In the last 15 years, the Chicago Blackhawks are the only current Western Conference team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals that is not currently in the Pacific Division. The Detroit Red Wings represented the Western Conference in 2002, 2008, and 2009, but currently play in the Eastern Conference. Since then, the only current Pacific Division team not to reach the finals is the Arizona Coyotes. The finalists include the Ducks in 2003 and 2007, the Flames in 2004, the Oilers in 2006, the Canucks in 2011, the Kings in 2012 and 2014, and the Sharks this past season.
What are the Pacific teams doing as they look to continue their dominance over the Central Division? Here are some west coast links to let you know.
- Daniel MacDonald over at Today’s Slapshot has written about trade rumors involving Canucks defenseman Alex Edler. The crux of the situation is that Edler is now on the wrong side of 30, and not necessarily a fit for the Canucks as they re-tool. Edler has been a source of some controversy among Canucks fans, writes MacDonald. It’s still hard to deny that he was one of the best on a very strong defense when they came within a game of the Stanley Cup in 2011. MacDonald notes that Edler’s no-trade clause will make him harder to move. He’s played with a lot of his teammates for years, and he’s lived in Vancouver for a long time. Still, it may be worth considering if it helps them get younger. If the Canucks start slowly, expect the talk to get louder.
- Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy spoke to Anze Kopitar recently. The interview covered both Kopitar’s participation in Olympic qualifiers for his native Slovenia, as well as his assumption of the Kings captaincy. Kopitar says that the Kings were supportive of his decision to play for his country. This despite the fact that, as a member of Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey, he’ll have another slate of international games before he starts his season in Los Angeles. On the subject of the captaincy, Kopitar insisted that things will be no different between him and former captain Dustin Brown. Kopitar made sure to note that “he was the captain that took us to two Stanley Cups.”
- Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic interviewed former Coyotes GM Don Maloney, and the insight was fascinating. Maloney says he wasn’t surprised by his firing, telling McLellan “I didn’t see any way, shape, or form that this was going to end well for me at the end of the season.” He also offered praise for his successor, new Coyotes GM John Chayka, and the selection of Clayton Keller in this year’s draft in particular. Maloney was recently hired as a scout for the Calgary Flames.