Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Take advantage of the fours

Friday, October 28, 2011


 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Calgary, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Red Wings play the Wild in the back half of a home-and-home series so tempers could flare. The Red Wings are home for the start of a six game home stand. Henrik Zetterberg is off to a very slow start with a goal and an assist in seven games. Coach Mike Babcock is thinking about splitting up Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. We wonder who will get possession of Daniel Cleary, their current linemate. Mike Commodore is ready to return after suffering a knee injury. He wanted to play Tuesday against his former Blue Jacket teammates, but that was not to be.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Oilers embark on a six game road trip starting this week. They only play twice this week, both on the road, so we can’t really recommend anyone. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has nine points in his first nine NHL games, but the Oilers have not committed to keeping him beyond nine games as of yet. The Oilers may be worried that he is physically unable to handle the NHL over a whole season at this young age, but he certainly has a boatload of talent. Ryan Whitney is out yet again, this time for three weeks with a knee injury. Sam Gagner played in his first game on October 22 in six months after suffering an ankle injury. He will have a breakthrough season one of these years and someone in your fantasy pool will celebrate. Corey Potter has seemed to replace Theo Peckham on the Oilers blueline, so start looking elsewhere at this time if you had Peckham in your fantasy lineup for penalty minutes.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Chicago, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Florida is home for all three games this week. The Panthers are giving goaltender Jacob Markstrom every opportunity to shine in net and he hasn’t disappointed thus far as he seems to have taken over at this time from Jose Theodore. Markstrom was thought to be the best player outside the NHL a couple of seasons ago, but he struggled in his first North American season last year at the AHL level. But this year has been different and the Panthers are benefitting. Eric Gudbranson will stick with the team past the nine game mark, burning one season in his entry level contract. He has good offensive upside and is a very good defensive player, a Chris Pronger type. That’s not too shabby.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Kings play twice this week, both at home. We recommend benching all your Los Angeles players this week, with the exception of Anze Kopitar, if you can. Drew Doughty (shoulder) is hoping to return to the lineup on October 29 and that’s great news for the Kings as he is one of the top blueliners in the game when healthy. Scott Parse will played on Thursday for the first time since the Kings’ trip to Europe to open the season and he lined up with Dustin Brown and Mike Richards on the second line, with Dustin Penner moving down to the third unit. Jon Quick was working on three straight shutouts heading into Thursday’s action but gave up three goals to Dallas. Still, he had a shutout streak of 202:11 minutes, a Los Angeles record.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Vancouver, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Wild play Detroit on the back half of a home-and-home series on Tuesday so look for Colton Gillies to add to his penalty minute total. The Wild are rested on Saturday when they are home to the Blues but St. Louis should be tired after facing the Canucks Friday. Mikko Koivu has only three assists in his first eight games and rookie coach Mike Yeo has moved Cal Clutterbuck to the top line with Koivu and Dany Heatley while Devin Setoguchi has dropped to the second unit replacing Guillaume Latendresse who drops to the fourth line. The Wild have been very impressed with rookie Brett Bulmer and it looks like he’ll stick with the team and not go back to junior hockey before his 10th game.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Canadiens only play twice this week so bench your Habs if you can. They are actually a tired team on Saturday when they face the Rangers at MSG after playing in Ottawa Friday. Montreal is off to a horrible start and fired assistant coach Perry Pearn on Wednesday, 90 minutes before the played the Flyers. It must have hit home as the Canadiens were dominant in winning their first game on home ice this season.  Max Pacioretty injured tendons in his wrist and was supposed to be out a week but surprisingly played against Philly and scored twice while adding an assist, giving him nine points in nine games. Scott Gomez is hoping to return this week from an upper body injury. He has been a major disappointment since signing in July, 2010 as he scored only seven times last season and has only one assist in six games this year.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Phoenix, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Predators are on the road for all three as they begin a five game road trip. Nashville will be rested on Thursday when they play the Coyotes, but Phoenix plays the night before in Colorado before travelling home. Patric Hornqvist is not playing very much but it’s probably due to a foot injury. Francis Bouillon (concussion) and Mike Fisher (shoulder) finally made their 2011-12 season debuts this past week. The Predators sent rookie defenseman Mattias Ekholm to Brynas of the Swedish Elite League for the rest of the season. Look for Ekholm to be back next season.    

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Philadelphia, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Devils play three games in four nights so look for Johan Hedberg to play once in place of Martin Brodeur. Brodeur (bruised right shoulder) should be back in the lineup this week as he started full practices with the Devils on Wednesday. New Jersey will be tired on Thursday when they take on the Flyers after playing the Maple Leafs the previous night. The Devils are really hurting at center with injuries to Travis Zajac, Jacob Josefson and Eric Boulton and claimed Ryan Carter off waivers from Florida. Zach Parise was forced to move to center earlier in the week with all the injuries and he was the pivot on the top unit between Ilya Kovalchuk and Nick Palmieri. Don’t expect this to last.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Islanders play only twice this week so we suggest benching your New York players with the exception of John Tavares, P.A. Parenteau and Mark Streit. The Islanders will be rested on Saturday when they face a tired Washington team who play in Carolina the previous night. New York has been using Evgeni Nabokov in net of late as Al Montoya has been in the press box and Rick DiPietro on the bench, backing up Nabokov. Milan Jurcina made his seasonal debut on Thursday after being out with a groin injury. DiPietro was forced to play in a shootout when Nabokov was injured on Thursday, so he picked up the overtime loss without actually picking up a minute of action. Nino Niederreiter is close to returning to action. He has been out since training camp with a groin injury.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Anaheim, vs. Montreal, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Rangers finish up a six game home stand at the refurbished MSG. They play three games in four nights so look for Martin Biron to play once in place of Henrik Lundqvist. Despite playing four times this week, the Rangers are actually the rested team on Saturday when they face the Canadiens as the Habs are in Ottawa the previous night. Wojtek Wolski has only played three games this season as he has battled a groin injury. Marian Gaborik has five points in his first eight games with new center Brad Richards.


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Michael Finewax has been covering hockey since 2005 and is the Hockey Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Mike Finewax



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