Week 5 Preview - Woah That's A Lot of Games This Week

By: Chris


After a decent week that saw the Sens beat Columbus, pick up the loser point against a dominant Blackhawks team, and lose to the Bruins, Ottawa returns home for 4 games in 6 nights. The Sens are currently 5-3-2, and sit one point back of the 2nd wildcard spot with one game in hand.

Nov 4th vs Detroit

"Singin' sweet home Amway Insurance aaaaaaaaaall summer long"
Once again the Detroit Red Wings are a competitive hockey team. They keep losing franchise players but still finds a way to win, basically making them the complete opposite of the Edmonton Oilers. More impressively, in a league that encourages parity, Detroit has managed to not fall in the trap of over-paying strong depth following playoff success, although not having much of either the last five seasons probably helps.

Unlike during Bowman era, the Red Wings have made up for an underwhelming roster with star goaltender Jimmy Howard, who the team will continue to rely upon heavily with Jonas Gustavsson returning for a 3rd season.

Nov 6th vs Minnesota

The Minnesota Wild have a lot of intelligent players like Stephane Veilleux
The last two seasons have been a tough one for hockey fans. A quick check of the bottom of the Western Conference standings serves as a reminder that Minnesota is now a decent team. With a core consisting of Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Tomas Vanek, Ryan Suter, and Niklas Backstrom, the Wild are a veritable "Who's Who" of players who peaked four years ago. Who hasn't been there? You think you've finally got things figured out and you've got nowhere to go but up, but before you realize it, you get a little too self-satisfied, you lose that drive and that hunger, and suddenly you're in a rut. There wasn't any turning point you could put a finger on. It was just a slow, easy slide into a sort of comfortable mediocrity where you've just been coasting along on the perception of your own potential. You get married, because that's what you're supposed to do and it was easier than having that conversation with your Mom once a month, and that's how other people define success, but suddenly you realize you're trapped in a life you never wanted, and never even asked for. But there you are anyway with no real escape and nothing to look forward to other than the next break in the action where you can sneak a pull from that bottle of Wisers you keep hidden in the garage for those moments when you need to keep the existential angst at bay before you go to yet another dinner with the in-laws.

This guy knows what I'm talking about. (gif via @ryanreal)
That's all I really know about the Minnesota Wild.

Nov 8th vs The 2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers

Much like the Winnipeg hockey team this jet was probably put together by children

Much like with Minnesota no longer being stuck in the last half of the Western Conference standings, it can feel a bit weird looking at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and not seeing the familiar face of the Winnipeg Jets. That is until you remember they switched conferences and you can conveniently find them sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Now, that shouldn't came as a surprise given that the Jets' roster doesn't look much different from the 2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers, who missed the playoffs with a core of Enstrom/Byfuglien/Bogosian on defense, and Ladd/Little/Wheeler/Kane on forward, coincidentally happens to be the exact same the core of the current Winnipeg Jets team.

Winnipeg also continuesto wait for Ondrej Pavelec to develop into a strong goaltender despite being 27 years old and having just one season with a save percentage higher than 90.6% under his belt. Although Pavelec is off to a hawt start, I wouldn't even bet whoever is on the Jets bottom two lines that they make the playoffs this year.

Nov 9th vs Toronto

The Leafs have started the year where they left-off in April: sitting just outside of the playoffs and being one the league's worst possession teams, unlike Ottawa, which I find odd considering how eventful of a summer they had. 

With fans busy celebrating minor additions to the front office like the hiring of a few bloggers and an OHL GM, the organization smartly decided to bring back Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis after how well the team has done the past two years. Even better, despite MLSE President and CEO Tim Leiweke announcing he will be stepping down, Tim has generously decided to stick around for one final season of planning out the perfect Stanley Cup parade route and to drumming up expectations to give the organization time to find a replacement who can embarrass the franchise just as much as he does. (update that resume, Eugene!

The excitement didn't stop there, as the Leafs rocked the hockey world with the signings of bottom 6 forwards David Winnik and Mike Santorelli, and cut ties with overpaid 3rd liner David Bolland, only to turn around and throw $11.8 million at 3rd liner Leo Komarov. The Komarov signing couldn't come at a better time following the rough year that 2013-14 was without Komarov's grand total of 9 points from the season before. Looking back those 9 points were probably the difference between blowing it at the very end of 1st round and blowing it in the last minute of the regular season.

To top thing off the Leafs also managed to patch up their world-beating defense with an old-fashioned "hockey trade" by sending Carl Gunnarsson to St. Louis for Roman Polak (who should fill the void left by Tim Gleason), and signing 37 year-old Stephane Robidas (who broke his leg TWICE last season) to a 3 year, $9 million contract.

Basically what I'm trying to say is, "Don't stop beleafing!!!!!!!!"
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