The San Jose Sharks went into the break with a couple of key injuries of note and it sounds like one of them will be ready to go, as Logan Couture, who underwent hand surgery a month before the Olympics, trying to get back in time to play for Canada, should be close to 100% when the Sharks hit the ice in Week Twenty. The other injured player is Tomas Hertl, who doesn't appear to be anywhere close and seems likely that he won't be playing any time soon for the Sharks, barring a miracle.
The return is good news for Dale B., who goes into the home stretch in 17th place, 39 points out of the top half. Dale is also waiting on some more news, which may or may not pop up below (intrigue!).
The Montreal Canadiens will be ready to welcome scoring forward Alex Galchenyuk back to their line-up, as he is returning from a broken hand, which he suffered in January. Galchenyuk was scoring at just over half a point-per-game at the time of his injury, scoring 10 goals in 44 games and his energy is also a huge plus in the line-up. Max Pacioretty, who left the Habs last regular season game with a lower-body injury, did end up play for Team USA in the Olympics, which means he should be a-okay to go when the Canadiens hit the ice.
Galchenyuk belongs to Stacey M. this season in the draft, who goes into the post-Olympic stretch in 5th place, only 4 points out of 1st place. Getting a forward back will be a huge boost for the stretch. Pacioretty will return for Wes, who starts in 15th place, 22 points out of 12th.
Sounds like Mikhail Grabovski should be good to for the Washington Capitals this week, as he has been out since the end of January with an ankle injury. Grabovski missed eight games before the break and likely took advantage of the break with some quality rest. It sounds like defenseman Mike Green should also be good to go for the Caps, as he has reported that his baseline tests have been passed and it has been a few weeks since he suffered his last concussion, so all systems should be go.
Both players play for the pool's duo, Kristy & Don, who restart the season in 19th place, well out of contention of just about everything. In the third segment, they are already 37 points out of top spot, mired in a tie for 22nd.
The Detroit Red Wings are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, already knowing they'll likely be without their captain for the remainder of the regular season, they are expecting some good news after the break, as both forward Johan Franzen and defenseman Jakub Kindl are projected to return to the line-up from injury. Franzen skipped the Olympics with a concussion, while Kindl also had to skip the tournament with a lower-body injury, both being cleared ahead of the return to action.
Grant, a one-time leader in the pool, now sitting 12th, 26 points out of 1st, will welcome Franzen back to his line-up, while Benson, who is chasing Grant for 12th place, 16 points behind, has Kindl coming back.
On Thursday, Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Bonino confirmed that he will return from an upper-body injury, which had him on the Injured Reserve since the end of January. There was no indication what his upper-body was, but he has said that he is 100% and ready to go. Bonino has been good this season for Anaheim, having 40 points in 56 games this year.
Since being picked up in the first Waiver Draft of the season, Bonino has been excellent (when healthy) for Stacey M., scoring 25 points in 30 games. This makes two key returns for Stacey, in her quest for back-to-back wins in the hockey pool.
A couple of injured bodies before the break look to be ready to go this week. Defenseman Chris Phillips is set to return from a hip injury, which has kept him out for nearly a month before the Olympics, while forward Clarke MacArthur suffered a foot injury in the week before, but was taking regular line rushes at practice over the weekend and should be ready to go. Ottawa is in the mix for a playoff spot and is getting two good players back in the line-up, so they'll be ready to make a push.
Also looking to make a push, Brenda's team sits in 10th place, only 17 points back and will get Phillips back, while Ryan V., who sits in 22nd, will try to stay out of the basement with MacArthur back in his line-up.
The days leading up to the March 5th trade deadline will feature Buffalo forward Matt Moulson, likely in large quantities, as he is likely to be dealt in the Sabres rebuild plans. Moulson is returning from an upper-body injury, which has been revealed to be an arm injury, which he suffered in the last couple weeks before the break. He will be able to return to boost his trade value, which is already pretty high, having 33 points in 51 games between Long Island and Buffalo. Also returning from injury will be defenseman Tyler Myers, who suffered a lower-body injury, just before the break. Myers is back practicing with the team and is expected in the line-up.
Wes, who has already appeared on the post once, will get a second player back in his line-up, but this could have be too little, too late for him. For Benson, he gets a second blueliner back in his line-up, a blueline that has scored 82 points this season for him, just slightly below-average (87) heading into the return.
The Vancouver Canucks, who were mired with injury before the break, will get both forward Henrik Sedin and defenseman Kevin Bieksa back from injury, as they reset their systems from a horrifying losing streak into the break. Sedin is returning from a rib injury, which kept him out of the Olympics, while Bieksa was out with a foot injury, speculated to be a fractured foot.
Tony will be happy to see Henrik back in his line-up, but again, it could be too little, too late for his team. Tony's team is still banged up, heading back from the break and he's mired way down in the standings as well. As for Bieksa, he plays on Clayton's team, which sits in 8th, 11 points out of 1st. Bieksa could figure 11 points in the last seven weeks, which could be a difference maker.
The infection that Evander Kane had in his hand has reportedly subsided and the scoring forward is back at practice with the Winnipeg Jets, as they prepare for the return to action this week. Kane had been dealing with injuries with his hand all season long, which has hampered his numbers, only scoring 29 points in 42 games for the Jets. If he is 100%, it will be interesting to see how he helps his team, which sits only 2 points out of a playoff spot.
Kane, who belongs to John, who now sits in the pool basement for projected games played, thanks to the season-ending injury to Canucks forward Mike Santorelli, but does get all of his games from Kane, in the projected sense. John starts the home stretch in 20th place.