NHL Week in Review (Feb. 28- Mar. 5)

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In the ultra-competitive world of sports leagues are constantly looking to take certain dates in their season and sell them as massive parts of the calendar.

Along with their media partners, they can make something as boring as a workout into an event nicknamed the “Underwear Olympics.”

Every league has done it whether it be a day of games where they hold the attention of every sports fan or an event meant less for the players and more for the executives.

The NHL has done both in recent years creating big events like the Stadium Series and the Winter Classic but one of the biggest days happened this week.

It was largely created by the media, which is a theme among many NHL events, and has become a mainstay on the NHL calendar.

It came about as a result of a trend that was already around in the league.

Heading into March, NHL teams are preparing for the playoff race or preparing for the next season.

With that in mind, the trade deadline approaches and teams get their last chance to improve their team for right now or for the future.

Executives look to add that piece that they need to make a deep run to the Stanley Cup or try to add prospects and draft picks to prepare themselves for the next season.

That process often came down to the last minute as teams waited until they had no more time to trade those pieces.

In a way, it was all about strategy as many waited until the last minute to remove the negotiating power from whoever they were trading with.

When the clock is winding down a team can become desperate to get that last piece or to unload a player before they lose them in free agency at the end of the year.

That can force teams into bad deals just to get something done and so the trade deadline becomes an important day for a lot of teams.hockey-sidebar

Every year trade deadline becomes a bigger deal with sports networks making a bigger and bigger deal and blocking out hours of time to cover the latest deals.

The problem is that as the event becomes bigger executives throughout the league are not waiting until deadline day to make deals.

This year was the perfect proof of that trend as networks were broadcasting the trades live but had little to report through the majority of the day.

A number of moves were made but at the end of the day most did not involve some of the bigger names that most people thought were going to be on the trading block.

Instead, general managers went to work earlier in the week trying to get the best deals done before the time crunch hit.

Names like Dion Phaneuf, Brooks Laich, Kris Versteeg, Eric Staal, and Justin Schultz were all traded before the deadline day.

It was a continuation of what has been happening in recent years as executives are not being forced into dangerous moves as often as they used to.

Teams and their management groups are becoming blander than ever before and even if it isn’t exciting for the fans it makes complete sense.

There is more scrutiny of teams and a lot less patience as one wrong move could mean the end of a career.

Everyone can see those wrong moves and is trying to be smart about things rather than making a move that will cost their owner more money than is necessary.

There are still moves and still winners and losers leading up to the trade deadline and they will be debated for the rest of the season but there is no doubt that those big moves that once highlighted trade deadline day are gone and may not be coming back anytime soon.

Showing that no matter how much these days are built up on the NHL calendar there is no guarantee that anything will happen making them forever dangerous to depend on.

(Other News this week in hockey)

World Cup Rosters
The NHL is getting closer to the best part of the year as the playoffs are coming but they still look ahead as they announced the rosters for the World Cup and revealed the new jerseys as the debate gets heated up heading into the September tournament

Marlies in the NHL
The Toronto Maple Leafs were clearly set to move on after trading Dion Phaneuf but nobody knew just how ready they were going to be as they called up young stars like William Nylander and Kaspari Kapanen from the AHL to fill their roster until the end of the season

Price Making Progress
The Montreal Canadiens have dropped steadily in the standings after the injury of Carey Price but their saviour could be returning soon as he has made progress and has begun practicing in full pads again in hopes of a late season return


Key Scores:
Chicago Blackhawks 3 – 2 Washington Capitals
– Two of the best teams in the NHL faced-off in a game that many see as a Stanley Cup preview as the Blackhawks took this round with a tight 3-2 win that may give the Blackhawks some extra confidence heading into the playoffs

Minnesota Wild 6 – 3 Colorado Avalanche
– The Colorado Avalanche are in the midst of fighting for a spot in the playoffs but they didn’t do themselves any favours as they lost this game to the Wild in what was an extremely important game for the wild card

New York Rangers 3 – 2 Washington Capitals
– The Rangers may not be in good standing to beat the Capitals in the division but they did chip away at their division lead taking this close win and inching closer to unseating the Caps from the top of the Metropolitan

Anaheim Ducks 3 – 2 Los Angeles Kings
– Once again the California teams are fighting it out on top of the Pacific division and the Ducks finally took control after beating the Kings who had been standing at the top of the division throughout the season until this loss

Next Week:
New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers (Sunday, March 6th; 5:00 pm ET)
– As it has in the last few years the Battle of New York is beginning to shape the Metropolitan division as both Big Apple teams look for bragging rights and a better spot in the division while they look to take some critical points in their bid for the playoffs

Washington Capitals vs. Los Angeles Kings (Wednesday, March 9th; 10:30 pm ET)
– The Capitals and Kings seemed to be on a collision course for the Western Conference title and might still be but both will still need to continue adding points as they hope to clinch a playoff spot soon

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Dallas Stars (Friday, March 11th; 8:30 pm ET)
– The way the season was going for the Blackhawks it looked like they may breeze to the division title but the Stars had something to say about that as the two face-off in what has become the series that will determine the Central

New York Islanders vs. Boston Bruins (Saturday, March 12th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Islanders and Bruins start the week sitting in the last of three playoffs spots in their division as they will constantly look for some extra points to ensure their spots which is what they will look to do when they face-off at the end of the week

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