The Ducks continued to roll through some healthy scratches on Thursday night and in their preparation game (for the Stadium Series game on Saturday) against the Los Angeles Kings, forward Daniel Winnik appeared to be the odd-forward out. Winnik has been pretty decent this year for the Ducks, scoring 1 goal and 19 assists in 50 games, but has found the press box from time to time this year. There is a good chance he'll be good to go for the outdoor game tonight.
This is his first mention on the blog this season, because this is his first active week in the pool, as a second Waiver Draft pick-up for Dale C.. Winnik has only played in one game thus far for Dale, failing to register a point, but his second should be coming up right away.
Even some of the best players in the pool will come down with a bout of the flu and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks is no exception. Keith missed out of Thursday's game against the Minnesota Wild. It was his first game off this season, which is pretty good, and since the Blackhawks don't play again until tomorrow (Sunday), it would seem likely that he should have shaken the bug by then.
Keith has been one of the main reasons why Grant has been in the prize conversation all year long, leading his team with 46 points in 52 games this season. Grant has fallen out of the money now, but with Keith coming back, he'll stay close to the chase.
A lower-body injury forced St. Louis Blues sniper Alexander Steen from the game on Thursday against the New York Rangers. All of the reports since are saying that Steen is doubtful for today's (Saturday) game against the Islanders, since he hasn't been practicing since the injury. There has been no indication of the type of injury that Steen had suffered. Steen had already missed some time with a concussion this year, which took him off his torrid goal-scoring pace.
This is another injury to Grant's team, which has been somewhat unlucky and could partially be blamed for his drop out of the prize positions. Grant goes into Saturday's action only 5 points out of 4th place, but he did have an 18-point lead in the pool at one point, just for perspective purposes.
After being a healthy scratch more often than not for the last few weeks, Carolina Hurricanes rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy was sent down to Charlotte of the AHL on Friday, ahead of Saturday morning's tilt against the Ottawa Senators. It would seem very likely that Murphy was demoted to gain some more ice-time and possibly get his early-season confidence levels back. In 39 games played, Murphy has 2 goals and 9 assists, but has rarely seen any ice-time in the last few weeks to help improve those totals.
Allan, once a pool leader, dropped out of the prizes for a little, now sits in 3rd place, going into Saturday, has now lost a rookie defenseman from his line-up, but that shouldn't really hinder his side too much, as they've been climbing without much input from the young blueliner.
A pair of hockey pool healthy scratches from the Detroit Red Wings, which seems like a hockey pool rarity, but it happened on Friday night. Forward Todd Bertuzzi and defenseman Jakub Kindl were both watching the game against the visiting Montreal Canadiens from the press box, which seemed to do the team some good, as they came away with a 4-1 win. Tough to say if the Red Wings coaching staff will run with the winning line-up, when they host the Florida Panthers on Sunday or give a couple other veterans a rest for the game. Stay tuned.
Bertuzzi belongs to Leo this season, who's team is working their way into the basement of the pool, while Kindl belongs to Benson, who is watching his team claw some points back to climb back into the top half of the pool.
On Wednesday night, Alexsey Emelin was a healthy scratch against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the Habs continue to struggle finding some consistency on their blueline. Emelin did return to the line-up on Friday night against the Red Wings, as Rafael Diaz came out again as a healthy scratch. These two do seem to be trading places more often than not in the last few weeks of the season.
These two defenders switching places hasn't seemed to have detracted from the seasons of Stacey M. and Chris, respectively, as they have both managed to stay in the top four for the better part of the season or the last few weeks, any way.
Reports surfaced on Saturday morning that the Washington Capitals lost the services of forward Mikhail Grabovski on Friday night against the New Jersey Devils, due to a knee injury. Grabovski left the game in the 2nd period and was unable to return, but there was no indication of the severity of the injury on Saturday morning.
Just added woes to the pool's duo, Kristy & Don, who had spent some time atop the standings this year, now sit in 16th place, with very little optimism that they'll even climb back into the top half. A rough year, indeed.