NHL Week in Review (May 13-19)

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The battle for the cup is now down to four teams and these four teams can easily be divided into two separate groups. The teams that the NHL would love to see in the finals and the teams that they would rather not see. The NHL is constantly looking to make money in the USA where it has struggled in many markets. They are rarely concerned about Canadian markets as the NHL in Canada is an automatic winner in almost every place they decide to go. In the USA it is much different as the sport is not nearly as engrained in the hearts of many of the sports fans in the USA. There are areas where the NHL works and works well like Colorado, Detroit, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and a few more. Then there are the places where the sport suffers like in Phoenix, Florida or at least in Sunrise, Dallas, and many more. Lastly there are the teams who can gain some focus but only if they win as they are in such a crowded market that they need to make noise to be heard. Two of these teams are in the playoffs right now and both look to be close to entering the Stanley Cup Finals. These two teams are the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings who represent the two largest markets in the USA. They are the two biggest cities in the USA and hold the largest amount of media in America. As a result of this these cities hold an extremely crowded sports market with both cities holding multiple teams in many sports. This can create a challenge for these teams as they can be lost among the shuffle of action going on around them. For the New York Rangers the tradition has made life a bit easier for them as New Yorkers are hockey fans who have watched hockey since the Original Six. The Kings have found things different as hockey has not been a tradition in the city and despite a strong era when Wayne Gretzky moved to the city they are still not a mainstay for LA sports fans. Both of these teams do have one thing in common though as they both need to win for people to take notice of them in a very crowded market. For the NHL these teams winning means a lot for the league as a whole. LA and New York represent the two largest pockets of money for the NHL and the more they win the more chance they have on capitalizing on the cash cow cities. With so many potential fans the NHL would like to see both teams continue to move on and continue to build the brand of the NHL. With two heavyweight cities looking to make the finals the NHL is secretly hoping that they can do just that. It is not that they really don’t want the New Jersey Devils or Phoenix Coyotes to win but both are not nearly as valuable as LA or New York. The potential for either to win means some major things for the NHL as more fans will begin to follow both teams. More than just that though the revenue that the NHL and the teams can bring in from selling merchandise after a win, including Stanley Cup Hats and T-Shirts, will make it worth it. To have the two largest markets for the NHL in the finals will be a great boost for the league. As a result of this the NHL may secretly be hoping for both teams to move on and create a classic rivalry between these two cities in the Stanley Cup Finals.

As Los Angeles looks to be on the cusp of yet another series win the New York Rangers are again struggling to gain any major advantage.  The rangers continue to fight for every game with an old school approach to the game. This old school blocking shots and the defence first approach comes directly from their coach John Tortorella. Tortorella has been making news all season for a number of different reasons. Throughout the regular season Tortorella was applauded for bringing the old school type of play back to New York and for guiding them to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. He was considered a great coach at the end of the season for engineering the comeback of an original six team but lately those cheers have turned to jeers. Throughout the playoffs Tortorella has shown a different side that is now coming to light with the focus of the playoffs. Tortorella has been shown shouting at his players on the bench on a regular basis. Granted he has done this all season but as the playoffs see only two series moving the focus on Tortorella and his shouting matches has increased. Along with this Tortorella has also been very short with the media as his press conferences have only lasted a little over 1 minute. Tortorella was entertaining to watch at the beginning of the playoffs but he seems to be rubbing people the wrong way. Tortorella has done a great job with the team but his leash may be shortened, especially if he cannot win the Cup, as he is beginning to make many media members angry in the media centre of the world.

 

Eastern Conference Finals:

New York Rangers 2 – 1 New Jersey Devils

Game 1: NYR 3 – 0 NJD

Game 2: NJD 3 – 2 NYR

Game 3: NYR 3 – 0 NJD

Game 4: NYR @ NJD (May 21st; 8:00 pm)

Game 5: NJD @ NYR (May 23rd; 8:00 pm)

Game 6: NYR @ NJD (May 25th; 8:00 pm)

Game 7: NJD @ NYR (May 27th; 8:00 pm)

 

Western Conference Finals:

Phoenix Coyotes 0 – 3 Los Angeles Kings

Game 1: LAK 4 – 2 PHX

Game 2: LAK 4 – 0 PHX

Game 3: LAK 2 – 1 PHX

Game 4: PHX @ LAK (May 20th; 3:00 pm)

Game 5: LAK @ PHX (May 22nd; 9:00 pm)

Game 6: PHX @ LAK (May 24th; 9:00 pm)

Game 7: LAK @ PHX (May 26th; 8:00 pm)

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