Saturday, March 19, 2016

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 19)

There have been notions floating around the Flames roster, that their recently acquired goalie, Niklas Backstrom may get a start here very soon.  The veteran keeper actually dressed for a game, playing back-up to Joni Ortio against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, which made Jonas Hiller into a healthy scratch for that game.

Of the three goalies, Hiller was the only one left active in the pool, as the plethora of Flames goalies taken in the pool this year, diminished quite quickly through the Waiver Drafts, because they weren't winning or playing much.  Hiller, who belongs to Grant, may see a diminishing role, as we come down to the end of the season.

Also missing from the Flames/Avalanche game last night was forward Matt Duchene, who is being listed as out day-to-day with a knee injury, but that's about it.  There isn't much for details on the injury to Duchene and with the playoffs right around the corner, the league's inability to force clubs to disclose details about injuries... we're all going to have to sit and wait this one out.

The wait might just kill Jeremy, as his team sits atop the standings, only by about 5 points, and if Duchene is going to be out for any significant period of time, his knuckles may turn into a paler shade of white, as he hangs on for dear life.  Jeremy's team has spread the scoring around quite well this year and Duchene has accounted for 9.6% of his total scoring, which will be a huge blow, if he can't recover in the next three weeks.

There was more Avalanche injury news, but from the game itself last night, none of this pregame nonsense.  Forward Nathan MacKinnon was forced from the game with a knee injury of his own, not before picking up an assist in the win.  There were no reports on how serious the injury is, but on Saturday morning, the team has announced that they recalled forward Mikko Rantanen from the AHL, which will be necessary, if neither Duchene or MacKinnon can go in their next game, Sunday evening in Edmonton.

This injury doesn't quite have the urgency to the money race that Duchene's injury does, but for Allan's team, they likely want to stay in the top half of the standings in, what is likely, his last season in the pool.  His team is right in the middle of the standings, sitting in 14th spot, wedged in-between a couple of teams, so there is still some movement to be had.  If this injury is bad, then the movement is likely going in the wrong direction though.

It has been a pretty poor season for Canucks forward Radim Vrbata, who wasn't able to recapture any of that scoring magic that he had in the 2015 season.  Some injury problems did rear their ugly heads and it happened again on Friday night against the Oilers, where he was unable to finish the game, due to a lower-body injury.  There wasn't much listed for Vrbata on Saturday morning, but there should be more updates before tonight's game against St. Louis.  If there is anything major going on, expect to see something on the blog.

John P.'s team is really trying to keep pace with Brian's team, as they battle for 3rd place, and a shot at this week's Mover & Shaker nod in the Newsletter.  John's team is only 4 points behind, but this injury will be setback to his attempt at making a run for some money.  With only three weeks to go, he'll need every hand on deck for this race.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

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