Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Chara and Pacioretty

Friday, March 11, 2011


Well, since everyone else is weighing in on the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty, I guess I will too.

It was a hockey hit. Pacioretty was at the wrong place at the wrong time and his head was hit directly into the padded corner of the glass partition at the Bell Centre causing a broken vertebrae and a severe concussion. Maybe we should blame the arena.

Chara is a big man and it is very unfortunate that Pacioretty may lose his career because of it, but it was not a reckless hit to the head or anything else that should warrant a suspension.

I can't say the same of Chara's hit against Mikhail Grabovski when it looked like he slammed the head of the Maple Leafs center and I think he should have been suspended for that hit.

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Here is The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF MARCH 14-20

4 Games - Columbus, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, San Jose, Toronto

3 Games - Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington

2 Games - Edmonton, Pittsburgh

Boston, Colorado, the New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington play three games on the road.

Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, Ottawa and Vancouver play three home games this week.

INJURIES
Max Pacioretty suffered a concussion when smacked into the boards by Zdeno Chara on Tuesday. Click here to check out all the injured players in the NHL.

ANAHEIM

Games this week
vs. St. Louis, @ Los Angeles, vs. Calgary

Notes
The Ducks are a tired team on Sunday when they face a rested Calgary team. Toni Lydman leads the NHL in plus/minus at plus-29. Lubomir Visnovsky has five goals and eight points in his last four games. Saku Koivu returned to action on Wednesday from a groin injury. Jonas Hiller is still out with vertigo but the play of Dan Ellis (4-1-1 as a Duck) has put Anaheim back in the playoff race.

ATLANTA

Games this week
@ New Jersey, vs. Philadelphia, @ Buffalo

Notes
Blake Wheeler is now playing with Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little and has three goals and six points in eight games as a Thrasher. Ondrej Pavelec missed four games with an injured wrist before returning on Wednesday. Ladd has nine goals and 11 points in his last 12 games, while Little has only one goal in his last 19 games but does have 10 assists.

BOSTON

Games this week
@ Columbus, @ Nashville, @ Toronto

Notes
The Bruins play all three games on the road this week. Zdeno Chara did not get suspended for his hit on Max Pacioretty, but there are many people up in arms about the collision. The two teams meet on March 24, and it will be interesting to see if the Canadiens take the law into their own hands at that game although it may be tough against Chara. Rich Peverley will play on the second unit Thursday, replacing Mark Recchi who moves down to the third line. Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask will likely share starts for the Bruins as the 2010-11 campaign reaches its conclusion.

BUFFALO

Games this week
vs. Carolina, vs. Atlanta, vs. Nashville

Notes
The Sabres play all three at home this week so expect to see Ryan Miller in goal in every game. Jochen Hecht has missed the last four games with an upper body injury. Patrick Lalime has seen 148 minutes of action since November 5 and is unlikely to see any more action this season barring a couple of injuries to Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth. Andrej Sekera was the second star of the week as he had one goal and eight points in four games.

CALGARY

Games this week
vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado, @ Anaheim

Notes
The Flames play tired teams twice this week while they are a rested club, so that should be a huge bonus for Calgary. They meet Colorado on Thursday after the Avs play in Vancouver the night before and face Anaheim on Sunday after the Ducks play the Kings on Saturday. Olli Jokinen has 31 points in 34 games since Christmas. Jarome Iginla needs 14 points in his last 13 games to reach the 1,000 career point mark. It appears that Brendan Morrison will not be able to return before the end of the regular season because of a knee injury.

CAROLINA

Games this week
@ Buffalo, vs. Toronto, vs. New York Islanders

Notes
The Hurricanes play three times in four nights but coach Paul Maurice stated this past week that Cam Ward would start the remainder of the games, so look for the starting netminder to be between the pipes. The Hurricanes are a tired team on Wednesday when they face a rested Toronto team as Carolina are in Buffalo the previous night. Cam Ward will play the remainder of the season, at least as long as the Hurricanes are still involved, or have not clinched a playoff spot. Rookie of the year candidate Jeff Skinner has five goals and nine points in 17 games since the All-Star break.

CHICAGO

Games this week
vs. San Jose, @ Dallas, @ Phoenix

Notes
The Blackhawks are tired on Monday when they take on San Jose after playing Washington Sunday. The Blackhawks have some injury problems with Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland currently out of the lineup. Michael Frolik has taken over as the third line center in Bolland's absence. Jonathan Toews nine game scoring streak ended on Tuesday but he still has nine goals and 16 points in his last 10 games. Marian Hossa had his eight game points streak end on Wednesday as he had seven goals and 12 points in that streak.

COLORADO

Games this week
@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

Notes
The Avalanche are a tired team on Thursday and play a rested Calgary sqaud after the Avs are in Vancouver on Wednesday night. Paul Stastny has seven goals and 20 points in 33 games since mid-December while Matt Duchene has three goals and seven points in 21 games since January 10. No wonder Colorado has won only once since the beginning of February. Peter Mueller (concussion) has been shut down for the remainder of the season.

COLUMBUS

Games this week
vs. Boston, vs. Detroit, @ Minnesota, vs. New Jersey

Notes
The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights, so look for Mathieu Garon to play once in place of Steve Mason. They are rested and at home when they take on Detroit on Thursday after the Red Wings entertain Washington the night before, but the Blue Jackets will be tired and taking on a rested New Jersey team on Sunday. Derick Brassard returned to action on Wednesday after missing eight games with an injured hand. He promptly blocked a shot and is questionable again. Kristian Huselius has missed eight straight games with a lower body injury. Matt Calvert is worth picking up in all but the shallowest of pools.

DALLAS

Games this week
vs. San Jose, vs. Chicago, vs. Philadelphia

Notes
The Stars play all three games at home this week. They are rested and waiting for San Jose on Tuesday as the Sharks are in Chicago Monday. The Stars finally welcomed Brad Richards back on Wednesday as he missed the previous 10 games with a concussion. Mike Ribeiro took full advantage of the absence of Richards as he has four goals and 10 points in his last 10 games.

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Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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