Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Quarter

Friday, February 24, 2012


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. New York Islanders, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Flyers acquired Pavel Kubina from the Lightning this past week. He is the first right-handed shot from the point since Eric Desjardins in 2005-06 so he will get lots of power play time soon. James van Riemsdyk has been mentioned in trade rumors but wants to remain in Philadelphia. Jaromir Jagr became the NHL’s top scorer in overtime with his 16th career goal this week, breaking a tie with Mats Sundin, Sergei Federov, and Patrik Elias. Wayne Simmonds has 12 points in 10 February games. Tom Sestito is out six-eight weeks with a groin injury and subsequent surgery. Look elsewhere for your penalty minutes.

 

 PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, vs. Calgary, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Coyotes finish up a Western Canada swing on Tuesday before heading home for the final two games of the week. They picked up Antoine Vermette from Columbus in exchange for Curtis McElhinney, a second round pick and a fifth rounder. Mike Smith has won nine games in a row leading the Coyotes into a playoff spot at this time. Radim Vrbata is having a career year with 30 goals and 52 points thus far. Gilbert Brule is out with an undisclosed injury. 

  

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Penguins only play twice this week so I recommend benching all your Pittsburgh players in weekly transaction pools, with the exception of Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.  Sidney Crosby practiced with the Penguins this past week for only the third time since last playing on December 5 with concussion/neck problems and is hoping to return to action before the end of the season. Marc-Andre Fleury is on pace to play in over 70 games this season for the first time in his career. The Penguins signed James Neal to a six-year/$30 million contract extension. Evgeni Malkin continues to lead the NHL in points.   

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so look for Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott to share the net. They play four games on the road as they are at the end of a six game road trip. They will be tired Thursday when they go up against the Canucks in Vancouver after playing Edmonton Wednesday. The Blues lost at home this past week for only the fourth time this season as the Bruins lowered their home record to a still sensational 26-4-4. Jamie Langenbrunner is out with a broken bone in his foot so Vladimir Sobotka has joined David Backes and T.J. Oshie on the Blues top line.  They are missing three forwards as Matt D'Agostini and Alexander Steen are out with concussions while Jamie Langenbrunner is out with a broken ankle.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Buffalo, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Sharks are rested on Thursday when they take on a tired Buffalo team who are in Anaheim Wednesday.  Doug Murray is out with a fractured Adam’s Apple and that certainly sounds painful. Patrick Marleau has hit the 25 goal mark for the ninth time. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a puck near his eye and while he is playing, he is using a full face shield for protection. Martin Havlat has been skating and hopes to return to the San Jose lineup by mid-March from a torn hamstring. Jason Demers returned to action this past week from a lower body injury that kept him on the sidelines for nine games. The Sharks have scored 17 times in their last 46 power play opportunities.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. New York Rangers, @ Carolina

 

Notes

The Lightning are the rested team on Friday when they play the Rangers as New York takes on the Hurricanes in Carolina Thursday. They will be tired team the next night in Carolina as the Hurricanes have Friday off. Steve Stamkos leads the NHL in goals with 43, ten ahead of Evgeni Malkin. Marc-Andre Bergeron has missed 17 of his last 18 games with back woes and will see yet another doctor for an opinion on what to do. The Lightning dealt pesky Steve Downie to Colorado and received defenseman Kyle Quincey in return.  GM Steve Yzerman then dealt Quincey to Detroit for a first round pick and a minor league prospect.  Vincent Lecavalier is out at least three weeks with a fractured bone in his right hand.

    

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Chicago, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be tired on Wednesday when they travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks after entertaining the Panthers Tuesday. The Maple Leafs are slumping and are now out of the playoffs, so we wonder what Brian Burke is going to do. The goaltending duo of James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson have been mediocre of late and the Maple Leafs could be in the market for a short term fix in net. Phil Kessel has 31 goals this season, third best in the NHL. Jake Gardiner is sought after by everyone in a possible trade with Toronto but defensemen like that don’t grow on trees and the Maple Leafs will have to be bowled over to trade him.

 

 VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. St. Louis, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Canucks will be a rested team on Thursday when they face a tired St. Louis squad who are in Edmonton Wednesday. They had a big win on Thursday when they became the first team in 24 games to defeat Detroit on home ice. The Canucks are becoming the favorite in the West again as Roberto Luongo is back in form after a slow start to the season.  Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been hot of late with eight points apiece in their last four games. Byron Bitz is out of the lineup with a hip flexor injury. He has four points and 14 minutes in seven NHL games.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. New Jersey, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

Washington will be rested on Friday when they face the Devils who are in Boston Thursday night. Alex Ovechkin is out with a lower body injury.He tried to skate on Thursday in practice but could last only 15 minutes.  Late word out of Washington is that he will play on February 24 so that is good news for his fantasy owners as well as the Capitals. Alexander Semin has 29 points in his last 32 games. Tomas Vokoun is having a tough season although his record is okay at 23-16-2 with a 2.52 GAA and a .917 save percentage.  The Capitals are apparently shopping Roman Hamrlik and have had a few teams kicking his tires although Washington’s asking price may be high at this time. Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) hasn't been traveling with the Washington Capitals and has been out of the lineup since January 3.  

 

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Jets are nearing the end of their eight game home stand but play only twice this week so I would recommend benching all your Winnipeg players in weekly transaction pools. Blake Wheeler was great last week as he was named the NHL’s second star of the week with his one goal and eight points in four games. Zach Bogosian has missed the last five games with a foot injury.  Andrew Ladd has been hot of late with five goals and eight points in his last four games to give him 20 goals and 16 assists this season. Before this recent streak, he had gone 13 games without finding the back of the net.



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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