Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Hello, again! I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a while since stopped by, so let’s get going right away. Today, along with a quick look at the West overall, let us look at the West from a health standpoint. With the trade deadline looming, it would do well to look at who is hurting, and where.

DETROIT (40-10-4, 84PTS): The Red Machine keeps rolling. It doesn’t seem to matter who is hurt, Detroit pushes ever forward. Tomas Holmstrom missed eight games, Kirk Maltby missed 19, even all-world forward Henrik Zetterberg missed a couple. No matter. The Wings continue to run away with from the conference. The only current injury is to D Nik Kronwall. He is day to day with a shoulder problem. I’ve said it elsewhere, and I’ll say it here: it appears at this time that the only club that can stop Detroit is Detroit.

DALLAS (31-20-5, 67): Dallas recently got Jere Lehtinen back into the lineup after an extended absence due to hernia surgery. The blueline, however, continues to miss the services of Philippe Boucher (shoulder surgery), and Sergei Zubov (foot). The Stars have gotten contributions from rookie Matt Niskanen (5-14-19, +14), and Trevor Daley (2-11-13). Even Stephane Robidas has chipped in with four goals, after going all of last season without a goal. C Mike Ribeiro was inked to a five-year extension on Jan 7th. There is that seemingly ever-present rumor of G Marty Turco going to Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis, but both teams have denied the rumor again and again.

MINNESOTA (30-19-3, 63): Right now, the only injury being reported by the Wild is to LW Derek Boogard (back). Minnesota is one of the hottest teams in the West, with 15 points in their last 10 games (7-2-1).

SAN JOSE (29-16-7, 65): The Sharks trail Dallas by two points with four games in hand in the Pacific. The D-corps, however, is being held together with staples and duct tape. Injuries to Kyle Mclaren (knee), Alexei Semenov (viral infection), and Douglas Murray (hip, day to day) have decimated San Jose. Add injuries to C Curtis Brown (hand), and LW Ryan Clowe (knee), and it is amazing that San Jose is still in the thick of it, even with Joe Thornton.

ANAHEIM (27-22-7, 61): The Ducks are very happy to have Scott Niedermayer back on defense. With Samuel Pahlsson on IR (abdominal), and Mathieu Schneider nursing a wrist injury, Niedermayer provides loads of skill and leadership on the back end. With Teemu Selanne returning as well, Anaheim will not give up their crown as easily as one might have thought.

CALGARY (26-18-8, 60): The Flames currently report no injuries. Calgary had a four game win streak stopped this past Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Dallas at the Saddledome. Jarome Iginla has a point in 5 of his last 7 games (0-5-5).

COLORADO (28-21-4, 60): The Avs are in dire straits, indeed. When a team loses Joe Sakic (hernia), Ryan Smyth (fractured ankle), and superkid Paul Stastny (appendectomy), goals are going to be difficult to find, at best. Add in a groin injury to Marek Svatos (day to day), and the defense and goaltending are going to be pressured to be near perfect every night. The Avs will have to fight and scratch for points just to keep their current 7th seed. Do they have the depth to do so?

NASHVILLE (27-21-5, 59): Aside from a groin injury to pest Jordin Tootoo, the Preds are healthy. Forward Jason Arnott did leave the game against Columbus on Jan. 31 with a leg injury, and sat out their next match, a 3-2 win over the visiting Coyotes. Reports today indicate that Arnott will play tomorrow night against Carolina.

VANCOUVER (26-21-6, 58): The Canucks are another club swamped with injuries to the defense. Kevin Bieksa remains on IR with a calf laceration. Lukas Krajicek (shoulder), Willie Mitchell (vertebrae), and Sami Salo (groin) are listed as day to day. Up front, Vancouver is without the services of Brenden Morrison (wrist surgery, IR). Roberto Luongo will have to be even better than he was in last year’s playoffs… is that possible?

PHOENIX (27-22-3, 57): No injuries reported.

COLUMBUS (25-23-6, 56): Sergei Fedorov is currently on IR with a concussion.

ST. LOUIS (24-20-7, 55): D Christian Backman (foot) and LW Martin Rucinsky (separated shoulder) are on IR, as is RW Mike Johnson (shoulder surgery). I think the Blues have the best shot of still making the playoffs. Why? I don’t know…

CHICAGO (23-24-5, 51): After a great start, the ‘Hawks have suffered some setbacks. With Kevyn Adams (ACL), Jonathan Toews (knee), and Jason Williams (groin) on IR, Chicago’s offense has slumped. They have only the slightest chance of making up ground and getting to the postseason.

EDMONTON (23-26-5, 51): The Oilers are without the services of Sheldon Souray (shoulder), and Raffi Torres (ACL). A very keen observer of the Oil is Anaheim GM Brian Burke. Why? The Ducks own Edmonton’s first round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft; compensation for the Oilers’ signing of Dustin Penner last summer. That pick could be a very high one in what is supposed to be a draft deep in talent. Do the Ducks hold on to the pick, or use it in a package to land more scoring depth at the trade deadline? Stay tuned.

LOS ANGELES (21-30-3, 45): Rob Blake is day to day with an ankle injury. Mike Cammalleri (ribs) and Ladislav Nagy (neck) are on IR.

Next time: Who won and who lost at the trade deadline?

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