Thursday, January 03, 2019

Morning Player Notes (Jan 3)

Last night against the Devils, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn was caught admiring one of his passes and was caught with a hard hit from Miles Wood, forcing the Stars captain from the game with an upper-body injury.  There was no immediate word on Benn's status after the game, other than he was held out of the rest of the game, after leaving in the 1st, for precautionary measures.  We'll keep a close eye on this one, for sure.

Chelsea was able to sneak Benn out of the 2nd round this season, which in normal years, would have been a steal.  But the return on the 27th overall pick has not been there, only posting 32 points in 41 games and ranking 83rd in pool scoring.  The return has been a leading factor to Chelsea's spot in the standings, 21st through Wednesday's action, and the injury can only make things worse.

The New York Rangers hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and did so without forward Jimmy Vesey, as they opted to make the forward into a healthy scratch for the first time this season.  In 38 games, Vesey has 10 goals and 20 points, good enough for 193rd overall in pool scoring, but he has seen his ice-time dwindle in his two previous games and that's usually a good sign that a scratch is coming.  There is no word on what his status is moving forward, the Rangers don't play again until Friday in Colorado, so we'll probably know more by then.

Despite being in the bottom half of the weekly scoring standings, Grant's team has still managed to break the tie for 1st place in his favour and took a 4-point lead, despite the Vesey scratch.  Thankfully, Stuart's team hasn't been nearly as good either and the lead is all Grant's... for now.

There's big trouble in Leaf Land, as the goaltending situation has taken a turn for the worse and in a big way, as the groin problem that Frederik Andersen has been dealing with will keep him out for a bit yet, the team placing him on the IR, retroactive to December 23rd, in order to open a roster spot.  They are going to need it too, as Garret Sparks, the team's number two, took a puck off the mask yesterday and is now in the league's concussion protocol, missing out on a scheduled start today.  Sparks is currently day-to-day, but that could change just as quickly with the concussions.  Kasimir Kaskisuo and Michael Hutchinson have been recalled to take their places for today's game.

Derek B. has already been without Andersen for over a week now and his placement on the IR isn't exactly big news, since he's eligible to come off at any time.  The Sparks injury, however, that's a bit concerning for Grant's team, which is currently holding top spot in the standings and was counting on the Andersen injury to keep his goalie employed in the top spot.  What will become of this situation?

The trade rumours are really starting to swirl in Vancouver, as Nikolay Goldobin has been made into a healthy scratch again this season and with Brandon Sutter nearing a return to the lineup, there are question marks about where Goldobin may fit now in their lineup, if at all.  Things were looking good for the kid, as he was on the team's most promising line for the better part of the season, but some lazy play in his own end has drawn the ire of the coaching staff and now the questions have arisen.

It certainly isn't his offensive game that is the trouble, not in terms of what Scott has seen from him since activating him in the Waiver Draft.  In 12 games, he has 1 goal and 7 points, which isn't too bad for the mid-season pickup, but the part of the game that doesn't matter to the pool, defense, is costing him skater games.

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