NHL Week in Review (February 1-7)

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The NHL is getting closer to one of the busiest days in every season as the Trade Deadline is less than a month away. With the trade deadline looming the trade rumours start to develop and the phones of every GM begin to work in double time. Teams are all looking to unload players and build for the future or build for a playoff push. As they continue to look for those pieces of the puzzle teams get a lot more active and names begin to pop up about potential players that could be available. The name that has begun to pop up more than anyone else this time around is Evander Kane. The star of the Winnipeg Jets has been in this position before as he has regularly been in the news regarding being traded. For him though, it is a much bigger issue than just a team trying to sell one of their best players. Kane was originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009 and was the young star who was going to lead the franchise in the near future. The Then the Thrashers were sold and only two seasons into his career he moved to Winnipeg. He became one of the champions of the move when he expressed happiness to be playing in Canada in front of Canadian fans. That first season in his new home was his best ever and the Jets had a new superstar to build the team around. The honeymoon did not last though as Kane was the new face of the franchise and thought that he should be paid accordingly. That led to long contract negotiations before he signed a 6-year deal worth $31.5 million. The long talks had many believing that Kane didn’t want to stay in Winnipeg. Then came the photo that seemed to push everyone over the edge on the young star. During the NHL lockout Kane posted a picture of him holding stacks of cash in Las Vegas. For a group of people claiming that they weren’t being paid enough and therefore going through labour negotiations, this was not the image that anyone wanted to see. With hockey fans already upset at the long CBA negotiations the fact that a player was brandishing that much cash and almost bragging about it did not sit well with the fans. So Kane began to be labelled as a spoiled brat who had plenty of talent but knew about it. As fans began to turn on him his performance dipped and his relationship with head coach Claude Noel began to turn as well. The injury bug began to bite not long after and Kane was forced to miss big chunks of the 2013-14 season. With a new head coach not much changed as Paul Maurice also saw something that he didn’t like and made Kane a healthy scratch near the end of the year. This season hasn’t been much different for Kane as he has once again had injury problems and while on the ice hasn’t produced. Meanwhile another photo of Kane doing push ups with stacks of money on his back was shared through his Twitter account. This has all left a sour taste in the mouths of fans in Winnipeg as their superstar is not living up to the hype that he gained in his first year and while his performance dips he continues to make poor decisions off of the ice. Kane then got into a fight with Dustin Byfuglien and that seemed to be the last straw for the Jets. They have put him on the trade wire and are taking phone calls for him but one more snag may put an end to trade talks before the deadline. This week Kane opted for surgery on his injured knee, surgery that will keep him out for the rest of the season. That could keep him as a Jet until at least the off-season as no team looking to get one piece for the playoffs wants a player that can only help them next year. The trade market for Kane before March 2nd is not going to be very big anymore but his time in Winnipeg is likely over. Whether he leaves for a team that is fine with only seeing him next year or they wait until the off-season to trade him Kane’s time as a Jet seems to be coming to an end as his off-ice issues have taken over and for Winnipeg are no longer worth what he brings on the ice.

Overtime
(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Lundqvist Out Three Weeks
The New York Rangers are fighting to stay in the playoff hunt right now but they got some bad news as their star player Henrik Lundqvist will miss 4-6 weeks after he took a shot to the throat earlier this week

Hockey returns to ESPN
The NHL will partner with ESPN in the near future as reports are claiming that the World Cup of Hockey will be seen in the USA on the major network that the NHL hopes will expand the viewership of their sport in the USA

New Stats for NHL
The NHL will take the step towards the new age as they will introduce 35 new Advanced Stats on February 20th to their website taking a bigger step towards this new age of stats than any other league has done before

Las Vegas Ticket Drive
The expansion talk continues on every week and Las Vegas remains at the helm of all of these talks including this week when Bill Foley, who is the billionaire trying to bring a team to the city, announced that he will start a season ticket drive to convince the NHL that they belong in Nevada

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Key Scores:
Edmonton Oilers 5 – 4 San Jose Sharks (SO)
– The Edmonton Oilers are once again sitting near the bottom of the league and at this point have nothing to lose as they will not likely make the playoffs this year and they showed how little they have to lose with a shootout win against the second place Sharks

New York Rangers 3 – 2 Boston Bruins
– The Rangers are without their best player right now as Henrik Lundqvist was hurt in their Saturday game but they didn’t seem to miss him all that much as they beat the Bruins as they hope to have the same success without Lundqvist

Detroit Red Wings 3 – 0 Colorado Avalanche
– The old rivalry saw a few sparks in this game with Nathan MacKinnon dropping the gloves for the first time in his young career but it wasn’t enough for the Avs to take the win as they dropped another one to the Red Wings

Columbus Blue Jackets 7 – 1 St. Louis Blues
– The Blue Jackets are not the team they were when they surprised everyone a year ago as they have struggled to stay in the hunt but they broke a long losing streak in fashion beating the Blue 7-1 and hoping that it will spark a comeback

Next Week:
Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues (Sunday February 8th; 12:30 pm ET)
– The Blues are coming off of a bad loss to the Blue Jackets but they will be sure to be up for this game as they take on their long-time rivals while looking to pull away from the Blackhawks in the division

Minnesota Wild vs. Winnipeg Jets (Tuesday February 10th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Jets are in the hunt for the playoffs and now they take on their regional rivals in Minnesota looking to stay in the hunt and separate themselves even more from the Wild in the wild card race

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Wednesday February 11th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Canucks and Blackhawks have a short but complicated history as they have put together some of the best playoff series in recent memory but they will face-off against each other again as both look to remain in the hunt

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens (Saturday February 14th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Leafs are in big trouble right now as they continue to drop games and fall down the standings as they will enter a rivalry game looking to make their way back as they take on the Canadiens who try to stay at the top of the division

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