Friday, January 13, 2012

Draft Player News (Jan. 13)

The return of Peter Mueller finally happened for the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night, when they took on the Predators in Nashville, which meant that someone had to come out of the line-up to make room. Surprisingly, it was David Jones, who has been fairly productive this season for Colorado, picking up 15 points in 36 games to this point in the year.  With the Avalanche struggling to keep pace in the Northwest, mildly productive isn't likely enough, so a scratch will hopefully give Jones some motivation to get his game going again.

At least that's what Peter H. is hoping for, as he continues to make his ascent up the lower portion of the standings in Week Fifteen.  The potential mover and shaker of the week could use a big weekend to climb into the 300-point bracket overall and start challenging for the top ten in the second half of the season.

There was a slight switcheroo done in the Red Wings line-up on Thursday night, just before they took on the Coyotes at home, as Pavel Datsyuk returned to the line-up from a lower-body injury and Todd Bertuzzi came out of the line-up, with a lower-body injury.  Bertuzzi was a last minute scratch from the line-up, likely for the same sort of reason that Datsyuk came out, more precautionary and/or maintenance related.  The Red Wings should continue to be a playoff team through the stretch, so it would be wise on their part to make sure their key components are ready for the Spring Dance.

Just another hurdle for the last place team to jump over (or try to) this season.  Bertuzzi belongs to Darren S., who can't seem to dodge the big medicine balls that are injuries or other tough luck situations in the pool this year.

The Los Angeles Kings are holding their collective breaths, as they await the injury news on their best forward, Anze Kopitar, who suffered an upper-body injury after being hit by Stars' forward Brendan Morrow. Kopitar left the game in the 3rd period, after scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists, which made him unavailable for overtime or the shootout, which his Kings had lost in the end.  If the injury is serious, I'm thinking we will hear more about it soon, but otherwise, the Kings may wait until the weekend to disclose any new information.

This news likely won't sink Peter in the Week Fifteen scoring standings, as his team has been the hottest in the pool, through Thursday night's action, with 25 points, but he has just worked himself into a spot where he can reach some higher ground in the standings.  If Kopitar is seriously hurt, that could ki-bosh that thought in a hurry.

Very concerning news for fantasy owners of Niklas Backstrom, as he was a straight-up healthy scratch on Thursday night, when the team took on the Blackhawks in Chicago.  Josh Harding received the start, as Backstrom has not played up to the quality that he has been known for over the last couple of years and Matthew Hackett received the back-up assignment, as he was up to possibly back-up Backstrom, if Harding couldn't go because of the flu.  This could be nothing, but this could plant the seed of doubt out there.

I know Leon G. is hoping that this is nothing, as he is still hoping for some kind of positive from this season.  Leon's goaltending production in the pool hasn't been bad this year, picking up 70 points from his tandem, which is well above average in the pool this season, but he'll need that to remain, if he has any hope for a third segment prize.

A sore shoulder is to blame for Brandon Dubinsky's absence from the Rangers' line-up on Thursday nigh, when the team took on the Senators. It sounds like the shoulder is just experiencing some general soreness, which hasn't been pinpointed to a certain event in the last few days, but Dubinsky has not been able to practice much, taking to the ice on Friday, but unable to complete the whole practice.  He is considered day-to-day at the moment.

Jani K.'s spot in the top 10 is fairly safe, as of Friday afternoon, as he has a 25-point gap between himself in 10th and Allan S. in 11th, so the Dubinsky injury shouldn't sink him much at all in the standings, if Dubinsky has to miss another game or two.  This may hinder Jani's ability to battle with the three teams that are within 3 points of him in the standings, working on that battle for 7th place.  That's about all I can see in this injury at the moment.

On Friday, the Phoenix Coyotes have continued their disdain for young players in their line-up, as David Rundblad, who has been more a healthy scratch than a roster player since his acquisition from Ottawa, has now been sent down to the minors to get some ice-time.  This actually falls in line with what had happened in the early years of Kyle Turris' stay in Phoenix, the player Rundblad was dealt for, as youth was not a very high priority on coach Tippett's roster plan.  I would think that Rundblad's chances of re-joining the line-up will have a lot more to do with injuries than his own play this season.

Derek W. was looking for a home run out of Rundblad and there were a lot of scouts and prognosticators that were saying that you could swing for the fences with Rundblad this season.  Unfortunately, that hasn't panned out.  Rundblad was not terribly successful with the Senators and his move to Phoenix may have sealed his fate for failure in the 2012 season, but do keep an eye on him for next season.

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