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Scott Pianowski

Red-Light District: Thursday clean up

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

You know how I feel about early-season pickups in any fantasy sport, and with that in mind, it feels like a good idea to give you a quick look back at hockey's (real) opening night.

San Jose: Jonathan Cheechoo is one player who definitely needed a good push to open the year, and he got just that with a couple of early goals against the Ducks. A new coach, a surge of confidence, all those sweet power-play feeds from Joe Thornton, it's a set-up that should ensure 30 goals or more for Cheechoo, and I won't be surprised if he hits 40 . . . Rob Blake picked up two assists, fired seven shots on goal, and looked pretty solid on the first power-play unit. There's still value in this cagey vet . . . Devin Setoguchi opened with a goal and an assist, but he wasn't used much on the power play.

Boston: Remember that Patrice Bergeron was seen as a potential star before last year's concussion problem. His two opening-night assists put him back on the radar again, and the Bruins quietly have two pretty decent scoring lines.

Colorado: Peter Budaj didn't have a great camp, then he flopped in the opener against Boston (five goals on 20 shots). Andrew Raycroft is far from a savior, but he'll get his chance to play soon enough.

Toronto: Pavel Kubina seems to get hurt a lot and he's not the most reliable guy in his own end of the rink, but he's always had decent offensive skills (11-29-40 in 72 games last year) and he reminded us of that with a power-play tally at Detroit. If you're in a league where plus/minus doesn't count, Kubina's value gets a push forward. He's ornery enough to be around 100 penalty minutes.

Detroit: Tomas Holmstrom was almost an afterthought as the Red Wings swept to the Stanley Cup, so it's encouraging to see him pick up a couple of markers on opening night . . . Chris Osgood wasn't at his sharpest, but there's no reason to worry about him. Sticking with Osgood, the rough plan from Mike Babcock is to play Osgood about two-thirds of the time; Babcock didn't use that exact figure, but he talked about Osgood playing "more than 43 games" and fewer than 60.

Vancouver: Steve Bernier's debut was decent, with a goal, two shots, and seven penalty minutes, including a third-period fight with Dion Phaneuf. Bernier skated with the Sedin Brothers, who were also on top of their games (Henrik had a goal and an assist, while Daniel handed out three helpers) . . . Canucks tough guy Alex Burrows didn't find his way to the sin bin, but he did pot a couple of goals. Don't forget Burrows had a sneaky 12-19-31 line last year, along with his 179 PIMs.

Calgary: Phaneuf is the quarterback on the power play, of course, but the Flames also gave plenty of man-advantage minutes to Adrian Aucoin and Mark Giordano. I wouldn't add either guy in a medium or shallow league, but heads up if your group runs deeper than that.

Anaheim: Maybe there's a fantasy-friendly nugget from this game, but I didn't notice it. I welcome your ideas and observations in the comments.

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