Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Boudreau fired and hired!

Friday, December 02, 2011


It was one tough week for head coaches in the NHL as three were fired: Bruce Boudreau in Washington, Paul Maurice with the Carolina Hurricanes and Randy Carlyle in Anaheim. That makes four this season with Davis Payne being canned a month ago for Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis,

 

Boudreau went about 65 hours without a job as he was hired on to replace Carlyle. We wonder if he applied for unemployment insurance during the two-plus days, and if he did, will he not tell them he’s moving to California to take on a new job. If he doesn’t, he could be making an extra paycheck.

 

Dale Hunter is the new man in Washington after his success with the London Knights of the OHL, while Kirk Muller took the advice of many; became a head coach of a minor league team and got the job in Carolina within two months. That’s what friends are for.

 

James O’Brien has been writing a great column, The Daily Dose, usually done from Monday to Friday during the regular season. If you want it sent directly to you via e-mail, click on the NHL box in your Rotoworld profile.

 

Here is The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 5-11

 

4 Games –Boston, Florida, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Phoenix, San Jose, Tampa Bay   

 

3 Games - Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh,  St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Dallas

 

Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Phoenix and Tampa Bay play three times away from home.

 

Buffalo, Calgary, the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers and St. Louis play three games at home this week.

 

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INJURIES

 

Chris Pronger went on the road with the Flyers and then found out he needed surgery on his knee which will keep him out of action for the next three-six weeks.

 

(Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ St. Louis, @ Nashville

 

Notes

The Ducks fired head coach Randy Carlyle on Wednesday after only their third win in 19 games and hired recently deposed Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. Trade rumors were swirling around Bobby Ryan in Anaheim as the Ducks needed to make a change but apparently the move to fire the coach will be enough in the short term.  Dan Ellis is out with a groin injury so Jeff Deslauriers will back up Jonas Hiller for the upcoming week at least. Ryan Getzlaf finally scored on Wednesday after going the previous 14 games without finding the back of the net. It remains to be seen if new coach Boudreau will leave Matt Beleskey on the top line with Getzlaf and Corey Perry or put Bobby Ryan back in the spot.

                                                                                                      

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ Winnipeg, vs. Florida, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Bruins play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask to share the net. The Bruins are tired on Tuesday when they face a rested Winnipeg team in Manitoba.  Boston had a dream November with 12 wins and a shootout loss, to move into first place in the Northeast Division and only one point out of the Eastern Conference lead with two games in hand over Pittsburgh. The only blemish in the month was a 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Wings on Black Friday in a game televised on NBC. Tim Thomas was a perfect 9-0-0 while producing three shutouts and a remarkable .941 save percentage as he was named the first star for the month of November by the NHL.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Florida, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Sabres play three games in four nights and Jhonas Enroth will play but it remains to be seen if Ryan Miller will return from his concussion woes. Miller could be back by the December 3 weekend but if not, should be ready to go by the start of the week. The Sabres will be a rested team on Friday when they face the Panthers at home but will be a tired team on Saturday when the Rangers will be rested. The Sabres are hoping to get both Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta back on December 2. Thomas Vanek leads the Sabres with 26 points and 10 power play points including six goals. Enroth is 8-3-1 with a 2.26 GAA and a .925 save percentage this season.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Colorado, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

Calgary plays all three games at home this week. They will rested on Saturday when they are home to Edmonton, with the Oilers being tired after playing the Avalanche in the Alberta capital the night before. The Flames have placed Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond on waivers.  He leads the NHL in hyphens. Mark Giordano was placed on the injured reserve list. Look for Cory Sarich, who has been a healthy scratch the previous three games, to get back in the lineup. The Flames are languishing near the bottom of the standings yet again but Jarome Iginla insists he doesn't want to be traded by the Flames and go to a contender.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Hurricanes go on the road this week and spend it on the Canadian Prairies (that’s the first time I’ve been able to write that!) where they play three games in four nights before getting the weekend off. They will be tired in Edmonton on Wednesday after playing the Flames Tuesday. The Hurricanes fired coach Paul Maurice on Monday and replaced him with Kirk Muller so this will be the first chance the team gets to be on an extended road trip with the new bench boss. The Hurricanes are hoping that Eric Staal will start to flourish under the new regime as he had four goals and 10 points in 24 games with a minus-17 rating under Maurice and potted a goal in his first game with Muller. Cam Ward has played well despite an 8-10-3 with a 3.10 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ New York Islanders, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

Chicago will be rested on Sunday when they are home to the Sharks as San Jose will be tired playing on St. Louis the previous night. Patrick Kane is moving back to the wing after spending the season at center. The good play of Marcus Kruger allowed the Blackhawks to make the move.  Bryan Bickell has gone 13 games without registering a point. The Blackhawks are in the midst of playing 18 of 24 at home, after which they will go on a nine game road trip. Only seven teams have allowed more goals against than the Blackhawks 74.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Avalanche are on the road for all three this week and play their Western Canada swing in four nights so expect to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere in goal once in place of Semyon Varlamov. Milan Hejduk went seven games without scoring a goal before potting one on Wednesday. Rookie Stefan Elliott has had a great start to his career as the defenseman has three points in his first three games. He is worth picking up in most pools. Peter Mueller (concussion) is still practicing with the team but has only played three games this season after missing all of last season with a concussion. Matt Duchene is playing on the top line with Paul Stastny and David Jones.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Nashville, vs. Boston

 

Notes

Curtis Sanford has played the last seven games in goal for the Blue Jackets and has been very good as an interim netminder with a 3-2-2 record and a 1.61 GAA, and .941 save percentage. Steve Mason is back but has yet to see the net with the outstanding play of Sanford. Derick Brassard continues to play sporadically for Columbus and a change of scenery may be needed for the former sixth overall pick.  His minus-11 rating is the worst on the team. His agent went crazy on coach Scott Arniel so that could hasten his exit. Vaclav Prospal continues to lead the team in points with 20 but Rick Nash is closing in with 18.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @Los Angeles

 

Notes

Dallas only plays twice this week, so I suggest benching all your Stars with the exception of Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson, if you can. The Stars play both games on the road as they start a five game road trip. Kari Lehtonen will miss at least three weeks with a pulled groin so the Stars will rely on Andrew Raycroft between the pipes. Brenden Morrow is out with a bad back as is Trevor Daley both are hopeful at being back by the San Jose game. Benn leads the Stars with 23 points while Eriksson is tops in goals with 10 and plus/minus at 12. Steve Ott has been the best Star at the face off dot with players who have had over 100 opportunities as he has won 131 of 241, while Mike Ribeiro has been awful winning only 117 of 284.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. Phoenix, vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Red Wings will be rested on Saturday when they face the tired Winnipeg Jets at home as the Jets play Carolina the night before. Fabian Brunnstrom is with the Red Wings but that is more a classy move by Detroit as his wife is in the Motor City expecting a baby. She is seven days overdue at the time of this writing so the Red Wings won’t send him to Grand Rapids until she gives birth. Patrick Eaves is out six-eight weeks with a broken jaw so Detroit recalled Chris Conner from the minors. Jiri Hudler saw time on the second unit this past week, alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula as Daniel Cleary was put on the third line. Jimmy Howard has won six straight 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 :Michael Finewax



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