Hey look! I've found some time to sit down and do up some blogging. That's some good news. I will get through as much as I can here, it may not be too complete, but we'll hope for the best here. It's been a pretty hectic week and we are coming up close to the next Waiver Draft, so I will be getting my act back together here soon... I hope!
We'll start from the beginning, back on Monday... the Tampa Bay Lightning have been without defenseman Victor Hedman since the beginning of the week, due to that nasty illness that has been circulating around the league. He has missed all three weekday games in Week Fifteen, but there is a good chance he will be ready to go tonight in Arizona. Stuart's team could really use him back, as he sits amidst the basement dwellers this week.
Also on Monday, the Capitals were without the services of John Carlson, due to a lower-body injury that he suffered over the weekend and he has yet to suit up for a game this week. He's still listed as out day-to-day and it sounds like he will not be playing tonight, when the Capitals visit the Stars in Dallas. Stacey M. is another one of those teams vying for the Basement Dweller spot this week, with only 8 points, and missing out on another game here will definitely hurt her team's cause.
The Arizona Coyotes granted forward Martin Hanzal a leave of absence for some personal family matters and he has missed a couple of games already. There is some speculation out there, that he could be back for tonight's game against the Lightning, but that has yet to be confirmed. He's got a day-to-day status pinned on him, which doesn't help Jeremy too much, but his team is doing alright this week, already picking up 20 points and sitting in 9th.
The season for Semyon Varlamov continues to be a rocky road, as his lower-body injury is in fact, a groin problem, and the Avalanche have now shut him down this week, starting on Wednesday night, giving him a couple of weeks off to rest. This now gives Kristy & Don no goaltenders moving forward, but their 21st place team wasn't looking to win the overall race, rather they are now hunting for penalty minutes.
The Los Angeles Kings were without forward Anze Kopitar for a couple of games, due to that mutant illness, but he was back in the lineup, much to the delight of Benson, who has seen his team drop well out of the money, but still in the overall race. His team will open Saturday's action in 8th place, 18 points out of the money.
San Jose forward Logan Couture seemed to react much better to the flu, as his body was able to recover much quickly, missing only one game this week with the illness. He was back on Thursday night, scoring the winning goal against the Lightning. Brenda & Seward are right in the thick of the money mix, 3 points out of 3rd place to start action on Saturday afternoon, but a little short on projected games. On a lesser note, Joonas Donskoi has been drawing the ire of the coaching staff this season and he was a healthy scratch earlier in the week, but made his return to the lineup, when Couture couldn't play. This hasn't brought Stacey C.'s team down this week at all, as they are 2 points back of the Mover & Shaker this week.
The Winnipeg Jets' goaltending situation is been a source of discontent these days and this week, they made the recall of veteran keeper Ondrej Pavelec to take on the Coyotes on Wednesday night, a game in which he won. The odd-man out became Grant's goalie, Michael Hutchinson, as he was up in the press box having a look. The Jets will be an interesting team to watch in the next few weeks, leading up to the trade deadline.
On Thursday night, the Calgary Flames opted to give forward Sam Bennett the night off, as the 20-year old has been tapped as a kid that could use a night up in the press box, just get a little bit of rest and perspective, this coming off a poor game, as per the coaching staff. I would assume that he'll be good to go for tonight's Battle of Alberta, as the Flames will need his grit tonight. Marcie could also use the points and penalty minutes, as her team is right in the thick of both races.
More Colorado Avalanche news in the week, as defenseman Tyson Barrie was held out of Thursday night's game against the Ducks with a lower-body injury. Barrie hasn't practiced since, so his availability for tonight's game in San Jose is doubtful, at best. Mike's team hasn't been very lucky this season and another injury to his skaters is not going to help.
News at the top of the table, as the 1st place team today, belonging to Brian, will be without defenseman Jonas Brodin for the foreseeable future, due to a broken finger. Brodin was a Waiver Draft pick-up for Brian, picking up 6 points in 19 games, since being activated, but it sounds like he'll be out of action for a couple weeks, at least, maybe more. Brodin has already missed one game and Brian now looks ahead, clinging on to 1st place, thanks to the first tie-breaker.
An upper-body injury kept Jesper Fast out of the Rangers' lineup on Thursday night against the Maple Leafs, an injury he is listed as day-to-day with. There isn't much detail on the injury, like when or how bad, so we'll have to take the day-to-day as gospel for now. Benson, already mentioned in this post, doesn't need to miss more time, as his former 1st place team has been reeling of late and this certainly isn't helping.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently without their top defenseman, as Morgan Rielly suffered a lower-body injury, believed to be his knee, in the week and he has already missed the game against the Rangers and will be a scratch for tonight's game against the Senators. Some initial thoughts about the injury suggested that he could miss a couple of weeks, but he has been on the ice this week, so that timeline might not be too accurate. In 42 games this season, the young defender has 13 PIM, so he hasn't been a real contributor to Kristy & Don's cause for the mini-game money. He may be missed in the Battle of Ontario though... this could get feisty.
The Anaheim Ducks are expected to be without forward Jakob Silfverberg tonight against the Minnesota Wild, due to an upper-body injury. The announcement came on Friday night, that he wouldn't dress and that the Ducks called up Corey Tropp to take his spot. The Swede is day-to-day right now, putting another one of Benson's players on the shelf for the night.
The Florida Panthers allowed back-up goalie James Reimer to leave the team this week to be present for the birth of his child, but as the schedule has played out, it wasn't too likely that he was going to get a start anyways, as Roberto Luongo would have got the best of the playing time, regardless. Reimer could be back this weekend, but whether or not he plays is still up in the air. Eric's team really wasn't missing anything in his absence.
It has been a rough couple of weeks for St. Louis number one Jake Allen and the Blues have finally realized that they may have been working their franchise keeper a little too hard and they are giving him the trip to Winnipeg off, leaving him at home and giving prospect Pheonix Copley the start against the Jets this afternoon. Mike has already been eliminated from the survivor pool and Allen's breakdown was certainly a part of the reason why. His 16th placed team may need some more help at the next Waiver Draft for something else this season.