NHL Week in Review (March 12-18)
The biggest news in the hockey world had little to do with the NHL but everything to do with international hockey and equality in the game.
This week the U.S. National Women’s Hockey team made their stand to get equitable pay threatening to sit out the World Championships if they didn’t get it.
That has created plenty of debate and plenty of controversy throughout the week as some wonder how they could ask for equal pay and others believe it is a step in the right direction.
No matter what side of the argument anybody is on they can all agree that this could be disastrous for the Women’s World Championship.
The Women’s game is clearly divided in between the haves and the have-nots with the haves counting Canada and the USA.
Every other team is making progress but not enough to really challenge either of the top two teams in the world.
The women’s sport is also nowhere more popular than in Canada and the USA which is why this year’s tournament is headed to Plymouth, Michigan and begins on March 31.
It is one of the few places where there will be crowds but if the American team isn’t there those crowds disappear.
Although the Women’s World Championship isn’t the biggest money maker in the world of hockey they can at least make something in the USA.
Without the home team that is simply not a possibility as the American women were going to carry this tournament and their threat to boycott is a big deal.
USA Hockey has a major choice to make as they can meet the demands of the women’s team and save the tournament or forget the tournament altogether and fight the change.
For some, the request doesn’t make a lot of sense as the women’s hockey team might not actually deserve equal pay.
That is mostly because when thinking of equal pay they would be compared to NHL players who make a lot of money but also bring the most focus.
Tournaments with NHL talent tend to be major draws and make more money while women’s tournaments rarely break even.
In that sense, it is hard to demand that the women’s team gets paid what the men’s team gets paid because they don’t bring in the same group.
The problem with this way of thinking is that the women aren’t necessarily asking for a dollar for dollar equality.
Instead, they are trying not to be treated like a house league team and rather like a top tier national team.
For the men’s team, things are slightly different as that team is made up of millionaires who take time off to play for their national team and then go back to the NHL.
They are not a team that needs too much compensation for playing on the national team because they can go back and earn their million dollar salaries in the NHL.
The women’s game is organised differently though as they don’t have million dollar salaries and often their national teams are the teams that they play for most of the year.
As of right now, they are paid for a six-month period leading up to the Olympics, that is a payment of six months in the four years that lead to the Olympics.
Unlike in the men, the women are a constant part of that four-year cycle in between the Olympics and it can be much like a job for them.
Yet they don’t get paid enough to play and often many of the women have to make a decision of whether or not to play hockey or leave the game to help provide for their families.
Having to make that decision isn’t something that should have to happen especially when these players treat the women’s team like a job.
To argue the payment dispute, USA Hockey has stated that the women get $85,000 during that Olympic period.
For many, that should be a good amount of compensation for an amateur team but the women on the team have claimed that the number isn’t entirely accurate.
The players have said that that number includes a lot of money from the US Olympic Committee and bonuses based on performance.
That means that the money is far from guaranteed as USOC could reduce funding in any Olympic period and there is always a chance that the bonuses won’t be met.
The women simply want to be able to live off of playing the game they are playing in rather than having to decide between hockey and a full-time job.
According to the players, they don’t want millions they just want a living wage and according to USA Hockey, they get that living wage already.
The end of this fight between the players and the organisation will go a long way to determining the upcoming World Championships and possibly the future of the women’s game.
(More on this week in hockey)
The season is coming to a close and so are the battles for the NHL awards with the Hart Trophy seemingly becoming a hot topic as some believe that, super pest, Brad Marchand deserves the title while others think that Patrick Kane should get another award
Nation’s Capital Outdoor
The NHL announced that they will get in on the 150-year celebrations in Canada as they are officially headed to Ottawa in December to play an Outdoor game at TD Place between the Senators and the Canadiens
There is never a good time for an injury but there is certainly a worse time as the Rangers are figuring out with their starting goalie going down this past week as they won’t have Henrik Lundqvist for a stretch at the end of the season
Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 Minnesota Wild
– Nobody expected this to be the battle for the top of the division but that is exactly what it is as both teams fought to take the top spot with the Blackhawks coming out on top and taking over that lead in the Central
Calgary Flames 4-3 Pittsburgh Penguins (SO)
– The Flames continued their massive rise up through the standings as they took on one of the top teams in the league and defending champions and took the win in the shootout to earn a big two points
Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0 Tampa Bay Lightning
– There weren’t many people who thought that the Leafs were ready to compete for the playoffs but they are right in the hunt and they easily took care of one of the teams chasing them with a big night against Tampa
New York Rangers 3-2 Minnesota Wild
– With the Wild seemingly headed to the playoffs, they were playing to get closer to that playoff spot but the Rangers took the win which was bigger for them with a wild card spot still largely on the line
Los Angeles Kings vs. Calgary Flames (Sunday, March 19th; 9:30 pm ET)
– There are some big battles heating up in the west and the Kings and Flames are right in the thick of things as the Kings are looking for a wild-card berth while the Flames are hoping to continue their surge into a top three spot in the Pacific
Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Monday, March 20th; 7:30 pm ET)
– As the Leafs face the possibility of a playoff berth earlier than anyone expected they are fighting to stay in the hunt and they will take on an old rival in the Bruins who are trying to hold onto their own spot
New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers (Wednesday, March 22nd; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Battle of New York has really gained some renewed life in the last few years and both teams continue that tradition into the end of this year with both on the edge of the playoffs and hoping to find their way closer to the playoffs
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals (Thursday, March 23rd; 7:00 pm ET)
– One of these teams is used to being in this position while the other is somewhat new to this situation as the Blue Jackets try to prepare for a rare playoff berth as they take on one of the best teams in the league