NHL Week in Review (October 19-25)

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The sports world is once again in a position that they never want to be in but accept with heavy hearts. On Wednesday October 22nd Canada’s capital was rocked by the shooting of an unarmed soldier standing guard at the national war memorial. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was performing his duties as a reservist in the Canadian military by standing guard at the National War Memorial, a job only started a few years ago after vandalism to the site. While standing guard Cirillo was shot and killed by a single gunman who, afterwards, ran to the parliament buildings, only a short walk from the memorial, where he entered the parliament building and was shot and killed by the Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Michael Vickers. The incident rocked Ottawa and sent the city into lock down while the military and police determined if it had all ended. The attack on Canada’s capital was not the only incident in the week though as Monday October 20th saw another apparent attack on Canadian soldiers. On Monday in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec a man used his car as a weapon and ran down two Canadian officers, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. The two attacks have shocked Canada and brought a way of life into focus as many people try to find answers as to why and how this could happen on Canadian soil. While Canadians are looking for answers in strange times they will use what Boston, New York, and the rest of the USA has used many times before to provide a break from the shock. Sports have time and time again been in the limelight when these tragedies occur as they are something that people lean on to escape for at least a little bit. Canadians will do the same and in typical Canadian fashion the sport that many will lean on will be the most popular sport in Canada. Hockey will play a big role in the recovery of the country and will always be a big part of the Canadian fabric. After cancelling their game on Wednesday the Ottawa Senators hosted the New Jersey Devils in their first game since the tragedy. It was an emotional opening ceremony that honoured the fallen soldiers and allowed many to begin moving on from the events earlier in the week. As the Sens got back to playing hockey it was almost as if it gave permission for the rest of the city to start getting back to normal although never forgetting the two soldiers that were lost in the tragic events. It wasn’t onl Ottawa that honoured the soldiers though as ceremonies in Toronto and Montreal paid tribute to the soldiers as well in the their pregame ceremonies. As Canadians try to move on from the tragedies they are sure to use one of the most powerful healing mechanisms in the world. Although sports are trivial and don’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things they become so much more important in times like these. Teams provide a rallying point for cities or for countries as people can get behind their teams and cheer them on together. That brings together a community that has been rocked by a tragedy and provides everyone in that community with a group of people that they can lean on. More than anything though they can provide an escape, a few hours where there is nothing to think about aside from the game and the two teams playing. sometimes that is what people need the most as they just want to get away from things for a small time and not think about what just happened. That is what sports can provide and what sports have provided when tragedy happens. The NHL will be there this time around to provide many Canadians with an escape from the tragedies that changed have changed a country.


(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Big loss for Boston
Zdeno Chara has gone down with a knee injury and for the Boston Bruins that is a massive loss as their team captain and best defenceman is gone with nobody on the roster that can truly replace Chara’s minutes

Voynov Suspension
In the midst of a sports world that is dealing with violence off of the ice the NHL had little option to suspend Slava Voynov after it was revealed that he had hit his girlfriend and although the case has yet to be proven the NHL acted quickly avoiding much controversy

Vegas rumours again
As the NHL continues to claim that they are not interested in expansion the rumours continue to swirl with the latest being that William Foley, a billionaire in the insurance industry, has been meeting with the NHL to move the Coyotes to Las Vegas



Key Scores:
New York Rangers 4 – 3 New Jersey Devils (OT)
– The Hudson River Rivalry got back at it and it was another great chapter in the long history between these two teams as they fought back and forth for the entire game until Kevin Klein scored the winning goal in OT

Philadelphia Flyers 5 – 3 Pittsburgh Penguins
– For a short time before the game this in-state rivalry took a backseat to the bigger picture as the Flyers and Pens honoured the fallen soldiers killed in Ottawa by playing the Canadian National Anthem before the game

Colorado Avalanche 7 – 3 Vancouver Canucks
– The offence finally woke up for the Avs as they had struggled this year to find that potent attack they had last year with Jarome Iginla getting in on the act scoring twice to lead Colorado to the big win

New Jersey Devils 3 – 2 Ottawa Senators (OT)
– It was an emotional night in Ottawa as their first game since the shooting on Parliament Hill and after a very moving ceremony to start the distraction that fans were hoping for came as the Sens fought to the end but lost to the Devils in overtime


Next Week:
San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks (Sunday October 26th; 8:00 pm ET)
– This Pacific division rivalry is one that both teams know could determine the division title as every game becomes important when trying to get the tiebreaker throughout the year between these two teams

Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Tuesday October 28th; 7:30 pm ET)
– It is a rivalry that is based on region as both teams are only separating by a highway but both will be looking to figure things out this time as neither has really been able to find their Groove yet in the season

Los Angeles Kings vs. Detroit Red Wings (Friday October 31st; 7:30 pm ET)
– The old power takes on the new power in a Friday night matchup as the Red Wings are on the decline in the league but hoping to show they still have what it takes and the Kings are the defending champions only looking to get better

Arizona Coyotes vs. Carolina Hurricanes (Saturday November 1st; 7:00 pm ET)
– The ‘Canes have yet to take home a win this year and by this time they hope to have their first but the Coyotes might be their best shot this year as they continue to struggle and are hoping to add another win and get on a roll

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