Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Brian Burke is working out

Friday, February 10, 2012


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Colorado, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Oilers are the rested team twice this week.  They face a tired Maple Leafs team on Wednesday as Toronto plays in Calgary the previous night, while on Saturday the Oilers take on Vancouver who entertain the Maple Leafs Saturday night. Sam Gagner has continued his sensational play since his eight point effort last week as he has seven points in his last four, giving him 15 points in his last five games. The Oilers are completely healthy on the blueline with the return of Tom Gilbert on Monday from an ankle injury. Jordan Eberle is also hot as he has six goals and nine points in his last five games.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should return this week after a recurrence of a shoulder injury and they recalled former first round pick Magnus Paajarvi to take his spot. 

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Washington, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Panthers are rested Wednesday when they face a tired Senators team who play in Tampa Bay the previous night. The Panthers are slumping, having lost 16 of their last 24 games. It will help that they are getting Jose Theodore back in the lineup as he has played in goal only twice in the new year as he has been out with a knee injury. They play all three games at home this week.  After getting off to such a hot start, especially in the plus/minus category where he was among the NHL leaders, Tomas Fleischmann is now a minus-three.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Kings only play twice this week so we recommend benching all your Los Angeles players with the exception of Anze Kopitar and possibly Justin Williams. Slava Voynov continues to be a healthy scratch and would probably best be served by going down to the minors and playing a lot. The Kings have a great asset in Jonathan Bernier and since Jonathan Quick continues to play so well, they may be better off trading him for some offensive help as Kopitar can’t do it all himself. Kopitar leads the team with 47 points and 17 goals while Kyle Clifford is tops in penalty minutes with 85.  

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Winnipeg, @ St. Louis, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Wild play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Josh Harding to play once in place of Niklas Backstrom. They will be tired and facing a rested Boston team on Sunday after playing in St. Louis on Saturday.  Mikko Koivu returned to action on Thursday after missing eight games with a shoulder injury.  Dany Heatley is starting to heat up with five goals and nine points in his last six games. Nick Johnson has played very well centering Heatley and will continue to do so even with the return of Koivu.

                                                                       

MONTREAL

                                                           

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Boston,  @ Buffalo, v. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Habs play four times this week but not three in four nights. They benefit twice as the rested team, once versus the Bruins on Wednesday after Boston are home to the Rangers the previous night, and on Friday when they are in Buffalo with the Sabres in Philadelphia Thursday. Scott Gomez scored on Thursday. It was his first goal in 369 days. Michael Blunden is out four-six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Max Pacioretty picked up the hat trick on Thursday giving him 20 goals on the season for the first time in his career. Andrei Markov skated for 40 minutes on Wednesday. He has not played since 2010 as he has had knee problems. There is still no timetable for his return. Look for Travis Moen to be dealt before the trade deadline. 

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Detroit, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Predators will be rested on Sunday when they face a tired Dallas team who are in Phoenix on Saturday. Sergei Kostitsyn has been meshing nicely with Martin Erat and Mike Fisher and has 15 points in his last 17 games. Pekka Rinne is 0-1-1 in his last two games but is 14-2-1 since the beginning of the New Year. Patric Hornqvist leads the Predators in goals with 15 while Martin Erat is tops in points with 40. Jordin Tootoo leads in penalty minutes with 66.

   

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Anaheim, @ Montreal

 

Notes

Martin Brodeur is day-to-day with an ankle injury so the Devils were forced to call up Jeff Frazee to backup Johan Hedberg. Adam Larsson has missed the last four games with a bruised lower back. Although he is exercising, he still has not been back skating. Travis Zajac has not played since January 2 as he tries to recover from an Achilles tendon injury and will still be out a month. Adam Henrique returned to action on Sunday after missing time with a groin strain. Ilya Kovalchuk had three goals and 10 points in four games last week and was named the NHL’s second star of the week.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ St. Louis, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Islanders are rested on Saturday when they face Carolina as the Hurricanes are hosting San Jose Friday. Evgeni Nabokov has played very well of late and his name keeps popping up in trade talks as he will be a UFA on July 1. Frans Nielsen would have been in a similar spot but the Islanders signed him to a four-year/$11 million contract this past week. Travis Hamonic will be out a minimum of a couple of weeks after undergoing surgery to repair some facial fractures. John Tavares leads the Islanders in points with 53 and shots on goal with 192. Milan Jurcina is a team-worst minus-21, one better (or worse depending on your view) than Mark Streit.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Chicago, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Rangers are rested on Sunday when they play a tired Columbus team who are home to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Brad Richards had the overtime winner on Thursday but has been in an offensive slump in the last 13 games as he has only two goals and two assists. His 35 points this season is way below what was expected of him by fantasy owners. Brandon Dubinsky is also in a big slump with only one goal and no assists in his past 10 games. Fortunately he has 75 penalty minutes this season, giving him some value in traditional leagues. Steve Eminger finally returned to the Rangers lineup on Thursday, replacing Stu Bickel on the blueline. He had not played since December 17 after suffering a separated shoulder.

 

OTTAWA                                   

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Senators play only twice this week so I suggest resting all your Senators in weekly transaction pools with the exception of Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. The Senators do not play after Wednesday this week but will be tired on Hump Day when they play in Florida after facing the Lightning on Tuesday in Tampa Bay. The Senators broke a seven game losing streak on Thursday as Spezza had a three point night. They put Alexander Auld in goal for his first start in 17 games and it paid off with the victory.  Milan Michalek was the first player in the NHL to 20 goals this season but has gone without a goal in his last 12 games and has 23 this season.


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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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