NHL Week in Review (November 17-23)

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The NHL is a long one and there is no way a team can win a Stanley Cup this early but there is a way that they can lose one.

Starting off slowly is a challenge as teams that begin to sink to the bottom of the league can have a tough time finding their way back into the battle.

Teams know that there is a challenge for everyone to get things going well early and avoid that slide to make for a bigger fight.

It’s not impossible for teams to climb back after experiencing a bad start to the season but it is not easy.

If a team is struggling to find their footing things need to change and work needs to be done to get those teams back on track.

To do that a team needs to figure out what is happening and why they are in a bad spot in order to fix it and find their way back to the playoff battle.

There are teams who are getting used to starting slow though and they are usually the ones who can’t find their way back.

They entered this season looking to see what they could do to find their way back to the playoff battle earlier.

These teams already had a plan heading into the season and they knew what steps they were going to have to take should things not turn out the way they wanted.

As teams began to start slow for some teams these plans went into action and this week turned out to be the breaking point for many of those plans.

No team came into the season wanting to go with a different plan than just to go ahead with the team they had and compete.

But it seems as though two months was the time that a lot of teams were going to need to make a big decision on whether to stick with their initial plan or go with Plan B.

Plan B for a lot of teams, especially when it comes to making a change in the season, is usually to find a new coach.

The offseason is the time to make major personnel changes but when those don’t work teams can trade to find someone else or if they think they have the right people they look to a new coach.

They often believe that a new coach can bring a new attitude for a team especially one with the talent to compete that can’t seem to come together.

The problem with changing coaches is that there are rarely great coaches available at a moment’s notice.

Also changing the coaching can bring a brand new philosophy to a team that can take time to really make a difference.

That is why these changes need to be made early in the season as they need time to turn things around but without that time they have no chance.

The changes started in places where success is expected but hasn’t been found in recent years as the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks fired their head coaches.

This week two more teams followed suit as the St. Louis Blues looked promising after making moves this offseason but couldn’t get it all together.

They fired Mike Yeo thanks to the slow start with Craig Berube taking over the team hoping to get this group of talented individuals to play as a team.

The talent is there on paper and the shock of switching coaches should at the very least shock the team into realizing they need to step up.hockey-sidebar

St. Louis wasn’t the only team this week who changed their coach as the Edmonton Oilers became the fourth team to fire their bench boss.

This was a clear step towards something different though as the Oilers fired Todd McLellan and found the biggest available name, despite the fact that nobody thought he was available.

The Oilers hired Ken Hitchcock who retired before the season began but was coaxed back by an Oilers team with a lot of young talent.

This team has been one of the biggest wastes of talent in NHL history as they have drafted at the top of the draft for years and even have one of the best players in the league.

Hitchcock now has the opportunity to change the fate of this team that has struggled for so long and by all accounts, it will be different.

He is a coach that is notoriously hard on his players to the point where players don’t like him but he is also a successful coach.

Now he looks to take that same attitude to a young team as the Oilers hope it is the difference before they lose another season.

These teams are all on their second plan hoping that these changes can turn their season around before it is too late and the playoffs are too far away.

 

Overtime

A Failed Plan

The Ottawa Senators have been following the trend of every other team in professional sports with them trying to move closer to the city. Right now the arena is on the outskirts of Ottawa but owner Eugene Melnyk has been attempting to move the team downtown in order to better suit the wants and needs of their fans. That plan was going ahead as planned but this week took a terrible turn as Melnyk filed a lawsuit against his business partner who was involved in financing the new arena. That lawsuit does not bode well for the move downtown as the relationship is clearly not good and without that, there is no new arena.

An NHL Holdout

The Toronto Maple Leafs were a team that had a lot of excitement surrounding them before the season began. A lot of it had to do with the signing of John Tavares who would be added to a young core among the best in the league. William Nylander was a part of that young group alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. The problem for the Leafs was that Nylander was without a contract for 2018-19 while both Matthews and Marner are without a contract for the 2019-20 season. This offseason, the Leafs were going to need to sign Nylander but also make sure that they had enough cap space to sign the other two to a deal a year later. So far that has not been possible as Nylander remains without a contract and is approaching a December 1 deadline that could keep him out the entire season.

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