NHL Week in Review (March 1-7)

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The NHL trade deadline has come and gone as one of the most exciting days in the NHL calendar became a lot less exciting. The trade deadline this year lacked any huge moves that changed a team for the better or for the worst. There were plenty of moments to talk about including Chris Stewart learning he was traded to Buffalo on live television and a note written to the Minnesota Wild by Jordan Leopold’s daughter asking to get her dad back, a wish that was granted. There was also an unfortunate incident in screening an inappropriate tweet on TSN that angered the Maple Leafs. It was an eventful day but a day that was eventful for every reason other than the names involved in trades. For the most part teams swapped similar players or gave away a little something to gain a little something. There were not many moves to speak of but there were a number of moves that didn’t happen that could have changed the face of the day immediately. The one team that was out there more than any other was the one that has been out there for the last few weeks. The Toronto Maple Leafs seemed to be the one team that was mentioned more often than anyone else on deadline day thanks to the two players that they reportedly had available. The entire day was full of speculation about whether or not the Leafs were going to trade Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. The speculation started weeks ago as the Leafs had reportedly been preparing to blow-up their team in recent months. With the aim of starting over in the next season the idea was to trade away their two top players to get younger and rebuild the team. It would have been a big haul had either of these players changed teams but in the end both remain in Toronto. After deadline day the GM Dave Nonis had to do something that can make or break a GM. With rumours swirling around throughout the day and for weeks before the deadline in one of the biggest media markets for the NHL it is sure that both players had learned what their futures could have been. That can upset a lot of players as it seems like they are being shopped around and aren’t wanted in their team any longer. No player wants to play on a team that doesn’t want them and finding that extra gear to end the season. That extra gear is what the GM is required to find when he steps in front of the microphones after trade deadline. With the rumours swirling and nothing happening the GM is supposed to ensure the players that heard their names that there was no real chance that they were gone. In the case of the Leafs it was Nonis trying to show Phaneuf, the player with the most rumours on the day, that they weren’t trying to get rid of him. Nonis claimed that they were not simply trying to sell him off but that they were hearing offers for him. In other words they were willing to get rid of him but were not actively looking to get rid of him meaning that they still wanted him on the team. If the price was right they would have traded their captain but obviously no team offered what they wanted and Nonis did not pull off the trade. Whether or not Nonis is telling the truth about what they were trying to do it was an attempt to keep one of his top players, despite what most fans believe, playing at a high level. There were plenty more GMs doing this same thing the day after trade deadline and some will have success doing it while others will lose the faith in their management that could lead to issues in the off-season as players could leave or request a trade meaning that teams might lose some good players. Either way, the talk is over now and teams are settling in for the playoff hunt leading up to the second season. Some teams got better leading up to the deadline and will try to solidify their spot among the playoff teams while others are now looking to a new season in the hopes that they can build something for the future.

(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Panthers Goaltending Woes
It is not the ideal situation when the starting goaltender goes down the with an injury but the Panthers saw something different when Roberto Luongo went down followed soon after by backup goaltender Al Montoya leading Florida to hold tryouts for the backup position

Leafs vs. Media
The Trade Deadline is always a big day in Canada as the sports networks take most of the day to report on the moves and during TSN’s coverage a mistake was made when the screeners missed an inappropriate tweet that made it on air and led some of the Maple Leafs to threaten legal action

Injury Bug Biting
The NHL is getting ready for the final playoff push but for some teams it is going to be a lot tougher as players are beginning to get the injury bug with Eric Nystrom, Dustin Byfuglien, Trevor Daley, David Clarkson, and Brett Connolly set to miss some time


Key Scores:
Winnipeg Jets 5 – 2 Los Angeles Kings
– The Jets are in a fight for the playoffs this year and they have a good shot as they took out the Kings in an important game for both teams that resulted in the Jets taking two points and moving closer to a playoff spot

New York Rangers 4 – 1 Nashville Predators
– The Rangers have been moving up the ladder for some time now and as they sit in second place in the division they took on the best team in hockey and they took the win to increase their chances at a playoff spot

Calgary Flames 4 – 3 Boston Bruins (SO)
– The Flames are the one Alberta team that has given hope the province as they have risen from the bottom of the league to a playoff contending team and they proved that in beating the Bruins in a shootout

Florida Panthers 4 – 3 New York Islanders (SO)
– The Panthers have often fallen out of the playoffs by now but they are far from it at this point in the season with a win over the Islanders proving that they may have the ability to earn a spot in the playoffs after all

Next Week:
Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins (Sunday March 8th; 12:30 pm ET)
– The Bruins are holding on to a thin hope of the playoffs after a mid-season funk while the Red Wings are keeping hold of their 23-year playoff streak as they face off looking to better their position

New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders (Tuesday March 10th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The battle of New York has been great all season and has proven to be the most important rivalry in the NHL with both teams fighting for the top of the division in what could be a preview of a classic playoff matchup

Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks (Thursday March 12th; 10:30 pm ET)
– The Predators have been the best team in the league so far but lately have been showing some signs of weakness lately as they try to get back on track against the Sharks who remain fighting for their playoff lives

Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Saturday March 14th; 1:00 pm ET)
– As the Bruins hold a small lead in the wild card race they won’t get an easy road to earning their spot as they take on the Penguins who have shaken off their struggles to take a top three spot in the Metropolitan division

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