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Ice Chips: Week One

October 6, 2006 | By Mike Chen | comment on this post

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is off to a great start.Welcome to the debut of Ice Chips, where each week I’ll recap the week that was in the NHL and help you prepare your fantasy team for the week to come.

Well, it’s hard to give an update when only a handful of games have been played, but since this looks to be a regular Friday thing, let’s review what’s happened so far:

  • Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist and Cam Ward each looked spectacular in their only outing. Nervous owners in fantasy keeper leagues don’t have to worry about Jim Carey-esque swan dives, these three looked as sharp as ever.
  • Speaking of the Hurricanes, Erik Cole was flying at full speed on Thursday night and looks to have no ill effects from his broken neck. If someone in your league was staying away from him because of his injury history, now you have your reason to grab him.
  • Ice time check: Out in the desert, Jeremy Roenick had 14 minutes of ice time and was a -1 in the ‘Yotes first game against the Islanders. His resurrection counterpart Owen Nolan had 18 minutes. Both had zero points in the opener.
  • For a breakout player this season, look no further than San Jose’s Milan Michalek. Michalek was flying through the preseason and his chemistry with Patrick Marleau is spectacular. He’s still a hidden gem in many leagues, so he’s worth replacing one of your lower-pick wingers with if he’s still available.
  • Toronto fans must feel good about Andrew Raycroft. Sure, he let in four goals in the opener, but his defense wasn’t helping him at all. Across Ontario, Martin Gerber looked shaky, letting in five goals after looking great in the opener. Given Ray Emery’s performance last season, I imagine that Emery will get a fast shot if Gerber stumbles, so Emery might not be a bad reserve pickup if you’re stretched for goalies.
  • When Jaromir Jagr wore the captaincy the first time, he said he felt it was a burden and that it affected his play. He made a statement that the captaincy this time will not weigh him down at all, scoring all of 29 seconds into the opener. Teammate Brendan Shanahan, who some fantasy owners might have been worried about because of his age, is off to a good start, popping another two goals.
  • Do you have Steve Reinprecht on your squad? After mixing and matching, Wayne Gretzky went with a line of Reinprecht/Shane Doan/Ladislav Nagy and the trio was on fire.
  • A good fantasy start for Roberto Luongo, who stopped 27 of 28 shots against the Red Wings. A bad fantasy start for Miikka Kiprusoff, who let in three goals on 22 shots against the Oilers.
  • Robert Esche looked awful for Philadelphia in their opener. Since he appears to be a stop-gap solution at best, be careful about playing him if he’s on your roster.
  • Hello Havlat! Martin Havlat showed off enough skill to power the Blackhawks to a bizarre 8-6 win over Nashville. Even though Tomas Vokoun had a really rough outing that game, look for him to stabilize and rebound.

The week ahead:

  • More openers on Friday night: The Kings, Ducks, Panthers, Bruins, Canadiens, Devils and Blue Jackets play their first games of the season.
  • Evgeni Nabokov is scheduled to start Saturday night for San Jose. Vesa Toskala was solid, but unspectacular in his opening start. If Nabokov gets hot, look for Ron Wilson to let him run with it for a little bit.
  • The high-powered Rangers’ offense attacks Philly’s slow defense twice over the next week.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury won himself some brief job security with an outstanding shutout over the Flyers. He’s going to have a tough time keeping it up with games against the Red Wings and the Rangers.
  • If Detroit gets off to a slow start, don’t be surprised if Chris Osgood gets a look by the coaching staff.

For hockey analysis, rants, and random music references, visit Mike Chen’s Hockey Blog.

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