Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Quarter

Friday, February 24, 2012


The NHL trade deadline is on Monday and the trades have already started with the Blue Jackets putting two in the can, trading Antoine Vermette to Phoenix and sending Jeff Carter to Los Angeles for Jack Johnson and a first round pick.

 

The dealing of Carter has to hurt Columbus got him in the off-season in a move that cost them Jakub Voracek, a former first round pick, seventh overall in 2007 and two picks in the 2011 Entry Draft, the eighth and 68th overall in which they received Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins, a center with the Soo Greyhounds who has 30 goals and 72 points in 55 games this season.

 

A Happy Birthday to my Mom and my brother Howie.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 4

 

4 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, St. Louis

 

3 Games – Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton,  Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

 

2 Games – Pittsburgh, Winnipeg

 

New Jersey and St. Louis play all four games on the road.

 

Boston, Carolina, Colorado, San Jose, Vancouver and Washington play three games at home this week.

 

Buffalo and the New York Islanders play three games away from home this week.

 

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INJURIES

 

Pavel Datsyuk is out for two-three weeks with a knee injury.

 

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

 

 

Don’t forget to tune into Rotoworld on Monday for all the news during the trade deadline. I will be doing a live chat with some special guests including our friends at Pro HockeyTalk, from 12:30 until around 4 p ET. Join in and ask your questions as it should be a wild and fun afternoon.


ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Buffalo, vs. Calgary, @ Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Ducks play four times this week including three games in four nights. They have jumped back into the playoff picture so do not be surprised if Jonas Hiller plays in every game until Dan Ellis is ready to return. Anaheim is a tired team twice this week , once on Monday when they face the Avs in Colorado after playing Chicago at home on Sunday and then on Saturday when they take on their cross-town rivals in Los Angeles after the Ducks host Calgary on Friday.  They are rested Friday when they take on the Flames as Calgary is in Phoenix on Thursday. Dan Ellis is expected to start practicing this week as he tries to return from a six week absence due to a groin injury. Teemu Selanne is unlikely to waive his no-trade contract, especially with Anaheim knocking on the playoff door. They could use some production from Ryan Getzlaf who has only two goals in his last 34 games. Hiller was the first star of the week, but had trouble in his first start after that as he gave up three goals on only 16 shots to the Lightning.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. New Jersey, vs. New York Islanders, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights so expect to see Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask share the net. The Bruins are tired Sunday against the Rangers in New York after playing the Islanders at home Saturday. They face the Senators in the second-half of a back-to-back series on Tuesday so expect to see Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara add to their penalty minute totals if there are any fisticuffs. David Krejci is seeing time on the wing with Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly on the second line. Joe Corvo picked up an assist on Wednesday for his first point in eight games and only his fourth point in his last 20 contests. Nathan Horton (concussion) is still not working out and he could be gone for the season. He last played on January 22.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

 @ Anaheim, @ San Jose, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Sabres play all three games on the West Coast this week and play them in four nights so it would not be a surprise if Jhonas Enroth plays once in place of Ryan Miller. Buffalo is in the midst of a five game road trip. The Sabres should be tired on Thursday when they face a rested Sharks squad in San Jose after playing the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday. Derek Roy is starting to get hot as the trade deadline approaches as he has seven points in his last four games after picking up only four points in his first 16 games in 2012. Paul Gaustad is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and his name has been popping up in trade rumors. Tomas Vanek is starting to score again with five points in his last seven games after picking up only one point in his previous ten.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Phoenix, @ Anaheim, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

 The Flames play four games this week playing three games in four nights as well. Miikka Kiprusoff should play at least three times with Henrik Karlsson possibly getting a start. The Flames sent Leland Irving back to the minors this past week with the return of Karlsson. They will be tired Friday in Anaheim when they take on the Coyotes in Phoenix Thursday. Chris Butler is out after being cut by the skate of Kiprusoff. He needed 30 stitches to close the cut and is likely to be out for three weeks.  Look for Anton Babchuk to draw back into the lineup after sitting out 14 games as a healthy scratch. The Flames got Curtis Glencross back into the lineup Thursday after  missing five weeks with a knee injury. David Moss (ankle) is back skating after undergoing ankle surgery. He has been out of the lineup since November 12 and there is no timetable for his return.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

The Hurricanes end a six game home stand this week and are the rested team in two games. Firstly, they are rested when they face a tired Nashville team as the Predators are home to Los Angeles Monday. They play a tired Tampa Bay squad Saturday as the Lightning face the Rangers Friday. Cam Ward is currently out with a lower body injury so the Hurricanes recalled backup goalie Mike Murphy on an emergency basis. Justin Peters got the start Monday in place of Ward and turned aside all 17 shots in shutting out the Capitals. Tuomo Ruutu was one of the hot commodities as the NHL trade deadline approached but was taken off the market upon signing a four-year/$19 million extension. Chad LaRose is slated to be out a week with an upper body injury. Eric Staal has 10 points in his last six games. 

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Ottawa, @Detroit

 

Notes

The Blackhawks will be rested on Wednesday when they are home to a tired Maple Leafs team who are home to the Florida Panthers Tuesday.  After losing nine straight, the Blackhawks won four in a row to right their ship but lost on Thursday to Dallas. Jonathan Toews has missed the last two games with an upper body injury although coach Joel Quenneville said that it is not the wrist injury that plagued him earlier in the season. Rumors are he may have a concussion. He was also involved in a one auto accident but was not hurt. He was replaced at center by Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks have not scored in their last 33 power play chances. Duncan Keith hit the 30 assist mark for the fourth straight season.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Columbus, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Avalanche play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Semyon Varlamov split the net. They are rested Monday when they host the Ducks who play in Chicago Sunday, but they are tired Sunday in Minnesota when they face the rested Wild as they are home to Pittsburgh Saturday. Erik Johnson left Wednesday’s game with back spasms and could sit out this week. The Avalanche dealt Kyle Quincey to Tampa Bay and picked up the pesky Steve Downie who not only racks up penalty minutes but also knows how to score. The Avs used him alongside Ryan O'Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog in his first game for Colorado. Matt Duchene finally returned from a knee injury after missing almost eight weeks. Stefan Elliott was recalled to play on the blueline with the departure of Quincey.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Colorado, @ Phoenix

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets started getting into trade mode by dealing Antoine Vermette to the Phoenix Coyotes earlier in the week, getting a second and a fifth in addition to goaltender Curtis McElhinney. Then on Thursday night they swapped Jeff Carter to the Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first round pick. The sweepstakes for Rick Nash are heating up with San Jose now rumored to be interested in the goal scorer. The Kings are said to be very interested as well. Nash has a no-trade contract and will need to agree if the Blue Jackets are bowled over with an offer. It’s hard to believe that GM Scott Howson is still in charge but apparently the Blue Jackets hierarchy must believe in their General Manager, otherwise he would have been fired long ago. James Wisniewski missed a couple of games with a groin injury but is projected to return on February 24. 

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary  

 

Notes

Sheldon Souray returned to action on Thursday after missing seven games with a foot injury. Jacob Dowell is out a week with an upper body injury and Matt Fraser was recalled to take his place. Ryan Garbutt was called up for the first time in his career and the 26-year-old scored in his third NHL game while putting six shots on goal. Jamie Benn is still out after missing a week with a cut from a skate on his leg. He has been skating so his return could be imminent. 

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Minnesota, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

Detroit will be rested on Friday when they face Minnesota who are in Montreal Thursday. Todd Bertuzzi has had a very good season this year and the Red Wings rewarded him with a two-year contract extension. Jimmy Howard missed close to three weeks with a broken finger and finally returned on Tuesday. As we predicted last week, they put Ty Conklin on waivers and kept Joey MacDonald as Howard’s backup. Pavel Datsyuk underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this past week and will return in about 10 days. Henrik Zetterberg has taken over as the number one center between Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi in the interim with Valtteri Filppula moving up to Zetterberg’s spot on the second line. The Red Wings dealt their first round pick in 2012 and prospect Sebastien Piche to Tampa Bay for defenseman Kyle Quincey who was acquired by the Lightning from the Avalanche for Steve Downie


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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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