This week, I take a look at the fall of both top-seeded teams.. I also highlight Steve Yzerman’s return to Hockey Town and some key playoff roster moves.
Sixteen wins. This is what it takes to win the hardest trophy in sports. Although regular season success is often used by analysts to predict post-season play, only one President’s Trophy winner has taken home the Stanley Cup this decade, the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks. Sometimes, the wear and tear of an 82-game regular season proves to be too much. The team which raises the cup in June must have enough mental and physical resolve, and undoubtedly some luck, to power itself through two months of grueling hockey. Below are the five teams that have the personnel and coaching to seriously contend for the Stanley Cup.
Last week was a big one in the NHL. We saw Ovechkin reach another major milestone and the Lightning continue the quest for their next one. I also dive into the state of the Dallas Stars and predict another award.
I had a lot of opinions this week: Braden Holtby’s decision to skip the Capitals’ White House ceremony, the playoff format, and an award prediction.
This week’s Blake’s Takes dives into Matt Duchene’s run in Ottawa and the impact of both trades. I also take a look into the hit that earned Connor McDavid his first suspension and another jersey retirement ceremony.
What makes a trade lopsided? Many hockey fans think it is when one team gets the better players, declaring that that team had “won” the trade. But getting the better players doesn’t necessarily mean that team always wins.
For example, look at the Wayne Gretzky trade. One could rightly surmise that the Los Angeles Kings won that exchange, since they acquired the game’s greatest player in the deal. But consider that the Edmonton Oilers got $15 million in the trade, which allowed them to stay afloat, and won the Stanley Cup in 1990 with some of the assets they received. The Kings raised their profile exponentially with Gretzky on their team, but did not win a Stanley Cup Championship until 2012, long after that trade had any bearing.
That trade doesn’t seem so lopsided anymore when you look at it that way, does it?
With today being the NHL trade deadline, here is a look at five lopsided trades, where one team clearly benefited, while the other got hosed.
On Tuesday, Las Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves hit Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson with a blindside hit. Reaves was ejected from the game, and Wilson also left the game with a concussion. Fan response ran the usual gamut, from lauding Reaves for giving Wilson a taste of his own medicine, to demonizing Reaves for making what many would consider a dirty hit (while, presumably, not understanding what “irony” means).
Two days later, Inscriptagraphs, a sports memorabilia store based in Las Vegas that specializes in autographed items, was selling 16″ x 20″ photos of Reaves standing near an injured Wilson — and signed by Reaves in red ink with the inscription “He ran into a Lion in the Jungle,” which Reaves said in a postgame statement.
20 games is a long time to learn a lesson
Capitals forward Tom Wilson received a 20-game suspension on Wednesday for delivering an illegal hit to the head to Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in a preseason game on September 30. It is a decision that has been met with both resounding praise and harsh criticism over the past day.
Wilson is not a bad person, nor is he a bad player. In fact, he was awarded the Bob Probert Bowl in the First Annual Puck Junk Awards earlier this year for possessing that formidable balance of skill and aggression.
However, his hit on Sunqvist was egregious and inexcusable. So, the NHL handing Wilson a 20-game suspension was the right thing to do. Here’s why.
By Sal Barry, Kyle Scully, Blake Isaacs & Jim Howard
Before we fully turn our attention to the season that lies ahead, here is a look back at the biggest hockey stories of the 2017-18 season.
A.K.A. 6 NHL Awards We’d Like to See
The 2018 NHL Awards take place tonight. Seeing the same great players over and over win trophies and make boring speeches is fine and all, but what hockey needs is a little variety to its awards. So here are six all-new and exciting trophies that the NHL should give out to these six unique and interesting players. But the NHL is more likely to give Quebec its next expansion franchise than to acknowledge the feats of these guys. I guess that leaves it to me. So I present to you the First Annual Puck Junk Awards!