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Right on Schedule: Holiday happenings

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

For most, Santa Claus visits just as you're entering into your slumber on Christmas Eve. For Tom Fenton, good 'ole Santa came early when Phoenix G Ilya Bryzgalov (flu) became ill Thursday afternoon. With Bryzgalov unable to suit up for the game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the Coyotes, desperate for a warm body to backup Jason LaBarbera, signed the 26-year-old former goalie Fenton to a 1-day contract. Of course the very next morning Phoenix recalled Matt Climie, who was 13-5 with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, and Fenton was out. But hey, it still makes a good story. Rather than goalies, let's focus on a few teams anxiously waiting with milk and cookies hoping the jolly old feller will bring an offensive breakout.

Though Nashville (17-9-6) is keeping pace with first place Detroit, it has little to do with their offense. After collecting four goals in the first three games of the season, Steve Sullivan is managing to lead the team with just 10 goals. If the Preds are to continue their persistence in the Central division, Sullivan, (ten points in the last 12 games) is going to have to find the back of the net more. Some good second-line center Cal O'Reilly has pitched in a bit with 12 assists (18 points) this season, but if he is to stay in Nashville all season, he needs to shake his streakiness. Though a plus-4 in his last five games, he is pointless over that span.

Until their embarrassing 6-1 home loss to Los Angeles, Nashville had been on a roll. Even after watching number one goalie Pekka Rinne head to the injured reserve, the Preds had been undefeated in ten games. Rookie backup goaltender Anders Lindback posted two shutouts and went undefeated in seven games. Reports say Rinne, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery earlier this month is back at 100 percent. However, just as you could hear the zippers of Mark Dekanich’s travel gear heading back to Milwaukee (AHL), Lindback gave up three goals on nine shots against Los Angeles and Dekanich came in to clean up. All of a sudden … it's Rinne's job to lose again?

Under the AHL tree:
RW Chris Mueller in 30 games played is a plus-8 and has 12 goals (18 points)
LW Linus Klasen in 27 games played has 13 goals (24 points)
D Teemu Laakso in 27 games is a plus-4 and has 11 points
D Jonathan Blum in 29 games has 16 points

This week: @ CHI vs. OTT, @ STL

After a relatively terrible 2009-10 campaign for Cam Ward, it seems he is back to his old self with a 14-9-3 record and 2.54 GAA. Problem is, if his record is to ever reflect that change, the Carolina Hurricanes (15-12-4) have got to get their offense going. Despite the fact that Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner have combined for merely five points in the month of December, the Hurricanes are winners of their last four games. And now, GM Jim Rutherford has decided to unwrap his gift(s) a little early this season.

Last week, Carolina called up D Bryan Rodney and Zach Boychuk. Rodney, who has appeared in three games since his recall, has 18 points in 28 games with Charlotte of the AHL. Boychuck is second in the AHL's scoring with 32 points (10G, 22A) in 28 games. Though an uneventful, 5:51 of ice time, I believe the moons are aligning here for Boychuck. Having already tapped the system once, here's what's left for the NHL's All-Star game hosts.

Under the AHL tree:
C Zac Dalpe is averaging a point a game (12 goals, +10) in just 19 games played
RW Jerome Samson who had 37 goals (78 points) with last season, is a plus-11 with 31 points this season
D Brett Carson is a plus-4 and has seven assists in just 19 games
RW Jared Staal won't be getting a call to Carolina anytime soon, but he was recently promoted to the AHL. So far, the youngest Staal is pointless in ten games this season with Charlotte.

This week: @TB, vs. MON, WAS

Let's play four: ATL, PIT, STL, TB, VAN
Let's play two: BOS, BUF, CHI, COL, OTT, SJ, TOR

A few other gifts unwrapped early (link) this holiday season

Montreal, desperate to jump start their veterans, called up LW Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty, only 22, proceeded to collect a goal and an assist in his second NHL game.
This week: @ DAL, CAR, NYI

Losers of their last eight games, Washington will try to scare its team back into production. As suggested earlier in the year, RW Andrew Gordon got the call Friday. Though he had 16 goals (points) with AHL Hershey before being called up, reportedly head coach Bruce Boudreau will ease him into the Capitals lineup with a few spot starts. He quickly got a chance last Saturday night. Gordon was a minus-1 in a modest 12 minutes of ice time.
This week: @ OTT, vs.NJ, PIT, @CAR

Relaxing for the Holidays:

-Toronto (12-16-4) starts off the week hosting Atlanta (18-11-5), takes five days off and heads to the Meadowlands to take on the New Jersey Devils (9-21-2) this Sunday.
-As hot as your talent from Philadelphia (22-7-5) is, you may want to sit them. After hosting the Florida Panthers (14-16-0) to start the week, the Flyers won't play again till next Tuesday.
-The New York Rangers (20-14-1) schedule this week is separated only by a clash with the Tampa Bay Lightning (18-10-4) at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

No fairytale, this is assured

The Calgary Flames are beginning to defrost, and Mark Giordano is a big part of it. He has a colorful 40 PIM total and nine points in his last 10 games. A 15-goal, 35 assists season is possible this year.
This week: @ MIN, CLB, DAL

Are the New York Islanders (6-18-6) on your opponents’ schedule?

They have been very giving this holiday season, with a 65/104 GF/GA ratio. Most of their gifts have come on the road (2-11-3); so with two of their three games this week away from Nassau Coliseum, I'm sure your opposing players will be marked as "nice" on Santa's list.
This week: vs.TB, @NJ vs. MON

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

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Player News
Ryan Ellis
Preds, Ellis Still At Odds Over New Contract
Ryan Ellis, D, NSH
9/21/2014
News: Preds GM David Poile addressed Ryan Ellis' contract situation Saturday, saying the main stumbling block continues to be money, according to the Tennessean. "Unfortunately at this time we have not agreed what they think and what we think is fair compensation," Poile said. "We want [Ellis]. We are not trading him, we really like him. We really like the way he played last year. It's just a disagreement on dollars."
Analysis: Ryan Ellis, who has missed the first two days of training camp so far, played in 80 games last season for and finished with 27 points - his highest full season total to date. And while there is still plenty of time left to get a deal done before the start of the season, the clock is ticking. Not only is he missing out on conditioning drills and scrimmages, the more Ellis misses of training camp, the greater the chances of some other defenseman impressing the coaching staff and grabbing a roster spot that might otherwise go to Ellis. Bottom line, we think Ellis will get signed by the start of the regular season, but what his role on the team will be is anybody's guess. He's a risky fantasy pick right now, until all of the above gets sorted out.

Jon Merrill
Devils' Merrill Misses Practice With Head Injury
Jon Merrill, D, NJ
9/21/2014
News: Jon Merrill missed the second day of Devils' training camp on Saturday due to a head injury he suffered after colliding with teammate Ruslan Fedotenko during Friday's practice, Rich Chere of NJ.com reports.
Analysis: Luckily for Jon Merrill, the Devils' first regular season game isn't until October 9th. While head injuries are never a good thing, the promising young defender should have ample time to get healthy before the regular season kicks off.

Jhonas Enroth
Sabres Coach Confident In Enroth
Jhonas Enroth, G, BUF
11:09 AM
News: Sabres head coach Ted Nolan believes Jhonas Enroth can be a starting goalie in the NHL, reports the Olean Times Herald.
Analysis: Jhonas Enroth will battle Michal Neuvirth for the starting job, but if one of them has the edge, it's Enroth. Despite his lack of wins the previous season, Enroth still had a respectable .911 save percentage on the league's worst team and made the Swedish national team for Sochi. He has been Ryan Miller's understudy for the past few seasons, but Neuvirth is also reunited with Arturs Irbe, his goaltending coach in Washington. Nolan will split starts between Enroth and Neuvirth for the time being. The Sabres have six exhibition games this season.

Tyler Bozak
Leafs' Bozak Dealing With Lower-Body Issue
Tyler Bozak, C, TOR
11:05 AM
News: Tyler Bozak is dealing with a lower-body injury, Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reports.
Analysis: Tyler Bozak reportedly skated in full equipment before the Leafs' practice Saturday, but didn't participate with the team. He and David Clarkson both suffered the injuries in pre-camp workouts, but both are believed to be minor injuries.

Matt Hackett
Sabres' Hackett Could Skate Soon
Matt Hackett, G, BUF
11:00 AM
News: Matt Hackett suffered an ACL injury on April 12 and could start skating soon, reports The Buffalo News.
Analysis: There is still no return date for Matt Hackett though he is expected to return midway through the season, perhaps in late December or early January. Hackett is coming off a tough season, losing the starting job in the AHL to Nathan Lieuwen. He is in a contract year and faces an uphill climb on a team deep with goaltending prospects. The 24-year-old goalie may not figure into the team's long-term plans. Jhonas Enroth and Michal Neuvirth are battling for the NHL job while Andrey Makarov and Lieuwen will handle the duties in the AHL.

David Clarkson
Leafs' Clarkson Dealing With Lower-Body Injury
David Clarkson, RW, TOR
10:52 AM
News: David Clarkson is dealing with a lower body injury, Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reports.
Analysis: David Clarkson joined Tyler Bozak as the two out for the practice, with both reportedly dealing with lower-body injuries. They both ocurred during pre-camp workouts, and coach Randy Carlyle believes the injury is minor.

Sidney Crosby
Pens' Crosby (Undisclosed) Held Out Saturday
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT
10:41 AM
News: Sidney Crosby (undisclosed) was held out of practice for precautionary reasons Saturday.
Analysis: Sidney Crosby was held out after reportedly having a good practice Friday. The star doesn't appear to be in danger of missing any regular season time barring a setback or another injury.

Alexander Wennberg
Jackets' Wennberg Already Impressing
Alexander Wennberg, C, CLB
9:22 AM
News: Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was very impressed with his initial look at Alexander Wennberg during the first day of training camp, the Columbus Dispatch reports. "To me, he was at a level above a lot of guys that were (at the Traverse City prospect tournament), which says a lot, because there is some good talent up there," Richards said Friday. "You watch him out here and he fits right in. It's the first day (with) lots of energy, lots of excitement. But he comes across as a ‘headsy' player."
Analysis: Ryan Johansen's contract dispute could open up a spot at center in Columbus on one of the top three lines if it extends into the regular season, and the Jackets would love to see Alexander Wennberg step up and seize it. There's a lot of camp left yet, and the club has plenty of depth with NHL experience to compete with their prospects, but last year's 14th overall pick has the talent, hockey IQ and drive to force the Jackets' hand.

Ryan Murray
Jackets' Murray Has Lingering Knee Issue
Ryan Murray, D, CLB
9:12 AM
News: Ryan Murray was held out of the first day of training camp due to some soreness in his knee following an offseason scope, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Analysis: The Jackets aren't treating this as a major issue, but given Ryan Murray's history of lower body injuries so far in his brief NHL career this is worth keeping an eye on.

Corey Potter
Flames' Potter Still Recovering From Surgery
Corey Potter, D, BOS
8:22 AM
News: Corey Potter is still a couple weeks away from being cleared for contact following shoulder surgery, the Calgary Herald reports.
Analysis: Corey Potter is hoping to nab one of the final blue line spots available in Calgary, as the first five spots are pretty much locked down. Potter played sparingly with Edmonton and Boston last season, but the Flames like his game.

 
 
 
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