NHL Week in Review (May 13-19)

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The playoffs can act as a real sign of what is happening in the world of hockey as only the best teams are still around.

These great teams are usually the teams that bring something new to the table and that something new is working.

With the best teams in the league playing at their best in the biggest time of the year, some major trends begin to show through.

The one that seems to be showing more than any other in this year’s playoff is the speed at which the game is played.

Hockey has always been a pretty fast game with non-stop action throughout every period.

When watching the other major sports the difference is clear with the speed of the game and how it moves back and forth.

Recently there has been a change though as the game has only been getting faster with the younger players taking over.

These players are just simply faster up and down the ice and they are making things very different throughout the league.

Every sport has experienced some form of this evolution as each generation brings new challenges to the teams trying to plan to beat them.

Although the development has been in the works for a long time these playoffs seem to be showing that development a lot more.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been built this way a long time largely thanks to their superstar in Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos was that first way of players who took the speed to another level and used it to their advantage.

Another part of that first wave was the man he is paying against in Alexander Ovechkin who wasn’t as much a speedster as he was a pure goal-scorer but has always had that skating ability.

The Lightning and Capitals built their teams around these players and gave them support which including adding guys that could keep up.

They created teams that are tough to beat and that is why they are in the eastern conference final fighting for a chance at the Cup.

On the other side of the bracket is something entirely different though as the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets are built purely on speed.

Where the Lightning and Capitals were teams with a few fast guys that are surrounded by players who can keep up with them the Knights and Jets are all about the speed.

They built their entire teams with the idea that they wanted to be the fastest in the game and it has worked well for both.

Both were one of the best teams in the league this year and now are playing for their chance at their first Stanley Cup.  hockey-sidebar

The Eastern Conference is a lesson in the older way of doing things, even if that older way is only a few years old.

It is getting a star and building around them while the west is an entirely new way of thinking about the team.

It is somewhat due to necessity as almost everyone would like to have that superstar to build around but not everyone can get that player.

The Jets do have Patrik Laine who is a young superstar but they are loaded with talent and speed throughout the roster.

Although they have that cornerstone star they are still more of a complete team with multiple lines that make things relentless on their opponents.

In Vegas, the choices were limited as the expansion draft gave them a few good players and they didn’t have a chance to take a franchise changer in the entry draft.

Instead, they somehow found a roster of players that came from other places and formed a team that has surprised everyone.

The speed from the west is clear and runs through the entire roster while the east is more about highlighting those great players.

One way is not necessarily better than the other but one team will prove that their strategy is the better way.

That team will sit on top at the end of the playoffs and will hoist the Cup to show that they are the best team in the league.

Whoever takes the win will show at least one thing, speed kills and in the NHL having that speed means winning titles.

 

Overtime

Forced to Step Away

Marian Hossa has long been one of the top scorers in the game and has been a big presence for the Chicago Blackhawks in recent years. His tie seemed to be coming to an end though as he wasn’t able to play throughout the last season thanks to a skin disorder and his reaction to medications taken to treat the condition. This week he announced that he will no longer play hockey despite having three years left on his contract. The health issues he has suffered have forced him to walk away taking away one of the most skilled scorers in the game.

Making the Final

The World Championship is not always watched closely throughout this time of year with it conflicting with the playoffs. Still, the best teams in the world of hockey compete to be crowned the best for this year and now the two finalists have been determined. The Swedes got through their tournament with little problem as they were expected to be great. The surprise is Switzerland who were able to beat the Canadians in the semi-final and now will try to continue the surprises by taking home a gold.

Still Playing

 Jaromir Jagr might not be in the NHL anymore but that doesn’t mean he is ready to hang up his skates quite yet. He continues to defy his age by playing in his hometown and this week signed another contract to play in his 30th professional season. He has made it clear that he would love to play until he is 50-years old and that could be possible as the 46-year-old will be back for another year, even if it isn’t in the NHL.

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