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Right on Schedule: Revolving trainer's room door

by | Rotowire.com
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After soaking up this week's developments, the biggest trend I found to be complicating your upcoming weekly schedule will be the coming and going of injured players. So far, the NHLPA's health benefits department has been the busiest organization. So without any ado, let us count the groin pains of the NHL.

HSA (Health Savings Plan)

Preparing to host this year's All-Star game is proving to be more taxing than the Carolina Hurricanes (9-9-1) expected. Since the beginning of this campaign, the Hurricanes have been a perpetual win one/lose one team. Though he has a tendency to lose focus, Cam Ward (9-7) is certainly looking more stable this year, having letting up three goals or less in 12 of 16 starts. Eric Staal, nine goals (23 points), and Jussi Jokinen (13 points) are keeping things stable while the value talent comes around. Though first-year RW Jeff Skinner has been on just about every blogger page the past few weeks, he's pointless (-5) in his last four games. Jim Rutherford (GM) seems to have gotten the better end of the stick, picking up D Ian White and LW Brett Sutter from Calgary. This may be the shakeup Raleigh needs, just in the nick of time. As you can see below, their upcoming schedule requires a bit of a wake-up call.

This week: vs. WAS, @BOS, WAS

HMO

How about some quick word association? When I say Columbus Blue Jackets (11-6-0), you say ... Yeah, Rick Nash is quite the face of a franchise, but what happens when he falls (groin) prey to an injury? After missing the 5-1 loss to Colorado, and a four day rest, Nash netted three goals in the Jackets next two wins against Los Angeles and Anaheim. Despite Columbus' record, it's been a slow start for Nash (nine goals, -2) and some guys are necessary to a franchise's survival.

Regardless of what I say, Rick Nash is not the be-all of the Blue Jackets. While Steve Mason (6-5) has gotten nearly 70 percent of the crease time, Mathieu Garon seems more in control of himself, posting a 4-1 record and .950 save percentage. Derick Brassard who leads the team with 13 points, has been an underused center (started by less than 50 percent CBS of owners) this year. Another Jackets C, Antoine Vermette, who is a +4 (3 points) in his last three games, seems to have broken out of his five game pointless streak. Columbus will look to lean on D Mike Commodore, who recently returned to game action from a sprained thumb. Keep an eye on yet another C, Andrew Murray, who should also break the lineup soon.

This week: vs. NSH, @NYI, vs. DET, @DET

PPO

All season I've been avoiding summarizing the Washington Capitals (14-5-1) schedule. How much could I possibly clue you in on? Trade for the Alexander's (Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin), hold on tight to any goalie favored by head coach Bruce Boudreau and enjoy the ride. After what Caps fans may consider a mediocre (6-3) start, DC's only prolific professional sports team has been a commanding 10-2-1 since October 23rd. Though their road record (4-4-1) leaves room for concern, there's nothing misleading about an overall 10-1 record at home.

Michal Neuvirth, who was supposed to have played second fiddle to Semyon Varlamov this season, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Posting a 12-3 record (2.56 GAA), Neuvirth is the fiddler, and Varlamov (1-0 with Hershey) is still rehabbing his groin. For now, Braden Holtby (2-1) has been solid backing up Neuvirth, but should be shipped back to Hershey once Varlamov gets his groove. Speaking of the Hershey Bears team, RW, Andrew Gordon has 10 goals (22 points) and 68 shots on goals this year.

This week: @ NJ, CAR vs. TB, CAR

Deservingly, most of Montreal's (12-5-1) press this year has been on goalie Carey Price. With a 2.11 GAA, 3 shutouts and an 11-6 record, no one can downplay his importance to the Habs. The best goaltending in the world can only get you so far, hence the five team losses. Aside from Tomas Plekanec (20 points) and LW Andrei Kostitsyn's surprising quick start (14 points, 42 hits), it's who's not producing that may leave the Canadiens searching for a new provider (trade). Namely but not suprising, Scott Gomez, who in 19 games has a mere two goals and four assists. Although Michael Cammalleri has managed 13 points (five goals), yours truly is one of those fantasy owners who has already shipped off the talented 40-goal scorer Cammalleri for a dependable goalie. Looking strong for now, first place Montreal will play four games in six nights before taking three days off.

This week: @PHI vs. LA, @ATL, vs. BUF

Coaches of the following teams will also divvy up a minimum of 240 minutes this week: Boston, Calgary, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa.

Urgent Care

Semyon Varlamov's groin is old news in a rash of goalie injuries. Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin is the latest NHL netminder to hit the IR with a groin issue. While Martin Gerber (career record) gets the call from Oklahoma City, expect to see Devan Debnyk get the majority of starts till he proves unworthy.

Early reports are stating, Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1-2 weeks) will join Khabibulin as he was pulled this past Thursday due to a groin strain as well. Jonas Gustavsson will become the primary goalie, so hands off the itchy blue-chip trigger. Jussi Rynnas will stay put in the AHL as James Reimer moves to backup on the depth charts in Toronto.

Avs goalie Craig Anderson stepped between the pipes for the first times in 15 games as Colorado hosted the New York Rangers. After a solid (25 of 26 shorts) performance, looks like it's back to the pine for Peter Budaj.

There's nothing to gain on Long Island, as the Islanders (4-11-3) and new head coach Jack Capuano use a two game schedule to get back to the basics.

Consider the price of your co-pay on those playing two games in Vancouver, Phoenix and Anaheim.

FSA (Flex Spending Account) - The following players are owned by less than 50% of CBS owners and may be on the rise or prove to be a good FA pickup.

Rostislav Klesla (d, CLM): +15 with nearly 20 TOI

Jonas Gustavsson (g, TOR): 2-3-1, 2.55 GAA, temporary starter

Logan Couture (C, SJ): eight goals, 66 shots on goal

David Jones (RW, COL): averaging 17 minutes of TOI, 12 points, +9

Chad LaRose (LW, CAR): six goals, 6 assists

R.I.P. to a respected coach of my youth, Pat Burns lost his fight with cancer 1952 – 2010

The Full Schedule Grid

Team Away Home Total
Boston 3 1 4
Calgary 4 0 4
Columbus 2 2 4
Dallas 3 1 4
Florida 1 3 4
Montreal 2 2 4
New Jersey 1 3 4
Nashville 2 2 4
N.Y. Rangers 3 1 4
Ottawa 1 3 4
Philadelphia 2 2 4
Pittsburgh 2 2 4
Tampa Bay 1 3 4
Washington 2 2 4
Atlanta 0 3 3
Buffalo 1 2 3
Carolina 2 1 3
Chicago 3 0 3
Colorado 2 1 3
Detroit 2 1 3
Edmonton 1 2 3
Los Angeles 2 1 3
Minnesota 1 2 3
San Jose 2 1 3
St. Louis 2 1 3
Toronto 2 1 3
Anaheim 1 1 2
N.Y. Islanders 0 2 2
Phoenix 0 2 2
Vancouver 0 2 2

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

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Player News
Danny Kristo
Kristo Re-Signs With Rangers
Danny Kristo, RW, NYR
8/21/2014
News: Danny Kristo re-signed with the Rangers on Thursday.
Analysis: The 24-year-old Danny Kristo tallied 25 goals and 18 assists in 65 games with AHL Hartford last season. Another season at the AHL level likely awaits.

Patrick Marleau
Sharks Take Marleau's Alternate Captain Status
Patrick Marleau, C, SJ
8/20/2014
News: The Sharks announced Wednesday that they would enter camp without a captain, which includes taking the "A" off Patrick Marleau's sweater, the Mercury News reports.
Analysis: It had been rumored and hinted at all summer that Patrick Marleau and captain Joe Thornton would have their leadership roles passed to younger players. It has also been rumored that both were asked to waive their no trade clause. Neither did. The team wants the younger generation to take the torch, but as far as fantasy is concerned, you can't reduce the playing time of a player like Marleau, who scored 33 goals and 37 assists last season.

Joe Thornton
Sharks Strip Thornton Of Captaincy
Joe Thornton, C, SJ
8/20/2014
News: The Sharks officially announce Wednesday that Joe Thornton would not be the team captain entering training camp, the Mercury News reports.
Analysis: Coach Todd McLellan said that he doesn't consider it to be stripping Joe Thornton of anything, since he'll be given the opportunity to earn the "C" back. The team has talked frequently this offseason of passing the torch to the next generation and that's what this appears to be. Thornton was not only rumored to be losing his "C," but was involved in trade rumors as well. However, he has a no trade clause and doesn't seem interested in leaving San Jose.

Raffi Torres
Sharks' Torres To Miss Months With Knee Infection
Raffi Torres, LW, SJ
8/20/2014
News: Raffi Torres suffered an infection in his surgically-repaired right knee and is expected to miss the first few months of the season while he undergoes another operation on the knee, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Analysis: Raffi Torres was limited to just five regular-season contests in 2013-14 after undergoing knee surgery and suffering a subsequent setback shortly after returning after the Olympics. He would ultimately rejoin the Sharks during the postseason and looked to be healthy heading into the upcoming campaign, but it seems the infection surfaced at some point over the summer. For the second straight season, he'll open on injured reserve as a result, with no concrete date for his return. Torres has been a useful player for the Sharks when he's been on the ice, but with two years still remaining on his contract, his durability concerns might dampen the remainder of his tenure with his team.

Dennis Seidenberg
Bruins' Seidenberg Eyes Training Camp
Dennis Seidenberg, D, BOS
8/20/2014
News: Dennis Seidenberg (knee) expects to be ready for training camp, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Dennis Seidenberg, who last suited up on Dec. 27, had surgery in early January to repair an ACL/MCL injury in his right knee in. At the time, the estimated timetable for a return was in the 6-8 month range. With no reported setbacks since then, and given that the sturdy blueliner indicated that he probably could have returned to action had the Bruins advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, things appear to be on track for him to be at, or near, 100 percent in advance of the upcoming regular season.

Henrik Zetterberg
Wings' Zetterberg: Healthy Heading Into Camp
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET
8/20/2014
News: Coach Mike Babcock relayed that Henrik Zetterberg (foot) said he was "feeling the best he has in years" this offseason, suggesting he'll be a full participant in training camp, NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports.
Analysis: With both Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk missing 37 games apiece last season, the Red Wings were forced to get by with a patchwork forward ranks to so-so results. Now that both players are feeling healthy, the depth chart should enjoy more stability in 2014-15, but don't be surprised if Zetterberg notices a drop in ice time for maintenance purposes as he enters his age-34 season. Still, Zetterberg hasn't had many health issues prior to last season, and managed to supply 48 points over the 45 contests in which he suited up. There's plenty of value to be had in Zetterberg, even as he takes on a more deferential role to emerging wings Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar in the years to come.

Pavel Datsyuk
Red Wings' Datsyuk Feeling Good Heaing Into Camp
Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET
8/20/2014
News: Coach Mike Babcock relayed that Pavel Datsyuk (knee) said he was feeling "the best he has in years" this offseason, suggesting he'll be ready to go for training camp, NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports.
Analysis: Considering Pavel Datsyuk hasn't played since late April, it's no surprise he's feeling spry, but there's serious questions he'll hold up for 82 games as he enters his age-34 campaign. He's missed a total of 76 games over his last four seasons, muting the impact of the nearly point-per-game production he provides when healthy. Considering his injury history, Datsyuk might not be worth the markup price his name will cost fantasy players on draft day.

Stephen Weiss
Red Wings' Weiss (Hernia) Feeling Healthy
Stephen Weiss, C, DET
8/20/2014
News: Stephen Weiss indicated he's feeling healthy following his April 21 surgery to repair his sports hernia, NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports.
Analysis: Stephen Weiss was a disaster in his first season with the Red Wings after inking a five-year, $24.5 million deal last summer, appearing in only 26 games and totaling four points. He ultimately required a pair of sports hernia surgeries that prevented a second-half return, but after spending the last four months recovering, he appears ready to go for 2014-15. Weiss will be given the opportunity to win back his job as the Wings' No. 2 center, but it seems dubious that he'll be able to return to the 50-point form he showed during his prime years with the Panthers.

Mike Mottau
NHLer Mottau Calls It A Career
Mike Mottau, D, FLA
8/19/2014
News: Mike Mottau announced his retirement from professional hockey Tuesday, Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reports.
Analysis: The Massachusetts native was exploring the option of playing with AHL Providence to stick with his hometown Bruins organization, but decided he was content to spend more time with his family. Mike Mottau, 36, appeared in 321 career NHL games with the Rangers, Flames, Devils, Islanders, Bruins and Panthers, with his most productive seasons coming in the late-2000s with New Jersey.

Josh Harding
Wild's Harding Cleared For Training Camp
Josh Harding, G, MIN
8/19/2014
News: Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said Josh Harding is "a go" for training camp, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season are feeling better. Josh has felt good. Right now we're not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training camp medicals."
Analysis: With an 18-7-3 record, 1.65 GAA and .933 save percentage, Josh Harding was playing as well as any goal in hockey before a setback in his treatment for multiple sclerosis sidelined him after the end of December. Because he's missed large chunks of both of the last two seasons while dealing with the effects of the illness, fantasy players shouldn't look to invest heavily in Harding. Even if healthy, he's no lock to open the season as the regular starter in goal for the Wild with Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper still around.

 
 
 
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