The Buffalo Sabres were forced to add another name to their list of players that couldn't go on Tuesday night, as Thomas Vanek was out for the game against the Penguins due to a bout of the flu. Thankfully for the Sabres, the issue is not a long-term one, like a couple other stars on the team, but he was certainly missed as the Penguins did give Buffalo's playoff hopes a bit of a kick with a 3-1 decision. I would imagine Vanek would be back in for the team's next game.
Sounds like this is nothing more than a little hiccup in Dale B.'s chase for 5th place in the standings. Dale is only 6 points out of 5th place, having lost a little bit of ground in the early part of Week Twenty-Three. With teams ahead of him doing a good job of getting points this week, the overtaking might be put on hold for a bit yet.
Reports out of the Avalanche and Wild game from Tuesday night say that John-Michael Liles left the game with a leg injury and didn't return to action. I haven't seen a replay of the incident as of yet, but there will be tests done on Wednesday to discuss the extent of the injury. If there is anything long-term announced, expect another blog post about it, otherwise consider him day-to-day.
It doesn't seem like Neil B. can catch a break near the end of the season, as he had finally dropped down to 18th spot in the standings, a fall that was a little while in the making. The loss of Liles, be it short-term or long-term, only compounds a late season drop, but I don't think there was much more to be racing for.
A return trip to the press box for Nikolai Zherdev shouldn't come as a big surprise, especially with the Flyers struggling as a team to string together some wins, trying to keep their first place standing in the league. Well, against the Oilers, it was a good time to both sit Zherdev and get back in the win column and they did just that, but I really begin to wonder how many more games Zherdev will actually see down the stretch.
Kristy and Don couldn't quite make the move to drop Zherdev off their team at the second waiver draft, so they had to sit tight with the on-again, off-again forward, who apparently is now off again. With a firm grasp on 2nd place and a widening gap between themselves and 1st place, they might need to become comfortable with their overall standing from here on in.
As I had made mention in the Sheet News post this morning, there were three Coyotes sidelined with lower-body injuries and two of them belonged to teams in the draft, so they're posted here. Both Ray Whitney and Derek Morris were not deemed fit to play against the Canucks on Tuesday night, It looks as though Morris actually left the team's game on Saturday with the injury, but Whitney's circumstances still seem unclear and vague, neither player have a timetable for return at the moment, for whatever that's worth.
There is a notable impact in this byte from Phoenix, as Wayne H. has Whitney and would really like to have him back for the stretch drive. Wayne is only 16 points out of 5th and is in decent shape for the third segment race, so missing out on a forward down this stretch will be tough on his team. Morris, on the other hand, belongs to the 20th place team belonging to Dale C. and there isn't much left there this season.
The Canucks went into Phoenix without Mason Raymond on Tuesday night, as he was injured in the team's last game on Sunday against the Ducks. Raymond suffered a shoulder injury in a collision with Corey Perry on Sunday, leaving the game immediately, but it is rather unclear how much time the diminutive forward may miss with the injury at the moment. There has been some talk that Raymond has been playing with a hurt shoulder for a while now, but that is unconfirmed at the moment. Consider him day-to-day for now.
It hasn't been a terrible year for John P., but it has been far from a great year as well. The loss of Raymond for whatever length will likely only keep John's team in the middle of the pack for the rest of the year. John's team has neither seen the really big highs or lows this year, which is remarkable in itself and is a telling part of where he stands overall this season.
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