NHL Week in Review (January 24-30)

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The NHL All-Star break is usually a time for fun and to celebrate the game of hockey as the best players in the league gather in one place.

It is a time where these players get to play with people they have never played with and show the skill that makes them the best in the world.

It is not necessarily the most important game that any will play this year and more often than not it becomes a time to meet up with old friends and have fun playing without the pressure of meaningful games.

It is simply a time to feature the league and forget about the big storylines before the second half of the season begins.

This year’s all-star break was far different though as the league was under major scrutiny from the time they announced the captains until the break.

The reason being that the new format they had created left the fans to decide the captains for the four all-star teams to play in the 3-on-3 tournament.

The problem with that was the rise of a campaign to elect John Scott to the all-star game despite the fact that Scott is the furthest thing from an all-star.

It is not that he isn’t a great guy and clearly a good hockey player, he is in the NHL, but rather that he is not a playmaker or a goal scorer and doesn’t fit the bill of one of the best players in the game.

He is a tough guy in an era where tough guys are less welcomed in the league than ever before.

With a total of one point all year, Scott is not the guy that the NHL wants to represent them in a weekend that is supposed to highlight the best players in the game.

It is not the result that the league was looking for but what followed was the strangest part of the entire story.

Reports surfaced that the league and the Coyotes asked that he decline the invitation to the All-Star Game and make room for a better player.

Of course Scott refused, as anyone would, instead choosing to attend the game as a captain and enjoy what is likely the only all-star game he will ever be a part of in his NHL career.

Then Scott was traded from Arizona to Montreal and questions began circling the trade and his eligibility.hockey-sidebar

With Scott moving to a new conference and new division the question became whether or not he could still be the captain of a division he was no longer a part of.

Not only that but after the trade he was sent to St. John’s of the AHL and was no longer an NHL player.

So the league was set to have an AHL player not only in the all-star game but captaining a team in the all-star game.

Many wondered if the NHL would remove Scott from the roster as a result and when those rumours began the conspiracy theory began.

To some the trade was set up by the league in order to keep Scott out of the all-star game as it was a way to give them an excuse to kick Scott out.

The problem for the league was that Scott was a fan vote and an apparent attempt to get rid of him only brought more fans to his side bringing a bigger swell for him to stay.

Whether or not the league did organize his trade the fact is Scott is an all-star, even if only from a fans vote.

He may not belong in the game and certainly doesn’t belong as a captain but he is set to lead his team into the all-star game.

The true test will be if he can actually keep up in the 3-on-3 tournament as his performance could be anywhere from embarrassing to inspirational.

One way or another Scott has been the biggest story of the all-star break as conspiracy and fan involvement have created more interest in the game than ever before, and maybe that was the point.

Overtime
(Other News this week in hockey)

Wideman Takes a Seat
Dennis Wideman ran into a referee heading to the bench this week but to many it was more than just running into the referee as it looked more like he hit the ref and now is paying for it as he is suspended indefinitely

Horcoff Suspended
It is a rare occurrence in the NHL but this week Shawn Horcoff was suspended for 20-games after he used PEDs in a treatment to recover from injury and the debate began about the validity of the suspension if it was to treat an injury when painkillers are legal

Missing All-Stars
Both Jonathan Toews and Alexander Ovechkin will miss the all-star game but for Ovechkin it is not the greatest reason after he injured himself during Winter Storm Jonas when he was shovelling his way out of the massive storm

standings-w17.fw

Key Scores:
Chicago Blackhawks 2 – 0 St. Louis Blues
– The rivalry continued as the Blues and Blackhawks played another close game with the Blackhawks coming out on top and remaining the best team in the division as they enter the second half of the season

Detroit Red Wings 4 – 2 New York Islanders
– The Wings and the Isles got a true test against each other as they looked to prove where they stood against good teams and the Wings came out on top ensuring a top three spot after the first half of the year

Pittsburgh Penguins 2 – 0 New Jersey Devils
– The Penguins began the season in terrible shape as their past dominance seemed to be over struggling to win any game but they continued to climb out of that hols this time against the Devils as they took the win and moved into fourth place

Colorado Avalanche 4 – 3 Los Angeles Kings
– The Avalanche are a team just starting to find their footing in the toughest division in the league as they pursue a playoff spot this year and proved that they can compete beating the Kings who have been in first all year

NHL All-Star Tournament:
Team Metropolitan vs. Team Atlantic (Sunday January 31st; 5:00 pm ET)
– With Ovechkin out John Tavares will lead Team Metropolitan against 43-year old captain Jaromir Jagr and Team Atlantic as fans get the first look at the new 3-on-3 tournament format with the winner moving on to represent the Eastern Conference

Team Pacific vs. Team Central (Sunday January 31st; 6:00 pm ET)
– The Western Conference will come down to two stacked teams as the league’s toughest division will be led by Patrick Kane after Jonathan Toews dropped out while everyone else watches to see how John Scott does as the leader of Team Pacific

Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference (Sunday January 31st; 7:00 pm ET)
– It will be the most interesting game as the winners of the semi-finals will play to determine the best in the league but after already playing a 3-on-3 game the question will be how the players can perform in their second game of the night

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