NHL Week in Review (May 4-10)

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The NHL playoffs continue to produce stories of players getting past everything in their way to get to the end goal. The Stanley Cup is the ultimate prize in hockey as it means more to players than an Olympic Gold Medal or a World championship. That trophy is the goal of everyone that has ever strapped on a pair of skates and only a select few ever get to hold it over their heads and put their names on it forever. That can make players go to extreme lengths to get there and it has given the NHL a reputation as one of the toughest leagues in the world. Hockey players have been known to play through almost everything and anything and that only gets ramped up when it comes to the playoffs. There are constantly stories of players playing through broken legs or through major injuries all to get their name on that cup. This week another story would be added to the list this week but it would be one that no other player would want to go through. Martin St. Louis would get some of the worst news of his life this week when his mother passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday. The next day would be New York’s fifth game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. Martin St. Louis would play the game with a heavy heart as the Rangers would take the win. The next game may be even tougher for St. Louis as he plays against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 on Mother’s Day. It will be one of the toughest games that St. Louis has ever played with such a recent tragedy being magnified on a special day to celebrate mothers. Many people would probably question this move as St. Louis did not take much time to grieve the loss of one of his biggest supporters. Some would say that it is insensitive for St. Louis to play and that he should be taking the time to be with his family at such a hard time in their lives. That couldn’t be further from the truth though as St. Louis can only make the right decision for himself. Yes it may seem like the best option to go home and be with his family at this time but for St. Louis it was right to stay with the team. For one thing it could be the chance for St Louis to grieve by being in the only thing that he has known for his entire life. Hockey for every NHL player is the thing that they love almost more than anything else in this world. They give everything they have to the game and in return the game will most of the time give them bumps and bruises and not much else aside from money. Every now and then the game can provide something a lot more and for St. Louis it is an escape from the pain that he is surely feeling by losing his mother. St. Louis can go into an arena for three hours and escape the outside world as there is nothing else in the world when he is on the ice other than the game and the pursuit of trying to win. For St. Louis playing is also a tribute to his mother. Everyone that has ever played hockey has had a hockey mom who has taken them to and from hockey practices and to tournaments. These hockey moms have been the biggest supporters of players and are always a major reason to why NHL players make it to the highest level. After all of that work and time put in to helping St. Louis go to tournaments and sacrificing time would almost be for nothing if he would give up now. There is no doubt in St. Louis’s mind that his mother would prefer he continue playing than stop now when he is in the playoffs. It is a tragic event for St. Louis and his strength through this extremely tough time is something to be admired and not criticized. Let St. Louis do what he thinks he should do an continue to play hockey in honour of his mother and her life in helping him become the man he is today.

 

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

Carlyle Returns
The Toronto Maple Leafs seemed like they were on the road to massive changes when Brendan Shanahan took over as the Team President but that does not seem to be the case as Shanahan’s first act as President would be to sign much maligned head coach Randy Carlyle to a contract extension

Legend in the Head Office
In the theme of the era for NHL teams the Philadelphia Flyers would give a legend a high ranking position on the team as Ron Hextall was promoted from Assistant GM to the General Manager role as the legendary Flyer is now in control of the team

New Coach in Nashville
The Nashville Predators would fire the only coach they have ever known, Barry Trotz, earlier in the playoffs and they would waste little time in finding his replacement when they hired former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette

Top Coaches
The Jack Adams Award finalists were announced this week with plenty of debate among the three potential winners as Patrick Roy, Mike Babcock, and Jon Cooper will all be looking to hold that trophy after great seasons behind the bench

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