It’s time to talk hockey again! While nothing too crazy happened in the NHL this week (unlike last week’s coaching change-ups), an important date is looming. March 1st is the NHL trade deadline day. This day is always a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it’s filled with big name trades, sometimes it’s not. I find it hard to speculate on what will or will not happen, but as the day approaches I’ll do a round up of any important moves. Onward we go to our winners and losers.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins – On Thursday, February 16th Crosby obtained his 1000th NHL point. He became the 12th youngest player to do so, and it happened only weeks after Alexander Ovechkin achieved his 1000th. However, Crosby is slightly younger than Ovi and was therefore a little quicker to achieve the milestone. Crosby is having another great season in Pittsburgh. He has 66 points through 53 games and Pittsburgh sits second in the Metropolitan Division with 82 points. Though – please, can someone else win the cup this year? Crosby’s had enough, it’s time for someone else to win now!
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues – Tarasenko is on the winning list this week with reasons nothing to do with his play. This week he surprised a young fan, 11 year old Arianna Dougan, with a trip for two on the team’s charter plane to see two games (and stay at the team hotel) in late March. He had bid on the trip during a charity auction for Arianna. She has battled cancer from a young age and you can tell by the video posted by Sportsnet that she was very overwhelmed and excited by the present. It was such a kind gesture from Tarasenko that deserves recognition. Also, Arianna is still receiving treatments for cancer and we wish her the very, very best.
Mike Cammalleri, New Jersey Devils – Cammalleri was benched from a game on Saturday night after not scoring a goal in 18 games. This is a huge drought for the player who reached career heights of 80+ points when playing with the Kings and Flames.
Antoine Vermette, Anaheim Ducks – Vermette was ejected from a game vs. the Minnesota Wild and received a 10 game suspension for “abuse of an official”. Just after a puck drop during the game, Vermette can be seeing jabbing at the official, which is a huge no in the world of hockey. He has appealed to have the suspension reduced, but this is a blow for the Ducks who are in the midst of a playoff fight.
Brooks Laich, Toronto Maple Leafs – Laich has never been a star player, and his time in the NHL has been riddled with injury, but he’s had a hard go lately. After being traded from the cup contending Capitals to the Maple Leafs last year, the fourth liner quickly found himself sent down to the AHL’s Marlies. This week, in an interview with The Athletic Laich stated that “I would like to pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else”. Just after this article was published, he was quickly put on waivers by the Leafs and was picked up…. by no one. It’s not surprising given his salary vs. scoring record, but still, that must have been a hit to the ego.
RANT OF THE WEEK
This rant is all about bye weeks. This year the NHL has been mandated that each team will have 5 rest days with no games or practices happening throughout. This sounds like great in theory, but it has not been working out so well. There’s been evidence showing that teams actually suffer (aka loose games) after coming off of the bye weeks. Also the breaks are coming just after the All Star break, meaning lots of back-to-back time off. This makes some of the returning play sluggish as players struggle to get back into the flow of the game.
Also, let me just say, this creates mad havoc for fantasy hockey players. If you have good goalies, you likely only have 2 of them. So when a team goes on bye there’s a chance you may not get enough goalie starts to fulfill your league requirements. Grated, this is a very specific problem to have, but for someone (aka me) fighting for 2nd place in her league, it’s incredibly frustrating.
Rumour has it the NHL is working on a better system for the byes next year, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.