NHL Week in Review (November 9-15)

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Once again the fighting debate was sparked in the NHL but this time it was not started by a fight in the NHL. Instead it was a debate that began in the OHL where Connor McDavid injured himself getting into a fight. What makes that incident such an important one is the fact that Connor McDavid is one of the most hyped young hockey players ever. He is considered a “can’t miss” prospect in the NHL draft and many think he could be the next great player along the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby. After earning an exemption to play in the OHL at 15 years old McDavid has been the one to watch for next year’s draft for a very long time. This year he was proving exactly why he is considered the top prospect in the draft. In only 18 games of the OHL season McDavid was able to put up 51 points as he began the season on a tear. It was becoming clear that despite a debate about the first overall pick, Jack Eichel had received a lot of love before the season, he was the one that would go at the top of the draft. His hot streak to start the season had everyone in the OHL looking at different ways to shut him down and try to make sure that McDavid did not beat them. That included getting physical with the young forward and trying to shut him down by giving him no space. That type of physical game can frustrate skilled player and can also frustrate the players trying to be physical, especially if they can’t shut him down. That is what happened this week when McDavid was playing the Mississauga Steelheads when the captain of the Steelheads, Bryson Cianfrone, took a swing at the young Erie Otters star. That is when McDavid made a stupid decision to turn around and drop the gloves. That fight saw McDavid break his hand when he threw a punch that landed on the glass rather than on the chin of his opponent. The injury will keep McDavid out for potentially 6 weeks, which won’t have much effect on the draft but will have an effect on what could have been his biggest showcase. McDavid was a lock for the World Juniors this year and was likely going to be the leader but with the tournament starting on December 26th, McDavid now may not see any ice time for the tournament. Six weeks is just about when the tournament begins and if McDavid can’t make camp before the tournament there is no guarantee that they hold a spot for him in the hopes that he comes back. As important as that tournament will be for McDavid the fight also brought up a long-lasting debate in the NHL. It was not the usual debate though as the focus shifting from whether fighting should be allowed or not and moved to why McDavid fought at all. Superstars don’t fight, it is that simple and whether you agree with fighting in hockey or not the fact is that it is a waste of talent for a top player to fight. It takes one of the best players on the ice off of the ice for a full five minutes and risks injury. Instead it was a long time thought that the best stars in the NHL all had their body guards on the ice. Gretzky had Dave Semenko who fought or hit anyone that tried to come near “The Great One.” It still remains a thought by many, especially as fighting remains in the league, that eveyr great player must have someone around them on their team to take care of the rougher side of the sport. That would free up the star to do what he does best and put up points while making people a little more afraid to try to get rough against the star. McDavid lacked that player to stand behind him and as dumb as his decision to fight was it showed that people will always try to toe the line and if nobody is there to make them pay, whether through a fight or starting to check that player a little harder, they will continue to push the envelope in the hopes that they can get a superstar to do something like McDavid did. In the end though McDavid will be back in the OHL and back at the top of the draft rankings as this incident will only show the inexperience of a young player making a poor decision at a bad time even If it highlighted many things that the NHL is trying to avoid talking about.

 

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

The New Legends
Another class of hall of famers entered the Hockey Hall of Fame this week as Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek, Rob Blake, Mike Modano, Pat Burns, and bill McCreary make up he 2014 HHOF Class

Vegas Rising Again
The rumours about Las Vegas getting a franchise continue to rise up as the latest talk surrounds the rumour that the NHL has already decided on an owner for a new franchise in Las Vegas although the NHL will not confirm the reports

Another Jersey Hoisted
The Montreal Canadiens are a team with the largest history in the NHL and they only added to it this week when they raised Guy Lapointe’s #5 to the rafters joining the likes of Maurice Richard and Jacques Plante

 

 

 

Key Scores:
Toronto Maple Leafs 5 – 3 Ottawa Senators
– The Leafs and Sens got underway in the Battle of Ontario in this make-up game from earlier in the year as the Leafs took the win and continued to play strong after a terrible start to the year for them

Chicago Blackhawks 3 – 2 Tampa Bay Lightning (SO)
– The two more gifted offences in the league couldn’t figure out things in regulation as they went back and forth all game until they finally figured things out in a shootout that the Blackhawks took to get the win

Toronto Maple Leafs 6 – 1 Boston Bruins
– The Leafs have rarely been able to solve the Bruins who seem to always have their number but this time around it was the Leafs’ turn to pile on with a former Bruin getting in on the action as Phil Kessel scored twice in another return to Boston

Detroit Red Wings 4 – 1 Chicago Blackhawks
– It is a classic matchup that is now rarely seen as they no longer reside in the same conference as they take each other n only twice a year now and this time it was the Wings who took advantage of the rare meeting taking the win

 

Next Week:
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers (Monday November 17th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Lightning are on the rise as they have gone to the top of the Atlantic and try to stay there by beating the Rangers who are themselves finding ways to win and moving up the Metropolitan division

St. Louis Blues vs. Boston Bruins (Tuesday November 18th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Bruins and Blues have both been back in the last few years rarely staying out of the top of their divisions and now they face off in an inter-conference match where both teams are looking to get to the top of their divisions

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers (Wednesday November 19th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Philadelphia-New York has always been a good one as it is Broadway versus Broad Street as these two teams meet each other often in the same division and this time it will be for the Flyers to try to move up while the Rangers try to stay at the top

New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Friday November 20th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Islanders were not expected to be here as they have been one of the worst teams in the league for year but now they find themselves taking on the Penguins with first place in the division on the line

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