Sports

The NHL Season in Review – Column

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hockey sticks; image: Fanny Schertzer, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:InisheerCOLUMN*

With only a few games left to play in the National Hockey League season, it’s a good time to look at just how well, or in some cases, poorly the Canadian teams performed.

Canada has six hockey teams. From east to west they are: The Montreal Canadiens, The Ottawa Senators, The Toronto Maple Leafs, The Edmonton Oilers, The Calgary Flames, and The Vancouver Canucks.

The Montreal Canadiens had quite a good season. They won 43 games and earned 93 points. This success guaranteed them a spot in the playoffs and a chance to win the Stanley Cup. All that remains to be seen is who they will play in the first round. Canadiens fans should be comforted in knowing that last year, although the Canadiens just barely made it into the playoffs, they were able to beat teams very few people thought they could (The Washington Capitals and The Pittsburgh Penguins).

The Ottawa Senators had a challenging year. They won a total of 31 games and finished 26th in the league. Many Senators fans were disappointed with their team’s play this year and are hoping that this off-season the team will make trades and add players in order to become better. Recently, many Senators fans have been excited to see that their new goalie, Craig Anderson, has been playing quite well. He may not be the answer to all of their problems, but he’s certainly a start.

The Toronto Maple Leafs played better this year (at least their standings in the league were better), but the fans are very disappointed that they didn’t make it to the playoffs. Some people are asking if Brian Burke, head of the Maple Leafs, knows what he is doing. This is the sixth time in a row the Leafs have not gone to the playoffs. The fans have been loyal but some of them are now saying that the Leafs management has to do better, or go. There will be a lot of pressure on this team to start well and to make it to earn a spot in the playoffs.

The Edmonton Oilers had a very unfortunate season. Of all of the teams in the NHL, The Oilers won the fewest (25), and, to make matters worse, they will end the year having the fewest points in the league. However, most Oilers fans aren’t too disappointed—they recognize that their team is rebuilding and that it will take time for players like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle to become successful.

For fans of the Calgary Flames, the results of this season are likely pretty hard to swallow. After missing the playoffs last year by only five points, they will miss this year’s playoff tournament again by roughly the same amount. Calgary is regarded as a good team in the NHL; however, they may need to make a few changes this off-season to be a contender next year.

Finally, the Vancouver Canucks have had a season to remember. Having won 52 games and collected 113 points already, the Canucks have already won The President’s Trophy. The President’s Trophy is awarded to the team that has the most points by the end of the regular season. But don’t expect the Canucks’ captain, Henrik Sedin, to touch the trophy when he is awarded it at their last game. Many players believe it is bad luck to touch the award before the playoffs. Only time will tell how much luck the Canucks will need in order to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada.

*A “column” is an article that is written by a “columnist” who has a specific point of view and opinions about things. In this case, Jonathan Ophek – from his point of view – has written about his opinions about the NHL’s hockey teams.

(This article includes a file from journalist Nancy Miller.)

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Many hockey fans are loyal to their favourite teams and stick with them even when the team is playing poorly. Why do you think people are loyal to sports teams? What other types of things are people loyal to?

Reading Prompt
Can you see how today’s article was structured? Did you notice that after the introduction each paragraph is about a different team? Why do you think the author of today’s article organized the story this way?

Primary & Junior
Recognize a few organizational patterns in texts of different types, and explain how the patterns help readers understand the texts (OME, Reading: 2.2).

Intermediate
Analyse increasingly complex texts to identify organizational patterns used in them and explain how the patterns help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.2).

Grammar Feature: Direct Objects
A direct object describes who or what is related to the action word (verb) in a sentence. For example, in the following sentence “the team” is a direct object because it tells who the trophy was awarded to.

“The President’s Trophy is awarded to the team that has the most points by the end of the regular season.”

Underline the direct object in the following sentences.

1. Who made this pizza?
2. Miguel collects baseball cards.
3. Debbie, hand over the candies!
4. Did you lose the homework?
5. Who invented airplanes?