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Pacific Division Roundup: Kings showing some consistency; no place for racism

The Kings aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they’re looking better anyway.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the post-Thanksgiving edition of our Pacific Division Roundup. If you came to read about how good the Kings are performing, you will be disappointed. The Kings are still last in both the Division and the Western Conference. However, they are not the worst team in the NHL! And they are not performing as bad as you would expect.

On Wednesday, the Kings defeated one of the hottest teams in the League, the New York Islanders, coming from behind. The Kings are powerful at home. On Monday, when trailing 0-3 against the Sharks, some fans would expect that Los Angeles wouldn’t fare well in those two games. However, the Kings gathered three out of possible four points.

Consistency, and better road performances are the key. Wearing down one of the best teams in the league, and scoring four goals against the best defense of the NHL, that’s a good achievement. The key is to do it on a consistent basis.

Talking about the Sharks, the Kings travel north to face San Jose today. Within the first 13 days of December, the Kings pay a visit to Honda Center while facing the Oilers and the Flames on the road. Remember, the Kings are still only six points out of the playoff picture, despite the last-overall position in the standings. It’s not going to happen, you know it. But if Los Angeles is about to attack playoff spots (at least for a Christmas pleasure!), they have to dig out the points mainly in the divisional battles.

Edmonton leads the Pacific Division with 35 points, the Coyotes, who beat the Kings twice this past week, are right behind them with 33 points. A gaping hole follows, with three teams tied on 28 points - Vegas, Vancouver, and Calgary. The Sharks have 27 points, and the Ducks have 26 points, LA has 22 points. This division is wide open.

Circle Around the NHL

While this is happening in the Pacific Division, it resonates around the whole NHL. Bill Peters’ time is up as the head coach of the Calgary Flames, following the revelation from Akim Aliu that Peters used racial slurs when he coached Aliu on the Rockford IceHogs.

Aliu’s accusation opened the floodgates of former players and hockey personalities who came out to corroborate the accusations, as well as revealing additional alleged misconduct. More than some racist statements and “jokes”, Peters is alleged to have physically hit players, confirmed by Rod Brind’Amour, the current head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. Brind’Amour became the Hurricanes’ coach after Peters was relieved from his duties in 2018.

Racist language and actions and physical punishment should never happen in this league, or in the world of hockey in general. The most important thing is to be brave enough to speak out, always. People are listening and ready to help you.

Lastly, we have a new team leading the NHL, it’s the Boston Bruins, dethroning the Washington Capitals. The Bruins seem to be in a sweet spot, on a five-game winning streak and a nine-game point streak. The Kings will visit Beantown in mid-December, that one should be a fun game.

Pacific Division Power Rankings

  1. Edmonton Oilers (=)
  2. Arizona Coyotes (=)
  3. Vegas Golden Knights (=)
  4. San Jose Sharks (+1)
  5. Vancouver Canucks (-1)
  6. Calgary Flames (=)
  7. Anaheim Ducks (=)
  8. Los Angeles Kings (=)

There is exactly one move in this week’s Power Rankings opposed to the last edition. Top three in the Pacific Division is still Edmonton, Arizona, Vegas, in that order (no relation with Gareth Bale, or?). The Canucks blew a third-period three-goal lead in Pittsburgh, while the Sharks, before falling 5-1 at home to Winnipeg, were 9-1-0 in their previous 10 contests. The bottom three stays in that order for another week.