Bugg here. Bizarro happenings in the OHL this afternoon. The Erie Otters were already down a goaltender with an injury to back-up Devin Williams. They then lost starter Ramis Sadikov less than two minutes into the game! 2012-eligible center Connor Crisp was forced into net, and has made six saves on nine shots so far.


Matt Hackett will get the start for the Wild later on against the Avs. So far this season - and in his young career - he has one virtual start that was a 59-minute relief appearance (perfect 34/34 for the win), one actual credited start (42/44 for the win)  and three different perfect relief appearances totalling another 73 minutes of playing time (24/24). All of that spread out over three months. He has 2.47/ .917 splits with Houston so far with one shutout.


FYI... Jimmy Howard left this afternoon's game injured and is considered day-to-day. Joey MacDonald, you're up once again. Detroit Free Press writer Helene St. James tweeted a nice line once he made his way back to the bench: "Not a jaw injury anyway; Howard OK to chew gum ...."


Every other Sunday you can find one extra blog from me here on DH. Today's is how Twitter has been a game-changer in fantasy.


Heck of a showing for Zack Kassian in front of the home crowd as he donned Vancouver’s jersey for the third time. An early promotion to the second line alongside Ryan Kesler and David Booth ended up with a two-point night for the young power forward and with seven hits in this one against his former team, he has now administered 16 hits in only three starts. Canucks’ fans who hadn’t seen or heard much of Kassian prior to the trade of a pretty beloved Cody Hodgson are quickly falling in love with No. 9’s tenacity.


Kevin Bieksa has a point in four of five and he was an enjoyable guest on After Hours. The guys with a dry sense of humour tend to the best to watch in those situations. He had some pretty good lines.


Cody Hodgson has yet to register a point in three tries with the Sabres, but has been a +1 in each start and the Sabres have won all three games. He continues to see notable ice time and the points will come with increased opportunity. Christian Ehrhoff scored a goal against his former mates and Tyler Ennis has a point in eight of nine. Tyler Myers is actually up to nine points over his past 15 clashes with a +9 rating in that time, so he’s even for the season.


Andy McDonald has come up with 6-3-9 in 12 games since returning from his latest concussion and he’s pretty much a fixture on the first power play unit. Alex Pietrangelo has rained down 27 points in 28 games since the calendar flipped to 2012, while Kevin Shattenkirk’s recent run now totals 10 points in his past 10 affairs. Both guys are generally the leaders in man advantage time nightly on D for the Blues.


The Kings beat the Ducks 4-2 and Jeff Carter finally hit the scoring summary in his fourth start with Los Angeles. He’s still skating with buddy Mike Richards and Dwight King, who all combined for seven points this evening. Slava Voynov has points in B2B games now too.


25th straight start for Jonas Hiller.


Chalk up one more goal for Evgeni Malkin after tonight's 5-1 pasting of the Avs. While the magnificence he and James Neal have been weaving is long-since irrelevant to the day-to-day of most poolies (you either have them or you don’t), it’s quite compelling to see Jordan Staal and Steve Sullivan’s chemistry develop. Staal’s authoritative performances have propelled him to 6-6-12 in 10 starts since his latest IR stint. Sullivan is riding a seven-game point streak which now includes 10 points. He has gone 17 straight games without taking a penalty of any kind too.


Although it was Paul Martin registering a few assists tonight with second unit power play time, it’s Matt Niskanen who is capitalizing on a PP1 role sans Kris Letang... just as he did the last time Letang was out.


Potentially bad news for Steve Downie owners, as he will not travel with the team tonight. He’s staying behind to get X-Rays on what’s now believed to be a shoulder injury following a brush with Deryk Engelland. Too bad if Downie misses any time with this. He’s been great since the trade.


Gabriel Landeskog placed another point in his owners’ columns, but more profound was that he added another eight shots and seven hits to his seasonal totals. This kid has been so marvelous in the last month of what has already been an impassioned rookie campaign. 216 shots and 176 hits in 66 GP as a rookie? Stud barely begins to describe his potential in this league.


Hmm. Did you catch Drew Stafford’s second intermission interview with Scott Oake? The winger apparently went to the Brian Burke School of Interviewer Disdain.


Don Cherry’s rant on Coach’s Corner tonight was borderline epic. His Twitter account (@CoachsCornerCBC) has been a complete disappointment so far. I don’t expect the man himself to sit down at a keyboard and write out the tweets, but the HNIC producer who is handing Grapes’ handle has to step up her game and get some thoughts from the man himself. Lame material to date.


Randy Carlyle’s team delivered a win for him in his Leafs’ coaching debut this evening. Rather than cover a subject that has already been beaten to death in the last 24 hours though, let’s look at a potential wrinkle for poolies in deeper leagues: Matt Frattin skated with Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur and earned himself a two-point game. Frattin put himself in some bad off-ice situations a few years ago, but he’s worked hard to get things back on track since then and he has some offensive ability – as evidenced by his 36-goal campaign (36-24-60 in 44 GP) in his final year at the University of North Dakota. It’d be a nice story if he could finish up the season on a strong note by keeping a top six slot under his new coach. We’ll see. There are likely a lot of better options in most fantasy situations, but there are some extensive formats out there in which that sort of move might be noteworthy.


Rick Nash’s second goal of the game against the Coyotes came on a breakaway where he scored, bowled over Mike Smith and those two and trailing defenceman Chris Summers all ended up where the net was before the collision. It went to video review and was ruled a good goal. The explanation given? "The puck enters the net before everybody else..." Simply. Awesome.


Oh – and James Wisniewski may have been hurt late in that one. Why should anything go well for him this season?


Steve Mason has started twice since the trade deadline, has two wins and has stopped 63 of 65 shots with one shutout. His seasonal stats are still brutal and it’s a Pepto-induced rollercoaster ride every time you put him in there as a fantasy owner, but give the guy his due when he plays well. He has certainly taken enough crap over the past few years.


David Rundblad was called up and notched an assist for the Coyotes. He has 6-4-10 in 15 AHL GP and has three points in his only three games with Phoenix since being dealt by Ottawa. He saw PP1 time tonight and while his single-season value is still likely pretty limited, tonight was a taste of what we can expect as deeper keeper league owners down the line.


Add another two goals to the coffers of Steven Stamkos, who seemingly can’t be caught for the Rocket Richard this season. He hit double digits for GWGs on the season, which is a career best for him, and he’s all but guaranteed his third consecutive campaign of at least 90 points. While he and Martin St. Louis were both early round fantasy picks again back in the fall, it’s guys like Teddy Purcell (two more points tonight with an unconscious 24 points in his past 14 games) and Ryan Malone (a point in seven of his past nine) who have been the deals for poolies.


The Canes lost in OT thanks to the second snipe from Stamkos, but that didn’t stop Eric Staal from extending his point streak to 11 affairs. 7-13-20 in that stretch. Pretty sweet. He was -18 after the first two months. He was -8 in the next two months, to put him at -26 on the season headed into February. In his past 13 starts alone, he’s +13 to pull himself to -13 for ’11-12.


Staal’s linemate of late, Jiri Tlusty, has points in 12 of his past 13 outings.


Chip Alexander covers the Canes for the Raleigh News & Observer and he tweeted after the game tonight that Jussi Jokinen said he talked with referee Tim Peel in first period and Jokinen said Peel apologized for the no-call in OT in Anaheim when Jokinen was tripped by Perry, which ended up costing the Canes the win. Class act. It was also acknowledged at the time as a blown call and hey, we’re all human. Owning up to things like that is all you can ask for after the fact.


Andre Kostitsyn started his second game for the Preds since his trade deadline acquisition and he was again with David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist. Kostitsyn offered up a goal and an assist to his owners, who are hoping he can turn around his game down the stretch in a new situation.

Speaking of guys in new situations in that game, Wojtek Wolski scored Florida’s only goal and has points in three of five since he headed to Florida. He’s on a line with Tomas Fleischmann and Marcel Goc.


Tuukka Rask was hurt in the matinee against the Isles and so far we know he won’t be available for the next two games. Speculation has been linked to his prior knee issues or a potential leg problem, but it sure looked like he was grabbing for his groin when he shook his glove off as he was going down.


Nothing too surprising otherwise in that particular tilt (not really breaking news that John Tavares and Matt Moulson continue to make beautiful music together), although it’s worth noting that Josh Bailey has four goals in his past three starts now and linemate Frans Nielsen has points in seven of 11. David Ullstrom was the third man on that line. Andrew MacDonald’s value has slowly been climbing too.


Should you be so inclined, follow me on Twitter for NHL and fantasy info as a safe mobile notifications options with minimal self-involved dreck in 140-character spurts.

Check out tonight’s Live NHL Recap over at Sportsnet.ca for a full rundown, including line combos and PP times.

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Robert Esquire said:

Sabres beat Canucks! First time in Vancouver since 1999! Who would have thunk it? Despite a tough schedule in this last month, would you bet against them?
March 04, 2012
Votes: +0
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