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Right on Schedule: Revolving trainer's room door

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

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
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Player News
Brock Nelson
Isles' Nelson Could End Up On Top Line
Brock Nelson, C, NYI
8/1/2014
News: Brock Nelson could end up on the Islanders' top line with John Tavares, according to Islanders web site.
Analysis: The Isles have an opening on the top line and training camp could really be an open tryout for several players to get their chance to play with Tavares. Brock Nelson would have to move from center to wing if he were to make the change but so would several other players if they were given the chance. Nelson has the size and hands to play with Tavares and his fantasy value would rise quite a bit should he end up winning this job.

Justin Falk
Wild Sign Falk To One-Year Deal
Justin Falk, D, NYR
8/1/2014
News: Justin Falk signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Wild on Friday, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: The 25-year-old was a fourth-round pick of the Wild in 2007 and appeared in 108 regular season games for the franchise. He spent last season with the Rangers, registering two assists and 20 penalty minutes in 21 contests.

Steve Mason
Flyers' Mason Breaks Finger
Steve Mason, G, PHI
7/31/2014
News: Steve Mason broke his right pinky finger and will miss two weeks of training, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia reports.
Analysis: Steve Mason figures to make a full recovery well before the season, as the Flyers' first preseason game is scheduled for Sept. 22. Following a strong 2013-14 campaign, he's locked in as the team's top netminder.

Scott Glennie
Stars Bring Back Glennie On One-Year Deal
Scott Glennie, RW, DAL
7/31/2014
News: Scott Glennie signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Stars on Thursday, NHL.com's Mark Stepneski reports.
Analysis: Scott Glennie, 23, spent the entirety of the 2013-14 season at AHL Texas, scoring 15 goals and 13 assists over 50 games. He'll vie for a roster spot with the parent club in training camp, but seems likely to see most of his time in the minors again during the upcoming campaign.

Mikael Samuelsson
Ex-Red Wing Samuelsson Signs With Swedish Team
Mikael Samuelsson, RW, DET
7/31/2014
News: Mikael Samuelsson signed with Djurgarden of the Swedish Hockey League on Thursday, Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Analysis: Now 37 years old, Mikael Samuelsson seems content to conclude his career in his native country. The winger was limited to 26 games with the Red Wings last season due to injury, finishing with just three points.

Nick Spaling
Penguins Avoid Arbitration With Spaling
Nick Spaling, C, PIT
7/31/2014
News: Nick Spaling and the Penguins came to terms on a two-year, $4.4 million contract Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Analysis: The restricted free agent was a secondary piece acquired by the Penguins in the June 27 trade that sent James Neal to the Predators. Nick Spaling, who produced 13 goals and 19 assists in 71 games last season, could see his scoring numbers take a step back in 2014-15, as the Penguins' current crop of wingers will likely push him into a bottom-six role.

Robin Lehner
Sens Re-Sign Lehner To Three-Year Deal
Robin Lehner, G, OTT
7/31/2014
News: Robin Lehner agreed to terms on a three-year, $6.675 million contract with the Senators on Thursday, Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet reports.
Analysis: Injuries and ineffective play by No. 1 netminder Craig Anderson opened the door for Robin Lehner to make 36 appearances last season, but the young goalie didn't seem prepared for the opportunity, yielding a 3.06 GAA and .913 save percentage. Anderson's similarly meager numbers open the door for Lehner to stake a claim to the starting goalie job, with the Senators likely content to ride the hot goalie most nights. Even so, it likely won't be until the 2015-16 season that Lehner will enjoy long-term job security, as Anderson's contract isn't set to expire until next summer.

Carey Price
Montreal's Price To Begin Skating In August
Carey Price, G, MON
7/30/2014
News: Carey Price (knee) won't begin skating until mid-August, the Tri-City Herald reports.
Analysis: Carey Price injured his knee in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals and was knocked out of the playoffs, but he did not need surgery. The knee has healed enough for him to play in a charity golf event, but we won't know if the knee is in hockey shape until August.

Andy Greene
Devils, Greene Agree On Long-Term Deal
Andy Greene, D, NJ
7/30/2014
News: Andy Greene and the Devils reached an agreement on a long-term contract Wednesday, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports.
Analysis: The team hasn't specified the exact length of the contract, but it sounds like the 32-year-old Andy Greene could be locked in with the Devils for the rest of his career. He's entrenched himself as the team's top defenseman over the past two seasons, leading the unit in ice time while registering eight goals and 24 assists in 2013-14.

Dwight King
King Re-Signs with Kings
Dwight King, LW, LA
7/30/2014
News: Dwight King signed a three-year, $5.85 million deal to remain with the Kings on Wednesday, LAKingsInsider.com reports.
Analysis: The two sides completed the deal just in time to avoid a salary arbitration hearing that was set for Friday. Coming off of his best NHL season in which he played 77 games, Dwight King was productive cog in the machine for the Stanley Cup champs. He netted 15 goals along with 30 points, and had an overall rating of plus-16 when he was on the ice.

 
 
 
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