NHL Week in Review (November 19-25)

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The quarter mark of the season is here and at the quarter mark of the season, there is often a belief that the playoff teams are almost all set.

The wild cards might be completely up for grabs but there is a strange pattern in the league where the majority of teams sitting in the playoffs at this point will end up as the playoff teams at the end of the year.

It doesn’t seem like that should be the case as there is a lot of hockey to play and yet most of the teams will end up in relatively the same spot.

The start of a season often won’t determine how the rest of the year goes as the best teams aren’t always the best teams through the entire season.

A massive winning streak at the start of the season can certainly help a team as when they eventually enter a slump it won’t hurt them nearly as bad.

A big losing streak can be a bad thing but if it is at the start of the year those teams can usually fight their way back by making some adjustments.

The point being that there is often no real end to a season regardless of how a team starts the year.

There is always time to change things throughout the year and in the NHL 82 games is plenty of time to make adjustments.

Yet the stats don’t necessarily show that as this point in the season seems to be a great indication of who will make the playoffs.

It seems to be a cut-off as the teams currently sitting in a good position will find themselves playing for the ultimate prize.

This year that rule is not so ironclad though as there is still a lot of mystery when it comes to the playoffs.

Although it seems like it is too early to start talking about the playoffs the hunt for those spots has been great so far.

Every division has extremely close battles going on right now with the standings changing almost daily.

The largest division in the league is in the Atlantic Division where the Tampa Bay Lightning hold a slightly more convincing lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs

That lead constantly changes though as every day something new could happen in one week putting the Leafs up front.

The rest of the divisions are even closer of a battle with only a few point separating them and one game potentially changing the face of the division.

There are really no divisions that are written off yet with so much time left and so little dividing the teams.

In the Atlantic Tampa and Toronto are on top and a slightly bigger separation between them and Detroit but a very tight battle with Detroit, Boston and Ottawa.

The Metropolitan is a very close battle between almost everyone with Columbus, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Washington and both New York teams all only separated by a few games.

One win and a few losses could completely flip the Metropolitan division making it one of the more unpredictable divisions.hockey-sidebar

In the west, the standings are just as tight with plenty of teams right in the hunt at the quarter mark.

The Central has rarely been a division with a lot of separation and this year St. Louis, Winnipeg and Nashville are all pretty close.

Then there is Colorado, Dallas, Chicago and Minnesota who are all around the exact same point totals so far.

That battle could be for a wild card spot and it is getting to the point where each day someone else is on top.

The Pacific is seeing Vegas and Los Angeles in a very tight race for the top spot while Calgary, Vancouver, Anaheim and San Jose are not far off from each other.

The entire league is seeing some of the best battles and although not all of them will remain with more time for teams to run away there is a change for the league.

At the quarter time of the season, the playoffs have often been on the mind with so many seeing a good indication of the playoff teams.

There is no way that this year will prove anything as the quarter mark of the season has not solved anything.

The league is simply too close this year and although most years at this time the playoffs are coming into focus there is nothing in focus right now.

Parity is ruling this league this year and the rest of the season is going to be interesting as the fight for the playoffs has barely even started.

 

Overtime

Unloading or Reloading?

The Montreal Canadiens have not had the best season this year and their issues are just continuing through the first quarter. Many are wondering what is next for them as they need to figure it out quickly if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. This week they traded away Torrey Mitchell to the Los Angeles Kings for draft picks. Although Mitchell struggled all season some are wondering if this is the beginning of more after they got back only picks that won’t help them get to the playoffs this year.

Entering a New World

The sports world is shifting and eSports is leading the way with massive crowds and more money than ever before. Many of the bigger leagues are beginning to take notice and are starting to invest in eSports even creating their own leagues. The NHL is joining the party as there seems to be a commitment from a number of teams already and the NHL could be preparing to make an announcement and join the NBA as a league fully behind the growing section of the sports world.

Kadri Punished

Nazem Kadri has quickly grown into a player that not many people like, at least not if he is playing against your team. The pest is a good player that gets under other player’s skins and gets them to make stupid decisions. He was on the other side this week when he was upset about a penalty and accidentally hit the penalty box attendant in the face with his stick. He got an earful from the employee but some are wondering if he will receive any other punishment for getting emotional.

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