Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Friday, November 11, 2011


PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. Phoenix, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Flyers will be tired on Monday when they face a rested Carolina team as Philadelphia plays the Panthers in Sunrise the previous night. Chris Pronger (eye) and Matt Read (upper body) returned to action on Wednesday.  The Flyers signed defenseman Braydon Coburn to a four-year/$18 million contract giving Philadelphia four defensemen earning $4 million-plus dollars against the salary cap next season. Jaromir Jagr is having a great season at age 39. After spending the last three seasons in the KHL, he returned and has 15 points thus far, second on the Flyers and is tied for 19th in NHL scoring.

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Philadelphia, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Coyotes play all three on the road this week. They are rested Saturday when they wait for the Sabres, while Buffalo has to travel home after playing in Carolina the previous night.  Michal Rozsival (face) finally skated on Tuesday for the first time since being injured on opening night. Martin Hanzal (lower body) returned to action on Thursday and was placed back at center between Ray Whitney and Radim VrbataKeith Yandle has only a goal and eight assists thus far and is minus-five. Boyd Gordon leads the team with a plus-seven rating while defenseman Derek Morris is minus-seven.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Notes

Sidney Crosby will not return before the weekend of Nov. 12 so the next question is: Will he play this week? Who knows but stay tuned to Rotoworld for the latest updates. The good news is that he is getting contact in practice and has not had any setbacks. Evgeni Malkin has 10 points in eight games. James Neal leads the NHL in shots on goal with 64. The Penguins sent Steve MacIntyre and Dustin Jeffrey to the minors for a conditioning stint. Tyler Kennedy is close to returning to the lineup after suffering a concussion on October 15.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Florida, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Blues fired their coach Davis Payne and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock who always has done wonders for NHL teams in his first season coaching. It appears that Hitchcock will go with Jaroslav Halak as his starter with Brian Elliott as the backup, despite Elliott’s much better stats to start the season. Elliott is 5-1 with a 1.72 GAA and a .941 save percentage while Halak is 2-6-1 with a 2.77 GAA and a .882 save percentage. T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk lead the Blues with 10 points each while Chris Stewart is tops in penalty minutes with 27.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Dallas, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Sharks end a six game home stand and head out on the road. They are rested Saturday when they face Dallas who are in Colorado Friday night but they are tired Sunday when facing a rested Avalanche team. The Sharks play three games in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play once in place of Antti Niemi.  There is still no timetable for the return of James Sheppard to the lineup. Sheppard suffered a knee injury in September 2010 during an ATV accident and has not played in an NHL game since April 2010.  Antti Niemi is 6-2-1 this season but his peripherals are weak as he has a 2.74 GAA and a .903 save percentage. Benn Ferriero has been sent down to Worcester of the AHL.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

Mattias Ritola passed through waivers and had his contract terminated by the Lightning, after he was suspended for not reporting to Norfolk when he was sent to the minors, so he should be headed back to Sweden to resume his career. Ryan Malone missed one game with an upper body injury but should be back by the weekend, regaining his spot on the Steve Stamkos and Teddy Purcell line from Steve Downie.  Victor Hedman has missed the last two games with an upper body injury. The former second overall pick in the 2009 Entry Draft is in his third season in the NHL and has two goals this season. He is going to be a great blueliner but defensemen usually take a lot longer to develop so poolies should be patient with him in keeper leagues. Stamkos and Marc-Andre Bergeron lead the Lightning with 16 points.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix , @ Nashville, vs. Washington, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs goaltending is in shambles at the present time as James Reimer is out with what is being called whiplash but is likely a concussion. Toronto plays four times this week including three in four nights so look for Ben Scrivens and Jonas Gustavsson to share the net. The Maple Leafs will be tired on Sunday when they travel to Carolina to take on the rested Hurricanes as Toronto is home to Washington Saturday.  Phil Kessel continues to lead the NHL in scoring with 23 points. He is also tied for eighth in the NHL with a plus-nine rating. Luke Schenn was a healthy scratch on November 5 and is minus-five in his last three games but is getting more ice time as he played 16:57 minutes on Thursday after playing less than 10 minutes in the game before the benching.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Canucks play only twice this week so we suggest benching most of your Vancouver players with the exception of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alexander Edler, if you are able to do so. It looks like Roberto Luongo is starting to regain his form as he has won three of four games in November, giving up only seven goals in four games and stopping 120 of 127 shots. He is worth owning in all formats of fantasy hockey that use goaltending in their pools. Sami Salo returned to action on Thursday after missing three games with a groin injury and potted his fourth goal of the season. Mason Raymond practiced with his teammates on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a broken vertebra last June in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. Alex Burrows has been out  a week with back spasms and a return date is unknown at this time.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Winnipeg, @ Toronto

 

Notes

The Capitals play all three on the road this week.  Mike Green (ankle) should be back in the Washington lineup at the start of the week. Put the offensive defenseman back in your lineup. Alexander Semin has only three goals in 13 games this season but coach Bruce Boudreau is happy with the commitment that Semin has shown on and off the ice. Nicklas Backstrom was the NHL's third star of the week with six points in three games. He is the Capitals top scorer with 19 points and is tied for fourth in the NHL. In other news, D.J. King was sent to the minors after playing only once for the Capitals.

                                  

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Washington, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Jets are home for all three games this week. Evander Kane after a slow start now has nine points in his last 10 games. Zach Bogosian is starting to play more like a third overall pick and says he is much more comfortable in Winnipeg than he was in Atlanta. It is more likely to do with the coaching change as he is averaging 23:13 minutes per game. He has only five assists in 16 games but the blueliner is only 21 and should get more power play opportunities with Tobias Enstrom on the shelf. Nik Antropov returned to action this past week after missing a couple of games with a hand injury. Ondrej Pavelec has given up 10 goals in his last 60 shots, opening the door for back up Chris Mason to take the number one goaltending job away.



Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
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