Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Close To Trade Deadline Time

Friday, February 17, 2012


EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) has been skating with the team in practice but still has to get involved in contact drills before he will be able to get back into the lineup. He has hurt his shoulder twice this season but doctors think he just has to strengthen the area and that off-season surgery will not be required. Look for Ales Hemsky’s name to be prominent in trade rumors with the Feb. 27 deadline approaching. Ryan Smyth, another player who is eligible to become a UFA at the end of the season, has been told by GM Steve Tambellini that he will not be dealt. Theo Peckham is not yet healthy after a facial injury and still needs to get in some contact in practices as the Oilers are looking to be at full strength on their blueline with the exception of Corey Potter who has a groin injury.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Carolina, vs. Montreal

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games over four days so expect to see Scott Clemmensen play once in place of Jose Theodore. The Panthers will be tired when they host the Canadiens on Sunday as they are in Carolina Saturday. Sean Bergenheim is starting to get hot with eight goals and 10 points in his last 12 games after scoring only four times with nary an assist in his opening two dozen contests. Ed Jovanovski has started skating after practice as he has been out a month with a broken hand. Dmitry Kulikov has not started skating after undergoing knee surgery in late January. He is projected to return in mid-to-late March. Eric Gudbranson is starting to see major minutes on the blueline with Jovanovski, Jason Garrison (lower body) and Kulikov out of action and that bodes well for the future of the Panthers.   

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@. Phoenix, @ Colorado, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

The Kings will be tired on Wednesday when they are in Colorado to face the rested Avalanche after playing in Phoenix the previous night. Rookies Jordan Nolan and Dwight King scored their first NHL goals against the Stars on Sunday. The duo were on the same line with Mike Richards and have provided some energy for the Kings. Dustin Penner has been a healthy scratch the last two games as he is in coach Darryl Sutter’s doghouse. Simon Gagne has begun to skate again as he attempts to return from yet another concussion. The Kings are in on a lot of trade rumors including Rick Nash and Jonathan Bernier could be part of a package as the Kings already have one of the best goalkeepers in the NHL in Jonathan Quick.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Dallas, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights so look for Josh Harding to play once in place of Niklas Backstrom. They will be rested on Sunday when they take on the San Jose Sharks who are in Nashville on Saturday. Dany Heatley has been hot of late with with six goals and 10 points in his last nine games. Marek Zidlicky is being rumored to be headed to the Devils after allegedly waiving his no-trade contract to go there and was a healthy scratch on Thursday after picking up two assists in his two games. Matt Cullen has not found the back of the net in his last 13 games. Cal Clutterbuck  returned to action on Thursday after missing one game with a charley horse.

                                                                       

MONTREAL

                                                           

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Washington, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Habs are rested Sunday when they are in Florida to play the Panthers while Florida plays in Carolina Saturday. Andrei Kostitsyn and Scott Gomez are not seeing a lot of ice time as both were benched for most of the third period Monday against the Hurricanes and it wasn’t much better for Gomez the next day in practice as he had words with assistant coach Randy Ladouceur. Max Pacioretty leads the Canadiens in goals with 24 while he is tied with Erik Cole with 44 points. Tomas Plekanec is minus-14 this season with 40 points.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. St. Louis, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Predators will be rested on Thursday when they face a tired St. Louis team who are home to Boston Wednesday. Nashville plays all three games at home this week. Patric Hornqvist is out with an upper body injury. Ryan Ellis has nine points in his first 20 games and the defenseman is worth owning in all keeper leagues as well as deeper one year pools. Brian McGrattan was placed on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury but is eligible to return at any time as he has missed the last four games. Martin Erat leads the Predators in points with 42, five ahead of defenseman Shea Weber who is \second.

   

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Vancouver, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

The Devils are rested twice this week when facing a tired team. First they face Vancouver on Friday after the Canucks play in Detroit Thursday and then play the Lightning Sunday after Tampa Bay play in Pittsburgh Saturday. Adam Larsson has been out of action for the last two weeks with a back injury and is skating on his own. Petr Sykora broke a nine game goal scoring slump on Tuesday. Travis Zajac (Achilles) is due to start skating by the weekend although he is still out indefinitely. Look for Martin Brodeur to get the lion’s share of the starts in net with Johan Hedberg only getting an occasional start down the stretch. Zach Parise and Adam Henrique lead the NHL in shorthanded points with seven while teammate Ilya Kovalchuck is third with five.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Buffalo, vs. New York Rangers, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Islanders are tired on Tuesday when they play in Buffalo after hosting the Senators on Monday, but are the rested team on Sunday when they face the Senators for the second time this week as Ottawa is home to Boston on Saturday. Expect Matt Martin and Travis Hamonic to add to their penalty minute totals if there are any fisticuffs. P. A. Parenteau is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 but will not discuss a new deal with the Islanders until the end of the 2011-12 campaign. He has 12 goals and 51 points this season. Evgeni Nabokov is showing the form he had in the 2009-10 season and the years before but he missed Thursday’s game with the flu. John Tavares is in a slump  with only two assists in his last eight games.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ New York Islanders, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

Ruslan Fedotenko has missed the last four games with a head injury. Enforcer Stu Bickel has taken his spot in the lineup on the fourth line. Wojtek Wolski was sent to the minors on a conditioning stint but has been a healthy scratch since his recall. Marian Gaborik has a goal and five assists in his last five games including a four point effort on Feb. 11. Brian Prust scored his third goal of the season on Sunday but it was also his first in 48 games. He has fantasy value this season with 14 points and 114 penalty minutes.

 

OTTAWA                                   

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Washington, vs. Boston, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Senators are rested on Saturday when they face a tired Boston squad as the Bruins play in Buffalo Friday. They are then the tired team Sunday when they play the Islanders for the second time this week. Look for Zenon Konopka, Chris Neil and Matt Carkner to add to their penalty minute totals in the two games against the Islanders.  After going through an eight game losing streak, Craig Anderson has won his last two games, stopping 70 of 72 shots. Bobby Butler was a healthy scratch for three games but has a goal and five assists with a plus-four rating in the four games since then as he is now on a line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. Spezza is red hot this past week with three goals and four assists in his last two games.  

 


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Michael Finewax has been covering hockey since 2005 and is the Hockey Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Mike Finewax


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