The Week In Review is a weekly compilation of hand-picked NHL stories selected by members of WinColumnSports deemed important or impactful from the week that was. Additionally, there is also a running pool amongst the contributors based on our picks for Saturday’s match-ups.
Stories From the Past Week
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the player deemed to be most valuable to his team through the regular season. It’s a designation that has received a lot of debate over the years; does the award simply go to the best player in the league? Or does it go to a player that is so vital to his team’s success that the team simply couldn’t function without them?
If it’s the latter, how does the trophy go to anyone other than Connor McDavid?
The Oilers are terrible when McDavid isn’t on the ice; they’ve dropped from 8th to 21st in goals for, Cam Talbot’s save percentage has dropped dramatically, and every defenceman not named Darnell Nurse has regressed this season. It’s been a tire fire of a season in Edmonton after expectations were raised after last season.
However, that’s no reason not to award the 21-year-old superstar his second consecutive Hart. He’s invaluable to the Oilers franchise; while they may be a bad team now, imagine where the organization would be without him. He’s third in league scoring, and the Oilers are a dramatically better team in both goals and Corsi for when he’s on the ice.
If the Hart truly goes to the player most valuable to his team, is there really any argument?
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby has been suspect this year to say the least.
Holtby is a 2x All-Star, Vezina Trophy winner in 2016 and was a huge part in the Capitals goal-tending duo winning the William M. Jennings award in 2017.
Holtby is a career 2.40GAA and .920SV% goaltender, however his stats have dipped this year to a miserable 3.03GAA and .907SV%
Holtby is struggling for the first time since being named the Capitals starter in 2012-2013 and a lot of it has to do with fatigue. Holtby is coming off his 3rd season of starting 63+ games, he started 72 games in 2014-2015.
Goalies don’t have to be just physically prepared for every game, they have to be mentally prepared. Unlike other players who get to rest on the bench for 40 minutes a game, goaltenders have to be mentally engaged for the entire 60 minutes of the game.
As a Washington Capitals fan myself, I don’t understand why we’re forcing Holtby to carry such a big workload. We have a competent backup in Philipp Grubauer who is more than capable of playing 20-30 games a year.
Other goalies in the league are dealing with fatigue as well, questioning whether or not coaches should balance out the starts between goaltenders more. Just recently Andre Vasilevskiy of the league leading Tampa Bay Lightning made comments regarding fatigue.
Vasilevskiy: “When you play 20-plus games, you think, ‘Oh I’m good, I can play 60+. But now when I’m on 50+, it’s like,
‘That’s tough.” https://t.co/AWyLYelbpw
— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) March 7, 2021
Do you think goaltenders in the NHL carry too much of a workload?
WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
|Games||Spencer Love||Arik Krause||Doug Lakusta||Ben Ferguson|
|Jets @ Flyers||Flyers||Jets||Jets||Jets|
|Canadiens @ Lightning||Lightning||Lightning||Lightning||Lightning|
|Blackhawks @ Bruins||Bruins||Bruins||Bruins||Bruins|
|Golden Knights @ Sabres||Golden Knights||Sabres||Sabres||Golden Knights|
|Coyotes @ Avalanche||Avalanche||Coyotes||Coyotes||Avalanche|
|Capitals @ Sharks||Capitals||Sharks||Capitals||Sharks|
|Blues @ Kings||Blues||Kings||Blues||Blues|
|Penguins @ Maple Leafs||Penguins||Maple Leafs||Maple Leafs||Penguins|
|Rangers @ Panthers||Panthers||Panthers||Panthers||Panthers|
|Devils @ Predators||Predators||Predators||Predators||Predators|
|Wild @ Oilers||Oilers||Wild||Wild||Wild|
|Last Week’s Record||4-4||5-3||4-4||4-4|
|Record to Date||66-41 (62%)||62-45 (58%)||13-9 (56%)||60-47 (56%)|
This running pool is open to readers and WinColumnSport contributors. If you are interested in joining you can contact me on twitter (@WCS_BFerg). Ultimately, if you join the pool, you must be willing to contribute a developing story from the week that was.
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