It's the first full week for the NHL and there are plenty of games for poolies to scan the box scores. It was quite a difficult early October, as baseball had ended and in a ten day period, there were only four NHL games for poolies to look up, in addition to the slate of games in the NFL.
Now, we have box scores to look at daily. It should bring a smile to poolies and a perpetual frown from their spouses or better halfs.
Let's look at 'The Week Ahead'.
THE SCHEDULE - WEEK OF OCTOBER 13-19
3 Games - Atlanta, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Washington
2 Games - Boston, Florida, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay
Vancouver plays all four of its games on the road.
Buffalo, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Phoenix play three games away from home.
Anaheim, Atlanta, Chicago, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh play three games at home.
Nine teams play three games in four nights this week; look for each of them to rest its starter for at least one of those contests. Here are the NHL clubs in this position this week. The starting and backup goaltenders have been identified for your consideration:
Anaheim (Jean-Sebastien Giguere /Jonas Hiller) Buffalo (Ryan Miller/Patrick Lalime) Dallas (Marty Turco/Tobias Stephan) Edmonton (Mathieu Garon/Dwayne Roloson) Nashville (Dan Ellis/Pekka Rinne) New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist/Stephen Valiquette) Philadelphia (Martin Biron/Antero Niittymaki) Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov/Mikael Tellqvist) Vancouver (Roberto Luongo/Curtis Sanford)
MATCH UPS FOR PENALTY MINUTES
There are two match ups this week where teams face each other twice as Calgary and Edmonton play in the battle of Alberta; and Columbus has a home-and-home series with Nashville.
Calgary has Dion Phaneuf and Todd Bertuzzi available if there is any rough stuff going on, while the Oilers will counter with Steve MacIntyre and Zack Stortini.
Columbus has Jared Boll and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen at their disposal and the Nashville Predators will use Jordin Tootoo as a deterrent.
THE WEAK AHEAD
These are the weak teams in the league, and the teams that will be facing them this week.
New York Islanders-The Islanders play three times this week, on the road against Tampa Bay and Florida and at home versus Buffalo. The Lightning will get production from Vincent Lecavlier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. The Panthers are led by Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss and Cory Stillman, while the Sabres will get their scoring from Thomas Vanek, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville.
Toronto - The Maple Leafs play three times this week, at home against St. Louis and on the road against the Rangers and Pittsburgh. The Blues will get their scoring from Brad Boyes, Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk, while the Rangers will count on Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund. The Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to lead them in scoring.
Daniel Alfredsson - Senators (Knee) Mid-Late October
Radek Bonk - Predators (Hip flexor) Day-to-day
Francis Bouillon - Canadiens (Lower Body) Day-to-day
Zach Boychuk - Hurricanes (Wrist) Mid-October
Chris Campoli - Islanders (Lower Body) Indefinitely
Chris Chelios - Red Wings (Leg) Mid-November
Marc-Andre Cliche - Kings (Shoulder) Indefinitely
Steve Downie - Flyers (Knee) Mid-October
Jeff Finger - Maple Leafs (Foot) Mid-October
Mike Fisher - Senators (Groin) Day-to-day
Kurtis Foster - Wild (Leg) Early November
Alexander Frolov - Kings (Groin) Day-to-day
Paul Gaustad - Sabres (Thumb) Late October
Marcel Goc - Sharks (Back) Day-to-day
Sergei Gonchar - Penguins (Shoulder) February at the earliest
Niklas Grossman - Stars (Hip) Day-to-day
Bill Guerin - Islanders (Shoulder) Day-to-day
Jeff Halpern - Lightning (Knee) January
Dan Hamhuis - Predators (Knee) Day-to-day
Darian Hatcher - Flyers (Knee) Career could be over
Christopher Higgins - Canadiens (Groin) Day-to-day
Dan Hinote - Blues (Leg) Day-to-day
Jimmy Howard - Red Wings (Finger) Day-to-day
Erik Johnson - Blues (Knee Surgery) Gone for the season
Randy Jones - Flyers (Hip) Early December
Jonas Junland - Blues (Shoulder) Mid-October
D.J. King - Blues (Wrist) Day-to-day
Viktor Kozlov - Capitals (Groin) Day-to-day
Georges Laraque - Canadiens (Groin) Day-to-day
Brad Larsen - Ducks (Abdominal) End of November
Jere Lehtinen - Stars (Groin) Day-to-day
Manny Malhotra - Blue Jackets (Lower body) Day-to-day
Brad May - Ducks (Face) Day-to-day
Darren McCarty - Red Wings (Groin) End of October
Torrey Mitchell - Sharks (Broken Leg) Mid-November
Andrew Murray - Blue Jackets (Leg) Day-to-day
Lawrence Nycholat - Canucks (Back) Day-to-day
Jed Ortmeyer - Predators (Knee surgery) Indefinitely
Ryan Parent - Flyers (Shoulder) January
Scott Parker - Avalanche (Concussion) Indefinitely
Joel Perrault - Coyotes (Concussion) Indefinitely
Paul Ranger - Lightning (Shoulder) Day-to-day
Karlis Skrastins - Panthers (Neck) Day-to-day
Mark Stuart - Bruins (Charley Horse) Day-to-day
Steve Sullivan - Predators (Back) Indefinitely
Petr Sykora - Penguins (Groin) Day-to-day
Barry Tallackson - Devils (Heart) Day-to-day
Nick Tarnsky - Predators (Fractured Thumb) Day-to-day
Raffi Torres - Blue Jackets (Shoulder) Mid-November
Scott Walker - Hurricanes (Hand) Late November
Ryan Whitney - Penguins (Foot) December-January
Justin Williams - Hurricanes (Achilles tendon) Indefinitely
James Wisniewski - Blackhawks (Knee surgery) December
Jeff Woywitka - Blues (Foot) End of October
Marek Zidlicky - Wild (Leg) Mid-October
Sergei Zubov - Stars (Hip) November
PLAYERS TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
It's easy to start all the game's top players. Here are some non-superstars who are in line to have a good week:
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
I have a chance to pick up Alex Goligoski. What do you think?
That's a good move David. Ryan Whitney will be out until December at the earliest, and probably until January, while Sergei Gonchar will be out for most, if not all of the season. The Penguins have not gone out and traded for anyone and will give Goligoski and Kristopher Letang the opportunity to man the points on the power play. Each will play with Evgeni Malkin on the point and having Malkin as well as Sidney Crosby on the five-man unit can't hurt the point potential of Goligoski or Letang.