NHL Week in Review (January 3-9)

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The All-Star Game is getting a different type of buzz around it but it is less excitement and more curiosity about how the new rules are going to effect the product.

After all the product has never been all that good as the all-star game, like any other all-star game, has always been the least competitive game in any season.

The NHL is attempting to bring some excitement with their new 3-on-3 tournament format that features four teams to represent each division.

The voting system also changed as the fans were allowed to vote for one play in each division.

The leaders in those votes would be named the captains of their respective teams while the NHL would decide on the rest of the team.

The new system has garnered plenty of interest just for the fact that many are wondering what it can provide in terms of entertainment.

It might not fix the issue of the all-star game, after all great offence is never the issue it’s that nobody on the ice is playing hard because it doesn’t matter.

Still it provides some sense of anticipation for the game later this month and so this week when the rosters were officially announced there were plenty waiting to see what was about to happen.

First the league announced the captains of each team as voted by the fans on January 2nd and it was an interesting group.

There were the good options in Alexander Ovechkin and Patrick Kane who will captain their divisional teams after two great starts to the year.

Then there was the decision where fans refused to listen to their favourite as Jaromir Jagr was named the Atlantic captain.

Jagr requested that the fans stop voting for him because of the new format, somewhat joking and somewhat not he claimed he might not survive a 3-on-3 tournament at 43-years-old.

The final announcement was one that the NHL was most likely dreading when they opened the voting to the fans.hockey-sidebar

John Scott will be the Pacific Division captain after a campaign that put the enforcer at the top of the vote getters throughout the league.

It is not that Scott is a bad person or that he doesn’t represent the NHL but he is far from an offensive powerhouse.

With a total of one point all year, Scott doesn’t match the level of the other captains and doesn’t really belong on the ice in a 3-on-3 tournament where offence is king.

He will enter his first all-star game as proof that maybe the fans shouldn’t be involved in the voting as he might not have much of an impact.

As for the rest of the rosters the league announced them later with much of the same people that have been there in the past.

Almost all were deserving but the rosters were reduced this year to fit the format and so inevitably there were some players that had to be left off of the all-star teams.

There are plenty of opinions about the biggest snub of the all-star game but many immediately named one player to that category.

Sidney Crosby will not be attending the game this year as the best player in hockey won’t be seen in Nashville.

It could be an issue for selling the game in a growing market but electing Crosby would have simply been for name alone.

Crosby may be the greatest player in the game but he hasn’t shown it this year ranking 41st in points and 61st in goals.

He doesn’t belong in the all-star game this year even if he goes down as the greatest of all-time.

The all-star game is only a few weeks away and this time around there are plenty of eyes on the game wondering how it will turn out.

More than that though many will be asking why Scott is there and Crosby is not.

In the end it may take the all-star game further into irrelevancy but at least they are attempting to change something to avoid a wasted break and try to provide some entertainment.

(Other News this week in hockey)

Trading Youth
The trade deadline is about a month away but that didn’t stop the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators from swapping young stars with Nashville getting Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets getting defenceman Seth Jones

Expansion Talks
Expansion seemed to have ground to a halt in recent months after only two cities applied but reports say that a decision could be made soon with a special meeting scheduled next month to make decisions on expanding

Stars Keeping Their Man
The Dallas Stars are having one of their best seasons ever and a lot of it has to do with Jim Nill’s ability to put together a competitive team and he was rewarded for it receiving a five-year contract extension as he hopes to continue his work to earn a Stanley Cup

Drouin Wants Out
There was a lot of excitement when the Lightning drafted Jonathan Drouin as many though the pairing of him and Steven Stamkos was going to be great but so far it hasn’t worked out and now Drouin wants out of Tampa Bay requesting a trade this week


Key Scores:
New York Islanders 6 – 5 Dallas Stars
– The Islanders and the Stars are two young teams that are finding their way this year as both teams are at or near the top of their divisions and as they mat the Islanders took the win with the Stars coming up just short

Washington Capitals 3 – 2 Boston Bruins
– The Capitals have risen to the top of their division and they aren’t looking back as they took another win this time against the Bruins who fell short in the game and continue to try to claw back into the fight for their division

Florida Panthers 3 – 2 Ottawa Senators
– The Panthers and Senators have both had their moments this season and the Panthers is right now as they were able to beat the Senators and move to the top of the Atlantic division while the Sens fell further behind

Washington Capitals 4 – 3 New York Rangers (OT)
– The Capitals and Rangers put on a show worthy of a match-up between two top teams as they went back and forth with the Caps tying the game in the last seconds and taking the win in overtime thanks to Alexander Ovechkin

Next Week:
Detroit Red Wings vs. Los Angeles Kings (Monday January 11th; 10:30 pm ET)
– Los Angeles seems to be on a processional march to a division title while the Red Wings are trying to fight it out in the ever-changing Atlantic as they test themselves against one of the most consistent teams this year

New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders (Thursday January 14th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The battle of New York goes once again and like it has been all year the game is between two good teams both near the top of their division as they try to take over second place with a win against each other

Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild (Friday January 15th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The rivalry that was created when these two teams were put in the same division hasn’t panned out but mainly because the Jets have failed to put together a tough team and that continues as the Wild look to get further up the standings

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins (Saturday January 16th; 7:00 pm ET)
– It is hard to see these two teams and not think about the playoff game that changed both teams it was also a game that created a bit of a rivalry and although the Leafs sit near the bottom of the division they will still look to gain a moral victory

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