NHL Week in Review (October 29-November 4)

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This far into the season nothing has been figured out as struggling teams can come back and find their way to the top and the strong teams right now can fall off.

Anything is possible in the season but there are certainly some teams that have started their season with a lot of concern.

These teams could come back and make a run but after a month of playing concerns are growing.

One of the biggest places for that concern right now is in Montreal where hockey is a religion.

The fans of the Canadiens are not a patient group as they demand change at the first sign of things going wrong.

The team tends to follow those demands too, which was shown in 2012 after they missed the playoffs and fired everyone.

That began the Marc Bergevin era in Montreal but that era has had one glaring issue throughout the years.

It has been that the Canadiens are a team that is simply not good enough to be a playoff team.

Yet that was always disguised as the Canadiens were enjoying the best times of one of the greatest goalies in NHL history.

Carey Price was the difference for the team and was the main reason why they continued to be a playoff team.

It helped to hide the fact that the rest of the team was simply not good enough to be a serious contender for the Stanley Cup.

They had talent but they couldn’t score and couldn’t protect the net enough as the team wasn’t deep enough to compete with the best teams.

That recipe for a playoff team was not necessarily the best way to put together a team as they relied too heavily on their goalie.

They continued to make the playoffs and often were one of the top teams in the league every year so there was no need to change.

That has shifted this year though as their goaltender is no longer the rock that they have seen for years.

Price is struggling this year and as a result, the issues throughout the team are showing up more and more.

The Canadiens are sinking to the bottom of the league this year after years of leading the Atlantic Division.hockey-sidebar

As they struggle the blame seems to be falling on Price for not being his usual Vezina Trophy-winning self.

That is always a tough thing to do and despite his long run of playing great, he is having an offseason.

The bigger blame should be put on the team as a whole as nobody is there to pick up the one player that has been carrying them for years.

Their struggles are already getting people scared of what the season might hold and if they can’t find their way up the standings everything might be changing.

Montreal has already proven to be a team that is not willing to lose and so far this season things are not looking great for them.

There is always room to move up the standings and the Canadiens might be able to find their groove again.

A lot of it will rely on the play of Price as it has been proven that this team is not very good without him being the leader.

If he can’t get back the rest of his team needs to step up and do something about their struggles without depending on their goalie.

Although a lot of the blame will continue to go to Price and many will continue to try to figure things out with him there is another part of the team.

They aren’t the only team struggling throughout the season as the Arizona Coyotes have also struggled through the season.

The demand is slightly different in Montreal though as everyone will continue to try to figure out what is wrong in one of the biggest hockey cities in the world.

The solution will need to come quickly though as they may have just started the season but things need to get better soon before they dig a hole that they can’t get out of.

 

Overtime

Getting Political

Politics remains a touchy subject in sports but compared to the other big leagues, hockey has stayed out of things. There was only one anthem protest and a slight controversy with the Penguins but for the most part, things have been steady. It shifted again this week though as one of the biggest stars in the league got political. Alexander Ovechkin decided to throw his support behind the controversial Russian leader Vladimir Putin causing some stir throughout the fan base of the NHL.

More Olympic Bans?

The Olympics are coming up and things are looking very different for the hockey tournament but it might have just taken another strange turn. The IOC is currently trying to figure out what to do with the Russian athletes after a state-run doping program was exposed four years ago. Some are asking the IOC to completely ban Russia from participating in 2018 Olympics which has prompted a potentially big change for the hockey tournament. Russia’s answer to the NHL, the KHL has stated that they will not allow their players to participate in the Olympics should Russia be banned, leaving every major team with the potential of their second tier players no longer being able to participate.

Trade Break Down

The Colorado Avalanche are having a surprisingly good season despite the expectations of them finishing at the bottom of the league. Among that worry one of their biggest stars, Matt Duchene has asked to be traded and even despite the good start he still wants out. The problem has been that the team has asked a lot for him and nobody wants to pay that price. This week the Ottawa Senators continued their press to get him with a deal apparently close to being done between three teams that would have sent Duchene to the nation’s capital.

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