Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Return from Europe

Friday, October 07, 2011


The NHL season got underway on Thursday with three games as the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins all started their season's off with wins. 

There is limited action in the first week of the season but things get going this week, especially on Saturday when 14 games take place, with one more on Sunday. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have the weekend off, while St. Louis is the only team to play both nights.

 All four teams who started the year in Europe: Anaheim, Buffalo, Los Angeles and the New York Rangers play a short schedule this week as everyone but the Rangers play only twice while New York has only one contest.

 

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Here is The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 10-16

 

4 Games – Colorado, Minnesota, St. Louis, Vancouver

 

3 Games – Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

 

2 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Jose, Winnipeg

 

1 Game – New York Rangers, Toronto

 

Colorado and Vancouver play all four games on the road.

 

Calgary, St. Louis and Tampa Bay play three times away from home.

 

Dallas, the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh play three games in their home arena.


Editor's Note: Play daily salary-cap hockey games. Win cash! Play SnapDraft!

 

INJURIES

 

Mikael Backlund is out four-six weeks with a broken finger.

 

Click here to check out all the injured players in the NHL.

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Ducks return home from Europe and get six days off to recover before facing San Jose. The Ducks may face a tired St. Louis team on Friday but they could still be getting over their jet lag from Europe so it may not be an advantage. A couple of rookies, Devante Smith-Pelly and Maxime Macenauer made the team out of training camp. Jonas Hiller looks to have fully recovered from his bout of vertigo which ruined his season after the All-Star break. Kurtis Foster and Matt Beleskey suffered injuries during training camp but are close to returning to the lineup.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Carolina, @ Chicago

 

Notes

Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask are expected to share the goaltending a little more evenly this season so look for Rask to play 35 games to keep Thomas fresh for the playoffs. Tyler Seguin will start the year on the third line but expect him to become a top-six player before the end of the 2011-12 season. Rich Peverley is worth considering in most drafts as he will center the second line to start the year.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Sabres return home for a couple of games and should be tired on Saturday when they face a rested Penguins team in Pittsburgh.  Nathan Gerbe gets a fantasy boost to start the season as he will play on a line with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford while Ville Leino will begin the season centering a line that includes Tyler Ennis and Brad Boyes. This unit will start off as the third line. Jochen Hecht continues to miss action with a concussion.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Montreal, @ Toronto

 

Notes

The Flames play all three games on the road this week .Matthew Stajan has been dropped to the fourth line and he needed injuries to Mikael Backlund and Brendan Morrison to go that high on the depth charts. Chris Butler will start the season on the top defensive pairing alongside Jay Bouwmeester. David Moss will likely start the season on the top line between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay with the injury to Backlund.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. Boston, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

Zac Dalpe was on the first line during training camp but was dropped to the fourth unit so his fantasy value plummeted. Eric Staal is now playing between Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu on the top line. Rookie Ryan Murphy made the team out of training camp but the future stud offensive defenseman was slated to be a healthy scratch in the opener. Jussi Jokinen returned from a lower body injury suffered during camp and will start the season in the lineup.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play only twice this week with both games coming at home. Ben Smith (concussion) and Dave Bolland (upper body) will miss the start of the season. Ray Emery won the backup job in goal so Alexander Salak will start the season in the minors. It is probably the best thing for Salak who needs to play as much as possible and he will do so for Rockford. Brandon Saad will start the season on the top line. The 43rd overall pick in June's draft will likely play less than 10 games and be returned to junior hockey but it is still a thrill to be in the lineup on opening night for the teenager.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Columbus, @ Ottawa, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Avalanche play all four games on the road this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere to play at least once in place of Semyon Varlamov. The Avalanche will be a tired team on Thursday when they take on a rested Ottawa team after they play in Columbus the night before. Rookie Gabriel Landeskog, the second overall pick in the 2011 Draft, is expected to start his rookie season in the NHL on a line with Ryan O'Reilly and Daniel Winnik.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Colorado, @ Dallas

 

Notes

Ryan Johansen is projected to start the year with Derick Brassard on the Blue Jackets fourth line, so they intend to bring him along slowly. Johansen will definitely be a top-six forward eventually, perhaps as early as this season. Derick Brassard, the Blue Jackets top center for a good portion of last season, will start the year on the third line while rookie Cam Atkinson will get second unit time on a line with R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette. Jared Boll is out six weeks with a broken thumb.

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. St. Louis, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Stars play all three games at home this week. Tomas Vincour has been practicing with Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn on the second line so his fantasy value could get a huge boost if he remains there. Nicklas Grossman will miss some action with a groin injury and Adam Pardy will start the season on IR with injured ribs. Brendan Morrow had knee trouble during training camp but should be fine for the start of the season. Former first round pick in 2009, Scott Glennie, is out of action with concussion-like symptoms.


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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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