NHL Week in Review (Jan. 8-14)

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The Trade Deadline is on February 27th this year but the trades season has already been blown wide open after this week. It was not a sheer amount of trades that kicked off the trade season but instead was one big deal that could force General Managers to start looking. This deal was the big deal between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames that saw some prospects and draft picks exchange hands but also saw two stars involved. The finer aspects of the deal were Montreal giving the Flames a goaltending prospect Karri Ramo and a 5th round draft pick in 2012 while the Flames gave the Canadiens Right wing prospect Patrick Holland and a 2nd round pick in 2012. Those were the smaller parts of the deal though as the two main parts were with the exchange of Michael Cammalleri and Rene Bourque. Michael Cammalleri will be returning to Calgary where he played in 2008-09 and scored 39 goals and 82 points before going to Montreal. Cammalleri is considered a good skill player who has the ability to score goals and make plays but during his time in Montreal he was not able to get back to his production. He will go back to Calgary and look to find that production and provide some support for Jarome Iginla. His counterpart in this trade, Rene Bourque, is a gritty player who plays in all of the tough spots on the ice. A consistent 20 goal scorer Bourque has been able to provide some secondary scoring but has been a player that the Flames have plenty of as they do not need more grinders. Bourque will now go to a team in need of the gritty players who are willing to play in front of the net to put in the garbage goals that the Canadiens are missing. The trade has been completed as both teams could easily be winners based on the production these two players have in the rest of the season. Although the deal is done there is still something to look at in the trade even though the trade does seem like it could be even. This was how the trade was done and how it was handled. During the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins game on Thursday a strange thing was seen, or not seen, on the bench of the Canadiens. During the second intermission Michael Cammalleri had been sent to the hotel in Boston to await further instructions. It turned out that Cammalleri had been traded mid game and was taken off of the ice in the middle of the game. It was one of the strangest things that the NHL has seen as never has a player been taken out of the game and sent away as a result of a trade. This has happened before the game as players have been asked to leave the ice during a morning skate after a trade. It has also happened after the game as players have changed and been sent on their way to their new team. Never has it happened during a game though and it was one of the strangest ways to do it. Added to the strange timing was the fact that only a day earlier Cammalleri had said that the Canadiens were not preparing for games like winners and that was the reason they were losing. Looking at the deal it is a bit strange to take a player out of the game but there was a reason for the timing. After both teams had talked for months and only reached a deal this past week. Throughout the week the Flames were filing paperwork to become injury compliant as they needed to put a player on long-term injury to make room for Cammalleri. With the paperwork filed the trade conference call with the league was scheduled for the 2nd intermission of the Montreal Game making the trade official. Cammalleri could have continued playing but the Canadiens would have risked injury that would have been their responsibility and could have ended the trade. Although Cammalleri might not have been injured the Canadiens did not want to risk it just in case. It was still a strange way to go about things as the deal may have been able to be finished after and the Canadiens may have been able to keep playing Cammalleri without him getting injured. The Canadiens did not want to take a risk though and in their mind did the right thing no matter how strange it was, especially after Cammalleri had spoken out about the team.

With the Canadiens-Flames trade in the books the trade season has officially begun as teams may start to take action on potential trades. Although the Trade Deadline is not until late February the trade season has seemed to begin earlier and earlier in the year as teams look to get ahead of the game and get who they want. The Trade season is also in direct correlation with the beginning of the midway point of the season and the start of the playoff push. Teams with no hopes of making the playoffs begin to sell in order to get rid of big contracts and make room for free agent signings and draftee signings in the offseason. Teams with hopes of making the playoffs start to add some key pieces to their teams in order to make a second half run at the playoffs. With the Canadiens deal this season begins and it would not be surprising if the action picks up as teams begin to call each other and try to work out deals. The rumours of trades continue to fly and some begin to look more realistic as the teams begin to work. One of these realistic moves could be the Toronto Maple Leafs looking to get rid of a defenceman, possibly Luke Schenn, for a veteran power forward, like Marc Staal, as the Leafs look to win a battle for the playoffs and beyond. The Ottawa Senators are also looking to make a push and would like to add a scoring forward for more scoring ability. There are plenty more teams looking to add a few pieces as they make their run towards the playoffs. With one big trade already happening expect more teams to start looking and creating deals as the trade season seems to have officially begun.

 

Standings:

 

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division:

1. New York Rangers (60)

2. Philadelphia Flyers (56)

3. New Jersey Devils (52)

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (48)

5. New York Islanders (38)

Northeast Division:

1. Boston Bruins (57)

2. Ottawa Senators (56)

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (49)

4. Buffalo Sabres (43)

5. Montreal Canadiens (40)

Southeast Division:

1. Florida Panthers (50)

2. Washington Capitals (48)

3. Winnipeg Jets (45)

4. Carolina Hurricanes (39)

5. Tampa Bay Lightning (38)

 

Western Conference:

Central Division:

1. St. Louis Blues (58)

2. Chicago Blackhawks (58)

3. Detroit Red Wings (57)

4. Nashville Predators (54)

5. Columbus Blue Jackets (29)

Northwest Division:

1. Vancouver Canucks (59)

2. Minnesota Wild (51)

3. Colorado Avalanche (50)

4. Calgary Flames (47)

5. Edmonton Oilers (36)

Pacific Division:

1. San Jose Sharks (55)

2. Los Angeles Kings (52)

3. Dallas Stars (49)

4. Phoenix Coyotes (47)

5. Anaheim Ducks (35)

 

Key Scores:

Detroit Red Wings 3 – 2 Chicago Blackhawks (OT)

– Two Original Six teams faced off in a Central Division matchup that marked the beginning of the NBC Sports NHL broadcasting season as the Red Wings took the win in overtime after a comeback that saw Pavel Datsyuk play the hero in OT

 

Toronto Maple Leafs 2 – 0 Buffalo Sabres

– The battle of the QEW took place again as the Maple Leafs continued to show signs of being a good team taking the lead in the first period and looking to Jonas Gustavsson to save 32 shots for a shutout of the Sabres

 

Boston Bruins 2 – 1 Montreal Canadiens

– The Boston Montreal rivalry continued on as Boston got out to an early lead and Montreal’s comeback fell just short but the most interesting thing was the disappearance of Michael Cammalleri in the second intermission after being traded mid-game to the Calgary Flames

 

New York Rangers 3 – 0 Toronto Maple Leafs

– The two most valuable franchises in the NHL faced off again this year as the Rangers continued to roll in a dominant season this time by riding Martin Biron who saved all 30 shots by the Leafs

 

Next Week:

Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues (Monday January 16th; 7:30 pm)

– Two surprising teams will face off as the Dallas Stars look to get back into the battle for the Pacific Division while the St. Louis Blues try to continue their hot streak that has put them at the top of the Central Division

 

Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Tuesday January 17th; 7:00 pm)

– The Battle of Ontario continues as the Maple Leaf san Senators are finally playing for something with both teams in the playoff conversation as they continue to battle for the second place spot in the Northeast Division

 

Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils (Thursday January 19th; 7:00 pm)

– The Boston Bruins are slowing down but are still going well in the Northeast Division while the Devils are beginning to become part of the Atlantic title race and will try to continue their surge behind a win against the Bruins

 

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday January 21st; 7:00 pm)

– The Canadiens-Leafs rivalry is the oldest and most legendary in the NL and it will take focus on Hockey Night in Canada as Montreal looks to win their first game in this series this year after two losses to the Leafs earlier in the year

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