Technically, I don’t think my locale falls under the “snowpocalypse” heading, but I have to say … it looks scary out there. As in, “Boy, I hope there’s absolutely zero reason to go outside today” scary.
(If you’re in the Northeast areas affected most by this Nor’easter, here’s hoping you didn’t try to prove your courage by going to work or doing your morning jog. That kind of activity easily clears the gap from hero to fool.)
Anyway, with games about to get back into action Tuesday night, I thought I’d throw together a little “preview” edition of the Dose. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?
First and foremost, I’d point to three Tuesday games that are especially prone to cancellations today: most obviously New York Islanders hosting the New York Rangers, but I wonder if there's also a little risk with the Philadelphia Flyers hosting the Arizona Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Winnipeg Jets.
I'd err on the side of starting other players instead of Islanders and Rangers in particular, at least until there's an announcement one way or another.
Editor’s Note: Rotoworld’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
It seemed like Monday was a depository for bad injury news and surprising transactions. In case I miss anything in this quick summary, check out this link, which I always put up on the Dose (usually at the end).
Anyway, to start things off, the Kings put Mike Richards on waivers, basically admitting that they were being foolishly loyal to him (although my theory is that they were just being cheap) when they didn’t buy him out when they had their best chance … Big test for the Islanders: Kyle Okposo is expected to miss about six-to-eight weeks. By the sound of that, he may only get a little bit of time to shake off the rust before the playoffs … Zac Rinaldo was suspended eight games for his hit on Kris Letang, and also for being Zac Rinaldo … Dion Phaneuf is “week-to-week” with an upper-body injury. Those vague estimates bother me more than grim, longer-term outlooks, to be honest. (Especially if it slows a move to IR) … Erik Johnson could be out about eight weeks for Colorado, testing comments such as “The Avalanche defense cannot get any worse.” … Looks like Sergei Bobrovsky’s out for about six weeks, if not more.
Again, that’s a smattering of injury notes. Check those links above in case I missed something.
Here’s a quick blurb for each game … assuming they happen, and all.
RANGERS AT ISLANDERS
The Isles beat up on the Rangers so far this season, yet the Blueshirts have been hot lately, including some strong work on the road. Henrik Lundqvist gets a rare chunk of time off, which hopefully won’t make him rusty. Keep an eye on Rotoworld updates in case it’s revealed how the Islanders will roll with the Okposo punches.
COYOTES AT FLYERS
Arizona is really struggling, even for its low 2014-15 standards, having dropped the past six games (0-5-1). They did beat the Flyers at their ridiculously named Gila River Arena on Dec. 29, however. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux should be in the flow considering they played in the All-Star Game and are looking more and more like the same human being.
JETS AT PENGUINS
Conversely to the Coyotes, I wonder if the Jets are a little bitter that play stopped, as they were on a five-game winning streak. Perhaps Mathieu Perreault will return tonight or at least soon - he practiced on Monday - to ease some of that bitterness? Surprisingly, there's at least an outside chance that Kris Letang may play on Tuesday, too. If you're big on team record trends, go with the Penguins, as they've won five straight games against Winnipeg.
CAPITALS AT BLUE JACKETS
Columbus gets to stretch its collective legs a little more by playing this game at home after hosting the All-Star weekend. Considering the many travel headaches at hand, that might be at least a small perk. The Capitals dominate the overall series, having gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games against CBJ and are 2-0-1 vs. the Blue Jackets this season. Nick Foligno's been an All-Star-level player against Washington, especially. The Capitals have shown signs of being the strong team some suspected, although they limped enough into the break that they need to regain some confidence.
LIGHTNING AT HURRICANES
If Tampa Bay wins this game, they'll sweep the season series against Carolina. They haven't really dominated, though, winning the previous two games 2-1. Tyler Johnson appears to be a game-time decision with his lower-body issue, so keep abreast of news in that area. A lot of good things can be said about Tampa Bay, but I wonder about their road heartiness; they're just 11-10-3 in away contests so far in 2014-15.
STARS AT CANADIENS
The Stars chase the Calgary Flames for the West's wild card spot as they start a three-game road trip (they're 10-8-2 away). No big surprise that Carey Price will start for Montreal tonight. Interesting tidbit: P.K. Subban is really heating up, as he's score a tally on the PP in three of his past four games. Even if he's been great-but-not-otherworldly, it's still surprising that he didn't make the All-Star roster. He probably appreciated the down time, though, to be honest.
RED WINGS AT PANTHERS
Detroit has a logjam at the No.2 scoring spot that's probably nice to see in some ways for management - depth is a big thing, especially for a team that's been leaning more on its top duo than it probably is accustomed to - but Henrik Zetterberg stands out with 44 points, eight more than anyone else. Nice to see that his back isn't too much of an issue. The Red Wings are another team that was on a hot streak (five straight wins) while the Panthers lost four in a row. Stating the obvious: Florida needs to take advantage of that breather and turn things around if they don't just want to replicate the almost-there-but-wasting-seasons days I vaguely recall from part of the Jay Bouwmeester era.
AVALANCHE AT PREDATORS
Alex Tanguay leads Colorado with 32 points, with Jarome Iginla right behind at 31. That's great for those Avs vets, not so great for the guys we expect to lead this team. One would guess that Pekka Rinne is still quite a ways from returning, so this could be a nice opportunity for Carter Hutton to lap up an easy win (assuming he's starting over Marek Mazanec). Ryan Ellis is also sidelined after showing some flashes of the junior-level brilliance that's been somewhat missing from his respectable (but not always fantasy-enticing) NHL game.
SABRES AT FLAMES
I've generally encouraged starting good West players when they've faced the Flames, even if Calgary's done a dogged job of squeezing wins out of unlikely scenarios. My ultimate Daily Fantasy rule applies here, though: start as many quality options against the Sabres as you can. They're really that bad. Mark Giordano is remarkably leading a very solid group of producers with a ludicrous 40 points in 47 games, edging Jiri Hudler by a point. Keep an eye out for Calgary's starter, as it's a murky situation right now. Matt Moulson scored two goals in these teams' last meeting, yet I honestly feel reluctant to tout too many Buffalo options.
Not trying to be mean to Buffalo fans, but it's one of those "maybe I should skip tonight's game and knit/play board games" kind of season.
WILD AT OILERS
Minnesota has been worse (2-6-2) that Edmonton (4-4-2) in the teams' respective last 10 games. That's not promising. Sometimes-promising forward Mikael Granlund looks primed to return for the Wild, however, so at least there's that. Devan Dubnyk hit a bit of a bump in the road (maybe called "competent opponents") but could get some revenge on his former team in this one. Taylor Hall was hit by a puck in practice on Monday, but should play. It was probably just the universe reminding the Oilers that it doesn't like them very much. Seemingly.
DUCKS AT CANUCKS
These two teams have gone to at least overtime in their previous three meetings, so one would at least expect a close game. Injuries factor into this, no doubt, but it's resounding to see Ryan Getzlaf (50 points) lead every other Ducks scorer by at least 19 points (Corey Perry has 31 points in 14 fewer contests). Any regular Dose reader knows that I espouse the virtues of Radim Vrbata, yet it's still odd that he was an All-Star while his enablers - Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin - were not. It looks like Kevin Bieksa will not be back anytime soon.