|GOALIE HOT SEAT
|NASHVILLE PREDATORS RED HOT
1st Chair: Tomas Vokoun
2nd Chair: Chris Mason
Skinny: First coach Barry Trotz made it clear Vokoun was his No. 1. Then he laid out the two-game-to-one ratio for starts. Now he's not saying much at all. "I'm approaching it game by game," Trotz told the Tennessean after Vokoun backstopped a 4-1 loss to the Kings Sunday. The coach even went as far as saying it was "not necessarily" better to head into the playoffs with an established No. 1. Interesting.
|COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS RED HOT
1st Chair: Fredrik Norrena
2nd Chair: Pascal Leclaire
Skinny: Ty Conklin was removed from the picture Friday when Leclaire was activated from the IR. Coach Ken Hitchcock had hoped to ease Leclaire back into action, but he was pressed into duty Sunday after Norrena allowed three goals on 11 shots in less than a full period of work. It spoiled what should have otherwise been a pleasant afternoon for Norrena, who signed a two-year contract extension before the game.
|LOS ANGELES KINGS HOT
1st Chair: Sean Burke
2nd Chair: Mathieu Garon
Skinny: Burke's solid run continues. He made 21 saves Saturday as the Kings shocked Nashville on the road, 4-1. Before that he extended his old mates in Tampa Bay into a shootout before falling, 3-2. Garon lost in overtime Thursday in his first start in nearly a month.
|PHILADELPHIA FLYERS HOT
1st Chair: Antero Niittymaki
2nd Chair: Robert Esche, Michael Leighton
Skinny: Leighton wasn't great Saturday, but he was good enough to help the Flyers snap a 13-game home losing streak. And 25 saves on 28 shots sounds a lot better when you factor in a nearly three-year gap between starts. Will Leighton get another shot Monday? "He certainly will get some consideration," coach John Stevens told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
|MONTREAL CANADIENS HOT
1st Chair: Cristobal Huet
2nd Chair: David Aebischer
Skinny: The good news for Aebischer owners is that he's started five of Montreal's last seven games. The bad: 2 wins, 2.95 goals-against, .905 save percentage – numbers slightly worse than the pre-All Star figures that earned him nothing but a spot on the bench. Once a darling in Montreal, Huet has allowed four or more goals in five of his last seven starts.
|PHOENIX COYOTES WARM
1st Chair: Curtis Joseph
2nd Chair: Mikael Tellqvist
Skinny: Joseph made his sixth straight start Saturday, but was pulled after allowing four goals in 43 minutes. Tellqvist's best bet may be for Joseph to continue playing well. The Coyotes are clearly positioned as sellers now, and Cujo is one guy who could move if the asking price is right.
|TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Johan Holmqvist
2nd Chair: Marc Denis
Skinny: Coach John Tortorella went right back to Holmqvist Sunday after pulling the netminder in Friday's 5-0 loss to the Rangers. A very telling move, and one that makes perfect sense. Holmqvist was on a 9-1 run with a 2.04 goals-against average before the hiccup in New York.
On Feb. 6, Dustin Penner
scored his 18th goal of the season, at the time a rather innocent looking marker that put Anaheim up 5-1 in what looked like a laugher against San Jose. The Ducks still won by a fairly comfortable 7-4 margin, but because of a three-goal Sharks rally in the third period, Penner's goal stood up as the game-winner. Which brings us to a debate that has been brewing lately inside the walls of the Yahoo! compound. What was so special about that goal? Was it retroactively clutch because Anaheim got sloppy, took a few penalties and let the Sharks back into the game? Skating off the ice, did Penner even know he was responsible for the game-winner?
The early consensus here is that the game-winning goals category is going the way of the two-line pass – not eliminated as a scoring option, but removed as a default category in Yahoo! public leagues. It's just too fluky. Frankly we can't stand the thought of a rotisserie league being decided on the final day by a game-winning goal the likes of which Penner tallied Tuesday. So we've all but decided to jettison the category, but would like some input from public and private league competitors on where to go from there.
Which category would you add to replace GWG? Or would you just let it go and run with five skater categories and four goalie cats? In other words: What is your ideal rotisserie league configuration? And, no, you may not consider this an open forum for protesting the inclusion of penalty minutes as a positive scoring category. We are not having that debate. The Skinny will be on vacation next weekend, but I'll use the next few weeks to accumulate your suggestions and pass them along to the decision-makers. On to the recap:
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
has some impressive goal-scoring totals on his resume: 34 in 75 games as Jason Spezza
's winger in Binghamton of the AHL during the lockout, 22 in 33 games the following season and 33 in 35 games with Chicago's top developmental affiliate this season. His new employers, the Boston Bruins
, referred to him as "a shooter" after bringing him aboard Feb 3. Bochenski himself says that what he does is "score goals." Interesting, then, that the 24-year-old winger is with his third team in two years and couldn't cut it with Chicago, a team languishing in the bottom five in the league in scoring.
Never mind that for now. Boston acknowledges that Bochenski was acquired to help kick-start its offense and general manager Peter Chiarelli realizes that the kid is best paired with a top playmaker. Translation: They didn't acquire him to toil on the third or fourth line. Fast forward to Sunday and Bochenski has three goals in his first three games as a Bruin. Injuries have forced coach Dave Lewis to tweak his lines a bit, but Bochenski has been playing in the 15-17 minute range and has logged minutes on the No. 2 power-play unit. Where things go from here will be interesting to watch. At the very least he's a solid short-term add while the new-address adrenaline is still flowing.
If a sure-thing is a little more your speed, take a look at your No. 3 and 4 fantasy defensemen and see if Bryan Berard
(available in 93 percent of Yahoo! leagues) and Frantisek Kaberle
(58 percent) might be better fits in those slots. Berard picked up two assists Sunday and hasn't even got cooking on special teams yet. Kaberle, a top 25 scoring defenseman a year ago, scored his first goal of the season Tuesday in his season debut. There are always timing issues to deal with after extended absences, but both players are logging plenty of minutes and should approach their career points paces down the stretch.
One-timers: The Detroit Free Press
reports that Dominik Hasek
will sit out at least one more game to rest his wrist. Jimmy Howard
is expected to start. … Washington goalie Olaf Kolzig
was injured Monday and is expected to miss up to three weeks. Brent Johnson
takes over as starter. … No real fantasy relevance here, but do you realize it took Ray Whitney
100 seconds to record his natural hat trick Thursday? … Pavol Demitra
has 10 points in six games thanks to a reunion with winger Marian Gaborik
. … Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival
has three goals and two assists in his last five games. … Sharks RW Ryane Clowe
has a five-game point streak, not that any of you care.
BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Sean Avery, LW, NYR – The Rangers seem to love Avery. Of course, he arrived on Broadway with an act that tends to wear thin, so just how long that love affair will last remains to be seen. But for now both Avery and the Rangers are saying the right things, and Avery has been productive on a line with Brendan Shanahan and Michael Nylander. He's got 50-point, 200-PIM upside with New York.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player valuesMarcel Hossa
, LW, NYR – Coach Tom Renney juggled lines Friday and Hossa found himself in fertile fantasy territory playing opposite Jaromir Jagr
on a line centered by Martin Straka
. Hossa scored Friday and added a goal and an assist in 18 minutes Saturday.
, C, Edm – First linemate Ales Hemsky
got it going. Now it's Horcoff who's doing his best to put a slow start behind him. He extended his goal streak to three games Friday.
, C, Pit – Staal leads all center-eligible players in goals over the last month. The race isn't very close, either. With a hat trick Saturday, Staal extended his goal streak five games and raised his total over the last 31 days to 11. Three players are playing chase with eight goals over the same span.
, D, Chi – You don't want to land on the stock rising list too often. Repeat visitors fall into two categories: Either you're still producing, but fantasy owners just won't get the message (see Ryane Clowe) or you're having an up-and-down season (see most rookies). Barker has taken his share of lumps in his short-time with the Blackhawks, but the future star has assists in back-to-back games and points in nearly half his 12 career games.
, G, Ott – Starter Ray Emery
was slapped with a three-game suspension for slashing Monday. That leaves Gerber in charge for three straight home games. Good short-term add for should-wins against Edmonton and Florida.
, D, Ana – He had a nice run with seven points in seven games, but with Scott Niedermayer
back in the lineup, that run is over. Jackman was a healthy scratch Tuesday against San Jose and was limited to 12 inconsequential minutes Saturday at Dallas.
, G, Dal – Coach Dave Tippett was pretty close to starting backup Mike Smith
Sunday against Colorado. He didn't, but Smith was called to duty after Turco coughed up a pair of softies. Turco has been pulled from each of his last two starts. Smith earned back-to-back starts earlier in the season under similar circumstances.
, G, SJ – Nothing too serious here, but Nabokov will miss at least the next two games to be with his wife for the birth of the couple's second child. Nabby could return Friday, but coach Ron Wilson may push that back to allow for more practice time. Will the coach still be in the mood for a rotation by then?
, RW, Atl – Another piece was acquired last week, giving the Thrashers another reason not to give Haydar any meaningful minutes. In fact, he was a healthy scratch Saturday.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League
Big lead for Rotowire's McLarney entry. I think I'm going to be sick.