Friday, January 18, 2019

Predators' Johansen Suspended

On Friday, the NHL's Department of Player Safety made a ruling on Nashville's Ryan Johansen, giving him a 2-game suspension for a reckless high-stick on Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele on Thursday night.  The high-sticking call was for an inadvertent chop to the head of the Jets forward in trying to pivot past him, which also earned him a penalty on the ice.

What this means is that Johansen will now miss Saturday's home game against the Panthers and Monday's contest in Colorado and will be eligible to return on Wednesday for their visit to Sin City.

Johansen has been very good for the Predators this season, scoring 8 goals and 42 points in 49 games, which puts him 59th in scoring, with play already started on Friday night. 

Steve picked up the Nashville centre in the 4th round of the draft, 88th overall, so he is certainly getting a good return for an early round pick this season.  One of a number of good picks on Steve's team, which has helped him into the top 10 this year, after a disappointing debut season last year.

Goalie Announcements (Jan 18)

Well, we'll start at the bottom of the weekly scoring standings today, because that's where the story really is this week.  If you've looked at the standings this morning, you'd notice that 3rd and 4th place in the overall standings, Grant and Wes, are currently holding on to a tie for the Basement Dweller, each with 7 points.  Both teams have lost ground on the top two teams and now teams below them are gaining ground, which has to be a concern for them, but it's fun to watch, is it not?

Tony has started to run away with the Mover & Shaker, now 4 points clear of Eric's team for the weekly congratulations, 23-19, while Stuart, Steve and Brian are all up at 18 points, not so far away either.

Garret Sparks (Grant) versus Roberto Luongo (John P.)
Only one confirmed starter in the game between the Maple Leafs and the Panthers, as Roberto Luongo has been tapped to go for the home side.  John's team is only at 11 points this week, 4 points clear of the bottom, so he could certainly use a win tonight.  If Grant gets the start from Garret Sparks, he's one of the few teams that could use the 2 points more than John's team, as it was noted above.

Carey Price (Stacey M.) versus Joonas Korpisalo (Clayton)
Stacey M.'s team has lost a little bit of ground on 1st place in the standings this week, but Carey Price is coming to her rescue tonight in Columbus, as he was tapped for tonight's start after practice on Thursday.  Stacey's team now sits 8 points out of top spot, too much for Price to overcome himself, but thankfully, it's a team effort.  The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are riding the hot hand of Joonas Korpisalo, according to their projected lineup tonight, giving Clayton another start from the Columbus backup.  Clayton's team sits at 14 points this week, tied for 13th in weekly scoring.

Thomas Greiss (Stuart) versus Braden Holtby (Stacey C.)
Good news on the goalie front for the Capitals, as the eye injury has cleared up enough for Braden Holtby to take to the net again and he will indeed do so tonight against the Islanders.  Good news for Stacey C., since his team is on the wrong side of the equator in the weekly standings, he gets the first of two starts tonight here.  The Islanders were playing last night, a 4-1 win against the Devils, so although it hasn't been confirmed at the time of the post, it seems safe to think Thomas Greiss will go tonight, since he sat last night.

Anders Nilsson (N/A) versus Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.)
With the injury to Curtis McElhinney, Stacey C. will have the comfort of knowing that his goalie, Petr Mrazek will get the bulk of the work until the injury is healed and that starts tonight, giving him his second start of the evening, when Carolina hosts Ottawa.  Stacey's goalies are now tied for 5th in the goalie scoring ranks in the second segment of the season, already posting 31 points and the chance for more is certainly appealing.

Jimmy Howard (Tony) versus Mike Smith (Brian)
A solid match-up at the top of the weekly scoring ranks, with Tony and Brian seeing their goalies go head-to-head in Calgary, when the Red Wings visit the Flames.  Tony's team is looking to put more distance between themselves and the pack that's chasing them, which includes Brian's team, only 5 points back.  The Flames are surely the favourites in this game tonight, but with the luck that Tony has been having this week, don't count the Red Wings out just yet.

Matt Murray (N/A) versus Darcy Kuemper (N/A)
It looks like this game could be a wash from the crease tonight, as Darcy Kuemper has indeed been confirmed as the starter for the Coyotes, while Matt Murray is a solid bet to get the start, as the faith in his game has been restored by the coaching staff.  The Penguins do play again on Saturday, in Vegas, so who really knows for sure?

Linus Ullmark (Steve) versus Thatcher Demko (N/A)
The Buffalo Sabres are also riding a hot hand with Linus Ullmark going back to the crease tonight, offering Steve another start to help try and track down Tony's team for the Mover & Shaker this week.  The Sabres are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks and they'll be debuting one of their top prospects this season, Thatcher Demko getting the call tonight, looking for support for a selection in the second player swap of the year.

Morning Player Notes (Jan 18)

The Carolina Hurricanes announced on Thursday that goaltender Curtis McElhinney is dealing with a lower-body concern and that his availability for Friday was in doubt.  The team later recalled Alex Nedeljkovic from the AHL, likely to back-up Petr Mrazek for the game against the Senators.  There was no indication of the severity of the injury, so we'll just consider it to be a day-to-day issue for right now.

Since the start of Week Ten, Wilton hasn't had the most work out of McElhinney, acquiring him in the first player swap of the year.  In eight appearances, the veteran keeper has 4 wins and 8 points, but his progress will now be put on hold, due to the injury.  Wilton's team currently sits 12th, 43 points out of the money and desperate for more luck.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were without forward Tyler Johnson for the 3rd period of their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, the winger was held out of the final frame with a lower-body injury.  The team's coaching staff said that Johnson would be reevaluated today and there will likely be more details to come.  The Lightning host the Sharks on Saturday night, we should probably hear more about the injury by then.

This should definitely be a concern for Grant's team, which has been struggling in Week Sixteen, sharing the Basement Dweller spot at 7 points and the team's grip on 3rd place is certainly waning.  If there is a significant injury here, that could be the stumbling block that knocks Grant out of the money.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Goalie Announcements (Jan 17)

Week Sixteen is just flying along!  We're already at Thursday night and we've got a bit of action going on the NHL schedule.  Seven games are on the schedule tonight and the pool is still collecting points at 13 per NHL game.

The race for the Mover & Shaker is heating up and Tony took the lead after Wednesday night, leaping over a bunch of teams to now lead at 17 points.  Eric was one of those teams Tony had to jump and he's keeping up, now at 16 points, while Steve and Brian are at 15 points and there are six more teams within a shutout of the lead.

Neil was left behind a little bit, as his team has struggled to pick up points this week, only sitting with 5 points through Wednesday's action.  Wes and Grant have also struggled, only 1 point up on Neil's team, and there's another six teams within a shutout of the bottom too.

Not too many teams left in the middle between the top and bottom, so that is making for a great races on either side.

Jake Allen (Steve) versus Tuukka Rask (Jesse)
Steve's team is looking good this week, as mentioned above, and he's getting a start from the visiting Blues in Boston.  Jake Allen gets the nod once again, currently ranking 18th among all goalies this season.  The platoon situation in Boston continues to rotate, as Jesse gets another start out of Tuukka Rask, the 24th ranked goalie in the pool this year.  The Rask-Halak combo has been very good for Boston, but hell for the poolies that have them, not getting true number one minutes out of either of them.

Mackenzie Blackwood (N/A) versus Robin Lehner (Chelsea)
I haven't seen any confirmation on the Islanders goalie tonight, the only one I'm missing at the time of publishing this post, but it does seem fair to think that Chelsea will get another start out of Robin Lehner, since he has been playing so well of late.  Again, not confirmed, but it does seem fairly likely.

Collin Delia (N/A) versus Henrik Lundqvist (Scott)
Scott's team has been doing fairly well this week, among those teams at 13 points at the start of play tonight and his goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, and the Rangers get the struggling Blackhawks at home, which has a fine chance at producing 2 more points.  The Rangers have been riding their number one as much as they possibly can, but the team hasn't exactly been rewarding that effort, as he only has 28 points in 33 appearances this season.

Frederik Andersen (Derek B.) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.)
The number four goalie meets the number three goalie in Tampa Bay tonight, which could mean that we could see one hell of a goalie duel between the Maple Leafs and the Lightning.  Both pool teams matched up here are sitting in the bottom half of the weekly scoring, with Derek leading 12-9, both teams fairly clear of the basement, but still close enough that a big let down can see them in the conversation by the weekend.

Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy) versus Pekka Rinne (John P.)
Huge match-up in Nashville tonight, as the Jets and Predators are playing for Central Division supremacy.  The Jets lead the Preds by 2 points in the standings, with a couple of games in hand, but the Predators haven't been slouching of late, so this is going to be one hell of a game.  The two number ones go here tonight, Jeremy and John P. will each collect a start in this one, Jeremy is in the mix for the Mover & Shaker, while John is trying to avoid the basement, making this game even more interesting.

John Gibson (Kristy & Don) versus Alex Stalock (Ryan)
Two straight starts for Alex Stalock, which probably means that Ryan thinks it's Christmas all over again.  Ryan's team is on track to set a new season-high in goalie minutes played at this rate, all he would need is one more start from either goalie and it looks like he'll probably get that, so it is Christmas in January for Ryan!  No surprises at the other end, as John Gibson goes for the Ducks and the duo on the road.  The duo are sitting with 9 points this week, only 4 points clear of the basement.

Jack Campbell (N/A) versus Ben Bishop (Clayton)
Clayton's team is in the mix for the Mover & Shaker this week and his team is getting a start in the late game tonight, as the Dallas Stars will go back to Ben Bishop to take on the Los Angeles Kings.  Clayton's team is at 13 points this week and Bishop is currently ranked 13th among all goalies with 35 points, so things are looking favourable for a win tonight against a Kings team that is last in the west.