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Pacific Division Power Rankings
Mid-Season Awards Edition
1/12/16 - By Ryan Hall -

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen!

We find ourselves gathered here, at the halfway mark of the NHL season, to recognize the accomplishments of the teams from the Pacific Division. Through hard work, determination, and a high level of craftsmanship, every team here has done something notable; though not necessarily praiseworthy. So, without further ado, let's get right down to the awards.

#1 - San Jose Sharks - Final Fantasy XV Award

For those who aren't gamers, the basic plotline of Final Fantasy XV revolves around a group of friends (all guys), travelling around the world together. Though the fellows are obviously talented, they struggle with a lack of maturity and focus, and until they grow up they can't reach their potential. For the Sharks, the parallels are striking as they also are brimming with ability and promise, but far too often get sidetracked by lazy play or a loss of focus. To truly contend San Jose needs to 'level up' their attention to detail.


#2 - Edmonton Oilers - La La Land Award

La La Land follows the journey of two people trying to survive in a tough world, while also reaching their dreams. While the NHL features far less musical numbers, the Oilers are also trying to find their way through a league that chews up and spits out pretenders. So far Edmonton is hanging tough, and even if they aren't your cup of tea, it's hard not to hope for them to reach their post-season goal.


#3 - Anaheim Ducks - Donald Trump Award

Alright, so I'm not going to dive into the politics of this one, but rather the overwhelming question that many people in the US, and around the world, have: How did it happen? Despite a variety of stats and predictions, somehow President-Elect Trump defied them all. For the Ducks, the numbers are equally dubious, yet somehow they find themselves sitting tied for 2nd in the Pacific; despite a .500 road record and a 0 goal differential. I wonder if Putin is a Getzlaf or Perry fan…


#4 - Calgary Flames - David Blaine Award

Let's put aside the fact that Mr. Blaine nearly died this past weekend. Instead, focus on the fact that he did it to himself as his failed trick of catching a bullet in his mouth nearly cost him his life. That's going all out trying to impress people. In Calgary, the Flames have had to open up their game in an effort to cover for unexpected defensive liabilities. This effort to outscore opponents has been impressive when it works, but the downside is oddman rushes the other way leading to game deciding tallies against. Both parties need to learn to limit the self-inflicted wounds if they plan of sticking around.


#5 - Los Angeles Kings - Odell Beckham, Jr. Award

It's the timeless tale of a talented hero who goes partying before a big game, only to choke when his team needs him the most. While the Giants can't hang their loss entirely on Beckham, Jr., his actions were consistent with a player who comes up small in the clutch. In this he isn't alone though, as from top to bottom the LA Kings roster has put on a 40 game clinic on how not to rise to the occasion. For proof look at Anze Kopitar's 4 goals, or the combined -20 of 2nd pairing defensemen Jake Muzzin and Alex Martinek. If this continues, I hope the maintenance staff at Staples Center has lots of extra drywall on hand.


#6 - Vancouver Canucks - Auroch Award

In case you haven't heard, European scientists have been hard at work bringing back the extinct Auroch. This, for lack of a better term, super-cow dominated Europe for millennia before being wiped out in the 1600's. Now, it's back, and better than ever. Much like the mighty Auroch, the Canucks have sprung back onto the scene after a prolonged winning streak. While they might not be as terrifying as a 1500-3000lb beast with 30inch horns, Vancouver has shown enough grit that they can no longer be counted out of the current post-season discussion. However, only time will tell if they can remain in the picture, or if they'll fade away into history once more.


#7 Arizona Coyotes - Rogue One Award

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't read this. Go out and watch the movie right now, and then read this

Ahh… Rogue One, with your gritty story, great protagonist, and cast of interesting, yet ultimately forgettable supporting rebels (I mean, I feel like I should remember the blind monk's name, but I don't). Perhaps it's because in the end, everyone dies. Not a single survivor. Tragic, yet poignant.

Similarly, the Arizona Coyotes are also on a one way ride to complete and utter destruction. Everyone from Oliver Ekman-Larsson to Shane Doan to Martin Hanzal are being shopped around, begging the question: will anyone on this roster survive until the end? I'm sure there are other players on the trade block, but well, I just can't seem to recall the names of anyone else on their roster. That in itself might be the most damning indictment of them all.


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