NHL Week in Review (May 29-June 4)

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The Stanley Cup Finals got underway this week and it didn’t take long for one team to take control.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took the first two games of the series after the Sharks struggled, in both games, to get going early.

That sluggish start in each game put them in a hole that they simply couldn’t get out of dropping both games.

It hasn’t been without a fight though as the Sharks have come back in both games to challenge the Penguins.

In Game 1 the Sharks tied the game in the third only to let a last minute goal in giving the Penguins the win.

In Game 2 it was overtime that solved it after the Sharks tied the game late but allowed a big set play to put them out of that game.

After Game 2 the Penguins were sitting pretty with a two-game lead and it seemed not to be lost on the Sharks.

After the game Logan Couture was visibly upset and when asked about the final set play that won the game for the Pens he made sure the media had plenty to talk about during a two-day break.

Couture accused Sidney Crosby of cheating on face-offs without receiving any type of punishment like being thrown out of the face-off circle.

He claimed that Crosby times the puck drop and did so on the final play of the game to win the face-off and set-up the game-winning goal.

Of course, in those two days, the thought the Crosby gets away with something on face-offs has fallen apart.

The best players often get preferential treatment and accusations of Crosby getting that treatment has been there since he started playing hockey.

Sometimes it is true just as it is true for many of the other top players in the game who get away with a little extra.

In terms of the face-off though the fact is that everyone cheats looking to get that little extra to win a big face-off.

Sometimes they get thrown out of the face-off circle and other times they don’t but Crosby is no different than any other player on the ice that takes face-offs.

What was more concerning was the comment itself from Couture who was clearly frustrated by the two losses.

The fact that he was more than willing to accuse Crosby of cheating despite the fact the he knew people on the Sharks do much the same thing just like any other team may show a peak into the mindset of the Sharks.

After battling through the western conference the Sharks are in the midst of their best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.hockey-sidebar

Yet the first two games they have not looked like themselves and despite attempts to come back they have come up short each time.

It can be extremely frustrating for a good team to come up just short every game.

That is not a good mindset to have as this series continues as frustration can lead to bad things in such a tight match-up.

The Sharks are already not playing a disciplined game and frustration can lead to more power plays for the Penguins and more chances for them to take a commanding lead in the series.

With two days off the Sharks had some time to try to get right as they looked to Game 3 to turn things around.

It was already a close series but a loss at home was sure to put the Sharks in an extremely tough position.

If they could take their first win at home they could get back into the series and start fighting back.

Game 3 seemed to be a carbon copy of the first two as the Penguins went out ahead early with their first goal.

The Sharks fought back to tie the game only to let the Penguins go ahead again in the second period.

Then Joel Ward scored a late tying goal in the third to push the game to overtime and giving the Sharks some more life.

This time, the Sharks finished it off differently though as Joonas Donskoi netted the game-winner to give the Sharks their first Stanley Cup Finals win.

They will try to continue that momentum at home in Game 4 as the Finals have gained new life and any doubts that the Sharks had is gone with renewed life in the series.

(Extra Thoughts on this week in hockey)

Back for One More
With another early exit in the playoffs Ken Hitchcock’s job was up in the air but this week the Blues signed him to a one-year deal as Hitchcock announced that next season would be his last as an NHL coach

New-Look Panthers
The Florida Panthers are looking to change paths as they announced their new uniforms this week with a new shield-like logo to go with it as they hope to be entering a new era of winning with a new look to go along with it

Trying out Ads
The World Cup of hockey is coming into focus a lot more recently including the jerseys as the NHL announced that the jerseys will have ads on them as a trial run for the NHL potentially instituting jersey ads in the league


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