NHL Week in Review (March 2-8)

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The NHL would go straight from their Olympic break into one of the busiest times of the year as the Trade Deadline would mark the beginning of the playoff race. Team would get on the phones and look to improve their teams either by bringing in a veteran for the playoff run or selling off veteran players to prepare for the future. It is one of the most important days of the year in the NHL calendar but the last few years have seen a pattern of less action. The deadline had become almost obsolete as teams prepared before the deadline making trades and moves before the final day. This year it seemed to be going the same way when the Buffalo Sabres became active early trading away their franchise goalie days before the deadline. Ryan Miller was sent to St. Louis along with Steve Ott and would receive Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, and two draft picks. It was a blockbuster deal in an era where those deals have not come all too often but the deal would set the stage for the time leading up to the deadline. As the days ticked by big names were put into the rumour mill and many of the big names put out there would find themselves moving teams. The day before the deadline and the day of the deadline would prove to be the busiest this year as some major names would move. Martin St. Louis would be traded to the New York Rangers for the Rangers’ captain Ryan Callahan. Meanwhile Dustin Penner would go to Washington, Ilya Bryzgalov to Minnesota, Marion Gaborik to Los Angeles, and Devin Dubnyk to Montreal. Those players and many more would be moved on or before the trade deadline but there was one move that would rock the NHL more than any. That would be the move of the Vancouver Canucks who would trade Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias. The trade would have been expected, and was expected, in 2012 as Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider seemed both capable of starting for the team and with his age and a bloated contract it seemed that Luongo was on his way out of Vancouver. The only two places that he wished to go were Florida and Toronto and with his no trade clause he had the upper hand for the trade talks. He would not be moved though as the contract was too much for any team to take on the price tag was out of reach for everyone. Instead the Canucks would make the decision to trade away their younger goalie in Cory Schneider during draft day. With that trade it seemed like the goalie situation in Vancouver was solved and that Roberto Luongo would be their goalie for the foreseeable future. Then the 2013-14 season started and backup goalie Eddie Lack would begin to get more time in the net and Roberto Luongo seemed like he was caught on the bench for another year. This past week the Vancouver Canucks would host the Ottawa Senators in the Heritage Classic at BC Place in what would be a big moment for the Canucks. For this big event the Canucks would go with Eddie Lack instead of their long time goalie and fan favorite Luongo. It seemed like the writing was on the wall and it would all come to a head a day before the trade deadline when the Canucks shipped him off to Florida. It was a move that many people would not have thought of when the season began but expected more and more as months went by. As expected as it might have been in the past few days it was still a move that expressed the problems in Vancouver. Not even a year after seemingly solving their goalie problem they would bring another goalie problem in and in all two good goalies would be lost. The Canucks’ management will need to pull off a big run at the Stanley Cup in the next few years if they want to keep their jobs as fans can only hope that they have an idea of what they are doing. If the Canucks cannot recapture their once dominant attitude there is sure to be plenty of changes in the front office as getting rid of two starting goalies in a year is not the way that most successful teams are run.

 

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

A Week of Retirements
The first full week back in the NHL would see a number of big nights for some legends of the game as Joe Nieuwendyk and Niklas Lidstrom would see their jersey’s retired while the Dallas Stars would retire Mike Modano’s jersey later in the week

An Anniversary to Forget
The NHL would prefer to forget what happened 10 years ago this week but it is a major part of the history of the league as 10 years ago Todd Bertuzzi would end the career of Steve Moore in his first year in the NHL with a sucker punch that changed the way the outside world looked at the NHL

Three for Kassian
Zach Kassian did not take too long to become the first suspension since the Olympic Break as he would receive a three game suspension for his hit from behind on Brenden Dillon in his game against the Dallas Stars

 

NHL Standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division:
1. Boston Bruins (87)
2. Montreal Canadiens (77)
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (76)
4. Tampa Bay Lightning (74)
5. Detroit Red Wings (71)
6. Ottawa Senators (67)
7. Florida Panthers (55)
8. Buffalo Sabres (46)
Metropolitan Division:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (88)
2. Philadelphia Flyers (73)
3. New York Rangers (72)
4. Columbus Blue Jackets (71)
5. Washington Capitals (70)
6. New Jersey Devils (69)
7. Carolina Hurricanes (63)
8. New York Islanders (57)

Western Conference
Central Division:
1. St. Louis Blues (92)
2. Chicago Blackhawks (88)
3. Colorado Avalanche (87)
4. Minnesota Wild (75)
5. Dallas Stars (72)
6. Winnipeg Jets (67)
7. Nashville Predators (62)
Pacific Division:
1. Anaheim Ducks (93)
2. San Jose Sharks (89)
3. Los Angeles Kings (78)
4. Phoenix Coyotes (69)
5. Vancouver Canucks (68)
6. Calgary Flames (57)
7. Edmonton Oilers (52)

 

Key Scores:
Ottawa Senators 4 – 2 Vancouver Canucks
– The Heritage Classic would get out of hand pretty quickly as the Vancouver Canucks would go ahead early in the game but would not be able to hold the lead as the Ottawa Senaotrs would come back and leave no doubt

Colorado Avalanche 4 – 2 Chicago Blackhawks
– The Chicago Blackhawks where sitting at the top of the Central Division while Colorado had been holding the third place spot all year as they looked to get another win over the hawks and they would, knocking the Blackhawks off of the top spot and solidifying their third place spot

Toronto Maple Leafs 3 – 2 New York Rangers (OT)
– Martin St. Louis went from being the captain of a team on the brink of the playoffs to another player currently sitting in the playoffs but his debut for the Rangers would not be the best as he was -1 and the Rangers would lose in overtime for the Leafs

Calgary Flames 4 – 3 New York Islanders
– The Calgary Flames would celebrate Joe Nieuwendyk by retiring his number and wearing throwback jerseys but the best tribute would be their win over the struggling Islanders in a game that was a bright spot in an otherwise bad year

 

Next Week:
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals (Monday March 10th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The rivalries continue on next week as the Caps and Pens face off again in another battle between Crosby and Ovechkin as the Penguins sit atop the division while the Capitals continue to fall down the rankings

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens (Wednesday March 12th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The classic rivalry is once again a good one as the Bruins sit on top of the division with the Canadiens right behind them as both teams will face off with the Habs looking to gain some ground in the division race

Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Thursday March 13th; 7:30 pm ET)
– With Roberto Luongo back the Panthers are hoping to start a great comeback in the last half of the season and they will look to start that run against their in-state rivals the Tampa Lightning while new captain Steven Stamkos hopes to keep Tampa in the playoff hunt

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Saturday March 15th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The battle of Pennsylvania means a lot more than when these teams first faced off as the Flyers are now sitting in a great spot to make the playoffs while the Penguins sit above them in the standings as both teams look to take 2 points in the fight for the division

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