NHL Week in Review (November 10-16)

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The season is through the first month and a half and teams are beginning to figure out where they may truly stand in the league. The quick starters are now beginning to show some signs of wear and the teams that started quickly are starting to show what they might be. There is no sneaking up on anyone anymore for these teams as there is more than enough information on them for teams to plan and shut them down. The teams that have started quickly when nobody expected them to are now in a position to prove that they are legitimate or they were just using the element of surprise. These teams will have the chance to show that they are for real if they can continue to win against the rest of the league. There are also the teams that have started slowly when nobody thought they would who have something to prove at this point. These teams were supposed to be good but have stumbled out of the gate for any number of reasons. They now will look to get back on track before they fall too far behind and a number of teams are beginning to do this. The feeling out period has ended for the 2013-14 season and the standings are beginning to show this. They are changing daily with some teams falling from their fast start and other teams rising from their slow starts. Many teams are beginning to right the ship as they start to win the games they are supposed to and starting to move up the standings. Still there are teams that have yet to figure anything out and are beginning to fall out of the playoff race before the playoff race even begins. They are not surprise teams at the bottom of the league as many of the teams sitting in the bottom part of the standings were expected to be there as many are in the midst of a rebuilding period. That would not stop one of these teams from attempting to speed up the rebuild process this week though. The Buffalo Sabres were a team that had little to no expectations for the season as they were considered one of the worst teams in the NHL. Many saw this year as a year where they would unload their most talented players, like Ryan Miller, to build for the future and bring in draft picks or young talent. With this type of attitude the Sabres were never expected to make much noise in the Atlantic Division but the ownership would not stand by as they saw their team fall to one of the worst records in the NHL. They would take action this week when they would fire GM Darcy Regier and head coach Ron Rolston. The management would see the shake up as the Sabres would look to try to stave off any further embarrassment this season and try to get the most out of the team that they have. They would bring in former head coach Ted Nolan on an interim basis and in turn would give the fans something to cheer as Nolan was always a fan favorite. The General Manager role has yet to be determined but will be the biggest part of this change for the team. The new GM will have a big decision to make as he will need to figure out where this team stands when it comes closer to the trade deadline. Will the Sabres continue to play the role of the rebuild where they will sell off their best parts to start over? Or will they see potential in the team and look to add pieces without taking away any of their building blocks? Either way the Sabres are the first team to make a massive team change this year as they are clearly looking to change things sooner rather than later. Other struggling teams have yet to make these type of moves including the Oilers as they are trusting their process despite having the worst record in the league. It may pay off but they may find themselves out of the playoffs sooner rather than later which is exactly what the Sabres are trying to prevent this year with their change in management this week.


(Thoughts on the past week in the NHL)

Spot Open
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Team Canada would take a massive hit this week when Steven Stamkos went down with a broken leg as the young sniper was a lock for the Canadian Olympic roster that will now need to be replaced

Yakupov Moving?
The Edmonton Oilers are playing terrible hockey right now and so the questions continue to rise about whether or not one of the young forwards on the Oilers should be moved to add defence with Nail Yakupov being the main name circulating

The Road Back
Ilya Bryzgalov would sign with the Edmonton Oilers last week and would begin his long road back playing in the AHL and hoping to make the NHL once again and give the Oilers some help to end recent slump


NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning (28)
2. Boston Bruins (25)
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (25)
4. Detroit Red Wings (25)
5. Montreal Canadiens (22)
6. Ottawa Senators (20)
7. Florida Panthers (14)
8. Buffalo Sabres (11)
Metropolitan Division:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
2. Washington Capitals (23)
3. New York Rangers (20)
4. Carolina Hurricanes (20)
5. New Jersey Devils (19)
6. New York Islanders (19)
7. Philadelphia Flyers (16)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (15)

Western Conference
Central Division:
1. Chicago Blackhawks (30)
2. St. Louis Blues (29)
3. Colorado Avalanche (28)
4. Minnesota Wild (28)
5. Dallas Stars (22)
6. Winnipeg Jets (22)
7. Nashville Predators (20)
Pacific Division:
1. Anaheim Ducks (32)
2. San Jose Sharks (31)
3. Phoenix Coyotes (31)
4. Los Angeles Kings (27)
5. Vancouver Canucks (25)
6. Calgary Flames (15)
7. Edmonton Oilers (12)


Key Scores:
New Jersey Devils 3 – 2 New York Rangers
– The Hudson River Rivalry would see two teams on their opposite side of things as the Devils were falling and the Rangers were climbing but they would both briefly stop the trends with the Devils taking the win

Philadelphia Flyers 2 – 1 Pittsburgh Penguins
– The Battle of Pennsylvania has lost a lot of its fire this year with the Penguins playing much better hockey than the Flyers but it would gain a little back with the Flyers taking the win and looking to climb out of their slow start

St. Louis Blues 7 – 3 Colorado Avalanche
– The Avalanche are a team that many people are looking to at this point in the season to see if they are for real but they wouldn’t do themselves much favours in the debate as they would see their biggest loss of the season against the Blues

Carolina Hurricanes 3 – 2 Anaheim Ducks (SO)
– The Hurricanes looked to be out of it when their goalies would go down earlier in the year but they have been one of the best teams lately and they would prove it getting a win against the Ducks in a tight shootout


Next Week:
Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild (Sunday November 17th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Jets and wild rivalry is still young but the two teams playing a border apart will go at it once again as the rivalry continues to build and the Jets look to continue their climb out of the bottom of the Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Colorado Avalanche (Tuesday November 19th; 9:00 pm ET)
– The Avalanche are still looking to prove that their fast start was no fluke and the best way to do this is to beat the best team in the conference as they look to make a statement against the Chicago Blackhawks

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals (Wednesday November 20th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Pens and Caps rivalry has come from two players and both are healthy and ready to once again fight it out as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin go at it once again this time in a fight for the top of the division

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins (Saturday November 23rd; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Hurricanes continue to climb their way out of the hole they made for themselves and there is no better way to do this than to beat the one of the top teams in the conference as they hurricanes look to make up ground on the top of the division

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