PACIFIC HEIGHTS 2013-14

The Edmonton Oilers are in a new division and the entire conference has a new look for this coming season. The Oilers are an improving team, but they’re facing some impressive “establishment” teams and a few risers who appear to be a step ahead.  The top three finishing teams in the Pacific are through, with two ‘wild card’ seeds coming from the best remaining records in the Pacific and Central Division.

PACIFIC DIVISION 2013-14

  • #7 CALGARY FLAMES: The only thing that can keep the Flames from drafting #1 overall is  Jumpin’ Jay Feaster, and he’s hell bent for leather. The team that needs Steve Tambellini refuses to give up, although their stalking of the clearly done Kipper makes me think they may have a plan that involves tanking. We’ll know they’re crazy when Sean Monahan breaks camp with the big team–he’ll be their Sam Gagner by the New Year. There are some nice things here, and if the Oilers get a chance to grab Backlund or Glencross–or both–it would behoove them to do so, forthwith!
  • #6 ANAHEIM DUCKS: I’ve never been convinced the Ducks are a team with sustain and they’ve just traded one of their difference makers to Ottawa. The top end of their offense is terrific and I do think the Penner addition was a solid move but in a division where 3 through 6 may be decided in the final week Anaheim looks like the odd duck to me. Selanne’s possible return would improve their odds, but this is the one team in the division whose defense looks aged. The Ducks have been up and down like a yo-yo in recent years, I think that continues with a subpar 2013-14. The Ryan trade changes the team in a big way, as the club is now waiting on the youngsters to grow up in a heartbeat. Oiler fans know that it doesn’t always happen in a straight line.
  • #5 PHOENIX COYOTES: This is a team with Stanley calibre blue but the offense is strictly Punch and Judy and and their $5M forwards are Mike Ribeiro and Shane Doan. Goals for will be their issue, with the defense (led by OEL) getting them close to the post-season. The Coyotes have many brilliant players (Martin Hanzal) and some terrific prospects (Oil King Samuelsson) but don’t have near enough offense for this season to my eye. WARNING: They don’t appear set up front (11 forwards according to capgeek) so some late summer activity could change this ranking.
  • #4 EDMONTON OILERS: This is the season Taylor Hall puts this team on his back and carries them into the post-season. It won’t be easy–and a losing streak or the usual string-of-pearls injuries could derail them–but coach Dallas Eakins is going to ride these kids like a rented mule into the second season. The other item is the power of the disconnect from the Ralph Krueger system. Dellow’s big data set shed tremendous light on what was happening on-ice, and a new, more NHL friendly system could have tremendous effect. We’ll know early: if the 2line is looking good via shot differential and we’re saying nice things about the third line, then Krueger’s folly may have been a thing.
  • #3 VANCOUVER CANUCKS: The vaunt have some cracks and holes but there’s still plenty of fuel in this roster. The piss cutter Sedins remain freaks of hockey nature, Roberto Luongo remains a strong #1 and their defense is exceptional. A year from now, maybe we can talk about the Oilers passing the Canucks. Not this winter. The Canucks have some youngsters who will play more prominent roles this season (Kassian, Schroeder) and if they catch fire Vancouver could press for the division title.
  • #2 SAN JOSE SHARKS: Smart decisions everywhere for this veteran team, and honestly they could win the Stanley and it wouldn’t be a surprise. Veterans Thornton and Marleau along with young vets like Couture and Pavelski (along with Raffi being signed) give them plenty of power up front, and a defense that bends but doesn’t break means they’ll push for the regular season crown. One worry: Dan Boyle, now 87 years old, may begin to tire at some point. Beware of Tommy Wingels.
  • #1 LOS ANGELES KINGS: A strong team with one Stanley in their pockets and the window of opportunity wide open is led by perhaps the most dominant player in the division (Kopitar) and some outstanding  veterans (Justin Williams, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter) among the 12 forwards.  Their goalie is famous and good, and they have a veteran defense, which boasts Doughty and Voynov and dammit if this Muzzin fellow doesn’t look like the real deal, plus Regehr and Mitchell and Matt Greene. Depending on what line he plays on, Matt Frattin could post an impressive number. A great GM works in Los Angeles.

Some time in April, the Oilers will be on the road in a playoff game. It’s been a long, long time.

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36 Responses to "PACIFIC HEIGHTS 2013-14"

  1. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Agreed. It’s time to get emotionally invested in wins & losses again… it’s been so damn long.

  2. mumbai max says:

    Love the optimism. Sign me up!

  3. Woodguy says:

    Calling your shot eh?

    I fear that the Oilers won’t have their shit together early and piss away some of the Eastern Conference wins.

    14 of their first 18 are against the EC (most of those on the road).

    They need to come off that trip .500 or ahead I think.

    In all I think its close and the games against the weak sisters in Central will help.

    I think the Oilers will be fighting ANA, PHX, DAL, WIN for the wild card spots and have a decent chance.

  4. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I scrolled to the bottom to see who was going to be on today…. very disappointed. Are you still on vacation?

    Drag your Crown Royal soaked carcass into the station, or phone in the show from your porch, but I need something here.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Rom: I’ll be on at 11:20 as a guest, but believe we’ll only be talking about Crown Royal. So, there’s that.

  6. Bar_Qu says:

    I will remain slightly off-kilter about this playoff format for a couple more years. I understand it all when I sit back and think about it, but when I don’t, then I start thinking about the previous format where I totally disregarded divisions.

    Thus, I had to think really hard when I first saw this and interpreted the Oilers finishing fourth (and getting home ice seeding) instead of merely finishing fourth in the division and fighting for a spot at the dance at all.

    The second scenario makes more sense, though I cannot claim to any optimism this early in August. School starts (for me) in a week and there is a blackness that will not leave me.

  7. bookje says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: I’ll be on at 11:20 as a guest, but believe we’ll only be talking about Crown Royal. So, there’s that.

    Is this another vacation?

  8. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    bookje: Is this another vacation?

    Is this the end of Rico?

  9. Soup Fascist says:

    As much as the Oilers depth at center stinks, I think the Canucks are potentially even weaker in the 3 / 4 spots. There has been some talk of Richardson moving to center (after playing wing, the bulk of his career in LA) but that may not be a seemless transition. Depth chart wise the Canucks 3 / 4 Centers project to be Jordan Schroeder and Mike Santorelli. These guys scare no one. Add in the fact that Henrik is now 33 and a 32- year old Kesler is coming off an injury – and I am not excited about this group of centers. Not sure 19-year old Gaunce or 18-year old Horvat are cracking the squad, or if they do, I am doubtful they will be very impactful.

    Plus outside of the Sedins, Kesler (if he stays healthy) and Burrows – who is going to score goals? Their scoring depth appears to be non-existent. The goalie situation was handled with as much discretion and class as Lindsay Lohan at a frat party. Luongo has been an absolute pro, but I think there may be a shoe to drop yet. Plus the organization tried to tie a can to Louuu a year and a half ago. All he is, well, is older.

    Their defense may save them, as they are a solid group. But unless the Canucks figure out a way to generate some offense – I think this is a group that could be teetering on the brink. And if the start is not what was expected, remember the Cirque-de-Torts is coming to Vancouver. The guy is a sideshow, not a hockey coach. Maybe it is this year / maybe it is next, and I hope I am wrong*, but this is a team that has all the makings of a train wreck.

    * Actually I don’t.

  10. gd says:

    Interesting analysis LT.

    I worry Anaheim or Phoenix might be where Grabo ends up.

  11. mcoupefan says:

    If I may refer back to the Jujhar Khaira issue, this article in the MSM seems to explain the situation:

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130816/BLOG12/130819886

    To quote: “Well, now it’s looking inevitable that Khaira will be suiting up for the Tips this season. Not only will he be attending training camp in Everett, his potential destinations have narrowed. It was originally thought Khaira, because he was an NCAA player, was eligible to play professionally in the minors at 19. However, he wasn’t actually drafted out of the NCAA, he was drafted following his season with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. According to Tips general manager Garry Davidson, the Canadian junior A leagues are subject to the same rules as major junior, meaning players drafted from the BCHL aren’t eligible for the minors until they’re 20. Therefore, the only places Khaira can play this season are Edmonton or Everett.”

    We now know that “the Canadian junior A leagues are subject to the same rules as major junior”

  12. slopitch says:

    With 14 of 18 games to start against EC teams, I sure hope Nuge is coming back (READY!) on the early side of estimates. Even if he’s back, I don’t expect him to be fully confident till Dec. It might be an uphill race but I agree that the Oilers will make the playoffs this year.

    Just buy out Schultz and sign Grabo before PHO or ANA does.

  13. Captain Smarmy says:

    I agree that L.A. is the cream of the crop but sometimes they decide to not score a goal for a month and it tends to affect your regular season record.

  14. rich says:

    Love the “glass half full” optimism. If Nuge was healthy for the start of the season, I’d say this expectation would make all kinds of sense.

    Learning a new system and doing it shorthanded down the middle though is going to be tough. If we can hang in thru American Thanksgiving, I can see this prediction become reality. It would be very nice to see us more than just playing meaningful games into April, but actually “competing” for and earning a spot.

    Also, not to throw dirt, but I will be very interested to see the contrast in systems with Eakins versus Krueger and how long it takes this group to figure things out.

    Season can’t start soon enough for me.

  15. spoiler says:

    This is the one movie I was hoping wouldn’t get used. God is it awful.

  16. Lowetide says:

    spoiler:
    This is the one movie I was hoping wouldn’t get used.God is it awful.

    The scene in photo is from Bullit.

  17. DeadmanWaking says:

    When you have 365 bottles of wine in your cellar, your wine is aging at a rate of one bottle-year/day. If you drink a bottle every other day, this works out to an average age at consumption of two years.

    When I first began my cellar “rebuild”, I had nowhere close to 365 bottles. After completing my first batch, I had thirty. There’s not much left a year later of the “Sam Gagner” starter edition.

    We’re drinking more like two bottles per week. By the time I had five batches of premium-level kits in the works, and some decent plonk maturing nicely on tap, the chase was beginning to level out. Getting four full carboys ahead of the game seemed take forever.

    I’ve only been making wine for 15 months, so I don’t yet have any in the optimal drinking window (for kit-wine BIG reds) of twenty five to twenty eight years old. No, wait, that’s my copper contraption–I’ve crossed my tubes: I meant fully-developed wines between two and three years old. (Kit wines never outlast their second contract.)

    Once you get five carboys full of Nebbiolo all maturing at the same time, one becomes surprised by the potency of parallel neglect. Not really neglect: for wine, dithering is plan A, if you’re man enough to close your eyes.

  18. Hammers says:

    Hope your correct on them making the playoffs but I think the difference maker will be goalkeeping not Hall . Hall and I think Yak will have very good to great seasons . When you look at both the schedule and the away games in the first 10 plus no RNH we could be in trouble early and that may test this team . Eakins and his staff better make the right decisions out of training camp .

  19. justDOit says:

    14 out of the first 18 games on the road? Yikes! But a young team facing adversity on the road can be a good thing, and they should have a ‘home-heavy’ schedule to complete the season. Can’t wait for puck drop!

  20. spoiler says:

    Lowetide: The scene in photo is from Bullit.

    That does help. Sorry, I’m on my phone, so pix and video are annoyances I just try to successfully scroll past, usually unsuccessfully.

    Someone shoulda put a Bullit in Pacific Heights before it got greenlit. I blame you, Keaton!

  21. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: I cheated a little, many of the Bullit scenes were filmed in Pacific Heights (including some of the nice Bisset exchanges.

    http://www.cinemasquid.com/blu-ray/movies/screenshots/sets/bullitt/76f90a75-aed5-4b3a-8909-f0859e54c597

  22. speeds says:

    mcoupefan:
    If I may refer back to the Jujhar Khaira issue, this article in the MSM seems to explain the situation:

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130816/BLOG12/130819886

    To quote: “Well, now it’s looking inevitable that Khaira will be suiting up for the Tips this season. Not only will he be attending training camp in Everett, his potential destinations have narrowed. It was originally thought Khaira, because he was an NCAA player, was eligible to play professionally in the minors at 19. However, he wasn’t actually drafted out of the NCAA, he was drafted following his season with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. According to Tips general manager Garry Davidson, the Canadian junior A leagues are subject to the same rules as major junior, meaning players drafted from the BCHL aren’t eligible for the minors until they’re 20. Therefore, the only places Khaira can play this season are Edmonton or Everett.”

    We now know that “the Canadian junior A leagues are subject to the same rules as major junior”

    Thanks for the link, that is interesting.

    Turris was also drafted from the BCHL, and he was sent to the AHL during his 19 year old season. He played a bunch in the NHL, and was sent to the AHL for 8 games on February 12th, recalled on March 2nd.

  23. Soup Fascist says:

    speeds,

    Is it possible that was deemed a conditioning stint? I think the fact he stayed with the big club until February 12 came into play. I don’t see any other way.

    If not a potetnial loophole would be to allow a 19 year old to play 10 games in the NHL, making him ineligible to return to junior, and then ship him down to the AHL the next day. I don’t think that can happen, otherwise teams would do that more often. I always thought once the 10th game was played it was NHL or nothing.

  24. godot10 says:

    speeds: Thanks for the link, that is interesting.

    Turris was also drafted from the BCHL, and he was sent to the AHL during his 19 year old season.He played a bunch in the NHL, and was sent to the AHL for 8 games on February 12th, recalled on March 2nd.

    He was probably sent to the AHL on a conditioning stint, which meant he was probably officially still on the NHL roster.

  25. speeds says:

    Soup Fascist,

    I have looked around a bit, haven’t seen anything suggesting it was a condition stint. There are rules surrounding conditioning stints, here’s the CBA section:

    13.8 Conditioning Loan. Unless a Player consents, he shall not be Loaned on a Conditioning
    Loan to a minor league club. Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen
    (14) consecutive days. The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to
    investigate the circumstances under which a Player is Loaned on a Conditioning Loan. If the
    Commissioner has reason to believe or determines that the Club has used the Conditioning Loan
    to evade Waivers, or otherwise Circumvent any provision of this Agreement, he may take such
    disciplinary action against the Club, as he deems appropriate. The Player shall continue, during
    the period of such Conditioning Loan, to receive the same Paragraph 1 NHL Salary, and be
    entitled to the same benefits, that he would have received had he continued to play with the Club.

    FWIW, Turris was in the AHL from Feb 12, 2009 to March 2, 2009.

    Here’s the Turris demotion on his TSN page:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=6054

    Just looks like an ordinary demotion.

    TSN does seem to make the distinction, here’s Peckham’s bio, note how they phrase his demotion in Feb of 2013:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=5776

  26. Soup Fascist says:

    speeds,

    Hmm. So unless the rules have changed, it would appear a similar path could be taken for Kharia – I am not sure if it matters after 10 games or 50 – as it was for Turris.

    Likely a non-issue as I think there is zero chance he makes the Oilers (JJ does not have near the pedigree Turris had) and the WHL would be an OK development path, but it is interesting that this could be a loophole to get 19 year old NCAA escapees indirectly to the AHL.

    Only other possibility but it seems remote. I assume a WHL team would have had Turris on their 50 man roster as Everett did with Kahria?

  27. speeds says:

    Soup Fascist,

    Yes, the rights to Turris were held by the Vancouver Giants, according to this article:

    http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/sports/story.html?id=ec6853fe-77a2-40df-8762-1bcbfcc773a9&p=2

  28. Soup Fascist says:

    speeds,

    To finish the thought, the rule is put in place to protect the CHL. If Turris was dropped off the 50 man protected list of a WHL team, potentially there was no conflict in sending him down.

    Say the Vancouver Giants had his WHL rights. In January they see he has played 40 NHL games and their roster is set, they may choose to drop him as it is unlikely he would be “sent down” and voila, no conflict. I am spitballing a bit here, but that is the only other thing I can think of.

    EDIT: OK Scratch that dumb idea. I posted before I read your 12:21 offering. Although I suppose they still could have dropped him prior to his demotion.

  29. Магия¹º says:

    Lowetide:
    spOILer: I cheated a little, many of the Bullit scenes were filmed in Pacific Heights (including some of the nice Bisset exchanges.

    http://www.cinemasquid.com/blu-ray/movies/screenshots/sets/bullitt/76f90a75-aed5-4b3a-8909-f0859e54c597

    If you weren’t so darn optimistic you could have used The Deep. Same gal. (Wrong Ocean but it’s Gary geography anyways so as long as it sells).

  30. Brackenburied says:

    Woodguy,

    Isn’ it preferrable that they work on their ‘shit’ against non-conference rivals?

  31. speeds says:

    Soup Fascist,

    That article was from around the time of the 2007 draft. I suppose the Giants could have relinquished their rights, I’m not sure why they would have but I suppose it’s possible.

  32. OilClog says:

    Should of been “Pacific Rim” this year is WAR!

  33. Woodguy says:

    Brackenburied:
    Woodguy,

    Isn’ it preferrable that they work on their ‘shit’ against non-conference rivals?

    Good point.

    Half the EC are easier spots than the WC teams, but you bring up a good point.

  34. oiltimer says:

    TOO MANY IF s

    1) If crash & bang Hall stays healthy … may not have gotten sensible yet
    2) If Hoppy gets healthy and confidant … whoo really knows at this point?
    3) If Yak doesn’t do the sophomore dance and come up dry
    4) if Shultz Jr. comes thru as we need … also a rookie and a soph
    5) If the 7-12 F s can be what we need and indeed buy into 6)
    6) If the 4 or 5 coach in same # of years can get them on track BEFORE Christmas
    7) If the mostly untried D jells ….

    then we may have a CONTENDER or a GEM

  35. cc says:

    Hall will never carry this team on his back. Its just not in him sorry to say.

  36. Lowetide says:

    cc:
    Hall will never carry this team on his back.Its just not in him sorry to say.

    Yeah. He’s never been a winner.

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