Well, we're through the first full weekend of NHL play and all I have to say is, 'it's about time.' With NHL Centre Ice at home, it's no wonder I couldn't wait to watch hockey again. I feel a nice, cozy winter coming on, with my laptop for the hockey pools and the TV, showing nothing but quality hockey action. Hooray!
Nevertheless, I thought I would catch-up my injury/news list on my website with some links to news bites for players who haven't seen action, yet are available or taken in the pools.
First things first, I suppose. I'll work my way down the team list, if I have to. Nathan Gerbe, available in Box 25 of the Sheet, was sent down to the minors before the season started, although he had plenty of hype during the summer to make the team. Gerbe will be one of the first call-ups for the Sabres, but as of right now, isn't one who'll be producing points in the pool for you.
Another youngster who had plenty of potential to make their respective club was Thomas Hickey of the Kings. Hickey, a standout junior defenseman, couldn't crack a weakened Kings blueline, but his size does restrict him from being an absolute lock. Despite the injury to Jack Johnson this weekend, Hickey was overlooked by management, who picked up Kyle Quincey from Detroit on waivers.
Depth in the Los Angeles line-up was really thought to be considered a bit of a joke. Sure, they have plenty of young players there who are thought to be of some good calibre, but not enough so that Kyle Calder would be a healthy scratch to start the season. Yet Calder still sits after the first couple games of the year, having Oscar Moller and Wayne Simmonds earning some ice-time in their rookie year instead.
The Habs have started the season without Christopher Higgins in their line-up to start the year. Higgins, picked by Ryan in the Draft, has been sitting with a groin injury, but it's only considered a minor injury and is out on a day-to-day basis.
The depth at centre for Montreal has also been a thorn in the side of Kyle Chipchura, who has been a healthy scratch to start the season. Chipchura, a Box 25 selection, has theoretically made the team, enough to stay in the press box, but his teammates provide a bit more experience than the young Chipchura, despite his skills as a two-way forward.
Another young centre, thought to be ripe enough for his NHL team, Matt Halischuk, was sent down to the minors from New Jersey before the season started this Fall. Halischuk had a very good camp with the Devils leading up to the start of the regular season, but some more seasoning was thought to be needed. Halischuk is a Box 25 selection as well in the East, which has been a pretty unlucky box for a lot of players.
A Box 28 defenseman, Radek Martinek, was sat for the Islanders' third game of the season, one which they could have used every defenseman on their roster. Martinek sat while his team was thumped 7-1 by Buffalo on Monday afternoon. He has yet to register a point in the first two games of the season.
How about another Box 25 casualty? Tom Pyatt of the Rangers, another good young forward was sent down to the AHL, thanks to better depth up front. Pyatt is thought to be a pretty decent scoring forward waiting in the wings, bringing a little bit more of a speed game to the line-up. Unfortunately, he does have a smaller frame, which likely will hold him back an extra season or two in the minors, in order to learn how to use his size in the pro game.
Currently, the Rangers have been rotating three players from the press box and ice to start the year. Last night against the Devils, both Nigel Dawes (Box 22) and Petr Prucha (Box 24) were sitting as healthy scratches, while Dan Fritsche (Box 23) had played his first game of the season. Fritsche has also been a scratch in the first four games for the Rangers. All three have had plenty of potential through the early part of their careers, but they have had some trouble remaining consistent with the big club.
The Senators scoring depth was going to be addressed by some of their younger players this year, but Andrei Nikulin (another Box 25 forward) failed to impress the coaching staff enough to stay up with the team. Nikulin was thought to be one of the better prospects in the Ottawa system, but wasn't what the Sens were looking for come the end of camp.
Blueline depth in St. Louis has been a bit of a concern of late, but Andy Wozniewski remains in the minors. Wozniewski lost out on a full-time job to the team's bluechip prospects in Alex Pietrangelo and Roman Polak to start the season. He wasn't going to be a very popular pick on the Selection Sheet anyways, but it needs to be mentioned, just in case.
The Blues have also been without one of their better pre-season players, Lee Stempniak, who has been suffering from a bit of a knee injury. The injury is only considered to be minor and he'll be out on a day-to-day basis, but the Blues won't rush him back if they continue scoring at the pace they have started the season with.
It's been a pretty disappointing start for Leafs forward, Matt Stajan, who hasn't recorded a point in his first two games. Stajan was scratched on Monday against the Blues, as head coach Ron Wilson tries to get some fight out of some of his depth players. The Leafs aren't necessarily supposed to win a lot of games this year, but that won't be the mentality of the coaching staff, who is going to want their players to compete every night.
Finally, in the Capitals' win against the Canucks, the team lost Viktor Kozlov to an unspecified injury. Kozlov was tangled up with a Canucks player in the second period and carefully limped off the ice when his shift had ended. He disappeared to the dressing room, not to return for the remainder of the game. The Box 19 forward hasn't been diagnosed with a certain injury yet, but don't be surprised if he misses some time here.
Click here to see an updated injury page.