Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Hockey Day in Canada

Friday, February 03, 2012


It’s Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday and all seven teams are in action with the NHL moving Friday's Winnipeg-Pittsburgh game to Saturday from the original schedule to give hockey coverage north of the border from 2pm ET until well after midnight.

 

An amazing performance by Sam Gagner on Thursday as he became the first NHL player since 1988 to record eight points in one game, and the third Oiler to do so as he joined Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. Gagner has been rumored to be on the trade block but the Oilers would be foolish to give up so quickly on the 22-year-old.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 6-12

 

4 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles,

New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto

 

 

3 Games –Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Edmonton,  Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey,  Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Boston, Carolina

 

The Los Angeles Kings play all four games on the road.

 

Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Phoenix play three games at home this week.

 

Calgary, Chicago, Edmonton, Florida, Tampa Bay and Vancouver play three games away from home this week.

 

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INJURIES

 

Hopefully it’s good news that Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a soft tissue injury in his neck. He is still out indefinitely.

 

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

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Carolina @Detroit, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Ducks play four times this week but not three in four nights. Jonas Hiller could play in all four games although Jeff Deslauriers could see action in one game. They are rested on Sunday when they face a tired Columbus team as the Blue Jackets are in Minnesota Saturday.  Jason Blake is out with a foot injury and the Ducks recalled Kyle Palmieri to take his place. Palmieri needs just one break to stay in the NHL as he has played too well to remain in the AHL. Jonas Hiller gave up six goals on Wednesday, the first time in 11 games that he has given up more than two in a game. Trade rumors are swirling around the Ducks as Corey Perry’s name has been mentioned with Vancouver as a possible final destination.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

Nathan Horton has not yet begun to skate after suffering a concussion on January 22 but coach Claude Julien is hopeful that the winger will start exercising soon. Tyler Seguin leads the NHL in plus-minus at plus-32 but was minus-two as he celebrated his 20th birthday on January 31. GM Peter Chiarelli said that he will not trade Tim Thomas, who is under tremendous media scrutiny for snubbing the White House a couple of weeks ago, this season.  Andrew Ference is back in the lineup after serving a three game suspension. Zdeno Chara broke his own record for the hardest shot at the All-Stars skill competition when he fired a shot that went 108.8 MPH.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

 vs. Boston, vs. Dallas, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Buffalo plays three games in four nights so look for Jhonas Enroth to play once in place of Ryan Miller. The Sabres will be rested on Friday when they take on a tired Stars squad who play in Columbus on Thursday. They are tired on Saturday when they face a rested Tampa Bay team. Thomas Vanek suffered an upper body injury on Tuesday (thought to be his shoulder) and should be out a week. Tyler Ennis returned to the Buffalo lineup on Thursday after missing 17 games with an ankle injury and started at center between Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe. Ryan Miller has given up only two goals in his last three games and hopefully is turning his game around.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ San Jose, @ Phoenix, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

Calgary plays four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Henrik Karlsson to play once in place of Miikka Kiprusoff. They will be tired on Thursday when they face a rested Coyotes squad as they are in San Jose the previous night. Karlsson returned to the lineup this past week after missing almost two months with a torn MCL in his knee. Leland Irving was returned to the minors. Michael Cammalleri has two goals in his first five games with the Flames. Krystofer Kolanos has inked a two-way contract with the Calgary Flames and should see action as a top six forward as he had 40 points in 34 AHL games and the Flames are in desperate need of some offense.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

 @ Anaheim, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Hurricanes only play twice this week so I suggest benching all your Hurricanes in weekly transaction pools with the possible exception of Cam Ward who has been hot of late. Ward has made 10 straight starts and gave up three goals in Tuesday’s contest against the Islanders, the first time he has given up more than two goals in 10 games. Tim Gleason was believed to be on the trading block but when the ‘Canes signed him to a four-year/$16 million extension this past week, defenseman Bryan Allen became the talk of trade rumors, with the Flyers showing interest. UFA-to-be, Tuomo Ruutu’s name is also being heard in the rumor mill with Nashville, Toronto, Chicago, Pittsurgh and Boston possible destinations.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ San Jose, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Blackhawks are in the middle of a nine game road trip. The Blackhawks will be tired on Saturday against the rested Coyotes as they are in San Jose Friday.  It has been a bit of a surprise but rookie Andrew Shaw has led all Blackhawk forwards in ice time over the last two games heading into action on Thursday. Patrick Sharp returned to the Chicago lineup on Tuesday but could still be feeling the effects of his wrist injury. Brendan Morrison played for the first time in a Blackhawk uniform after being dealt from the Flames during the All-Star break, seeing action on the second line with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. He played 18:56 minutes on Tuesday and if he continues to see time on the second line, he will have fantasy value.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

 vs. Chicago, vs. Carolina, @ St. Louis

 

Notes

The Avalanche will be tired on Friday when they take on the St. Louis Blues after playing the Hurricanes the previous night. Matt Duchene who has been out since December 29 with a knee injury, still has not resumed skating. Peter Mueller has five points in his last six games and is averaging over three shots on goal per game. Gabriel Landeskog, the second overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft said that his move from Sweden to Canada as a 16-year-old, was pivotal in his progression as a hockey player as he was just an average player and a role player in his home country.  

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Dallas, @ Minnesota, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four times this week including three games in four nights so Steve Mason could get a start in goal for Columbus instead of Curtis Sanford who seems to have taken over as the starting netminder yet again. The Blue Jackets will be tired on Sunday when they are home to a rested Anaheim team after playing in Minnesota the previous day. Columbus takes on the Wild in two games this week so look for Derek Dorsett and Jared Boll to add to their penalty minute totals. Vaclav Prospal broke a nine game pointless streak with an assist on Wednesday. He has been dropped to the third line and will likely be dealt by the deadline. Jeff Carter (separated shoulder) is travelling with the team and is expected to return on February 3.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

 vs. Phoenix, @ Columbus, @ Buffalo, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Stars play three games in four nights so Richard Bachman should play once in place of Kari Lehtonen. They are tired Friday when they play in Buffalo as the Stars are in Columbus on Thursday, but are the rested team twice this week, Tuesday in Phoenix as the Coyotes are playing Detroit Monday, and against the Kings Sunday who play in Long Island Saturday. Brenden Morrow was activated off the injured reserve list on Wednesday. He could be dealt by the trade deadline as his name is surfacing in rumors. Michael Ryder leads the Stars in goals with 18 while Jamie Benn is tops in points at 46. Loui Eriksson is second in both categories with 17 and 44 respectively.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. Edmonton, vs. Anaheim, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Red Wings play four times this week but the games are spaced out every other day. They play only three games in four nights once more this season as Rotoworld’s Gus Katsaros wrote and charted in his latest column, “View from the Corners”. Detroit will be rested and waiting for the Flyers Sunday as Philadelphia takes on the Rangers at home on Saturday.  Henrik Zetterberg has only one goal in his last 21 games and only nine this season. Jimmy Howard leads the NHL in wins with 32 but will miss at least the Phoenix game with a broken finger. Power play specialist Tomas Holmstrom had a bad reaction to Synvisc after it was injected into both of his knees and missed Tuesday’s game. Mike Commodore and Jakub Kindl are battling for the sixth and final spot on the blueline and one or the other is usually a healthy scratch if there are no other injuries.  Patrick Eaves suffered a concussion as well as a broken jaw in November and is out indefinitely.


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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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