Sunday, March 02, 2014

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming

With the Sochi Adventure now complete, the NHL returned to its regular season, the start of what in effect becomes the home stretch of the NHL dash for the playoffs that got underway on Tuesday.

The schedule increased significantly from that single game of Tuesday night, the number of games increasing towards this first Saturday night of the post Olympic schedule.

And while the players that didn't make the journey to Sochi shook off some of that Olympic break rust, the main story of the first week of the post Sochi days involved trade rumours, injuries and seemingly more than a few disgruntled players, rumoured to be seeking greener pastures or a chance to play on the other side of the fence.

IOC to compensate New York Islanders for John Tavares injury
Carey Price suffers injury, out next 2 games
Henrik Zetterberg has back surgery, no guarantee that he returns to Detroit Red Wings this season
Rangers' Mats Zuccarello suffers fractured hand while playing for Norway
Seven teams to watch at the deadline
Vanek rejects Islanders' offer, trade could be next
Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis has asked to be dealt only to New York Rangers

Much of the personnel issues no doubt come from the closeness of the Trading Deadline, which arrives on Wednesday March 5, a short window for General Managers to review their notes, make their phone calls and check their texts, looking to see who may be available or what one of their players may bring on the market to come.

Teams that are running up the white flag (Hellooooooo Buffalo) have already been busy making their phone calls and securing the deals.

And if the news from Saturday is any indication, rebuilding the entire management structure again (we hope that should Ted Nolan end up the next on the departures list from Buffalo (again) that he is quickly snapped up by a hockey team that has some idea as to what they are doing).

General Mangers that are one or two players away from making the jump to the next level of success (well done  St. Louis, well done) will add the key ingredients that they hope will take them to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Others, particularly those on the bubble have the hardest decisions to make.

Whether to trade their way to a seventh or eighth place finish, or to blow the whole thing up and start the rebuild hopefully for better days to come.

The latter would include the Vancouver Canucks, a team that seems to exude controversy at every turn.

Will Ryan Kesler be traded away?

Has Roberto Luongo been snubbed yet again?

 Is that John Tortorella at the microphone making yet another apology?

Does Mike Gillis have a clue as to what he's doing?

In Vancouver, each new day offers up another head scratcher to try and figure out.

In a topsy turvy NHL, the Canucks have decided to take on the old role of the Maple Leafs,  laying claim to the space previously held by all things Toronto, a spot where you just never knew what you're going to hear next.

It all makes for an interesting storyline heading towards the wrap on the 2014 season and the first playoff rounds of late April.

Whether some of the teams in the news today, have much of a post season ahead of them will be an interesting thing to watch.

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