Cory Schneider is starting for the Canucks tonight - Robeto Luongo gets a second straight game off. Don't read into this one too much, Luongo's wife is expecting.


Martin Erat is a game time decision for the Preds tonight. He's been very productive over the past few weeks, and seems to do this a few times each season. He has the skill to be a point-a-game player, but lacks the consistency/right envioronment to break out.


I am curious to see how Canada divides up its ice time - really looking forward to watch Brett Connolly play. He has recovered from a minor concussion.


Troy Brouwer has eight goals in his past 15 games - not a surprise if you consider both Kane and Hossa have been out during that time. Brouwer has stepped up and made the most of the opportunity, but pretty soon he'll be back on the third line.


Boston has put together some new lines:


Lucic-Savard-Horton, Wheeler-Krejci-Ryder, and Recchi-Bergeron-Seguin


Sami Salo's return has been pushed back until late January or early February. Kevin Bieksa's good play (defensively) has been a bit of a revelation, so this news isn't as crippling as it could have been.


He's progressing well, but the team doesn't want to rush him back from such a serious injury.


Marian Hossa is back tonight. Patrick Kane is not. Turco will get the start because Corey Crawford is sick.


The Derek Roy injury in Buffalo is absolutely crippling. Tim Connolly has been brutal this season, and Ennis is not ready to lead a top line at the NHL level.


A little Christmas mailbag was opened up yesterday - here are the questions (and answers).

How many poitns do I see Phaneuf ending up with?

30-ish. A slight increase based off of the pace he is currently on. Law of averages - he's bound to improve given the ice time he receives.

More points this season - Backstrom or Malkin?

Give me Backstrom. Malkin is the better player, though.

Brad Richards or Ilya Kovalchuk, short and long-term - who do you like?

Short term definitely Richards, but with the uncertainty of unrestricted free agency, that changes long term. A lot also depends on league format (winger, center, shots on goal, goals, assists, what is valued basically). Richards has been Mr. Consistency over the past year and a half, but you'd be getting Kovalchuk at the bottom right now (unless you think New Jersey can sink any lower...)

How many more years will Kiprusoff be productive for, and will he be moved at all from Calgary?

I think the first part depends a lot on the second part. It is obvious to everyone (save for Darryl Sutter, maybe) that the Flames need to blow it up (which would include trading one or both of Iginla and Kiprusoff). I think on a good team he has 2-3 years left of being a valuable fantasy goaltender.

Pick six keepers from: Heatley, Hall, Eberle, Kane, Carlson, Shattenkirk, Visnovsky, Myers, Havlat, Vanek, Koivu, Savard, Giroux, Lecavalier, Rask, Ward, Pavelec  (standard rotissere categories):

Hall, Heatley, Kane, Giroux, Rask, Ward. I'd debate keeping a d-man or Eberle over Ward, but I love having two goalies on my keeper list. Great list of young talent here.

Will Drew Stafford ever hit 30 goals?

Not in Buffalo. He still isn't showing the consistency required to be an elite level scorer. He has the skill set to hit 30 in the right situation, though.

Has Filip Kuba lost all fantasy relevance?

Yes. He's also lost the ability to play defense at the NHL level.

Rank the following in a points-only keeper: Dadonov, Zuccarello, and Pacioretty:

1) Pacioretty 2) Zuccarello 3) Dadonov

Would I be surprised if Gillis moves Ehrhoff instead of Bieksa?

100% yes. Word is that Salo is still "out" until February. I think the Canucks may try and keep him out until the playoffs, when the salary cap is irrelevant. Bieksa has played better this season, but Ehrhoff sets the table for so much of what they do offensively.

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Nate said:

keep 6 Yes, it is Patrick Kane. I'm going to consider Heatley over Ward because I think I can pick up a good goalie in the first round next year.
Thank you very much for the input folks.

One last note. I'm of the opinion that Pavalec will develop into the more consistent goaltending option over the next few years. Is it because of the team in front of him that you recommend Ward? Or because of his proven record?
December 26, 2010
Votes: +0

Jeff Angus said:

... Definitely an oversight. I'd keep him over:

Eberle, if goalies are tough to come by
Ward, if you can add another goalie fairly easily.
December 26, 2010
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

... Heatley was probably an oversight. It happens. I'd swap Heatley for Kane.
December 26, 2010
Votes: +0

Ice Wings said:

Ice Wings
Keeper Picks Completely agree with Katharsis on this one. I'd take Heatley over Eberle. For one thing he has pretty much been Mr. Consistency throughout the years. I am though assuming its Patty Kane on that list because no way you would have put Evander over Heatley. Eberle is no doubt very talented, but I can not see him outperforming Heatley by much even if he does it within the next few years. I always like to go with some safer options along with the players with projected upsides when I pick my keepers.
December 26, 2010
Votes: +0

Katharsis said:

Pick six keepers from: Heatley, Hall, Eberle, Kane, Carlson, Shattenkirk, Visnovsky, Myers, Havlat, Vanek, Koivu, Savard, Giroux, Lecavalier, Rask, Ward, Pavalec (standard rotissere categories):

Hall, Eberle, Kane, Giroux, Rask, Ward. I'd debate keeping a d-man over Ward, but I love having two goalies on my keeper list. Great list of young talent here.

Just curious as to how you leave Heatley off that keeper list. I know he isn't the Mr. 50/50 he once was, but his 40/40, solid +/-, PPP, and SOG have got to make him a more attractive option over the next 2-3 years then say Eberle, or Kane (if it's E.Kane). Leaving Heatley off just seems to go against your usual aim-to-win now or within 2 years strategy.
December 26, 2010
Votes: +0
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