NHL Week in Review (May 19-25)

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The playoffs are beginning to enter their second half as one team has already found its way to the conference semi-finals. As the Stanley Cup approaches the end of the NHL season is coming fast and so teams begin to get themselves in order. For the 6 teams left in the playoffs the only concern is to continue winning on their way to a hopeful Stanley Cup. For the 24 other teams who sit outside the playoffs the focus become next season. Players begin to train for the upcoming training camps and organizations look at all of their options on how to make a winning team. Management of teams start looking at the draft eligible players and then the free agent pool to find those missing pieces to their team. Some teams are trying to find those missing pieces in more places than just on the ice. Coaches need hiring and front office staff need finding as some teams are starting over. After the end of some teams seasons they would clean house and set about finding a new structure to run their team. One of these teams was the Colorado Avalanche who would completely restructure their front office in an attempt to get out of the bottom of the league. The Avalanche have been a team in the rebuilding phase since 2009 when they would hire Joe Sacco and Greg Sherman as their new head coach and general manager. Since that time they have only made the playoffs once since then and have been at the bottom of the league multiple times. They would realize they needed a change and when the season finished they would do just that firing Joe Sacco as head coach. Soon they would announce a restructuring of the front office and would bring an old face back into the fold. Longtime Captain of the Avalanche Joe Sakic would be named the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations filling a role as someone who has the last say on all personnel decisions. Then they would go about trying to find their next head coach and one name continued to come up in every conversation. The rumours would turn out to be true as Patrick Roy emerged as a front-runner for the head coaching position. The week would end with Roy getting the job but also getting an extra title that he would insist on. Patrick Roy became the Head Coach and VP of Hockey Operations giving him a say in the team that he has to coach. The reorganization was a big change for the Avalanche and put a team that has had little to talk about in the headlines. Above the headlines though, the Avalanche created a very strange chain of command for the upcoming season. Greg Sherman still remains the Avs GM despite rumours of his dismissal throughout the offseason. Now he will have plenty of people in his ear telling him what to do and the two most vocal people will be two legends. Sherman’s job has almost become non-existent at this point with Joe Sakic and Patrick Ropy both receiving some control over player movements for the organization. Joe Sakic will have the final say in all moves as the Executive VP of Hockey Operations and can easily veto a decision made by the GM. Meanwhile Patrick Roy will have a say, although not the final one, as the VP of Hockey Operations. He may not have the final say in moves but Patrick Roy is not known for being a quiet and reserved personality. He will be a vocal person in any decision to be made which could overshadow Greg Sherman’s voice in the room. Meanwhile there will be two very proud former teammates in Sakic and Roy who will have to learn to work together to better this team. It was one of the biggest stories of the week and it will continue to develop over the course of the offseason. Meanwhile the playoffs continue to march on with fewer and fewer teams still standing in the fight for the Stanley Cup.


(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

The Scapegoat
Another coach would fall this offseason as the Vancouver Canucks would fire Alain Vigneault after another first round exit as they looked to make some kind of change for a team whose window is closing fast

Alfy under Fire
Daniel Alfredsson has not made a lot of news this year besides the talk of his retirement but that would change when asked if the Ottawa Senators had a chance against the Pittsburgh Penguins and he responded with a less than encouraging answer

Youth Struggling
The veterans seem to be winning the constant battle between young talent and old school experience as the Detroit Red Wings have seen a resurgence and have put the Chicago Blackhawks on the brink of elimination

MacKinnon Making his Mark
The Memorial Cup is coming to a close with players taking their last chance to impress before the draft but one has stood out to make the #1 overall pick a little more difficult as Nathan MacKinnon has impressed everyone in the tournament bringing him closer to Set Jones for the top spot


Conference Semi-Finals:

Eastern Conference:
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 – 1 Ottawa Senators
Game 1: Pit 4 – 1 Ott
Game 2: Pit 4 – 3 Ott
Game 3: Ott 2 – 1 Pit
Game 4: Pit 7 – 3 Ott
Game 5: Pit 6 – 2 Ott

Boston Bruins 4 – 1 New York Rangers
Game 1: Bos 3 – 2 NYR (OT)
Game 2: Bos 5 – 2 NYR
Game 3: Bos 2 – 1 NYR
Game 4: NYR 4 – 2 Bos
Game 5: Bos 3 – 1 NYR


Western Conference:
Chicago Blackhawks 2 – 3 Detroit Red Wings
Game 1: Chi 4 – 1 Det
Game 2: Det 4 – 1 Chi
Game 3: Det 3 – 1 Chi
Game 4: Det 2 – 0 Chi
Game 5: Chi 4 – 1 Det
Game 6: Chi @ Det (Monday May 27th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 7: Det @ Chi (Wednesday May 29th; TBD)

Los Angeles Kings 3 – 2 San Jose Sharks
Game 1: LAK 2 – 0 SJS
Game 2: LAK 4 – 3 SJS
Game 3: SJS 2 – 1 LAK (OT)
Game 4: SJS 2 – 1 LAK
Game 5: LAK 3 – 0 SJS
Game 6: LAK @ SJS (Sunday May 26th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 7: SJS @ LAK (Tuesday May 28th; TBD)

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