Friday, May 29, 2009

Cup Finals Preview 2009

PhotobucketWow, I didn't think I would ever need to use this graphic again, but here it is. Another Red Wings/Penguins Cup Final and we're gearing it up for a start tomorrow night. This should be one hell of a rematch, with all sorts of story lines attached to it, but I think we'll just focus on the pool at hand... the playoff pool that is.

I suppose we can just start at the top and work our way down. That seems to be only fair, right? Well, we have another new leader coming out of the Conference Finals, Steve W. will carry a 1-point lead over Mike D., who is shorthanded, compared to Steve. Mike then holds a slim 4-point lead over Trevor B., who also holds a 3-point lead over both Brad W. and Chris M.. It still remains tight, as Mike E. is only one point back of those two tied for 4th, while Paul W. sits just 3 points behind 6th, also carrying 6 players into the Finals.

The top seven teams are now statistically legitimate to win money here, but looking at the remaining players on each team, this could really come down to one team in this final deciding it all.

Let's start in the East with the Penguins. Mike D. has himself in a bit of a hole going into the Finals with only two Penguins and one of them is a defenseman. Four teams, as you can see below, have the combination of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury. These are the three best Penguins in the pool and are more than likely the best three to have in these Finals. If the Penguins are to go all the way, there is a great chance that the four teams with this combination will be finishing in the money.

PlayerSteve W.Mike D.Trevor B.Brad W.Chris M.Mike E.Paul W.
Evgeni Malkinxxxxx
Sidney Crosbyxxxxxx
Bill Guerinx
Jordan Staalx
Ruslan Fedotenkox
Kris Letangx
Marc-Andre Fleuryxxxxx

In the West, however, there is plenty of differences to make this race all the more interesting. Again, Mike D. shoots himself in the foot with only two Red Wings going into the Finals, including the wash out Johan Franzen, so really in this race, he only has one. Marian Hossa is a popular pick below second place, which nearly washes him out completely. Mike E. is the only team to have Chris Osgood, which could be a big benefit if the Red Wings are to sweep for the win.
PlayerSteve W.Mike D.Trevor B.Brad W.Chris M.Mike E.Paul W.
Pavel Datsyukx
Henrik Zetterbergxx
Marian Hossaxxxxx
Johan Franzenxxxxxxx
Jiri Hudlerx
Mikael Samuelssonx
Nicklas Lidstromxx
Chris Osgoodx

There doesn't look like there is going to be a great deal of movement through the pool's top seven, but with the right kind of results, we'll at least see some. I am expecting to see Mike D. drop out of the top four, just due to the fact that he isn't carrying enough players going forward, missing some important names like Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury, just to name a couple.

Game-Winning Goals
PhotobucketWell, going over the GWG bonus points, Evgeni Malkin leads all players going into this series with 3 winners. One Penguins player, Bill Guerin, and two Red Wings, Johan Franzen & Mikael Samuelsson, enter the series with 2 winners a piece. In the top seven, Brad W. leads all teams with 20 GWG bonus points, followed closely by Mike E. with 18. Those numbers are better reflected with the entire team, rather than the remaining six players on either team.

Going into the Cup Finals, there is a lot of concern about the overall health of both Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom, which can also have a major effect on the final standings as well. Datsyuk remains questionable for Game 1 with his lower body injury, a bruised foot, while Lidstrom is expected to play in Game 1. If Datsyuk cannot go, it's a distinct disadvantage to Chris M. going forward.

For the Penguins, they are likely going to go with the line-up that got the team to the Finals, meaning that both Petr Sykora and Alex Goligoski should be sitting out for the Penguins. Neither player will figure into the end result for the money, as no team in the top seven has these players.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pool Outlook for Chicago

If you weren't impressed by the Blackhawks in 2009, then there is a pretty good chance that you didn't watch the Blackhawks much at all. The young team showed off a lot of their known potential and also managed to turn that potential into wins in the standings. The Blackhawks didn't necessarily put a lot of that potential into big numbers for poolies to take advantage of, but the potential they showed in 2009 would indicate that they are not far away from some big numbers.

Of all the really young talent, it turned out to be Martin Havlat who led all Blackhawks in pool scoring, picking up 29 goals and 48 assists in 81 GP, ranking him 32nd among all players in pool points. Surprisingly not featured in a piece about injury prone players, Havlat does run a big risk of injury, being known more for the time missed than his scoring proficiency when he's healthy. If you picked up Havlat for the 2009 season, you lucked out that he only missed out on one game in the season.

When you move past Havlat, you want to go straight to the two young leaders of the Blackhawks, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane & Toews both had great seasons, finishing with 70 & 69 points, respectively, also finishing 53rd & 54th in pool scoring. These two players have all sorts of potential still to be tapped in the NHL and their third season has the potential for a big breakout. Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd and Dave Bolland, all 23 years old, also finished their seasons very well, finishing with 53, 49 & 47 points, respectively. At such a young age, they also show that there is still some room to move up the ranks. Other major forwards of note include, Patrick Sharp, who had an off-year with 44 points in 61 GP and Dustin Byfuglien, a defenseman converted to forward, who finished with 31 points in 77 GP.

The defense of the Blackhawks were not quite as potent as they were somewhat expected to be in 2009, but injuries and some inconsistencies were to blame there. The top defenseman for Chicago was Duncan Keith, finishing with 44 points in 77 GP, his best pool season, ranking 183rd in the league, 19th among defenders. Cam Barker finally had a breakout year with 40 points in 68 GP, 26th among defensemen. The bigger disappointment, due to injury, was for Brian Campbell, who only finished with 21 points in 53 GP, falling well below his totals from 2008. A healthy season in Chicago should bring more chemistry with the team going forward.

In goal, Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobel Huet were pitted against one another for the number one job, with the edge thought to be going Huet's way, due to Khabibulin's poor 2008. Well, the Bulin Wall proved everyone wrong, taking on the number one job and being the better pool goalie, winning 25 games, 3 by shutouts and adding 2 assists in the year for 58 points. Huet didn't fare too badly, picking up 20 wins and 3 shutouts for 46 points, but those certainly are not number one goalie numbers.

2010 Season Outlook
The start of a good team is certainly a good core and looking at the table of players signed for the Blackhawks for next season, you could come to the conclusion that they have a good core of players to start from, but the small number of players means that they have a lot of work to do when it comes to free agency and evaluating their youth for jobs. It'll be a hard-working summer, but like I mentioned, they have a good spot to start from.

Patrick KaneDuncan KeithCristobel Huet
Jonathan ToewsBrent Seabrook
Andrew LaddBrian Campbell
Patrick SharpBrent Sopel
Dustin Byfuglien
Adam Burish

Their current 11 players that they have on for next season come with an approximate cap number of $35.7 million, which is somewhat managable, especially if they have ambitions of spending right to the cap limit. With a full house there in Chicago, they should have plenty of reason to do so now.

The best place to start when looking at the Blackhawks free agency line-up is who is going to be restricted this summer, as the Blackhawks will want to tie up their youngsters going forward. Leading the way in the RFA department are Kris Versteeg, Dave Bolland, Cam Barker, Troy Brouwer, Colin Fraser, Ben Eager and potential back-up, Antti Niemi. There could be a fair bit of money tied up in some of those players, like Versteeg and Barker, so the Blackhawks will have to spend wisely.

Next, the team will have to assess the need for their UFAs. There is some talent there and the salary cap numbers from 2010 to 2011 could be a drastic change, so the long-term deals will have to be rather cap friendly, since they have some prime free agents coming up for the 2011 season. Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin, Sami Pahlsson and Matt Walker will likely have some sort of chat with management, but a budget will likely have to be set before negotiations can take place.

With some salary cap questions, there should be a good look at some players coming through the system, including Kyle Beach, who signed a deal not too long ago. He should be getting a good look in camp. Jack Skille was close to taking a full-time job with the Hawks this past Fall, but fell a tad short of management's expectations. There could also be a long look for Akim Aliu and Igor Makarov up front, both possessing good scoring skills. It's hard to say who will break through the barrier to the big leagues for the 2010 season, but at least there are some names to consider.

It's fair to say that the Blackhawks have plenty of talent to draw from right now for their fantasy pool teams, as Kane, Toews, Keith, Sharp and Campbell should have immediate pick mentions, while Huet will wait for Khabibulin to sign or not sign to be considered a number one goalie or not. Chicago should be a good place for fantasy players, it will just be a matter of how they fill in the blanks to tip the scales one way or the other, in terms of total production.

Oilers Sign 2007 First Rounder

The Oilers have announced on Thursday that they have put pen to paper with their first round draft pick in 2007, defenseman Alex Plante. Plante is a big defenseman who has shown some offensive upside in the WHL and he's also taken that extra year in junior to help his development into being a good pro player. He may not jump immediately into the NHL this season, but he should be one to watch in 2011.

Hawks Done in Five

In a much harder fought game than the Eastern Conference finale, the Blackhawks put up a valiant effort to send Game 5 with the Red Wings to overtime, but the Red Wings were far and away the better team in the series and they ended up flexing that bit of muscle to put the Hawks away. It was a 2-1 final in overtime, which didn't see any scoring until the third period. With scoring down in this game, it wasn't very kind to the poolies, who were hoping for a back-and-forth skating effort to help their teams out.

The Blackhawks were certainly a favourite to come out of the first round against Calgary, being taken 118 times in the pool. Now all 118 picks have been eliminated from competition. The most popular Blackhawks player to be eliminated was defenseman, Duncan Keith, who was taken 22 times and finished with 6 assists. In the series versus Detroit, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each finished with 3 points to lead the Hawks, which certainly wasn't enough to get the job done. They were taken 8 & 15 times respectively. Martin Havlat, taken once, and Nikolai Khabibulin, taken 3 times, led the Blackhawks in scoring through the playoffs with 16 points. Toews and Sharp also led the team in GWG bonus points with 2 each.

The Blackhawks should also have their Pool Outlook finished today, so stay tuned for that. We'll see what they need to have signed to make a better run next season.

I didn't get a chance to watch Game 5 on TV, but it looked to be a goaltending duel for the better part of the game. Chris Osgood outdueled Cristobel Huet for the win and that was enough for Osgood to lead the pool players of the Red Wings in points for the night. Osgood's 30-save effort for the win made him the only multiple-point player in the pool on Wednesday.

Osgood also led the series in pool points as well, earning 8 points for all 4 wins in the series, nothing more, nothing less. Overall, it was a pretty low scoring affair, especially in the pool. Four players all finished with 5 points for the Red Wings; Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson and Brian Rafalski all turned the trick for Detroit. If there was anyone fortunate enough to have two of them and Osgood or just three of the four, then you probably ended the Conference Finals on a good note.

Osgood does also lead the Red Wings in overall scoring through the playoffs with 27 points, followed by Franzen who has 21 points. Franzen and Samuelsson each have 2 GWG bonus points to lead the team in that category as well.

Game-Winning Goals
PhotobucketJust in case you were wondering, it was Darren Helm that scored the winner for the Red Wings. He, as a support player for the Red Wings, was not going to make it onto the sheet, but I'm sure his enthusiasm and production is not being missed by all those Wings fans out there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pool Outlook for Carolina

It was a disappointing finish to the year, losing in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Penguins in four games, but the Hurricanes should hold their heads high, as it turned out to be a pretty good finish to the year for them, making the charge into fifth place in the Conference and upsetting two really good teams in the first couple rounds of the playoffs. The Hurricanes showed everyone that they are a team built with good strong players, but it could something better translated in the regular season to help build their confidence against teams like Pittsburgh.

The best fantasy player on the team was Cam Ward, who had a career-high finish with 91 points (39 wins, 6 shutouts & 1 assist), ranking him 10th in the league for pool scoring, 3rd among goaltenders. If his playoff performance was any addition to indicators, he is a bonafide first round pick when it comes to most fantasy pools. Ward jumped 10 spots in pool rankings from the 2008 season. He is turning out to be a model of consistency nowadays, so keep him fairly high in your pool rankings for next season.

With Ward taking on the better part of the goaltending duties, back-up Michael Leighton only finished up with 6 wins in the pool in just over 1,000 minutes on the ice. The Hurricanes did feel that they had to lean on Ward to get into the playoffs, thanks in large part to Leighton's poor back-up numbers.

At 37 years old, it was Ray Whitney who led the Hurricanes' forwards in scoring in 2009, picking up 77 points in 82 GP, but he didn't lead by too much. Eric Staal finished right behind him with 75 points (including 40 goals) in 82 GP, as both players finished in the top 25 in pool scoring in 2009. Include Ward in there, you have three top 25 scorers on the team and that's hard to argue with at the end of the day. Unfortunately, there was a slight drop-off in scoring past Whitney & Staal, as Tuomo Ruutu finished with 54 points in 79 GP, Rod Brind'Amour had 51 points in 80 GP and Sergei Samsonov had 48 points in 81 GP. Depth scoring in key times would likely be considered where the Hurricanes went wrong when things were going bad for the team. They still have a good line-up of players to consider for your pool though.

On defense, there were some ups and downs when it came to some players, some having good (or better) seasons and some dropping off a little bit in their production. Joe Corvo led all Carolina defenders with 38 points in 81 GP, which is more like an average season for him, but he did have such a good year the season before in Ottawa, it does seem a little disappointing now. In 2008, Corvo ranked 142nd in the league in pool scoring, but in 2009, he finished in 231st, 32nd among defenders. Still not too bad though. Having a good year was Anton Babchuk, who came back from Europe to pickup 35 points in 72 GP, his best season ever in the NHL. Joni Pitkanen was up from 2008, but still down from previous bests, scoring 33 points in 71 GP. Dennis Seidenberg also had a better year, picking up 30 points in 70 GP. All four of these defenders are all worthy candidates for your fantasy team.

2010 Season Outlook
In the overall scheme, the Hurricanes have a pretty rosy picture going into the off-season here in 2009, with a good chance to improve for 2010, possibly making the Cup Finals yet again. The team has a good core group of players signed on for the 2010 season and with some young players in the system, some free agents into the mix, we could see a stronger Hurricanes team in the running for a Southeast Division title.

Ray WhitneyJoe CorvoCam Ward
Eric StaalJoni PitkanenMike Leighton
Rod Brind'AmourTim Gleason
Sergei SamsonovNiclas Wallin
Matt CullenFrank Kaberle
Scott Walker
Patrick Eaves
Brandon Sutter

Currently, the Hurricanes hold 15 players from their regular roster under contract at an approximate cap hit of $42.5 million, leaving the team with potentially enough room to improve their depth. Their current cap hit is about middle of the road among the 30 teams in the league.

Looking forward to their potential free agents, Tuomo Ruutu leads the RFA parade this summer, which also includes Anton Babchuk and Jussi Jokinen. There doesn't seem to be much for cap hit players there or nothing to suggest that they will be a huge burden to the remainder of their cap space.

On the UFA side, Erik Cole, Chad Larose, Dennis Seidenberg and Ryan Bayda will all head to market on July 1st, if they are not signed by then. I would look for all four to return, as they all made reasonable contributions to the team in 2009.

Of course, the Hurricanes don't necessarily have to go with the free agent route with some of the young talent they have brewing in their system. Up front, the possibilities of seeing both Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman on the team has to have the Hurricanes brass awfully excited. They are both on the smaller side, but they both possess good speed and plenty of scoring talent, certainly ones to watch in 2010. The Hurricanes are a tad short when it comes to young defenders, however, Jamie McBain is trying his best to rectify that situation.

Overall, the Hurricanes are a great team to pull players from for fantasy drafts, especially for how deep they go. There should be a good number of them on your list, from top players to good depth players, all of which should be players that at least keep your team going at a reasonable pace. Having players that can perform on a consistent average pace, at least you can count on them for those points that you expect in the middle rounds. Look for Ward and Staal to be up near the top again and don't be too surprised to see a bit of a rebound year for Erik Cole.

Blackhawks Injury Update

I suppose I could have combined reports, but I haven't, so there. The Blackhawks will reportedly be without both Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat, as they try to stay alive in the Western Conference Finals. Khabibulin has been out since the third period of Game 3 with a lower body injury, while Havlat is still feeling rocked by the hit he took from Niklas Kronwall in Game 3. Khabibulin was taken 3 times in the pool, while Havlat was only taken once. It doesn't look good for the Hawks going forward tonight.

Red Wings Injury Update

The Red Wings have announced this morning that both Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk will not be available for tonight's Game 5 against the Blackhawks. This means that the Wings will be without two of their top players for their series clinching game at home. Lidstrom and Datsyuk are also quite popular players in the playoff pool, being taken 24 & 22 times, respectively.

Canes Swept Away

Well, I'm going to start off with the eliminated team, like I usually do here in these situations. The Hurricanes were indeed swept in four games by the Penguins, with a big 4-1 finishing blow on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes were out of the gate quite quickly with a goal by Eric Staal, but it was far from enough as some slick passing and bad bounces punished the Hurricanes before the first period was over. After that, it was some more slick passing that pretty well sealed the deal and the Penguins are now moving onto the Cup Finals once again.

We now have to say good-bye to 72 Hurricanes selections on the pool, which was an awfully low number for the Conference Finals, but it would have been awfully clutch if they were the ones going through. Now the 140 Penguins selections will go and it should be a tighter race. Once we know who is through in the West, we'll have a good wrap up of the top teams and who they have going forward. The most popular player on Carolina was Erik Cole, who had 13 selections, but only finished with 5 assists in the pool. He really struggled in these playoffs. Leading the team in pool scoring was Cam Ward, who finished his playoff run with 20 points, while Eric Staal wasn't too far behind with 16. They were taken 4 & 3 times, respectively.

Well, that's it for the Hurricanes, their Pool Outlook should be appearing on the blog later today.

Now, to the Game 7 action for the Penguins. They were really able to flex their muscles against the Hurricanes, despite being down 1-0 after only 1:36. This young team has been putting up some really good fights in the playoffs already and it doesn't look like they'll be quitting any time soon.

Leading the pool players in the game on Tuesday night were Sidney Crosby (2 assists) and Marc-Andre Fleury (win), both finishing with a pair of points for the poolies.

The series leader in pool points for the Penguins was Evgeni Malkin, as he finished with 11 points in 4 games against Carolina. Fleury finished with only 4 wins for 8 points, while Crosby finished with 7 points. Malkin has a slight edge on Crosby in pool points for the entire playoffs, as Malkin has 2 extra GWG to his name for 31 points in total.

Game-Winning Goals
PhotobucketIt would have been an excellent night for those having Maxime Talbot in the pool, if he was in the pool altogether. Talbot was the big star in Game 4, but he was nowhere to be seen on a deep Penguins roster, heading into the playoffs. Talbot ended up scoring the winning goal on Tuesday night and added 2 assists, for what would have been a 4-point night.

Malkin continues to lead all pool players with 3 GWG bonus points in this off-season.

A full wrap-up of the pool standings will be coming soon, possibly when the Western Final has been completed, unless the Blackhawks can keep the series alive tonight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rangers Sign 2008 First Rounder

The Rangers were pleased to announce that they signed their first round pick from last summer, defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto played with both Oshawa and London in his OHL career, alongside John Tavares. Del Zotto was mentioned in my Pool Outlook as one of the Rangers' prospects to watch in 2010, as he does come with an offensive upside, which could make him a decent pool player. Watch out for him during training camps this Fall.

Russia Calls for Kozlov

Accordingly to a posting from player agent, Allan Walsh, it looks like Viktor Kozlov is following Sergei Fedorov to Russia, as he has reportedly signed a 2-year deal with Salavat Yulaev of the KHL.

Kozlov, 34, has played in 15 seasons in the NHL, playing in 897 games with San Jose, Florida, New Jersey, Long Island and Washington. He amassed career totals of 198 goals and 339 assists in his career, which are not spectacular numbers, but he has been one to provide a team with some really good minutes.

In 2009, Kozlov picked up 41 points in 67 GP and was a $2.5 million cap hit for the Capitals. Re-signing Kozlov would have likely cost the Capitals about the same, so his move to Russia may help the team out for next season.

Blues Sign McClement

According to Andy Strickland at, on Friday the Blues signed on potential RFA, Jay McClement, to a 3-year deal. There wasn't much for fanfare in regards to this signing, if it actually is official, but it's a move that the Blues needed to make this summer anyways. McClement put in 82 games in the season for them, registering only 26 points, but is regarded more as a depth/checking centre, who isn't relied upon for a lot of points.

The article suggests that the cap hit will be $1.45 million over the three years, which keeps their cap number very managable. The addition of McClement to the team update posted a week ago now gives the team 16 players signed on for $44.2 million.

Fedorov Gone to Russia

The Capitals won't be getting the chance to bring Sergei Fedorov back into the fold this summer, as he has agreed on a 2-year deal in Russia with Magnitogorsk. This report comes over a month before he hits the open market as a UFA in the off-season.

Fedorov, 39, has had himself a whale of a career in the NHL, has now decided it is time to spend his remaining playing years at home, signing on to the same team where his two younger brothers are playing in Russia.

Fedorov's career numbers are certainly Hall of Fame worthy, scorng 483 goals and 696 assists in 1,248 career regular season games, having a career high of 120 points in the 1993-'94 season in Detroit. That was also the same season that he scored 56 goals, the only time he broke the 50-goal barrier.

Unfortunately, his point production has decreased over the years and he hadn't eclipsed the 50-point mark after the lockout.

Two 8-Ball Games Coming Up

After a Memorial Day holiday in the States on Monday, the NHL will resume it's Conference Finals schedule with an elimination game on Tuesday. The Hurricanes are now sitting behind the 8-ball in their series with the Penguins, down 3-0.

The Hurricanes, who had two tough series leading up to the Conference Finals, are not showing the same sort of fight that helped them past the Devils and Bruins in the first two rounds and are in a much tougher spot than they were at any point in the first two rounds. This 8-ball is looming large.

As for the Penguins, you can chalk up their success to their superstars in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, who have both been playing with MVP-aspirations. In the pool, Malkin and Crosby are one-two in scoring, Malkin with 31 points and Crosby with 27. Malkin does have 11 points in the series against the Hurricanes, including a pair of GWG, which has been rather clutch.

It's hard to even give the Hurricanes a game in this series, but there should be some fight left in them, as they are a resilient bunch of players. It may be a game for Marc-Andre Fleury to steal for the Penguins, as he should be bombarded by all sorts of shots tonight.

On Wednesday, the Blackhawks will try and keep their hopes alive in Detroit in Game 5 of the series. The young Chicago team is currently down 3-1 in their series and are now behind the 8-ball, especially playing again in Joe Louis Arena.

The Blackhawks have not been intimidated by the Red Wings at all in this series, but you could argue that they have fallen victim to some bounces, possibly attributed to the Red Wings veteran savvy. The Blackhawks have managed to put 9 goals in the Detroit net in 4 games, but you know you are going to have to put in more to beat them.

The Red Wings have been able to flex some of their experienced muscles, especially in Game 4, which could easily have smashed any sort of confidence into virtually nothing. A 6-1 blowout in the opposition's building does look awfully terrible on the Blackhawks, especially when the two teams were involved in a close overtime finish in Game 3. Depth has been the Red Wings key to victory, especially with the injuries to Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom of late. Despite not having two defensive stalwarts available, the Wings have done a good job filling the gaps.

Game 5 on Wednesday will likely be one that Chicago runs & guns Detroit, but the Red Wings will weather the storm and use their awesome transitional game to capitalize on the young mistakes. It could be a bit of a shootout, by the looks of things.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Red Wings One Game Away

The Red Wings made some quick work of the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Sunday, beating them 6-1. The Wings now have themselves a 3-1 series lead and will try to close out the series on Wednesday night.

The Game 4 result didn't change the overall picture of the money positions in the pool, as the lead didn't change and we still have a tie up at the top. Trevor B. took a 2-point lead over Brad for third, but he had third place going into the day with the Goals For tie-breaker on his side.

The big pool players on Sunday afternoon were Marian Hossa (2 goals & assist) and Brian Rafalski (3 assists). Hossa was a popular pick in the pool, taken 29 times, while Rafalski was taken 11 times. Also having a multiple point effort were Henrik Zetterberg (2 goals), Niklas Kronwall (2 assists), Johan Franzen (GWG) and Chris Osgood (win).

The Blackhawks went with Cristobel Huet in Game 4, because the lower body injury to Nikolai Khabibulin was severe enough to keep him out of the line-up completely. Of course, Khabibulin will be listed as day-to-day with his injury.

The Red Wings also had their share of goaltending issues, as Chris Osgood left the game after the second period with dehydration. Ty Conklin came in to help seal the win for Osgood, still getting him the 2 points. We should all expect to see Osgood back in the net for the Red Wings on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Holik Retires

A retirement note from Saturday, as Bobby Holik has personally announced his retirement from the NHL in order to spend more time with his family.

In 62 games with the Devils in 2009, Holik only registered 9 points ranking him poorly among all forwards in the league. Holik hasn't been a solid pool player in quite some time, as he has been in the high 200's, in terms of pool point rankings, for the last four seasons.

At age 38, Holik leaves the NHL with 747 points in 1,314 games played.