The Avalanche have been struggling mightily over the past few weeks, even since the return of their clutch power forward Chris Stewart, who had come back from a broken hand after missing a few weeks of action. Stewart has not been the same player since returning and on Saturday night, he was made into a healthy scratch, trying to see if he can find his way from watching up top in the press box. The Avalanche will need Stewart back to form, if they are going to climb out of the Western Conference basement now.
Dale C. is currently trying to work his way out of the absolute basement in the draft and desperately needs Stewart to return to form and not be a healthy scratch anymore this season. Dale is currently on the losing end of the tie-breaking system, sitting in 20th with Derek W. right above him. A big Sunday would go a long ways to helping that out.
In Edmonton, a touch of bronchitis is the reason why Shawn Horcoff was not able to go for the Oilers in their matinée game against the Senators on Saturday afternoon. Horcoff has been in and out of the Oilers line-up quite a bit already this season and a quick illness like this will likely only keep him out for a short period of time. The Oilers are mired in last place in the league, holding down a great chance to have the number one overall pick in June's Entry Draft, but there is still some room to recapture some pride this season. Horcoff's return will definitely help that out.
In the draft, Benson G. has not seen much for improvement since the second waiver draft, continuing to lose ground on the money positions and is dropping points to the teams behind him. He'll need all of his players to start firing on all cylinders before too long or else he'll be missing out on the money and a jersey prize.
The Phoenix Coyotes are starting to pick up some steam in the standings, winners of four in a row, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson has found his way up to the press box as a healthy scratch on Saturday, likely as the odd-man out in the line-up or possibly as a strategic move to take some youth out of the line-up against a grinding Blackhawks team. Ekman-Larsson has been a scratch a number of times already this year and has had a stint in the minors, but it's unclear where his future lies with the club at the moment, especially since he hasn't put many points up on the board lately.
Clayton C. is on his way to another Basement Dweller nod in the newsletter this week and a scratching like this will go a long ways to secure it. Going into Sunday, Clayton does have some games to his name to use, but currently trails the next lowest team by 3 points, which is not a good sign. Not a great start to the third segment of the season.
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