NHL Week in Review (Opening Day)

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Hockey is officially back with the lockout over and the 2013 season beginning on Saturday as players got back to hockey. It was a long time for this day to happen as the NHL and NHLPA were locked in a CBA dispute that seemed destined to end a season. The season would be saved at the last-minute though as the two sides reached a deal and would begin the season with only 48 games to play until the playoffs. The teams were ready to kick the season off but first came the one week training camp where teams would get together to train as a team for the first time in a long time. This week would also give the General Managers a chance to rework their teams with trades and signings throughout the week. It wouldn’t be the most active time though as teams just looked to fill spot and get rid of dead weight on the team. The latter would lead to one of the stranger situations in the abbreviated offseason as the Montreal Canadiens would send Scott Gomez home. Gomez would report to training camp for the Canadiens and before he could step on the ice the team would tell him to go home as he would not be a part of the team this year. He would still be under contract though and with no real offseason Montreal would not be able to completely get rid of him. Instead they would decide to make him sit at home while they pay him then they would buy out his contract at the end of the season. It wasn’t too surprising that the Canadiens did not want to have Gomez back as he would only play 38 games for the team and would only get 11 points all season. After bringing him in to boost the offence he had not pleased the management but to sit him at home and get nothing while paying him $7.5 million was not the best plan. Still the Canadiens would rather give someone else a shot than have Gomez in the lineup and so they would have a situation where they would pay for a player and get nothing out of it. That led to the first change in the new CBA as an amendment would be made only a few days after being signed. The NHL would allow teams to use one of their two buyouts before the season started. This clause was to come into effect next summer but the NHL and NHLPA would talk about it and decide that it would be good for both parties to allow it this week. It would allow the Canadiens and the New York Rangers, who would be trying to decide on what to do with Wade Redden, to buyout their players and put them on waivers. It would end the drama in Montreal as Gomez would be put on waivers ready to be picked up by someone else. It would free up the Canadiens to make their roster the way they wanted to without worrying about paying Gomez for sitting at home and instead would pay his contract to free a roster spot. Gomez has yet to be picked up although the rumours have started that he is talking to the San Jose Sharks. It wouldn’t take long for the CBA to get its first tweak and all fans should know it won’t take long for the next one. The change would also reflect the situation that all teams and the NHL are in as the shortened season as changes will have to be made on the fly both for personnel and rule changes. It is a sprint this year and that is the same for everyone in the NHL but the one positive is that it will make for some exciting hockey so sit back and enjoy the craziness that will be the 2013 NHL season.

 

Overtime:

The Trade Downfall:
Much of the talk in Vancouver and Toronto has been about the eventual trade for Roberto Luongo but after one game the trade talk may be on its way out as the Canucks did not get a great performance from Cory Schneider and Ben Scrivens played well for Toronto

Demand for PK Heats up:
The Canadiens would open their season at home against their longtime rivals in the Toronto Maple Leafs and they would lose which in Montreal means time for panic as the demand for PK Subban to get a new contract has just been turned up

Early ROY Candidate:
It is early to talk about awards but with 48 games a good start will be key to every award in the NHL and so far Jonathan Huberdeau is in the front as he would open his NHL career with a goal and two assists for the Florida Panthers

The Hangover Starts:
The Los Angeles Kings would raise their banner for the first time in the team’s history but their performance on the ice did not look like a championship team especially Jonathan Quick who struggled in his first game of the year

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
2. New Jersey Devils (2)
3. New York Islanders (0)
4. Philadelphia Flyers (0)
5. New York Rangers (0)
Northeast Division:
1. Ottawa Senators (2)
2. Boston Bruins (2)
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (2)
4. Montreal Canadiens (0)
5. Buffalo Sabres (0)
Southeast Division:
1. Florida Panthers (2)
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (2)
3. Winnipeg Jets (0)
4. Washington Capitals (0)
5. Carolina Hurricanes (0)

 

Western Conference
Central Division:
1. St. Louis Blues (2)
2. Chicago Blackhawks (2)
3. Columbus Blue Jackets (2)
4. Nashville Predators (1)
5. Detroit Red Wings (0)
Northwest Division:
1. Minnesota Wild (2)
2. Colorado Avalanche (0)
3. Vancouver Canucks (0)
4. Calgary Flames
5. Edmonton Oilers
Pacific Division:
1. Anaheim Ducks (2)
2. Dallas Stars (2)
3. Phoenix Coyotes (0)
4. Los Angeles Kings (0)
5. San Jose Sharks

 

Scores:
Pittsburgh Penguins 3 – 1 Philadelphia Flyers
– The Penguins would take on their in state rivals to open the season and they would be looking for revenge from their playoff loss last year and although Sidney Crosby would not get on the board it will be forgiven after the win

Chicago Blackhawks 5 – 2 Los Angeles Kings
– The Blackhawks would have the tough job of trying to ruin the night that the Kings would raise their first championship banner to the rafters and they did just that as they would take advantage of a rusty Jonathan Quick for 5 goals

Dallas Stars 4 – 3 Phoenix Coyotes
– Two struggling teams were looking to get their fans excited and one player would do that for the Dallas Stars fans as new acquisition Jaromir Jagr would score two goals and earn two assists in his first game as a Dallas Star

Anaheim Ducks 7 – 1 Vancouver Canucks
– The Vancouver Canucks are widely considered Canada’s best hope to win a Stanley Cup and that has a lot to do with their defensive capabilities which were not present in their opening game as they allowed 7 goals against the Ducks to open their season

 

Next Week:
Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Monday January 21st; 7:00 pm EST)
– The Maple Leafs began their season with a positive as they would beat their rivals in the Montreal Canadiens and now they will open their home season against another rival in the Buffalo where they hope that the young stars can lead to another win

Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers (Wednesday January 23rd; 7:30 pm EST)
– Two legendary teams face off for the second time this year as the Bruins look to continue to win while the Rangers try to recover from their opening day loss despite the amazing performance by Henrik Lundqvist

Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers (Thursday January 24th; 9:30 pm EST)
– The Kings are the defending champions and the hangover has started as the Oilers look to take advantage of that to earn a win in a season where they hope to meet the heavy expectations laid on them in the preseason

Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames (Saturday January 26th; 10:00 pm EST)
– The Oilers will be back in action against the Calgary Flames in the second battle of Alberta of the year with both teams looking to gain the win in a key divisional matchup and more so for bragging rights in the province

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