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 NHL All-Star Game has turned into the NHL’s annual joke.
Folks, get ready to tune in to a three-on-three tournament with a level of competitiveness that I can only describe as equal to what it looks like when I dance - absolutely embarrassing. I haven’t been a fan of the all-star format for years, and now that players are using the festivities as a weekend off - looking at you, Sidney Crosby - it’s become a weekend that many fans have taken to turning off their TV’s. Unlike the MLB All-Star Game, in which the winning division earns home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, there’s no stakes to speak of; that is, of course, unless you need a new vehicle. Even the NBA’s version of their all-star classic is an absolute spectacle, with celebrities, basketball legends and more showing up for each of the weekend events. It takes a lot to make me not want to watch Connor McDavid, but the NHL has inexplicably found a way. Who would have thought putting all the best players in the world together would give us something this low-quality?
I’m mad as hell, dammit, and I’m not going to take it anymore!
The NHL All Star game will take place on January 28th in Tampa Bay and once again we don’t know if Sidney Crosby will attend. The two time all star, who was suspended one game in 2015 for skipping the festivities, has hinted to the fact he won’t attend again this year.
Earlier in his career he missed out on two ASG’s because of his concussion issues and other injuries such as a sprained ankle in 2008 and a knee injury in 2009. He attended his first ASG in 2007 where he was held pointless.
Crosby, who won the $1M prize with the Metropolitan Division last year given to the team who wins the 3-on-3 tournament, has mentioned through the Post-Gazette that although he hasn’t considered it himself he would not have a problem with players skipping this year’s ASG as a form of protest for the NHL not allowing it’s players to attend the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Victor Hedman will be out 3-6 weeks for the Tampa Bay Lightning with a lower-body injury. Hedman’s lower-body injury (knee) came on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning played the Calgary Flames. It’s a significant loss for the Tampa Bay Lightning; Hedman has been Tampa Bay’s best defensemen by far, as well as one of their top players. He has 33 points (six goals, 27 assists) and is plus-24 in 44 games this season. The No. 2 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft,Hedman has 334 points (71 goals, 263 assists) in 593 games over nine NHL seasons, all with the Lightning.
With Hedman sidelined until early February, there’s a high probability that rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev will see an uptick in ice-time; Sergachev currently averages 15:41 a game as a rookie for Tampa Bay. There’s also a good chance that Sergachev will run the 1st power-play unit. However, lets not forget about Anton Stralman. Stralman is a strong option and could very well assume 1st power-play duties. Prior to Hedman breaking out, Stralman played the majority of the 1st unit power-play time. Either one of these defensemen are suitable candidates for Tampa Bay’s high-octane power-play.
With the Trade Deadline looming, names that could be available on the market are becoming clearer each day. With the All-Star break and GM meetings happening in the next few weeks, look to hear a lot of rumbling’s about potential trade destinations. Two names that I see moving at the deadline are Sabres forward Evander Kane, as well as Senators winger Matt Hoffman. Both are great wingers who could help any team making a playoff push on the score sheet. Could Edmonton be looking to receive a winger? Landing Hoffman would be my ideal choice; Kane is rumoured to be trouble in the locker room, something the Oilers don’t need. In fact, Kane’s week was highlighted by a scuffle in practice, which ended in him being called “selfish” with other words I can’t type in a PG rated blog. My team to watch? The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are hovering in 9th place in the East. I know Rutherford cannot be content after back-to-back Stanley Cups; expect him to make a move aimed towards securing a playoff spot. A three-peat is still possible!
WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
|Games||Spencer Love||Arik Krause||Doug Lakusta||Ben Ferguson|
|Islanders @ Rangers||Islanders||Islanders||Islanders||Rangers|
|Red Wings @ Penguins||Penguins||Penguins||Penguins||Penguins|
|Jets @ Wild||Jets||Jets||Jets||Jets|
|Bruins @ Canadiens||Bruins||Canadiens||Bruins||Bruins|
|Flyers @ Devils||Flyers||Devils||Devils||Flyers|
|Avalanche @ Stars||Stars||Avalanche||Stars||Avalanche|
|Oilers @ Golden Knights||Oilers||Golden Knights||Oilers||Golden Knights|
|Ducks @ Kings||Ducks||Kings||Kings||Kings|
|Coyotes @ Sharks||Sharks||Sharks||Sharks||Sharks|
|Previous Week’s Record||7-2||3-6||0-0||2-7|
|Record to Date||43-22 (66%)||38-27 (58%)||0-0||40-25 (62%)|
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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