Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Hockey Day in Canada

Friday, February 03, 2012


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Detroit, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Oilers are on the road for all three games this week. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) has been out a month but began contact drills on Wednesday so he now has to be considered day-to-day. Cam Barker is also starting contact drills as he has been out of the lineup since November 10 with an ankle injury. Taylor Hall continues to score as he now has 34 points in 40 games. Andy Sutton’s future in Edmonton is murky as he should be dealt by the trade deadline.  After a great 7-0-2 start to the season, Nikolai Khabibulin has been less than stellar and was 1-7-1 in his last nine heading into the All-Star break. Great move by coach Tom Renney who put Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle together after the first period on Thursday. The troika responded with 16 points in the last two periods including four goals and four assists from Gagner.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Los Angeles, @ New Jersey. @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so look for Scott Clemmensen to split the net with Jose Theodore. Theodore is out with a knee injury but should return for the start of the week. Scottie Upshall is out four-six weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Marco Sturm missed 14 games with a concussion before returning after the All-Star break. He has only three points in 34 games with a minus-12 rating so his NHL career could be nearing an end at age 33. Kris Versteeg leads the Panthers with 43 points this season.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ New York Islanders, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Kings play all four on the road, including three games in four nights so it looks like Jonathan Bernier will play once in place of Jonathan Quick. They are tired on Sunday in Dallas after playing on Long Island Saturday. Don’t expect to see Simon Gagne back in the Kings lineup this season as he is not close to returning to action with a concussion. There is a huge controversy in Los Angeles following their 3-2 win over Columbus on Wednesday as Drew Doughty scored with .4 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, it appeared that the clock stopped for about a second with 1.8 seconds to go. Had the clock functioned properly, the goal would have entered the net after the end of the game, forcing overtime and giving the Blue Jackets at least one point. Doughty has four goals and 24 points in 46 games this season with half his goals and points coming with the man-advantage. Jason Williams has a nine game scoring streak in which has 11 points.

 

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Vancouver, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Wild play twice against the Blue Jackets this week so look for Brad Staubitz and Cal Clutterbuck to add to their penalty minute totals if there are any fisticuffs.  Marek Zidlicky has now been a healthy scratch for five straight games so do not be surprised if he is dealt by the trade deadline as he would agree to waive his no-trade contract. Mikko Koivu (shoulder) has been skating before practice and could start practicing with the team before the start of the week. Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) has started skating and practicing with the Wild but they will take it slow with the forward so there is no timetable for his return. 


MONTREAL


Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ New York Islanders, @ Toronto

 

Notes

Andrei Markov skated before practice this week but the defenseman, who has been out of action with a knee injury since November 13, 2010, is still unsure if he will be able to play at all this season. Ryan White has been out since the second day of training camp with a groin injury and is very close to returning. Scott Gomez has not found the back of the net thus far this season in 20 games. There are rumors that the Canadiens are looking to deal P.K. Subban but we find that hard to believe as he is a very talented blueliner. Erik Cole leads the Habs with 39 points, two ahead of Max Pacioretty and three ahead of David Desharnais.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Ottawa, @ Boston

 

Notes

The big news with the Predators continues to be whether or not they will be able to re-sign defenseman Ryan Suter before the February 27th trade deadline. If not, do not be surprised if the Predators trade him as they will not get any compensation if he leaves on July 1 and signs elsewhere. GM David Poile said that negotiations are ongoing with Suter and his agent so stay tuned. Pekka Rinne was the NHL’s third star of the month with 11 wins in 12 starts. The Predators are in Ottawa Thursday so Mike Fisher will make his first appearance since being dealt last season.

  

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, vs. St. Louis, vs. Florida

 

Notes

Adam Henrique is still out with a groin injury but the Devils have been fortunate as Dainius Zubrus has played well at center in his stead playing with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.  Parise stated that he and New Jersey have not been talking contract. Parise is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.  Expect to see a lot more of Martin Brodeur in goal down the stretch. Andy Greene finally returned from foot problems, an injury that kept him out of the lineup since December 6. Adam Larsson had an MRI on his injured wrist during the All-Star break but apparently he is fine.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Montreal, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Islanders play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Al Montoya to play at least once in place of Evgeni Nabokov.  Kevin Poulin started in goal the first game after the All-Star game and after a 5-2 win over Carolina, was sent to the minors. John Tavares was the NHL’s first star for the month of January and has picked up nine goals and 22 points in his past 13 games to give him 53 points this season, good for fourth in the NHL.  Matt Moulson leads the Islanders in goals with 23, one ahead of Tavares, while P.A. Parenteau is tops in assists with 34.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Philadelphia, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights as part of their four game week, so it is expected that Martin Biron will play once in place of the NHL’s best goalie this season, Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers are tired on Sunday when they play a rested Washington squad after playing in Philadelphia Saturday. Wojtek Wolski and Jeff Woywitka have been sent to the minors on a two week conditioning stint. Wolski has been a major disappointment this season with only three assists in nine games while being a healthy scratch for the Rangers for the past six games. Steve Eminger is getting closer to a return as he has been out of action with a separated shoulder since December 17.


OTTAWA                                   

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Nashville, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Senators play all three games at home this week. Brian Lee has missed seven games with a lower body injury but should return this week, if not earlier. Erik Condra has been moved up to the top line in practice with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek and that will definitely help his fantasy value should he stay there.  Zenon Konopka leads the NHL in majors with 17 and penalty minutes with 159, so he is valuable in pools that use the category. Craig Anderson has lost his last four outings so Alexander Auld could get some action since he hasn’t started since December 30. Peter Regin is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.


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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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