We're already a couple games deep on Sunday afternoon, just waiting on the last game of the Week Twenty-Three schedule, but I thought I would get a couple of notes done, so they don't hold up the Newsletter in the morning.
Let's start with the Rangers, who played back-to-back games this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Forward Derick Brassard was unable to go on Saturday against the Red Wings, because of a bout of the flu. The Blueshirts were unable to pull out a win in that one and they were still unable to pick up a win on Sunday, when Brassard returned to the lineup, as they dropped a decision against the Penguins this afternoon.
Brassard has been a big figure in the lineup for Brenda & Seward this season, having 51 points in 67 games after today's loss, and his numbers have been a huge help to their current 2nd place standing as well. He has been a bargain pick for the duo, taken in the 5th round, 120th overall and currently ranked 55th overall.
The Dallas Stars are having all kinds of injury troubles this season, so they are definitely in need of everyone else to step up and deliver with men being down. Mattias Janmark has been in a bit of a funk of late, so the coaching staff opted to try someone else in his spot to help the team out on Saturday night against St. Louis. It didn't really work, since the team still dropped a 5-4 decision to their Central Division rivals.
Janmark was a Week Eighteen Waiver Draft pick-up for Clayton this year and has been a positive player since being picked up, 3 points better than his corresponding drop. Still, it hasn't really helped Clayton's team too much, as it still sits in 14th place, right in the middle of the pack.
An upper-body injury was to blame for Jordin Tootoo's absence on Saturday night, as the Devils took on the Kings in Los Angeles, and his current status is just day-to-day right now. There's no how, where or why to this news byte, just that he sat out. The Devils next play again on Monday night in Anaheim, so we'll keep an eye on his status moving forward.
Wes' team just can't catch much of a break this week, as the injuries are really starting to pile up. His PIM pool lead is still holding fairly steady, despite the bodies going down, but no one can be sure if that's really going to last. Waiting on the last game of the week, his team still has a 26-minute lead over Derek & Dan.
That one healthy scratch for the Islanders that slips through the cracks from time to time, Marek Zidlicky, reared its ugly head again on Saturday afternoon, just before Long Island's loss to the Bruins. Zidlicky has been a healthy scratch on a number of occasions, but sometimes gets missed here on the blog. The Islanders are hanging on in the Eastern Conference playoff race and that's without the veteran defender from time-to-time.
These are the sort of guys that have been rather unlucky for Benson this year. His team hasn't been too bad this week, picking up 18 points, through most of Sunday's action. It won't be a Basement Dweller week for his side, which is definitely a positive.
It was believed that Michal Neuvirth should have gotten the start for the Flyers on Saturday against the Panthers, but a stomach virus got the best of him, forcing the Flyers to call up Anthony Stolarz to back-up Steve Mason for the night. I would imagine that he may need a day or two to get over that bug, but the Flyers don't play again until Tuesday, so there should be enough time in there to get better. No word on whether or not he'll get the next start though.
This probably should be considered a missed start for Neil's keeper, as his team continues to chase down 3rd place. His side is now in 5th place again, now 4 points out of 3rd place, where Brian occupies at the moment. His team is just a big week away from taking home some cash this year.
In today's game between the Lightning and the Blue Jackets, Tampa forward Nikita Kucherov left the game early after taking a sucker punch from Columbus' Dalton Prout, suffering an upper-body injury and not returning to the game. Kucherov's status was still a bit cloudy after the game, but the coaching staff did suggest that the injury isn't too serious and he shouldn't miss too much time at all. Earlier, the Lightning had also lost Valtteri Filppula to an upper-body injury as well, but I don't see much for details on that one and his status is still in need of a proper update.
Kucherov did pick up an assist in the game before he left, so that's good news for Ryan, amongst some bad news. Ryan's team is now sitting in 8th place, 26 points out of the money spots, but still has his huge lead in the rookie pool, so that's okay. Filppula belongs to Benson this year and his team is trying to stay out of the basement, now 22 points up on 27th place, with four weeks to play.
Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website