Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Return of Evgeni Malkin

Friday, February 17, 2017


While the NHL has given every team a five day break in the schedule, the players apparently have a better idea.

 

They want half the league (presumably two divisions) to get the week before the All-Star break off while the other half gets the week after the All-Star game off.

 

That way there is a huge break for the players as well as giving the players that make it to the All-Star game some much needed time off.

 

That actually is a great proposal and we shall see what the owners say. The only crimp in the plans is if the NHL and NHLPA decide they are going to the Olympics next season, in which case, the plan would be implanted the following season.

 

Listen to the Rotoworld Hockey Podcast with yours truly and Joey Alfieri here.


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

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 20-26

 

4 Games - Arizona, Calgary, Edmonton, Florida, Nashville, New York Rangers

 

3 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Toronto, Washington

 

2 Games – Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

 

1 Game – Detroit, Minnesota, San Jose, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

Nashville plays all four games on home.

 

Calgary and Edmonton play all four games on the road.

 

Carolina, Florida and Toronto play three games at home.

 

Boston, the New York Islanders and Ottawa play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Gustav Nyquist was suspended six games for spearing Jared Spurgeon. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

Note: A tired team is one that has played the day or night before and is going against a team that did not play the previous day or night. The reverse is true for a rested team.

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Arizona, vs. Boston @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Arizona (Monday)

 

Notes

Antoine Vermette received an automatic 10 game suspension for slashing a linesman after a face off draw Tuesday. He is the NHL leader in wins percentage on the draw for players who have taken at least 35, but he was constantly beaten that night by Mikko Koivu, causing him to get frustrated. Sami Vatanen was placed on injured reserve but has been skating. He has a lower body injury. The Ducks have an excess of blueliners once everyone is healthy and there are plenty of teams who may be calling in advance of the March 1 trade deadline as defensive depth is at a premium. Among those who could be on the block are Korbinian Holzer, Kevin Bieksa and Shea Theodore.  

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim. @ Chicago, @ Dallas, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: vs. Anaheim (Monday), vs. Buffalo (Sunday)

Tired Team: @ Dallas (Friday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play four games this week including three in four nights. Look for Louis Domingue to get into at least one game with Mike Smith garnering the rest of the action. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is on a five game points streak. He has 10 goals and 33 points in 56 games. The Coyotes have sat Jakob Chychrun for the last four games and perhaps it is time to send the rookie back to junior hockey where he will get in plenty of playing time. I doubt the Coyotes will do that however. Lawson Crouse is out of action with a lower body injury and has missed the last three games. Brendan Perlini scored a pair on Thursday and has 10 goals in 31 games.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Bruins continue their four game road trip out West as well as to Dallas. They are 3-0 under new head coach Bruce Cassidy after they fired Claude Julien. They sent Peter Cehlarik back to the minors at the start of their five day break and should recall the winger who had two assists in the Bruins last game before their break. David Krejci had five points in his last three games. Matt Beleskey has only two assists in the eight games since his return from a knee injury and it looks like he may not be 100 percent. Tuukka Rask is 27-13-4 this season with a 2.27 GAA but a pedestrian .912 save percentage.

  

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Arizona (Sunday)

 

Notes

After playing nine games in 14 days, the Sabres have their five day break this week before returning to action on Saturday. Evander Kane scored his 19th on Thursday and he has scored every one in his last 35 games. He also has 79 penalty minutes this season and has been a fantasy asset for the first time in years. As I have written of late, I love Sam Reinhart, especially for next season and he potted his 13th of the season Thursday. It was a power play effort and he now has eight on the pp as well as 15 points. He, Jack Eichel, Kane and Rasmus Ristolainen on the blueline have to give Sabres fans a lot of joy for what is coming up in the next few seasons.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Florida (Friday)

 

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. Look for Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson to share the net unless one gets awfully hot in the interim. The Flames inked defenseman Matt Bartkowski to a two-year/two-way contract. He was playing for Providence in the AHL with two goals and 10 points in 34 games and will be a depth blueliner when he is with the club. Look for him to play in the minors to start. I love the play of Matthew Tkachuk who I thought would get a nine game trial with Calgary at the start of the season before being sent back to London of the OHL. He has 11 goals, 36 points and 92 penalty minutes with a plus-eight rating for the Flames.  

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Ottawa, vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: None  

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Bryan Bickell thinks he is very close to returning to action as he last played on October 30. He has multiple sclerosis and may need a conditioning stint in the minors before he makes his NHL comeback. We are all rooting for him. Justin Faulk may be in play for a trade as Adrian Dater reported that Colorado and Carolina have been in trade talks. The Hurricanes could use a forward and Colorado certainly could use some blueline help. Sebastian Aho has five goals and a helper in his last five games while Elias Lindholm has seven assists in his last five contests.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Arizona, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

With the Blackhawks on their five day break this past week, they sent Nick Schmaltz, Gustav Forsling, Vince Hinostroza and Tanner Kero to the minors. They have since recalled Kero and Schmaltz. Michal Rozsival was activated from the injured reserve list as he has recovered from a lower body injury that kept him out of action since January 15. He has played only 14 games this season with a measly one assist. Scott Darling set a career high with his 13th win of the season, besting last season’s 12. Patrick Kane is up to 58 points in 57 games but has only four goals with the man-advantage.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Nashville, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Hopefully some good news for fans of the Avs as the worst team in the NHL will have a healthy Semyon Varlamov next season. GM Joe Sakic said that Varlamov has had groin problems the last couple of years and had surgery in January on his hip to help repair the groin. Congratulations to Joe Colborne who found the back of the net Sunday for his fourth of the season and first goal since opening night when he had a hat trick. It was a span of 41 games. Tyson Barrie leads the Avalanche blueliners with 23 points and Francois Beauchemin is second with only 13.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ New York Rangers  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Rangers (Sunday)

 

Notes

Brandon Dubinsky has only 29 points in 54 games but has nine in the last seven games. Nick Foligno scored his 20th of the season Wednesday and has 42 points in 54 games thus far. He is far better than last season when he had 12 goals and 25 assists in 72 contests. The trade the Blue Jackets made last season in acquiring Seth Jones has worked out wonderfully. While Ryan Johansen is a talented center, the Jackets have had no problems up front and now have a number one defenseman (the hardest thing to find in the NHL) for years to come. He has 10 goals and 31 points in 50 games and is only 22. Scott Hartnell is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. Boston

 

Rested Team: vs. Arizona (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Stars are on their five day break this week and have a pair of home games on the weekend. Patrick Sharp has only seven goals this season but some contender may want to trade for the veteran because he has plenty of playoff experience and could regain his scoring touch. Jamie Benn surpassed the 500 point mark Wednesday. He did it in 563 games and that’s pretty good for a fifth round pick in 2007. You should have been able to count on Antoine Roussel for double digit goals, 30 points and 150-plus penalty minutes and that is just where he is headed with a third of the season to go. I've talked too much about the state of Stars netminding this season and I won't now except to say it’s poor. I guess I just did though.


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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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