Biggest news in the NHL this week
The Stanley Cup schedule is getting closer by the week. With just four months of the regular season left, it will come around incredibly quickly. So far, out of both conferences, only the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals look like pulling away from the pack. There is plenty of time left for other teams to play catch-up though – as everyone knows, anything can happen in sport.
The big question that most people are asking is, can the Bruins and the Capitals keep it up? It is hard to start at a breakneck pace and then keep it up over the long, gruelling season. There are also other factors that can take a hold. That is why we have covered the latest news updates in the world of the NHL.
Bill Peters resigns in wake of abuse scandal
The NHL is not known for diversity. Only around 4% of NHL players are non-white. It has been claimed that a big part of this is due to the prevalence of racial abuse that is used by coaches and players within the sport. Last week, there was a big movement after Bill Peters resigned from his position as coach at the Calgary Flames. This came after it emerged that he had used a racial slur towards a player in the minor leagues around 10 years ago.
The news of his resignation has led to a lot of other accusations making their way to the public domain. It also comes after Don Cherry was fired for referring to immigrants in a negative manner. One of the biggest impacts of this whole story was that Mike Babcock was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs. While it was not claimed that he had carried out any racial abuse at the time of his firing, a lot of stories started to make their way out after his firing had been confirmed.
One of the main consistencies in stories about Babcock was that he would regularly intimidate his players in order to try to motivate them. This ended up with Akim Aliu posting a tweet claiming that a coach who had come up under Babcock had called him a racial slur. It did not take long for people to work out that Aliu was talking about Peters.
Peters ended up admitting the incident and resigning from his position as coach of the Flames. It was then revealed that he had carried out other instances of abuse over the course of his career. Michal Jordán, who had once played under Peters for the Carolina Hurricanes, made an allegation that he had been kicked by Peters and had seen another player be punched in the head by him. This also led to Marc Crawford being investigated after similar allegations came out about him.
All of this is likely to lead to a number of new investigations into the conduct of coaches within the NHL. It will most likely be focused on minor league affiliates as this is where a lot of the abuse seems to have taken place. What the NHL will do about this, especially with their current drive to increase diversity within the sport, remains to be seen. It could be a scandal that rocks the NHL to the core if more stories are revealed.
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Rookies are making moves within the NHL
The rookies who made the step up last season are impressing a lot of people within the NHL this season. What is strange is that of the players who have made the step up, they all seem to be defencemen. There appears to be no top-tier attacking talent to have come through the NCAA system this time around.
The Colorado Avalanche seem to have the best of the bunch in Cale Makar. He is performing at such a high level that he is currently the highest-scoring rookie in the league. On top of this, he is also the third-highest-scoring defenceman in the whole league. This is actually the best start to a season by a rookie in over 20 years. It shows just how high the potential is for Makar.
He is not the only rookie defenceman who is creating interest either. Quinn Hughes might not be posting numbers as impressive, but he is still having a highly successful season. It is likely that he will also go on to be one of the top defensive players in the league when he finally reaches his potential. It is enjoyable to see so many rookie players taking to the league well and offering quality performances.
The biggest question is, can they keep it up for the whole season? Quite often in the past, we have seen rookies blaze onto the scene and then fall away as the unforgiving schedule begins to take its toll. Hopefully, these two will break the mould and perform to a high level across the whole season.
Can Makar carry on his fine form to help the Avalanche continue to overachieve? Odds on their next game will be available to players right here at Sportsbet. Make sure that you do not miss out on the opportunity to ride the coattails of this highly talented young player and check out what we have to offer today.
Following the NHL this season
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Words: Stijn Janssen