Thursday, March 15, 2018
Evening Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 15)
Boy, it has sure been hard to sit down and get this blog post done. If it isn't one thing, it's definitely another and it's not unfair to think that now that the race is slowly peetering out into not much of anything, that the blog may not be needed nearly as much, except for Newsletters and such. Nevertheless, I think I should stay somewhat committed, even though work has made it a little more difficult, but for the right reasons (being busy), of course. So, we'll go with the dates and work our way down tonight, just for some quick updates. Nothing too crazy.
Two notes from the Calgary Flames' camp... forward Matthew Tkachuk was hurt on Sunday night, suffering an upper-body injury, has already missed Tuesday night's game against the Oilers and is already ruled out of Friday night's game, at home to San Jose. With the Flames right in the mix for a wild card spot, they likely miss the 49 points in 68 games worth of production he brings. The second note is a healthy scratch, as the Flames opted to sit Mark Jankowski for that game against the Oilers, likely due to a lack of production, only 2 points in his last five games, and there is no real guarantee that he draws back in on Friday, given that the Flames managed a 1-0 win on Tuesday night.
The injury to Tkachuk isn't great for Chris' team, which is in the dogfight for 4th place, while Jankowski's absence can now be considered par for the course on Ryan's 23rd placed team. Neither pool team are featured for the money, so we'll move on.
The Colorado Avalanche went into Thursday night's action in the last wild card spot in the Western Conference and they can thank Jonathan Bernier for a lot of that. Unfortunately, since Semyon Varlamov returned from injury, where Bernier shone brightest, the injury bug has really caught up to the backup keeper and he now sits for a second time, since his demotion to number two. This time it is a neck issue bothering him and as of Thursday night's action, this will be his second game on the shelf. He's listed as day-to-day, but it will be Varlamov's net down the stretch, so it isn't like he's really missing out on starts... yet.
I don't think Scott's team should be thinking they're comfortable in 24th place, they are only 9 points up on Steve's last place team, but if he had the possibility of Bernier possibly getting a game here or there, he'd feel much better about things.
A minor lower-body issue, irking Winnipeg Jets forward Paul Stastny, forced the newcomer out of the lineup against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, leaving the ice during the pregame skate and becoming a late scratch, but he did return to the lineup on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, so one game away is nothing to get too excited about in the end. It was a lower-body issue, so maybe it's something to consider, but maybe the Jets will take a closer look at giving him some rest soon, as they do look pretty comfy in a playoff position at the moment.
Neil's team currently sits in 16th, possibly eyeing the equator or even the top half of the standings, so the return of Stastny is great, but there is a pretty good chance that he will see more time on the shelf before the end of the season, if this lower-body issue continues to nag.
I have got to think that the New Jersey Devils are both licking their chops at the potential of returning to the playoffs, but humble enough to know that there is still lots of work to do. Heading into Thursday night's action, they only held the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, so it should have come as no surprise that Jesper Bratt was made into a healthy scratch on Wednesday night, trying to keep the rookie forward on his toes for the stretch run. Bratt has been good this year, but could do more to earn his coach's trust, as his ice-time hasn't been great in his last five games.
This is another young scratch on Ryan's team, which doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot to the money race, but I don't think he wants to see his team drop down to 24th or 25th before the end of it all.
Leafs Nation is certainly holding their breath about the status of their number one goalie, Frederik Andersen, as he was forced from Wednesday night's game against the Dallas Stars, after a collision with Alexander Radulov. Andersen left the game in the middle of the 2nd period and didn't return. The Leafs coaching staff didn't seem to exude much in the way of pessimism about the injury, citing that the team was on back-to-backs between Wednesday and Thursday night, so it wasn't going to be his start tonight against the Sabres anyways. He's listed as day-to-day, but Garret Sparks is now up with the team, acting as backup.
If I heard this correctly, there is a bit of a side bet between the table mates, Mike, Troy and Stacey C., as they all work together and Mike's lead among the trio is now in jeopardy, if Andersen isn't fit to play for a little while. Mike's team only led Troy's side by 4 points heading into tonight's action and no points have been entered while writing this post. So we'll see before too long, I gather.
The Boston Bruins comfortably hold 2nd place in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, heading into Thursday's action, so being cautious with injuries is definitely in their best interest. Both Jake DeBrusk and Zdeno Chara were held out of Thursday's contest with the Panthers, as both were dealing with upper-body knocks, suffered earlier in the week. It doesn't sound like either will feature over the weekend either, but there certainly isn't any rush for the Bruins to get them back
In this case, it's Cam and Steve, respectively, missing out on some games and Steve missing out on Chara games could be either a benefit or problematic for the plus/minus pool, where Chara had been brought on to be a positive influence, but has only been a -1 since being activated. Does missing him help Steve or the contrary?
The Florida Panthers are on the outside of the playoff race, looking in, 5 points back of the Devils, the first team outside of the race. The time for scoring goals is now and that's probably why tough guy Micheal Haley was scratched from the lineup against the Bruins, as the Bruins are out to win more games, maybe straying from the nonsense, while the Panthers should be too. It's hard to say where Haley fits down the stretch, but if the Panthers want more offense, they might sit the tough guy more.
Wes really wanted that PIM pool win this year, even though there's no money in it, hence the inclusion of Haley in this blog post. Unofficially, Wes' lead was 77 minutes heading into tonight's action... I don't think there's any cause for concern here either.
It sounds like the rest of the regular season is now a write-off for Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who is now believed to be out a minimum of four weeks with a partial tear in one of his hamstrings. The veteran defender was hurt on Tuesday night against Colorado and further tests concluded the diagnosis. The Wild certainly hope to have him back and ready to go for the playoffs, to which he could still miss a couple of games in the opening round, if he needs the entire four weeks, with the possibility of more time missed. Spurgeon played in 61 games this season, scoring 9 goals and 37 points.
The Nashville Predators are also in the business of announcing a player has likely finished his regular season prematurely, as Calle Jarnkrok has been given the rest of the regular season off after suffering an upper-body injury on Tuesday night as well. Jarnkrok was seen leaving the Bridgestone Arena with his arm in a sling, which usually tends to lend the diagnosis to a shoulder injury, possibly just a decent sprain, and he could also be back in time for the playoff run in Nashville. His season finishes at 16 goals and 35 points in 68 games played.
Well, that's a pretty crappy finish for Dale C.'s team, with still 3+ weeks left in the year, dropping two players at the snap of a finger. His 12th placed team has been managing okay through this week, having already picked up 11 points, but with five teams within 10 points of his, heading into tonight's action, being in the top half is now on shaky ground.