NHL Week in Review (April 27-May 3)

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The second round of the NHL playoffs are here with the 16 team pool cut down to only 8 remaining teams. The first round would be a thriller as a number of series would go down to the wire after a number of great game 7s. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens would be the two teams that would not make the competition close as Montreal would advance in 4 games while Boston would do it in 5. Meanwhile the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, and Los Angeles Kings would all leave it to the very last games. The Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, and Pittsburgh Penguins would take 6 games to finish their series off. That would give the NHL its final 8 teams of the season and would give these 8 teams a better shot of winning that very elusive championship. There is a lot of road to go as the second round has just started and the games will continue as the competition gets more intense with the players seeing the end goal closer than ever. The playoffs are a very intense time and as the rounds continue to proceed it can get more intense. As the players and teams get closer to the Stanley Cup it becomes more real and they are more willing to lay everything on the line. Emotions begin to run high and players begin to show that intensity more and more. That intensity and emotion can sometimes be transferred to the fans of the teams involved in the games. That is the nature of sports as fans attach themselves to their teams and diehard fans can take every game seriously. These fans live and die with their team and when their team loses it can be heartbreaking for these diehards. Many of these diehards will begin to say things about the other teams and other players. Generally it is all just in good fun as a hate for an athlete is simply because that athlete is good. Nothing goes that far beyond saying that the player sucks or isn’t worth the money they are being paid. There can be those fans that go a little further and begin to personally attack the players but athletes are so used to hearing it that it rarely bother them. Then there is what happened at the very start of the second round of the playoffs in Boston. With a classic rivalry in focus in the Boston-Montreal series the fans were sure to get intense about seeing their team lose. The first shots were taken by the Montreal Canadiens who would win a double overtime game. The goal scorer in the overtime would be PK Subban who would have his second goal of the night to take the first game. Subban is one of the few black players in the NHL and has dealt with racism throughout his time as a hockey player. After scoring the overtime goal he would see more of it from fans of the Boston Bruins as a derogatory term would begin trending on Twitter from Boston after the goal. It was extremely far over the line for the fans who began showing an ugly side to humanity in general. It was a terrible side of fandom and a side that has shown itself recently beyond this past week. In 2012 Joel Ward would be the target of racial slurs after scoring the winning goal in overtime against the Boston Bruins. Wayne Simmonds would see his own controversy when a banana was thrown on the ice in an exhibition game in London, Ontario. Meanwhile the racist tweets against Subban would come at a time where the NBA and the sports world was dealing with a racist owner that had put race in the limelight of the sports world. To make things even more ridiculous the Boston Bruins fans may very well be cheering on a Subban in the future as PK’s younger brother Malcolm Subban was drafted by the Bruins in 2012. The ugliness that was shown after the first game was just another example of how far society still has to go. It does not represent the Bruins or their fans though as a select few people decided to turn everything ugly and in turn brought people closer together to defend the ability for anyone to play the game despite the colour of their skin. As bad as the racial slurs were it was good to see the NHL and the teams gather together to show that there is no place in sports for racism and that it is time to move forward not backward.

 

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

One and Done in Vancouver
John Tortorella has been a coach under fire for the last few years with many wondering if his style can work and in Vancouver they would say that it cannot as they would fire Tortorella after one season as the head coach

Shake up in San Jose?
The San Jose Sharks were on their way to the second round up 4 games to 0 then they would collapse losing four straight games for their latest playoff failure that has many wondering if a massive shake-up is coming to the Sharks

Keenan’s Return?
Mike Keenan would become the first coach to ever win the Stanley Cup and the Gagarin Cup, KHL Championship, as he would lead Mettallurg Magnitogorsk to the championship this year with the new championship leading many to believe he will get some interest from the NHL

 

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