NHL Week in Review (December 13-19)

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The Lou Marsh Trophy is an award that not many people have heard of but it is one of the biggest in Canadian sports.

Named after Canadian athlete and one of the first sports writers in Canada the award is presented to the best Canadian athlete every year.

It essentially names the best Canadian born athlete from year to year and in Canada that can be a tricky thing to name.

The first place that every sports fan in Canada goes to is hockey and there are any number of NHL players that could earn the title.

After all they are the most well-known athletes from Canada and accomplish great things every year.

That is especially true in Olympic years where they can win gold for their country and potentially a Stanley Cup in the same year.

That I a challenge to beat as they take so much of the focus every year in Canadian sports.

Every year there are a number of players that can be named the best in the league or the best in Canada but the Lou Marsh trophy doesn’t fall into that media trap.

It is one award that truly takes a look at the entire sports world and sees where Canadians fit in as important contributors.

For that reason an NHL player winning the Lou March Trophy has become a rare thing.

In fact, the award was established in 1936 but the first hockey player to win the award was Maurice Richard in 1957.

It is an award established to recognize those athletes that made a significant impact on their sport.

Despite their big names and their skill making a big impact on the NHL or the international stage means something more for a hockey play.

They have to be the best player in the world and have such a big year that everyone takes notice.

If not than the award usually goes to amateur athletes who work to make an impact and get relatively little back.hockey-sidebar

Last year bobsled pilot Kaillie Humphries took the award after winning gold in Sochi and becoming the first female pilot of a four-man bobsleigh.

She made a difference in the world of sports by breaking a gender barrier and became the face of the Canadian Olympic Team, giving her plenty 1of reason to win the award.

The type of impact that these athletes make is spectacular because they get little back for their sacrifice.

That makes it tougher for the high paid hockey players who still love their sport but get plenty back.

This year the barrier for hockey players was broken and a Canadian star joined names like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and Sidney Crosby as a winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy.

That star was Carey Price who took home the top prize for a Canadian athlete after a year to remember.

Price was by far the best goalie in the league throughout the 2014-15 season and he was rewarded properly.

He became only the second player in the history of the Canadiens, a history that spans beyond the NHL, to win four awards in a season.

He was named the best player in the league with the Hart Memorial Trophy, the best goaltender in the league with the Vezina Trophy, the best player in the league as named by the NHLPA with the Ted Lindsay Award, and he had the least gold allowed with the William M. Jennings Trophy.

This is the standard that the Lou Marsh Trophy has as it seemed undeniable that he was the greatest Canadian athlete throughout the year.

Unfortunately that season has made way to an end of the year to forget for Price. An injury has him sidelined for the past few months and the Canadiens are missing him.

They are no longer the best team in the league but are staying near the top and when Price comes back he will prove why he earned the award as the best Canadian athlete with the team likely only going to get better with him in net.

Overtime
(Other News this week in hockey)

Johanson on the Block?
The Columbus Blue Jackets seemed to be building a contender and Ryan Johansen was the key piece but after another bad year they might be looking to change things up as rumours have begun around a trade for Johansen after he was a healthy scratch earlier this week

Streak Ended
Patrick Kane looked like he was never going to be stopped this year putting together a 26-game point streak but that point streak was stopped at 26-games against the Colorado Avalanche cutting his record attempt very short, the record is 51 games set by Wayne Gretzky

Young Stars Leave for Finland
It is always a big debate for teams whether they should see their young stars leave to play in the World Juniors or to keep them close at hand in the AHL but this week Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen and William Nylander along with Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen were given the chance to play for their countries

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Key Scores:
Chicago Blackhawks 4 – 0 Vancouver Canucks
– The Blackhawks and Canucks have a more recent history of hate that developed in the playoffs and they faced off again this week with the Blackhawks taking the win as they continue to climb up the standings in their division after a tough start

Washington Capitals 4 – 1 Pittsburgh Penguins
– It is a rivalry that has cooled recently with Crosby taking over as the best plyer in the NHL but this year he and his Penguins are not playing at their usual level and Alexander Ovechkin and his Capitals took advantage with a big win to move them to the top of their division

Los Angeles Kings 3 – 0 Montreal Canadiens
– The Canadiens and the Kings mark two of the best teams in the league right now but the Canadiens are getting all of the attention which the Kings took issue with after they proved that they are the better team winning this matchup

Toronto Maple Leafs 5 – 0 Los Angeles Kings
– The Leafs have been struggling but Jonathan Bernier came through in his first win of the season in the NHL keeping the top team in the Pacific division scoreless while taking a rare win in the 2015 season

Next Week:
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers (Sunday December 20th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Rangers are trying to find their way back to the top of the division while the Capitals are sitting right there and hoping to stay there for the rest of the year as they begin to fend off all challengers for the Metropolitan division title

Winnipeg Jets vs. Edmonton Oilers (Monday December 21st; 9:00 pm ET)
– The Jets were supposed to be a much better team and they are looking to show that with little time to get back while the Oilers have been up and down as they look for a win to go back on the upswing before the end of the year

San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings (Tuesday December 22nd; 10:30 pm ET)
– The Pacific division is rarely talked about but a great battle is brewing as the Kings sit on top was they have been all year and the Sharks attempting to get their season in high gear sitting right behind their in-state rival

Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators (Saturday December 26th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Wings and the Preds put together a great playoff series when the Wings were still in the west and now they face-off again as both teams are sitting in the middle of their division trying to move their way up the ladder

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