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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
John Erskine
Caps Move Erskine To IR
John Erskine, D, WAS
10/23/2014
News: Erskien (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Analysis: The Capitals ruled John Erskine out of the entirety of their three-game road trip to western Canada earlier this week, so the IR move will allow the team to add another defenseman from the minors for depth purposes, if they choose to do so. Erskine had been a healthy scratch for the Capitals in every game even before succumbing to the injury.

Jesse Winchester
Avs' Winchester Gets In Non-Contact Work
Jesse Winchester, C, COL
10/23/2014
News: Jesse Winchester (concussion) has resumed taking part in non-contact drills, the Associated Press reports.
Analysis: Jesse Winchester is still awaiting clearance to participate in full-contact practices, so it's difficult to see him being activated from IR at any point this week. He's been out for three weeks with the head injury.

Ray Emery
Emery Expected To Go Wednesday For Flyers
Ray Emery, G, PHI
10/23/2014
News: Ray Emery is expected to receive the start in goal Wednesday against the Penguins, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Analysis: Top goalie Steve Mason has been brutal in five turns this season (0-3-1, 3.83 GAA, .878 save percentage), so opportunity could knock here for Ray Emery if he's able to return in a respectable outing against a tough Penguins squad. Mason's larger contract will probably prevent Emery from displacing him as the team's unquestioned starter, but the backup could possibly take on a larger workload if he can give the Flyers some more stability in goal in his subsequent outings.

Stefan Noesen
Ducks' Noesen (Achilles) Set To Miss Four Months
Stefan Noesen, RW, ANA
10/23/2014
News: The Ducks announced Stefan Noesen is dealing with an Achilles injury and is expected to be sidelined for four months, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: It's yet another devastating injury for the hard-luck Stefan Noesen, who missed nearly all of last season with torn knee ligaments. He had worked his way back from the knee issue to produce three points in his first four games with AHL Norfolk, before suffering his latest long-term setback. The prospect luster is beginning to fade for the 21-year-old former first-round draft choice.

Curtis McElhinney
Jackets' McElhinney Expected To Return Soon
Curtis McElhinney, G, CLB
10/23/2014
News: Curtis McElhinney (head, neck) is feeling better and is expected to rejoin the team later this week, Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports.
Analysis: Curtis McElhinney suffered a head injury and was placed on injured reserve on Sunday. As a result, he won't be able to return until the end of the weekend at the earliest, but it's an encouraging sign that he's feeling better, and should travel with the club on their upcoming three-game trip to California beginning Thursday.

Matt Read
Flyers' Read Held Without A Goal Through Six
Matt Read, RW, PHI
10/23/2014
News: Matt Read has no goals and three assists through six games this season.
Analysis: After a 22-goal campaign last season, Matt Read has yet to find the back of the net this year. He should get some more opportunities, as he's been playing on the team's second power-play unit, but for now his slow start should be slightly worrisome.

Marian Gaborik
Kings' Gaborik Remains Out Of Practice
Marian Gaborik, RW, LA
10/23/2014
News: Marian Gaborik (undisclosed) wasn't on the ice for Wednesday's practice, Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com reports.
Analysis: With the Kings hitting the ice Thursday for a game against the Sabres, it's probably safe to rule out Marian Gaborik for a fourth straight game. The team has provided little information regarding the nature or severity of Gaborik's injury, so there's no indication when he might be ready to return to action.

Brad Marchand
Bruins' Marchand Gets First Goal
Brad Marchand, LW, BOS
10/23/2014
News: Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the season in a 5-3 victory over the Sharks on Tuesday.
Analysis: Coach Claude Julien indicated in the preseason that Brad Marchand could see increased action on the power play, a move that paid off Tuesday as his goal came on the man advantage. He logged 16:50 worth of ice time, and now has points in three of the Bruins' last four games after being held off the score sheet in their first four contests.

Michal Neuvirth
Sabres' Neuvirth Expected To Start On Wednesday
Michal Neuvirth, G, BUF
10/23/2014
News: Michal Neuvirth is expected to get the start on Wednesday against the Ducks, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: Michal Neuvirth has appeared in one game this season, incidentally enough, against the Ducks. He didn't fare especially well, giving up five goals on 44 shots in a 5-1 loss Oct. 13. Buffalo has been struggling in all facets of the game this season, but Jhonas Enroth still seems to have a steady hand on the No. 1 gig, even after giving up four goals in his last turn over the weekend. It appears coach Ted Nolan is just looking to rest Enroth for the first game of a back-to-back set.

Tom Wilson
Caps' Wilson Eyeing Oct. 29 Return
Tom Wilson, RW, WAS
10/23/2014
News: Coach Barry Trotz acknowledged Tuesday that Tom Wilson (ankle) could return to the Washington lineup Oct. 29 against the Red Wings, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Analysis: Tom Wilson, who was sent out on a rehab assignment at AHL Hershey on Monday, will play in two minor league games over the weekend, logging top-six minutes in each tilt. If his ankle holds up fine, Wilson will rejoin the Capitals for practice on Monday, when the team returns from its three-game road trip through western Canada. Trotz will then have to decide if he wants to slot Wilson back into his bottom-six, most likely at the expense of Liam O'Brien or Chris Brown.

 
 
 
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