NHL Week in Review (October 6-12)

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The NHL season is still a young one and although some teams have emerged as great and others not so much there is more than enough time for everything to change. There are only 1.5 weeks gone in the season so far and plenty has already happened creating debate and discussion over many different subjects. Whether it is fire behind the bench from a coach, fighting, reporting locker room conversations, or which teams that have looked great and will remain great the NHL is full of great stories. One of the biggest stories that came out in the first full week of the season was in Philadelphia where Peter Laviolette would lose his job. What made this one of the biggest stories of the year so far was the simple fact that the Flyers were only three games into their season. On Monday, after starting 0-3 on the season, the Flyers would announce that Peter Laviolette was fired and that Craig Berube would take over for the rest of the season. The Flyers had been that team that plays well enough in the regular season but never could make it much further than their division. Bad moves by the GM would leave massive holes on the team, most notably in net, that would make the team one of the most frustrating in the league. This year the Flyers seemed to go out and fix many of the problems signing Ray Emery to man the net while also adding Mark Streit, albeit on a contract that a lot of people thought was overprices, and Vincent Lecavalier. The Flyers seemed like they would be a better team this year but their first three games would show that they had not taken a step in the right direction. Instead of being patient and waiting for the head coach and the team to figure things out the Flyers management had seen enough. Laviolette would get the blame as many coaches do and would get the boot while the Flyers looked to assistant coach Craig Berube to try to turn things around. In his first game with the top job Berube would get the first win on the season for the Flyers. The Flyers have gone 1-1 this week with their new coach which essentially has not proven anything. All eyes will be on Berube for the rest of the season though as he gets the job of trying to prove that the coach was the real problem in Philly. If the Flyers continue to struggle throughout the year under Berube a massive shift in the organization could happen. The firing of Laviolette has essentially only left one person to blame if the issues continue. The coach will always get the blame first when a team’s struggles as they are the easiest people to look to. Although a struggling team has a lot more parts that share the blame there is one person that it is easier to get rid of. The players are not always easy to trade especially when they are struggling and the General Manager can only sign and trade players and may not have that direct effect of the on-ice product. So the coach is left to shoulder the blame and when a team struggles they are the first on the chopping block. Now for the Flyers the coach is no longer there to blame as Berube has been thrown into the situation and will likely get some leeway if they struggle. Instead Paul Holmgren has taken the place of the coach as he will now be the one who will take the blame if they cannot turn things around. It was a quick decision by the Flyers and only time will tell how effective it will be as the Flyers will need to pick it up if they hope to avoid more changes in the near future.

 

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

The Debate over Reporting
Joe Thorton would make headlines this week when he made a crude comment about how he would celebrate if he scored 4 goals in a game like his teammate Tomas Hertl did and when the comment was made public a debate over a reporter’s responsibility to report or “protect” players

The Unbeaten
The Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and San Jose Sharks are part of that special group at the start of the NHL season as all have yet to lose a game but the challenge to remain undefeated will be even tougher as they will not sneak up on many teams anymore

The Missed Season Takes its Toll
Tim Thomas would begin his comeback in Florida after taking the entire 2012-13 season off to get away from hockey but the comeback would not last long as he would go down with a leg injury in his third game back

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division:
1. Toronto Maple Leafs (8)
2. Boston Bruins (6)
3. Montreal Canadiens (6)
4. Detroit Red Wings (6)
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (6)
6. Ottawa Senators (4)
7. Florida Panthers (4)
8. Buffalo Sabres (1)
Metropolitan Division:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (8)
2. Carolina Hurricanes (6)
3. New York Islanders (5)
4. Columbus Blue Jackets (4)
5. New Jersey Devils (3)
6. New York Rangers (2)
7. Washington Capitals (2)
8. Philadelphia Flyers (2)

Western Conference
Central Division:
1. Colorado Avalanche (10)
2. St. Louis Blues (8)
3. Chicago Blackhawks (7)
4. Minnesota Wild (6)
5. Dallas Stars (4)
6. Winnipeg Jets (4)
7. Nashville Predators (2)
Pacific Division:
1. San Jose Sharks (10)
2. Calgary Flames (8)
3. Anaheim Ducks (6)
4. Phoenix Coyotes (6)
5. Los Angeles Kings (6)
6. Vancouver Canucks (6)
7. Edmonton Oilers (3)

 

Key Scores:
Vancouver Canucks 3 – 2 New Jersey Devils (OT)
– Cory Schneider would return to Vancouver for the first time since being traded at the NHL Draft and he would get into a battle with former teammate Roberto Luongo in a battle where Luongo would prove he was the right decision

St. Louis Blues 3 – 2 Chicago Blackhawks
– The rivalries have shifted in the NHL with realignment but the Blackhawks and Blues remain in the same division and continue their rivalry with the Blues coming out on top in their first game and remaining undefeated

Minnesota Wild 2 – 1 Winnipeg Jets
– The newest rivalry in the NHL is one that has been brewing for a while as the Jets and Wild now sit in the same division and will see their border war take on a new meaning with the Wild taking the first win out of a season long series

Colorado Avalanche 5 – 1 Washington Capitals
– Semyon Varlamov would return to Washington for the first time since he was traded to Colorado and would have the performance of the year so far saving 40 shots to help the Avs to the win and helping them to remain undefeated

 

Next Week:
Ottawa Senators vs. Anaheim Ducks (Sunday October 13th; 8:00 pm ET)
-The Sens will travel out west to try to get more wins but the big story will be that Bobby Ryan will return to the Anaheim Ducks after being traded in the offseason as he looks to show them they made a big mistake

Vancouver Canucks vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Tuesday October 15th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Flyers have a new coach and are trying to move on from a terrible start to the season as they take on the Canucks who have begun to gel under their new head coach, John Tortorella, and are looking to move up the Pacific standings

Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche (Thursday October 17th; 9:00 pm ET)
– The Avs are a different team early in the season and they will welcome their old rivals the Red Wings to Colorado for what has become a rare game with Detroit moving East but with Patrick Roy behind the bench the fire might return between these two teams

New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils (Saturday October 19th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Hudson River Rivalry gets underway again this year with the Rangers and the Devils both struggling early in the season as the two Metropolitan Division teams look to beat their rivals and start a winning streak

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