NHL Week in Review (April 20-26)

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The playoffs are in full swing with few teams already getting their walking papers for the season. There are many series still going on but then Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings are heading home for another offseason after being beat by the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. Now these two teams will get ready to take on each other in a classic rivalry series that is sure to be a good one. Meanwhile the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Los Angeles Kings are sitting on the bubble hoping to come back and take the series with only one loss standing between them and the golf course. The most important time of the year is only going to get more important as the series are finished and teams continue to move on and get one step closer to the Stanley Cup. As the intensity increases the scrutiny increases as well with referees getting the brunt of the criticism in the playoffs. Referees are always the easiest people to blame for anything on the ice as they are not a part of either team. When a team underperforms it is hard to explain why especially when they were good enough to make it into the playoffs. A place to turn is the calls that they might not be getting that can make a difference. More often than not these calls have been missed multiple times throughout the season and there is a debate to be had about whether there are more missed calls in the playoffs than in the rest of the season. The difference is that in the playoffs there are generally only 4 game son for the entire day. That means that more people are watching the games and are catching these missed calls. When every hockey fan is watching one game and the analysts are watching the same game the mistakes are amplified. Everyone begins talking about them more as they become the thing to talk about for the day. It is also a result of the fact that these missed calls can be the difference between a team moving on to the next round and falling just short. The Many times the referees missing calls is just something that a referee would never see and that has happened in the playoffs this year. The first time it would happen was with Milan Lucic who would put the stick to Danny DeKeyser behind the play. It was a clearly illegal play by Lucic but if no referee could see it during the play they can’t call it. The referees have had a rough go in the playoffs and many times it is just something that they would never catch. Then there are the other calls that are made or missed that can be some of the closer and more important calls. That would happen in the Tampa Bay-Montreal series when Carey Price was hit in the crease and a goal was scored but waved off. The call was that the Lightning player had interfered with Price and that the goal would not count because of that. The problem was that the time in between Price getting hit and the goal going in, for many people, was seen to be a bit long for the call to stand. The call was a close one as it is hard to see exactly how much it affected Price and whether it affected him enough to keep him out of the play for the seconds that ticked by. The call was close and on the ice it is a call that is made in the blink of an eye whether right or wrong. As split second of a call as it was a big piece of evidence that the NHL is behind on the times in video replay. A video review of that play may not have changed the minds of the referees but the play deserved a second look to try to make sure that the call was right. There are a number of other issues in the first round of playoffs that have made the call for video replay even stronger and although it is not very likely in the next season the public perception seems to be swinging in favour of replay. The playoffs are some of the most intense and scrutinized games all year and when something goes wrong the cry for changes becomes immediate and more often than not the NHL at least takes a look at the complaints which is the first step towards change that could be coming sooner rather than later.

 

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

Seven for Cooke
Matt Cooke would enter the conversation of suspension once again as the often suspended forward for the Minnesota Wild would receive a 7 game suspension for his knee on knee hit against Tyson Barrie at the beginning of the Colorado Minnesota series

Rookie Sensation at it Again
Nathan MacKinnon would be nominated for the Calder Trophy this year and seems to be the heavy favourite to win and he has shown why in the playoffs earning 7 points in his first two games and scoring the OT winner in Game 5 for the Avalanche

Award Worthy
MacKinnon was just one of the names talked about this week as the NHL officially announced their finalists for many the NHL awards with one of the more intriguing races for the Vezina as Ben Bishop, Tuukka Rask, and Semyon Varlamov are all up for the award

 

playoffs

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