Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Take advantage of the fours

Friday, October 28, 2011


Well, after last week’s column about all the rookies who were still in the NHL, Mika Zibanejad and Mark Scheifele were returned to Sweden and the Barrie Colts respectively, leaving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson and Sean Couturier are still in the NHL as of this writing. In addition Brett Connolly, Nino Niederreiter, Brett Bulmer and Ryan Johansen are still in the NHL but are eligible to be returned to junior hockey after being drafted in 2010 while Erik Gudbranson has been told he will stay. Players such as Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Jeff Skinner, Alexander Burmistrov and Cam Fowler all played last season in the NHL and will not be sent back.

 

Couturier was considered a long shot to crack the Flyers lineup but he has already played 10 games and Philadelphia has burned a year of his entry level contract. Landeskog and Larsson have been told they will play for their respective teams after the nine game threshold, while Nugent-Hopkins has not been told one way or the other despite picking up nine points in nine games playing on the top line in Edmonton with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

 

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Here is The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 6

 

4 Games – Calgary, Chicago, New York Rangers, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Detroit,  Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington

 

2 Games – Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

 

Vancouver and Winnipeg play all four games on the road.

 

The New York Rangers play all four games at home.

 

Anaheim, Calgary and Nashville play three times away from home.

 

Carolina, Detroit and Florida play three games in their home arena.


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INJURIES

 

Chris Pronger was hit in the eye with an errant shot but is likely out only two-three weeks with the injury.

 

http://rotoworld.com/teams/injuries/nhl/all/

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ New York Rangers, @ Detroit

 

Notes

Anaheim completes a seven game road trip this week. Their power play has been lackluster despite studs like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Lubomir Visnovsky.  The Ducks brought Jean-Francois Jacques up from the minors so he could serve two of his five game suspension. The Ducks recalled Patrick Maroon from the minors and placed him on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry, relegating Bobby Ryan to the second line alongside Saku Koivu and Selanne. Maroon will have fantasy value as long as he remains on the top line.

                                                                                                      

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Toronto

 

Notes

The Bruins play only twice this week, for the second week in a row. David Krejci and Nathan Horton are on the same line once again, with Benoit Pouliot on the wing. Tuukka Rask is not seeing as much time in goal as thought but that should change later on in the season as the Bruins want to keep veteran Tim Thomas as fresh as possible for the playoffs. Thomas is 3-3-0 this season, but with the Bruins playing only twice, expect to see Thomas in both games.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Calgary, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Sabres play three games in four nights so look for Jhonas Enroth to play once in place of Ryan Miller. The Sabres are rested on Friday when they take on the Calgary Flames who are in Detroit Thursday. The Sabres have been struggling on the power play of late as they were 1-17 going into action on October 27. Opposing teams have been focusing on quarterback Christian Ehrhoff and that seems to have been working of late as the Sabres have not been good with the man-advantage. Ville Leino moved to the wing alongside Derek Roy and Drew Stafford. Tyler Ennis is out with an ankle injury.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Detroit, @ Buffalo, @ Colorado

 

Notes

Calgary finishes up a long home stand before hitting the road for three games. They play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Henrik Karlsson to play once in place of Miikka Kiprusoff.  They are tired when they shuffle off to Buffalo Friday as they are in Detroit the previous night. Curtis Glencross is out with a lower body injury. Matthew Stajan and Niklas Hagman have been healthy scratches this week. The deal with the Maple Leafs for Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie in January, 2010 is looking worse and worse each week.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Washington, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

Tuomo Ruutu was off to a tough start with a solitary assist in his first five games, but has three goals and an assist in his last four games. He is now playing with Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen while Jiri Tlusty is now playing on the top line with Eric Staal. Staal has three goals and five points in nine games with a horrendous minus-nine rating. 

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play four times including three in four nights so look for Ray Emery to play at least once in place of Corey Crawford. Rostislav Olesz should play his first game in Florida since the Panthers dealt him at the trade deadline.  The Blackhawks are tired on Friday when they are in Tampa Bay after playing Florida in Sunrise the previous night. Marian Hossa has been hot of late with goals in five straight games heading into Friday’s action. He missed one game in that stretch and currently has six points in seven games. Defenseman Nick Leddy has a goal and four points in seven games thus far, playing with Duncan Keith. He has lots of offensive upside and is worth taking in all deeper keeper leagues.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Dallas, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

Matt Duchene is off to a tough start and actually saw fourth line minutes this week with Joakim Lindstrom and Chuck Kobasew, playing only 13:10 minutes in a 4-2 loss Wednesday. He is too good to get bottom-six minutes but you should bench him until he breaks out of this slump. Peter Mueller is still out with a head injury that is likely concussion related. Gabriel Landeskog is being compared to Peter Forsberg and that is not the worst hockey player to be compared to. I love it when (Kyle) Quincey and (David) Jones hook up for a goal.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets only play twice this week, so bench your Columbus players with the exception of Rick Nash, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski. If Jeff Carter is healthy, he will return to Philadelphia for the first time with the Blue Jackets. He will definitely be up for the game against the team that surprisingly traded him away. The Blue Jackets will be rested on Thursday when they entertain the Maple Leafs but Toronto will be tired as they are in New Jersey Wednesday. The Blue Jackets were the last team to win a game this season, and did it in style by beating the Red Wings 4-1 Tuesday with Grant Clitsome garnering three assists.

                                           

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Carolina

 

Notes

Kari Lehtonen has been outstanding in the early going, winning his first seven games, a Dallas franchise record. His GAA of 1.54 and .955 save percentage have been outstanding as well before Thursday’s loss to the Kings. Lehtonen was considered a huge injury risk when the Stars got him from Atlanta in 2010, but he dedicated himself to getting in the best possible shape possible last year and the proof has been in the pudding. Adam Burish moved up to the top line with Mike Ribeiro­ early in the week but Michael Ryder should return to the line, dropping Burish back to the fourth unit. If you took Radek Dvorak in your fantasy pool, you likely are regretting it so far as he has one assist and a minus-one rating in nine 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 :Mike Finewax



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