NHL Week in Review (February 11-17)

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The NHL season is heading into that time where teams really figure out where they stand among the rest of the teams in the league.

It is just around the trade deadline when teams have to really make a decision about where they are going to be at the end of the year.

No team that becomes a seller at this time of year ever wants to be in this situation but some were not very surprised by their position.

Teams like the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres were not very likely to make the playoffs although the Sabres were hoping for some improvement.

These teams knew they would likely be on the outside looking in when the playoffs came and so it was never a big surprise.

This year though the majority of teams that continue to struggle heading into the final stretch of the season are a bit surprising.

In the east, the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators are only a year removed from the playoffs.

Although the Senators may not have expected to make it after a somewhat miracle run, both teams were looking to build on the momentum.

Now they are sitting outside of the playoffs and have little chance of making the playoffs with the records they way they are.

Both teams had looked like they were headed for something special but this year they haven’t been able to figure it out.

The Senators have tried everything to be competitive but simply don’t have the team while the Canadiens are a mystery all unto themselves.

Like many years Montreal has talent and could be a playoff team but can’t put it together while trying to depend too much on their talented goaltender.

The east is not alone in the surprising results so far this year as the west has seen some powers and rising teams fall to the bottom.

The Edmonton Oilers broke through last year making the playoffs for the first time in the Connor McDavid era and many had them as an early Stanley Cup favourite.

Their season has been full of disappointment as the momentum from a year ago has not followed through this season.

They have sunk to the bottom and seem like they are not going to be able to make the playoffs putting a halt to all of that championship talk.hockey-sidebar

It has been even rougher for some teams though as they are expected to compete every year and not making the playoffs means some serious issues.

That is the epitome of the Chicago Blackhawks who have made nine straight playoffs and took three Stanley Cups in that time.

They have been one of the most dominant teams in the league over that time and yet this season everything has fallen apart.

The team that only really got their season started in the playoffs are looking to be sure bets to miss the second season entirely.

Despite the amount of talent on the team, the season has been a terrible one for the team and they are on their way to a long off-season.

As the trade deadline approaches some of their teams will become sellers and look to offload talent to make room.

Some will take it as a bad season and will move on with their core in place hoping that it is just a bad year.

One way or another these teams all have some major questions when they enter the off-season.

It will be a debate on every panel and in every GM office about where they go from here after missing the playoffs.

For a team like the Blackhawks is this season just a sign of their dominant run coming to an end?

If so the team will need to find it out and make a decision about whether they rebuild or continue forward with what they have.

A team like the Oilers might not have to make a lot of changes as their young team should be better with a few adjustments.

These are the decisions that are facing these teams as the final stretch of the season is on its way and with it comes a slow end to the season and long off-season.

 

Overtime

Surprises in Pyeongchang

Many hockey fans have split loyalties right now as the Olympic hockey tournament has begun while the NHL continues to run. So far things have been surprising as the Americans and the Russians took losses in their first games against Slovenia and Slovakia. Without the NHL players, the talent level seems a little closer than usual and that could make for an interesting tournament even without the participation of the NHL.

Big Movement Started

With the trade deadline approaching moves are surely being talked about throughout the last few weeks and throughout the next week. One of those deals came through this week as the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings swapped big names. Although Dion Phaneuf and Marion Gaborik might not be as big as they used to be both players swapped teams in one of the bigger deals so far heading into the trade deadline.

Another Milestone for a Great

 Sidney Crosby was always built as the next coming of Wayne Gretzky and although injuries have prevented him from coming close to that accomplishment he has left little question about being one of the greatest of all time. That argument got another piece to it as he moved to new heights with his 400th goal. He will continue to add to that total with only legends to pass on the all-time list.

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