NHL Week in Review (November 23-29)

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Teams in the NHL are constantly adjusting to the new way of doing things as the NHL continues to change around them. It wasn’t too long ago that teams did not have to worry about players leaving their team at any point. When a player was drafted by a team he stayed with that team for his entire career. The only time that the player left was when the team no longer wanted him near the end of their career. That used to create a connection with players and the ability to follow a player the entire way through their career. Then free agency became one of the biggest days of the year and money got in the way. Teams began to look at free agency as a legitimate way to create a contender quickly. The money started to flow and teams started to off big paydays to players that had decided to explore their options. Rightfully so the players began looking at the big paydays and realized that free agency could be their big payday. They started to go into free agency looking for that big contract and many got exactly that. It created a different attitude in hockey as fans could no longer latch on to one player throughout their entire careers. That player could easily be gone at any point as not only free agency grew but the fear of these big contracts grew as well. Teams began trading top players, that would usually be untouchable, for fear that they were going to leave in free agency and the team would get nothing for them. Any player was set to leave at any moment and the connection to players slipped fast. Instead it was just loving the team and whoever they ended up with in that particular season. Many teams struggled to deal with this new NHL as they could find players that the may be able to build around for the future but could not keep these players. The year that a rookie contract was up was the year that the young building block left. It was not only the veterans that were affected, as there young players were also affected by the new rules of the NHL. Recently though NHL teams have found their way around this new NHL and determined a way to keep players on their team for years. It is a risky strategy though as teams take massive gambles on players in hopes that they pay off. The new strategy is simply to sign players to long-term contracts that keep them on the team for 5 or more years. These contracts come with big money as many players do not like to be locked into a team that long. They generally prefer contracts that allow them to play the free agent market and earn a bigger payday. That means that teams have to create big contracts for these players to stay and that means a lot of money being paid for the hope that a player stays at the same level or grows into a better player. The risk only increases when you take into account the history of big money, making some players less motivated along with the risk of a career threatening injury at any moment. The Giving out that big money for multiple years can be a very dangerous move for teams but it is the more popular thing to do in the new NHL. Teams continue to give out these contracts as they see it as the only way to keep their best players on their team. They are not completely wrong though as free agency continues to be one of the biggest days of the year and teams look to find a way to prevent their top players for leaving. To do that they need to provide the money that a player thinks he will get through free agency. It is the new reality in the NHL and although it may not be the best way it is still the way that loyalty is done as the money in the NHL continues to grow.

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

The loss of a Great
The NHL lost a legend this week with the death of Pat Quinn who was a great defenceman and great coach in the NHL but lost a fight against cancer as the “Big Irishman” was remembered as a great hockey guy and a great man throughout the week

Alfie to retire
With no teams seeming to be calling Daniel Alfredsson who continues to suffer from back problems is set to retire as the former Ottawa captain will make it official before a senators game next week

Brodeur’s Comeback Attempt
Martin Brodeur has not been able to find a home for most of the year as a free agent but he has found a shot as a St. Louis Blues tryout goaltender with the league’s winningest goaltender tries to make his way back to the NHL

standings-w1

Key Scores:
Vancouver Canucks 4 – 1 Chicago Blackhawks
– The Canucks continued their climb back to the top of the division beating one of the top teams in the league taking out the Blackhawks with the Canucks moving to within striking distance of the division lead

New York Islanders 4 – 3 Washington Capitals (OT)
– The Islanders are proving that they are for real as they continue to add more wins to their record this time against the Capitals getting past the Caps in overtime and taking two more points in the season

New York Rangers 3 – 0 Philadelphia Flyers
– The NHL once again took on Thanksgiving weekend with the Thanksgiving Showdown between the Flyers and rangers where the Rangers came out on top shutting out the Flyers and taking two points from their division rivals

Toronto Maple Leafs 6 – 2 Toronto Maple Leafs
– The Leafs continue to be the most confusing team in the NHL as they look terrible one night and unstoppable the next and on Saturday it was a good night putting up 6 goals against the Caps and taking the win

 

Next Week:
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers (Monday December 1st; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Lightning are looking to stay at the top of the Atlantic Division while the Rangers are looking to move up the Metropolitan division as the two face-off in what is becoming a great matchup throughout the year

St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Wednesday December 3rd; 8:00 pm ET)
– The division rivals face-off once again as both teams sit at the top of the Central division for another year and continue to fight for supremacy as two of the best teams in the league and one of the best rivalries in the league

Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Thursday December 4th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Canucks are on the rise as they are beginning to challenge for their division lead and they try to continue that trend against the Penguins who remain near the top of the Metropolitan division

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Los Angeles Kings (Saturday December 6th; 4:00 pm ET)
– The Flyers continue to struggle to get any rhythm but they will try t o start something against the Kings who have been up and down all season and remain out of the top of the Pacific division

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