NHL Week in Review (November 22-28)

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Trade rumours and free agent signing dominate the news in the NHL as the players always take focus but this week someone else caught some of those headlines.

It wasn’t someone on the ice or someone even related to an NHL team as it was instead someone form the NHL offices.

John Collins served as the COO of the NHL since 2006 and to many is an unknown member of the NHL team.

This week Collins decided to leave the league for other opportunities and usually that means little to most fans.

This is slightly different though as Collins has had a very big impact on the league in his time as an executive.

In 2004-05 the NHL didn’t hold a season after labour talks stalled and all of the games throughout the season were cancelled.

Shortly after that Collins joined the league that was in a position where they needed to gain back fans they lost and recover form a lost season.

They were looking to try to compete with the massive leagues in North America and needed to prove that they were a major sports league in North America and that they had what it took to compete with the big leagues.

Collins had his hand in big deals that did exactly that. He was a key part to the NHL signing a 10-year deal with NBC worth $2-billion to carry the broadcasting rights in the USA.

That deal was the largest in the history of the NHL in the USA and has given the NHL an American home until 2021 providing stability in the USA.

He was also a player in the massive $5.2-billion 12-year deal with Rogers to carry the rights in Canada.

It was a massive deal that changed the face of the sport in the NHL’s biggest market as Bell had the rights alongside CBC for years before that.

It has given new exposure to the NHL throughout the country with up to six games every Saturday on TV throughout the country.

Collins was also a key part to multiple sponsorship deals including Coors and GoPro that have given plenty of opportunity to expand the reach of the league.hockey-sidebar

More recently Collins was a part of the revival of the World Cup of Hockey as the league’s attempt to provide an alternative to the World Championship.

He was also a part of the new partnership with MLB Advanced Media, widely recognized as the best digital producers in sports, to handle all of the NHL’s digital properties.

More than any of these accomplishments though is Collins’ role in the NHL’s outdoor games that have been a major reason for the large growth of the league since the lost season.

Collins was a major part of trying to give the NHL a signature event that drew more than the average fan to the NHL.

They looked to take the NHL back to hockey’s roots in an outdoor game that could bring the league to unique venues and provide a unique experience for the fans.

It almost didn’t happen as teams didn’t want to give up a home game and venues didn’t want to host a game in the middle of winter.

That was until Buffalo provided a venue and Sidney Crosby travelled with his team to play the Sabres.

The game was originally seen as a gimmick but since then the Winter Classic has become an annual event and has even been expanded to include a Heritage Classic and Stadium Series games that are generally popular games.

Along with the outdoor games came the HBO show 24/7 that exposed NHL fans and brought new fans into the life of hockey players.

That show won an Emmy and has grown the exposure of hockey throughout North America.

Collins was a big part of all of this and his legacy is a big one even if most people won’t hear about it for much longer than this week.

He has impacted the league more than most and although he might not get the recognition for much longer but the league has a lot to thank him for as they are left in a better position than when he arrived.

Overtime
(Other News this week in hockey)

Hurt Again
Carey Price was returning from an injury this year but he once again went down and will be out a month as the Canadiens’ best player is once again not on the ice putting the pressure on the rest of the team to keep their great season going

Canadiens’ Man
In more Montreal news the Canadiens gave Marc Bergevin a 6-year extension after he took over a basement dwelling team and made them into constant contenders as their General Manager of his hometown team

Marleau Reaches 1000
Patrick Marleau may not be lighting up the scoresheet anymore but that doesn’t stop him from entering the history books as he earned his 1,000th point in the NHL this week joining players like Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Jaromir Jagr in the 1,000 point club

Kane Streaking
It is a complicated year for Patrick Kane after the accusations this year but since the charges have been dismissed he has been the best player in the league breaking the record for most consecutive games with a point by an American player

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Key Scores:
Boston Bruins 4 – 3 Toronto Maple Leafs (SO)
– It is hard to see a game between these two teams and not think of the epic playoff collapse that the Leafs continue to try to distance themselves from by beat the Bruins although it wasn’t to be this time with the Bruins getting the win in a close game

Montreal Canadiens 5 – 1 New York Rangers
– The top two teams in the east faced-off and the Canadiens showed just how good they can be with a big win but it was a costly one as well with Price going down with another injury that will keep him out for a month

Boston Bruins 4 – 3 New York Rangers
– The NHL’s now annual Thanksgiving Showdown featured two old school American teams as the Rangers took another loss in a bad week for the team after rising to the top of their division and the Bruins took a big win against a good team

New Jersey Devils 3 – 2 Montreal Canadiens (OT)
– Without their steady hand in net the Canadiens seemed like they were doing fine until the Devils came back scoring two late goals to tie it and winning it in overtime as New Jersey gained some confidence in beating the best team in the league

Next Week:
Vancouver Canucks vs. Los Angeles Kings (Tuesday December 1st; 10:30 pm ET)
– The Canucks have been stuck in the middle of the Pacific division this year and they are hoping to work their way back up the standings as they take on the best team in the division hoping to prove that they belong

New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders (Wednesday December 2nd; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Rangers were flying high a few weeks ago while the Islanders were beginning to fall as they look to work their way back to the top of the division taking on the top team in the division in the Battle of New York

Chicago Blackhawks vs, Ottawa Senators (Thursday December 3rd; 7:30 pm ET)
– Both the Blackhawks and Senators are trying their best to work their way back up the standings into contention and they are doing a pretty good job of it but only one team can continue as they face-off this week

Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings (Saturday December 5th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Predators and Red Wings have had some run-ins in the playoffs when both were in the west and now they only face each other twice a year as both will look to get a win and stay in the hunt in both of their divisions

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