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Keslermania

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Arizona and Vancouver will be seeking more offense and less injuries next year after missing out on the …

While Monday’s Daily Dose covered two significant goalie returns in Mike Smith and Craig Anderson - along with discussing several other important netminding matters - Tuesday’s column spotlights comebacks that won’t be such good news for goalies (aside from the players’ own netminders).

Before I blather on too much, note that the main focus of this opening bit (Ryan Kesler) is only owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues right now. I think he’s worth snatching up in almost any league, injury risks and all. It’s OK, do it and then come back to the column.

(A fringe-level gamble can often make the big difference at this time of year.)

KESLERMANIA

Life can throw some curveballs your way and make it difficult to check Rotoworld updates, but during the stretch run, it’s a really wise idea to keep abreast of late scratches and activations.

I couldn’t help but think of that when it was clear that Ryan Kesler would make his comeback on Monday. In a lot of these cases, it’s not THAT big of a shock, but the more time you have to fiddle with your lineup once guys come off the IR - particularly to answer that crucial “who to drop?” question - the better. You also don’t want to miss out on that adrenaline-fueled return, because that’s a good time for a player to pot a goal/generally roll out the red carpet for themselves.

Despite clocking a little less than 16 minutes of ice time, it seems like Kesler fit right back into the lineup and made a difference.

He scored the only "real" goal of the game in a 2-0 win against the Phoenix Coyotes - Antoine Vermette's dreams will be haunted by an unlikely own goal credited to Dan Hamhuis that accounted for the other tally - but did more than that.

The former Selke winner fired four SOG overall, delivered three hits, took one minor penalty and registed a +1 rating.

THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE

When it comes to returns, one wonders how a guy might adjust to that adrenaline drop-off. On the bright side, the Canucks don't have back-to-back games. They play again on Wednesday and then get a breather until Saturday.

While that probably makes him quite a bit less desirable for those who might add him in hopes of winning this week, it's probably a good thing for his value overall.

(Some leagues allow you to keep a guy on the IR when they're back. Perhaps you'll just decide to activate him on Saturday to max things out? Just throwing it out there.)

LINEUP IMPACT

Honestly, it seemed to me like the Canucks traded for Derek Roy in part to fill the gap left behind by Kesler. When you add those talented forwards to the Sedin twins, great goaltending (regardless of the circus) and a nice defensive group, it’s hard not to wonder if Vancouver might sneak under the radar - as much as they can - heading into the 2013 playoffs.

Naturally, Kesler’s return could be bad for Roy owners. To start things off, Kesler skated with Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian on Monday while Roy centered Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen on a top-notch third line.

Depth is a valuable commodity in this parity-laced league, but one cannot help but wonder if the Canucks should consider lining Roy and Kesler up or even boldly seeing how Roy would mesh with the Sedin twins. (Roy owners, his agent and account like both of those ideas better than “slumming it” on the third line.)

While Roy’s used to being a center, it’s not that outrageous of an idea when you consider his top-six talent and the fact that he’s been brutal in the faceoff circle this season (45.6 percent rate of victory)

LOOKING SHARP

If you ask me, Kesler’s widespread availability (again, as of this writing, 65 percent of Yahoo league owners could grab him) is a testament of how stringent leagues can be about how many IR slots you might have available.

Sometimes, it comes down to storing the essentials for disaster situations. If that’s the case, that Patrick Sharp is the can of peaches/whatever you find to be the most delectable fruit.

He’s owned in 93 percent of leagues. I’m starting to think that the seven percent of leagues where he’s available are actually full of missing people, like the Dufrenes from Mitch Hedberg’s genius bit.

Anyway, as star-crossed as Sharp's season has been at times - the injury issues, long stretches without a goal, just a 6.4 percent shooting efficiency rate - he's a guy who will fire a lot of shots on net, probably pull down a solid plus/minus and produce points. He should be back tonight, but as always, keep an eye on late developments.

Jump for Jagr, Kessel and injuries.

DEVELOPING DUOS

Can you imagine two more disparate personalities than Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand? OK, you probably could, but it’s still not a combination most of us would expect to click. They did for at least one night, though, as the Boston Bruins crippled the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 on the strength of Tuukka Rask’s continued excellence and two goals created by the odd couple (Jagr assisted on Marchand’s duo). Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin was demoted to the third line in favor of Gregory Campbell. It’s hard to imagine that lasting very long, but who knows.

It seems like the Phil Kessel - James van Riemsdyk combo took a backseat to Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri for a little while there, but with Lupul’s unfortunate injury, the American duo looks primed to pick things back up. Kessel scored two goals (including the winner) and had an assist while JVR notched a tally and a helper in Toronto’s 4-3 win against the New York Rangers.

I know many point out that Luke Schenn is helping out in Philly, but that trade was still a steal for the Buds, in my opinion.

INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS

Sidney Crosby felt good enough to give an interview on Monday. Personally, I couldn’t stop gaping at his back teeth ... Speaking of banged-up Penguins, the charade was dropped and the team admitted that James Neal has a concussion. Anyone who saw the shots of his glazed-over look and confused response would have guessed as much, yet everyone’s worried about using that phrase. Just ask Randy Carlyle ... Ales Hemsky missed Monday with a bum foot ... Milan Michalek could be close to a comeback ... Radek Dvorak scored two goals last night. Good for him, but stay away ... Congrats to “The Pain Sponge” Dennis Seidenberg for a three-assist night. Nothing special about that, but it was an excuse to trot that nickname out ... Marc Staal might play toward the tail end of this season. Jose Theodore has similar hopes, although the difference is that Theo playing seems like it’s mostly on the unnecessary side ... Jean-Sebastien Giguere slammed his teammates after the Avs lost to the Flames. I guess those 40 shots they sent at Joey MacDonald were of the low-effort variety ... Not much info on this, but it looked like Roberto Luongo hurt his hand/wrist during warm-ups last night. It’s not as if he’s really been playing much anyway, but still ... Matt Stajan left Monday’s game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury ... Alex Emelin’s season is over, but that’s not the only Montreal bit. Rene Bourque is expected to return from a concussion while Max Pacioretty might miss tonight’s game with a lower-body ailment ... Marcus Johansson’s done well to stick around for the ride with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, so give him a look if you need a depth forward ... It doesn’t sound like Ilya Kovalchuk’s coming back anytime soon. Need some comic relief? I briefly misspelled his name as “Koalachuk.”

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