NHL Week in Review (May 26-June 1)

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The NHL prides itself on the fact that in the last nine seasons they have not had one team win two Stanley Cups. It is a lesson in parity that leagues love as no one team is dominating the league giving every team and fans of every team hope that they could be the next one. This can also be a double-edged sword as dominant teams can bring in a lot more interest from markets that might not be the biggest and best. The NHL seems to prefer the fact that new teams win every year and create new fan bases for teams. In the last four years they have enjoyed it even more as they have seen four of the biggest markets in the NHL win the championship. For the NHL this means that they generate more interest from large markets including those markets that already have a massive following. The Los Angeles Kings (2012), Boston Bruins (2011), Chicago Blackhawks (2011), and the Pittsburgh Penguins (2010) have all achieved the biggest goal in the league in winning the Stanley Cup in the last four years. The parity in the league had been on full display until these four teams entered the playoffs this year. The parity would stop this year as for the first time in nine years one team will win two Stanley Cup Championships. It is a historical third round as the last four Stanley Cup Champions make-up the final four for the first time in NHL history. The four teams left will all be looking to be that team that breaks the parity and wins their second Cup. For the Los Angeles Kings it is the chance to be the first repeat champion since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. A win would put them in a list of only few teams and would make them one of the powerhouse teams of this era. Meanwhile the Boston Bruins would go from having one of the longest Stanley Cup droughts to winning two Cups in three years. It would continue to establish them as one of the toughest teams in the league and would add to the legend of their Original Six roots. The Bruins would also have gone through plenty to get there as they would play 6 games in 8 days to end the season and then get through a pesky Toronto Maple Leafs team in 7 games to win a Stanley Cup. The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are in the same boat this year as both are considered the two most powerful teams in the league. Many had the Blackhawks and Penguins in the finals after both went on massive winning streaks this year. The Blackhawks would win their second Cup in four years and would continue their amazing turnaround as a franchise. Before the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2011 they were the forgotten franchise of the Original Six as ownership refused to sign a TV Deal and kept the old legends out of the building. That has all changed now and the Blackhawks have become one of the most successful teams in the league. Winning another Cup would only add to their recovery and prove that they are one of the best teams of the era. The Pittsburgh Penguins are also looking to prove that they are the best behind their resurgent captain in Sidney Crosby who has recovered from concussions and a broken jaw to help them to the final four. More than that though is the story of two late season additions that could win their first Stanley Cup rings. Brenden Morrow would spend the majority of his career with the Dallas Stars joining the team a year after they won the Stanley Cup in 1999. Since 1999 the Stars had limited success and would not make it back to the Championship as Morrow rose up the ranks and became captain of the team. Jarome Iginla would be in the same situation in Calgary when he joined the NHL club in the 1996 playoffs. The Flames would never win the Cup in Iginla’s time on the team as their best player and captain for many years. Both captains would be traded at the trade deadline this year to the Penguins who were looking for some veteran presence and secondary scoring for a Stanley Cup run. For the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames the moves were signs of moving on and in some small aspect of giving these two players a chance to win a Stanley Cup before it is too late. All four teams left in the playoffs have something to play for and any of the four will break the amazing parity that the NHL has become known for. No matter who wins the rest of the playoffs are sure to be something special as four teams continue the march to the finals.

 

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

Expired Shelf-life
Glen Slather would use the term Shelf Life when he announced that John Tortorella had been fired as head coach basically stating that Torts time was done in New York and it was time to move on as Tororella became the latest coach without a job

Changing Minds
Nathan MacKinnon would have an amazing Memorial Cup run and would help the Halifax Mooseheads win the big prize and for that he would jump to #1 in the scout rankings ahead of the NHL Draft giving Colorado something to think about

Olympic Decision Pending
The Sochi 2016 Olympics are beginning to creep closer and still there is no decision on whether or not the NHL players will participate in the Olympics as the IOC, NHL, and NHLPA continue to negotiate a deal that works for both sides

Luongo to Brooklyn
The New York Islanders are moving to Brooklyn next year and in their move they may see a familiar face as rumours arose this week that the Vancouver Canucks would trade the bad contract of Roberto Luongo to the Isles in exchange for the bad contract of Rick DiPietro

 

Conference Finals:

Eastern Conference: 

Pittsburgh Penguins 0 – 1 Boston Bruins
Game 1: Bos 3 – 0 Pit
Game 2: Bos @ Pit (Monday June 3rd; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 3: Pit @ Bos (Wednesday June 5th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Pit @ Bos (Friday June 7th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 5: Bos @ Pit (Sunday June 9th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Pit @ Bos (Tuesday June 11th; TBD)
Game 7: Bos @ Pit (Wednesday June 12th; TBD)

 

Western Conference:

Chicago Blackhawks 1 – 0 Los Angeles Kings
Game 1: Chi 2 – 1 LAK
Game 2: LAK @ Chi (Sunday June 2nd; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 3: Chi @ LAK (Tuesday June 4th; 9:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Chi @ LAK (Thursday June 6th; 9:00 pm ET)
Game 5: LAK @ Chi (Saturday June 8th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Chi @ LAK (Monday June 10th; 9:00 pm ET)
Game 7: LAK @ Chi (Wednesday June 12th; TBD)

 

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 4 – 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 4 – 3 Det
Game 7: Chi 2 – 1 Det (OT)

Los Angeles Kings 4 – 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: SJS 2 – 1 LAK
Game 7: LAK 2 – 1 SJS

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