Friday, February 15, 2019
Morning Player Notes (Feb 15)
The flu bug reared its ugly head again on Thursday night, taking a bite out of Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and forcing him out of the lineup for their game against the Montreal Canadiens. It doesn't sound like anything too serious, just a day-to-day issue. The Predators are in Vegas on Saturday night, which is the team's next game, which you would think he would be good to make it in for.
Ekholm has been Dale C.'s best defenseman this season, posting 40 points in 58 games, and his team is hanging on to the top 10 by the tips of its fingers. After Thursday night's action, his team is in 10th place, only 3 points clear of 11th, but 5 points back of 7th, so there's a narrow margin for missed games at this point.
One of Toronto's key young players this season, rookie forward Andreas Johnsson, was hurt last night against the Vegas Golden Knights, suffering a leg-on-leg collision with defenseman Brayden McNabb and it forced him from the game, not to return. There wasn't any update on his condition after the game, so we'll have to wait for an update from the team, which should come fairly soon, the Leafs are in Arizona for a Saturday evening game.
It took a little while for Johnsson to get going for the Leafs this season, but lately he has been a bit of a dynamo. In 51 games, he has 31 points, including 3 points this week, which has been good news for Wilton's team, up until the injury, of course. Johnsson has Wilton's team in the top five for the rookie pool, not really carrying any hope to win with only one rookie.
The Vancouver Canucks are going through some injury struggles of their own these days and it has crept into the hockey pool players, as Jake Virtanen was the latest player to come out of the lineup, suffering an upper-body injury against the Ducks on Wednesday night and was unable to play against the Kings on Thursday night. Virtanen has been scheduled for an MRI this week, no mention of when, so it's not related to any sort of head injury, but it could keep him out for a little bit yet.
Grant picked up Virtanen in the Week Nine Waiver Draft and has collected adequately with him since he was activated, picking up 10 points in 29 games. It isn't a huge total, far from the best in that player swap, but he was helping the 3rd place team stay afloat. Grant's team is 6 points back of 2nd and 3 points up on 4th, even less room to move and lose skater games to.
Dallas Stars stud defenseman John Klingberg was forced from last night's game against the Lightning late after blocking a shot in the 3rd period. This could have been more of a precautionary move, since the Stars were getting beat pretty bad in this one and there was no sense pushing him in this one. We'll have to wait and see for an update, as the team didn't have anything after the game. The Stars are in Carolina on Saturday for their next game, there'll likely be an update before then.
Eric's team sits comfortably in 18th place and has its eyes on 17th place, which it only sits 4 points back of and his team is having a decent week at 18 points, so far. There's no guarantee that this injury is all that serious, it could just be a blip on the radar screen.
The Detroit Red Wings have decided to send rookie defenseman Dennis Cholowski down to the minors, likely to get himself a confidence boost. He has been a healthy scratch for the last three games and had an 8-game pointless streak before then, so it could very well be a stint to get him some more minutes. There's no guarantee that he'll be brought back this season, but if his minutes and numbers improve, there won't be any harm in bringing him back up before the end of the season, since big league minutes are more valuable, if he can get them.
This certainly hurts Clayton's chances at the rookie pool now, as two out of his three rookies are either now in the minors or on the Injured Reserve. His team is now 4 points back of top spot in the mini-game and only has one rookie left on his roster.