Saturday, January 19, 2019
On Saturday morning, the NHL announced that they have officially replaced Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils on the Metropolitan Division All-Star team with his teammate Kyle Palmieri, as Hall has been out since Christmas with a lower-body injury. There has been no real indication of a return date for Hall, other than to say that he has been ruled out of this afternoon's game against Anaheim and then they start a CBA mandated bye week, ahead of the All-Star break.
Palmieri was a part of the vote for the Last Man Voted contest, but ended up losing out to Kris Letang of the Penguins, but with this injury replacement, he still makes it in. In 47 games, he has 22 goals and 38 points, good enough for 78th overall in pool scoring.
The removal of Hall now takes Mike's only player out of the All-Star festivities and the addition of Palmieri is an add for Brenda & Seward's pool team, who now have two players going to next weekend's tourney.
The St. Louis Blues have announced from their morning skate that forward David Perron will sit out tonight for the game against the Ottawa Senators, due to an upper-body injury. There was no more details given about the injury, so we will consider him day-to-day for now and with the All-Star break only a few days away, there may not be any rush to bring him back either. On the plus side, it sounds like Alexander Steen is a game-time decision for the club, possibly taking Perron's spot. Steen has been out for the last couple weeks with an upper-body injury as well.
So, it's a missed skater game coming up for Steve's team and the possibility of a return for Stacey C.'s pool team tonight. Steve's team is close to the top of the weekly standings, heading into play today with 19 points, while Stacey's team is down at 13 points, 1 point clear of the bottom and could really use this return.
We have ourselves an early start in Saturday's schedule, so the rush is on to get this all posted and done with... not to mention a whole boatload of guess work, since only a few goalies have been confirmed by this point.
Brian caught up to Tony in the Mover & Shaker race on Friday night, both teams have 25 points heading into today's schedule. Stuart is up with 24 points, helping to increase his overall lead, but a weekly nod would be extra frosting on the cake. Eric's team rounds out the shutout reach at 21 points, but there's still lots of action and teams within striking range yet.
Grant and Wes continue to share the basement, each team sitting with 12 points, but there are eight teams within 4 points, a shutout, of those two, so if any one of these teams were to stumble this weekend, it's a short fall to where the big chest freezer is kept.
John Gibson (Kristy & Don) versus Mackenzie Blackwood (N/A)
The Ducks are going back to the well with John Gibson, according to one report this morning, as they get the matinee game in New Jersey against the Devils. The duo are sitting on the door step for the Mover & Shaker, up at 20 points and they could be in pretty good shape with a road win from these Ducks. One really begins to wonder if they'll burn Gibson out here before too long.
Jonathan Quick (Derek B.) versus Semyon Varlamov (Wilton)
No confirmations for the Kings and the Avalanche this afternoon, both sides have been quiet this morning, so we're just posting the number ones for good measure. It could be a battle of the Dereks in the pool in this game, which really has no overall value, but Wilton's team could really use the 2 points to help his side back into the top 10 and stay well clear of the basement.
Craig Anderson (Mike) versus Jordan Binnington (N/A)
We do know that the Blues are going to be going with their rookie goalie (and Week Eighteen Waiver Draft hopeful) Jordan Binnington tonight against the Senators, but we haven't seen confirmation on the Senators goalie quite yet. Craig Anderson did return to the lineup, albeit in a backup role, this week, so there's a fine chance that he'll get the nod today, which would be huge news for Mike's team, which has managed to stay in the top 10 in his absence.
Connor Hellebuyck (Jeremy) versus Ben Bishop (Clayton)
The Dallas Stars confirmed that Ben Bishop will get the start tonight against their division rivals from Winnipeg. Clayton's team hasn't had much for consistency for games played and starts this week, so he's happy to see one more tonight, with his team at 17 points this week, 8 points back of the top. No confirmation for the Jets, as of first thing this morning, but it does seem fair to think a division game will put Hellebuyck in the crease.
Henrik Lundqvist (Scott) versus Tuukka Rask (Jesse)
This was a completely confirmed game this morning, as Lundqvist and Rask are your starters for the Rangers and Bruins tonight in Boston. Scott's team has been doing fairly well this week, up at 18 points, while Jesse's hasn't been too bad, but not quite as productive, at 16 points. Both teams are actually closer to the basement than the top, so a win here could do wonders for keeping them clear.
Carter Hart (N/A) versus Antti Niemi (N/A)
The Canadiens played last night, while the Flyers are looking to go with their fresh new franchise goalie, which makes the this game in Montreal a bit of a wash, by the look of things. Neither goalie was actually confirmed at this point, but it did seem fairly safe to assume.
Martin Jones (Brenda & Seward) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.)
There were strong indications that Andrei Vasilevskiy would be the starter for the Tampa Bay Lightning from the morning skate, so he's more-or-less confirmed to go tonight, giving Dale C. some help to stay out of the basement this week. His team opens play only 1 point clear of the bottom. The pool's second duo should expect to see their keeper for San Jose, given the opponent and how the Sharks' schedule looks.
James Reimer (Dale C.) versus Juuse Saros (Eric)
The indication from the morning skate is that Nashville will be going with Juuse Saros tonight against the visiting Panthers, which is good news for Eric's team, as it tries to chase down his first Mover & Shaker nod of the season. A win here would keep him in good shape, heading into Sunday. The Panthers played last night, so the assumption, not confirmation, is that James Reimer would get the nod tonight, which could give Dale C. two starts tonight.
Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don) versus Devan Dubnyk (Wes)
Nothing confirmed here for the Blue Jackets and Wild game, but with Columbus going with Joonas Korpisalo last night against the Canadiens and the Wild not having played last night, the match-up above seems very, very likely. Both goalies are workhorses and there is very little reason why this match-up can't happen.
Casey DeSmith (Benson) versus Marc-Andre Fleury (Troy)
No goalies confirmed here, as of first thing on Saturday morning, but this is the match-up that I am expecting. The Penguins went to Matt Murray last night in Arizona and they really shouldn't be pushing him too hard, so Casey DeSmith should get the call. Then the question becomes, why wouldn't Marc-Andre Fleury play against his former team?
David Rittich (Ryan) versus Mikko Koskinen (Tony)
This doesn't appear to be your grandfather's Battle of Alberta with this possible goalie match-up, does it? The Flames are on back-to-backs and they are a little more predictable, to say that they will be going with the goalie that didn't start the night before, so we're expecting, although not confirmed, David Rittich in net tonight. His counterpart is expected to be Mikko Koskinen, but again... not confirmed. Who would have seen this goalie match-up, considering them as number ones, coming in the preseason?
The Pittsburgh Penguins made the decision on Friday night to sit defenseman Jamie Oleksiak for their game against the Arizona Coyotes, probably more to give him the night off more than anything else, but his last five games have been fairly uneventful, no points and 7 PIM, and they may not have really needed his dominating size against an agile Coyotes team that would probably skate circles around him. The Penguins are in Vegas tonight and there's a good chance that they will need his size to clear out some of those pesky Golden Knights from in front of their net.
Brian's team has been doing well, despite this one scratch last night, as it is in the race for the Mover & Shaker this week, tied for top spot at 25 points and still has a solid number of games left to be played. Oleksiak was one of Brian's Waiver Draft picks this season, but hasn't collected much from him, 1 assist in 13 games.
Friday, January 18, 2019
On Friday, the NHL's Department of Player Safety made a ruling on Nashville's Ryan Johansen, giving him a 2-game suspension for a reckless high-stick on Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele on Thursday night. The high-sticking call was for an inadvertent chop to the head of the Jets forward in trying to pivot past him, which also earned him a penalty on the ice.
What this means is that Johansen will now miss Saturday's home game against the Panthers and Monday's contest in Colorado and will be eligible to return on Wednesday for their visit to Sin City.
Johansen has been very good for the Predators this season, scoring 8 goals and 42 points in 49 games, which puts him 59th in scoring, with play already started on Friday night.
Steve picked up the Nashville centre in the 4th round of the draft, 88th overall, so he is certainly getting a good return for an early round pick this season. One of a number of good picks on Steve's team, which has helped him into the top 10 this year, after a disappointing debut season last year.
Well, we'll start at the bottom of the weekly scoring standings today, because that's where the story really is this week. If you've looked at the standings this morning, you'd notice that 3rd and 4th place in the overall standings, Grant and Wes, are currently holding on to a tie for the Basement Dweller, each with 7 points. Both teams have lost ground on the top two teams and now teams below them are gaining ground, which has to be a concern for them, but it's fun to watch, is it not?
Tony has started to run away with the Mover & Shaker, now 4 points clear of Eric's team for the weekly congratulations, 23-19, while Stuart, Steve and Brian are all up at 18 points, not so far away either.
Garret Sparks (Grant) versus Roberto Luongo (John P.)
Only one confirmed starter in the game between the Maple Leafs and the Panthers, as Roberto Luongo has been tapped to go for the home side. John's team is only at 11 points this week, 4 points clear of the bottom, so he could certainly use a win tonight. If Grant gets the start from Garret Sparks, he's one of the few teams that could use the 2 points more than John's team, as it was noted above.
Carey Price (Stacey M.) versus Joonas Korpisalo (Clayton)
Stacey M.'s team has lost a little bit of ground on 1st place in the standings this week, but Carey Price is coming to her rescue tonight in Columbus, as he was tapped for tonight's start after practice on Thursday. Stacey's team now sits 8 points out of top spot, too much for Price to overcome himself, but thankfully, it's a team effort. The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are riding the hot hand of Joonas Korpisalo, according to their projected lineup tonight, giving Clayton another start from the Columbus backup. Clayton's team sits at 14 points this week, tied for 13th in weekly scoring.
Thomas Greiss (Stuart) versus Braden Holtby (Stacey C.)
Good news on the goalie front for the Capitals, as the eye injury has cleared up enough for Braden Holtby to take to the net again and he will indeed do so tonight against the Islanders. Good news for Stacey C., since his team is on the wrong side of the equator in the weekly standings, he gets the first of two starts tonight here. The Islanders were playing last night, a 4-1 win against the Devils, so although it hasn't been confirmed at the time of the post, it seems safe to think Thomas Greiss will go tonight, since he sat last night.
Anders Nilsson (N/A) versus Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.)
With the injury to Curtis McElhinney, Stacey C. will have the comfort of knowing that his goalie, Petr Mrazek will get the bulk of the work until the injury is healed and that starts tonight, giving him his second start of the evening, when Carolina hosts Ottawa. Stacey's goalies are now tied for 5th in the goalie scoring ranks in the second segment of the season, already posting 31 points and the chance for more is certainly appealing.
Jimmy Howard (Tony) versus Mike Smith (Brian)
A solid match-up at the top of the weekly scoring ranks, with Tony and Brian seeing their goalies go head-to-head in Calgary, when the Red Wings visit the Flames. Tony's team is looking to put more distance between themselves and the pack that's chasing them, which includes Brian's team, only 5 points back. The Flames are surely the favourites in this game tonight, but with the luck that Tony has been having this week, don't count the Red Wings out just yet.
Matt Murray (N/A) versus Darcy Kuemper (N/A)
It looks like this game could be a wash from the crease tonight, as Darcy Kuemper has indeed been confirmed as the starter for the Coyotes, while Matt Murray is a solid bet to get the start, as the faith in his game has been restored by the coaching staff. The Penguins do play again on Saturday, in Vegas, so who really knows for sure?
Linus Ullmark (Steve) versus Thatcher Demko (N/A)
The Buffalo Sabres are also riding a hot hand with Linus Ullmark going back to the crease tonight, offering Steve another start to help try and track down Tony's team for the Mover & Shaker this week. The Sabres are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks and they'll be debuting one of their top prospects this season, Thatcher Demko getting the call tonight, looking for support for a selection in the second player swap of the year.