Rabid Habs

Around the NHL – Week of May 11-17

Team Canada wins gold

Eugene Melnyk requires liver transplant 

This story was truly remarkable. It was announced earlier this week that Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk needs a life-saving liver transplant. His case is complicated due to Melnyk’s rare blood type (AB), making finding a deceased donor unfeasible as the donor would have to be an exact match. The announcement galvanized the hockey world and within 48 hours, over 500 people had volunteered to donate a part of their liver. A liver transplant is major surgery for both parties. The fact that so many people were willing to help out a complete stranger in need speaks to the wonderful culture of our great nation. To all those who volunteered, thank you so much. Also, please fill out an organ donor card if you haven’t already. You could save multiple lives.

Team Canada Wins Gold at the World Hockey Championship

Once again Canada is on top of the hockey world after defeating Russia 6-1 in the gold medal game of the 2015 World Hockey Championship. Because the tournament occurs at the end of the hockey season, typically teams are comprised of NHL players who’s seasons have ended after not making the playoffs. Players can be added as late as the medal round, so teams aren’t set until after the 1st round of the NHL playoffs. This year, team Canada was able to ice a strong team featuring Sidney Crosby, Mike Smith, and Dan Hamhuis, all who were on the roster in 2014 for the Olympics. Smith never played but he still benefited from practices with the goalie coach. This veteran team dominated the tournament outscoring its opponents 58-14. In the gold medal game, Canada broke the game open in the second period, scoring three times in the middle frame. Team Canada is lucky as they can always fill their roster with NHL players, whereas other teams such as Russia are forced to use players from their own leagues such as the KHL, which can be inferior to the NHL. This advantage is mitigated by the big international ice. Way to go guys, you did your country proud.

Officiating in the NHL vs. International rules

The way the games are officiated in international games is in stark contrast to the NHL. In the NHL, officials are often criticized for inconsistency in penalty calls. During the tournament, a penalty was a penalty. There was no grey area. Also, the flow of the game was much better. Skilled players were allowed to ply their craft, whereas this is not necessarily the case in the NHL. Just watch a playoff game in the NHL. You will see stars being covered much closer and a lot more hooking and holding that goes uncalled. Part of the problem is the smaller rinks, making it easier to catch players. Hopefully one year the NHL will get it right and call a penalty if it’s a penalty and not have the score and situation of the game factor into penalties.

Memorial Cup 

This week, the 97th Memorial Cup tournament is set to begin. The tournament is to decide the ultimate champion of the CHL. This year’s teams are Kelowna Rockets (WHL Champ), Quebec Remparts (Tournament host), Oshawa Generals (OHL Champ) and the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL Champs). This will be the last chance for scouts and fans to see the junior hockey players who are eligible for this year’s NHL draft in June. This year’s draft is projected to be strong with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel expected to go 1-2. Historically, the Memorial Cup is a very entertaining tournament featuring some great young players and teams. Habs fans I encourage you to check out some of the games live or on TV.