NHL Week in Review (November 30-December 6)

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This week in the NHL was full of goodbyes and celebrations of great careers as a captain retired and a legend passed away. As Daniel Alfredsson walked away from the game John Beliveau passed away and the concentration, fittingly, was on them for most of the week. Another legend made news though as Martin Brodeur returned to the NHL. Last year Brodeur remained with his one and only team playing with the New Jersey Devils. It was clear though, that his time in New Jersey was limited. They had just traded with the Vancouver Canucks during the 2013 draft for Cory Schneider. He was a young promising goalie that had been the centre of controversy in Vancouver when Roberto Luongo and Schneider began splitting time leaving the Canucks with no true #1 goalie. It was fairly clear that with Brodeur aging and nearing the end of his career, Schneider was going to be the new starting goaltender. The Devils did not want to wait too long as they now had their goalie of the future and no longer had to worry about the potential of Brodeur leaving them without a backup plan. They decided to go into the new season riding their new goalie and with Brodeur’s contract up they left him to make his own decision about his future. Brodeur would no longer be a Devil but many wondered what the next move might be for the NHL’s all-time winningest goalie. He had not been nearly as dominant as he had been in the past as his age was starting to show. He was no longer a goalie that team’s looked to as the true dominant netminder that they could lean on throughout an entire season. For that reason many believed he might just walk away, after all there was not a lot more he could do in the NHL. He had already won Stanley Cups and had broken most major goaltending records. He didn’t have to prove anything else and was sure to be a hall of famer when his time came so there wasn’t a whole lot of reasons for him to stick around. He did not make that decision though as he chose instead to stay in the NHL while he looked to try to find a team to play on. The start of the season had come and gone with two months of the season passing by and no team looking to Brodeur as a solution in net. Last week that changed when the St. Louis Blues called on the veteran netminder to try out for the team. Clearly the Blues liked what they saw and signed Brodeur shortly after. With a new team for the first time in his career Brodeur is setting out to show the NHL that he still has what it takes to be a starting goaltender in the NHL. The solution for the Blues comes after Brian Elliott was placed on injured reserve earlier in the year. Without any true backup plan and Jake Allen representing their only option at goaltender. The Blues decided to go with the veteran goaltender in an attempt to stay in the fight for the Central division. The marriage is working right now as Brodeur has shown signs that he can be a steady goaltender for the Blues if their defence can be strong again for the rest of the year. The addition of Brodeur is an experiment and they will look to keep the experiment going as the goalie tries to continue his career and the Blues try to move closer to a division lead with some veteran help in the net. Through a week of legends one returned to the ice and all eyes will be on Brodeur as he tries to help guide the Blues through a tough spot as Brian Elliott recovers or even possibly traded.

 

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

The loss of a Great
Jean Beliveau was one of the greatest men to ever play in the NHL and it was a lot more than his performance on the ice as his legend off of the ice was what made him great with even opponents calling him “Mr. Beliveau” when they played him

Perfect Send-Off
Daniel Alfredsson had left the Ottawa Senators last year in pursuit of a Stanley Cup but this year an injury kept him off of anyone’s list to sign so he decided to retire and he returned to Ottawa where this week he got to skate one more time in the uniform in a perfect send-off

Dying Breed
The NHL enforcer is a dying breed as less and less teams are willing to waste a roster spot on someone with one skill that is not that useful and this week it was another sign of the changing times when George Parros retired leaving one fewer fighter in the NHL

standings_w8

 

Key Scores:
Tampa Bay Lightning 6 – 3 New York Rangers
– The Lightning and Rangers are establishing a little bit of a rivalry after last year’s playoffs and they continue to build as they go through the year this time with Rangers unable to keep up with the offence of the Lightning

New York Islanders 3 – 2 Ottawa Senators
– The Islanders are starting off their season on a great note as they continue to move up the standings this time with a win over the Senators as they look like the hottest team heading into the halfway point of the season

Nashville Predators 4 – 3 St. Louis Blues
– The Blues gave Martin Brodeur a chance to start in the NHL and in his first game back he did enough to win saving 20 shots but it wasn’t enough as the Blues could not support him falling to the Predators

Toronto Maple Leafs 5 – 2 Vancouver Canucks
– A battle of the two Canadian coasts went to Toronto on Saturday night and the Leafs came out on top as their season seems to be evening out after a terrible start while the Canucks trip did not end the way they wanted

 

Next Week:
New York Islanders vs. Minnesota Wild (Tuesday December 9th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Isles try to continue their great first half of the season as they take on the Wild who are trying to get out of the basement in the Central division where they have sat the entire year unable to get anything going

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings (Wednesday December 10th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Leafs and Red Wings continue their Original Six rivalry as the two teams try to keep pace in the Atlantic division with the Leafs starting to get steadier and the Wings beginning to look like the Red Wings of old

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins (Thursday December 11th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Blackhawks are once again one of the top teams in the league while the Boston Bruins are much the opposite of their usual team sinking fast in the Atlantic Division and trying to get back to the top where they are used to being

St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche (Saturday December 13th; 10:00 pm ET)
– Rarely is it that two legends take on each other and this time it will happen but not necessarily the usual way as Martin Brodeur takes the net against the man whose records he broke in Patrick Roy, the head coach of the Avalanche

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