Around the National Hockey League: Week 7

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Views, opinions and comments on teams in the National Hockey League –

The Week That Was

There has been so much talk about the lack of scoring in the National Hockey League this season but I believe you can still watch an exciting game that is low scoring. 

For example, last Monday night two Atlantic Divisional rivals squared off.  The Tampa Bay Lightning played the Florida Panthers and the game was not decided until the 19:37 mark of the third period.  Defenceman Aaron Ekblad scored the only goal of the game and Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo made 39 saves for the shutout.  It was Luongo’s 69th shutout and Florida fans went home happy!

Injured Buffalo defenceman, Zach Bogosian played his first game against the Dallas Stars (Nov 17).  A gifted athlete, Bogosian never played a full season when he was with the Winnipeg Jets.  Buffalo forward Evander Kane also returned to action last week playing versus the St. Louis Blues (Nov.19) after a recent knee injury sidelined him.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are playing the kind of hockey most fans thought they would be playing at the start of the year.  Coach John Tortorella has this team playing a very aggressive and physical style of hockey.  They remind me a bit like the way the Winnipeg Jets played last year.  They still have a huge mountain to climb to make it into the playoffs though.

If the season ended today, the Edmonton Oilers are in a tie for last place in the National Hockey League and would be in the draft lottery for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.  All I can say is, it’s amazing and hopefully it won’t happen!

The Winnipeg Jets broke their six game losing streak last Wednesday defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-1.  It’s a start but the Jets still look a team to me that hasn’t been able to put their game together.  Time will tell.   The Jets got past the Arizona Coyotes this past Saturday by a score of 3-2. 

It’s hard for me to think Chicago Blackhawk’s forward Artemi Panarin is a rookie when he’s 24 years old.  There is no doubting this first year player’s skill level and it helps when you are playing with Patrick Kane.  He is second in team scoring behind Kane.  Chicago seems to find players who can consistently plug the holes they have lost to salary cap issues!

The more I watch Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins the more I appreciate how good this guy plays.  He looks small but he’s listed at 6′ 200 lbs and man can he quarterback a power play!  Letang has had his share of injuries over the years in the National Hockey League.  He suffered a stroke due to an undiagnosed hole in his heart during the 2013/2014 season.  Last season, he played in 69 games.  The most he has been able to play in quite a few years.  This season he has a minus 11 in the plus minus department but he’s a valuable piece on the Pittsburgh team.

Embed from Getty Images

Trade Talk

New York Islanders’ defenceman Travis Hamonic wants to be traded to a Western Canadian team.  If I put on my G.M. hat, I surely would want him in a Jet’s uniform.  I would seriously consider trading Andrew Ladd or Toby Enstrom but I doubt that Islanders’ G.M. Garth Snow would be interested in their contracts.  Enstrom’s contract of 5.75 million and a no movement clause is a real stumbling block in any trade and Ladd is an unrestricted free agent.  It would be nice to get Hamonic in my opinion and who knows Jet’s G.M. Kevin Cheveldayoff just might get it done.

New York Post writer Larry Brooks wrote an article titled: Four Grinders Who Would Solve The Rangers Biggest Problem.  In the article, he thinks the team doesn’t have enough meat and potatoes type of players.  He thinks the Rangers should set their sights on four rental players that would help them as the season progresses.  The four players he thinks they should target are Eric Staal, Shane Doan, Dustin Byfuglien, or Andrew Ladd.  The problem is how do you fit any of those player’s salary into your limited cap space.  The Rangers have 1.1 million in available cap space.

In the Western Conference, there is word Colorado might be in the trade market due to their weak start to the season.  Matt Duchene’s name has come up as well as goaltender Semyon Varlamov.  Duchene is a player who I believe most teams would be interested in and I am surprised they would want to trade him.  Is coach Patrick Roy’s style wearing thin?  Tough times in Colorado!

The Chicago Blackhawks are rumoured to be shopping defenceman Trevor Daley and the Montreal Canadiens are looking for a right-winger.

Unrestricted Free Agents

There are a number of big name free agents still not signed which surprises me.  I thought Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos would have been signed by now.  Los Angeles Kings still have to decide on whether they will sign Anze Kopitar.  Will the Carolina Hurricanes resign captain Eric Staal?  What will the Winnipeg Jets do with defenceman Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd?  The salary cap is playing a big part in every G.M’s decision making.

NHL All Star Game

The National Hockey League has announced changes to the upcoming All Star Game.  It will now be a three on three format.  There will be All Star players from the four Divisions playing against each other in 20 minute games. The two Conference winners will face off for a final three on three for twenty minutes with the winner taking home a million dollars.  The All Star players will be voted on by the fans.

Something had to change and I’m sure there will be fans who either love or hate it.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Atlantic Division

Montreal Canadiens are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.  Florida Panthers are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games.

Metropolitan Division

New York Rangers are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games.  Philadelphia Flyers are 2-5-3 in their last 10 and have lost their last 3 games.  Carolina Hurricanes are 3-4-3 in their last 10 and have lost their last 5 games.

Central Division

Dallas Stars are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and have won their last 5 games.  Colorado Avalanche are 4-6-0 in their last 10 and have lost their last 3 games.

Pacific Division

San Jose Sharks are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and have won their last 6 games all on the road.  Vancouver Canucks are 2-6-2 in their last 10.

Scoring Leaders

PlayerTeam GPGoalsAssistsPoints
 Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks 21 13 19 32
 Tyler Seguin Dallas Stars21 11 19 30
 Jamie Benn Dallas Stars 21 141529
 Taylor HallEdmonton Oilers 2091524
 Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks 221013 23


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  1. The guys with visors on their helemts are specialty players and cannot fight. Fights last until it becomes stagnant (usually when they are too tired to punch) or if one player drops. 5 minute majors for both players.There is something called the instigator rule. I’m not too sure about the full details, but essentially, if one team take a run at the other’s star player, a fight cannot be started if it’s in the 3rd period. It’s pretty much worthless, but that’s life I guess.

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