Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tanguay Hurt

The Montreal Canadiens are holding their collective breaths to find out what the extent of a shoulder injury to Alex Tanguay is going to be. Tanguay was checked hard in the game against Tampa Bay last night and left the game, not to return. Tanguay, acquired from Calgary in the summer, has been a pretty good addition to the Canadiens line-up, playing the same kind of style that he's used to.

Tanguay, a Draft pick of Grant's, has 10 goals and 16 assists in 36 games this season, which may be a little less than expectations at the beginning of the season, but still a good contributing member of the team and pool team.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Recall and Conditioning in Florida

With a stretch of injuries to both Rostislav Olesz and Kamil Kreps, the Panthers have now recalled Box 25 forward, Shawn Matthias, from the AHL to jump into the line-up and fill a gap in the middle of the ice. This is Matthias' third call-up to the Panthers this season and he has already played in 11 games, registering 1 assist.

Also with the Panthers, they have sent down Box 29 defenseman, Cory Murphy, to the AHL for a conditioning stint, as he is returning from a major shoulder injury. Murphy has only played in 8 games this season, registering 1 assist.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Brule Called Back Up

Is Ales Hemsky's injury worse than originally expected? On Wednesday, the Oilers called up Box 9 forward, Gilbert Brule, from the AHL. There is no official word on whether or not he'll dress tonight in Calgary, but he'll certainly be around for precautionary measures. Brule has figured into 2 games already this season for the Oilers, failing to register a point, but in the AHL, he has 11 goals and 5 assists in 19 games with the Springfield Falcons.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Canucks Acquire LaBarbera

The Canucks made a splash last night in the trade front, as they picked up Box 15 goalie, Jason LaBarbera from the Kings in exchange for a late round draft pick.

2008-2009 Stats2009
To VancouverAgeMINPointsCap Hit
Jason LaBarbera, G2999514$825,000

To Los AngelesAgeGPPointsCap Hit
2009 7th Round Pick

It's rather remarkable that this deal goes down on the same night that Curtis Sanford goes down with injury. It was originally thought that LaBarbera would come in and the team would be able to send Cory Schneider down to the minors to get some more quality starts with the Manitoba Moose, but that isn't going to be the case now.

LaBarbera is currently on the last year of his current deal and the Kings were not likely to re-sign the keeper, since they have a backlog of good goalkeeping, especially with the emergence of Jonathan Quick of late. The move will also free up the starting role in Manchester of the AHL for Jonathan Bernier, who is the next big thing in Los Angeles and he will earn a good number of starts down the stretch here.

As for fantasy value, LaBarbera goes up considerably, as he joins a team that can win more games up front with some decent goalkeeping, which LaBarbera never really had with the Kings, so that's an immediate rise to his share price. Look for LaBarbera to likely get the start on Thursday in Nashville.

Tuesday Night's Bytes

It can't be long now before Box 24 forward, Maxim Afinogenov, is traded out of Buffalo, I'm starting to believe. Afinogenov was a healthy scratch, yet again, for the Sabres, which shouldn't bode well for the Russian winger. Afinogenov hasn't improved his play with the team since being scratched the first few times this season, only amassing 2 goals and 10 assists in 32 games. A change of scenery has to be in his itinerary.

I would have thought the flu bug would have touched down after the Winter Classic, but apparently, it's very nondiscriminatory when it comes to timing. Mikeal Samuelsson, a Larry Waiver Draft pick, sat out of the first half of the home & home with Chicago, which includes the Winter Classic tomorrow, with a touch of the flu. No word on how severe it was and whether or not he was going to miss the New Year's game.

More bad news for Larry, Simon Gagne left last night's game against the Canucks with a shoulder injury. The injury occurred right off the opening face-off, as he was put into the boards, chasing for a loose puck. Gagne didn't return to the game and there hasn't been any definite news as to how bad the injury is. Stay tuned to find out.

The Canucks have now lost their number two goalie to what is suspected to be the same type of injury their number one goalie is out with. Curtis Sanford did not return to the crease against Philly after the first period, after he tweaked his groin. This injury is thought to keep him out of the line-up indefinitely or a week-to-week testing period. Sanford was a Waiver Draft pick-up of Ryan's, who was enjoying his production of late.

It's not getting any easier for the Capitals and their injury situation. Brent Johnson returned to the bench to back-up Jose Theodore on Tuesday night, but Karl Alzner, the Box 30 defensive wonderkid, wasn't in the line-up, because of a hand injury suffered on the weekend blocking a shot. The injury isn't supposed to be serious and he could be back soon, it just need some healing rest last night.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Heading Into Tuesday's Action

The Oilers will take on the Senators at home tonight and they will do it without their most dynamic forward, Ales Hemsky. Hemsky suffered a nose injury in the Oilers' game against the Predators. This will be a hit to Peter's performance tonight in the Draft, as Hemsky was one of his better forwards this season. Hemsky has 35 points in 34 games for Edmonton, which ranks him fairly high this season. The injury isn't thought to be severe, so he could be back for the team's next game in Calgary on Wednesday night.

It looks like Colin White, a Box 30 defenseman, will be missing from action for the next couple of games for New Jersey. White suffered an upper body injury on the weekend and has also been experiencing a few vision problems, according to the coaching staff, so that will be enough to give him a couple nights off. The injury does not seem to be severe and shouldn't keep him out of the line-up beyond that. In his stead, Bryce Salvador will be coming off the shelf tonight, as he's also been out with an upper body injury.

Another step towards a healthy blueline should continue tonight for the Penguins as they will likely see the return of Box 28 defender, Hal Gill. Gill has been out for almost a month with a shoulder injury. Gill will look to give a little more defensive depth to the Penguins, so they can feel a little more confident making those crazy offensive plays and not get caught terribly out of position defensively. In the offensive end, Gill only has 2 assists in 23 games... so there is no value there at all.

It looks like it's not all doom & gloom in the Blues infirmary this week, as T.J. Oshie, a Box 9 forward, is set to return to the line-up tonight, after missing quite a few games with an ankle injury. Oshie was one of the pre-season favourites to be in the Calder Trophy race this season, but all of his injuries really set him back.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Lightning Sign Tokarski

Well, if you have been paying attention to Team Canada at the World Juniors, you would have seen Dustin Tokarski in net for the Canadians in the opening game against the Czech Republic on Boxing Day. Well, the Lightning have been paying attention to their fifth round pick from this past summer and today they decided to make sure that he is in their fold for the future by signing him to a standard 3-year entry level contract.

Tokarski has a Memorial Cup championship to his resume last Spring and is now looking to add a gold medal at the U-20's right now. If he can, his stock will rise significantly and should get a decent look at the Lightning camp next Fall. There won't be a big rush to push him along, but he looks like he'll be about for a while still.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Notes from Monday Night

On Monday night, it was Mark Parrish's time to redeem himself coming out of the press box, as Fabian Brunnstrom, the Box 9 wonder kid, was not healthy enough to start the game against the Sharks. Brunnstrom was said to be out with an upper body injury early in the day on Monday, but there are contrary reports saying he's out with a foot injury. Either way, he's only out for the short term and should be back soon. Parrish, on the other hand, failed to register a point in the 2-1 loss.

The Panthers learned that they will be without Box 24 forward, Kamil Kreps, again to injury. This time around, it's a shoulder problem that will keep him out of the line-up, but he is also only out for the short term. The young Kreps has not been the offensive force that the team or the Sheet was hoping that he'd be, as he has only 8 points in 30 games this season. Very little fantasy value here.

Well, Kyle Chipchura didn't figure into the only game he was up for and that was it for his stay with the big club. The Box 25 forward was sent back down to Hamilton of the AHL prior to the Habs' game against the Panthers on Monday night and likely won't be back up until more injuries strike the team.

With the return of both Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger to the Islanders line-up, the team decided to scratch Sean Bergenheim, a Box 22 forward, from their game against the Rangers on Monday night. Bergenheim has figured into 33 games this season and has only scored 5 goals and 4 assists.

The Sharks were without two key components to their season's success last night, but still held on to beat Dallas 2-1 on Monday. Both Devin Setoguchi and Christian Ehrhoff were out of the line-up for the Sharks, Setoguchi was away attending to personal business, while Ehrhoff was a healthy scratch for the game. Both players were marquee names in the Waiver Draft, Setoguchi going second to Derek and Ehrhoff going first to Grant. Neither player is expected to miss any more time after this game.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Monday, December 29, 2008

DiPietro... Injured... Again

Guess who's injured again!

Rick DiPietro played in only his fourth game this season on the weekend and that will be his last for a little while again. Apparently, DiPietro has strained his groin after coming back from his last knee injury and it will be a day-to-day issue for now, but stay tuned.

DiPietro, a former Draft pick of Benson's, but still a Box 31 goalie, is losing fantasy ground quickly in his career. Sure, when in the line-up, he is a quality netminder for the Islanders, but as a guy who gets injured all the time, he doesn't fit the good pick profile for your fantasy team, unless you need to fill your bench will some back-up keeping. Avoid DiPietro, as the risk is way too high for the reward factor.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Sharks Sign Claude Lemieux

The Sharks announced that they have finally signed 43-year old super pest, Claude Lemieux, almost cementing the playoff performer's full comeback to the NHL. Lemieux has played 14 games for the Sharks' AHL affiliate, scoring 2 goals and adding 4 assists and could play a part in the Sharks' playoff run this year, if he clears waivers on the way up to the big club. It's a two-way contract, so it won't cost the Sharks anything if he doesn't get called up, but he does have to clear waivers. No financial terms were not disclosed.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Frank Kaberle Waived

The Carolina Hurricanes have reportedly put veteran defenseman, Frank Kaberle, on waivers on Monday, which poses an interesting question... do they really want to get rid of him? Kaberle, 35, is a cap hit of $2.2 million for both this season and next, which might be a tad costly for a player that has 5 assists in 13 games this season. Kaberle has missed time already this season, which may account for some of the lack of production this season, but not all of it. With the emergence of Anton Babchuk back into the line-up, it does close off a spot for Kaberle, which makes him available to any taker. His veteran savvy would suggest that he would be picked up by a team looking for a veteran defenseman, but his cap hit would also suggest they'd wait for him to hit re-entry waivers, so he can move teams at half price. Stay tuned...

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Week Thirteen Newsletter

PhotobucketHere it comes, everyone! The 2009 version of the NHL's Winter Classic will go on Thursday in Chicago and it should be one for the ages. The Red Wings will be heading to Chicago for New Year's Day, which will be the headliner of a five-game schedule on the holiday. Thankfully, this season, the host team will have a plethora of talent going up against the current Stanley Cup champs. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobel Huet will all play gracious hosts to the Red Wings who aren't shy in talent either. There will be the question of how much talent the Red Wings will field on New Year's, since Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Osgood are both hurting, going into Week Fourteen. Nevertheless, the Red Wings should have Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Brian Rafalski and others lining up for the well-coached Wings.

I don't know about you, but this is another one of those hockey highlights that I really look forward to in the season. A good New Year's hangover and the Winter Classic is a good recipe to start the New Year with and 2009 could be a good year because of it. Depending on how the night before plays out, there could be some live blogging here at the Domain... you just never know!

Poll Question
After a 14-0 rout of Kazakhstan on Sunday afternoon, it's hard to find the best player on Team Canada and after being 2-0 through the first two games, it's tough to pick the number one goalie, as neither Dustin Tokarski or Chet Pickard faced many challenges yet. Getting the votes in the poll were John Tavares, who owned the poll with 8 of the 10 votes, while both Cody Hodgson and Jamie Benn each had a vote.

In the bonus poll for the week, I wanted to know how you thought Canada would finish in the tournament. Well, there was one disbeliever who thought Canada wouldn't win gold, but they would win silver this year, while the other six votes thought otherwise. There is plenty of competition in the tournament, so it certainly isn't in the bag for the Canadians.

In this week's poll, I wanna know if you are looking forward to the Winter Classic? It's a shortened poll this week and there will be a subsequent poll afterwards to bring us to the beginning of Week Fourteen. Don't forget to vote twice!

It's rather undeniable this week, but Ryan finally got himself a Mover & Shaker award this season, after posting a 35-point week in Week Thirteen. There were claims that he was close enough in week's past, but this week was truly the one that he pulled away in. There was only one other team that managed to crack the 30-point barrier in the week, so it was a bit of a runaway win, as Ryan walked into Sunday, already over 30 points. For his troubles this week, Ryan has earned himself an Alexander Semin card from Upper Deck, which is a numbered gold card, to signify it's rarity. If Semin can ever string together a few good seasons, this will be one good investment of a card.

Overall, this was Ryan's best week in the Draft this season, eclipsing his previous high of 34 points in Week Five and it is the fifth time he has cracked the 30-point barrier. Unfortunately, he has a few too many weeks in the sub 20-point region and that would account for his 9th place position.

For the week, he received great contributions from Curtis Sanford (6 points), John-Michael Liles (5), Miikka Kiprusoff (4) and four players with 3 points a piece. Only one of his active players failed to register a point for him in the week, which usually means good things in the Draft this season. With the big week, Ryan managed to move back into the top ten from 11th spot last week and manage to gain significantly on the teams just ahead of him. Ryan now sits 3 points out of 6th spot and 10 from 5th.

On the Sheet, it was a pretty easy find to see the Mover & Shaker for Week Thirteen... Neil wins by a margin of two more places moved up the standings. Neil tied for the pool-high in points this past week with 66, but managed to move up 5 places to 24th this week, which gave him the tie-breaking edge over Tim. Neil had strong weeks from Ryan Smyth (6 points), Marc-Andre Fleury (6), Scott Niedermayer (4), Evgeni Nabokov (4), Dany Heatley (4) and seven others with 3 points each.

It was a first-to-worst situation for our Basement Dweller this week. After having such a great week in Week Twelve, it somewhat fell apart for him in Week Thirteen. Fortunately for Jeremy, there wasn't a lot of action from the teams immediately near him, so he didn't drop so badly in the standings, as one may expect. For Jeremy in the week, his best player was Martin St. Louis, who finished with 4 points, thanks to a 4-point game against the Panthers on the weekend. If it wasn't for that game, he could have been quite a bit futher back from the rest of the teams in the week, instead of just being edged out for the bottom. Out of his active players, only four failed to register a point, which isn't too bad, but he didn't get great production out of those who did hit the scoresheet. He only fell from 6th to 8th and is still only 2 points from 6th, so it could be much, much worse.

It wasn't quite a week-low in points, but it was the biggest drop in the standings for Kim, who only finished 3 points better than the week-low in Week Thirteen. Kim finished the week with 39 points, dropping him from 31st to 35th in the pool and has yet to make a trade this season. One trade would likely get him back into the top 30 without any problems, but that would be his prerogative, I suppose. On his roster, 13 players failed to register a point in the week, which would be the greatest reason as to why he finished so low. Remarkably, only one of those zeros were due to injury, while one was in the minors recently.

Our Player of the Week had to hang on for dear life to his weekly points lead on Sunday, as he went into the day, only a point up on his closest rival and a couple points to his next closest, not to mention having some of the league's top scorers going as well (knowing full well what they can accomplish in the day), but he managed to hang on and claim the victory for the week. Mike Smith of the Tampa Bay Lightning held off all comers in the week to claim his first PoW title from the Sherpa with 8 points.

Smith was good enough to seemingly revitalize the Lightning this past week, leading them through a 3-game winning streak. On Tuesday, he only had to make 15 stops to earn a shutout against the Penguins (of all teams) and his first 4 points of the week. Smith finished his week with a weekend home & home series against the Panthers, where he made 25 saves in both games for a pair of wins. Smith has finally cemented his spot as the number one guy in Tampa, as he kind of has to, because Olaf Kolzig has been out of the line-up due to injury. Smith was far and away Wes' best player in the Draft this week and it would be a much different story for Wes if Smith wasn't doing as well.

Where did Henrik Lundqvist go? That would be the most pressing question for Dale C. in the Draft, as he didn't register a point during the week. The Rangers haven't won in their last 3 games, which has kept Lundqvist away from the pool scoreboard and has been one of the contributing reasons why Dale has dropped a ways in the Draft. Once the Rangers have their legs underneath them again, look for Lundqvist to make a charge for the top of the pool scoring.

Other News and Notes

The Thrashers made a little roster shuffle on Sunday afternoon, as the return of Erik Christensen to the line-up saw the healthy scratching of Box 21 forward, Jason Williams. Christensen has been out with a shoulder injury, while Williams hasn't produced as well, scoring only 17 points in 34 games for the Thrashers. I wouldn't forsee Williams being out of the line-up for very long, but the move may shake the team up a little bit more.

It looks like a worst-case scenario for the Red Wings, leading up to the Winter Classic in Chicago. Team captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, blocked a shot during the week, which injured his ankle. An early x-ray showed that there was no bone damange, but they will do another scan after the severe swelling goes down. For Detroit and Larry (in the Draft), they'll be hoping that when the swelling goes down, he can just jump right back into his skates and start playing again. For now, consider him day-to-day.

There is nothing better to fuel a rumour fire than the headline player being scratched from a game. We are to understand that Box 1 forward, Marian Gaborik, is supposed to be somewhat healthy after returning from injury, not long ago. He has been dogged with some injury worries of late, but there have been many more rumours than worries over the past few weeks. On Sunday, Gaborik was scratched from the Wild's game against the Blackhawks, the day the roster freeze was lifted.

On the weekend, the Canadiens called up Kyle Chipchura, a Box 25 forward, to help with some of their injury problems, but ended up sitting in the press box for the Saturday night contest in Pittsburgh. Chipchura has figured into one game this season, before being sent back down to the AHL. He wasn't a popular pick on the Sheet, so it isn't a big deal this season.

Let's not be confused this issue at the moment. Apparently, the starting goalie for the Islanders is, in fact, healthy, but not healthy enough to play back-to-back games, rather Rick DiPietro wasn't even healthy enough to back up Joey MacDonald in their game in Buffalo on Saturday night. DiPietro did win and register an assist, but couldn't be bothered for another game.

On Saturday night, the Rangers were without their number one defenseman, Michal Roszival, due to some personal reasons. The details weren't necessary to be disclosed, but for the Rangers and John B., everyone hopes that he'll be back in the line-up soon, to help the Rangers and their playoff push.

The Flyers found themselves filling up the infirmary this week, with three players getting checked out after blocking shots. First, it's Derek draft pick, Kimmo Timonen, who went down with an ankle injury and it will keep him out of the line-up for about a week. Timonen's ankle was said to be fractured and he will take some time off to make sure it heals well. Secondly, it was Scott Hartnell that took a shot off the toe, thus breaking it, but he didn't spend any time away from the game, lining up against the Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Finally, it's the unlucky Matt Carle, a Peter draft pick, who has been sidelined again, this time with an ankle injury. He is thought to be out on a day-to-day basis, but that could mean just about anything.

There is some good news for the Flyers this week, as it looks like Ryan Parent is ready to play hockey again. The Box 30 defender has been sent down to the AHL to play some conditioning games for the Phantoms before returning to the Flyers, likely in a week. Parent is returning from a shoulder injury that required surgery in October and that should help solidify the Flyers' blueline in the coming weeks.

It looks like the Blues are not expecting to see Paul Kariya back in the line-up this season. Kariya, a Draft pick of Clayton's, will undergo hip surgery in the near future to correct the injury that has been keeping him out since November. Kariya opened the season with a bang, having 15 points in 13 games for the Blues, but that's all folks. Kariya could have been dropped in the first Waiver Draft, but was passed over, since he was only listed as out day-to-day then. Look for him to be dropped in the second one.

The Lightning were without the services of Box 15 defender, Lukas Krajicek, due to an upper body injury on Saturday night against the Panthers. Krajicek, acquired from Vancouver earlier in the season, has done well for the Lightning and has 6 assists in 31 games this season between the two clubs.

The Leafs and Wes have lost Matt Stajan for about the next week or so, as he will be sitting out with an eye injury, after taking a soccer ball to the face before practice on Saturday. Stajan reportedly suffers from some blurry vision and he doesn't feel like he can contribute on the ice for the team. Hopefully the injury isn't as serious as it may sound.

The Canucks have now lost Taylor Pyatt to a broken foot for an indefinite period of time. Pyatt, a Box 5 forward, ended up blocking a shot from his own teammate in their game against the Oilers on Friday night. Pyatt will likely miss the next six weeks with the injury, will keep him from improving on his 4 goals and 6 assists he's picked up in the first 36 games of the year.

A pair of roster moves to report on for the Capitals. Back-up goalie, Brent Johnson, has sat out of the line-up and the bulk of practices over the past few days with a hip injury. In his stead, Simeon Varlamov has been backing up Jose Theodore in the net. Also sitting out, Tomas Fleischmann, a Box 24 forward, has been sitting out with an illness, initially reported as the flu, but has now been reported as pneumonia. Certainly not the best news anyone can look for, so we'll keep a close eye on him.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

Happy New Year! It's the first Hockey Night in Canada of 2009 and it's a bargain basement pair of match-ups to start the year. In the first match-up, it's the supposed Battle of Ontario, as the Senators head to Toronto to take on the Leafs. This isn't quite the marquee match-up of season's past, but it could be a relatively good game, since both teams are fighting for some respect. The Leafs may have some new talent, if their new GM has his way, while the Senators are in the middle of many trade rumours, so both teams could be a little different or they both will be rubbish, like they ended 2008. In the second game, it's another match-up that was once a fun one to watch, as the Dallas Stars are in Edmonton to take on the Oilers. The Stars and Oilers are at the bottom of their respective divisions, but neither are far from a playoff spot going into Week Fourteen. It could very well be a high-tempo game, which could be entertaining, but it doesn't have a huge effect on the fantasy pools, as there are some underachieving players in this game.