NHL Week in Review (March 9-15)

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The NHL would begin the playoff race this week as players began settling in to their new teams and feeling comfortable with the trade deadline done. As the hockey began to focus more and more on this last stretch of the regular season the sport was struck with an event that put the sport into perspective. In the NHL this was the scary incident in Dallas when Rich Peverly would suffer a heart attack on the bench during Dallas’ game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. While the game was going on all of a sudden Peverley would collapse and send the entire arena to silence. Peverley had suffered a cardiac event and had passed out while waiting for his next shift. Luckily for Peverley this was not the first time that this had happened in the NHL and that meant that the NHL was more prepared to deal with the situation. In 2005 the Detroit Red Wings were playing the Nashville Predators when defenceman Jiri Fischer went into cardiac arrest on the bench. He would be unconscious for 6 minutes before a defibrillator would start his heart again. The scary incident would essentially end the career of Fischer as he would never fully recover from the heart issue. For years later Fischer would continue to have issues with his heart and no doctor would clear him to return to the ice. The incident would end the career of a good player but there would be a bright side to the incident. The NHL would see the issue as a call to action to put defibrillators throughout NHL arenas and to better prepare for the incident that rocked the league. It was not expected in the highest level of the sport as the men on the bench are considered some of the best athletes in the world. They are the elite of the elite and a heart attack is not generally associated with a people in the peak of health. It would still happen when Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench and it was a wake-up call for the NHL. So when Rich Peverley would suffer his incident on the bench this past week the NHL was prepared for the incident. Still it was a very scary moment for the league and especially for all of the coaches and players that were at the arena that night. It was another wake-up call for the NHL to remind them what can happen at any given moment. Luckily Rich Peverley would survive the incident and is fine as of right now. He will miss the rest of the season and his collapse would be only the latest issue that he has had. In 2013 he would have surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat and the collapse is another incident with his heart that may put his career in jeopardy. The issues that he has had are scary and he may not be as fortunate the next time something happens. For now though Peverley will take time off from the ice and will try to recover to return to the NHL to continue his career. Everyone will hope to see Rich Peverley back on the ice sometime in the near future but the incident would have another effect on the league as a whole. The NHL has made a major deal about trying to improve the safety of the game for their players. When that is brought up the talk usually surrounds the issue of concussions as head injuries have become one of the biggest concerns of the league and the sport. The incident that happened to Jiri Fischer and Rich Peverley is another part to this goal as the NHL continues to try to make the league safe for every player. It is a success that has rarely been exposed behind the concussion issue. Without the developments from the NHL in making sure that teams and buildings are ready to manage issues like heart attacks Rich Peverley may not have survived his attack this past week. The NHL deserves some credit along with those members of the Dallas organization that jumped in to help him in time. It was a scary incident for the NHL and there are many factors as to why Peverley survived as tragedy was avoided as the NHL continues to try to keep their players safe.

 

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

Tragedy in Major Junior
Although tragedy in the NHL was avoided this week Major Junior Hockey was not in the same boat as the body of Saginaw Spirit winger Terry Trafford was found in a car in a parking lot a week after he went missing with the death being ruled a suicide with a lot of questions still to be answered

A Record Setting Anniversary
This week would mark an amazing moment in the history of the NHL as it would mark the 20th anniversary of Wayne Gretzky breaking Gordie Howe’s scoring record with his 802nd goal to earn a record that still stands today

Futures in Question
As the playoff race starts there are a number of teams on the outside looking in and struggling to find enough push to make the playoffs and that means some changes for teams that have struggled for more than this year as the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks may clean house if neither can make the playoffs

A Piece of History
The World’s Oldest Hockey Stick would be put up for auction this week when a man from Nova Scotia would put a hockey stick that has been dated to the 1830’s on Ebay with a starting bid of $50,000 for a piece of hockey history

 

NHL Playoff Outlook

Eastern Conference
Division Leaders:
1. Boston Bruins (95)
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (92)
3. Toronto Maple Leafs (80)
4. Tampa Bay Lightning (79)
5. Columbus Blue Jackets (76)
6. New York Rangers (76)
Wild Card:
7. Montreal Canadiens (79)
8. Philadelphia Flyers (75)
In the Hunt:
9. Detroit Red Wings (73)
10. Washington Capitals (72)
11. New Jersey Devils (71)
12. Ottawa Senators (69)
13. Carolina Hurricanes (67)
14. New York Islanders (61)
15. Florida Panthers (57)
16. Buffalo Sabres (46)

Western Conference
Division Leaders:
1. St. Louis Blues (99)
2. Anaheim Ducks (97)
3. San Jose Sharks (95)
4. Colorado Avalanche (91)
5. Chicago Blackhawks (90)
6. Los Angeles Kings (82)
Wild Card:
7. Minnesota Wild (80)
8. Dallas Stars (75)
In the Hunt:
9. Phoenix Coyotes (75)
10. Vancouver Canucks (70)
11. Winnipeg Jets (69)
12. Nashville Predators (68)
13. Calgary Flames (61)
14. Edmonton Oilers (55)

 

Key Scores:
Pittsburgh Penguins 3 – 2 Washington Capitals
– The Pens and Caps have been a apart of one of the best rivalries in the league in recent years as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin look to take the little of the best player in the league but Crosby has been getting the upper hand lately including in this game

Boston Bruins 4 – 1 Montreal Canadiens
– The Bruins and Canadiens are an old school rivalry and one that has only added more fuel to the fire with both teams usually sitting at the top of the division but this year the Canadiens are just trying to stay in the playoffs sitting in the wold card and this loss would not help them

Tampa Bay Lightning 5 – 4 Florida Panthers
– The battle of Florida has taken on a new meaning with new players in the fold including Roberto Luongo in net for the Panthers but the new goalie would not help them in this game as the Lighting would take the win and push the Panthers further from the playoffs

Philadelphia Flyers 4 – 0 Pittsburgh Penguins
– The Battle of Pennsylvania takes on a new meaning with the Flyers looking to hold on to their wild card spot and possibly move up which they would accomplish when they easily beat the division leading Penguins to get closer to clinching a Wild Card spot

 

Next Week:
Vancouver Canucks vs. Florida Panthers (Sunday March 16th; 3:00 pm; ET)
– Roberto Luongo had been an almost punching bag for the Vancouver Canucks spending a lot of time in goalie controversies and eventually being traded as he takes on his former team for the first time since being moved

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings (Tuesday March 18th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The last time these two teams faced off it was outside in the Big House and now they will move inside to Joe Louis Arena as the Red Wings continue to try to stay in the hunt while the Leafs try to stay among the division leaders

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Wednesday March 19th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Blackhawks and Blues have been fighting for the top spot in the division all year but lately the Blackhawks have fallen further down the rankings as they look to stop the slide and try to make up ground against the division leaders

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday March 22nd; 7:00 pm ET)
– One of the oldest rivalries in the NHL goes once again in Toronto as the Canadiens take on the Leafs with Montreal looking to enter and stay in the top of the division while the Leafs are hoping to keep them out of the top spots

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