It just goes to show you how important it is for teams to clinch their playoff spot as early as possible, as it can afford those teams to allow their players to rest their season-wearied bodies a little bit more before the playoff push. The Boston Bruins are one of those teams, as both David Krejci and Jarome Iginla were held out of Tuesday's contest against the Minnesota Wild. Iginla had been dealing with some lower-body issues of late and they may have been cited for his rest, but Krejci appears to be a straight scratch. It is important to note the injuries, as teams are still required, by rule, to ice the best team possible every night.
No money impact here in the final week, as Clayton (9th) and Wyllie (20th) had their players scratched on Tuesday night.
The Buffalo Sabres were without Drew Stafford, among a number of other players, on Tuesday night against the Red Wings, another loss in the books for the last place team in the league. Stafford has apparently been dealing with this injury for a little while now, missing out on the last three games, but the team is suggesting that he could be ready to play again for Thursday night, but that likely isn't 100% yet.
Again, no money impact here either, as Benson (12th) is without Stafford in an active line-up at the moment and is just trying to now stay in the top half of the standings.
A couple of injury notes from the Columbus Blue Jackets, as R.J. Umberger is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season and then be re-evaluated before the playoffs start, assuming the Jackets can hang on to a Wild Card spot. Umberger suffered an upper-body injury over the weekend and was listed as out indefinitely on Monday, a listing that didn't quite make the Newsletter.
The Jackets also welcomed back Nathan Horton to their line-up on Tuesday night, in their 4-3 overtime win, but the welcome didn't last very long, as Horton left the game again, likely re-aggravating his lower-body injury that had held him out for about a month. I wouldn't expect him back for the rest of the week and his availability in the playoffs may also be in question.
Umberger belongs to Doug (24th) and Horton was a Waiver Draft pick-up for John (22nd) this season, neither have really featured much in the money conversation this year.
With the Phoenix Coyotes on the outside looking in on a wild card birth in the playoffs, they need all the healthy bodies they can muster up, especially if they are generally starters. Saying that, it has been a rough season for Martin Hanzal, who has seen his fair share of injuries and missing out on Tuesday night with another lower-body injury might cap off his year. Hanzal didn't skate leading up to the game on Tuesday, so it seems fairly questionable that he'll re-join the line-up any time soon.
There isn't much that Mike's (10th) team can do to improve their season in the final days of the year. The best he'll be able to finish is about 8th place now.
The St. Louis Blues may be holding their breath a little, as they await the word on a lower-body injury that David Backes suffered on Tuesday night. Backes was hurt after blocking a shot on the inside of his foot, leaving the game not long after trying one more shift after the injury. The Blues are currently fighting for top spot in the Western Conference and if they are without Backes for any extended period of time, that could hurt their chances of doing that and possibly lasting very long in the playoffs. I'm sure they'll be on the edge of their seat, waiting for the news.
Finally, we have some possible money impact, as Dale C. (5th) is only sitting 6 points out of 4th and 8 points out of 3rd with only five nights to go in the regular season. Dale has the most projected games left in the season, but that could easily drop, if Backes either can't play or is rested for the playoffs.
Another scary moment for a playoff-bound team, as the Tampa Bay Lightning saw their number one goalie, Ben Bishop, helped off the ice, nursing an upper-body injury after landing awkwardly trying to catch a puck that was hanging in the air. Bishop dove through the air to try and snag the puck and in doing so, landed funny. Bishop was attended to on the ice for quite a while, before giving way to Anders Lindback, who eventually got credit for the win over Toronto. Bishop will be re-evaluated on Wednesday and we'll await the news.
HUGE impact here in the pool, as Scott is only 1 point out of 1st place behind Allan and he could have used the win (and the shutout) against the Leafs to go into Wednesday night with the lead. Unfortunately, this may cost him the pool win, but his hold on 2nd place and the segment race should be safe... should be!
It appears that Joffrey Lupul's season is now done, undergoing knee surgery this week will do that. Also, with the Leafs losing to Tampa on Tuesday night, their season is officially completed on Sunday as well, so Lupul will have nothing to come back to until September. Lupul was hurt last week, missing out on a game before coming back on the weekend, but it appears that his return came too quick, which has likely led to this surgery. After Tuesday night, Lupul finished 136th in pool scoring overall with 44 points in 69 games.
Stuart (18th) has the least amount of projected games left in the final week, thanks in part to Lupul's future absence, not to mention some other injuries.
The Washington Capitals were able to hang on to their slimmest of playoff hopes on Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over St. Louis, but they did so without defenseman Mike Green, who may have been lost for the remainder of the regular season, at the very least, with an upper-body injury. Green was injured over the weekend and Tuesday's game was the first game that he missed with this new injury, but without much for details, I can't confirm completely. It does seem unlikely that the Capitals will make the playoffs, so his value going forward is moot.
Green belongs to Kristy & Don (17th) and his injury caps off a long season that was mired in injury. The duo held the top spot in the standings in the early part of the season, but goaltending injuries forced their season into the gutter. No money impact here either.