NHL Week in Review (November 13-19)

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There have been debates over the Olympics for years in the NHL and as the next winter games approach the debates are getting more much serious.

The league has an interesting relationship with the IOC as the Olympics have always been an amateur athletic showcase.

Yet despite the amateur status of the games they often allow certain players from the big leagues participate.

Hockey is one of those sports as it is one of the only Winter Olympic sports that features professional athletes.

Technically rosters should be full of athletes not getting paid but when the best in the world gather it is hard to complain.

It provides one of the best and biggest parts of the Olympic Games and for the fans, it is the premier event to see the best in the world.

The players love it as well, as it has become one of the major accomplishments for every player as a key part of the Triple Gold Club that only a few great players are a part of with most of them I the Hall of Fame.

For the NHL it is not necessarily their favourite thing though as the league loses out on a week of games.

Not only that, but the owners see players they are paying millions towards play in games that mean nothing to them.

They don’t see anything from the Olympics as the league isn’t even allowed to use the highlights from the games.

Meanwhile, the risk of a superstar being injured gives plenty of owners nightmares as their biggest investments might not even be in their lineup after the Olympics.

The league is not the biggest fan and it has been a while that the debate about sending NHL players to the Olympics.

When the Olympics went to Sochi, Russia in 2014 the league was very close to not sending their players over.

Then some of the biggest Russian players had their voices heard and the NHL changed their stance allowing NHL players to enter the Olympics.

Almost immediately the conversation between the NHL, NHLPA, IOC, and IIHF began regarding the 2018 version of the games in Pyeongchang.

This time things seemed a little different as the Olympic tournament was not in a place that can be considered a hockey hotbed.

There are no players to speak up and say that they want to play at home or else they are going to rip up their contracts.

The NHL has very little motivation to allow players to go the Olympics as South Korea is so far away that the majority of the NHL fan base won’t see the games live.

They also don’t get to use highlights and would need to pay for travel and insurance to send the players to the 2018 Olympics.hockey-sidebar

The decision to go to the Olympics took a new turn this week though as the players became much louder in their opinions.

All of them want to go if only because they want that chance to play in the Olympics regardless of where the games take place.

The unique experience of playing in South Korea along with having the ability to play for a gold medal has led a lot of players to say that they want that ability to attend.

The NHL heard this and they have agreed to send the players to the Olympics but of course, they won’t do it just to do it, though.

The NHL wants something for what they will spend to send their players and they have told the NHLPA that they will send the players over if the NHLPA agrees to extend the current CBA for an extra three years.

It is an interesting strategy from the NHL as they are trying to get something out of a deal where they see little advantage.

The current CBA is a good one for either side but it is widely believed that the players conceded more than the owners to get back to hockey after the 2012-13 lockout.

The deal was signed for 10 years and will expire in the 2021-22 season with some key aspects of the deal likely to be negotiated in order for the players to get a little more from the profits.

Now the NHL wants the NHLPA to agree to an extension for another three years to keep the deal running.

For the NHL it is something that they can get out of the Olympics while for the NHLPA and the players it is a real test about just how badly they want to go to the Olympics.

No decision has been made but the ball is now in the court of the players and their union as they have a decision to make that will make a massive difference for Olympic Hockey in 2018.

(More on this week in hockey)

Changes to the Shootout
The GM meetings brought plenty to talk about this week and one was a change to the shootout with some wanting to go to the international system allowing the same player to shoot more than once after the first three shots

New Development Model
The GMs also talked about a change to their development system as they are noticing more young players making decisions a lot tougher for the GMs and at the meetings the discussion began about moving the draft age to 19 rather than 18

New Digs for the Coyotes
The Arizona Coyotes have long had a fight on their hands with the city of Glendale leading to relocation rumours almost every year but that could be a thing of the past as a new arena is now in the plans as they will move across Phoenix to Tempe


Key Scores:
Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Montreal Canadiens
– Two of the top teams in the league faced off in a great match-up but Carey Price couldn’t stand up to the 35 shots from the Blackhawks as he gave the Canadiens a chance but took the loss to end a win streak

Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 Nashville Predators
– The young guns were impressive in this one and although Auston Matthews continued his goal drought Mitch Marner put one in and made plenty of plays while James van Riemsdyk earned a hat trick to give the Leafs the win

Washington Capitals 7-1 Pittsburgh Penguins
– It has been one of the best rivalries in the sport over the last few years as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin have made these two teams battle each other every year but there was little battle for the Penguins who looked out of the Capitals’ league

St. Louis Blues 3-2 San Jose Sharks
– In another matchup of two top teams, the Blues came out on top as they continue to try to keep up to the streaking Blackhawks while the Sharks took the loss and lost ground in the always competitive Pacific

Next Week:
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers (Monday, November 21st; 9:00 pm ET)
– These teams are on opposite paths right now as their seasons have turned around but for the Oilers that isn’t a good thing as they try to test themselves and get back to winning against a streaking Blackhawks team

Winnipeg Jets vs. Minnesota Wild (Wednesday, November 23rd; 7:00 pm ET)
– It is a natural rivalry from where both teams are but it has not been the rivalry that the NHL was hoping for when the Jets moved to the Wild’s division although this year both teams are far closer and the rivalry continues to become something serious

New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers (Friday, November 25th; 1:00 pm ET)
– It has become a tradition now as the NHL will look to see two of the biggest American teams the day after Thanksgiving as the rangers look to keep their spot among the top teams while the Flyers try to climb up to that level

Anaheim Ducks vs. San Jose Sharks (Saturday, November 26th; 10:30 pm ET)
– The Pacific division is constantly competitive and the biggest members are all from California which makes these game between to California teams always important as both teams hope to find their way up the standings

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