Feb 7, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Phoenix Coyotes left wing Raffi Torres (37) waits for play to resume against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Coyotes defeated the Stars 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Pacific Division Hot Stove: Who Are The Toughest Matchups?

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Hi everyone, welcome to our first email chat from the Pacific Division FanSided editors.  Today’s topic: Who is the most terrifying divisional opponent that you think offers up the worst match up for your squad?

Mike (San Jose Sharks, Blades of Teal@bluelineboomer): People might think I’d say the Kings or Coyotes, but I’m really terrified of the Stars.  The older bodies in San Jose should have a tough time with physical play in general.  I can’t STAND Brenden Morrow but think he has the potential to beat up our best players in the corners.  Him alone would scare me enough but whole roster Nieuwendyk has put together is a tough one and the offseason additions of Rome and Roy…egad.  If Jagr brings back his glorious hairdo from the 1990s we could be in for a long set against Dallas.

Dec 21, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Brenden Morrow (10) checks Philadelphia Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk (21) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Flyers defeated the Stars 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Troy (Phoenix Coyotes, Howlin’ HockeyTroy’s feed): First I will state the obvious then maybe not so obvious. Kings for sure. Gritty team that emulates our Coyotes pack mentality. Tough on the blue line and a lot of offensive fire power to keep you on your heels. When you do get it going and are able to maintain the puck….you still have Quick in net who can beat you by himself.

June 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) is presented with the Conn Smythe trophy by commissioner Gary Bettman (left) after defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in game six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at the Staples Center. The Kings won the series four games to two. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Not so obvious is Anaheim. Hiller also has that Mike Smith/Jonathan Quick ability to take over a game. The Ducks are so talented they can win 10 in a row. Same team can lose 5 in a row. Just look at the top 10 names on their stat sheet. Looks like an All-Star bench or an Olympic team.

Jake (LA Kings, Rink RoyaltyJake’s feed):  I expect the Kings to be the class of the Pacific Division this year. In terms of worst matchup though, LA tends to struggle with Phoenix, and I expect that to continue this year. Dave Tippett always has his team prepared to play, no matter the disparity in talent that they face. Resigning Shane Doan was huge for them because they kept the face of the franchise as well as one of the best overall hockey players in the league.

Losing Ray Whitney might end up being a huge blow for a team that is always goal-starved, but getting Zbynek Michalek back from Pittsburgh and steady play from Mike Smith make Phoenix a really good defensive squad.  Having clarity in the ownership situation, something that has not been the case in the last few years, should provide an added boost to the Coyotes as well.

May 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Phoenix Coyotes right wing Shane Doan (19) celebrates with right wing Radim Vrbata (17) and center Martin Hanzai (11) after scoring a goal during the first period of game four in the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs as Los Angeles Kings players Jarret Stoll (28), Trevor Lewis (22) and Rob Scuderi (7) watch at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Matt (LA Kings, Rink Royalty, Matt’s feed): The Coyotes always seem to give the Kings fits and Mike Smith had our number until the playoffs last year.  Also Phoenix will have a little extra motivation after being dismantled by the Kings in the playoffs (although to be fair, LA plowed through everyone).

As far as offseason upgrades, its clear the Stars made the most moves to improve their roster.  Although the additions look good on paper, you never know how the chemistry is going to come together especially with the lockout and players being situated all over the globe.  I bet it will take time for their acquisitions to mesh into a well-oiled unit.

Mar 20, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Michael Ryder (73) and defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) and left wing Loui Eriksson (21) celebrate Ryders first goal during the second period against the Phoenix Coyotes at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If Quick can maintain his level of excellence then I think the Kings are in great position to go deep into the playoffs once again.  Sorry if this sounds cocky, but we are the champs until proven otherwise.

Missy (Dallas Stars, Blackout Dallas@blackoutdallas): I am really scared of the Kings with them winning the Stanley Cup last season. The Anaheim Ducks will be a big force and they are also going to want to win for Teemu Selanne. The Phoenix Coyotes after losing to the Kings in the last around to make the Stanley up round will also be looking to try and make the playoffs again.

February 8, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne (8) controls the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Me being the editor of the Dallas Stars site, I see the Dallas Stars making the playoffs. It all depends on if they can have a great start to the season and not collapse at the end like they normally do. Also a healthy Brenden Morrow can also boost the club. With the additions of Cody Eakins and Derek Roy, the stars will have fire power. It will be interesting to see the club without Steve Ott in the lineup.

Mike: You guys are all real pieces of work for saying the Sharks will fair so poorly.  Not one of you thinks they’ll be tough to tangle with?  This is bulletin board stuff, I hope Coach McLellan is paying attention.

Missy: I also forgot to add the San Jose Sharks as they are going to be a big force with Logan Couture. The Sharks will also be looking to fight a playoff spot too.

Dec 1, 2011; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Ryane Clowe (29) celebrates with center Logan Couture (39) and right wing Martin Havlat (9) after Clowe scored a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at HP Pavilion. San Jose won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Mike:  THANK you.  For the love of Nolan I thought we weren’t going to get any praise over here.

Missy: hahaha I knew I forgot one team. Sorry about that, Mike.

Troy:  I almost forgot about the Sharks. We plan on making tuna fish sammiches!  That should give you some bulletin board. Coyotes are a hard working bunch. Now they tasted past the first round look for them to add onto that. The commitment from Doan and Jamison will resonate through the organization and there should be quite a buzz every time Brown, Morrow, or Thorton get squooshed into the boards.  Getzslapped too.

Gloves off boys. It’s Hockey season. I’m wicked excited and not even from Boston.

Kris Hill (Anaheim Ducks, Ducks Daily Blog, @thekrishill): As far as the Ducks are concerned, I say our toughest match-ups would be in this order: Stars, Kings, Sharks, Coyotes

The Stars will be toughest due to Morrow, the additions of Roy and Eakins and I see Jagr to be back to his old ways.  Our neighbors in LA are the defending champs and need to be given their due. There will be a bit of a hangover, but Brown and Co. will still be strong.  The Sharks will be tough but we can trap them.  As far as the flea bitten desert mutts, Mike Smith will slump and with Whitney gone, so goes the scoring.

Respectfully, Kristopher A. Hill

Troy: Coyotes on last? This obviously came from a Duck fan who stops following hockey at the All-Star break when their team is eliminated.  :)

Kris: Two words for my hatred: Raffi Torres

Mike: Everyone hate Raffi Torres. Raffi Torres hates Raffi Torres.

Missy: Hmm well I could see this division being very close like it was the past few years.

Indeed, Missy.  Indeed.

~BB

Be sure to follow all of your BoT staff on twitter!!!  

 

@KingShark49 @bluelineboomer @81Bayer

 

Blades of Teal: Tape to tape “WITH THE PASS” of expert analysis on San Jose SharksWorcester Sharks, and San Francisco Bulls hockey

 

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Tags: 2013 Season Anaheim Ducks Dallas Stars Los Angeles Kings Phoenix Coyotes San Jose Sharks

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