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

Spencer
BUFFALO, NY – MARCH 21: Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates after scoring in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on March 21, 2013 in Buffalo, United States. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Nazem Kadri thinks life isn’t fair, you guys.

“I don’t love the new format. I don’t think you should be able to have a season like we’re having and still face a team that’s had a better season. Home ice, how we’re rolling, that plays an important role. I’m not a huge fan. It’s just the hand we’re dealt.”

The above quote comes from the aforementioned Maple Leaf complaining about the current NHL playoff format – a format that, admittedly, has issues. While I understand Kadri’s complaint, it definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth. While never playing hockey at a very high level – some may even say I sucked – I’m firmly of the belief that you play the hand you’re dealt. It could simply be my perception, but Kadri’s comments scream of someone who doesn’t have the confidence to beat whomever they come across in the playoffs. It’s much like Sidney Crosby complaining about the format last season; hell, the only reason that this article isn’t about Crosby himself is that even after complaining about the format last year, he won the Stanley Cup. Admittedly, I’ll be forced to eat my words should the Leafs win the Cup, but that’s not a world I’d want to live in, anyways. Even Mike Babcock, the Maple Leafs head coach, isn’t commenting.

“I don’t know why you’d be frustrated about anything. It seems like a waste of time to me,” Babcock recently said. “To me, that isn’t what it’s about. To me, it’s about preparation for the tournament. If you’re not prepared, you’re out of the tournament right away. You want to be set up and ready to go”.

Have the Maple Leafs had a fantastic season? Even this Oilers fan has to begrudgingly admit yes, they have. Does that mean that they’ve automatically earned the right to play a lesser team, as Kadri seems to think?

Absolutely not.

It’s unfortunate that the Leafs are forced to play a stronger opponent than they would like. Next year, if they want to play an easier team, I would simply suggest they, y’know, do better than the two teams ahead of them in the division. I hate to say it, Mr Kadri – but them’s the rules. Don’t like it? Tough.

Maybe – hopefully – Boston sweeps you for your troubles.

Ben

With the Playoffs within reach, some teams have to win out to and need help in order to make it. The Carolina Hurricanes are one of these teams, keeping their hopes alive with a vital win on a Friday night over the Washington Capitals. The Canes handled the Capitals and have added to their impressive late season playoff push. The Hurricanes have won four of their last five and are sitting 8 points behind the Devils, who currently sit on the 2nd wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. It will come down to the wire in regards to the Canes playoff hopes, and this evening’s game against the Rangers is a must-win.

The Playoff Race in my opinion is one of the most exciting times of year in regards to hockey aside from the playoffs themselves. Some teams may see having games in hand a blessing, but it could also be a curse. The Florida Panthers play 6 games in 9 days which will be a huge test as each game is important. They went 20-6-1 from Jan. 30 through Mar. 26 leading the NHL in wins during that span. Those wins will mean absolutely nothing if the Florida Panthers miss the playoffs. The Florida Panthers can take this stretch in two different ways: A report card on where there needs to be improvement or a warm up for the most grueling playoff format on this planet.

Arik

Many people watch hockey everynight and can say they’ve seen “everything” but every now and then even the most diehard hockey fans see something new.

Thursday night in Chiacgo an emergency goaltender drew into a game for only the second time in the modern era. The previous goaltender (Jorge Alves, Carolina Hurricanes only played 7 seconds).

What lead to the situation?

Blackhawks goaltender Anton Forsberg went down with an injury due to a “pregame ritual” and Collin Delia left the game with cramps in the third period.

Due to the Blackhawks having both goaltenders go down with injuries, they had no choice but to put in their emeregency backup.

That emergency backup was Scott Foster a 36-year-old accountant who drew into the Blackhawks vs Jets game on Thursday with about 14 minutes left in the third period.

It’s been awhile since Scott Foster has been in a competitive game, but he turned away all 7 Jets shots in the third period as the Hawks won the game 6-2.

The Blackhawks capped the evening off for Foster in the perfect way.

 

WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
Games Spencer Love Arik Krause Doug Lakusta Ben Ferguson
 Panthers @ Bruins Panthers  Bruins Bruins
 Senators @ Red Wings Senators  Red Wings Red Wings
 Blue Jackets @ Canucks Blue Jackets  Blue Jackets Blue Jackets
 Jets @ Maple Leafs Jets Jets Jets
 Canadiens @ Penguins Penguins  Penguins Penguins
 Islanders @ Devils Devils Devils Devils
 Rangers @ Hurricanes Rangers Rangers  Rangers
 Wild @ Stars Stars Wild Wild
 Sabres @ Predators Predators Predators  Predators
 Blues @ Coyotes Blues  Coyotes Blues
 Oilers @ Flames Oilers Oilers Oilers
 Sharks @ Golden Knights  Golden Knights Sharks Golden Knights
This Week’s Record  7-5 10-2  0-0  7-5
Record to Date 85-55 (61%) 81-59 (58%) 13-9 (56%) 72-57 (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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