This Week in Kings (10/13/13)

I like this picture because it sorta looks like they're sword fighting, you guys. - Grant Halverson

Quick scores on himself, Hertlmania runs wild, a couple of mean men get suspended, and the Oilers still suck. THINGS HAPPENED~

So remember that thing I did last week that some of you apparently enjoyed? No, not "trolling Andrew Berkshire", the other thing. The recapping-the-Kings'-week-and-all-the-other-Pacific-teams-too thing. As putting the date next to the first edition may have implied, this is now a weekly feature here at Jewels from the Crown. Let's get digging into the week that was.

This Week in News

(any big stories from the past week, both in LA and around the division. if there aren't any, maybe we'll just make some things up.)

-Yeah yeah, Jonathan Quick scored on himself. That happened. Of course, it went viral almost immediately, made SportsCenter, and lead to idiots making large, sweeping statements about his entire career. We've litigated that already (thoroughly, I would dare say). But it happened, and it was news, so there ya go. It did give us an awesome postgame Quick press conference though. "I just scored on myself in a National Hockey League game, why don't you guys want to talk about anything else???"

-In other Kings news, the result of that game with the wacky goal (a 3-1 regulation loss to the New York Rangers, which given the rest of the Rangers' week now looks like a near-miraculous event) lead to some major lineup changes. Actually, even the lines listed in that preview (which were taken directly from the team's last practice) ended up being kinda wrong, as Darryl Sutter made a last-minute change, swapping out Colin Fraser on the new-look fourth line for Dwight King. That was a move I pretty much hated at the time, but considering what he ended up doing in the Carolina game, I guess everything worked out OK. Indeed, the Kings are 2-0 since the lineup moves were made (benching Fraser & Muzzin for Carcillo & Martinez, moving Frattin down to the 3rd line, moving Lewis to center that line, moving Clifford up to the 3rd, moving King & Stoll down to the 4th, and putting Carcillo on the 2nd line- no, really, that sorta worked), so expect DS to continue running with them for now. And considering the Kings' upcoming games come against such luminaries as both teams from Florida and the Nashville Predators, there's a non-zero chance the lineup changes will continue to work for at least a little while longer. Still, 2nd Line Forward Dan Carcillo can't possibly work long-term, right? Right?!

-In San Jose, the Sharks are unbeatable right now, but if you're like me you probably hate them so let's not talk too much about that. Instead, let's talk about Brad Stuart. Brad Stuart is an asshole. He took out Avalanche rookie phenom Gabriel Landeskog with a very borderline hit (that almost certainly would have been suspendable under this year's new interpretation of the illegal check to the head rule) early in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and followed that up with another very questionable hit on the New York Rangers' Rick Nash early this season. Nash has missed two games so far since the hit (really three if you count the SJ game since he was taken out on literally his first shift), and after his dominant performance against the Kings on Monday largely lead them to that victory (well, with some help from Quick yes), the Rangers have largely resembled a tire fire since. This time Stuart didn't get away with it, getting a 3-game suspension (link is to the SHANABAN~ video) for being a very mean Mr. Man (I'm paraphrasing there).

-Oh I guess I have to mention that whole "Joe Thornton's Penis" thing. Yeah, that happened. I don't really care. I guess it would have been funny if I didn't hate that man and wished ill upon him, yes? It lead to a very fascinating debate about what should and shouldn't be reported from locker rooms, and by "very fascinating" I mean "a great cure for your insomnia". Seriously, is there anything more boring than journalists debating with each other on their super-vague-journo-ethics-code-thing, while pretending the rest of the world actually cares about their ~super-meta~ conversation? Okay, I guess one thing is more boring: talking about "fighters' code". Let's move on.

-The Vancouver Canucks were the Pacific Division's equivalent of a rerun this week. First, a few days after Stuart got his three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head, Canucks defenseman Alex Edler was also suspended three games for an illegal hit to the head (of Sharks rookie phenom Tomas Hertl, whose 36.8 shooting percentage is totally sustainable I'm sure). Then, a full five days after Quick had his now-infamous own goal, the Canucks also decided to score on themselves (although to be honest this one was more Dan Hamhuis' fault than Roberto Luongo's). Even more bizarrely, both the Kings' and Canucks' scoring-on-themselves-adventures came while they were on a power play. The only major difference? While Quick's own goal was a 3-1 insurance marker for the Rangers, the game was tied when the Canucks scored on themselves, giving Montreal Canadiens forward Lars Eller the easiest GWG he'll ever score. Yep.

-The Calgary Flames, other than inexplicably continuing to not lose hockey games in regulation, also had a weird little injury/call-up situation. Forward David Jones went on injured reserve, and who did the Flames call up to replace him? Why, another forward named Jones, actually (Blair Jones, to be more specific). I don't know, not really huge news, but Matchstick's "Jones Out, Jones In" headline just made me laugh.

-In more injury news, Edmonton's star young forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returned from injury this week, playing in his first NHL games this season. You'd probably be shocked to learn it didn't help the Oilers very much in the win column, because Oilers~

-Over in the desert, the Phoenix Coyotes signed 37-year-old forward Jeff Halpern to a one-year deal. They did lose Boyd Gordon to the aforementioned Oilers in the off-season, so this might be considered a replacement of sorts (although it was a 2-way deal so he could also end up in Portland, I guess). Who knows why they waited until October 12th; maybe the new owners were too busy working on Seattle arena plans to approve it until now, I dunno, it's Phoenix. Hey, while we're talking about the Coyotes, isn't it weird they're going to randomly change their location to "Arizona" after this season's over? That's weird to me. Like we all know they won't be called "Phoenix Coyotes" on the day this season ends for them (mid-April if there is in fact a deity), but in the meantime we all still have to call them that. Weird.

-For the second straight week, if anything of note happened to the Anaheim Ducks, I sure didn't hear about it. Maybe Ryan Getzlaf grew some hair on his bald head. THAT would be news folks. I would lead off the column with that.

This Week in Games

(here's all the games involving the Pacific Division from this past week. we'll talk about the LA Kings' games in great detail, while the rest will mostly just be scores, unless I have something to say about it. you'll also get links to Eric's awesome recaps and Nick's fantastic grades/analysis, which will expand on everything I'm saying in much greater detail if you missed any of them.)

Sunday, October 6th

-Anaheim Ducks 3, Winnipeg Jets 2: something something teemu something something

-Vancouver Canucks 5, Calgary Flames 4 (OT)

Monday, October 7th

-Edmonton Oilers 5, New Jersey Devils 4 (SO): So first the Devils jumped out to a 3-goal lead, but before you could say "lol Oilers", the Oilers rallied back to score four unanswered goals, all in the 3rd period (lol Marty? I guess?)! But of course, since they're the Oilers, they let the Devils tie the game in the final minute, before pulling it out anyway in a shootout. Fun fact: the Devils haven't won a single game yet but are still somehow fifth in their division, one point ahead of three teams who actually have, y'know, won a game. Thanks Bettman Point!

-New York Rangers 3, Los Angeles Kings 1- The Kings got their week underway with their home opener, and well, the less said about this game the better. Other than that Quick gaffe we've already talked about, the Kings weren't particularly good. Quick, ironically enough, made some nice saves to keep the Kings in it, stopping 13 of their 14 scoring chances (no, THE GOAL did not count as a scoring chance, smart-ass). Rick Nash especially ate LA's top defensive pairing of Doughty/Regehr alive, as he had six (!) scoring chances in the game and Doughty/Regehr were on the ice for four of them. It's too bad no one on the Kings thought of the Brad Stuart "just immediately concuss him when the game starts, duh" plan, because the Rangers sure fell apart for the rest of the week once Nash was gone. This game would be the end of both Jake Muzzin and Colin Fraser for now, which is weird when you look at Nick's grades and realize they were not even close to being the major problem for the Kings (hint: his name starts with "Robyn" and ends with "Regehr"). (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)

Tuesday, October 8th

-New York Islanders 6, Phoenix Coyotes 1

-Vancouver Canucks 3, New Jersey Devils 2 (OT)

-San Jose Sharks 9, New York Rangers 2- Yes, you read that right. Nine goals. That's how many the Sharks scored on the Rangers, one night after the Kings managed all of one against them. Four of those nine came from Sharks' rookie Tomas Hertl, with his final goal getting criticized as being overly flashy or disrespectful or some shit by idiots (including the idiot who coaches the Washington Capitals, for some reason). Look, as you should have already figured out by now, I absolutely, positively *hate* the Sharks. Hate hate hate. I'm all for burying them when it even remotely warrants it (like, say, when Brad Stuart or Raffi Torres are trying to decapitate someone, for instance). This, however, did not. He made a nice move and scored a goal, who cares (spoiler alert: not the goalie he scored it on, who apparently didn't care at all when he was asked about it)? This lead to an awesome post on the (awesome) blog Russian Machine Never Breaks: a list of things more disrespectful than Hertl's goal. Yep. Still, screw the Sharks because y'know, screw 'em.

Wednesday, October 9th

-Calgary Flames 3, Montreal Canadiens 2- Seriously, how do the Flames keep winning hockey games??? WHAT IS GOING ON????? Can #fancystats help at all? Let's see.....their Fenwick close is 50.9%, 13th in the league so far. Uh, that's pretty decent actually. Their overall PDO is 101.0 (11.3 shooting percentage, .897 sv%), which is kinda lucky but not ridiculously so or anything (it's only 11th in the league, actually, not even top third). I don't understand, you guys. They're apparently just....not that bad, at least so far? So again I guess: WHAT IS HAPPENING???

-Los Angeles Kings 4, Ottawa Senators 3 (OT)- This was, at least up until that point in the week, easily the Kings' best game of the season so far, and a great rebound game after falling flat in their home opener against the Rangers. Now, I know what you're going to say: yes, they did jump out to a 3-goal lead in the first period, and yes, they let the Senators come back and tie the game. But it's important to keep in mind that a team sitting back in a game they're way ahead in is a very natural occurrence in the NHL, not just for the Kings, and it isn't even like the Senators had a ton of chances after the Kings got out to their 3-goal lead anyway. As Nick said in his grades & analysis, the Senators just seemed to get the bounces in this one, and that ultimately lead to them tying it up before Jeff Carter thankfully put it to bed in overtime. Meanwhile, the new lines looked good: Carcillo on the 2nd line somehow ended up with that line having what was by far their best defensive game of the young season, the now-Lewis-centered 3rd line gave up just two scoring chances at even strength, and the King-Stoll-Nolan line gave up even less than that (nothing, in fact, when all three were actually on the ice together). A very solid game for the Kings all-around, and who really cares that an Eastern Conference team got a bonus point, anyway? (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)

Thursday, October 10th

-Phoenix Coyotes 4, Detroit Red Wings 2- Thanks for nothing, Scum.

-Montreal Canadiens 4, Edmonton Oilers 1- Further proof that the Oilers are back to being the second-best Alberta-based NHL team, I guess. (And god help them if we ever opened up this ranking to other Alberta-based hockey teams.)

-San Jose Sharks 4, Vancouver Canucks 1- This game had the Alex Edler hit that he got suspended for (it was on Tomas Hertl, actually, leading to plenty of speculation if it was some kind of stupid receipt for his beautiful fourth goal on Tuesday), and uh, the Sharks owning the Canucks. Again. The Canucks really can't seem to beat them anymore, new coach or not. #analysis

-Anaheim Ducks 6, New York Rangers 0- Yes, the Ducks & Sharks combined to beat the Rangers by a total score of 15-2, making the Kings look all the dumber for somehow losing to these guys in regulation. All we can really cling to is their lack of Rick Nash, I guess. When you've already traded away your other elite goalscorer for a bunch of dudes the Columbus Blue Jackets didn't really want anymore (!), losing Nash kinda hurts. A lot.

Friday, October 11th

-Phoenix Coyotes 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1- Hasn't been a great start to the season for Los Angeles East, to say the least (hey that almost rhymed kinda!). No confirmation on the rumors that Ron Hextall is already taking measurements of Paul Holmgren's office.

-Los Angeles Kings 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (SO)- Yeah, it sure would've been nice to see the Kings win a game in regulation (which hasn't happened yet!), but this was still a pretty complete effort from the Kings. Both goaltenders were in fine form, as Cam Ward stopped 36 of 37 and Jonathan Quick (he who sucks, remember) stopped 27 of 28 to stay right with him. In fact, both goals came exactly 40 seconds apart in the 3rd period, after Dwight King (of all people) scored a very pretty shorthanded goal, and Jeff Skinner tied things right back up on the same power play. Quick once again shut things down in the shootout, Jeff Carter worked his backhand magic, and that was enough to get the Kings a huge two points. Also worth noting: the Dan Carcillo Experiment worked for the second straight game, as he was a +8 in 5v5 Corsi. In fact, except for the 4th line and the Greene/Martinez pairing, the entire team was above water in 5v5 shot attempts (way above water in many of their cases), as the Kings really did play a fine game and easily could have won in regulation were it not for Ward's own stellar play in net. If you don't believe me, just ask Darryl Sutter, who let loose one of his infamously pithy quips when asked what he liked about the Kings' play: "Everything. Nothing wrong with it at all." Indeed, Darryl, indeed. (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)

-Calgary Flames 3, New Jersey Devils 2- That Flame juggernaut just keeps on keepin' on, I guess.

Saturday, October 12th

-Toronto Maple Leafs 6, Edmonton Oilers 5 (OT)- Defense? Goaltending? Sorry, we've never heard of those things. The overtime game-winner was a hilarious 3-on-1 (yes, a 3-on-1 in overtime) that lead to an even more hilarious Toronto/Edmonton bitchfest for the rest of the night on Twitter. Three cheers for Canada, everyone!

-Montreal Canadiens 4, Vancouver Canucks 1- A not-very-fun-week for the Canucks (I asked any fans of other Pacific teams to recap their teams' weeks via a tweet, and the only response I got was this one from a Canucks fan) comes to a merciful end, complete with that own goal we discussed earlier and Habs fans basically taking over their arena. OLE OLE, I guess.

-San Jose Sharks 3, Ottawa Senators 2- The Sharks just keep it going, turning in their second 50+ shot performance of the season (remember last week's against Phoenix?). They also had 47 shots against the New York Rangers in that 9-2 massacre earlier in the week, so yeah, they've been putting a beating on vulcanized rubber so far in the young season. It's the Sharks, so I don't know how long it will last, but they're sure as hell the best team in this division right now.

This Week in Standings

Team GP W L OTL Points ROW GF GA Diff Home Away Streak
1. San Jose 5 5 0 0 10 5 24 7 +17 4-0-0 1-0-0 WON 5
2. Calgary 5 3 0 2 8 3 18 17 +1 2-0-1 1-0-1 WON 2
3. Anaheim 4 3 1 0 6 3 14 11 +3 1-0-0 2-1-0 WON 3
4. Phoenix 5 3 2 0 6 3 12 14 -2 1-0-0 2-2-0 WON 2
5. Los Angeles 5 3 2 0 6 1 13 14 -1 1-1-0 2-1-0 WON 2
6. Vancouver 6 3 3 0 6 3 17 20 -3 2-2-0 1-1-0 LOST 2
7. Edmonton 5 1 3 1 3 0 17 25 -8 1-2-0 0-1-1 OTL 1

Well, hey, we moved up a spot, which means we're not in sixth anymore and I don't have to use the "IT'S STILL EARLY!" refrain on you for the second week in a row! Yay! Of course, that "1" in the "ROW" column is kinda vaguely depressing, so hopefully the Kings can start winning some more games without using the NHL equivalent of a home run derby, just in case that tiebreaker actually ends up mattering by the end of the year. Elsewhere, the Sharks remain both unbeaten and in first place. The Flames defied my taunting of Calgary from last week, which I believe went something like "hope everyone in the fake-cowboy-oil-wonderland remembered to take a snapshot on their phones of the NHL standings, because this (i.e. Calgary in 2nd place) will probably last all of two or three more days at the longest". Oops. Okay Calgary, maybe you're for real. I really doubt it, but hey, stranger things, I guess. The Ducks took advantage of their insanely easy schedule this week- just two games- and won them both to leapfrog Phoenix into third. The Coyotes stayed in fourth with a good 2-1-0 week. The Canucks had a tough four-game slate and were only able to go 2-2-0, sending them down from third to sixth. And those poor Oilers at least won a game, but still only went 1-1-1 and remain in last place. They're in danger of putting a gap between them and the rest of this division- still tightly packed together even with the Sharks' perfect record, since uh, it really is still early and stuff- if they don't get things turned around soon.

This Week in #fancystats

(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater)

Rangers 3, Kings 1
Corsi: Kings 60-Rangers 56 (overall), Rangers 45-Kings 44 (5v5, 47.4 mins), Kings 34-Rangers 29 (5v5 close, 31.7 mins), Kings 17-Rangers 12 (5v5 tied, 13.5 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 44-Rangers 44 (overall), Rangers 35-Kings 33 (5v5, 47.4 mins), Kings 23-Rangers 23 (5v5 close, 31.7 mins), Kings 12-Rangers 10 (5v5 tied, 13.5 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Greene (+9), Muzzin (+8), Williams/Brown/Stoll (tied, +5). Worst: Richards/Frattin/Regehr (tied, -7)

Kings 4, Senators 3 (OT)
Corsi: Kings 66-Senators 52 (overall), Kings 49-Senators 37 (5v5, 47.1 mins), Kings 12-Senators 8 (5v5 close, 11.4 mins), Kings 9-Senators 6 (5v5 tied, 7.6 mins)
Fenwick: Kings 52-Senators 39 (overall), Kings 37-Senators 27 (5v5, 47.1 mins), Kings 10-Senators 6 (5v5 close, 11.4 mins), Kings 8-Senators 4 (5v5 tied, 7.6 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Voynov (+14), Nolan (+10), Mitchell (+9). Worst: Frattin (-7), Doughty (-6), Regehr (-5)

Kings 2, Hurricanes 1 (SO)
Corsi: Kings 70-Hurricanes 66 (overall), Kings 53-Hurricanes 42 (5v5, 5v5 close, & 5v5 tied- 47.4 mins. both goals came on that one power play, so the numbers were literally the same for all three of these categories. wacky!)
Fenwick: Kings 58-Hurricanes 43 (overall), Kings 45-Hurricanes 27 (5v5/5v5 close/5v5 tied, 47.4 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Carter (+14), Richards (+13), Brown (+10). Worst: Greene/Nolan (tied, -5), Kopitar/Martinez/Stoll (tied, -4)

Next Week in the Pacific

(this is exactly what it sounds like: the next week's schedule for all 7 Pacific Division teams. all times are pacific because, um, duh.)

Team 10/13 10/14 10/15 10/16 10/17 10/18 10/19
LA @FLA (12:00) - @TB (4:30) - @NSH (5:00) - vs.DAL (7:30)
SJ - - @STL (5:00) - @DAL (5:30) - vs.CGY (7:00)
CGY - - - @ANA (7:00) - - @SJ (7:00)
ANA vs.OTT (5:00) - - vs.CGY (7:00) - vs.PHX (7:00) -
PHX @CAR (10 am) - vs.OTT (7:00) - - @ANA (7:00) vs.DET (6:00)
VAN - - @PHI (4:00) - @BUF (4:00) - @PIT (10 am)
EDM - @WSH (4:00) @PIT (4:00) - @NYI (4:00) - @OTT (11 am)

Los Angeles gets the four-game-week treatment this time around, although unlike the Canucks last week they're far from alone there (Phoenix & Edmonton are in the same boat). It's not exactly the toughest schedule in the world, however. The Kings will finish up their road trip with both Florida teams, neither who are very good, and a Nashville team that ain't exactly lighting the world on fire either. They finally come home to play the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Anything less than 6 out of 8 points will be a disappointment to me here, as these are some very beatable teams. Maybe they can even beat one of them in regulation for a change!

Elsewhere, the Sharks get a major test when they face the Blues in a battle of unbeaten teams on Tuesday. They'll finish up the mini-road-swing in Dallas before getting Calgary (who might still be unbeaten in regulation too on Saturday, you never know!) on Saturday. Those Flames get an easy two-game-week this time, with just that Sharks game and a date in Anaheim on Wednesday. The Ducks have Ottawa today (with the Sens coming off a back-to-back, having just played the Sharks last night), then keep it in the division against Calgary and Phoenix.

Meanwhile, I don't know what's going on in Vancouver & Edmonton, but both teams have been chased out of town simultaneously to embark on lengthy road trips. The Oilers have an all-Eastern five-gamer kick off this week with dates in Washington, Pittsburgh, Long Island, and Ottawa (wrapping up next Tuesday in Montreal). The Canucks start a seven game road trip of their own (all-Eastern too until the last game against St. Louis), heading to both ends of Pennsylvania with a trip to Buffalo sandwiched in-between. It could be just what the doctor ordered for these two struggling clubs, as the Western Conference has a dominant record against the East so far this season (22-6-3, which is pretty insane).

Finally, the Coyotes finish up their own Eastern Conference trip early this morning in Carolina, then welcome a couple of East clubs to Phoenix (Detroit & Ottawa, to be more specific), with a trip to Anaheim in the middle.

And that draws another weekly recap to a close. See you next week.

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