Ice Chips: Vegas, Baby!
Just ask Daniel Alfredsson (left), who’s having a jaw-droppingly crappy week, if whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
It’s been a rough spell for Daniel Alfredsson, as first photos of him wearing a pink dress in Las Vegas find their way onto the inter-tubes, then his jaw goes boom. However, his Sens are still kicking since sending Craig Hartsburg into the abyss. Part of the reason for their semi-success? Antoine Vermette remembered he’s a pretty skilled hockey player and popped in seven points in his last five games.
In case you haven’t heard the latest news: Brad Richards = hurt (broken wrist, out up to two months), Mike Richards = awesome (five points against the Sabres on Thursday night), and Atlanta Thrashers = confused (scoring boatloads of goals when nothing matters…hell, even RotoRob noticed that one). Just wanted to get that out of the way.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got a shot in the arm (the return of Sergei Gonchar) and a kick in the ass (new coach Dan Bylsma), though they haven’t somehow reversed time to turn back into the 2007-08 world beaters they were last season. Gonchar’s return is significant though, as it should improve the woeful Pittsburgh power play and cause a trickle-down effect on the rest of the Penguin blueliners. As for Bylsma? He’s employing a more aggressive system than the ever-cautious Michel Therrien. We’ll see how long that sticks depending on performance, but right now that’s good news for whoever plays with Sidney what’s-his-name and Evgeni something-or-other. You know, those two franchise players that are supposed to make Pittsburgh the best team in the history of time.
In fantasy news that doesn’t really matter, Claude Lemieux — he of the glorious China-and-back return — scored his first point of the season. And it only took him 10 games. It’s a little different from Mario Lemieux’s return in 2000, ain’t it?
Vesa Toskala has transformed from starting goalie to walking sieve, so young Justin Pogge’s being given a chance (look for that Toskala robot in the new Transformers movie). Since nothing’s working in Toronto, it’s time to hand over the reins to the kids. Not that that’s always a good idea, but hey, you can’t live in the shadow of Mats Sundin forever, right?
Speaking of Mats, he teased us with thoughts of “He’s not just a poker player!” when the big Swede put up sevens points in three games. Since then? Two points in five games. Seven…three…two…five…hey, if he gets six points in his next four games, Sundin will have a straight! Of course, Mats endorses poker sites for entertainment purposes only, so he wouldn’t win any money.
Do you believe in the Florida Panthers? They just keep winning and winning despite not having a single guy over the 50-point plateau. The closest guy they have in this scoring-by-committee bunch is Stephen Weiss, but of his 41 points, only 10 are goals. That’s an acceptable ratio if you’re, say, Joe Thornton, but for the purposes of fantasy games that don’t involve Daniel Alfredsson in a pink dress, that’s thumbs down for a team leader. Want to ride the surge of the Panthers? Stick with the defense or Tomas Vokoun (according to Yahoo!, Vokoun’s still available in 22 per cent of its fantasy leagues).
The Week Ahead
- On Saturday afternoon, the struggling Habs (who are so desperate these days that they’ve sent Alexei Kovalev home to get his shit together) look to snap a three-game losing skid at home against Ottawa, which is making a bit of a push to try to get back in the race. On Thursday, Carey Price was again awful for Montreal, which is now free falling in the Eastern standings. Sacrebleu!
- Saturday night, the Bruins travel to Florida where they will eat dinner at 4 p.m. and then take on the surging Panthers in what could be a possible first round preview. As good as Florida has been at home this season (16-8-5), Boston is even better than that on the road (21-6-5). That’s pretty damn impressive.
- Speaking of afternoon hockey, on Sunday (on national TV, no less), we get the revitalized Penguins in Washington to take on the still red-hot Capitals. Pittsburgh is desperately trying to work its way back into the Eastern Conference playoff race, while Washington continues to chip away at Boston’s conference lead.