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Ice Chips: 2006-07 Week Three

October 20, 2006 | By Mike Chen | comment on this post

Let’s hit the ice for another round of Ice Chips!

  • The sound you hear across North America is the steam flying out of Ed Snider’s ears as the Flyers continue to implode. Snider has threatened major changes. What does that mean? Peter Forsberg, Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are safe. Everyone else, except perhaps Joni Pitkanen, is fair game. While the Flyers ride out their indefinite cold streak, their awful defense is coming to the forefront. If you have other goalies, it makes sense to bench anyone wearing Philly orange right now.
  • Welcome to the NHL, Evgeni Malkin! Two goals, one assist in two games — not too shabby. Malkin’s been regularly paired with Mark Recchi and his other wing has rotated between a number of players, including John LeClair and Nils Ekman. However, the power play has seen the very interesting combination of Sidney Crosby and Malkin on the ice together. The fantasy dark horse benefactor? Try defenseman Ryan Whitney, who sees power play time with the dynamic duo.
  • Out west, Ron Wilson is continuing his goalie rotation and both Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala look red hot. Not sure who’s starting? Just check the last game; chances are, the other guy gets the start the next game.
  • Do you have Radim Vrbata on your fantasy team? He’s one-third of the hottest line in hockey — Martin Havlat/Michael Handzus/Vrbata in Chicago.
  • Down in Tampa Bay, Nikita Alexeev is getting some quality time on Brad Richards’ line. If the entire Lightning roster wasn’t sucking ass right now, I’d say pick him up as a sleeper. For now, though, just keep an eye on him.
  • Injuries to note: Steve Reinprecht is out for a long time, Marco Sturm has a knee injury, Steve Sullivan’s back is bothering him, and Forsberg left the Philly/Bolts’ game with a bad wrist.
  • Rookie check: San Jose’s Matt Carle is living up to the hype with eight points in seven games. Colorado’s rookies Wojtek Wolski and Yan Statsny are getting regular shifts, but so far results are mediocre with four points each. High draft picks Phil Kessell and Patrick O’Sullivan are struggling to make anything happen.
  • Glen Murray and Marc Savard aren’t getting the same chemistry as Savard had with Ilya Kovalchuk. Consequently, Savard’s pace is way down so far this season.
  • Mark Bell is back from his groin injury and into his slot with Joe Thornton/Jonathan Cheechoo. The result? Two goals in two games.
  • Reclamation project watch: Owen Nolan finally scored, albeit off a bad play from Manny Legace. Still, a goal is a goal is a goal (unless, of course, video replay rules otherwise).
  • Does your league count power play points? You’ll be wanting to start these players then: Marian Hossa (five PPG), Milan Michalek (four PPG) and Brendan Shanahan (four PPG). If you get points for PP points and PIMs, Darcy Tucker is your man early in the season.
  • Kari Lehtonen, Marc-Andre Fleury and Miikka Kiprusoff are leading the league in saves. However, only Lehtonen’s actually getting the wins.
  • Speaking of saves, Mike Dunham’s doing his best in a crappy situation while Rick DiPietro’s out in Long Island.

    The Week Ahead

  • Can the Islanders beat anyone? They’ve drawn some unlucky cards, as the Hurricanes have woken up and the Sabres are red hot. Good thing they get a few days off.
  • The struggling Senators look to avoid further humiliation against New Jersey and Toronto. If you can’t score, you can’t win, regardless of who’s in net.
  • The Blackhawks get a true test of how good they are against Dallas tonight.
  • Are the Rangers good or awful? We’ve seen both this season. They’ve got the Leafs and Panthers, two mediocre squads, to try to find an identity over the next seven days.
  • Malkin watch: The rookie phenom faces New Jersey again, but will get his first taste of the west against Columbus.

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

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