Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Opening Night!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Welcome back! It's been five months since I last wrote this column and it's been nice getting back into the swing of things.

 

A lot happened in the off-season with the most surprising being the 'retirement' of Ilya Kolavchuk from the Devils and having him reappear in the KHL a couple of days later.

 

There were some coaching changes with Alain Vigneault moving from the Vancouver Canucks to the New York Rangers with John Tortorella moving the other way. Dallas Eakins finally got a well-deserved job in the NHL as he is the bench boss in Edmonton while Lindy Ruff is the new head coach in Dallas.

 

Editors Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $1,000 Fantasy Hockey league for opening night (Oct. 1). It's just $5 to join and first prize is $200. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here's the link.

 

This column will look at the schedule, let you know if team's are playing three games in four nights for goaltending purposes as well as back-to-back games so you know who the rested and tired teams are.

 

In addition there will be some notes for the past week and what may happen in the future.

 

Enjoy!

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

                                                        

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_ HK or @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 1-6

 

3 Games– Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Detroit, Philadelphia,  Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games – Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay

 

1 Game - New York Rangers

 

Anaheim plays all three of their games on the road.

 

Don't forget to join a Yahoo! Hockey pool. It's not too late.

 

INJURIES

 

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

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Minnesota, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Ducks will be a tired team in Winnipeg on Sunday after playing in Minnesota the previous night. Dustin Penner was slated to play on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf but has yet to pick up a point in four preseason games so his role may be in peril. Emerson Etem is a young scorer but has a leg injury and that could keep him out of the opening night lineup. The Ducks have been impressed with the play of Shea Theodore, their first pick, 26th overall, in the 2013 Draft. The offensive defenseman could crack the Ducks lineup on opening night but it is unlikely that he will play more than nine games.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

Zdeno Chara scored three goals and only four points on the power play last season so using him at times in front of the net as well as on the point should help him garner more power play points. After suffering from lung, shoulder and rib injuries during the playoffs, Patrice Bergeron is healthy in training camp and looking towards a good fantasy season. He will play alongside Loui Eriksson who was the main player received when Tyler Seguin was shuffled off to Dallas. It appears that Chad Johnson will start the season as the backup to Tuukka Rask after Anton Khubodin left and went to Carolina. Jordan Caron is having a mediocre training camp and could find himself in the AHL to start the season.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Detroit, vs. Ottawa, @ Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Sabres will play three games in four nights so look for Ryan Miller to play twice while Jhonas Enroth should play once. The Sabres will be tired on Saturday when they travel to Pittsburgh to face a rested Penguins team after hosting the Senators on Friday. Joel Armia is out indefinitely after suffering a broken hand on Wednesday. The talented Finn was a bubble player heading into training camp but is worth keeping an eye on in the coming years. It was a wild game on Sunday when John Scott tried to fight Phil Kessel after teammate Corey Tropp broke his jaw in a fight with Jamie DevaneMarcus Foligno is expected to be in the opening night lineup in Detroit after suffering a shoulder injury. He's worth looking at in deep pools.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Columbus, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights so look for Joey MacDonald and Karri Ramo to share the net. It's possible that Reto Berra could make the roster as a goalie but we think he'll start the season in the minors. The will be a tired team when playing the Blue Jackets in Columbus Friday after playing in Winnipeg the previous night.  Calgary will be the rested team on Sunday at home to Vancouver as the Canucks are in Edmonton Saturday. Sven Baertschi is having a tough time in training camp and could start the season in the press box or the AHL.  Roman Horak is also on the bubble as he heads into his third season. He has yet to make a dent in the NHL and may need to spend more time in the minors. Michael Cammalleri could be out for a while with a broken hand.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Hurricanes are rested Sunday when they host the Flyers as Philadelphia will play in Montreal Saturday.  Alexander Semin is out with an upper body injury believed to be his wrist but he is hopeful of playing in the opener against Detroit. Anton Khudobin will back up Cam Ward this season as Justin Peters was sent to the minors. Jeff Skinner, who has been injury-prone the last two seasons, is out with a lower body injury. The Hurricanes will keep him out of the remainder of the preseason with the hope that he will be ready for the start of the season.

           

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, v. Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Marian Hossa missed practice on Wednesday with an upper body injury but is expected to be ready for the start of the season. Michal Handzus is slated to remain the Blackhawks second line center after Brandon Saad failed to impress during training camp. Saad stated that he is a winger and not a center. He won only nine of 38 faceoffs so it looks like he is right. Corey Crawford will see most of the action between the pipes barring any injuries as the Blackhawks inked veteran 40-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin to back him up. Ray Emery played plenty as Crawford's backup in 2013 but that stopped in the post-season and is expected to continue in 2013-14.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

The Avalanche will be the rested team Friday as they host Nashville. The Predators are in St. Louis Thursday.  The Avs look to be weak on the blueline as one-time hopeful Erik Johnson is coming off a horrific season with only four measly assists in 31 games. He'll be paired with Andre Benoit to start the season as Ryan Wilson will likely be alongside Tyson Barrie while Jan Hejda and Cory Sarich will make up the third unit. Semyon Varlamov is looking to rebound from a poor 2013 season when he went 11-21-3 with a 3.02 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He will have to do a lot better than that if the Avs are even thinking of contending for a playoff berth.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ New York Islanders

 

Notes

Boone Jenner looks as if he has won the job on the first line alongside Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky. Gaborik is missing time due to a family matter but should be ready for the opener against the Flames. Jared Boll is out with an upper body injury and will likely miss the opener. He is worth grabbing late in pools that have penalty minutes as a category. Blake Comeau is no longer a top-six forward so pass on him in fantasy pools. Sergei Bobrovsky will try to match his Vezina Trophy winning season of 2013 and try to lead the Blue Jackets into the playoffs. He will be backed up by Curtis McElhinney.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. Washington

 

Notes

Rich Peverley is scheduled to miss at least the first regular season game after undergoing surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. He came to the Stars in the deal that sent Loui Eriksson to Boston and sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas. Seguin and Jamie Benn could be killing penalties together which would be a new role for both. Dan Ellis will backup Kari Lehtonen this season. Look for Alex Chiasson to play on the second line with Ray Whitney and Shawn Horcoff. Aaron Rome and Trevor Daley could miss the start of the season allowing Jamie Oleksiak a shot at starting the season with the Stars.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ Carolina, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights so expect to see Petr Mrazek in goal once replacing regular number one netminder Jimmy Howard as usual backup Jonas Gustavsson is out with a groin injury.  The Red Wings are hoping that the move to the Eastern Conference will benefit the team with a shorter travel schedule and more time at home. Detroit will be the tired team Saturday when in Boston after playing in Carolina Friday. Jordin Tootoo is expected to start the season with Detroit after missing most of training camp with a bruised shoulder.  The signing of Stephen Weiss to fill the role of the second line center will allow Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to play together on the top line.


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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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