Well ladies and gents, it’s official – we are half way through the NHL season. With most teams either hitting (or will hit this week) the 41 game mark it’s now or never for a lot of teams.
So, what happened this week? The NHL was pretty quiet, but it was a big week for hockey with the World Junior championships taking place. It was a hard year for Canada, losing in a shootout to the United States but it was a great year for many NHL teams to see what insanely good prospects will be coming their way in the near future, but more about that below.
Now it’s time to get to this week’s winners and losers.
Ottawa Senators – The management of the Senators must be VERY happy this week. During the World Junior Championships two of the standout players were Senator prospects. Thomas Chabot was the leading defensemen, fourth overall in scoring, and tournament MVP. In some games he was logging over 40 minutes of ice time. The Sens would be crazy not to be excited over him joining their ranks in the near future. Additionally, Colin White had six goals in six games and was among the top players in the tournament. It’s an exciting time to be a Senators fan.
Washington Capitals – If you compare with last season, the Capitals are not having an amazing year, but it’s not been bad either. They currently sit fourth in the Metropolitan division and are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. What’s interesting to note here is that the Capitals were team to break the Columbus Blue Jackets insane 16 game winning streak, and it was a decisive 5-0 victory. That must have felt pretty great.
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks – After a bit of a rocky start to the season, Gibson is finally starting to show his strengths. In the last two weeks he’s sporting a 1.95 GAA and a .936 SV%. With Anaheim currently sitting 2nd in the Pacific Division, if they keep playing the way the currently are, their playoff hopes certainly look bright.
Boston Bruins – As much as it hurts my soul to write this, my darling Bruins have not been producing as of late. While Rask is having a decent season, the lack of a reliable backup goalie is really hurting the team. That added to the fact that they’re just not performing well. They are losing games that they should be winning, making sloppy plays and overall just look sluggish. Although the currently sit 2nd in the Atlantic Division, the Metropolitan is so strong that if Boston doesn’t up their game they can easily find themselves without a playoff position, for the third year running.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Last year the Lightning lost in the Conference Finals to the eventual cup champions (the Pittsburgh Penguins). This year, they are sitting 6th of 8 in the Atlantic Division and have lost the last 4 games straight. The only silver lining for Tampa is that despite the fact they are 6th, they are only a few points out of a playoff spot. But with a lot of teams fighting for that last spot, it’s by far a guarantee that they’ll make it there.
Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders – There was a time when Montreal Canadiens fans made stop signs with “Halak” plastered across the front because his play was so good. That time however, has long passed. After being traded to St. Louis after the Canadiens (wisely) chose to pick Price over him, Halak has surely struggled. He was recently put on waivers by his current team, the Islanders, and cleared, meaning he is now a $4.75 million a year goalie playing in the AHL. There’s no way that doesn’t hurt.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Patrick Maroon, Edmonton Oilers – Maroon has emerged as an under the radar breakout for the Oilers. In the last 7 days he has 5 goals, including his first hat trick, which he obtained against (ugh) the Bruins and 1 assist. Maroon has been stellar as of late and he is also my pick for Fantasy hockey steal of the week, if someone in your league hasn’t picked him up yet, do it ASAP.