Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Sabres do well at the Deadline

Friday, March 02, 2012


The trade deadline has come and passed and now it’s the home stretch of the regular season.

 

The major deal on Monday was Cody Hodgson going to Buffalo in exchange for Zack Kassian. It was a good deal for both teams as the Sabres now have their first center of the future, while the Canucks, who needed a power forward, picked up exactly what they needed in Kassian. Hodgson was not going to get the opportunity to be a top two center in Vancouver in the foreseeable future with Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler ahead of him on the depth charts.

 

They also scored nicely when they dealt pending unrestricted free agent Paul Gaustad and a fourth round pick to Nashville for their first.

                               

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF MARCH 5-11

 

4 Games –Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Edmonton,  Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, , San Jose, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

Pittsburgh plays all four at home.

 

Carolina and Los Angeles play all four games on the road.

 

Buffalo, Edmonton, Montreal and the New York Rangers play three games on the road this week.

 

Columbus, Nashville, New Jersey, St. Louis, Vancouver and Washington play three games at home this week.

 

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INJURIES

 

Kris Letang is out of action indefinitely with a concussion.

 

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

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ St. Louis, @ Dallas

 

Notes

Ryan Getzlaf is having the worst season of his NHL career with only eight goals thus far and none in his last 17 games. Devante Smith-Pelly hit the 40 games played mark so he has used up one year of NHL service towards ultimate free agency. Bobby Ryan has been seeing time on the top line with Corey Perry and Getzlaf as the Ducks are putting most of their eggs in one basket. The Ducks were fairly quiet on the trade front, dealing Matt Fraser to Toronto for Dale Mitchell and Andrew Gordon to Vancouver for Sebastian Erixon. They have been very pleased with the play of defenseman Luca Sbisa who is finally coming into his own at the age of 22.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Buffalo, vs. Washington, @ Pittsburgh

 

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 Penguins in Pittsburgh after playing the Capitals at home Saturday. They are rested Thursday when they are home to Buffalo who face the Hurricanes Wednesday.  The Bruins added depth to their lineup at the deadline as they picked up defenseman Greg Zanon from Minnesota for Steve Kampfer and got Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston from the Islanders, giving up Yannick Riendeau and Marc CantinJohnny Boychuk partook in an optional skate on Thursday as he attempts to return from a concussion suffered the previous Saturday. Shawn Thornton returned to action after missing a game with an illness.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

 @ Winnipeg, vs. Carolina, @ Boston, @ Ottawa

 

Notes

The Sabres play three games in four nights so do not be surprised if Jhonas Enroth plays once in place of Ryan Miller. The Sabres should be tired on Thursday when they face a rested Boston team after playing the Hurricanes at home Wednesday. They are rested Wednesday when they play Carolina with the Hurricanes playing in Washington Tuesday. The Sabres were big players on trade deadline day as they picked up their future top center in Cody Hodgson, giving up former first rounder Zack Kassian in exchange. They made another deal with Vancouver, sending Marc-Andre Gragnani for Alexander Sulzer. Buffalo also picked up an extra first rounder from Nashville, trading Paul Gaustad and a fourth. Hodgson found himself on a line with Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford in his Sabres debut.  Brad Boyes returned to action after missing two games with a wrist injury.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Winnipeg, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

 The Flames are rested Friday when taking on a tired Jets team who play in Vancouver on Thursday. Calgary was quiet on the trade front Monday as they decided to stand pat. After being out since November 7, David Moss (ankle) finally returned to action on Thursday. The Flames want him to be part of their top- two lines but he may need a couple of games or more to get back in game shape.  They recalled Leland Irving from the minor so the Flames obviously do not have a lot of faith at this time in Henrik Karlsson. Jarome Iginla still needs seven goals in his last 19 games to hit the 30 goal mark for the 11th consecutive year.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Buffalo, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Hurricanes start a five game road trip this week and are tired Wednesday when they are in Buffalo after taking on the Capitals in Washington Tuesday. The ‘Canes went into the trade deadline with a lot of potential deals but ended up re-signing Tuomo Ruutu and holding onto Bryan Allen and Jaroslav Spacek. Cam Ward is back in action after missing three games. Justin Peters was stellar in relief of Ward. Joni Pitkanen (concussion/knee) started skating this past week and could be close to a return. Brian Boucher will likely need time in the minors when he returns from a lower body injury that has kept him out of action since early December.  

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Blackhawks will be rested on Friday when they are home to a tired Rangers team who are in Ottawa Thursday.  The Blackhawks needed depth on the blueline with injuries to Steve Montador and Niklas Hjalmarsson so they picked up Johnny Oduya from the Jets. They traded John Scott to the Rangers for a fifth round pick. He will line up with Nick Leddy while Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith will be their top unit. Jonathan Toews is still not back on the ice and rumors continue to circulate that his upper body injury is a concussion.  He has missed the last five games.  

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Nashville, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Avalanche play the back end of a home-and-home series with the Wild Tuesday so look for Cody McLeod, Steve Downie and Shane O'Brien to add to their penalty minute totals. The Avs acquired Jamie McGinn, Mike Connelly and Michael Sgarbossa from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for T.J. Galiardi, Daniel Winnik, and a seventh round pick as their only deal on trade deadline day but picked up Steve Downie the previous week for Kyle Quincey. Downie is off to a hot start in Colorado with seven points in his first four games and his stellar play has moved Peter Mueller off a top six forward spot and he is now languishing on the fourth line. Gabriel Landeskog is getting serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.    

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, @ St. Louis, vs. St. Louis

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Curtis Sanford and Steve Mason to share the net.  The Blue Jackets are rested Tuesday when they face the Coyotes who are in Pittsburgh Monday. They play the Coyotes in the second half of a home-and-home series (at least for them as Phoenix sandwiches the Columbus games playing the aforementioned Penguins. Antoine Vermette makes his return to Columbus after being traded last week. In addition to the second half of the Coyotes series, the Blue Jackets also play a home-and-home series with the Blues this week, so expect to see Derek Dorsett add to his NHL league-leading penalty totals. The eyes of the hockey world were focused on Columbus on Monday but the Blue Jackets did not move Rick Nash, so it is likely that we will see a deal in the off-season.  They did make a small deal as they traded Samuel Pahlsson to Vancouver.  James Wisniewski missed practice on Wednesday with a leg injury and is day-to-day.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, vs. San Jose, vs. Anaheim  

 

Notes

The Stars finish their Western Canada swing with a game in Vancouver before returning home to finish out the week with a couple of home games. Eric Nystrom was not suspended for his hit on Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang which caused an apparent concussion. Steve Ott’s name was bandied about at the trade deadline with Vancouver a prominent destination but GM Joe Nieuwendyk decided to keep his team as is, after dealing Niklas Grossman to Philadelphia last week. Loui Eriksson hit the 50-point mark for the fourth straight season. Brenden Morrow has been out a month with neck and back problems and is hoping to start skating before the start of the week. There is no timetable for his return.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Los Angeles, @ Nashville

 

Notes

Detroit will be rested on Friday when they face Los Angeles who are in Columbus on Thursday. They then travel to Nashville to take on the rested Predators Saturday. The Red Wings were quiet on Monday but did pick up defenseman Kyle Quincey the previous week. Detroit has been hurting on the blueline with injuries to Nicklas Lidstrom, Kyle Quincey and Jonathan Ericsson, forcing them to recall Brendan Smith and Doug Janik. The Red Wings have been more than pleased with the play of goaltender Joey MacDonald who is 7-1-1 this season since his call up in the New Year.


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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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