Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Giroux or Hartnell?

Friday, December 09, 2011


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix @ San Jose

 

Notes

Edmonton plays only twice this week so we can recommend resting all your Oilers with the exception of dynamic rookie Ryan Nugent_Hopkinsn as well as Jordan Eberle.  The Oilers will be rested on Thursday when they face a tired Coyotes team in Phoenix after they face the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday. Andy Sutton was hit with an indefinite suspension for his hit on the Hurricanes Alexei Ponikarovsky. Taylor Hall skated with his teammates on December 7 for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on November 26. Sam Gagner finally scored on Saturday for the first time this season and now has nine points in 21 games. Ryan Whitney is still getting acclimated to the NHL after missing most of last season and the start of the 2011-12 season. He has only one assist and is a minus-five in 11 games but don’t give up on him as he is the Oilers best offensive defenseman.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Calgary, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Panthers play three home games this week and are rested and playing tired teams in two of them. Both times the opposing team faces their cross-state rivals from Tampa Bay as New Jersey is in Sunrise on Tuesday and Calgary on Friday. Jose Theodore celebrated his 600th NHL game by stopping all 40 shots in a 2-0 win over Boston. Theodore is 5-1-1 in his last seven and a major reason the Panthers are doing so well in the standings. Mikael Samuelsson played 9:48 minutes in his first game as a member of the Panthers. He last played on October 18th as he had been suffering from a groin injury and was dealt from the Canucks in the interim. Matt Bradley has been out since November 15 but is close to returning to action.

    

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Boston, @ Columbus, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Kings are on the road for all three games this week. Mike Richards suffered a concussion on December 1, and while he has not been on the ice since, he has been riding the stationary bike and that is good news because at least he is exercising. Justin Williams did not get a goal in the month of November. Slava Voynov has scored four times in limited action on the Kings blueline. He is seeing second power play time and deserves to be taken in deeper drafts. Scott Parse underwent hip surgery on December 2, and will miss four-to-five months as a result. Dustin Penner has scored two goals in   his last two games after scoring only once in October and November.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Chicago, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

Minnesota will be tired on Tuesday when they face Chicago as they are in Winnipeg on Monday while the Blackhawks cool their jets and wait for the Wild in Minnesota. It seems that no matter who the Wild put in net, they win. With Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding both ailing, Matthew Hackett played on Thursday as the Wild continued their winning ways with their sixth win in a row. They currently lead the NHL in points with 41 and anyone who predicted that before the start of the season can consider themselves on par with Nostradamus. The Wild have a few injuries with Cal Clutterbuck, Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latendresse, Marek Zidlicky and Justin Falk in addition to Harding, are out of action.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Philadelphia, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

Les Canadiens play all three games at home this week and will be waiting patiently and well rested on Saturday when a tired New Jersey squad comes into town after playing the Dallas Stars on Friday night. It was thought by fantasy players that Erik Cole could only be good in Carolina but he has 18 points in 29 games this season in his first season in Montreal to push those fears aside. It was another big setback for defenseman Andrei Markov. It was thought he was close to returning to action this past week but he underwent additional surgery on Monday and now will be out of action up to six more weeks with his injured knee. He has yet to play this season and has participated in only seven games since the start of the 2010-11 season. Louis Leblanc picked up his first point of his NHL career on December 3. The 18th overall pick in the 2009 Entry Draft underwent major shoulder surgery in the off-season and it was thought that he may have needed six months to recover so to see him in the NHL seven months later, bodes well for Leblanc and the Canadiens.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Detroit, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

Jordin Tootoo received a two game suspension for flattening goaltender Ryan Miller in his crease on Saturday but that did not seem to faze the Nashville forward who thought he was just trying to score. The Predators play all three games at home this week but are 4-5-3 this season thus far after winning 20-plus games at home every season since before the lockout in 2003-04. Rookie Craig Smith continues to lead the team in points with 22, two ahead of stud defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Martin Erat is having a typical Erat-type season with 16 points in 20 games. Top defensive pairing Weber and Suter are plus-14 and 12 respectively while the second pairing of Kevin Klein and Jonathan Blum are minus-14 and 11.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Dallas, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Devils play four times this week in a pair of back-to-back games. They are a tired team playing a rested team twice this week, on Tuesday in Florida and Saturday in Montreal after spending the previous nights in Tampa Bay Monday and at home versus Dallas Friday. They are the rested team on Friday as Dallas takes on the Islanders Thursday. Martin Brodeur continues to struggle this season with a 6-7-0 record and a .882 save percentage to go with a 3.27 GAA, but he’s come back too many times in his career to just give up on him, even though he is a second or third fantasy goalie in deeper pools at this time. Mattias Tedenby had only three assists in his first 24 games before the Devils decided to try to get him going by playing him with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora. He picked up his first goal of the season on Thursday, also tying a season high with four shots on goal. 

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Dallas, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

Michael Grabner has only eight goals and 12 points in 25 games this season after potting 33 goals in his rookie 2010-11 season. Nino Niederreiter has been able to work in the weight room this week despite suffering a concussion on Saturday. He was hit by the Stars Mark Fistric who picked up a three game suspension for his misdeed. Rick DiPietro is hurt yet again so Al Montoya has the starting job while Evgeni Nabokov is close to returning from a groin injury. Defenseman Andrew McDonald is due to miss the next two-four weeks with a leg injury.  Matt Moulson has 14 goals and 22 points after scoring eight times and adding three assists in his last six games. He was named the NHL’s first star for the week ending December 4 after a four goal game on Saturday.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ St. Louis, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

Anton Stralman played in only his second game for the Rangers on Thursday as he replaced the concussed Michael Sauer in the lineup. Stralman should get some power play time when he is playing. Marc Staal is starting to skate for the first time in a long time as he tries to return from a concussion suffered last season and has kept him on the shelf for the entire 2011-12 season thus far. Michael Rupp has started to skate after undergoing knee surgery on November 9 and is slated to return before Christmas if there are no setbacks. Artem Anisimov’s antics after scoring on Thursday touched off a mini-brawl that had players on both teams saying that Anisimov went too far in his celebration. Anisimov’s fantasy owners did not mind as in addition to the goal, he picked up 16 minutes in penalties to give him 26 this season. Brad Richards leads the Rangers in points with 24 but Ryan Callahan is a much better fantasy player as Richards is ahead of him only in assists (and points) while Callahan has more goals, power play goals, penalty minutes and plus/minus.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Boston, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights so look for Craig Anderson to see most of the action in goal although Alexander Auld could see action in one game. Milan Michalek leads the NHL in goals with 18 heading into Friday’s action. Matt Carkner has been out all season with a knee injury. He will be good for an occasional point as well as plenty of penalty minutes. Peter Regin is back skating after suffering a shoulder surgery on Oct. 20. Chris Neil is back after missing nine games with an ankle injury. He is a nice combination of penalty minutes and points.


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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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