The NHL took a backseat to a bigger story this week as a dispute over the pay received by Women’s hockey players in the USA brought attention to an issue in international hockey.
Playing in the NHL is not an easy thing as it usually takes a special mental strength especially for goaltenders which has shown with the struggles of Henrik Lundqvist.
The NHL is getting closer to one of the busiest days in every season as the Trade Deadline is less than a month away. With the trade deadline looming the trade rumours start to develop and the phones of every GM begin to work in double time. Teams are all looking to unload players and build for the future or build for a playoff push. As they continue to look for those pieces of the puzzle teams get a lot more active and names begin to pop up about potential players that could be available.
The Metropolitan Division does not have the most popular name in the NHL as many did not like it when the NHL announced the new division last year. Yet there is no other name that could describe this division any better. It is exactly that, a Metropolitan division with some of the biggest cities in the NHL in the division. New York is represented with their two teams alongside New Jersey from across the Hudson. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia also have their cities represented in the division.
The NHL season is officially over with the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and after an amazing postseason the finals would somewhat disappoint. Coming into the Finals it was widely considered that the two best teams had not necessarily made it. The New York Rangers were not the team that anyone expected to make it and that almost everyone expected to lose in the finals. They had amazing performances from Henrik Lundqvist and an emotional Martin St. Louis but to many, that was not going to be enough to get past anyone out of the west.
The NHL is a league of two faces as they operate in two different countries with two very different attitudes towards the game. In Canada the sport borders on religion and the fans consistently want more teams to cheer for. This is where the strength of the league lies with the majority of Canadians teams doing very well including the Toronto Maple Leafs being valued at $1 billion in the latest Forbes study.
The New York Rangers would stamp their ticket to the biggest series of the year when they beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 6. That would finish off a series that, when it was made, had the Rangers losing and not by a slim margin. Most believed that the Montreal Canadiens were just a better team and a team that seemed to get past their toughest challenges on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Then the Rangers would win both of the first game in Montreal and the tone was set for the rest of the series. The Rangers would put the Canadiens on the defence early having them go down 2-0 before they could even get out of their own building.
The holiday season is approaching and for the NHL and for hockey in general it means the beginning of their busiest time of year. The holiday season is the time that the NHL sees their big event season. The process of getting ready for an unprecedented 6 outdoor games has already started while the selection for the Olympic teams is right around the corner. There is another event that is taking focus for a small amount of the NHL players as the World Juniors begins on December 26th.
The Newest name division might not have a name that rolls off of the tongue but it is pretty accurate. The Metropolitan Division is just that as it features some of the biggest markets in the NHL. It may not have the Maple Leafs or the Canadiens but the size of the cities that love hockey in this division are much bigger. It will feature two states that have some of the biggest followings in the game while also including some of the largest Eastern cities.
The NHL playoffs have gone through another round as the Conference finals are now set with only four teams left in the hunt. So far the playoffs have been a tale of two rounds as both rounds had a distinct feel to them. In the first round it was all about the violence of the sport with fights and rough play taking focus.