Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Teams Don't Like Each Other

Friday, November 04, 2011


Have you noticed lately how many times radio and television announcers say "Those teams really don't like each other."

 

Really?

 

Huh!

 

It's almost every hour, be it talk sports radio or on the tv highlight reel.

 

Name me two teams in any professional sport that like each other. I understand that the Dallas Stars and the Dallas Mavericks may like each other, but who do the Stars like in the NHL?

 

Detroit? Vancouver? Edmonton? I doubt it.

 

No team says after the game, "You know, we lost, but it's okay. They're a good bunch of guys in the other dressing room and we don't mind losing to them."

 

This has nothing to do with fantasy hockey, but I wanted to get it off my chest.

 

Here is The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 7-13

 

4 Games - Chicago, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota

 

3 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit,  Florida, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Columbus, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay

 

Edmonton and Vancouver play all four games on the road.

 

Dallas and the New York Islanders play three times away from home.

 

Anaheim, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, St. Louis and San Jose play three games in their home arena.

 

INJURIES

 

Tobias Enstrom is out of action indefinitely with a broken collarbone. (Click here for all the injuries http://rotoworld.com/teams/injuries/nhl/all/)

 

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Vancouver, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

Anaheim plays all three games at home this week and are rested in all three games while their competition plays the Kings in Los Angeles the previous night. The Ducks were smart in calling up Jean-Francois Jacques when his minor league team was not playing and allowing him to serve his five game suspension while still being able to go back to the minors on the weekend and play. The NHL should force teams to play one player down if there is a suspension. Lubomir Visnovsky had a poor month of October with only four points and a minus-five rating, not good for a defenseman who likely went top-five in most pools.

                                                                                                      

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Edmonton, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Bruins play all three games at home this week and are the rested team on Saturday when they play Buffalo who are home to Ottawa the previous night. Nathan Horton has only five points this season but does have 26 minutes in the sin bin. He still could be suffering some lingering effects of the concussion he had in the Stanley Cup final. Tyler Seguin has four goals and 11 points with a plus-eight rating in 11 games this season. He is also not afraid to shoot the puck as he has 36 shots on goal. The Bruins are suffering from the Stanley Cup hangover and currently have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Ottawa, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Sabres should be tired on Saturday when they travel to Boston as they are home to

the Senators on Friday. Ryan Miller is off to a slow start as he is 4-5-0 with a 2.48 GAA and a .922 save percentage.  While his save percentage looks good, it is only 17th best in the NHL. Ville Leino, one of the Sabres top off-season signings, has also struggled out of the gate as with only two assists this season. Luke Adam has been a pleasant surprise for poolies with four goals and 11 points in 11 games. Marc-Andre Gragnani led all Sabre blueliners in TOI during power plays but was a healthy scratch on Wednesday so Mike Weber could get into the lineup for the first time.

 

 

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Chicago, @ Colorado

 

Notes

Calgary will be tired on Saturday when they travel to Denver to play the Avalanche as they play the Blackhawks in Chicago the previous night. The tables are reversed the previous night as the Blackhawks will be tired after playing in Columbus Thursday. After a great October, Miikka Kiprusoff was mediocre at best in giving up five goals in 18 shots to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday. Alex Tanguay leads the Flames with eight points while Jarome Iginla is off to his usual slow start with only two goals.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Rangers, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

It was thought that Jussi Jokinen would be out three-four-weeks with a leg injury but it appears that he will be day-to-day.  Zac Dalpe came off the injured list and was sent to the minors, but could return quickly if he plays well. Jeff Skinner is showing that last year was no fluke as the 19-year-old has six goals and 12 points in 12 games. His minus-six rating is nothing to write but he is even in his last seven games. Cam Ward is 5-2-2 thus far with a 2.30 GAA and a .929 save percentage.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Columbus, vs. Calgary, vs. Edmonton

 

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. They will be tired when they return home on Friday to face Calgary after playing Columbus on Thursday. Daniel Carcillo returned to the lineup on November 3 after missing two games due to a suspension. He said that he will continue to be aggressive and that the suspension will not tone down his game, which is good news for fantasy players who need penalty minutes. Duncan Keith is out with a hand injury. Chicago's power play was fourth in the NHL last season but have only four goals heading into Thursday's action, the second worst percentage in the NHL.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Avs are rested when they face Calgary Saturday but the Flames should be a tired team after playing in Chicago on Friday. Matt Duchene has been struggling in the early going with only six points in 12 games so coach Joe Sacco put him on the top line with Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk in practice Thursday. Peter Mueller (head) has started skating before practice but there is no timetable for his return. Erik Johnson has yet to garner a point this season in Denver but has six assists on the road.

 

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets only play twice again this week, so bench your Columbus players with the exception of Rick Nash, Jeff Carter (if healthy) and James Wisniewski. Derek MacKenzie will get the start at center Thursday on the top line between Rick Nash and Vaclav Prospal. Carter will get the assignment back once he returns from a foot injury. Antoine Vermette has gone 18 straight games without a goal, dating back to last season. The Blue Jackets decided to keep Ryan Johansen with the big club rather than return him to junior hockey. Steve Mason continues to struggle in goal and Mark Dekanich could see a lot of action once he returns from the high ankle sprain injury that has plagued him since training camp.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Pittsburgh, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Stars are on the road for all three games. Steve Ott is out with a hip pointer. Loui Eriksson replaced Ott on the top line with Jamie Benn. Sheldon Souray has been terrific on the power play with a goal and an assist, but at the expense of Alex Goligoski who has yet to get a point with the man-advantage. Eriksson leads the team with six goals while Benn has 10 points. Souray is tops in penalty minutes with 27, to go with eight points.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Edmonton, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Red Wings are rested when they play Edmonton on Friday but the Oilers will be tired as they travel from Boston after playing the Bruins on Thursday. Detroit plays all three games at home this week. Coach Mike Babcock has split up Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk yet again. Look for Datsyuk to skate with Daniel Cleary and Jiri Hudler while Zetterberg will likely be between Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Fabian Brunnstrom was sent to the minors.


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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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