Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Happy New Year

Friday, December 23, 2011


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Minnesota, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Oilers are rested on Thursday in Minnesota and will be waiting for the tired Wild who are in Nashville Wednesday.  This is the start of a seven game road trip for the Oilers. Ryan Whitney is starting to get more ice time after returning from a recurrence of his foot injury that kept him out after Christmas last season. Shawn Horcoff is without a goal in his last dozen games but still has seven goals and 20 points in 34 games. Hall is back with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle on the top line.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Panthers will be tired on Saturday against the Canadiens as they play the Rangers Friday night.  Kris Versteeg continues to have a career year with 37 points in 34 games. Mikael Samuelsson was finally starting to play well in a Florida uniform as he had three assists in his previous two games, but a possible back injury suffered when hit by Shane Doan has put him on the sidelines yet again. Jason Garrison leads all NHL defensemen with 10 goals while teammate Brian Campbell is third in points with 27.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Chicago, @ Winnipeg, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Kings play four games this week including three in four, so look for Jonathan Bernier to play at least once in place of Jonathan Quick. The King will be tired Thursday when they play in Winnipeg as they are in Chicago the previous night. Darryl Sutter has taken over the reins behind the bench and his tough love style of coaching should make a difference for the Kings the rest of the season. Mike Richards returned to action this past week from a concussion. Slava Voynov was a healthy scratch for a couple of games before getting back into the lineup on Thursday. Mike Richards returned to action Thursday as well, from a concussion and scored his 12th goal of the season and 10th in his last 12 games.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Nashville, vs. Edmonton, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes

The first place Minnesota Wild play three games in four nights so expect to see Josh Harding to spell Niklas Backstrom at least once this week. The Wild will be tired on Thursday when they face Edmonton as Minnesota is in Nashville on Wednesday.  The Wild continue to be hurting up front with Mikko Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse and Casey Wellman are out of action. Koivu has 28 points in 32 games including 18 in his last 14 contests.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Canadiens finish up a six-game road trip this week. They will be rested on Saturday when they are in Florida and the Panthers will be tired having played the Rangers on Thursday night. After going minus-four over his previous two games, P.K. Subban was a healthy scratch on Thursday.  Michael Cammalleri has only one goal in his last 14 games. A big controversy is brewing in Montreal after they fired coach Jacques Martin and replaced him with Randy Cunneyworth. The problem is that Cunneyworth does not speak French and that is not going over too well with the French media. We feel bad for Cunneyworth as he is a good coach worthy of a shot in the NHL and there is all this controversy surrounding him that is not his fault.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Minnesota, @ St. Louis, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Predators play four games this week but not three in four nights. Still, Anders Lindback could get into a game in place of Pekka Rinne. Shea Weber picked up three assists on Thursday to move into second place in scoring among defensemen with 28 and has 20 points in his last 19 games. Jonathon Blum is back in Nashville after a three game stint with Milwaukee of the AHL. He has a lot of offensive upside but is blocked on the Predators at this time by Weber and Ryan Suter.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. Buffalo, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

It looks like the flu bug is going through the New Jersey dressing room as Patrik Elias and David Clarkson have been sidelined of late. Adam Larsson has left the team in order to go to the funeral of his grandmother in Sweden. He will also miss Monday’s contest in Carolina but should be back for the Buffalo game. The Devils have surrendered an NHL-worst 10 shorthanded goals in 33 games this season. Travis Zajac scored in his third game since returning from his Achilles tendon injury.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@New York Rangers, vs. Calgary, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

What kind of week would it be without an injury to an Islander goaltender. It seems this week Al Montoya suffered a concussion and he is now on the sidelines with Rick DiPietro. Thankfully, Evgeni Nabokov returned from a groin injury and is now the starting goalie. Mark Streit is getting back into the swing of things after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury. He had two assists on Thursday to give him 16 as well as two goals. Kyle Okposo started the season with only three points in his first 14 games but now has 12 points in 29 games although only two points in his last five.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ Washington, @ Florida

 

Notes

Carl Hagelin started on the first line Thursday with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan and that can’t hurt his fantasy value. Marc Staal hasn’t been cleared for practice but is still skating. He has yet to play this season as he is still trying to recover from a concussion injury suffered last season. Wojtek Wolski is expected back this week. He has played in just six games this season and is worth looking at if available in deep leagues.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Calgary, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Senators will be rested when a tired Calgary team comes to town on Friday after the Flames play in Long Island the previous night. Although he is skating, Milan Michalek will not be back from his concussion until after the Christmas break. The Senators acquired Kyle Turris this past week from Phoenix and they are hopeful he will be the second line center that they have needed in the last few years. They gave up a lot in defenseman David Rundblad and a second round pick for the former third overall pick. Jason Spezza had eight points last week and was the first star of the week.


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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 :Mike Finewax



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