Supplementary Sunday offerings...

 

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Vincent Lecavalier indicates the X-Rays on his left foot were negative, although an MRI will also be done as a precaution. The forward took a Sami Salo slap shot off his foot at the end of Saturday’s game. (Update: Team announces he's listed as day-to-day with a bone bruise. He doesn't think he'll miss a game with it.)

 

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Simon Gagne has had an awful line assignment of late, but Sunday at practice he lined up with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on the second line. Hopefully, for his sake, that sticks.

 

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Dustin Byfuglien still not practicing with the Jets.

 

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The praise continues to roll in for St. Louis Blues rookie Vladimir Tarasenko. Ken Hitchcock reflected on a time when Jere Lehtinen was a rookie for him in Dallas and drew some comparisons between him and Tarasenko:

 

“In a similar way, I thought Lehtinen was like (Tarasenko),” Hitchcock said. “He just kind of wowed you with his tenacity on the puck, his ability to make plays in small spaces, Jere was like that. They’re different players, but in some ways they’re similar players because they’re so strong on the puck.

 

“Vladie is still learning the game, like Jere was. (Lehtinen) came over and they sent him down right away. He wasn’t good enough, in their eyes, to be a regular player and he was going to (go down) and get some games. Then they had a couple of injuries, and he came back and never left the league.

 

“Vladie has similar traits. He’s a much better checker than people think. He’s a powerful man, at 220 pounds, and he’s got that quick release like Lehtinen had. He makes plays every game.”

 

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The St. Louis Blues have put Jaroslav Halak on the IR with what seems to be a minor groin injury. Lou Korak notes Brian Elliott will start at least the next two games, but that Ken Hitchcock expects Halak to be ready to go next weekend. The injury apparently happened during a Henrik Zetterberg breakaway.

 

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Ryan Kesler is skating with the Canucks at practice as this is being posted.

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday afternoon began with a reminder of why it is you drafted those Pittsburgh Penguins so highly. Sidney Crosby (1-2-3, plus-4, 4 PIM, 5 SOG, 14-7 FO) was DOMINANT and if this is any indication of what lies ahead for Penguins’ opponents, watch out. This was MVP-level Sid. Chris Kunitz (1-2-3) and Evgeni Malkin (0-2-2) naturally got theirs. Nothing for James Neal, but he made his presence felt physically (4 hits) and you know he’s going to rack up ridiculous totals by season’s end.

 

Zach Boychuk made his Pens’ debut alongside Malkin-Neal, as expected. 12:00 TOI, no points and no PP time. Um, as expected? Keep the immediate oulook tempered for Boychuk and we’ll see if he can raise his consistency to meet the glorious chance he’s been given to begin the stint with his new team. Barring something spectacular from Boychuk, Dan Bylsma will seemingly most likely continue to rotate that wing slot depending on the situation. I wish Boychuk the best and certainly think he can make something of himself in the NHL at some point, but I haven’t really been holding my breath since the waiver claim was made that he’d be the immediate answer on that line.

 

Kris Letang (1-0-1, 4 SOG) scored on a point shot where Martin Brodeur had Crosby on one side of him and Malkin on the other. Can’t blame the Hall of Fame goaltender for not tracking the puck perfectly in that situation. Letang has six points in eight games, but I still think we’ll see him take that to another level once Pittsburgh’s offence truly gets in gear like today.

 

Patience with Marc-Andre Fleury too. The 2.94/ .890 splits you saw coming into this clash will melt into much more impressive stats before you know it. This was the real Pens team here.

 

It’s worth noting that Adam Henrique (-2, 5-11 FO, 15:05 TOI) began this one between Dainius Zubrus and Ilya Kovalchuk on the first line, with Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac – David Clarkson making up the second trio. This was Henrique’s second game back. Zajac still had the better PP role over Henrique.

 

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Talk about an impressive first-year boost for the Habs. Alex Galchenyuk (0-2-2, 9-2 FO!) has three separate 2-assist efforts in his past four games, while linemate Brendan Gallagher (1-0-1) has goals in three of those same four. And what’s with Rene Bourque (2-0-2, 5 SOG)? Points in four of five, goals in two of three and he looks WAY better than he did last year post-trade for this team. Tomas Plekanec (0-2-2, 5 SOG) has points in all but one start and the other member of that trio, Brian Gionta (0-1-1), ended a brief three-game pointless skid.

 

P.K. Subban (0-1-1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG, 3 hits) made his return to the lineup and nearly scored in the third period with a blistering one-timer from the point on a 4-on-3. For his first game back, that’s a solid bottom line for standard league owners. To date, it had been Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz logging the most power play minutes on the back end for Montreal. Subban supplanted the Swiss-born Diaz on the first unit here. Six of Diaz’s eight helpers coming into today had come with the man advantage, so FYI.

 

Five straight wins for Carey Price and his peripherals have been magnifique. There were some big questions about what sort of team would be playing in front of him this season, but they’ve done well and he’s been really strong. It’s early, but he’s clearly outperforming wherever you would have landed him at your single-season draft.

 

Max Pacioretty may play as early as Sunday, according to Michel Therrien’s post-game comments. The winger’s recovery from last weekend’s emergency appendectomy was slated to be in the 3-4 week range.

 

Thomas Vanek (1-0-1, 4 SOG) stretched his point streak to a season-long seven games with his third period goal. He’s naturally been especially fun to watch this year with some flat-out motivated performances. Nagging health issues last year aside, I just wish we saw the ’12-13 version of Vanek most of the time. Forget about the points, which have been plentiful and spectacular. But the game he delivered against the Bruins a few days back? Unbelievable. The scoring acumen is expected, but his playmaking has been dishtastic and the compete level has been unlike anything I’ve ever seen from this guy in his eight years in the league. I tweeted during that Boston game after he had collected his second or third point of his second five-point result that I don’t think I’ve EVER seen him play better or show more drive than he’s given Sabres fans to date. Didn’t see a lot of today’s clash against the Habs because I watched quite a bit of the Pens and then the Oilers, but in general it’s been “A-game” Vanek to date.

 

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Paul Stastny (1-0-1, 7 SOG) has points in B2B games after a pretty miserable start to the year. P.A. Parenteau (1-0-1) maintained his point-per-game average. Same with his centre, Matt Duchene (0-2-2, 16-8 FO), who has B2B two-assisters. Quite an impressive game by Duchene. Jamie McGinn (1-1-2, 5 SOG) was winging it with them here and also has two pointers in two straight.

 

Sam Gagner (0-1-1) has points in all eight Oil games and linemate Nail Yakupov (1-0-0) has found the back of the net in five of seven, while Ales Hemsky (0-1-1) had just one point in five tries before today.

 

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Bad news for Columbus in their win over Detroit. James Wisniewski not only suffered a concussion, but also back and leg injuries. The Wings also lost Brendan Smith for what could be a minimum of two weeks with a shoulder issue.

 

Niklas Kronwall (0-1-1) continues to seize on his chance with Nicklas Lidstrom retired and now has seven points in eight tilts with plenty of power play time. Damien Brunner (1-0-1) scored a nothing goal late to extend his point streak to six games. Whether you drafted him late or added him as a free agent pickup, he’s coming up well for poolies so far. Consistent top-six role with a first unit power play slot all the time. Jimmy Howard said after the game he was Awful with a capital “A” between the pipes. Jonathan Ericsson (0-1-1) has three points in two February starts.

 

Artem Anisimov (2-0-2, 5 SOG) has points in three of five and Fedor Tyutin (0-2-2, 3 hits) is quietly up to seven points already this year. Jack Johnson (0-1-1, 4 SOG) is gaining steam with points in three of his past four and he topped CBJ PP time tonight.

 

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Jeff Skinner (0-1-1, 3 SOG) had no assists prior to this one against the Flyers, but he’s been shooting with regularity and scoring quite a bit. He has at least three shots in each game so far. Eric Staal (1-1-2) has points in five in a row with nine points in that time. Jiri Tlusty (0-1-1), who is on his line as we’ve seen from time to time in recent years, picked up his first point of the season. Alex Semin had five points in his prior five clashes before being blanked tonight. He’s creating a lot of chances by shooting often though, which is exactly what he needs to continue doing to have more success.

 

Danny Briere (1-1-2) and Claude Giroux (1-1-2, 5 SOG) were teamed up again and had a productive evening. Giroux had that two-pointer against the Panthers as his only output in six tries coming into this one, but you know it’s only a matter of time until he’s putting up multi-pointers on a nightly basis. The Flyers have been struggling, but we’re going to see the lines settle in before too long and the value of those name players will rise steadily. Jakub Voracek (0-1-1), Brayden Schenn (0-1-1) and Sean Couturier (0-1-1) in particular. Matt Read (0-2-2) had all of his five points in five games leading into this one. For a goalie with a 2-5 record before this win, Bryz had really strong splits (2.31/.918) and he played well again against the Canes.

 

You no doubt heard by now that John Erskine received a three-game suspension for the Wayne Simmonds incident.

 

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Carl Hagelin (1-1-2) secured his first points of the season. He, Derek Stepan (1-0-1) and Taylor Pyatt (0-2-2) came through with some secondary scoring for the Rangers. Good outing for Martin Biron (30/32, .938) with his first backup start of the year.

 

Steven Stamkos (2-0-2, 7 SOG) has a goal in five straight contests and points in every Lightning game on the year. Matt Carle (0-2-2) added his fifth and sixth points and has been a decent depth source of points on D. Check into Vincent Lecavalier’s injury status if he’s on your roster. More should known on that front Sunday. Any injury to him could also potentially impact Cory Conacher's offensive output, so fingers crossed there.

 

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First shutout of the season for Tuukka Rask, which took a big chunk out of the damage done against Buffalo the other night. On the whole he has been excellent for his fantasy owners. Brad Marchand did not finish this game after a second period tumble, but it has been a called a mostly precautionary move. Doesn't sound like he'll miss any more time, but we'll see.

 

James Reimer turned aside 33/34 in that one and has given up two or fewer goals in three of his five starts. Three and four goals in the other two games.

 

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Ray Whitney will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. The Stars lined up against Phoenix with Brenden Morrow receiving the immediate boost of that fallout, skating alongside Jamie Benn and Jaromir Jagr. We’ll see how that shakes out in the coming games, but in standard leagues with hits and PIM we should see Morrow’s value climb past the virtually worthless third and fourth line role he’s had to date.

 

Mike Smith’s stats have not been pretty early on, but this shutout will help that and he’ll be fine in the long run this season playing for Phoenix.

 

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Speaking of excellent Wild prospects, Charlie Coyle has been called up and may make his NHL debut Monday against the Coyotes.

 

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Nick Bonino (3-1-4, 7 SOG) had been the centre recently with Bobby Ryan (0-2-2) and Teemu Selanne (1-0-1) on his wings. So naturally he posted mostly zeroes every single night. Bruce Boudreau then moves Ryan to center with Kyle Palmieri (1-0-1) as the other wing on that line, which pushes Bonino down to the fourth line with Emerson Etem (0-2-2) and Devante Smith-Pelly. So what does Bonino do against the Kings Saturday? Not much. Just a hattie. Four-pointer. Sweet. Palmieri, it’s worth noting, has been chipping in well the past few games now after being blanked in three in a row. And Ryan, from whom we expect big things in fantasy, has B2B multi-pointers. Four-game point streak rolling for him too, which has accounted for all of his points this year. Sheldon Souray (1-0-1) topped all Ducks in PP time. Cam Fowler (7:18 TOI) was hurt. Upper-body.

 

Drew Doughty (0-2-2) has points in B2B starts after absolutely zero points before that. Dustin Brown (2-0-0, 6 SOG) has points in three of four with his normally steady string of hits, but it’d be nice if his point contributions would come as often as that last stretch of ’11-12. Simon Gagne (0-2-2, 12:53 TOI) has points in three of four, but has been mostly a bottom-six guy of late.

 

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Crazy finish to this Hawks-Flames game. All four goals in the third period. Flames get their second marker at 19:25 and Chicago responds with three seconds left in regulation. Nuts. Ray Emery was robbing people every time I looked, ending up with 45/47 and an outstanding .975 SV%.

 

 

 

 

 

With Dave Bolland out, Andrew Shaw (0-1-1, 15:22 TOI) began tonight between Patrick Sharp (0-1-1) and Patrick Kane (1-1-2, SOG). All of Shaw’s points have now come in his past three starts. As far as Kane, looks like he's finally putting his money where his mouth is as far as growing up and taking his game to the next level. He's getting the job done.

 

Jiri Hudler (0-1-1, 5 SOG) has five points in his only three starts now. Alex Tanguay’s (0-1-1) point streak hit five games. Dennis Wideman (1-0-1, 4 SOG) has a respectable total of four points in six tries, but almost as important are the 22 SOG in that time. Pretty remarkable pace for the top dog on Calgary’s first PP unit, considering that would put him on a pro-rated route to hit the 300 SOG mark over 82 games. He has never topped 175 in a single year. Again, we’re talking about a shortened campaign now – but that is a huge spike in that category for his standard league value.

 

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Martin Havlat (1-0-1) began the season with points in four in a row, but then had nothing in three before potting San Jose’s only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Preds. He began the year on the second line with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe, but has slipped to the third line in recent games. Scott Gomez was initially slotted in as the replacement on L2, but tonight it was James Sheppard beginning the game there. Havlat was with Gomez and Michal Handzus. It’s a situation worth keeping an eye on if you own Havlat, anyway.

 

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If you haven't already, add NHL Line Combo Central at Sportsnet.ca to your fantasy arsenal along with your favourite tools here at DH. It’s one static page you can bookmark and it’s dedicated to full line combos and defensive pairings for all 30 teams, along with a full breakdown of power play times from each game. Mondays I update the season-to-date portion of the PP times.

 

Line combos are updated at the start of each game and power play times are filled in once each game is done. Timely, pertinent info in an easy-to-read format that’ll help you succeed in your pool.

 

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Twitter: @Nichols_NHLPool NHL news, analysis & fantasy takes with minimal inane babble.

 

Weekday Hockey Hearsay blogs on Sportsnet.ca, 12 months a year.


NHL Line Combo Central on Sportsnet.ca, with full lines and power play info from EVERY game.


Fresh Ramblings each Sunday.


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Comments (3)add comment

Nationwide said:

Nationwide
Louie Louie Is it time to start worrying about Loui Eriksson?
February 03, 2013
Votes: +0

dynamo45 said:

dynamo45
... We are seeing a new Luongo in Vancouver. His personality is different, he laughs and jokes a lot, and it has reflected in his game. I would not be surprised to see Schneider as the one who will eventually be moved.
February 03, 2013
Votes: +0

dman2143 said:

dman2143
Read Give me your feelings...

Future star? Rooke at 25 years old but looks like the real thing...
February 03, 2013
Votes: +0
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