Ice Chips: Groin Snappin’ Edition
Things aren’t too rosy in Blueland, where Atlanta coach Bob Hartley is visiting the unemployment office. However, what may be more upsetting to fantasy owners is the fact that Kari Lehtonen injured his groin — yes, that groin — again. A visibly frustrated Lehtonen worked his way off the ice, opening the door for Johan Hedberg. Considering Lehtonen’s groin injury history, Hedberg may be a good pickup for some time.
Who can stop Henrik Zetterberg? The Red Wings star is currently outpacing, well, everyone in the league. The biggest beneficiary of this is linemate Tomas Holmstrom.
Sleeping Sharks? Jonathan Cheechoo got his first goal against Vancouver, then tipped in another one a game later against Detroit. Cheechoo’s a notoriously slow starter and a streaky scorer, so things should be looking up for him. On the other hand, fellow Sharks Patrick Marleau and Milan Michalek are generating a ton of chances on their line and finishing none of them.
So, some so-called “expert” that writes for RotoRob thought the Flyers would be done. Well, I (erm, I mean that writer) was wrong. Martin Biron’s been on fire in net, and he may have flown under the radar in some fantasy leagues. Oh, and that Daniel “Danny” Briere guy that I thought would bomb? My bad.
Brendan Shanahan: two points. Scott Gomez: three points. Petr Prucha: one point. You wonder why the Rangers are struggling, and it all comes down to secondary scoring. While Chris Drury and Jaromir Jagr haven’t had the most stellar chemistry, but at least they’re getting something done.
Worst start of the season by a good player? Jay Bouwmeester: seven games, one assist, -4. Florida’s shown some life after a rough start, but Bouwmeester’s game has been tentative so far this young season.
Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire to start off the season. However, don’t worry — Crosby began slowly (well, in relative terms) last year too. Crosby’s teammate Evgeni Malkin, though, is off to a red-hot start. Their other teammate, Marc-Andre Fleury, however, seems to be fighting a cold or a hangover or something; Fleury’s let in soft goal after soft goal and has been unpredictable in his performance.
Bill Guerin, we’re sorry we ever doubted you. With a hat trick against the Capitals, Guerin’s eclipsed the point-per-game pace. Also on Long Island, you might want to take a sneak peek at Bryan Berard. The former Calder winner is off to a good start with four points in four games. More importantly, all of his points have been on the power play so far. He’s a great sleeper pick if you need a boost on special teams.
In Los Angeles, things are going really poorly. To protect Jonathan Bernier, the Kings have sent the young goalie back to his junior team. It doesn’t look like Dan Cloutier’s coming back anytime soon, so the Kings will stick with the combo of Jean-Sebastian Aubin and Jason LaBarbera to lead them out of the darkness. Good luck, boys.
The Week Ahead
- The Thrashers begin their make-or-break week with games against Nashville, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Even with their win against the Rangers, these three games can essentially put a nail in Atlanta’s coffin (ask St. Louis about what bad starts can do) if the Thrashers don’t show up.
- Who can stop the Ottawa Senators? The Florida Panthers will give it a go on Saturday; after that, a scheduling quirk keeps the Sens off for a week. That long layoff may hurt them — it certainly hurt them in the Stanley Cup Final.
- Your Original Six matchups of the week: Rangers/Bruins (Saturday), Leafs/Hawks (Saturday), Canadiens/Bruins (Monday), and Hawks/Bruins (Thursday).
- The red-hot Minnesota Wild blow through their division with games against the new-and-improved Avalanche (Sunday), Mike Keenan’s wishy-washy Flames (Wednesday), and the really freakin’ fast Oilers (Thursday).