NHL Week in Review (April 15-21)

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The NHL playoffs took a turn last weekend as the usual intense skilled playoff hockey turned into an all out brawl. The playoffs are usually a very intense period in the calendar as every game becomes important. One loss in a bad way could mean the end of any momentum you had built up during the regular season. This makes every player a little more wound up than usual and that forces them to do things they may not do usually. The playoffs always see these incidents with some bad hits and some questionable plays but never in the history of the NHL have they seen so much happened in round one. It all started when Shea Weber drove Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the boards. For this Weber got a $2,500 fine which was not enough for the Wings. To start Game 2 of the series Todd Bertuzzi drop the gloves with Weber in a classic display of frontier/hockey justice. From that point on the playoffs seemed to become a free for all. Teams began taking liberties on the ice and players fell one by one after a number of terrible hits that knocked players out of the game. The Rangers and Senators continued the pattern when Brian Boyle began roughing up Senators superstar Erik Karlsson and was given some payback when Matt Carkner began punching him without being in a fight. Then Carl Hagelin hit Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head with a forearm giving him a concussion and knocking him out indefinitely. Then the Blue and Sharks got into the mix when Brent Burns hit Scott Nichol in the head with a blatant elbow. The game devolved from there as the two teams ended the game with sticks and gloves all over the ice and everyone having a fight partner. Then there is the Penguins and Flyers series that has been an all out brawl form game one with so many different parts. There have been all out bench clearing brawls in the series along with the superstars of each team getting fighting majors. It has been a war for both teams and has seen multiple fights and rough play. The final straw, so far, was in the Chicago and Phoenix series when Raffi Torres unloaded a big hit on Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa. Suspensions were handed out for many of the transgressions but Torres had the book thrown at him earning a 25 game suspension that may go into the 2012-13 regular season. With all of this the world outside of the NHL has been chiming in. For some it is yet another example of the sport being too violent for the masses. It is another notch in the belt of the people trying to take fighting and hitting out of the NHL. For others it has made the sport more interesting as the playoffs have seen higher ratings than ever before. More people are watching this year’s playoffs and most of it coming after the last weekend. This leaves a big debate for the NHL head offices as they must look at this type of play and decide to stay the course or change. Staying the course would be moving away from the tougher physical game by limiting hitting and getting rid of fighting in the game to highlight the skill. Changing would be to stop their current path and ending the discussion on fighting while keeping hitting where it is. Staying the course is likely the answer for the NHL but the fact is that more people are watching with this style of play and whether or not it has gone too far is still up for debate.

Another pattern has arisen so far in the first round as an unusual sight has been seen in the playoffs that is a rarity. Every year the team that wins the Cup seems to have one key aspect to their team. This is a solid goalie in net that steals games and wins series with his ability. Instead of depending on his team to bail him out this goalie does it all and give his team an opportunity to win. This year there has been no goalie on any team that has stolen a game for his team which is almost unseen in the playoffs. One just needs to look at last year’s Stanley Cup Finals teams to see this. Tim Thomas has not been his usual solid self while Roberto Luongo has been benched for backup Cory Schneider. Meanwhile the rest of the goalies have been the same with no goalie being lights out. The goalies have not been terrible though as many have had good postseasons but none have been the goalie that someone would need to win games. There is some promise for the upcoming rounds though as goalies have recently started to play much better. Pekka Rinne has shown some promise helping the Predators win their series while Braden Holtby, the biggest question going into the playoffs, has started to show signs of promise. Still there has been no goalie who has stolen a game with his performance but as the teams begin to move on the goalies become that much more important as the best goalie performance may be the top pick for the Stanley Cup this year.

 

NHL Playoffs

 

Eastern Conference:

New York Rangers 2 – 3 Ottawa Senators

Game 1: NYR 4 – 2 OTT

Game 2: OTT 3 – 2 NYR (OT)

Game 3: NYR 1 – 0 OTT

Game 4: OTT 3 – 2 NYR

Game 5: OTT 2 – 0 NYR

Game 6: NYR @ OTT (April 23rd; 7:00 pm)

Game 7: OTT @ NYR (April 26th; TBD)

 

Boston Bruins 2 – 3 Washington Capitals

Game 1: BOS 1 – 0 (OT)

Game 2: WAS 2 – 1 BOS (2OT)

Game 3: BOS 4 – 3 WAS

Game 4: WAS 2 – 1 BOS

Game 5: WAS 4 – 3 BOS

Game 6: BOS @ WAS (April 22nd; 3:00 pm)

Game 7: WAS @ BOS (April 25th; TBD)

 

Florida Panthers 3 – 2 New Jersey Devils

Game 1: NJD 3 – 2 FLA

Game 2: FLA 4 – 2 NJD

Game 3: FLA 4 – 3 NJD

Game 4: NJD 4 – 0 FLA

Game 5: FLA 3 – 0 NJD

Game 6: FLA @ NJD (April 24th; TBD)

Game 7: NJD @ FLA (April 26th; TBD)

 

Pittsburgh Penguins 2 – 3 Philadelphia Flyers

Game 1: PHI 4 – 3 PIT (OT)

Game 2: PHI 8 – 5 PIT

Game 3: PHI 8 – 4 PIT

Game 4: PIT 10 – 3 PHI

Game 5: PIT 3 – 2 PHI

Game 6: PIT @ PHI (April 22nd; 12:00 pm)

Game 7: PHI @ PIT (April 24th; TBD)

 

Western Conference:

Vancouver Canucks 1 – 3 Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: LAK 4 – 2 VAN

Game 2: LAK 4 – 2 VAN

Game 3: LAK 1 – 0 VAN

Game 4: VAN 3 – 1 LAK

Game 5: LAK @ VAN (April 22nd; 8:00 pm)

Game 6: VAN @ LAK (April 24th; TBD)

Game 7: LAK @ VAN (April 26th; TBD)

 

St. Louis Blues 4 – 1 San Jose Sharks

Game 1: SJS 3 – 2 STL (2OT)

Game 2: STL 2 – 0 SJS

Game 3: STL 4 – 3 SJS

Game 4: STL 2 – 1 SJS

Game 5: STL 3 – 1 SJS

 

Phoenix Coyotes 3 – 1 Chicago Blackhawks

Game 1: PHX 3 – 2 CHI (OT)

Game 2: CHI 4 – 3 PHX (OT)

Game 3: PHX 3 – 2 CHI (OT)

Game 4: PHX 3 – 2 CHI (OT)

Game 5: CHI 2 – 1 PHX (OT)

Game 6: PHX @ CHI (April 23rd; 9:00 pm)

Game 7: CHI @ PHX (April 25th; TBD)

 

Nashville Predators 4 – 1 Detroit Red Wings

Game 1: NSH 3 – 2 DET

Game 2: DET 3 – 2 NSH

Game 3: NSH 3 – 2 DET

Game 4: NSH 3 – 1 DET

Game 5: NSH 2 – 1 DET

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  1. […] in round one. It all started when Shea Weber drove … … Go here to read the rest: NHL Week in Review (April 15-21) « The Sport Addiction ← Capitals @ Bruins 04/21/12 Senators @ Rangers 04/21/12 […]



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