Saturday, March 28, 2015

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 28)

Big news for the St. Louis Blues, as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is expected to be re-joining the lineup today against the Blue Jackets, as he returns from abdominal surgery in the beginning of February.  Shattenkirk was working at a dominating pace, when he left the lineup in the second segment of the season, as he was ranked 2nd amongst all defenders in scoring at the time, but his time away has dropped him to 22nd in the position, although he is still 1st in a points-per-game pace, just a shade ahead of Ottawa's Erik Karlsson.

This injury was a huge blow to Tony's season and frankly, I believe expedited his spiral into the bottom of the standings.  Tony had already dropped to 7th place from a money spot, but the loss of his best defenseman saw his team free fall, as it goes into Saturday in 19th place.

More confirmed returns for Saturday, as the Penguins will have forwards Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist back in their lineup for their game against the Coyotes this afternoon. Malkin has been dealing with a lower-body injury, while Hornqvist's ailment was never really disclosed, but each missed about a couple weeks of action and the Penguins have sure suffered in their absence.

In some of the meaningful races, Hornqvist will return to Allan's lineup, as he tries to stay away from the Olli bobblehead, while Leo will get Malkin back, but his team is safe from any extra bobblehead shame this season.

The NHL is going to be super busy all day, as there are 11 games on the schedule for this Saturday and five games will be morning/afternoon games, out here in the West.

Since it's a busy day, it will be just about the races today, but be warned, since the games are really early today, there will be a lot of projected goalie starts, more than confirmed starts.

Wes' lead over 4th place, Benson, is now 15 points and only 16 points on Scott, 17 points on Clayton, the four teams we'll look at for this race, as they're all within 20 points.  Wes will have both of his goalies going today, as Mike Smith should be in Arizona's net against the Penguins and Carey Price is expected to start for Montreal against Florida.  Benson is expected to have both Semyon Varlamov and Kari Lehtonen in their respective nets, as both teams, Colorado and Dallas, struggle with their dwindling playoff hopes.  Scott is expected to have both of his goalies go head-to-head, as Petr Mrazek has been confirmed to go for Detroit, hosting Tampa Bay, who should go with Ben Bishop, although it hasn't been confirmed.  Scott's best bet is one goalie earns a shutout tonight.  Clayton will be the only one of the four teams with only one goalie going, as Brian Elliott has already been tipped to go for St. Louis against Columbus.

5 points separates 7th through 11th today, so a shutout or two would go a long ways for these teams to solidify their spot in the top 10.  Stacey M. isn't expected to have any help today from the crease, Dale B. is expected to have Tuukka Rask in net for the Bruins this afternoon against the Rangers, Dale C. won't have any help today, Brian will likely have Devan Dubnyk in for the Wild again, this time against the Kings, while Cam might finally see the return of Craig Anderson today for Ottawa.  Not a lot of help in this race at all, eh?

Finally, the race for the Olli, sees Wyllie with a 2 point gap on Ryan and 6 points back of Allan going into Saturday.  Wyllie will have Michal Neuvirth going for the Islanders against the Ducks, in a tough game, but at least a little bit of help.  Ryan isn't tapped to have any crease help today, while Allan has both teams that provide his goalie help playing each other, but he is only expected to have Steve Mason in net, which will help who he should be cheering for in the Sharks/Flyers game.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bjugstad Done After Back Surgery

It appears that the lower-body injury that had kept Florida forward Nick Bjugstad out of the lineup for a couple games was far worse than initially expected.

On Friday afternoon, the team announced that the team's leading goal-scorer will now miss the remainder of the regular season after undergoing successful back surgery.  It sounds like, if the Panthers make the playoffs, 3 points out going into the last couple weeks, Bjugstad won't be available for the Spring Dance, but he is expected to be 100%, come September.

In 72 games played this season, Bjugstad finishes his year with 24 goals and 43 points, which at this time, is good enough for 3rd on the team in pool points (behind Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Huberdeau) and 126th overall in league pool scoring.

Bjugstad was a fairly consistent contributor to Brian's team in the pool this season and that would be more than he asked for out of his 10th round pick, 227th overall.  Even without him in the last couple weeks of the season, this should still work out to be a big bargain pick.

Unfortunately for Brian, his season might have been hurt pretty badly by this injury, as his team had already dropped off, but it gets worse with this news.  Brian sits in 10th place, midway through the night on Friday and could go either way with a good or bad string of nights.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

More Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 27)

The Buffalo Sabres lost the services of forward Tyler Ennis during Thursday night's game between themselves and the Coyotes, the battle of the basement teams in the NHL, due to an upper-body injury. The Sabres are not considering the injury to be too serious, as Ennis will travel with the team, but it doesn't seem likely that he'll play until Monday.

Ennis belongs to Brenda & Seward this season, who have fallen on hard times in the standings, down to 17th place again after a good portion of the season.  They did move up a spot this week, which is good news, but a strong second segment couldn't be followed up and they fell back down near the bottom in the third segment.

Somewhat of a surprise listing, as Red Wings forward Riley Sheahan is expected to miss some time to an upper-body injury.  There was no word on when the young forward was hurt exactly, but according to the coaching staff, there will be some time missed.  He'll be on the list as out day-to-day for right now, since the description of the injury is quite vague, but if anything else should pop up here, then it will hit the blog.

A new twist in the race for the Olli, as Sheahan belongs to Ryan, who fell down to 22nd place again this week, still 5 points clear of 23rd, but nowhere near as safe as he may have thought he was a week or two ago.

Only three games going on this Friday night, so we'll have a quick overview, thankfully, I still have time before I hit the publish button before they start.

Devan Dubnyk will try and keep the Wild's good fortunes going at home against Karri Ramo and the Flames tonight.  Dubnyk will also try and rekindle Brian's chances at possibly jumping into the money in the last couple weeks of the season, while Ramo will try to spoil some hopes and keep Leo's team from the basement dwellers.

A former Central Division battle sees Columbus in Chicago, where it will be Sergei Bobrovsky against Corey Crawford.  It's Troy versus Dale C., respectively, in this one, 12th versus 8th in the standings, as Troy tries to make the leap into the top 10, but first he'll need to close a 12-point gap to 11th to do so.

Finally, the Dallas Stars are in Edmonton tonight to take on the lowly Oilers.  The Stars will rest whatever playoff hopes they have left on Kari Lehtonen, while the Oilers will try and play spoiler, using their non-pool back-up, Richard Bachman in net.  Benson, now in 4th place, is only 13 points back of Wes in the standings and could use, what should be, easy points from this game.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Playoff Pool Available on March 31

The New York Rangers became the first team to qualify for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday night, which means that the Spring Dance is only so far away.  Yes, we're counting down to the Playoff Pool now, with the expectation that the sheet will be done on Tuesday for release.  An online version of the sheet will be made available and I am also hoping that you will be able to choose your team online as well.

Entries will not be accepted without the $10 entry fee, but I will have all the details online when the pool goes live.  The sheet will likely have a number of teams still in the race, so you will likely want to wait to submit the sheet, but at least you can start doing your homework here right away.

The injury news page for the draft pool has already got a column referencing the boxes that players are in and there are a number of players who are hurt at the moment, so there will be some changes made ahead of time.  Those boxes will change, hopefully eliminating the injured players and keeping it as fresh as possible.

We don't have very much time left in the regular season, so if you're already out of the race in the draft pool, you can start your homework here.

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 27)

It's now looking like a pool defenseman carousel in Anaheim, as Thursday night saw the return of Cam Fowler to the lineup, after an absence of one game, while James Wisniewski took his spot in the press box for the game against the Bruins in Boston.  The way things are going there for the Ducks, the nights off are coming in single stops, so I would imagine that Wisniewski will work his way back in before too long.  The Ducks are on the verge of clinching their playoff spot, so resting players before the Spring Dance will be a must.

This season, between Columbus and Anaheim, Wisniewski has picked up 8 goals and 32 points in 64 games played, which has been decent for Scott.  Scott has been moving up the standings as well, of late, as his team has now reached 5th place in the standings and is now 15 points back of 3rd.  His team is keeping things interesting, that's for sure.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 26)

It sounds like the Winnipeg Jets are getting a boost to their playoff hopes tonight, as Dustin Byfuglien will return from his upper-body injury, which has kept him out since around St. Patrick's Day.  The versatile superstar will likely hit the blueline again for the Jets, as they look to maintain their position in the Western Conference playoff picture.

This is a very small consolation for Tony in this year's pool, as his team has tanked and fell to last place in the third segment, picking up a pool-low, 102 points to date.  In 12 weeks, his team has fallen 15 places, as his team now sits in 18th spot.

We're just short of getting the official word, but it sounds like the Bruins will welcome forward David Krejci back to their lineup tonight, as they are also in the hunt for a playoff spot, now 1 point out of a wild card berth.  Krejci has been listed as probable for tonight's game between Boston and Anaheim and it couldn't come soon enough.

Benson, now fighting to make it into the money, will also welcome the addition back to his lineup, as he only sits 18 points back of 3rd place and has a real shot at it, given how hot his team has been lately.  This could change the dynamic of the money race going forward.

11 games on tap for Thursday night in the NHL and the two races are now inexplicably tight, going into action tonight. As I've been doing lately, I'll start with the money race and then finish with the race for the Olli.

Wes' lead for 3rd place has gone up to 16 points, which is good for him, but only having one of his two goalies going tonight, may hurt his chances a little.  Mike Smith will start for the Coyotes against the Sabres in the battle for last place in the NHL, which may end up being an interesting game.  Clayton, who is now barely hanging on to 4th place, will have Marc-Andre Fleury going for the Penguins in Carolina tonight, as his only representation.  Benson, now 2 points back of 4th and 18 points back of 3rd, is waiting to hear if Semyon Varlamov will be in net for the Avs, when they take on the Canucks in Vancouver.  Varlamov was yanked in Wednesday night's game in Edmonton after a poor start against the Oilers.  Scott is still in the mix, only 1 point behind Benson, and will have Ben Bishop in the Bolts' net tonight, as they host the Predators tonight.

Allan has moved out of the basement again, having a pretty good week all around, plus he'll get some help from Antti Niemi (in theory), as the Sharks take on the Red Wings in Detroit tonight.  Wyllie moved back into the basement, but the two teams his goalies are from are playing each other tonight, but neither of his goalies are expected to start.  Ryan, now ahead of Allan on tie-breakers, won't have a goalie going tonight either and his 6-point cushion on Wyllie won't increase from the crease.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Flyers Lose Two Players to Injury

The 2015 regular season has come to an abrupt end for a couple of Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, as forward Wayne Simmonds and defenseman Andrew MacDonald each suffered bone fractures and with only two and a half weeks left in the season, their recovery times are expected to bleed into the off-season.  With the club not expected to make the playoffs this year, the whole year will come to an end.

Simmonds suffered a broken bone in his foot after blocking a shot early in the game, after he had scored a goal.  There was no concrete timetable given for Simmonds' recovery, but with the team nine points back of the second wild card spot and behind two teams to get there, it really is unlikely that they will make it.

The 26-year old winger will finish the year with 28 goals and 50 points in 75 games, which has him ranked 86th overall in pool scoring, after Wednesday night's action.  He was taken 119th overall in the 6th round of the draft by Brenda & Seward, which was turning out to be a bargain pick before the injury, but now might be about the same as his draft position, with only a couple weeks left to play.

MacDonald's injury wasn't described in an incident, but the reports are saying that he had suffered a fractured hand, which likely has a longer lead time than the foot injury, but it is also a moot point with how much time is left in the season.

The rearguard will now end the year with 2 goals and 12 points in 58 games played, having been a healthy scratch a number of times and had some time off for personal reasons as well.  Dale B. chose MacDonald in the last round of the draft, 311th overall, but as of Thursday morning, he was ranked 523rd overall, nowhere near being equal to his draft position.

Neither pool team is figuring into the money situation, although Dale is still in the top six teams vying for the third segment and it wasn't like MacDonald was giving him much to go on in the race.  Dale's team is 23 points back, so it does seem unlikely that he'll cross the line in top spot, but at least his team was close.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 25)

The Anaheim Ducks appear to be coasting for the remainder of the schedule, possibly giving some rest to some players and giving some chances to other players on the roster. On Tuesday night, defenseman Cam Fowler was a healthy scratch for the game against the Blue Jackets.  The argument could be made that his previous outing, a -3 rating against the Rangers on Sunday, could have been the reason why he was scratched as well.

Fowler belongs to Wilton this season, but hasn't performed to some of his expectations this season, picking up only 31 points in 73 games.  Fowler is going to make an appearance on the Playoff Pool sheet, but it may not be in the best defenseman box in the Western Conference.

A couple of injury notes for the Detroit Red Wings from Tuesday night, as defenseman Niklas Kronwall was a late scratch with a lower-body injury, where he is considered to be day-to-day at the moment. During the game against the Coyotes, forward Erik Cole left the game with an upper-body injury. As of Wednesday morning, there was no update available for either player, but the Red Wings don't play again until Thursday night, home to San Jose, so there should be an update before then.  If there is no update on the blog, they will both be day-to-day.

Kronwall belongs to Stuart, who most notably, is still in the third segment race, as he is 19 points back of Benson for the top spot and honour.  Stacey C. has Cole this season, who is 8 points behind Stuart in that same race, but neither have any sights on the money at the moment.  Both players are also penciled in for the Playoff Pool, so we'll keep a close eye on that as well.

A lower-body injury was announced as the reason why Nick Bjugstad was unable to dress for the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night against the Lightning.  Bjugstad is questionable to travel with the team, as they head up North to continue a 5-game road trip through Canada.  The Panthers are on the outs of the playoffs and if Bjugstad can't go for an extended period of time, it will likely be the straw that breaks the camel's back, as they are a couple wins back and they've played one more game than the Senators, who hold the last East wild card spot.

It has been a little while since Brayden McNabb was a healthy scratch for the Kings, but on Tuesday night, he returned to the press box, as the Kings have had a healthy compliment of defenders of late.  The Kings are pushing for a spot in the playoffs and they are getting results, so they will be dressing their best chance to win rosters, which may cost McNabb some ice-time, since he wasn't on the ice for Tuesday's win against the Rangers.

Absolutely shit luck.  That's about the way Christian Ehrhoff is going to sum up the season, I would think.  Ehrhoff returned from his undisclosed injury on Tuesday night, only to play in two shifts before getting hurt on a hit by St. Louis' Vladimir Tarasenko.  The German rearguard hit the end boards violently and had to leave the ice, with what is likely another upper-body injury.  It may be too early to say, but since he had some concussion issues this season, Ehrhoff may have aggravated that problem once again.

Talk about some rotten luck.  Bjugstad, McNabb and Ehrhoff all belong to Brian, who has recently conceded the third segment lead and has now dropped down to 9th place in the standings, after such a rocking start to the final segment of the year.  His team is still 8 points back of 4th place, which is definitely still attainable, but there are a number of teams ahead of him and he has a few players that don't have a positive outlook going forward.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 24)

The Bruins announced today that defenseman Dougie Hamilton is on the shelf again with an undisclosed upper-body injury, believed to be a shoulder injury, and that he is out indefinitely.  Usually, this would mean his own post, but without a definite time frame, it is almost as good as being out day-to-day.  Hamilton has been good this season for the Bruins, leading all defenders in scoring on the team with 10 goals and 42 points in 72 games with the club.

Hamilton belongs to Grant S. in the draft this year, who is comfortably (28 points up) in 2nd place and should be coasting to a money win this year.  If you haven't noticed yet, the news page is now listing which box each player is slotted into for the Playoff Pool at the moment and Hamilton is in the top defeseman box at the moment for the Bruins, but given this injury, he may be moved down or out, before the sheet is finalized in the next week or so.

There seems to be something fishy with the situation of Christian Ehrhoff, as he may be able to go again. Looking at Saturday's game against the Coyotes, the main boxscore doesn't show him, however the playing roster shows him as being in the lineup, but he never had any time on the ice.  So, only one of the pages actually shows him being active, so we'll go with that... I guess that's all you need these days.  He has been moved as to being out day-to-day and we'll see if he goes tonight or not.

This proves to be better news for Brian, who is in need of more points and bodies in their respective active rosters.  Ehrhoff hasn't been very good this year, but he is better to be on the ice than on the shelf, so there's that.  Whether or not he plays, that's a different story altogether.

Eight games in the NHL on Tuesday night, not quite as busy as some Tuesdays, but still fairly busy anyways. Let's see how the races are shaping up for the night.

Wes, now 12 points up on 4th, will see his number one goalie, Carey Price, attempt to be the 1st player to hit 100 points this season with the game between Montreal and Nashville.  He will also see his second goalie, Mike Smith, head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings tonight for the Coyotes.  Clayton, who didn't pick up any points last night, could have had a head-to-head match-up between his two goalies, but only Marc-Andre Fleury is slated to start for the Penguins, as they take on the Blues tonight.  Scott moved up to 5th, now 19 points back, will not have Ben Bishop in net for the Lightning when they host the Panthers, as he will be given the night off.  Benson had both of his goalies going last night, so his crease will be empty tonight, as he is also 19 points back, without a tie-breaker in 6th place.  Brian, 24 points back in 7th, should have both of his goalies, Devan Dubnyk for the Wild and Cam Talbot for the Rangers going tonight, he'll try to make it interesting from his end again.

Allan, now 3 points back of Wyllie at the bottom of the pool, didn't get any help last night and doesn't have anything slated for tonight, while Wyllie isn't expected to have either of his back-ups playing either.  Ryan, still 7 points clear of the bottom, will have Andrei Vasilevskiy in net for the Lightning, getting a rare start down the stretch, hopefully one that can distance him a little from the rest of the basement dwellers.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 23)

The Montreal Canadiens are citing injury for the reason why defenseman Tom Gilbert wasn't at practice on Monday morning. The well-traveled defender's status for Tuesday night's game in Nashville is now doubtful, as he is not expected to travel with the team to Tennessee this afternoon, ahead of the game against the Predators.  This injury could allow for Sergei Gonchar to figure back into the lineup again, but the team is also carrying Nathan Beaulieu on their active roster as well, so it will be a bit of a crap shoot.

If Gilbert does miss out on Tuesday's game, it would be another game missed for Tony, but the real watch would be for who fills in, as Gonchar, who belongs to Wes, hasn't seen much action lately, as his stock has seemingly dropped a lot in Montreal.

Three weeks to go in the NHL season... and it starts tonight!

Two races still left to talk about in this season, 3rd place money and the Olli bobblehead.  That's it.

Seven games in the league tonight and we'll have a look at the goaltending situation for the races, since we have time today to do so.

Wes goes into the week with an 11-point lead and starts the week off with both goalies resting.  Clayton, in 4th, also won't get any help from the crease tonight.  Race newcomer, Benson, 22 points back, could have both goalies playing, as Semyon Varlamov was confirmed for the Avalanche early on, playing against the Flames, while Kari Lehtonen is expected to take to the Dallas net, with the Sabres in town.  Scott, 23 points back, won't have any help tonight, but Brian, 26 points back, will have Devan Dubnyk making his 31st straight start for Minnesota.  29 points back, Dale C., will likely have Corey Crawford taking on the Hurricanes for the Blackhawks.

Down at the bottom of the standings, Allan should have Antti Niemi in the visitors net in Ottawa, as the Sharks take on the high-flying Senators.  Wyllie hasn't had much goaltending help in a long time and he won't have any tonight either.  Ryan, who is only 7 points out, also won't have any goaltending help tonight either.  A big night from Niemi in Ottawa, could shift the look of the bottom quickly.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.