After a two-week break, the Pacific Division Roundup is finally back. While a two-week time span is very small sample size for some, you can lose the Stanley Cup in such a short time, or you might see several NHL coaches getting sacked. That’s the beauty and the cruelty of the NHL, indeed.
Last season, it was the Kings who fired their head coach to kickstart the plague. Whether it was the right decision or not, you can judge for yourself. However, the firing of head coach John Stevens came completely as a surprise.
The only real shock of this year’s edition of the NHL coaches packing their shorts is Jim Montgomery. Even today, his end as the head coach of the Dallas Stars is a mystery. He built a very successful and trademark team down in Dallas, but something behind the scenes cost him his NHL job.
As for the Pacific Division, two head coaches have been told to step away. We talked about Bill Peters in our last Pacific Division Roundup in regards to racism and abuse and how we cannot accept any form of it.
The second head coach to get the ax is Peter DeBoer. DeBoer replaced Todd McLellan in 2015 as the head coach of the San Jose Sharks, just to make the Stanley Cup Final in his very first season. Now, DeBoer is no longer a coach in San Jose, while McLellan coaches the Kings, after coaching the Oilers. The new coach in Edmonton is Dave Tippet, who, by the way, coached the Coyotes. And yes, Dallas Eakins, the current coach of the Ducks, coached the Oilers, as well. It would make up for an intriguing soap opera, don’t you think?
Anyway, the Coyotes lead the Pacific Division, even though they are poor at home. The second-worst Western Conference home team also leads the Western Conference standings in points won on the road. When we talk a bit about winning points on the road, we don’t do that here in Los Angeles! Only seven points gained on the road guarantees the Kings the worst spot in the entire League. Even Detroit is better on the road than the Kings.
The Flames are fittingly red-hot, having won seven straight games after Peters resigned. On the other hand, the formerly surging Sharks lost six straight games, finding themselves dangerously close to the Kings in the standings again.
Circle Around the League
The firing of John Hynes hasn’t worked wonders so far in New Jersey, as the Devils are still dead last in the Metropolitan Division and lost their last six games.
The New York Rangers truly don’t like to play at Staples Center, it’s like something happened there at some point in the past. The surging Rangers beat the Golden Knights 5-0 and the Sharks 6-3 but almost ended up shut out against the Kings in a 3-1 loss.
The Washington Capitals lead the NHL comfortably with 51 points. The second-best team is still the Boston Bruins, who have hit a five-game losing skid for the first time under head coach Bruce Cassidy. The Kings make their way to TD Garden next Tuesday. Before that, they will visit the utterly unremarkable Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings just snapped their 12-game losing streak. Nobody is going to beat Detroit in the draft lottery, they are just making sure.
It’s time to wake up and play some hockey. Every team has hit a 30-game mark already. No more excuses — five coaches have been fired already. Is anyone safe?
Pacific Division Power Rankings
- Arizona Coyotes (+1)
- Edmonton Oilers (-1)
- Calgary Flames (+3)
- Vegas Golden Knights (-1)
- Vancouver Canucks (=)
- San Jose Sharks (-2)
- Anaheim Ducks (=)
- Los Angeles Kings (=)
The seven-game winning streak and a six-game losing skid have left their mark in this week’s edition of the Pacific Division Power Rankings. After the Oilers’ reign for a quite long time, the Coyotes have taken over. The only concern for Arizona is to improve at home and get some wins from Antti Raanta (he only likes to beat the Kings, perhaps). The Flames, despite a goal differential of -5, are somehow third with 40 points. Geoff Ward is the magic man so far in Calgary.