Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Rookies are Here

Friday, October 21, 2011


The June Draft was supposed to be the weakest in the last 11 years and yet when the rosters were finalized on October 6, we found that nine players from the class of 2011 made their respective teams.

 

While Ryan Murphy, Ryan Strome and Brandon Saad have been sent back to their respective junior teams, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson, Mika Zibanejad, Mark Scheifele and Sean Couturier are still playing in the NHL.

 

You just never know.

 

Here is The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 24-30

 

4 Games – Anaheim, Columbus, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, Ottawa   Philadelphia, Toronto

 

3 Games –Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

2 Games – Boston, Calgary, Minnesota, Washington

 

Anaheim plays all four games on the road.

 

Florida, Los Angeles, New Jersey, St. Louis, San Jose and Toronto play three times away from home.

 

Buffalo, Edmonton, Montreal, Nashville, Philadelphia and Phoenix play three games in their home arena.

 

INJURIES

 

Jason Blake is out for the next three months with a severed tendon in his wrist.

 

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

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Minnesota, @Nashville, @ Columbus

 

Notes

Anaheim plays all four games on the road this week including three games in four nights so look for Dan Ellis to play at least once in place of Jonas Hiller. The Ducks are off to a good start with eight points in their first five games. Brandon McMillan has been practicing with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu on the second line and could get a big boost in fantasy value with Jason Blake out of action for three months with a severed tendon in his wrist. Kurtis Foster (thigh surgery) could return on October 21.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Bruins play only twice this week, but it`s a home-and-home series against the Canadiens, so look for Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic to rack up some penalty minutes. They are rested the first time they play the Habs on Thursday as Montreal plays against the Flyers the previous night. The Bruins shuffled their lines at practice on Wednesday with Chris Kelly moving into Nathan Horton’s spot between Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin while Horton played with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. David Krejci (core) returned to action on October 20.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Columbus, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Sabres are at home for all three games this week. They  play the back end of a home-and-home series with the Lightning so look for

Paul Gaustad and Cody McCormick to their penalty minute totals.  Tyler Ennis is pointless thus far this season and was moved down the depth charts as Cody McCormick has taken his spot on a line with Ville Leino and Brad Boyes but did play on the top line with Derek Roy and Drew Stafford on Thursday. Christian Ehrhoff scored on Tuesday for the first time as a Buffalo Sabre.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

Calgary continues a long home stand as they play twice at home this week. If you have better choices, we suggest resting your Flames as they do only play twice but we would keep Jarome Iginla in the lineup. Brendan Morrison returned to action from off season knee surgery on Tuesday after missing the first four games. Olli Jokinen is off to a fast start with five points in the first five games. Jarome Iginla has only one goal and nary an assist in the Flames first five games but hopefully the slow start can be attributed to his missing training camp with back spasms.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Chicago,  @ Philadelphia

 

Notes

Carolina should be tired when they face the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday as the Hurricanes are home to Chicago Friday night. Jeff Skinner is averaging a point-a-game through six contests but is a minus-six as well. Joni Pitkanen is tied with Skinner for the scoring lead on the Hurricanes with two goals and six points. Zac Dalpe is pointless through five games and is now out of action with a lower body injury. It’s hard to believe, but after six games, Tim Gleason is plus-seven and Eric Staal is minus-eight.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Carolina, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Blackhawks should be a tired team on Saturday at home against the Blue Jackets as they have to travel from Carolina. Dave Bolland is off to a hot start with four goals and five points in four games. Daniel Carcillo continues to play on the second line with Patrick Kane and Marian HossaBen Smith, who suffered a concussion in the pre-season when hit by the Red Wings Brendan Smith, was sent to Rockford of the AHL. Marian Hossa played on Tuesday after missing Saturday’s game with an upper body injury.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, vs. Edmonton, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Avalanche get two breaks this week as they take on a couple of tired teams.  They face Edmonton at home on Friday after the Oilers are home to Washington on Thursday and then are home to the Kings Sunday as Los Angeles are in Phoenix Saturday. They are one of the hottest teams in the NHL at this time with five wins in six games. Peter Mueller is still not back in action and has missed four games with the head injury that sounds an awful lot like the concussion woes that forced him to sit out all last season. He has temporarily lost his spot on a line with Matt Duchene to Joakim Lindstrom. David Jones is red-hot with nine points in his first six games. Erik Johnson had five power play assists in three games.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Buffalo, @ Chicago, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four times this week, including three games in four nights so look for Allen York to possibly play in place of Steve Mason. Despite playing four times, Columbus actually gets a break when they face Chicago on Saturday as the Blackhawks are in Carolina the night before. Columbus is the lone NHL team without a win, but coach Scott Arniel is not blaming goaltender Steve Mason for the lack of wins, but is not happy with his offense, Jeff Carter (fractured foot) should be back by the end of the week. James Wisniewski will be back in time for the game against Detroit as he will be finished serving his eight game suspension. The Columbus power play really misses him.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

Sheldon Souray has been a great fantasy addition thus far as he has five points, a plus-six rating and 19 penalty minutes in six games. Kari Lehtonen has been sensational this season with a perfect 5-0-0 record to go with a 1.58 GAA and a .953 save percentage. Steve Ott is off to a great fantasy start as well as he has two goals, five points, a plus-three rating and 20 penalty minutes.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. San Jose, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Red Wings should be tired when they take on the Wild Saturday as they have to travel to Minnesota after playing the Sharks at home the previous night. Mike Commodore is not close to returning to action after injuring his knee. Jakub Kindl has played exceptionally well in his absence. Ian White has been the beneficiary of playing alongside Nicklas Lidstrom and has a couple of goals with an assist and a plus-four rating in four games. Fabian Brunnstrom still has yet to get into a game for the Red Wings as a healthy scratch.


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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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