NHL Week in Review (June 2-8)

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The Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins would enter the NHL playoffs as the two biggest favorites that the playoffs have seen in a long time. It wasn’t always easy but both teams would make it to the final four of the playoffs and remain the biggest favorites. After all both teams had some of the most stacked rosters in terms of talent. In Chicago they would boast offensive powerhouses like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, and Patrick Sharp. On defence they would have one of the best top pairs in Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. In Pittsburgh they would have the best player in the world in Sidney Crosby who was surrounded by veterans like Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow while being joined by young talent like Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. With the talent on these teams there was no question that they would be favorites and that only snowballed throughout the season. The Chicago Blackhawks would open the season with a 24-game point streak that would give them points in half of the games in the shortened season. Meanwhile the Penguins would see an uptick in wins during the middle of the season when they won 15-games in a row. Both of these teams would walk into the playoffs and would be given seen as the teams to beat and would prove to be just that. Then the Conference finals would hit and one team would completely collapse. As the Blackhawks continued their strong play and took advantage of a less than competitive Los Angeles Kings team the Pittsburgh Penguins would fall apart. The Penguins would take on the Boston Bruins, a team that many considered to be very close to running out of steam. It seemed as though the Penguins would be able to wrap up their series fairly quickly if they could use their speed and skill against the strength and size of the Bruins. It turned out very quickly that the Penguins did not have what it would take to do what they needed. The Bruins would play their stifling game and get another amazing performance from Tuukka Rask to prevent the Penguins from getting going. Then the stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Brenden Morrow, Kris Letang, and Jarome Iginla all seemed to disappear in the very important series. The superstars would not be a factor for the Penguins and the Bruins would take advantage and would sweep a Stanley Cup favorite in the Conference final. It was never supposed to happen this way for the Penguins as they were supposed to go into the finals alongside the Blackhawks as the two best teams in the regular season would fight it out to determine who is the best. Now the Penguins are going home early and are left with a lot of questions in the offseason. One of the best teams in the NHL has become a team that can’t win the big one. They have constantly made the playoffs but have only won a single Stanley Cup. In an era where the goal is always to win the Stanley Cup making the playoffs is not good enough and the Penguins need to do something to change. They will also need to find out what they want to do with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang who will be coming up on Free Agency in 2014 as they will only be able to sign one. In the shorter future the Pens will have to figure out if they want to keep Jarome Iginla and if they need to go out and find another goalie after Marc-Andre Fluery underperformed this playoffs. The Penguins need to make changes this offseason and the sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins highlighted this more than anything could. Now that they are sitting on the outside looking in the Penguins can only think of what could have been and what can be in the future as the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins play for a Stanley Cup that the Pens believe they should have been in.

 

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

The Picture of the Playoffs
Gregory Campbell is not the biggest star on the Boston Bruins but this week he would become one after blocking a shot and suffered a Broken Leg but would stay out on the ice to kill the rest of the penalty creating a lasting image in the playoffs

More Rebuilding in The City of Champions
The Edmonton Oilers have been rebuilding for many years and they continue to do so as the front office has changed and now the face behind the bench once again with Ralph Krueger losing his job this week

Superstars behind the bench
With more job openings the names for potential coaches has grown to include superstars like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier although the track record for superstars behind the bench with little to no coaching experience has not been good (See Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix)

 

Stanley Cup Final:

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins
Game 1: Bos @ Chi (Wednesday June 12th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 2: Bos @ Chi (Saturday June 15th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 3: Chi @ Bos (Monday June 17th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 4: Chi @ Bos (Wednesday June 19th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 5: Bos @ Chi (Saturday June 22nd; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 6: Chi @ Bos (Monday June 24th; 8:00 pm ET)
Game 7: Bos @ Chi (Wednesday June 26th; 8:00 pm ET)

 

Conference Finals:

Eastern Conference:
 
Pittsburgh Penguins 0 – 4 Boston Bruins
Game 1: Bos 3 – 0 Pit
Game 2: Bos 6 – 1 Pit
Game 3: Bos 2 – 1 Pit (OT)
Game 4: Bos 1 – 0 Pit

 

Western Conference:

Chicago Blackhawks 4 – 1 Los Angeles Kings
Game 1: Chi 2 – 1 LAK
Game 2: Chi 4 – 2 LAK
Game 3: LAK 3 – 1 Chi
Game 4: Chi 3 – 2 LAK
Game 5: Chi 4 – 3 LAK (2OT)

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