In an otherwise quiet week for news and action, with three different days of three games or less, PHR’s writers stayed busy with some original articles:
Brian La Rose began our annual holiday series “What Your Team Is Thankful For”. Going alphabetically, he took a look at Anaheim, Arizona, and Boston. The league leading Bruins obviously have plenty to be thankful for, but so too do the Coyotes, who currently hold a top-ten record in the NHL. There’s room for improvement in Arizona, but the team has to be happy with how the season has gone thus far. Anaheim however has a hefty wish list this holiday season, needing more out of their young forward corps and a difference-maker on defense. Stay tuned for more write-ups from Brian on the other 28 teams as we march toward 2020.
Sticking with the holiday theme, I outlined the recent trend of the standings at American Thanksgiving being a strong playoff predictor and asked who could be the outlier teams that qualify for the postseason this year after missing the mark on Turkey Day. The readers responded very favorably toward one team in each conference – the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vegas Golden Knights. If only those two teams turn things around this season, then the current standings already reflect 14 of 16 playoff teams.
Gavin also offered a poll to the readers, asking who might be the early favorite for the Hart Trophy this season as NHL MVP. Gavin detailed the accomplishments to this point in the year of a number of the game’s biggest names, but voters gravitated toward two forwards on ungodly scoring paces. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid already has almost 50 points and is currently on pace for 144 points, while Boston’s David Pastrnak has 24 goals in 26 games and looks poised to score 75+ goals at this rate. However, do the presences of Leon Draisaitl and Brad Marchand also among the league’s top scorers hurt their teammates’ Hart cases? Could the likes of Nathan MacKinnon and John Carlson swoop in as more “valuable” candidates?
In my bi-weekly piece, I took a look at the happenings in college hockey of late. As Hockey East teams continue to underwhelm this year, especially Boston University, other northeast schools have filled the top-ten void in Cornell, Clarkson, and Harvard. Meanwhile, Minnesota may not be a top contender in the Big Ten this year, but added another talented recruit to an impressive incoming class. And college hockey will continue in Alaska, at least for now.
Finally, Gavin hosted his weekly chat, with topics ranging from coaches on the hot seat, the sustainability of upstart teams, and franchise building blocks. The Red Wings, Predators, and Senators received some special attention in yet another great segment.
For all of the original work from PHR’s writers, be sure to keep up with all of the action each and every day!