Friday, October 31, 2008

Crosby Injured

The Penguins could possibly be without their top player this weekend. In Phoenix on Thursday night, Sidney Crosby left the game with an undisclosed injury. All the buzz has speculated that the injury could be a hip problem. Nevertheless, Crosby is resting his apparent injury and it won't be until the pre-game skate before they assess his availability for the Penguins' game against St. Louis.

Crosby has enjoyed some pool success, thus far into the season. He currently sits second on Pittsburgh in points, with 13 points (3G, 10A) in 11 games. He was also the first overall pick to Chris in the Draft and was a very popular player on the Selection Sheet as well.

Anyone's guess is as good as mine and if the prognosis and assessment after the game was 'some discomfort,' I don't think he'll be out for too long. The Penguins sure couldn't afford something like that, nor could his fantasy owners.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Predators Wheelin' and Dealin'

2007-2008 Stats2009
To NashvilleAgeGPPointsCap Hit
Tim Ramholt, D2410$633,000
To PhiladelphiaAgeGPPointsCap Hit
Josh Gratton, F 26 1 0$550,000

The Nashville Predators were a busy bunch this afternoon making a couple of trades. In the first, they sent tough guy forward, Josh Gratton, to the Flyers for defenseman Tim Ramholt. The addition gives the team a little more depth on the blueline for a player that was falling down the depth chart, losing spots to other grittier forwards.

2007-2008 Stats2009
To NashvilleAgeGPPointsCap Hit
Hugh Jessiman, F2400$726,000
To New York RangersAgeGPPointsCap Hit
Future Considerations

In the second transaction, the Predators acquired depth forward, Hugh Jessiman, from the Rangers for futures. Jessiman has toiled in the Rangers' system for quite some time already, not being able to crack it full time with the big club. In Nashville, he may find some space to hone his skills and possibly get some big league ice-time.

Alfredsson Extends

The Senators have announced that their captain Daniel Alfredsson has extended his stay with the team for four years... on top of the four (including this season) already on the books. Alfredsson, 36 in December, will now theoretically remain with the team for the remainder of his career. With Spezza signed on for six seasons (also including this one) and Heatley signed on for seven (you guessed it, including this one), the team has their best line for an awfully long time.

The contract is reportedly worth $22 million over the four season of the extension, which is a very cap friendly number for the Senators, averaging $5.5 million per season, which is an absolute bargain for the team.

Alfredsson has had himself a productive start of the year, scoring 3 goals and 6 assists in 9 games. He's been a big reason why Dale C. has moved up quickly in the Draft standings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hamrlik Possibly Out

The Montreal Canadiens are holding their breath on the status of their top defenseman, Roman Hamrlik. Hamrlik blocked a shot in the third perod of the game against Carolina on Tuesday night, taking it right off the foot. Hamrlik was kept out of practice today and his status for their next game is still unknown. Stay tuned...

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Lundqvist Suffers Shoulder Injury

Box 8 forward, Joel Lundqvist, has suffered a shoulder injury, which will keep him out until late November. Lundqvist has played in 9 games with Dallas this season, only registering an assist. He hasn't been the offensive force they were hoping for, but four weeks off may set him straight. For right now, he isn't worth keeping around on the Sheet, so if you do have him, you may want to drop him.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Panthers' Murphy Out Six Weeks

Panthers coach, Jacques Martin, called Cory Murphy's shoulder injury a strained shoulder and he'll be out for about 6 weeks. The Panthers have had a horrible (Canucks-like) start to the season on the blueline. Murphy, McCabe and Allen have all spent some time in the press box with injuries.

Murphy is a Box 29 defenseman, who does have 1 assist in 7 games. With the possibility of missing 6 weeks, you might want to drop him from your team if you have him.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Penguins Mysteriously Lose Talbot

Those Penguins are getting awfully sketchy in Pittsburgh. First, it's Hal Gill and his mysterious injury that is keeping him out of the line-up. Now, it's Maxime Talbot that has an undisclosed injury, which kept him out of last night's game against the Sharks.

Quite frankly, that's all that the team will let the public know and they aren't even the superstars of the team. The whole clarification of the rule where as teams do not have to disclose this information is really being taken to new heights.

Gill has missed the last few games and Talbot has only missed one, but there is no indication on whether or not they'll be available for the next game or for any game this week. They could be out on a day-to-day basis for a month. Little help?

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Question for the Sherpa I

I thought it was pretty interesting to read in my search keywords that landed someone to this site was 'if you had marian gaborik in your hockey pool would you trade him?' This does pose an interesting question, as the oft-injured, yet high-scoring forward Marian Gaborik has run into some injury problems this year and is in the middle of many trade rumours and new contract speculation.

This season, Gaborik has only played in two games for the Wild, registering only a goal. The Wild have gone on to play well without their star forward, as new stars like Mikko Koivu and Antti Miettinen have emerged to pick up the slack in Minnesota. Gaborik is also in the final year of his contract, which does carry a cap hit of $6.333 million. As Gaborik sits with his "lower body" injury, which we are only to assume it is his problematic groin, it's understandable to ask yourself, 'do I keep him or do I move him?'

The question itself does have a few a factors to consider... 1) are you able to drop him completely in your pool? 2) do you have a trade in place with another team in your pool? 3) is your pool salary cap based? 4) is he worth keeping on your roster in a keeper pool?

wildNow, I don't think you would want to immediately want to drop Gaborik from your team altogether if you're not going to receive any compensation for him. It's a gamble that's hard to take, since his injury is only keeping him out on a day-to-day basis. You could speculate a lot at this point about what the injury is and whether or he'll be traded while he is injured or not. I would like to think that if he does come back, sooner rather than later, he'll want to come back with some vigor, enough to make teams interested in him for a move. This is a contract year for this European player and we all know that the Euros like to play well in their contract years.

If you received a trade offer for Gaborik in your pool, I would seriously consider it. You have to take into consideration what you are getting in return for Gaborik and I wouldn't sell the farm on him quite yet. He does have pool value, with a fair amount of risk as well. Personally, I don't like to carry too much risk in my pool players, despite high rewards, just for matters like this. A big question mark looming over the head of Gaborik would lead me to believe a trade would be beneficial for the remainder of the year, as you may get someone who is more capable of playing more games in the year.

Value for salary cap hit could be considered another story, however. Does a player like Gaborik deserve to be on your team with a cap value that is in the top third in the league? No. I'm sure that you could find better value for money than Gaborik. He is definitely capable of 40-50 goals, if he plays all 82 games in the season, but we all know that it isn't going to happen this year and an unknown contract status seems to be hurting his desire to play as well. However, if Gaborik is to move to another team that would pass him through their physical with flying colours, I would immediate turn tail and pick him up. There are some teams rumoured to be interested in him that I would definitely give him full marks for playing on.

On a keeper league team, you should have the ability to keep Gaborik benched, while you use one of your other key players in a scoring spot that he would normally take. For the last reason of moving teams this year, I wouldn't dump Gaborik at all. Sure, he isn't very good to you now, but if you're in a keeper pool, I would try and move him myself, trying to make a move to a stronger team for equal value of a healthy Gaborik. Like I said, he has value, which wouldn't be discounted if he went to another team that gave him a clean bill of health. It's anyone's guess where he'll end up, but if I'm falling behind this season in the keeper pool, I would see what kind of value I could get for him, while I wait for his return.

There really is no sense re-iterating what I had posted as a conclusion. I like Gaborik, he's done wonderful things for me in fantasy teams in the past. I was kind of disappointed I didn't pick him on my draft team, but now I don't feel quite so bad, as my Draft only has two waiver periods (Week Nine and Week Eighteen), where we can drop and pick up players. If we could do it at any time, I may have likely dropped him for someone who wasn't taken (ahem, Mike Modano) at all.

Devils Call Two Up

The Devils made an emergency call-up on Tuesday morning for forward Matt Halischuk and Niklas Bergfors. For all pool purposes, this news bite is for Halischuk, who was thought to be making an impression at Devils camp this Fall, but failed to make the team straight out of camp. He was included in this season's Selection Sheet in Box 25 and was taken at least once, if I remember correctly.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Coyotes Claim Klee

The Phoenix Coyotes claimed veteran defenseman, Ken Klee, off of re-entry waivers today, adding the 37-year old to their young line-up. Klee, acquired by Anaheim in the deal that sent Mathieu Schneider to Atlanta, couldn't quite crack the Ducks' blueline on a full-time basis and was sent down to the minors earlier this season, after clearing waivers to do so the first time.

The Coyotes haven't seen a great deal of offensive success from their blueline yet this season, Keith Yandle being the only blueliner to eclipse the 2-point mark this season. The addition of Klee should be able to give an offensive defenseman a stay-at-home partner, so said offensive player can jump up into the play a little more often.

The Coyotes will also only have to pay half of Klee's $1.25 million that he is owed this year and that same half is what counts against the cap for the remainder of the season. Klee shouldn't have to toil in the minors for the rest of the year now, which bodes well for him. If he has an impact offensively or indirectly to the offense, he is available in Box 29 of the Sheet pool.

News From Columbus

On Monday, the Blue Jackets announced that they placed goaltender Pascal Leclaire on the Injured Reserve, with what is believed to be an ankle injury. The injury is thought to be somewhat minor and it will only keep the keeper out of action for about a week.

Leclaire, a third round pick of Derek, will likely miss out on a few starts and since it's an ankle injury, there should be some further fears that it won't heal as quickly or be 100% as soon as the team hopes. Leclaire has battled injuries for most of his career, last year being one of the healthier years of his tenure in Columbus.

The Blue Jackets announced on Tuesday morning that rookie forward, Nikita Filatov, has been sent back down to the minors, which was somewhat expected here. Filatov, Chris' last pick in the Draft, will be considered the first person the team calls up when injury troubles arrive, but the club does believe that his game will be better suited to improve in the minors, where he can get plenty of ice-time.

The Blue Jackets have gotten off to somewhat of a rocky start this year. They don't seem to be generating the sort of offense that they were hoping for when they signed R.J. Umberger and Kristian Huselius to deals in the off-season. Surely, they were hoping for more from their young players like Kris Russell and Nikita Filatov, who both now ended up in the minors. The team is still growing and there does seem to be a plan in place. It also can't be easy when your number one goalie is having troubles with injuries to start the year, not to mention some inconsistencies.

In a bit of a strange statistical note: looking at where the Blue Jackets were drafted in the Draft pool, they do go in points order, having Huselius with 7 points, drafted before both Leclaire and Rick Nash, who both have 6 points each, Christian Backman in with 4 points, Umberger with 2 and Filatov with 1.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Sheet Injuries (Oct 27)

The Sabres lost the services of defenseman, Henrik Tallinder, a Box 29 defender, to a lacerated leg, not likely very serious, although he has been kept from skating in practice. The Sabres have plenty of injury problems, including Craig Rivet, also on the blueline, who will still be out another week or so.

Another defenseman who missed time last night from the Sheet, Freddie Meyer, a Box 30 defenseman, missed out the Battle of New York with an abdominal injury. Meyer wasn't a popular pick in the Sheet, so this has little impact on the Standings.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week Four Newsletter

It was a short week, thanks to the Super Saturday, all 30 teams playing in 15 games, it didn't give Sunday any matches. It also managed to take down scoring a little bit in the Draft (and probably the Sheet as well). If Week Three would be considered the first "full week" of end-to-end hockey, the Draft scoring was up to 491 points for all 17 teams. The way the schedule worked in Week Four, saw a pretty dramatic drop down to 399 points through the six days of the schedule. A very interesting decline.

For Week Five, we'll see 48 games and it's likely that scoring will be up from Week Four. You can only really hope that the upswing of games effects your players more positively than others. If your Draft team has overloaded with Devils, Coyotes, Blues or Capitals, you may be in for a long week, as they will only play in two games each this week. Ten teams will manage to get four games in this week, which means double the chances of points for those teams. Hoorah!

Hopefully this week, we'll get to see an elusive 40+ point week in the Draft. That would sure be something! Five teams in the Draft will have more than 40 skater games this week, not including their goaltending starts. That's ample opportunity to pick up some much needed points.

Poll Question
This past week's poll question gauged your surprise on a certain number of players that hadn't registered a point going into Week Four. Steven Stamkos was going to be the unanimous surprise with having no points and still not having any points, but there was some surprise later on in the week for Sam Gagner, who eventually broke through the zero point barrier, with two points against the Canucks. Stamkos and Jovanovski are both still sitting with no points, which is still surprising after a month into the season. I'm getting the feeling that Stamkos will be on his way back to juniors at this pace. Why would the Lightning want to waste a year of his entry-level contract on this sort of production? That's an expensive goose egg.

Onwards to this week's question... who has been the fantasy pool suprise player thus far? Alexander Semin of the Capitals, Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers, Filip Kuba of the Senators, Paul Kariya of the Blues or Mike Modano of the Stars? Just for argument's sake... Modano wasn't taken in the Draft... at all. He has 10 points and will likely be the most highly sought after during the first waiver period.

It's pretty tough to argue with the most points in the Draft for the Mover & Shaker award, especially when it moves you into first place in the whole thing. Clayton had himself a pretty good short week, racking up 32 points and opening up a 7-point lead on second place.

Three players finished the week with six points for Clayton, which helped propel him forward. Zach Parise, Mike Richards and Peter Budaj were very beneficial to his cause in Week Four. He also managed to get top billing with five players not scoring for him in the week, which is quite the feat. Usually a team needs all of their players to be on.

This week's prize card for the Mover & Shaker is a Carey Price Game Breakers card from this season's Victory set. There is also a Patrick Kane and Jarome Iginla singles in the Game Breakers set up for grabs this season.

On the Sheet, it was a pretty big week for Don D., who finished the week with 75 points (tied for the Week lead) and he moved up 16 positions in the Standings. Having a big week for Don in Week Four were Jarome Iginla (7 points), Marian Hossa (6), Scott Hartnell (6), Mike Modano (5), Tomas Zajac (5) and five other players with 4 points. Don could be back up in the top ten with a couple more weeks like that.

In the basement of the Draft in Week Four was Grant, who has found himself in a pretty comfy spot down at the bottom of the Standings. His 12-point week was the Draft's lowest and now he has a 8-point gap to make up to 16th spot. Both goaltenders were problematic for Grant in the week, as Carey Price was ill for his scheduled start on Saturday and Martin Gerber has lost his starting spot (for now) in Ottawa. Injuries to Chuck Kobasew, Brian Rolston and Ryan Whitney are also big reasons as sto why Grant has had some trouble gaining any ground on his Draft opponents.

Falling down on the Sheet was Dave D., who fell down to last place (44th spot) with a very weak 34-point effort. Despite having a few good performances for his team, there were way too many zeros for comfort in the pool. 18 of his 32 selections were guilty of not registering a point in the pool, which is just way too many. He'll have to pick up the pace or make some trades before it gets to be too late.

In a week where the number of games is a little lower, it does open up the opportunity for a skater to launch themselves into the Player of the Week honour, as they are just as likely to finish up with plenty of points, where as goalies need more games for wins and therefore, shutouts. This week was definitely one of those weeks, as goalies were finishing up with only 6 points.

Jarome Iginla was the top player in the pool scoring this past week, as he finished off with 7 points. Iginla and the Flames played three games in the week, winning all three. In a 2-1 win over Washington, Iginla registered a goal. A hat-trick highlighted a third period comeback against the Predators on Thursday night. Finally, a goal and two assists was the icing on the cake against Phoenix in the week. Seven points to lead the league.

In the Draft, Iginla was taken by Jeremy, who finished the week with 30 points.

Other News and Notes

The injury bug hit Matthew Lombardi this week, as he was lost to the Flames for Saturday night's game against Phoenix with an upper-body injury, which looked to be a shoulder injury when the replays were broadcast on TV. Currently, he's listed as out on a day-to-day basis, but if the injury is reviewed a little further, I would expect to see him out a little bit longer. Lombardi is a pick of Ryan in the Draft.

The Hurricanes have now been riddled with injuries. Brandon Sutter, a Box 25 forward, was clocked by Doug Weight in the team's game against Long Island on the weekend. Sutter was just released from hospital on Monday and will likely be out indefinitely with a concussion. Joni Pitkanen was also bitten by the injury bug, as he'll be out for a month with a knee injury. Pitkanen, a John P. pick in the Draft, will undergo knee surgery this week and his return will be about 4 weeks away.

The Blue Jackets are not in a big hurry to give their young players a lot of ice-time and experience right away in their career. Both Nikita Filatov and Kris Russell were scratched this weekend and their pool value decreased a little bit. Filatov, picked in Draft by Chris, had been brought up from the minors when Mike Peca was suspended, but now he has returned and since Filatov only has one goal, he may get sent back down again.

Of course, as soon as the scratches came, Kris Russell was sent down to the minors on Sunday, where he'll likely get a little more seasoning before any sort of return. Surprisingly, it was Filatov that was sent down, as it was somewhat expected, but Russell shouldn't come as a big surprise either.

The Red Wings got some bad news on Sunday morning, as it looks like Johan Franzen will now be on the shelf for the next four weeks with a sprained knee. Franzen was in a knee-on-knee collision with Blackhawks' defenseman, Brent Sopel, and took the worst of the blow. Franzen was starting the season well, having 7 points in the first 8 games for Detroit, but will now likely miss upwards of 11 games. Franzen was picked by Benson in the Draft and was a fairly popular pick on the Sheet.

The Panthers have had some terrible luck with injuries already this season and Saturday against the Blues, they were without forward Stephen Weiss (groin) and defenseman Cory Murphy (shoulder). Both players are considered to be out on a day-to-day basis and neither were very popular on the Sheet or taken in the Draft.

The Kings have been surprisingly scratching veteran defenseman Tom Preissing over the last couple games. There haven't been any reports of injuries to the defender, but as soon as news comes down the pipe, I should be able to report it.

The Habs continue to be without forward Andrei Kostitsyn, who suffered that big hit last weekend against Phoenix. He is still groggy with concussion-like symptoms and likely won't be available right away, despite being listed as out day-to-day. It's still fairly early in the season and the Habs will likely not rush him back, much to the chagrin of Ryan, who has him in the Draft.

The Habs ghave also been sitting Mathieu Dandenault for their games of late. Dandenault was becoming a pretty regular scratch last season and it looks like he has moved back into the doghouse of the coaching staff.

The Devils couldn't manage a win against Philly this past weekend, thanks in part to a lack of offense, since both Brian Rolston (ankle) and Jamie Langenbrunner (lower body) were both out of the line-up. Both are listed as out day-to-day and only Rolston has an effect on the Draft, as he was taken by Grant. It's somewhat surprising that Langenbrunner was not taken in the Draft, but an injury will likely hurt his chances at being a pick up at waiver time.

The Islanders may be without their star goalie, Rick DiPietro, with another injury, yet to be disclosed by the Islanders. As of today (Monday), DiPietro will be going to see a doctor about this undisclosed injury and is listed as questionable for starting tonight. DiPietro has had a slow start to the season, both getting going and playing well in his few starts. His health has to be a big concern for the management and coaching staff of the team. The team does need him to be 100% down the stretch and resting him will be a good idea.

The Ottawa goaltening situation was already cloudy enough with Martin Gerber having problems with consistent play, but a leg injury didn't let him dress on Saturday. With Alex Auld taking on minutes for the Senators, Gerber might have found an easy out of the line-up for the time being. Bad news for Grant in the Draft, who is in dire need of getting some goaltender minutes and wins.

The Flyers have scratched defenseman Lasse Kukkonen on a somewhat-regular basis, as he's only seen a couple games this season. Kukkonen hasn't been a popular choice on the Sheet, so his scraches are not going to be of much impact.

Thanks to the red carpet treatment that the Blues gave Sarah Palin, Manny Legace got caught up in the carpet, thus straining his hip flexor. This could be a bad turn of events, as the team is already without new acquistion, Chris Mason, to an emergency appendectomy, which should keep him out another weeek. Legace is a pick of John B., who will eagerly await his return, so he can get himself back in the money.

Radim Vrbata has had some injury problems already this season, this time sitting out with a groin injury. Vrbata is a Draft pick of Chris, who has already missed out on some games this season. The Lightning will need him in the line-up to help their anemic offense to start the year.

The Capitals will have a long week by the losses of Tom Poti to a groin injury and Alexander Ovechkin to some personal business. Poti has been an injury prone player over the past couple years and he's already missed a couple games this season. His groin injuries are quite troublesome.

Ovechkin will be away to Russia, taking care of some personal family business. There was no indication of when he'll likely be back in North America to resume his season.

Also during the week, the Capitals sat forward Eric Fehr, as he has been a part of the musical chairs game there in the Washington line-up. With Ovechkin away, however, he should be able to fit in the line-up a little more often.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

Finally, we'll finish the newsletter off with the HNIC schedule. In the first game, the Rangers will visit Toronto to take on the Leafs. The Rangers and their offensive potency will be put to the test against the Leafs and their new hard-working regime. It could definitely be a good, hard fought game. In the second half of the doubleheader, the road trippin' Flames will be in California, Los Angeles specifically, to take on the Kings. Los Angeles has had their problems already this season, so it isn't out of the question to expect a big game from the Flames offensively. It could be another good week to have Jarome Iginla.