Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Phoenix not rising

Friday, January 20, 2012


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Oilers will be tired on Tuesday in Vancouver after playing at home Monday night to the Sharks. Taylor Hall suffered a freak accident in the pre-game warmup Tuesday when he tripped over the puck and was cut for 30 stitches over his eye by the skate of teammate Corey Potter who attempted to jump over him and didn’t quite make it. Jordan Eberle (knee) started practicing with the team and returned to the lineup Thursday. Shawn Horcoff is in a horrible slump with only one goal in his last 23 games. 

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

Jose Theodore is back and ready to play after missing a couple of weeks with a knee injury. The Panthers returned Brian Foster who was backing up Scott Clemmensen, to the minors. Marcel Goc has been hot of late with three goals and six points in six games since returning from a concussion which cost him 22 games. Stephen Weiss scored on Wednesday, his first in 16 games. Ed Jovanovski is out six-eight weeks with a broken hand.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

Justin Williams is hot of late with seven points in his last five games. Ethan Moreau, who was sent to the minors on December 10th, has yet to play for Manchester with a suspected concussion. It was thought that Anze Kopitar may have suffered a concussion a week ago but that was not the case as he has been playing. He is tied for 17th in NHL scoring with 43 points. Simon Gagne still is not able to do any hockey related activities and he could be gone for the season because of yet another concussion. Jack Johnson was a plus-eight early in the season but is now a team worse minus-seven.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Colorado

 

Notes

It was thought that Mikko Koivu has a separated shoulder and would miss four-six weeks but there is still a chance that the Wild forward could participate in the All-Star game on January 29.  Dany Heatley needs to pick up his pace dramatically if Minnesota hopes to make the playoffs as he has only 13 goals and 30 points in 47 games. That is not what they bargained for when they dealt for him in the off-season. The Wild were leading the NHL in points heading into Thanksgiving with 29 but have fallen on hard times of late as they are now ninth in the West and were tied for 17th overall in the NHL with 51 points.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Montreal Canadiens host the last game before the All-Star break as they play Detroit in their only game of the week. The Habs continue to be the NHL’s worst on the power play, converting just 22 of 179 opportunities. Rene Bourque faced the Capitals for the first time since he concussed Nicklas Backstrom and got into a fight immediately with Matt Hendricks on his first shift. Scott Gomez returned to action on Saturday and saw 5:02 minutes of power play time as coach Randy Cunneyworth is doing everything he can to get the team out of its doldrums.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Predators are tired on Tuesday when they take on the Blackhawks for the second time in less than a week after playing Columbus the night before. They also play Chicago for the second time in four days so expect Jordin Tootoo and Brian McGrattan to add to their penalty minute totals if there are fisticuffs. Ryan Suter has missed two games with an upper body injury and is hoping to return to the Nashville lineup on Saturday. Craig Smith returned to the Nashville lineup on Tuesday after missing two games with a virus. His ice time has been drastically reduced of late and he only played 10:50 minutes in his return. He was seeing first line minutes at the beginning of the season but the rookie has slumped of late.  Nashville claimed Brandon Yip off waivers from Colorado Thursday.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

Adam Henrique, who is one of the top two rookies this season along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, returned to action on Thursday after missing two games with a groin pull. He was minus-two while playing 19:17 minutes. Patrik Elias made his 1,000th career game a more memorable one as he potted a goal and added two assists in a big New Jersey win. While he is not 100 percent sure, Martin Brodeur is leaning towards coming back next season at the ripe old age of 40.  He is now a second tier goalie at best with a 14-11-1 record, a .895 save percentage and a 2.83 GAA.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Toronto

 

Notes

The Islanders play the Maple Leafs in a home-and-home series so look for Matt Martin and Travis Hamonic to provide the muscle needed if there are any fights. Hamonic has been a gem of late with a plus-10 rating over his last four games, while averaging over 22 minutes of ice time as part of the shut down defensive pairing alongside Andrew MacDonaldJohn Tavares is on an 11 game scoring streak and has 46 points which is tied for 13th in the NHL. Matt Moulson is right behind him with 22 goals and 43 points as he continues to surprise me with his scoring prowess. I guess he really is for real. Rick DiPietro has a sports hernia and underwent surgery on Tuesday. He is likely gone for close to the rest of the season, if not the season.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Rangers are rested on Tuesday when they play a tired team from Winnipeg who are in Carolina Monday. The Rangers are shaking up their lineup a bit as they head into the break as they have placed Brandon Prust on the top line with Brad Richards and Brandon Dubinsky while Ryan Callahan is now playing with Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko. Dubinsky returned to action on Tuesday after missing three games with a shoulder injury. Artem Anisimov had seven goals and 22 points in his first 31 games but has been pointless in his last 13.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Senators will be tired when they play in Phoenix on Tuesday after spending Monday playing the Kings in Los Angeles. They are red-hot with a 10-1-1 record in their last 12 games. Kyle Turris has played really well for the Senators since his acquisition from Phoenix. He has four goals and 13 points in 16 games with a plus-13 rating and 15 penalty minutes to give Ottawa a badly needed second center. Craig Anderson was named the NHL’s first star last week and is 10-1-1 in his last 12, allowing only 20 goals in 396 shots for a save percentage of  .949 and a GAA of 1.67. Jesse Winchester has been out of the lineup since December 20th with a concussion. Colin Greening potted a couple of goals on Thursday and now has seven points in his last seven 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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