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
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 21, 2018
After ten years and three Stanley Cup championships, the Chicago Blackhawks will miss the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2008. It’s the first time that Joel Quenneville has missed the playoffs as the ‘Hawks head coach since coming aboard four games into the 2008 season, when he replaced Denis Savard.
For reference, the last time Chicago missed the playoffs, Michael Jackson was gearing up for a comeback tour.
“This has been the one year we’ve been unpredictable in our game, and our possession game has been the one area that we’ve nailed. This year, we didn’t get to that level we needed to get to.” said Quenneville after a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night that sealed the team’s fate.
Over the past decade, he Blackhawks have been the standard bearer for an NHL franchise. Even through salary cap issues, player departures and injuries, Chicago has always managed to remain a Cup contender due to influxes of young players and a leadership core that could rival the best of all-time. This year, however, seemed to be the straw that broke the camels back.
However, a major injury to starting goaltender Corey Crawford may have sealed the club’s fate late in December. When asked about the injury in the above video, Quenneville said “You’re always going to have key injuries. Always going to have significant injuries, have some things go against you. But we’ve always been able to overcome them and find ways rectify some tough situations and get back on track. This year we’ve been unable to do it.”
While things may look bleak in the Windy City, all hope is not lost. If any team has proven it can turn itself around in one offseason, it’s the Blackhawks; just look at their ability to re-tool after their Stanley Cup wins. With a little luck on the injury front, I fully expect Chicago back in the Stanley Cup chase next season.
The end of the 2017/2018 regular season is just around the corner: 16 teams are focusing on the playoffs, with the remaining clubs looking down the line towards the draft and the off-season. This off-season should be quite interesting to say the least. This year’s trade deadline was quite the spectacle, and hopefully the draft and free agency follows suit. All the focus will be on big names such as Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Evander Kane, and John Tavares. However, I’m curious to find out the fate of two players who may slip under the radar: the Sedin Twins.
As of the 14th of March, the Vancouver Canucks were officially eliminated from the playoff contention. Currently, the squad hold a 26-40-9 record, with 7 games remaining. Henrik Sedin has 46 points (three goals, 43 assists), the fewest he has scored in a full season since 2003-04 (42). Daniel Sedin has been steadier with 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists), four more than last season. Henrik is playing 15:22 minutes per game and Daniel is playing 15:04. Each played more than 18 minutes a game last season.
The Sedin’s have had quite the run in Vancouver despite never winning a Stanley Cup. It’s unfortunate that Vancouver isn’t in the state to contend for a Stanley Cup next season, as the Sedin’s certainly deserve a championship. It will be interesting to see what happens to the twins; if they do leave, the Canucks will certainly need to fill some big shoes as the Sedin’s were not only top-class athletes, but top-class human-beings.
Each Sedin has more than 1,000 points in the NHL; Henrik has 1,066 (240 goals, 826 assists) in 1,323 games, and Daniel has 1,036 (391 goals, 645 assists) in 1,298 games. While aging, both are sure to draw interest in the free agent market.
The Golden Knights became the first expansion team in NHL history to hit the 100-point plataue. Regardless of your opinion on the expansion draft rules, the success they’ve had in their first season is remarkable.
However, it leads to a different point: the way this team is managed and coached. The Golden Knights are like a well oiled machine.
Sure, in the expansion draft they got a couple of “good” players, but they’ve turned those “good” players into “great” players this year. William Karlsson season-high in goals before joining Las Vegas was 9. This year he has 39 goals.
Las Vegas had some cushion when it came to the expansion draft compared to other teams, but to say they were handed a 100-point team would be delusional.
Will the pending Seattle franchise have the same success as Las Vegas? In my opinion, it all comes down to management.
I’d expect George McPhee to win GM of the year and for Gerard Gallant to win Coach of the Year. All for a first-year expansion team.
WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
|Games||Spencer Love||Arik Krause||Doug Lakusta||Ben Ferguson|
|Golden Knights @ Avs||Avalanche||Avalanche||Golden Knights|
|Flames @ Sharks||Sharks||Sharks||Sharks|
|Sabres @ Rangers||Rangers||Rangers||Rangers|
|Coyotes @ Panthers||Panthers||Panthers||Panthers|
|Red Wings @ Maple Leafs||Red Wings||Maple Leafs||Maple Leafs|
|Capitals @ Canadiens||Capitals||Capitals||Capitals|
|Blues @ Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets||Blue Jackets|
|Hurricanes @ Senators||Hurricanes||Hurricanes||Hurricanes|
|Blackhawks @ Islanders||Islanders||Blackhawks||Islanders|
|Lightning @ Devils||Lightning||Devils||Lightning|
|Predators @ Wild||Predators||Predators||Predators|
|Kings @ Oilers||Oilers||Oilers||Kings|
|Last Week’s Record||4-6||5-5||0-0||0-0|
|Record to Date||78-50 (61%)||71-57 (55%)||13-9 (56%)||65-52 (55%)|
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