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Check, Please: NHL Action for the Week of February 19th

It was a close call, but hockey has returned. While the season is shorter, the action is just as fast. Here’s what went on in the NHL week that was.



(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty)

Remember Last Week’s Standings? Neither Do We.
It seems like the only constant this season is the Blackhawks’ domination. Chicago has yet to come away from a game without something to show for it, and that zero in the L column carries real intimidation. They polished off the Sharks on Friday, who followed a 7-0 start with 7 straight losses; the majority coming in regular time. Meanwhile, the Ducks have surged behind the great work of goalkeeper Viktor Fasth, who is sure of hand but hard of pronunciation. Looking for some stability? Don’t worry; the Islanders are still shitty.

Defenseman of the Year Just Opened Up.
With Erik Karlsson, last year's trophy winner and arguably this season's best defensive player, sidelined with an ugly Achilles injury - who takes pole position for the Norris Trophy? Kevin Shattenkirk of the Blues has quietly been one of the best offensive players on the blue line this year, while Francois Beauchemin of the Ducks leads the league in plus-minus. Not to leave out the Preds, who are holding teams to under two goals a game, although much of their success can be attributed to the unstoppable play of Pekke Rinne as much as any defenseman.

Who is The Best Player Overall?
Patrick Kane is the obvious choice, but it’s not hard to shine when you’re working with Jonathan Toews. Sid the (not-so-much-a-kid) Kid and Steven Stamkos have returned to the level at which they're expected to play. However, there is a lot of undercover talent out there as well. Thomas Vanek has been the bright spot on an otherwise dismal Sabres’ team, leading the league in points and goals, and David Clarkson has filled in the Zach Parise-sized hole left in the hearts of Devils’ fans.

Check, Please: Week of February 11th 
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