Hot Start for the NHL

The 2012 National Hockey League season ended with one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory.  With less than two minutes left in game six of the Finals, down by one, the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals to take the lead from the Boston Bruins in a matter of 17 seconds.  That was just what the Blackhawks needed to win the best of seven series and hoist the Stanley Cup.  Despite the interesting end to last season, this season has already differed greatly from the last.  Last season the NHL was unable to start on time due to the strike by the players association and the first several weeks of hockey were lost.  This season, the NHL was able to start on time and so far it has provided instant entertainment.

One of the biggest stories so far this year is the moves the Philadelphia Flyers have made recently.  After losing the first three games of the year, the Philadelphia Flyers fired their coach, Peter Laviolette.  Firing your head coach after losing the first three games makes sense if you’re in college football where the season is 12 games, but not for a team in the NHL where the season is 82 games.  The other reason this move is questionable by the Flyers is the success Laviolette has had with the team.  Especially after taking the team to the playoffs in all of three years he coached the team, including a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.  The Flyers look to be making a bold move, but because of the high expectations the team something needs to change to win games

Other than the Flyers, the other teams who have high expectations this year got off to a hot start this year.  In the Eastern Conference the Toronto Maple Leafs are on top of the board with an early record of five wins to one loss.  The Pittsburgh Penguins and last year’s Stanley Cup runners-up, the Boston Bruins, both also started this season with only one loss and a handful of wins.  The Western Conference so far is a different story.  The San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and St. Louis Blues all have began the season without a loss.  The reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks both only have one loss as well, and look to make a deep run in the playoffs this season.

Finally, the issue of fighting in hockey has recently came up as something that might change in the near future.  This issue intensified after a scary incident in the season opener where Montreal Canadiens’ player George Parros went down with a concussion and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.  With all the recent research being done with concussions in sports it seems that the future of hockey will follow that of the other contact sports and value safety over the popular big hits.

 

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