NHL Week in Review (Nov. 29-Dec. 5)

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The announcement of the all-star changes a couple of weeks ago have brought plenty of debate over the relevance of the game and the effect that the changes will have.

It also started the preparation for the voting period and a new format meant a new voting format.

The new format meant that every division was going to get their own all-star team in the 3-on-3 tournament.

The voting then was changed to reflect the changes allowing fans to vote for one player in each division while the rest of the players were to be selected by NHL Hockey Operations, ensuring that one player from every team makes the all-star game.

The player voted in by the fans will also act as the captain of the team. Voting in the all-star games throughout the major leagues in North America as fans want a say but the leagues don’t want to give them that much of a say.

The league wants the real all-stars in the game and not a display of the home team’s third-line players.

The danger when fans vote is that someone will make it in that just doesn’t fit and isn’t really an all-star but instead a fan favourite.

It leaves deserving players out of the equation and doesn’t display the best the league has to offer.

It is just an all-star game and doesn’t mean a lot but players use their all-star status to negotiate better offers and it is often a big reason for players making the Hall of Fame, as long as they have enough appearances.

It can lead to bonuses in a player’s contract not to mention that the fans who go to these games want to see the best players in the game.

The fear of the NHL is that non-deserving players will get to the game and ultimately embarrass the league in a game that should be a display of the best parts of the league.

So far this year that fear is coming true as John Scott is currently leading the voting for the NHL all-star game.

Scott is, by all accounts, a great guy and the fans clearly love him wherever he goes.

He seems to be the epitome of a hockey guy, a humble grinder who goes out there and does what he’s asked.

The problem is that he is by no means the best player in the Pacific Division or even the best player on the Arizona Coyotes.

In all Scott has played seven total games this season with one point and 18 penalty minutes.hockey-sidebar

He is one of the last surviving tough guys in the league and although he doesn’t just go out to fight he isn’t depended upon to produce anything for the Coyotes.

Yet fans have bound together to vote for Scott to represent the Pacific division as the division’s team captain in Nashville.

It’s nothing against Scott and the love that the fans have for him but it all gets so much worse when the format is brought up.

If Scott continues to be the top vote getter he will be required to play in wide open hockey in a game that some skilled players don’t want to be a part of.

It is a tiring thing to play 3-on-3 and Jaromir Jagr has already stated that he won’t be going whether he gets voted or selected as he is too old to go through that.

Scott will not be able to go through two games of 3-on-3, if the Pacific can win their first game, and will likely be a liability to the team rather than a great addition.

It is far from the end of the world and could be a great story for a grinder to be shown so much love from the fans but this is supposed to be a new and exciting time for the league’s worst game.

The new format is supposed to breathe new life into the game but having Scott there will not be that new life in the game.

It will highlight the holes in the voting system, of which there are many, and will highlight just how pointless the all-star game is, which is far from what the league wants to do with this game.

Scott seems like a great guy who obviously has the skill to play in the NHL but he is not an all-star even if he is a fan favourite.

Overtime
(Other News this week in hockey)

Juniors Outdoors
The 2018 World Junior tournament will take place in Buffalo and reports are that they are planning an outdoor game in the city that began the outdoor games with USA and Canada reportedly set to face-off

Still at the Top
Patrick Kane continues to have the season of his career after a tumultuous off-season as he is now holds the record for most consecutive games with a point by an American player and is approaching the all-time NHL mark set by Mats Sundin at 30 games

A Leafs’ First
There are few things that can be stated to be a first in the long history of the Toronto Maple Leafs but Garret Sparks can put his name in that book after earning a shutout in his first game becoming the first Leaf goalie to earn a shutout in his debut

Lightning Extension
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been enjoying a good period of success and a lot has to do with their coaching which the team understands and is why Jon Cooper signed an extension this week even amid a bad season so far

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Key Scores:
Toronto Maple Leafs 3 – 0 Edmonton Oilers
– It was supposed to be the night that Connor McDavid returned home to play the team he used to follow but instead, with McDavid hurt, it became a debut for Garret Sparks who earned a shutout in his first game in the NHL, a Maple Leafs first

Los Angeles Kings 2 – 1 Vancouver Canucks (OT)
– The Canucks are trying to get to the top of the Pacific division but to get there they need to have success against the Kings which they couldn’t do this time around as they took a point but dropped the game in overtime

New York Islanders 2 – 1 New York Rangers (SO)
– The battle of New York means a lot more with both teams playing far better than they used to be as the Islanders came out on top this time around with both teams fighting for the top of the Metropolitan Division

Los Angeles Kings 5 – 3 Pittsburgh Penguins
– If the Penguins want to compete this year they need to start beating some of the best teams which they couldn’t do this time around as they lost to the Kings who are leading the Pacific division and continue on an under the radar run

Next Week:
Ottawa Senators vs. Florida Panthers (Tuesday December 8th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Panthers are climbing and they want to continue that pattern as they take on the Sens who did their own climbing earlier in the season and are now trying to hold on to their spot among the best in the Atlantic

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens (Wednesday December 9th; 7:30 pm ET)
– It is a very old rivalry and in only a month the fight will be taken outside at Foxborough as the Bruins host the Canadiens in the Winter Classic but first a little taste of one of the oldest rivalries in the sport

Minnesota Wild vs. Arizona Coyotes (Friday December 11th; 9:00 pm; ET)
– The Wild and the Coyotes are sitting in great position in both of their divisions but there is always room for improvement as they try to take the win in this game and continue their strong seasons

New York Rangers vs. Calgary Flames (Saturday December 12th; 10:00 pm ET)
– The Rangers are one of the best teams in the league and they continue their strong season while the Flames are disappointing after a promising season last year as they hope to begin their climb up the division standings against the Rangers

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