NHL Week in Review (May 25-31)

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The New York Rangers would stamp their ticket to the biggest series of the year when they beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 6. That would finish off a series that, when it was made, had the Rangers losing and not by a slim margin. Most believed that the Montreal Canadiens were just a better team and a team that seemed to get past their toughest challenges on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Then the Rangers would win both of the first game in Montreal and the tone was set for the rest of the series. The Rangers would put the Canadiens on the defence early having them go down 2-0 before they could even get out of their own building. The Rangers would move on to beat the Canadiens in 6 games and move into their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1994. It has been a tough road for the Rangers in the past few years as they constantly looked like a team that could make the finals and win the cup year after year but would disappoint. They would come up just short every year and could not seem to find that extra gear they needed to make the finals. Many would believe that the biggest issue was the coach as John Tortorella had a reputation of pushing his players too far and wearing them out before they could make it to the finals. Meanwhile in Vancouver the Canucks were thinking the opposite of their head coach who was unable to bring a Cup to the west coast after having some very good teams. This offseason the Canucks and the Rangers would fire their head coaches looking to change the paths of their teams and in a strange move they would essentially trade their coaches. John Tortorella would head to Vancouver while Alain Vigneault would head to New York. Both coaches were opposites in the way they managed teams as Tortorella was a defensive minded grinder coach while Vigneault was an offence first skill player coach. Both teams were hoping that the change in their mentality would be the difference that they needed to bring a Stanley Cup to their cities. For the Canucks the strategy would not work out as Tortorella, and a number of other organizational issues, would mean that the Canucks would miss the playoffs. For the effort Tortorella would lose his job in the offseason as the former Stanley Cup winning coach now finds himself out of a job only one season after being fired by the New York Rangers. Alain Vigneault has had much of the opposite effect on his new team as he will now guide the Rangers into the Stanley Cup Finals. It was not all about Vigneault as great performances by Martin St. Louis and Henrik Lundqvist have been a big reason for the success of the Rangers but the team has been improved with the leadership of Vigneault. The new style of play has worked well for the Rangers who still have a defensive mentality with Lundqvist leading the way bt are now putting some offensive creativity in the mix. The trade-off has clearly not been the best for the two teams as the Canucks are at home watching without Vigneault while the Rangers are now four wins away from taking home their first Stanley Cup since 1994. The only thing left for the Rangers to do is to wait and see who they will face in the finals. That will be decided soon as the LA kings and Chicago Blackhawks face off in game 7 of a series that was never supposed to go this far. At the start of the Western Finals it was all Chicago’s to lose as they seemed to clearly be the best of the two teams. Then the Kings would get out to a 3-1 series lead and once again the series was expected to end early with the Kings needing one win to get their spot in the finals. The Blackhawks have come back though to extend the series to 7 games as the last one standing in the rapid pace of the series will get a date with the New York Rangers. That series will either be two underdogs fighting it out or another David versus Goliath matchup. Either way the series will be good as the NHL season is over with four wins by either team.

 

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

That Time of the Year in Phoenix
The Phoenix, soon to be Arizona, Coyotes have made a habit of making the offseason about headlines away from the ice and that would happen again as the deal with the city did not produce the amount of money the city wanted marking another poor financial year

Wild sign Yeo
Just after taking the Minnesota Wild to the second round of the playoffs and giving the Blackhawks a bit of a challenge Mike Yeo will return to Minnesota after signing a multi-year deal with the team ensuring him some room to breath as he tries to improve the team

Canadian Cup Drought
With the elimination of the Montreal Canadiens the cup will not return to where it was created as the Canadian Cup drought continues in the NHL with no Canadian based team winning the Cup since Montreal won it in 1993

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