This week in hockey

Chris Ginley

Who’s Hot

Pittsburgh Penguins: You don’t get much hotter than the Pens are right now. They have won their last five games, and 20 of their last 22.

Washington Capitals: Something has clicked with Hart Trophy candidate Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. Ovechkin has five goals and two assists in the last five games, and the Capitals have won eight straight as they sit atop the Southeast Division standings.

Chicago Blackhawks: The top team in the NHL has allowed one power play goal in the month of April to go along with their current six-game winning streak.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets are continuing to prove me wrong with five straight wins and are currently holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with four games to play.

Winnipeg Jets: 19 goals in their last four games, all of which have been wins. The Jets have five games left, three of which are against teams that hold playoff spots in the East.

Who’s Not

New Jersey Devils: 10 straight losses with six games remaining is not the way legendary goalie Martin Brodeur wants to end his season.

Nashville Predators: Having already been eliminated from the playoffs, you would think Nashville would have some pride and put up some fight to close the season out. Instead, the Predators have seven straight losses, and in three of the games, they failed to score a goal.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are not putting up much of an effort, which is evident by their six-game losing streak, the last three of which came at home.

Three Stars

Alex Ovechkin, WAS: Five goals and two assists for seven points in the last five games for Ovechkin.

Martin St. Louis, TB: In the last five games, St. Louis has registered six points, three goals and three assists, all while registering at least 20 minutes of ice time in all five contests.

Sergei Bobrovszky, CBJ: Bobrovszy has a record of 6-2 in the month of April. A hot goaltender is a crucial part of a team hoping to make a playoff run.

Multiple Winter Classics: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

The NHL recently announced that in addition to the Winter Classic being played at Michigan Stadium between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 1, there will be five more outdoor games next season.

The Kings and Sharks will face off on Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium. This is perhaps the most perplexing, but interesting outdoor game of this whole “Winter Classic” series. Outdoor hockey in Southern California … who would have thought?

The Rangers are lucky enough to get two outdoor games in one season. The Rangers and Devils will square off on the 26th at Yankee Stadium and three days later, the Rangers will face the Islanders again at “The House that George Built.”

On March 1, we will see Sidney Crosby, provided that he is not hurt, and the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Chicago to face Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field, home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

To round off the NHL’s “Outdoor Series,” the Vancouver Canucks will host the Ottawa Senators on March 2 at BC Place, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

While the idea of more outdoor games seems like a good plan, the main objection to the games is that the uniqueness of the game itself will not be as big and as popular as in years past. I personally like the idea of trying to have multiple outdoor games in different locales to grow and spread the NHL brand throughout North America. The Winter Classic is a truly special event and it will be exciting to see how these games play out.

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected].