Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Get ready for some Hockey!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Welcome back!

 

It’s been a long time since I last wrote a Week Ahead column, March 31st in fact, so I am quite happy that the NHL is finally back and there is hockey to watch this weekend.

 

Don’t forget to get The Rotoworld Draft Guide which will help you play Yahoo! Hockey Pools, the best site for fantasy games.

 

This is a nine day week as the NHL starts play Saturday in the condensed 48 game schedule which will be played in only 99 days. There are six teams that play five games in one week, starting with the St. Louis Blues who do so the week of January 21st. Fantasy players who use weekly moves rather than daily ones, can get quite a boost by playing the schedule and moving the right players in and out of their lineup.

 

When you're in hockey pools and cannot decide between two players, tend to take the Eastern Conference player as the Western Conference players will have to travel a lot more than their Eastern counterparts and that could make a difference in your pool.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

THE LONG WEEK OF JANUARY 19-27

 

6 Games – Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis

 

5 Games – Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa,  Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

4 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey

 

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INJURIES

 

Tuomo Ruutu (hip surgery) could be gone for the season.

 

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

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, vs. Vancouver, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

The Ducks play the Canucks twice this week so fisticuffs may well be in order. Brad Staubitz and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond should be able to handle anything the Canucks enforcers will throw at them. Anaheim will be rested on Monday when they are in Calgary who play San Jose at home Sunday. They will be tired Saturday when hosting Nashville after playing the Canucks on Friday. Look for Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to have comeback years. Peter Holland could surprise. New additions include Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Winnipeg, @ New York Rangers, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Bruins play the Rangers twice this week so expect Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara to be ready to do battle against John Tortorella's squad. The Bruins will be rested on Friday when they take on the Islanders who play in Toronto the night before. Rookie Dougie Hamilton has a great chance to break onto the Boston blueline while goaltender Anton Khudobin will back up Tuukka Rask. Nathan Horton is returning from concussion woes and could be a good under the radar player to take in fantasy drafts.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Toronto, @ Carolina, vs. Carolina, @ Washington

 

Notes

The Sabres play five times in nine days including three in four nights so expect to see Jhonas Enroth between the pipes once in place of Ryan Miller. Buffalo goes back-to-back in a home-and-home series against the Hurricanes so Steve Ott and Patrick Kaleta should be seeing a lot of time in the penalty box. The Sabres will be tired on Monday playing a rested Toronto team after opening at home against the Flyers Sunday. Cody Hodgson looks to take over the top center spot while Ott, who was acquired in the off-season from Dallas, should grab a spot on the second line.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Anaheim, @ Vancouver, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights and then play only once in the last four nights of the week. Miikka Kiprusoff will get at least three starts but the backup goalie is still up in the air as of this writing as the Flames placed both backup goalies Henrik Karlsson and Leland Irving on waivers Thursday. They will be tired on Monday when they play against the rested Ducks after facing the Sharks Sunday. It appears that Jarome Iginla has recovered from a groin injury and will be ready to go for the opener Sunday. Keep an eye on rookie Roman Cervenka who could have a big year in Calgary. Jiri Hudler’s father passed away at the young age of 50. The funeral is Friday in the Czech Republic but Hudler is expected to leave right after and should be in the Calgary lineup Sunday. Our condolences to Jiri and his family.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Florida, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Buffalo, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights and Cam Ward should get a night off once this week. Dan Ellis, a recent acquisition, will back up Ward this season and should see action once this week. The Hurricanes are rested on Tuesday when they host Tampa Bay who play the Islanders on Monday. Jordan Staal was the big addition in the off-season and was slated to play with big brother Eric but the hip injury and subsequent surgery of Tuomo Ruutu forced the 'Canes to split up the Staal brothers who will now center the top two lines. Zach Boychuk is playing with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin (the other top acquisition during the off-season) while Zac Dalpe is skating alongside Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner as training camp winds to an end. Boychuk and Dalpe will have fantasy value if they continue to play as top-six forwards.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Phoenix, vs. St. Louis, @ Dallas, @ Columbus, vs. Detroit

 

Notes
The Blackhawks play six times this week so we recommend putting in all your Chicago players in pools with weekly moves. Look for Ray Emery to play at least twice in relief of Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks are rested on Tuesday when they face the tired Blues who play in Nashville Monday but are tired Sunday Jan. 27 when they face a rested Detroit squad after travelling from Columbus Saturday. The Blackhawks play 10 of their first 12 games on the road, so they have to be on form early or risk being out of playoff contention before they start playing the majority of their games at home. Steve Montador is out with a concussion. He had recovered from a February concussion but ran into a teammate during an informal practice and is not ready to go. Look for Patrick Kane to take his game to a new level this season.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Columbus, @ San Jose

 

Notes

The Avalanche are a rested team on Thursday when they play a tired Columbus team who are in Phoenix team the night before. The Avs had one major signing this off-season when they inked P.A. Parenteau to a long-term deal. Look for Matt Duchene to have a comeback season. Semyon Varlamov should improve upon last season’s stats. Ryan O'Reilly is still a restricted free agent as of Friday morning and last season’s top point getter could spend the year in the KHL if the two sides can't agree and he is not dealt elsewhere.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Nashville vs. Detroit, @ Phoenix, @ Colorado, vs. Chicago

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets have a five game schedule in nine days. Steve Mason and Sergei Bobrovsky will split the net but look for Bobrovsky to take over eventually. They are tired Thursday when they face the Avs after playing in Phoenix the previous night. The Blue Jackets have undergone mega changes since the end of last season as they dealt Rick Nash to the Rangers and received Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon in return. They have been unhappy with Mason in net so they dealt for Bobrovsky. I like Cam Atkinson this season, especially if he sees time on the top unit alongside Derick Brassard and R.J. Umberger.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Minnesota, @ Detroit, vs. Chicago, vs. St. Louis   

 

Notes

The Stars will play three games in four nights so Richard Bachman should get at least one start in place of Kari Lehtonen. Look for Dallas to give Bachman a little more time in net as they do not want to risk a groin injury to Lehtonen who has been prone to such injuries in the past. They are rested on Tuesday when they face the Red Wings who play in Columbus Monday. Dallas picked up Derek Roy, Cody Eakin, Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney in the off-season as well as Aaron Rome. The Stars could have a bit of trouble later in the season as Jagr is 40 as is Ray Whitney. Jamie Benn is still a restricted free agent and is waiting to sign with the Stars.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Columbus, vs. Dallas, vs. Minnesota, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Red Wings will get an early chance to see how new backup Jonas Gustavsson plays as Detroit has five games this period including three games in four nights. They are tired Tuesday when they host the Stars after playing in Columbus on Martin Luther King Day. Detroit is rested on Sunday when they face a tired Chicago team who face Columbus Saturday. Detroit lost a couple of key pieces on the blueline with the retirement of all-time great Nicklas Lidstrom and veteran Brad Stuart and may be hard pressed to make the playoffs. They did sign Swiss star Damien Brunner who is slated to start the season on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. The Red Wings also added some grit with the inking of Jordin Tootoo.


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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 :Michael Finewax



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