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 Love

Unlike the NBA, the National Hockey League doesn’t feature an end-of-season award for Most Improved Player; however, if the NHL decided to hand out such an award, I’d be hard pressed to find anyone more deserving than Flyers centerman Sean Couturier. Now in his 7th year in Philadelphia, the former 8th overall pick in the 2011 draft has eclipsed both his single season goals and points records. While playing with individuals like Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere certainly can’t hinder his efforts, the Phoenix-born center is averaging over a point-per-game for the first time in his career, and looks to be on pace for his first 30-goal season as well. With Giroux playing the majority of his time on the wing, has Couturier now become the Flyers de facto number 1 center of the future? With numbers like this, I believe so.

Arik Krause

Seattle joining the NHL as the league’s 32nd franchise is all but official in my opinion. Seattle is taking the same steps through the process that the Golden Knights took, and most experts say that once the process gets to a season ticket drive it’s pretty much sealed.

Just yesterday Seattle filed for 13 naming trademarks. Those names are the Cougars, Eagles, Emerald, Evergreens, Firebirds, Kraken, Rainiers, Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Sockeyes, Totems and Whales.

Seattle will bring the NHL to a level field with 16 teams in each conference – 8 teams in 4 divisions – and we’ll finally have a balanced league again.

Achieving that could be difficult as one of the Pacific division teams will have to be moved to the Central division. Some people have suggested to put one of the Albertan teams in the Central, which wouldn’t make sense to me. I don’t see the NHL splitting up a rivalry like the Battle of Alberta.

Most likely it’ll be Arizona getting the short end of the stick moving them away from the short California road trips. Does that maybe setting up for an Arizona move to Houston in the future to create a rivalry with the Dallas Stars? Perhaps, but for now it seems the NHL is content with keeping the 31 (possibly 32) teams right where they are

Ben Ferguson

On Sunday, January 14th an incredible “games played” active streak was terminated. Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano was suspended for two games, thus ending the fourth-longest consecutive games streak in NHL history. Cogliano had the longest active streak in the league at 830 games. The current record holder is Doug Jarvis with a grand total of 964. Now that Cogliano’s active streak is broken, Keith Yandle takes over the longest active streak with 676 consecutive games.

Seeing a streak such as Cogliano’s halted by the likes of suspension is such a let-down in my opinion. The NHL’s disciplinary process is inconsistent more often than not; many players have delivered far worse hits and have gotten away with little more than a fine. Cogliano has a clean record and has never been an overly aggressive or reckless player. The NHL disciplinary process makes little to no sense sometimes. An example of this is how Dustin Brown delivered a cross-check to the back of the Penguin’s Justin Schultz resulting in  Schultz being driven into the boards head first. Brown only got a $10,000 fine and no suspension.

I personally believe the blows to the head and high hits have no place in the game. However, the NHL has to be consistent when it comes to assigning punishments. Cogliano’s hit in my opinion deserved punishment, just to set precedent and to keep players aware, but a 2 game is overkill in my opinion.

Doug Lakusta

News continues to trickle in on Seattle and an expansion team. The latest news is the Oakview Group have reserved 13 different names, one of which could be the make of the future team. These are listed: Cougars, Eagles, Emeralds, Evergreens, Firebirds, Kraken, Rainers, Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Sockeyes, Totems and Whales. I have seen jersey renderings for the Emeralds and Evergreens, while Totems and Rainers could be a nostalgic option, as both are old sports franchise’s from the Seattle City. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Whales with the old Hartford logo make a come back. However, it’s becoming more and more likely KeyArena will be housing a team sooner than later. The Oak View group are just the developers, however; the team would still need ownership and a league approval to move towards certainty.

WinColumnSport’s Saturday Picks
Games Spencer Love Arik Krause Doug Lakusta Ben Ferguson
Stars @ Sabres  Stars  Stars  Stars Stars
Devils @ Flyers  Flyers  Devils  Devils Devils
Rangers @ Avalanche  Rangers  Avalanche  Avalanche Avalanche
Jets @ Flames  Jets  Jets  Jets Jets
Bruins @ Canadiens  Bruins  Bruins  Canadiens Bruins
Maples Leafs @ Senators  Senators  Maple Leafs Maple Leafs Maple Leafs
Hurricanes @ Red Wings  Red Wings  Hurricanes  Hurricanes Red Wings
Penguins @ Sharks  Penguins  Penguins  Sharks Penguins
Coyotes @ Blues  Blues  Blues  Blues Blues
Panthers @ Predators  Predators  Predators  Panthers Predators
Islanders @ Blackhawks  Blackhawks  Islanders  Islanders Islanders
Lightning @ Wild  Lightning  Lightning  Lightning Lightning
Canucks @ Oilers  Oilers  Oilers  Oilers Oilers
This Week’s Record  6-7 9-4 8-5  8-5
Record to Date 56-31 (%) 51-36 (%) 13-9 (56%) 53-34 (61%)

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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NHL Week in Review: Couturier, Seattle Expansion, and the Iron Man
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