NHL Week in Review (March 4-10)

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With only one month to go before the playoffs begin teams in the NHL are looking to make that final push towards the second season.

It is one of the more debatable topics in any sport as some believe that momentum is a massive thing while others don’t believe it at all.

The idea of momentum is a tricky one as there is something to be said for a team that heads into a game just knowing that they can find a way to win.

It is far more mental than it is a physical as momentum cannot be measured or seen in any way.

In an era where everything is measured and every aspect of the game has some type of stat there is no way to see what momentum is doing.

Momentum is a feeling more than anything else and it is a feeling that can change everything about a game or a season.

The momentum of a game can change so rapidly but when it swings fans and players can just feel it in the building.

That feeling seems to be able to turn things from a losing fight into a big win as the team just begins to build something.

It can come from almost anything as a well0timed goal or big hit can change the feeling for the entire team.

When the momentum begins to shift things just seem to start going the right way and although there is no real thing such as luck it seems to take shape when momentum shifts.

The real effect it has is in the minds of the players who believe they can get the bounces and therefore take more chances.

Instead of trying to find the perfect shot or the perfect pass teams that have the momentum try to make any shot or any pass.

More often than not that leads to good things as seeking perfection can lead to indecision and usually not much else.

When teams are throwing everything they have no matter how perfect it is they tend to find what they need to win.

That can happen in a game and change everything and there is little doubt about the effect that it can have.

The more challenging part of momentum is whether or no that effect from the game can continue throughout a stretch of games.

There is a lot of doubt about whether or not that can happen as the ability to carry momentum between multiple games is a tough one.

Yet it still seems to happen and the same principles apply, as a team riding high from a long win streak can have those same tendencies.

Teams have that ability to head into a game after game believing that they are getting the bounces and it can lead to them taking those shots.hockey-sidebar

If they are feeling like they are getting the bounces often they can get the bounces because it makes them play looser which can be huge for a team.

That can be especially true at this time of year as there is nothing that a team wants more than to feel like they can do no wrong when the playoffs are on the line.

Although momentum cannot be measured and it is not something that everyone believes in there is something to be said about teams heading into the playoffs on a streak.

It gives that boost of confidence to a team and helps them play at a different level which is what every team needs at this time of year.

Making the playoffs is not an easy thing to do but when teams get there it is an entirely new game that they have to adjust to.

The best teams can do this easily as teams that have been there before or have been playing at a high level all year may stumble but they won’t fall apart.

Teams that have just made it into the playoffs would much prefer to head into the next season on a role rather than a slide.

These teams want to be sitting on some momentum and feeling good as they head into the playoffs making their matchups far less daunting.

If teams like Boston and Columbus are climbing the rankings with massive win streaks and if they can continue things into the end of the season it will bode well for them.

Despite the disagreement with momentum, something is there and it may just play a mental role but that mental role is important

Every team will look to put together a strong final month in hopes that it can give them that confidence as they head into the playoffs.

With the race speeding to an end every game is becoming that much more important for the teams already headed to the playoffs and the teams struggling to get in.

 

Overtime

Change in Carolina

After four years as the General Manager in Carolina, Ron Francis will be moving on albeit to another position in the organization. The move has been received with some scepticism though as Francis was named the President of Hockey Operations yet the new GM will report directly to the owner. Essentially a position that usually has final say will be skipped over giving the GM more control. From the outside, it looks like a beloved player is being kept around to please fans but being removed of much say in the team on the ice.

Fighting Fatigue

The season is a grind as the physical nature of the sport takes its toll and often it begins to show at the end of the season. No position shows it more than the goalie as they are the only players on the ice for entire games. Although they might not be in on the action the entire time they are still on the ice and have to be aware at all times. When a team rides their top goaltender for the majority of the season it can lead to some fatigue. Andrei Vasilevski and Frederik Andersen are both looking like they might be experiencing that right now giving their teams something to think about down the stretch.

Concussion Debate Continues

Somehow the debate around concussions seems to never make any headway when it comes to the leagues. The NHL is currently dealing with another lawsuit regarding the concussion issue and as a result, are using some old tactics to discredit any action against the league. They are once again trying to cast doubt about whether or not the game actually has an effect on concussions or not. Most scientists will agree that any physical game like hockey is a direct cause of concussions but leagues have been trying to fight that thought for years. The latest attempt by the NHL just leaves more doubt about how committed they truly are to player safety.

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