doan has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever & Z’s hip is a mess again.

Vermette Victory – Coming Home Hat Trick + Sick Smith Split Save

Buffalo #Buttgoal -


Play like “garbage”, let in the trash.

The Coyotes return from the Christmas break with back to back games against the Sharks and Ducks. Phoenix has invited Edmonton (who else?) to their New Year’s Eve Party. After three straight Pacific Division foes the Coyotes welcome the Blue Jackets for the first game in 2014 for both clubs.

 

CALGARY FLAMES
6th PLACE, 14-17-6, 34 POINTS
@BookOfLoob from Flames Nation

 

Well, there’s not a whole lot to review from the past week, you know, with all the bloggers of the world going up one flight of stairs to celebrate the holidays (we all got socks, but I’ll bet Santa didn’t bring any of us any pants), but thanks to Earl raising the bar, we all need to write something today. I’ll keep it brief and then throw in some tweets, because it’s really all I know how to do.

The Flames of Calgary, a hockey team from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, played three games since the last Pac War, a 3-2 OT loss to Detroit that nobody remembers, a for some reason at 11 am local time game against NBC’s favourite son in Pittsburgh, which was actually a pretty great game, and the Flames’ got Crosby’d a little bit, but you know, character victories and all that. Everything you’d want in a game except a win.

Then, to close off the week before the Christmas season kicked in, the Flames returned home to the friendly confines of the Saddledome where they played the exact same brand of exciting hockey against the St. Louis Blues, but this time actually came away with the victory. It was easily the best game fans of the Flaming C have seen all season, and very possibly the best we’ve seen in the last 3 or 4 as well. Super entertaining, high energy, great atmosphere, and it even had something that would resonate with all you Kings fan, in the sense that there was a super dirty play from the Captain that will somehow still not warrant a suspension. David Backes threw a pretty brutal knee on knee hit on Flames forward Matty “Franchise” “French Fries” Stajan.

That reminds me, it was indeed a week of injuries. Curtis Glencross, only just back from injury, took himself out of the Pittsburgh game after only 37 seconds with a high ankle sprain, and is out of action anywhere between 8 weeks and a successful completion of the Edmonton Oilers rebuild. Tough break for GlenX, who was clearly broken in more ways than one on the hobbled skate back to the bench. Homey knew what was up.

Kris Russell also left the Pens game with a sprained MCL, which is not a thing I knew you could do to an MCL, but there it is. Russell has been a revelation for the Flames this season, and his injury stings especially, because he’s been one of the better defenseman on the team, and now with both he and Dennis Wideman out for at least a little while, the Flames are forced to dress Chris Butler (affectionately known ’round these parts as Christ, Butler), Shane O’Brien, and Chris Breen, all at the same time, and all on purpose. Get well soon, boys.

The worst part was Book of Loob favourite and World Hero Blair Jones, became the first guy to become unhealthy whilst being a healthy scratch, as it was announced he’s out indefinitely with a torn meniscus. Again, I’m not a doctor, so I’m not totally sure what a meniscus does, but here’s my proposal:

We can do that, right?

Stajan himself had a rough week, getting the knee, as well as having a puck bloody his face in a previous game. A lot of adversity, but in the end, the Franchise kept his cool, and ended up regaining the Championship Belt:

And now, FILLERS!

Amen.

(Teemu is probably the world’s greatest Flames fan, and an absolute must follow regardless of what team you cheer for)

And we’ll end off on this fitting tribute:

That’s it for me. I’m off to go eat leftover pie for breakfast and gorge on turkey ’til I die. I’d like to wish everyone at Team TRH and it’s readers, and all the bloggers who contribute to Pac War (even petbugs) a belated Merry Christmas and whatever weird thing PumperNicholl probably celebrates, and I’ll see you all right here again in 2014.

Maybe.

 

EDMONTON OILERS
7th PLACE, 12-24-3, 27 POINTS
@JSBMrevolution

 

Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and all through the city of Edmonton the people were, and I quote “fed up with the Oilers and their bullshit”*

The Oilers were in the midst of a season worst (and surprisingly low) 6 game losing streak and were fresh off one of the most pathetic efforts of the year (which, in a year of nothing but pathetic efforts is saying A LOT), a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues that some experts called “the worst rape scene I’ve seen since “The Accused.”

This loss gave way to an even more horrific scene; an image that perfectly sums up the Edmonton Oilers franchise over the last 7 seasons…

A jersey, which at one point in time was worn by some of the best teams in NHL history, now lay lifeless on the ice. Disrespected by the wearer. The ghost of glories past.

But luckily there was a mouse stirring on this night, a young, enigmatic Russian mouse with a chip on his shoulder. And BOY did he ever have some steam to let off…

(Can we just take a moment and discuss the fact that Taylor Hall is the best winger in the Western Conference? He’s got 33 points, the same number as Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux and Henrik Fucking Sedin. Yes, you’re correct, he IS only in his 4th year in the league and is the ripe old age of 22. *never stops dreaming of all the 100+ point seasons Taylor Hall will have, probably with some other team*)

This 8 minute span was arguably the most exciting thing that the Oilers have done all season. They scored a goal, then defended each other after the Jets became overrun with frustration that they were losing this badly to the worst team in the league, THEN they started a line brawl just for good measure! I honestly don’t think we’ve seen them do anything this well as a team all season. It was mostly just nice to finally see some god damn fire in this team for once.

So many great things came out of this, least of all the win against the perpetual Oilers punching bag “Winnipeg and Edmonton played each other in the playoffs six times between 1983 and 1990. The Oilers not only won every series, but held the Jets to only four total victories. Five of those times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990), the Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup.”(LOVE YOU FOREVER WINNIPEG MWAH *blows kiss*)

EakinsFace® -

-was replaced by EakinsFace2.0®

I’m gonna haunt the shit out of your dreams Noelle! 

And the NHLs newest bromance was born.

For once it was more Boys On The Bus than Boys Under The Bus.

Merry Yaksmas to all, and to all a good night.

P.S Christmas wishes DO come true:

 

*not an actual quote

 

 

TRH WILD CARD WATCH™

Wow, that is insightful.

But that’s really the kind of analysis I’m looking for.

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.