Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

print article archives RSS

The Return from Europe

Friday, October 07, 2011


DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Red Wings are rested on Thursday when a tired Vancouver comes to town. Pavel Datsyuk is back practicing after missing three preseason games. He should be fine for the start of the season.  Daniel Cleary could play at the start of the season despite the thought that he could have missed the first six-eight weeks of the season with an upper body injury. Jimmy Howard is looking forward to the start of the season as he did not have a great year in 2010-11, although he did play well in the playoffs.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Oilers play only twice this week.  Ryan Whitney could be ready for the start of the season and that will bode well for the Oilers as they have missed his presence on the blueline. He is able to make that first pass out of the defensive zone and the Oilers really had trouble when he was lost from the lineup for the last 47 games of the season last year. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first pick of the 2011 Draft, made the Oilers out of training camp. He will get a nine game trial and then the Oilers have to decide whether or not to keep him or send him back to junior for plenty of playing time. Nikolai Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk are still battling for the top job in goal and the Oilers will likely go with the hot hand during the season.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Panthers play only twice this week after playing only once last week. Erik Gudbranson made the team out of camp and will start the season with Ed Jovanovski as his defensive partner. Gudbranson could get only a nine game trial but that remains to be seen. Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in the 2011 Draft was the only player in the top eight to be sent back to junior hockey out of training camp, but this move will only help his development. Jacob Markstrom made the team as Scott Clemmensen, the backup goalie, suffered a knee injury and will miss a month of the season. Markstrom is the Panthers goalie of the future and is expected to start for Florida next season.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Kings return from Europe and play on the East Coast this week before finally heading home. Dustin Penner will miss the opening game of the season with an illness but is expected to play with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams while Simon Gagne starts with Dustin Brown and Mike Richards, giving the Kings a strong top-six when healthy. Andrei Loktionov was sent to Manchester of the AHL but could be back shortly.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Ottawa, vs. Edmonton, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Wild play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Josh Harding play once in place of Niklas Backstrom. They are tired when they face a rested Ottawa squad on Tuesday as they are on Long Island the previous night. Marco Scandella will start the 2011-12 season as a top-four defenseman with the injury to Mike Lundin(back spasms). Eric Nystrom cleared waivers and was sent to the minors.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Colorado

 

Notes

The Canadiens play twice at home this week. Chris Campoli's groin injury appears to be serious. Erik Cole started the season on the third line with David Desharnais and Mathieu Darche, but should be a top six forward before too long. It's possible bad news on the Andrei Markov front as coach Jacques Martin said that Markov is "quite a ways" from being able to return to the lineup from his ailing knee. Do not overpay or reach for the oft-injured Markov in pools this season.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

Rookie sensation Craig Smith will start on the top line alongside David Legwand and Colin Wilson. How long he stays there remains to be seen but the Predators need scoring up front and Smith may he able to fill the role. Offensive defenseman Ryan Ellis was sent to the minors so look for Jonathan Blum to get a fantasy boost with power play time. Francis Bouillon is ready to start contact drills which is good news considering he has been out since January with a concussion.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Los Angeles, @ Nashville

 

Notes

Patrik Elias needs 13 goals to break John MacLean's team record of 347 career goals. Zach Parise was named team captain and perhaps that perq can keep him in a Devils uniform beyond this season. Travis Zajac is starting to get physical therapy in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon. He should be back in mid-November if there are no setbacks.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Islanders play all three games at home this week. Rick DiPietro is currently healthy so he and Evgeni Nabokov should share the net for now. The fifth overall pick in the 2011 Draft, Ryan Strome, made the team for now but may not see any action in the foreseeable future. Brian Rolston is skating after sitting out all of the Islanders preseason games with a groin injury. Nino Niederreiter is out with a groin injury.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Rangers return home from Europe and play only once this week against the Islanders. Tim Erixon made the team out of training camp and is slated to start on the third defensive pairing with Steve Eminger. Sean Avery's NHL career could be over after the Rangers put him on waivers and he cleared. Marc Staal is on the injured reserve list with a concussion and his return is unknown at this time. Brandon Dubinsky is expected to start the year on New York's top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik giving him a lot of fantasy value.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Colorado, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Senators get a break this week as they are rested twice while playing tired opponents as they play Minnesota at home on Tuesday after the Wild are on Long Island Monday and then take on Colorado Thursday after the Avs are in Columbus the previous night. Nikita Filatov will start the season on the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek as the Senators look to see if his offensive ability can translate into scoring. Sergei Gonchar likes the style that new coach Paul MacLean has brought to the table and that can't be bad as Gonchar struggled mightily last season with only 27 points.


continue story »
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



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    RotoPat: Week 13 Rankings

    RotoPat: Week 13 Rankings
  •  
    Levitan: Thanksgiving options

    Levitan: Thanksgiving options
  •  
    Levitan: Week 13 start options

    Levitan: Week 13 start options
  •  
    Wednesday

    Wednesday's Fantasy Minute
  •  
    NBA 6-Pack: Tuesday

    NBA 6-Pack: Tuesday
  •  
    Levitan: Week 13 Waiver Wire

    Levitan: Week 13 Waiver Wire
  •  
    Tuesday

    Tuesday's Fantasy Minute
  •  
    Bales: Inside the Numbers

    Bales: Inside the Numbers