Afternoon notes - Fleury is actually not starting today after all. He is the backup for Johnson today. Also, Jeff Carter, mentioned below, has already scored for the Flyers.
Jeff Carter has 18 points in his last 13 games after another three last night. His pace is up to 69 and I think he'll get to around 75. Still a disappointment, but a decent recovery. He'll be back to 85 next year.
Last night marked Tomas Vokoun's third shutout in eight games. He also has three one-goal games in his last nine, and two two-goal games. The remaining game in that span: four goals. The guy's on fire.
Remember how on fire Anze Kopitar was about 25 games in? Leading the league by a landslide? His three points yesterday gives him 50. He's the 17th player to reach the mark this year.
On the Hotstove last night, Pierre Lubrun was absolutely certain that the Leafs would move both Stajan and Ponikarovsky by the deadline, so if you own those two players, it may be wise to hang onto them. On most teams they will probably produce at the same rate, however, the initial two-week impact after the trade will see really strong numbers - as happens after most deals involving that caliber of player. So at that point, with only six or seven weeks left in the season, those two "bonus" weeks will really pad the end result.
Dennis Seidenberg's clearing shot was what broke teammate Nathan Horton's leg, and then last night the same play - again by Seidenberg - hit teammate Stephen Reinprecht off the foot. Reinprecht left the game and there is no further word - but imagine if Seidenberg broke a leg and a foot in back-to-back games!
Spezza's return to the lineup saw him play 16:14. Chris Kelly's ice time took the biggest hit (13 minutes), as Ryan Shannon continues to see about 16 minutes a game. Looks like Shannon's hot streak (early after all the injuries happened) was enough to keep his opportunities alive for a little longer yet. He has one point in his last 11 games after notching seven points in five games.
Ottawa line combos yesterday: Spezza with Michalek and Cheechoo (will they ever learn?); Fisher with Alfredsson and Foligno; Regin with Shannon and Kovalev; Kelly with Neil and Ruutu.
Sergei Kostitsyn returned to the Montreal lineup. He wasn't in on any of the six goal fun though. Here were the line combos for MTL: Plekanec with Gionta and Cammy; Gomez with Moen and Pouliot; Lapierre with Kostitsyn and Pacioretty.
Pacioretty has been sent down to Hamilton. He has 14 points this season, playing all but one game. But was pointless in his last 10.
M.A. Fleury will get his first start in two weeks today. John Curry was reassigned to WBS. Pascal Dupuis is also expected back - and it was Dustin Jeffrey who got the call and not Luca Caputi, as I had speculated (hoped). I don't believe Jeffrey is in their plans for a top six spot down the road, so I don't really care to see him - from a fantasy owner's standpoint.
Just noticed that despite the fact that Columbus is now 27th in the NHL after losing once again last night, they have an 11-8-5 record at home.
Voracek missed yesterday's contest with an UBI. The Jackets aren't saying the "C" word, but he is day to day. Because of the Internet and how every little detail is broadcast instantly to everyone, and - not unrelated - the growth of the public's awareness of the dangers of concussions, we are seeing more and more teams shy away from admitting when a player has a concussion. I don't know if that's a good thing - it tells me that borderline concussions will be treated as mere headaches and the player gets rushed back. Not saying there is anything wrong with Voracek, but what if there is? I say this because of the New Jersey handling of Elias.
Interesting speculation here from Chris McCosky. With Tomas Holmstrom back by Fridayish, and Jason Williams within a week after that and Johan Franzen very shortly after, the team will need to shed two bodies and $1.5 million in payroll. Abdelkader and May (or Miller) wouldn't clear enough cap space. Ville Leino, on the other hand, would. He would need to clear waivers though.
Join the DobberHockey Olympic Pool - Free to join, and there are prizes for the Top 10, including a signed jerseys and photos. More info right here. Already close to 1000 have registered with over three weeks to go...
Buy the Midseason Guide here