Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Close To Trade Deadline Time

Friday, February 17, 2012


PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

 

Notes

The Flyers visit the Canadian Prairies for all three games this week.  Daniel Briere was injured yet again on Thursday and is day-to-day with an upper body injury. The Flyers picked up a solid defensive defenseman in Nicklas Grossman who doesn’t have fantasy value but will help out if you have either Ilya Bryzgalov or Sergei Bobrovsky as he will help keep the puck out of the net. James van Riemsdyk (concussion) is practicing with full contact and could be close to returning. Jaromir Jagr missed Thursday’s game with the flu. Zac Rinaldo will return to action against the Jets as he will be finished serving his two game suspension for his hit on Jonathan Ericsson of the Red Wings.

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Coyotes are one of the hottest teams in the NHL at this time as they are 6-0-1 in the month of February. Mike Smith was the first star of the week last week with four wins while giving up only three goals and picked up right where he left off Thursday with a 1-0 shutout win over Los Angeles. Radim Vrbata leads the NHL in goals on the road with 19. Derek Morris is out with a groin injury. It looks like all the rumors that had Ray Whitney being dealt are false as the Coyotes are now in a playoff spot and will need him the rest of the way.

  

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Penguins will be tired on Sunday when they host the rested Blue Jackets as Pittsburgh will be home to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin saw his eight game goal scoring streak at home end on Wednesday. He was the NHL’s second star of the week with three goals and eight points in three games.  Sidney Crosby (concussion/neck) took to the ice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar following Tuesday's practice. There is no timetable for his return although he has been skating for over a month.  Mike Comrie announced his retirement as he was UFA and had hip problems. He is scheduled to spend the rest of his life with Hillary Duff.  

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Nashville, @Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so look for Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott to share the net. They will be tired Thursday when they go up against the Predators in Nashville after playing Boston Wednesday.  They continue to get great goaltending from both Halak and Elliott and are the second best road team in the NHL with a 25-3-4 record and actually have five more points than Detroit (24-1-2) but the Red Wings have played five less games. David Perron had six goals last week in being named the NHL’s third star of the week. Alexander Steen is practicing but his concussion has kept him out the last 21 games and there is no timetable for his return. Chris Stewart was bumped to the fourth line due to his inconsistent play.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Toronto, @ Nashville, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Sharks play four times this week and play three games in four nights so look for Thomas Greiss to play at least once in place of Antti Niemi. The Sharks are tired Sunday when they play in Minnesota as they faceoff against the Predators on Saturday. They conclude a nine game road trip this week. Coach Todd McLellan was not at all happy with the play of goaltender Antti Neimi and called him out on it. The Sharks picked up Dominic Moore in a deal with Tampa Bay and that should help as he is a very good bottom six center. Dan Boyle has been terrific of late with four goals and 19 points in his last 28 games to go with a plus-15 rating.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, @ Winnipeg, @ Pittsburgh, @ New Jersey

 

Notes

The Lightning play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Dwayne Roloson to play once in place of Mathieu Garon. They are tired on Sunday when they play in New Jersey as the Lightning are in Pittsburgh Saturday. Pavel Kubina was a healthy scratch on Thursday as his name continues to be bandied about in trade rumors. They did ship Dominic Moore out of town by showing him the way to San Jose for a draft pick. Ryan Malone returned to the lineup after missing three-and-a-half weeks with an upper body injury and he should be on the trade block.

    

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs.  New Jersey, vs. San Jose, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be rested on Saturday when they entertain Washington as the Capitals are home to Montreal Friday. There are rumors that Luke Schenn will be dealt by the Maple Leafs as he was a healthy scratch on Wednesday but we don’t believe it. Tim Connolly scored his first goal in 18 games and it was the game winner against the Oilers. He is now playing with Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur. Carl Gunnarsson was put on the injured reserve list after hurting his leg and Toronto promptly recalled Keith Aulie from the minors. Grabovski has been mentioned in trade rumors with one giving the Leafs a second round pick and a prospect for the UFA-to-be.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Detroit, @ New Jersey, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Canucks play four times this week, including three games in four nights so expect to see Cory Schneider play once in place of Roberto Luongo. They will be a tired team on Friday when they play in New Jersey after playing in Detroit on Thursday. The Canucks finish a five game road trip this week.  Chris Tanev was recalled from the minors to replace the injured Keith Ballard who has neck/concussion issues. Christopher Higgins missed six games in his latest staph infection, his third in less than a year. Daniel Sedin and his twin brother Henrik Sedin are pointless in their last three games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Ottawa, vs. Montreal, @ Toronto

 

Notes

Washington plays four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Michal Neuvirth to play once in place of Thomas Vokoun. The Capitals are tired on Saturday when they face the Maple Leafs after playing the Canadiens on Friday. Mike Green has been participating in full practices and could return to the lineup this week. He has played only eight games this season and has been a huge disappointment to his fantasy owners, never mind the Capitals. Neuvirth must have been upset when the Capitals recalled Braden Holtby from the minors when Tomas Vokoun went down with the flu as they chose to start Holtby. He gave up five goals and was promptly sent back to Hershey.

 

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Jets are in the midst of an eight game home stand and must make up points now as they are very good at home and the opposite on the road. Evander Kane broke out of a one goal in 14 game slump with a two goal performance on Thursday. Zach Bogosian is day-to-day with an upper body injury. Andrew Ladd is slumping with no goals in his last 12 games and has been pointless in his last six. Nik Antropov was demoted to the fourth line with Alexander Burmistrov taking his place between Evander Kane and Kyle Wellwood.



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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