NHL Week in Review (March 31-April 6)

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The NHL season is coming to a close and the playoff race is starting to heat up and the NHL Trade Deadline was the official mark of this point. As with every year the trade deadline is the mark of the playoff race as it is the last chance for teams to improve. It is the point where teams determine whether they will make a run at the playoffs or plan for next year. This year was somewhat different from most years though as more teams than ever were thinking of improvement rather than selling. The playoff race is one of the best thanks to the short season meaning that deals may have been harder to come by this year. Another aspect that changed this year’s trade deadline as a new trend has changed the face of the deadline day. Instead of waiting until the very last-minute to create a trade more teams and GMs are coming to agreements in the week of the Trade Deadline. Before the trade deadline this year there were a few big names on the radar of many people and they included Jarome Iginla, Ryan Clowe, and Jaromir Jagr. All three of these players would be traded before the deadline day as Iginla would go to Pittsburgh, Clowe would be traded to the Rangers, and Jagr would move to Boston. Deals like the one for Jarome Iginla on March 30th are becoming more common than ever in the NHL. GMs are not willing to wait for the pressure of deadline day to make a deal for fear that they may make the wrong deal for their team. Instead they begin talks early and try to come to a deal before the pressure forces their hand. With the new attitude of GMs many of the best players had been dealt before the deadline day leaving many to wonder how busy the day would be. Recent years have seen the deadline day start off very slow with a few more deals coming through at the very end of the day. The trend would continue as the deadline day would seem to be fairly uneventful throughout the day. Small deals would trickle in leaving many in the broadcasting world to fill time on a full day of trade deadline coverage. As the 3:00 pm ET deadline approached there was not a lot going on as it seemed that this year could go down as the least eventful deadline in a long time. Then 2:00 pm ET hit and the deals began rolling in leaving many scrambling to cover all of the trades that had just been made official. Small names and big names would transfer teams with draft pick and prospects involved in what turned out to be a very eventful last hour of the 2013 trade deadline. The Winners of the trade deadline might have been a team that used to be stuck at the bottom. The Columbus Blue Jackets would pull off one of the most significant trades of the day when they would get Marion Gaborik for three players and a draft pick. It would be the biggest name traded on the day with a number of trades throughout the last hour. The biggest story of the deadline day was more about the trades that didn’t happen though, as two big name goalies would stay put. In Vancouver it was Roberto Luongo and in Calgary it was Mikka Kiprusoff as both would be on the trading block. Roberto Luongo’s deal, one that goes through the 2021-22 season and has a $5 million cap hit every year, proved to be too much for anyone interested leaving him stuck in Vancouver. Meanwhile Mikka Kiprusoff would make a deal much more difficult for the Flames as he was apparently ready to not report to any team that he was traded to. Nearing the end of his career Kiprusoff is also expected to retire after this season leaving a trade to any team very unlikely. Both goalies would stay in place through the trade deadline and would be a major story of the trade deadline taking headlines away from the actual trades. The trade deadline came and went with plenty of deals and non-deals to talk about and debate. With the end of the trade deadline comes the beginning of the of the playoff race as teams prepare for the home stretch.

 

Overtime:
(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

Bitter Sweet for the Pens
Last week the Penguins would trade for a number of players that would put them in good standing for the playoffs but on the night their newest addition, Jarome Iginla, would make his debut Sidney Crosby would break his jaw risking the rest of his season in a terrible twist

Quinn Finally Finds his place
Pat Quinn has been out of the NHL for the past few years but has never announced his retirement from coaching but his new appointment as Chairman for the Hockey Hall of Fame may finish any hopes of returning behind the bench

The Race is Heating Up
The Playoff race may go down as one of the best in recent history as the both conferences are locked in tight battles with no team clinching a spot in the playoffs and a number of teams are starting to get hot and making a last-minute push

Winter Classic Redo
There is no announcement as of yet but the NHL is expected to make one thing up to the fans for the lockout as they are expected to announce that the 2014 Winter Classic will be the game originally planned for this season as Toronto and Detroit will face off in the Big House

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Division Leaders:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (58)
2. Montreal Canadiens (55)
3. Washington Capitals (40)
In the Playoffs:
4. Boston Bruins (52)
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (46)
6. Ottawa Senators (44)
7. New York Rangers (42)
8. New York Islanders (42)
In the Hunt:
9. Winnipeg Jets (40)
10. New Jersey Devils (39)
11. Philadelphia Flyers (37)
12. Buffalo Sabres (36)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (34)
14. Tampa Bay Lightning (34)
15. Florida Panthers (30)

 

Western Conference
Division Leaders:
1. Chicago Blackhawks (60)
2. Anaheim Ducks (55)
3. Vancouver Canucks (48)
In the Playoffs:
4. Los Angeles Kings (47)
5. San Jose Sharks (46)
6. Minnesota Wild (44)
7. Detroit Red Wings (43)
8. St. Louis Blues (42)
In the Hunt:
9. Edmonton Oilers (39)
10. Columbus Blue Jackets (39)
11. Phoenix Coyotes (38)
12. Nashville Predators (38)
13. Dallas Stars (37)
14. Calgary Flames (30)
15. Colorado Avalanche (29)

 

Scores:
Chicago Blackhawks 7 – 1 Detroit Red Wings
– The Chicago Blackahwks may not be on that streak that they were on at the beginning of the season but it hasn’t slowed them down as they ran through the Red Wings to continue their dominance of the NHL this year

New York Islanders 5 – 2 Winnipeg Jets
– The Jets are beginning to lose steam in the playoff race as they were forced on the outside while the Islanders were on the opposite swing as they played themselves into the playoffs with this win

Philadelphia Flyers 5 – 3 Montreal Canadians
– The Flyers might be the hottest team heading into the playoffs and they continued their great play against the Montreal Canadiens who are fighting it out with the Boston Bruins for the top spot in the Northeast

Montreal Canadiens 2 – 1 Boston Bruins
– The battle is heating up as the Canadiens and Bruins continue to fight it out for the Northeast Division title giving even more to this great rivalry as the Canadiens took the win and pulled ahead in the division battle

 

Next Week:
St. Louis Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings (Sunday April 7th; 12:30 pm ET)
– The Blues and Wings are sitting right on the edge of the playoffs and will likely not know their fate until the very end of the season so every point becomes that much more important as both will be looking to take 2 points to help their playoff run

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders (Tuesday April 9th; 7:00 pm ET)
– Two of the hottest teams in the NHL right now will face off as both the Isles and Flyers seemed like they would never make the playoffs and now both are looking to hang on to a playoff spot with a win

Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Friday April 12th; 8:30 pm ET)
– The last time these two-faced off the Blackhawks ran over the Wings in an easy win but that can’t happen again if the Red Wings want to hold on to that playoff spot in the very tight Western Conference race

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday April 13th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Canadiens and Maple Leafs are enjoying a resurgence as both teams seem to be on their way to the playoffs but they can’t take any chances as they need as many points as possible if they want to clinch a spot giving this rivalry that much more importance

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