Sunday, October 23, 2011

Draft Player News (Oct. 23)

It's been a very rough start for Sabres sophomore Tyler Ennis. Having no points in the first seven games of the regular season and now having left Saturday night's game against the Lightning with an ankle injury, you could understand how discouraged he probably feels right now.

There has been no mention of how much time the team expects to be without Ennis, but I'm sure when the update drops, if it is longer than day-to-day, there will be a blog post update.

Ennis belongs to Peter H., who unofficially ended Saturday action in 14th place, now 13 points out of 3rd place and 5 points out of the top 10.  Peter's strength in the pool is his goaltending, but even then, he's still only in the middle of the pack at this point this year.  If Ennis is out long-term, it could really hurt his team going forward.

It sounds like the Red Wings are going to do their best not to push Tomas Holmstrom too hard this season, trying to keep him at his best for the bulk of the season and then into the playoffs. The suggestion is that Holmstrom will not play the second half of any back-to-back nights this season, which would explain why he was a healthy scratch on Saturday night.  This will likely restrict Holmstrom's season to 70 games, barring injury, which he might have played under regular circumstances, as an injury-prone player.

Holmstrom has been effective in his time in the line-up this season, having 3 assists in the first four games of his season and if he can remain fresh, he could still be good for 60 points this year, likely turning it up when the games begin to get more meaningful.

Arguably, in the hockey pools, you would want to see a player in the line-up every night, but for Munden G., keeping Holmstrom healthier for longer is a much better situation than anything.  Munden is in the thick of the good races, currently sitting in 9th, but is only 5 points out of 3rd place.

Some cramping forced Jose Theodore out of the Panthers' net on Saturday night, as they took on the Islanders. Theodore finished up two periods of play, but was not able to come out for the 3rd period, when the game was tied at 2-2, so rookie Jacob Markstrom stepped in for a relief appearance and he was able to make 18 saves in relief, picking up the win in Theodore's stead.

Since this was only some cramping, I would expect Theodore to be back in the nets in their next game on Monday in Montreal.  This should not be considered serious.

Likely, this was a disappointment for the draft leader, Wayne H., who has been building a pretty good lead in Week Three, re-taking the lead early on and going for a run with it.  Wayne missed out on a couple more points, having them sniped by the rookie, but it doesn't sound like he'll miss any more time going forward.

Cramping seemed to be a popular way to leave a game on Saturday night, as Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers was also felled by some muscle spasms in his game against the Oilers. Lundqvist was not having a good game, already down 2-0 in the 3rd period, when he left the game, leaving Marty Biron to deal with the remainder of the game.

The Rangers number one goaltender was back in practice on Sunday morning, so the injury is not considered serious and he should be ready for their game in Winnipeg on Monday night.

Unlike Theodore's predicament, where he possibly lost out on some points in the pool, Lundqvist was already scheduled to take the loss, which meant that Stuart G. was unlikely going to claim some points in this game.  Stuart currently sits in 3rd place, already 14 points behind 1st place, but 4 points up on 4th place.  Having his 1st round pick healthy will be important and there doesn't look like there will be much doubt there today.

Bigger things were expected of defenseman Jason Demers in the early part of the regular season and the coaching staff wanted to make that point loud and clear, as they recalled Justin Braun to take his spot in the line-up, making Demers into a healthy scratch on Saturday night against the Bruins.

Demers only has 2 assists in five games for the Sharks this season, which obviously doesn't sit well with the coaching staff.  The Sharks do have a lot of firepower in their top pairing, but they would like to see some more offense from their other pairings and they have pointed Demers out as one of those players that should be doing better.

I would think that Derek W. would also like Demers to have a few more points, as his team has been mired in some slumps early on this season.  After Saturday's action, Derek's team sits in 19th spot, already 18 points out of 3rd place.  Since this demotion is only a healthy scratch, I wouldn't expect Demers to miss too much time, but he could miss another game, giving Braun a proper trial.

After a massive collision with the Flyers' Chris Pronger, David Backes was forced to leave Saturday night's game with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Speculation was running rampant after the game that the injury could either be concussion or shoulder related, but the team was in no big rush to give an update on his condition. On Sunday morning, the word was that he was feeling better, but without an official word, it wouldn't be wise to speculate further.  Of course, if the injury is confirmed to be major, expect another update.

This season, Backes is off to somewhat of a slow start, only scoring 2 goals and an assist in the first eight games of the year, so this injury might be just another insult to his start.  The Blues have been starting to turn their early season poor start around, but losing their captain will likely hurt quite a bit.

Despite having a slow start, a long-term injury to Backes will not sit well with Niesa S., as her team has been climbing the ranks with a good week, moving up to 8th place after Saturday night's action, sitting only 6 points back of 3rd place at the moment.  If this injury is long-term, her team will have to continue using its depth to pick up points, like it has in Week Three.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are being extra cautious with their number one goaltender, as James Reimer has suffered what appears to be a head injury, when he had collided with the Canadiens' Brian Gionta in the 2nd period of their game on Saturday night. Reimer did finish the period, but did not come back out for the 3rd period, giving Jonas Gustavsson a relief appearance and the win in the end.

Reimer has already been ruled out of Monday night's game, again, for precautionary reasons, but will be re-evaluated in the next couple of days to see what the extent of the injury is.  Of course, the biggest fear is that he has suffered a concussion, which will keep him out of the line-up for at least a week.

In six appearances this season, Reimer has a record of 4-0-1, with a shutout, giving him 10 points to start the year.  His presence will sorely be missed, especially if this is a long-term injury.

This could be very bad news for Jani K., who has nearly seen a quarter of his points come from Reimer in this early part of the year and he's already down in 19th spot in the standings.  If Reimer is gone for any significant amount of time, his 11-point gap to 21st might evaporate.  He'll need a better effort from the rest of his pool team and soon.

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