Friday, March 22, 2019
Morning Player Notes (Mar 22)
The New York Islanders will be without forward Valtteri Filppula for the remainder of the regular season, as he has been sidelined with an upper-body injury, an injury suffered in Boston on Tuesday night. Filppula's regular season was sub-par, even on a surprising team like the Islanders this season, posting 15 goals and 29 points in 71 games this season, only good enough for 281st in pool scoring, after Thursday night. Jordan Eberle was also hurt on Tuesday night against the Bruins, suffering an upper-body injury, but he only missed practice on Wednesday and was able to play on Thursday night against the Canadiens.
Neil's team is looking for a top 10 finish this season and currently sits in 8th, but his team is the one with Filppula and now he's down a man for the remainder of the regular season. Currently, his team is only 6 points clear of 11th, which is his arch-nemesis in the pool, Ryan. Chelsea has Eberle this season, but he too has been disappointing this year, despite playing last night, only 31 points in 70 games.
On Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals lost defenseman Michal Kempny to a lower-body injury, playing against the Lightning. Not much has been released on his status, even by this time on Friday morning. When the injury occurred, it didn't look good, slamming into the boards and down onto the ice, close to the Caps' bench and then he was helped off, it would be some kind of a miracle if he was good to go again before the end of the regular season, but don't take my word for it just yet.
John P. will remain hopeful that there is still a few miles left in Kempny's game, while his team sits comfortably in 18th place. The 9 points to 17th and 15 points to 19th is a pretty good cushion on either side and his team is around the pool average this week at 13 points.
It was a busy night on Thursday night for this blog post, which is where most of the writing will come from, starting with the Blue Jackets giving Sergei Bobrovsky the night off. Instead of having him go through the motions of getting his gear on, just to sit on the bench, he was a healthy scratch and the team let Keith Kinkaid ride the pine instead. The coaching staff suggested that he was nicked up a bit, but it's likely a scheduled night off, which there won't be many left, as the Jackets fell out of the playoff picture with their loss last night and a Montreal win.
If it was a scheduled night off, then Kristy & Don didn't exactly lose a start, but they see their team consistently losing ground to 3rd place, already dropping 5 points this week and are now 13 points back. Still manageable, but they'll need Bob back in a big hurry.
The Dallas Stars are still tinkering with their lineup, despite being in a wild card spot in the west, as Jamie Oleksiak was given another night off from action on Thursday, when the Stars took on the Avalanache. Oleksiak was a healthy scratch, as Taylor Fedun returned to the lineup after missing a game for personal reasons. The big defender was reacquired by Dallas at the deadline for blueline depth and the Stars are using that depth, cycling through these guys night after night.
Brian's 17th place team has been taking plenty of hits of late and no one wants to see their players sit as scratches at the end of the year. Brian's team still sits 4 points back of 15th, so there is still movement potential, his players just have to play is all.
The New Jersey Devils have been going through the motions for a little while now, so the ins and outs of the lineup are not nearly as substantial for them, from a standings perspective, unless they are desperate to improve their lottery standing. Last night, they were without both Kyle Palmieri and Will Butcher, upper-body and illness, respectively. Both players are considered to be day-to-day and the team likely won't push for their returns, as they are getting some looks at other kids in their organization, while they have players sit out.
Neither Brenda & Seward or Benson want to see their players sit out, but I guess it's not really up to them. The duo are trying to catch Benson for 21st place and they finished the night 15 points back, already having made up 3 points this week. It's a bit of a stretch, but not impossible.
The Ottawa Senators have been going through the motions long before the trade deadline and they too have been able to scout some of their young talent with players coming out of the lineup. On Thursday in Calgary, they were without forward Chris Tierney, due to illness, and Cody Ceci, due to an upper-body injury suffered in Vancouver the night before. It isn't believed that either situation is all that serious, both are day-to-day, Tierney likely back for Saturday's game in Edmonton, while Ceci is still up in the air.
The loss of Tierney is another hit to Brian's team this week, which is still 6 points clear of the basement this week, while Ceci is a loss for Ryan's team, faring much better at 17 points this week. Ryan's team sits only a point out of the top 10, so he's waiting anxiously for word on one of his key defenders.
We can add Logan Couture's name to long laundry list of names that have missed time for the San Jose Sharks and there was a large contingent of talent on the shelf, when you add his name to it, thanks to the flu bug taking a big bite out of him. Couture wasn't able to play against the Kings last night and the Sharks suffered a 4-2 loss, already without Joe Pavelski and Erik Karlsson to injury. The Sharks' hopes of winning the Pacific Division took a bit of a hit with the loss, now 5 points back of Calgary with eight games remaining.
Even without Couture last night, Stacey C.'s team has been good this week, already posting 20 points and is currently eyeing up a top 10 spot, now 14th and 4 points back. The Sharks play again tonight in Anaheim, so there's a chance that he might miss this game too, given he was such a late scratch last night.
A couple of notes from the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, as the team opted to scratch defenseman Colin Miller for their game against the Jets and there didn't appear to be any complaints about that on the ice, as Vegas shut out Winnipeg by a 4-0 margin. The Knights have not been afraid to cycle their defensemen this year, no matter where they may rank on paper for some people. Also, in the game, Max Pacioretty left the game in the 1st period, not to return, with a lower-body injury, and it's believed to be a knee issue. There was no word on the injury from the team after the game and Vegas plays again Saturday night with Detroit in town.
Miller's scratch did have an effect on Jeremy's team, missing a skater game, but Jeremy's team is in the thick of the Mover & Shaker race with 24 points, only 1 point back of the lead, but his team still sits 19th overall. Pacioretty belongs to Stuart's 1st place team, but the 50-point lead may shrink a little, but not too much, if the Golden Knights rest one of their stars ahead of the playoffs.
Flames forward Sam Bennett left last night's contest against the Senators with an upper-body injury. Bennett left the game in the 2nd period, not to return, but the Flames still handily took care of Ottawa without him, finishing with a 5-1 win. No word on the injury after the game, but there are reports that the rugged forward has been dealing with an issue of late, but the team wouldn't confirm if this injury was related to that. He'll be day-to-day moving forward and likely in for a rest.
Troy's team isn't going to get off scot-free in this long post, as his team sits in 9th place, 4 points back of 8th and only 1 point up on 10th, with some injury concern of his own again. Bennett has been only mediocre since he was picked up in the first player swap this year, picking up 17 points in 43 games.
Finally, a goaltending concern in Winnipeg, as Laurent Brossoit was pulled from his start against the Golden Knights on Thursday night, due to a lower-body injury. He was already down 3-0, allowing that lead on only 18 shots against. It could have been considered a mercy pull, but the coaching staff did confirm the injury after the game, so it will likely be a call-up to start backing up Connor Hellebuyck, as the Jets look to clinch a playoff spot here in the next few days. We'll consider Brossoit day-to-day for right now.
A second hit to Benson's team on this post, losing out on a goalie now as well too. Brossoit was a pick up in the second swap this season and has posted 6 points since. Benson's team is going to be hard pressed keeping that 21st place spot, if his players aren't playing.