Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Defensive Awareness

Friday, October 25, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Oilers are the rested team on Saturday against the Red Wings after Detroit takes on Calgary the previous night. They play only twice this week but both games are at home. Taylor Hall is out four weeks with a knee injury suffered on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. Justin Schultz potted his first goal of the season Thursday but his minus-eight rating has to cause some concern for poolies. Sam Gagner is at least another week away after doctors determined his jaw was still too tender. Mark Arcobello is tied for second in the NHL in assists with ten. He's been a nice waiver wire pickup as he wasn't expected to make the team out of training camp, and as a bottom-six player at best if he stuck around.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Washington

 

Notes

The lowly Panthers play only twice this week so suggest benching your Florida players in weekly transaction pools. Tim Thomas (leg) is hurt again so the goaltending may fall to Jacob Markstrom and the recalled Scott Clemmensen although Thomas is eligible to return Friday against the Blues. Dmitry Kulikov scored his first goal on Tuesday and it was the defenseman's first point of the season as well. Rumors have the Toronto Maple Leafs interested in his services but the former first round pick is still highly regarded by the Panthers so it will take a lot to pry him away. Sean Bergenheim is close to returning to action after missing the last 18 months with groin, abdomen and hip injuries that required multiple surgeries.  

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. San Jose, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

The Kings are the tired team on Wednesday at home to San Jose after playing Tuesday night in Phoenix. The Kings finally got a couple of goals from their centers on Thursday as Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards found the back of the net for the first time this season. It was Kopitar's first goal in 27 games dating back to last season. After being a healthy scratch on October 18th, Matt Frattin's game has improved according to coach Darryl Sutter. He should fit in on the second or third line the rest of the season. Jonathan Quick has struggled in the early going as he is 6-4-0 with a 2.71 GAA and .904 save percentage.

 

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Montreal, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Wild are rested Sunday against the Devils as New Jersey is home to Philadelphia Saturday. They play the back half of a home-and-home series with Chicago so expect to see some fisticuffs with Zenon Konopka and possibly Clayton Stoner. Josh Harding left Thursday's game with an undisclosed injury. He has been terrific thus far as he is 5-2-1 with a sensational 1.00 GAA and an equally as good save percentage of .953. Jonas Brodin suffered a broken cheekbone on Tuesday but could play with a full cage this week. Justin Fontaine is seeing some first line time with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu so consider picking him up in deeper leagues.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, vs. Dallas, @ Minnesota, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Canadiens play two back-to-back games in their four game week so look for Peter Budaj to play once in place of Carey Price. The Habs sent Jarred Tinordi to Hamilton of the AHL. P.K. Subban leads Montreal in points with 11 and right now is the best fantasy defenseman in the NHL. Despite playing in only the opener, George Parros continues to lead the team with 20 penalty minutes. He participated in Thursday's morning skate but has still not been cleared for contact. The Canadiens other tough guy, Brandon Prust, has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury and should miss the next three weeks. Price is only 5-4-0 but his peripherals are great as he has a 2.13 GAA and a .936 save percentage. He has a very good chance to be Team Canada's starting goalie at the Sochi Olympics.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Phoenix, @ Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Predators have lost starting goalie Pekka Rinne for a month with a hip infection, so look for backup Carter Hutton to get most of the starts. Hutton is off to a 2-0-0 start this season with a 1.37 GAA and a .959 save percentage. Magnus Hellberg will be the backup. The Predators play only twice this week and since they are a low scoring team, do not start any skaters in weekly transaction pools unless you have little other choice. Good news for Roman Josi owners as he returned to practice Thursday for the first time since suffering a concussion on October 4. There is no timetable for his return.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Philadelphia, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Devils are the rested team Saturday when they face the Flyers as Philadelphia is home to Washington Friday. New Jersey will be tired Sunday in Minnesota as they face a rested Wild team. It looks like Cory Schneider will get the majority of the starts with Martin Brodeur seeing a lot of bench time this season. Adam Larsson returned to the lineup on Thursday after being a healthy scratch for the previous two games. He is going to be a good player in the league but you have to be patient with him as defensemen usually take a lot longer to develop. He is pointless with a minus-five rating in seven games. Patrik Elias scored the lone goal for the Devils on Thursday after missing two games with an illness.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers. @ Ottawa, vs. Boston

 

Notes

The Islanders will be rested on Tuesday when hosting the Rangers as New York take on Montreal Monday. The Islanders will be the tired team on Saturday when they are home to the Bruins after playing in Ottawa on Friday night. Lubomir Visnovsky is out indefinitely with a concussion so the Islanders inked veteran defenseman Radek Martinek to a one-year deal.  The 37-year-old Martinek has been practicing with the team since training camp so he is familiar with his teammates. Look for Matt Donovan to take over the power play duties from Visnovsky although Andrew MacDonald will also see extra ice time with the man-advantage. Frans Nielsen is tied for the team lead in points with John Tavares at 11. Nielsen is plus-four while Tavares is minus-one.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ New York Islanders, vs. Buffalo, vs. Carolina

 

Notes

The Rangers finally play at home this week for the first time this season and play three games in four nights as part of their four game week. Look for Henrik Lundqvist to return to action as he suffered an undisclosed injury and play three times this week with Cameron Talbot playing once. The Rangers will be the tired team on Tuesday in Long Island after playing the Habs at Madison Square Garden Monday. They will be rested on Saturday when facing the Hurricanes who are home to Tampa Bay Friday. Brad Richards is back to his old self as he leads the Rangers with five goals and eight points in eight games. Mats Zuccarello was a healthy scratch on Thursday. There is still no change in the status of Rick Nash who has been out with a concussion since October 8. He could be out a while and his Olympic status is now in doubt.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Senators are the rested team for the third time in the last two weeks as they take on Chicago after the Blackhawks are in Minnesota Monday. The Senators recalled Mika Zibanejad and he picked up an assist in his seasonal debut Wednesday. Grab him off the waiver wire in deeper pools. Despite picking up five assists in his first eight games, Patrick Wiercioch was a healthy scratch Wednesday. Bobby Ryan is off to a flying start with six goals and nine points in his first nine games for the Senators. He could hit the 40 goal mark this season. Although his GAA is a bit high at 2.58, Craig Anderson is 4-1-2 with a .930 save percentage.


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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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