Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Friday, February 21, 2014


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Calgary

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None  

 

Notes

The Oilers have no one left at the Olympics after Ales Hemsky and Anton Belov returned home when their respective teams lost in the quarter-finals. Edmonton will enter the last quarter of the season without a hope of making the playoffs so they will be fighting for position when it comes to the Draft. They desperately need another defenseman and their cause will be helped greatly if they could get Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts, who is regarded as the top defensive prospect in the 2014 draft.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Columbus, @ New York Islanders  

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so expect to see Scott Clemmensen in goal once for Tim Thomas. Tomas Kopecky suffered an upper body injury when he was elbowed in the head during the Olympics and his return this week to action is questionable. The most important injury by far was to rookie Aleksander Barkov as he suffered a knee injury during the Norway game and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Do not forget about him next season as he was well deserving of his selection as the second overall pick in the 2013 draft. There are no Panthers still playing at the Olympics.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Calgary, vs. Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Calgary (Friday)

 

Notes

The Kings play three games in four nights and Martin Jones could get two starts as Jonathan Quick is tending goal for the United States at the Olympics. The aforementioned Quick, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty are still playing in Sochi. Doughty leads all Team Canada players in goals with four and Carter is second, just one behind. The Kings may have a tough time of it this week with all their stars (save for Anze Kopitar) tired as they have plenty of travel with trips to Colorado and Calgary before finally returning home.

 

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Vancouver (Friday)

 

Notes

Jason Zucker had leg surgery during the Olympic break and will not play this week. Josh Harding is still out of action as he is dealing with multiple sclerosis and his status for the remainder of the season is up in the air. Darcy Kuemper will be the starter this week with Niklas Backstrom serving as his backup. Mikael Granlund has been outstanding for Finland at the Sochi games and he has shown the hockey world how talented he really is. Look for a big last quarter of the season and if he is unable to do so, do not forget about him next season. Granlund, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise are still playing at the Winter Olympics.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Toronto

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Pittsburgh (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Canadiens play three games in four nights so look for both of their Olympics goalies, Carey Price and Peter Budaj to see action. Price, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban are still in the running for medals at the Winter Olympics. Alex Galchenyuk practiced on Wednesday for the first time since breaking his hand on January 6. He is questionable to return this week. Travis Moen is looking to play against Detroit on Wednesday after rehabbing his lower body injury during the break.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Pekka Rinne practiced on Wednesday for the first time since having surgery in late October for a hip infection. There is still no timetable for his return. After watching the ups and downs of Alexander Radulov during the Olympics, I'm sure that the Predators are happy not to be going through all the drama that he causes. Shea Weber, who has been outstanding for Canada on the blueline, is the only remaining Olympian for the Predators.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. San Jose (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Devils play three games in four nights so Martin Brodeur should get one start in place of Cory Schneider. Ryane Clowe did not practice on Thursday as he was suffering from 'general soreness' after participating in Wednesday's practice. Coach Peter DeBoer said that it was normal so expect Clowe to play against Columbus. Jonathan Merrill was sent to the minors after the Devils final game before the Olympics but they promoted him on Wednesday. There are no Devils still at the Olympics.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. New Jersey, vs. Florida

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights so expect to see Kevin Poulin play once instead of Evgeni Nabokov. John Tavares suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Olympics. Brock Nelson practiced on the top line Thursday. Thomas Vanek had a terrible Olympics with only one assist and a minus-four rating for Austria in four games. Look for the Islanders to deal him at or before the trade deadline. With Tavares out of action, there are no Islanders remaining in Olympic play.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Philadelphia, vs. Boston

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights and Cameron Talbot should see action in one game with Henrik Lundqvist playing in the other two.  Lundqvist has been terrific for the depleted Swedes as action heads into the semi-finals on Friday. Mats Zuccarello suffered a non-displaced fracture in his hand while playing for Norway at the Olympics and that will hurt the Rangers as he is expected to be out four weeks. Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin, Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh are still in the medal hunt at the Olympics.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Vancouver

 

Rested team: vs. Detroit (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Chris Phillips missed seven games before the break with a lower body injury but it looks like he might be able to return Thursday when the Senators take on Detroit. Erik Karlsson is the only Ottawa player still at the Olympics and he has been great with four goals and eight points heading into Sunday's gold medal match.


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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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