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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

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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Ondrej Pavelec
Jets' Pavelec To Start Thursday
Ondrej Pavelec, G, WPG
10:17 AM
News: Ondrej Pavelec will be between the pipes for Thursday's game against the Devils, according to Tom Gulitti of The Record.
Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec will be looking for his third straight win, and fourth in five starts, Thursday night. He will face a Devils squad that has not scored more than three goals in a game since they did so in their first two games of the season.

T.J. Oshie
Blues' Oshie Diagnosed With Concussion
T.J. Oshie, RW, STL
10:14 AM
News: T.J. Oshie has been diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: T.J. Oshie didn't take part in Wednesday's optional practice, but there was no indication that he suffered any sort of injury a day earlier in the game against Dallas. However, after a later evaluation from the team's medical staff confirmed the concussion, Oshie faces an uncertain return date, given the volatile timetables the head injury can bring. Coach Ken Hitchcock also acknowledged Oshie had "something else going on as well," perhaps alluding to the bacterial disease that has been spreading around the Blues' locker room the last couple of weeks.

David Backes
Blues' Backes Diagnosed With Concussion
David Backes, C, STL
10:07 AM
News: David Backes has been diagnosed with a concussion and is considered out indefinitely, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: As the Blues feared when David Backes hit his head hard on the ice Tuesday night, the captain suffered a concussion and will now be subjected to the league protocol. Coach Ken Hitchcock also said T.J. Oshie was out indefinitely with a concussion sustained Tuesday night, depriving the Blues of two of their top-line stalwarts. While Backes doesn't have an exhaustive list of concussions on his career ledger, the head injury certainly isn't foreign to him, making it tough to project how soon he may be able to return to the ice.

Kevan Miller
Bruins' Miller To Resume Skating Monday
Kevan Miller, D, BOS
9:58 AM
News: Kevan Miller (upper body) will resume skating Monday, Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe reports.
Analysis: It's not clear how much longer Kevan Miller will be sidelined, but head coach Claude Julien said his recovery is "on track."

Darcy Kuemper
Wild Turn To Kuemper On Thursday
Darcy Kuemper, G, MIN
9:57 AM
News: Darcy Kuemper will be in the crease Thursday against the Sharks.
Analysis: Darcy Kuemper played by far his worst game of the season his last time out Monday against the Rangers, allowing five goals in the third period to suffer his second defeat of the season. The uncharacteristically ugly game aside, Kuemper has been one of the league's top netminders over the season's first month, accruing a 1.51 GAA and .934 save percentage over six outings. Those strong numbers should be enough to make him a viable fantasy play against a quality Sharks squad.

Vincent Lecavalier
Lightning's Lecavalier Will Not Return Thursday
Vincent Lecavalier, C, PHI
9:56 AM
News: Vincent Lecavalier (foot) will not be activated from injured reserve Thursday, Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune reports.
Analysis: Vincent Lecavalier is nearly ready to resume playing, but he will not return to action Thursday. The Lightning play Saturday before having four days off, so Lecavalier will be out at least another week unless the Lightning determine he is good to go this weekend.

Matt Cooke
Wild's Cooke Ruled Out For Thursday
Matt Cooke, LW, MIN
9:54 AM
News: Matt Cooke is dealing with a lower-body injury and will not play Thursday against the Sharks.
Analysis: Coach Mike Yeo suggested the injury wasn't serious, so Matt Cooke will retain the day-to-day tag and could be available for Saturday's game against Dallas. Though he's valued mostly for his work as a checker and in stymieing the opposition on the penalty kill, Cooke has been an unexpected source of offensive production in the team's first eight games, recording two goals and four assists.

Boone Jenner
Blue Jackets' Jenner Expected To Play Next Week
Boone Jenner, C, CLB
9:52 AM
News: Boone Jenner (hand) is expected to make his season debut next week, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reports.
Analysis: The Blue Jackets are in desperate need of help up front with six forwards (including Boone Jenner) sidelined, so they will welcome Jenner's return to the lineup when it comes. An exact date for Jenner's debut has not been determined, but Columbus plays Tuesday, Friday and Saturday next week.

Christian Folin
Wild's Folin Could Be Back Saturday
Christian Folin, D, MIN
9:50 AM
News: Christian Folin (illness) has reported improvement with his condition and could be an option for Saturday's game against the Stars, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Analysis: Christian Folin indicated he's been symptom-free for the last two days, but he'll probably need to get back on the ice for a practice or two before the Wild proceed with activating him. Both Folin and defensive partner Keith Ballard have missed the past five games with the illness.

Morgan Rielly
Maple Leafs' Rielly Returns To The Ice
Morgan Rielly, D, TOR
9:45 AM
News: Morgan Rielly (lower body) took part in Thursday's practice, TSN's Mark Masters reports.
Analysis: Morgan Rielly's removal from Wednesday's session has been termed a "precautionary" move, so with him able to skate Thursday, it does not appear he is in danger of sitting out Toronto's next game Friday.

 
 
 
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