Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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After the Break

Friday, January 27, 2012


The All-Star break is a good time to look back at the happenings of the NHL as the league takes off at least six days for all teams (not including the participants of the All-Star game) with the exception of Montreal and Detroit who get off only five days. St. Louis receives the biggest break of all as they are off from Tuesday the 24th to February 3rd, a span of 10 days.

 

All games on Sunday are afternoon starts with the Super Bowl taking over the evening in a game that can be seen on NBC. We expect a lot of cross-promoting for the NHL during the telecast.

 

The Rangers and Bruins each have 35 games left in the second half, the most in the NHL, while Ottawa has only 30 games left with the Hurricanes and Avalanche playing 31 for the three least in the NHL. This information could help as you look for every possible advantage in your fantasy pool home stretch.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 5

 

4 Games – Boston, Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver

 

2 Games - Calgary, Phoenix, St. Louis

 

The Winnipeg Jets play all four games on the road.

 

Boston, Edmonton, Montreal, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay play three games at home this week.

 

Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Washington play three games away from home this week.

 

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INJURIES

 

Jaromir Jagr is day-to-day with a groin injury.

 

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

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. Dallas, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Ducks were hot heading into the break but lost 1-0 in their last game. They play three games in four nights before taking the weekend off, so Jeff Deslauriers could see action in one game in place of Jonas Hiller who has been great of late. Dan Ellis is still out at least two more weeks with a torn groin muscle.  They are tired on Wednesday when they face a rested Dallas team as the Ducks are in Phoenix Tuesday. Mark Bell returned to the NHL for the first time in four years as Anaheim recalled him from the minors. Bell last played for the Toronto Maple Leafs before spending two seasons in the Swiss League for Kloten. Kyle Palmieri was recalled by the Ducks and could stick for good this time.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Carolina, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Bruins playfour times this week, including three games in four nights this week so look for Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask to split the net. Thomas got himself into a lot of hot water this past week when he did not accompany the Stanley Cup champs to the White House to meet President Obama. The Bruins apparently are considering moving the veteran to another team and giving the net to the up and coming Rask. Patrice Bergeron is having a great season with 43 points in 47 games. Nathan Horton is suffering from a mild concussion and could return after the break. Andrew Ference picked up a three game suspension for his hit on the Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and will be eligible to return on Thursday against the Hurricanes.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. New York Rangers, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Sabres will be rested on Saturday when they take on a tired Islanders squad who play in Ottawa on Friday. Robyn Regehr returned to the Sabres lineup on Tuesday after missing four games with an upper body injury so Joe Finley was returned to the minors as Christian Ehrhoff (upper body) also returned to action. Thomas Vanek has one assist in his last nine games with nary a goal.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

Calgary will be rested on Friday when they face a tired Chicago team who play in Edmonton the previous night. The Flames only play twice this week so I recommend benching your Calgary players with the exception of Jarome Iginla and possibly Olli Jokinen in weekly pools if you are able to. Jay Bouwmeester is the NHL’s iron man as he has played in 556 consecutive games, a record for defensemen. Miikka Kiprusoff is just two wins short of 300 career victories and is also looking for his seventh straight 35 win season as he has 22 wins in 43 games. The Flames sent Roman Horak to the minors during the break as he only had two goals and nine points in 42 games this season. Alex Tanguay returned to the Calgary lineup Tuesday after missing almost five weeks with an upper body injury.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ Boston, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Hurricanes will be rested on Saturday and face a Los Angeles team that played in St. Louis the previous night. It looks as if Joni Pitkanen (concussion/knee) may be out of action until early March which should hurt his trade value if the Hurricanes were considering dumping him to a contender as the NHL trade deadline is February 27. Cam Ward has been great in the last two weeks as he has a 2-0-2 record stopping 130 of 134 shots to give him a GAA of 0.97 with a save percentage of .970. He may be worth trading for if you need goaltending help.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

 

Notes

The Blackhawks embark on a nine game road trip that gets started with all three games in Western Canada this week. They play three games in four nights so expect to see Ray Emery play once in place of Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks will be tired on Friday against the rested Flames as they are in Edmonton Thursday.  Patrick Sharp is expected to play at some point this week as he has recovered from a wrist injury. Jonathan Toews (upper body) could be ready to return on Tuesday when the Blackhawks play the Canucks in what should be a wild game as these two teams really don’t like each other. Brandon Pirri and Ben Smith are spending the All-Star break in the minors. Marian Hossa is tied for third in scoring and has a nine game scoring streak.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, vs. Minnesota, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

No word yet on Matt Duchene who has been out since December 29 with a knee injury. There currently is no timetable for his return. Peter Mueller has been held off the scoresheet the last two games but had three goals and an assist in his previous two games. He has 31 shots on goal in 10 games this season so if you play that category, he’s a nice pickup at this time. Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been seeing most of the action in goal with Semyon Varlamov backing up.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets end a six game road trip in California this week. They play three games in four nights so Steve Mason should get a start instead of Curtis Sanford. They are tired on Wednesday when they play the Kings after playing in San Jose Tuesday. It looks like the Blue Jackets are zeroing in on Nail Yakupov who is slated to be the first overall pick in the 2012 Entry Draft. They trail the Oilers who are 29th overall, by nine points. It has not been a good year for goaltender Mark Dekanich. He was slated to start the season as the backup to Steve Mason with the opportunity to take over if Mason faltered (which he did). But he suffered an ankle injury in training camp, missing the start of the year and then injured his groin upon his return. He recently returned and played a few games before injuring his ankle once again. I’m sure he is looking forward to next season.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ San Jose, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

The Stars play three games in four nights so Richard Bachman should play once in place of Kari Lehtonen. They are tired Thursday when they play in San Jose as the Stars are in Anaheim on Wednesday. They are rested Wednesday when they face the Ducks who play in Phoenix Tuesday. They activated Jamie Benn from the injured reserve list on Wednesday after he missed five games after undergoing appendectomy surgery. Brenden Morrow was put on the injured list but may only miss the game against Anaheim with a neck injury.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Vancouver, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Red Wings were blasted 7-2 by the Canadiens on Wednesday but were without the flu-ridden Nicklas Lidstrom who missed his first game in almost three years. Detroit is in the midst of a five game road trip. Jiri Hudler has been a pleasant surprise with 15 goals before the All-Star break. Henrik Zetterberg has been a bit of a disappointment in the first half as he has only nine goals and 35 points in 49 games although his hit on Nikita Nikitin into the boards Saturday did get him 15 of his 31 penalty minutes.  Niklas Kronwall has 10 goals this season, one off his career high set last year.


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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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