Here is what I've decided: This Week in News is dead (long live This Week in News). For those of you who don't remember, that was the section where I tried to come up with at least one news article per Pacific team in the past week. It's dead because:
-I wrote this thing without it last week (because of time constraints) and discovered it shaves an hour off the 3-3/12 hour writing time. Plus, it makes it shorter and quicker to read as well.
-Robert is back doing Kings Clips more often which means you've probably seen most of the links I would use on this site already anyway.
-go back and actually read like any TWIN section from any one of these monstrosities: like anywhere from 2-4 teams every week would be "I can't actually find any news of interest for this team this week, so here's something ridiculous or stupid or nothing at all." Apparently not enough interesting things happen to NHL teams every week! Oh well.
Anyway. Now that I'm done making excuses, the rest of your weekly recap follows below per usual.
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.)
Monday, January 13th
-Calgary Flames 2, Carolina Hurricanes 0
-Winnipeg Jets 5, Phoenix Coyotes 1- Haha what? Oh, this was the first game for new Jets coach Paul Maurice (what, does Kevin Cheveldayoff only consider potential coaches on their level of post-game press conference sass?), I guess it makes a little more sense. Dead cat bounce and all that. The Jets also weren't as bad as I thought they were according to the fancy stats, in fact they were the second-best team in Canada according to the score-adjusted Fenwick rankings a few weeks ago. Being the second-best NHL team in Canada still only makes you the 17th-best team in the NHL these days, though.
-Los Angeles Kings 1, Vancouver Canucks 0: The Vancouver Canucks came into Los Angeles and decided they JUST WEREN'T GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE, DAMNIT! But this hockey game wasn't even a terrible 80s hair metal song. Rather, it was more like an even MORE hideous circa-2000 cover of said terrible 80s hair metal song used for an awful movie about professional wrestling. That music video is at least about three minutes long, whereas this hockey game was two-and-a-half-hours-plus of utter garbage (although amazingly some people found some entertainment value out of it). Despite generating four scoring chances at even strength and ultimately losing 1-0, because they gooned it up and SENT A MESSAGE!!!!!111 Vancouver players, coaches, and analysts alike wouldn't stop talking about how this was "one of their best efforts of the season", "something they could build on", "A MORAL VICTORY", etc. etc. Meanwhile all the Kings got out of it were two points and retaining sole possession of third place in the Pacific, which Vancouver could have tied LA for with a win here (AND actually been ahead on tiebreakers!) but apparently that wasn't as important as MESSAGE-SENDING. Dustin Brown & Darryl Sutter both had some great fun with the crazy people following the game, giving some epic quotes just blatantly trolling the Canucks, because they are awesome. (recap) (grades & analysis, kinda) (gamethread)
Tuesday, January 14th
-San Jose Sharks 2, Washington Capitals 1 (SO)
-St. Louis Blues 2, Phoenix Coyotes 1
-Nashville Predators 4, Calgary Flames 2
-Dallas Stars 5, Edmonton Oilers 2
Wednesday, January 15th
-Anaheim Ducks 9, Vancouver Canucks 1: Somehow the Canucks came into Anaheim just a couple of days removed from their MORAL VICTORY BEST EFFORT OF THE SEASON WE'RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK!!! and, uh, this happened. They didn't just get embarrassed by the Ducks, they also got embarrassed by the officials, who awarded Anaheim a 7-minute 5-on-3 power play (which makes three 7-minute penalties for the team in their two games in SoCal, since one happened against the Kings too) in what was more of an actual message ("WE'RE SICK OF YOUR SHIT") than anything the Canucks did in Los Angeles on Monday. I actually witnessed Vancouver fans angry about Teemu Selanne, aka He Who is Only Useful on the Power Play at this stage of his career, playing on that 7-minute 5-on-3 (when the score was already out of hand at that point), as if they should have just stapled his ass to the bench for almost half a period of power play time. Yeah, that makes sense. For god's sake you people have me defending something the ANAHEIM DUCKS did, what is wrong with you???
Thursday, January 16th
-San Jose Sharks 3, Florida Panthers 0
-Los Angeles Kings 4, St. Louis Blues 1: This was, seriously, only the second Kings game I've missed entirely all year (the first was the Dallas-LA game on New Year's Eve, for those of you keeping score at home), so of course this would be the game where Trevor Lewis breaks his near-legendary scoring drought, as he went from 0 goals to 2 goals! That's one more than Dan Carcillo ever scored here, so way to go, Trevor! As far as the game itself, from second-hand knowledge and fast-forwarding it seems to have been another low-event, not-much-happening typical Kings-Blues game, with LA getting the fortunate bounces this time around (like Jaro Halak being an idiot, that was a fortunate bounce! hey buddy, yes the puck went into the "no play zone", but you don't like get killed if you play it, you get a penalty. maybe take the penalty instead of watching Trevor Lewis score on you again, just a piece of advice). That's also maybe the only time anyone has ever written "LA getting the fortunate bounces" without including the word "not". (recap) (grades & analysis) (gamethread)
-Minnesota Wild 4, Edmonton Oilers 1: This was the debut of Ben Scrivens with the Oilers after he was traded for a 3rd round pick earlier in the week, and it went probably about as well as anything goes for the Oilers, I guess. There was one amazing sequence where Wild forward Mikael Granlund won the hybrid icing race while simultaneouslygetting body position on Oiler defenseman Martin Marincin (who briefly looked like he would recover to break up the play, then instead did nothing), and passing it behind his back directly to an untouched Jason Pominville, who of course put it in. I imagine right during that sequence was Ben's "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto" moment, if of course it hadn't already come from dealing with Edmonton fans/media's "wives & girlfriends" complex.
-Winnipeg Jets 5, Calgary Flames 2
-Phoenix Coyotes 1, Vancouver Canucks 0: That's one goal in three games for the Vancouver Moral Victories. Just sayin'.
Friday, January 17th
-Chicago Blackhawks 4, Anaheim Ducks 2: In a showdown that understandably got a lot of hype, the Blackhawks outshot the Ducks 35-21 en route to a relatively easy 4-2 victory, snapping the Ducks' eight-game winning streak in the process. The Ducks scored two goals 53 seconds apart late in the 3rd to at least make this interesting after falling behind 3-0, but ultimately couldn't complete the comeback.
Saturday, January 18th
-San Jose Sharks 5, Martin St. Louis 4: No, literally, that's what this game was. St. Louis scored four goals and the Lightnng still lost in regulation to those damn Sharks. And this wasn't even the most frustrating thing to happen on this day.
-Winnipeg Jets 3, Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)
-Detroit Red Wings 3, Los Angeles Kings 2 (SO)
OR IN A UNIVERSE THAT MAKES SENSE
-Los Angeles Kings 2, Detroit Red Wings 1: Unfortunately, the universe doesn't make sense. Please excuse my foul language (which I honestly do try to limit in these posts, unlike in, say, every tweet I've ever written), but: Fuck this game. Fuck the officials who allegedly called it. Fuck the puck for bouncing off of the netting and onto Quick's back instead of, say, ANYWHERE ELSE. Fuck the Detroit Red Wings who didn't really do anything but you know what, fuck 'em anyway. And that's all I really have to say about this atrocity. Fuck. (recap) (gamethread)
-Anaheim Ducks 3, St. Louis Blues 2
-Phoenix Coyotes 3, New Jersey Devils 2
-Vancouver Canucks 3, Calgary Flames 2 (SO): Hmm so uh this happened. And this too. Amazingly, I heard many in the Canadian media blame BOB HARTLEY for that whole incident, as if: A) he's the first coach to start his goons on the road (you know who else did that? John f'n Tortorella, who did it when he was coaching the Rangers for a game in Newark and then got mad when the Devils' coach did LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME THING in a game at the Garden, because he is amazing), and B) he had some responsibility to come out of his locker room and answer the crazy head coach of the other team who had marched down the opposition's hallway. Yeah, no. Hell of a week for the Canucks though, eh? I dunno how they top it; open up their next game by bringing out an old-timey cannon and just firing it at the opposing team's bench, maybe?
Sunday, January 19th
Nothing, nope, nada.
This Week in Standings
|2. San Jose||49||31||12||6||68||23||148||116||+32||16-2-3||12-10-3||3-0-0|
|3. Los Angeles||49||29||14||6||64||23||126||100||+26||16-6-3||13-8-3||2-0-1|
Make that three straight weeks with zero movement in the Pacific standings to speak of. The Ducks finally lost a game but are now officially comfy in first, and it will take a hell of a run by the Sharks or Kings COMBINED with a massive slump by the Ducks to even come close to changing that. The Sharks went a perfect 3-0-0 but only opened up an extra point on the Kings in the race for 2nd (and home in their inevitable first round series), who allegedly went 2-0-1, because apparently they just randomly only give you one point for certain wins now I dunno. The Canucks began the week looking to tie the Kings for 3rd in the Pacific on Monday (and would have had the tiebreaker at the time), but went a dismal 1-3-0 and finish the week now staring at a 5-point gap with LA, with the Kings having a game in hand on them to boot. MESSAGE SENT!
Now let's take a look at the Wild Card. Top two get in, everybody else goes home and haves themselves a good cry.
|1. Vancouver (P)||50||25||16||9||59||22||127||127||E||13-6-5||12-10-4||1-3-0|
|2. Minnesota (C)||51||27||19||5||59||21||118||119||-1||16-6-2||9-12-3||2-1-0|
|3. Phoenix (P)||48||23||16||9||55||19||139||145||-6||14-7-3||9-9-6||2-2-0|
|4. Dallas (C)||48||21||19||8||50||18||136||148||-12||10-8-5||11-11-3||1-1-1|
|5. Nashville (C)||50||21||22||7||49||20||121||151||-30||12-11-4||9-11-3||2-1-0|
|6. Winnipeg (C)||50||22||23||5||49||17||141||150||-9||12-10-4||10-13-1||3-0-0|
|7. Calgary (P)||49||16||26||7||39||13||109||156||-47||7-14-3||9-12-4||1-2-1|
|8. Edmonton (P)||51||15||30||6||36||13||131||181||-50||8-12-2||7-18-4||0-2-1|
A little more happening here, but not by much. The Canucks are still on top but now only due to a tiebreaker, as the Wild have tied them in points after a good 2-1-0 week. Vancouver does still have a game in hand as well as one more ROW, but their once-large gap has totally closed here, making them vulnerable to even drop out of the playoffs entirely. Fortunately for them, most of the teams on the outside are pretty bad, including Phoenix. Phoenix did go 2-2-0 this week to at least kind of stay in it, but they're basically exactly where they've been for weeks now: still 4 points out, still several games in hand on everyone, still not really inspiring great confidence they'll actually use said games-in-hand for anything worthwhile. But they still have them, damnit! Below them Dallas had the definition of mediocrity, a 1-1-1 week. They're probably the best of this bunch, definitely better than Phoenix and probably Minnesota too, but their recent slump has taken them from a team that looked like it was about to jump into a playoff spot to a team that looks like they're nearly out of the race again. Below them, Nashville went 2-1-0 which is nice for them I guess, Winnipeg went 3-0-0 under their new coach and
ROCKETED UP THE STANDINGS err I mean are still in the exact same spot as last week, and who really cares about Calgary or Edmonton at this point? Okay, one guy raising your hand: they both sucked, Calgary slightly less so cause they actually won a game. There you go.
(Obviously no one would actually raise their hand for that, I know. Creative license, people.)
This Week in #fancystats
(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater.)
Kings 1, Canucks 0
Corsi: Kings 46-Canucks 44 (overall), Kings 29-Canucks 22 (5v5, 35.3 mins), Kings 19-Canucks 14, (5v5 close & 5v5 tied, 23.6 mins)
Fenwick: Canucks 35-Kings 31 (overall), Kings 18-Canucks 18 (5v5, 35.3 mins), Kings 12-Canucks 12 (5v5 close & 5v5 tied, 23.6 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Doughty (+12), Kopitar/Carter (tied, +11). Worst: Clifford (-8), Richards/Williams (tied, -5)
Kings 4, Blues 1
Corsi: Kings 51-Blues 51 (overall), Blues 32-Kings 29 (5v5, 39.5 mins), Kings 21-Blues 20 (5v5 close, 28.1 mins), Kings 11-Blues 7 (5v5 tied, 12.7 mins)
Fenwick: Blues 41-Kings 39 (overall), Blues 26-Kings 25 (5v5, 39.5 mins), Kings 18-Blues 16 (5v5 close, 28.1 mins), Kings 8-Blues 7 (5v5 tied, 12.7 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Mitchell (+3), Nolan/Doughty/Stoll/King (tied, +2). Worst: Frattin (-6), Regehr (-5), Richards (-4)
Red Wings 3, Kings 2 (SO)
Corsi: Red Wings 67-Kings 51 (overall), Red Wings 51-Kings 39 (5v5, 46.7 mins), Red Wings 50-Kings 39 (5v5 close, 46.2 mins), Red Wings 47-Kings 39 (5v5 tied, 45.5 mins)
Fenwick: Red Wings 50-Kings 39 (overall), Red Wings 38-Kings 30 (5v5, 46.7 mins), Red Wings 38-Kings 30 (5v5 close, 46.2 mins), Red Wings 35-Kings 30 (5v5 tied, 45.5 mins)
Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Doughty/Stoll (tied, +2), Muzzin/Regehr (tied, +1). Worst: Mitchell (-16), Voynov (-12), Brown/Kopitar (tied, -8)
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.)
|LA||@BOS (12:00)||@CBJ (4:00)||-||@ANA (7:00)||-||vs.ANA (6:30)||-|
|ANA||-||vs.WPG (7:00)||-||vs.LA (7:00)||-||@LA (6:30)||-|
|SJ||vs.CGY (7:30)||-||-||vs.WPG (7:30)||-||vs.MIN (7:30)||-|
|VAN||-||@EDM (6:30)||-||vs.NSH (7:00)||-||-||vs.PHX (5:00)|
|PHX||vs.TOR (5:00)||-||@CGY (6:30)||-||@EDM (6:30)||-||@VAN (5:00)|
|CGY||@SJ (7:30)||-||vs.PHX (6:30)||-||vs.NSH (6:00)||-||-|
|EDM||-||vs.VAN (6:30)||-||-||vs.PHX (6:30)||-||vs.NSH (5:00)|
The Kings are in Boston today, and by a complete coincidence aka "coming here specifically to see them", so am I! Hurray! I'll watch them take on the defending Eastern Conference Champions later today, live from the TD Garden (my first time seeing a game there in fact), so that should be quite fun. And they're 3-0-0 with me in attendance so far this year so we'll see if that run can continue. Tomorrow the Kings wrap up the Eastern stretch of this road trip in Columbus, then they come back for the home-and-home with Anaheim, at the Ponda on Thursday, and then at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night. Hope everyone who's going really enjoys it, as it could easily be a once-in-a-lifetime type of event. Outdoor hockey in SoCal folks, take it all in.
The Ducks will host the Jets on Tuesday before that home-and-home with LA kicks in. The Sharks have a pretty easy week, taking on the Flames, Jets, and Wild (not exactly murder's row) and all at home, where they've been fabulous this season. Vancouver will trade punches with the Oilers, Predators, and Coyotes this week, and maybe if they're lucky even score a goal or two too. The Coyotes will host the Maple Leafs tonight before starting out on a Western Canadian road trip, as they'll get to probably beat up on the Alberta teams and then head into Vancouver on Sunday. Oh, and speaking of the Alberta teams, they play some games and stuff. I've decided to make a conscious effort to stop talking about irrelevant hockey teams in this column so much, so, uh, yeah. Their schedule's up there, you can read it if you really want to (but why would you?).
Anyway, that's all for another week of hockey (or, if you're the Canucks, "hockey") in the Pacific. See you next time.