NHL Skinny: Price check

Matt Romig
Yahoo! SportsMarch 12, 2008
1st Chair: Mike Smith
2nd Chair: Karri Ramo
Skinny: In naming Ramo the starter for Tuesday's game against the Islanders, coach John Tortorella indicated that he'd like to get the youngster six starts the rest of the way. That would give Smith seven starts to Ramo's six. That makes this pretty close to a 1, 1a situation. Ramo's last three starts have been solid. Smith has a run of four straight losses. Welcome to Tampa Bay.
1st Chair: Martin Gerber
2nd Chair:
Ray Emery
Skinny: "There's no controversy. He's playing (Tuesday)," said coach Bryan Murray in reference to Gerber, who started his sixth straight game when Ottawa faced Boston. Neither Murray nor Gerber seemed to be a fan of John Paddock's now scrapped win-and-stay-in system. In fact, Gerber hasn't been winning. His play has been solid (.917 save pct. in previous five starts), but only two of the five games wound up in the win column.
1st Chair: Marc-Andre Fleury
2nd Chair: Ty Conklin, Dany Sabourin
Skinny: Fleury got the big national-TV call Sunday and stopped 36 of 38 shots in a 3-2 win over the Caps. It was a nice rebound start after giving way to Conklin just 20 minutes into his previous start. Conklin was solid in relief that night (21 saves on 22 nights) but it's clear Pittsburgh intends to get Fleury into playoff shape entering the postseason.
1st Chair: Alex Auld
2nd Chair:
Tim Thomas
Skinny: Auld made a third straight start Tuesday when Boston faced Ottawa. "Right now he's a hot goalie," said coach Claude Julien. In this case "hot" means "coming off a shutout," so of course he got another start. Thomas, meanwhile, is trying to shake off a forgettable 69 minutes of action. Spread over two games, he allowed 12 goals on 27 shots in back-to-back losses to the Caps and Leafs.
1st Chair: Cristobal Huet
2nd Chair: Olaf Kolzig, Brent Johnson
Skinny: In two critical games in the playoff chase, Huet stopped 48 of 52 opposing shots in staring back-to-back games over the weekend. Unfortunately he only got one goal of support in a 2-1 loss in Boston and then was victimized by a late own-goal in the 3-2 defeat against the Pens. Kolzig's role has been diminished despite a 1.79 goals-against over his last three starts.
1st Chair: Dan Ellis
2nd Chair: Chris Mason
Skinny: Mason finds himself against the ropes again as Ellis started Tuesday and has now appeared in seven of Nashville's last eight games. The Preds are fighting for their playoff lives and they tabbed Ellis – who allowed one goal in three of his previous four starts – to face the red-hot Sharks Wednesday.
1st Chair: Patrick Lalime
2nd Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin, Corey Crawford
Skinny: Crawford was a surprise starter Tuesday. Though he lost, the 44 saves on 46 shots against the Red Wings may have bought him another immediate start Wednesday. Crawford, Chicago's goalie of the future, picked up his first career shutout March 5. Khabibulin, while cleared for exercise Monday, does not appear to be close to returning to game action.
1st Chair: Tomas Vokoun
2nd Chair: Craig Anderson
Skinny: The Panthers went back to Vokoun on Saturday, but in returning to his regular coach Jacques Martin acknowledged a "drop-off" in Vokoun's play of late. Anderson won three straight, including back-to-back shutouts despite facing 93 shots. Vokoun reentry went pretty smoothly, as he backstopped a 3-2 OT win over Atlanta.
1st Chair: Martin Biron
2nd Chair: Antero Niittymaki
Skinny: Biron rebounded nicely from an early exit on March 4 with back-to-back wins, albeit both victories came against non-playoff foes. He got the start in Toronto Tuesday despite the fact that Niittymaki had made 54 saves the last time the Flyers faced the Leafs on the road.
1st Chair: Dominik Hasek
2nd Chair: Chris Osgood
Skinny: Hasek rested Tuesday despite a three-game winning streak. Osgood got the call against Chicago, which in theory is one of his five remaining starts if coach Mike Babcock sticks to his claim that Hasek will start two of three down the stretch.

No Big Board update this week. I have travel commitments with some college friends, and I've been told my laptop will be obliterated on sight if I bring it. If you knew these guys, you'd believe them. So in lieu of an update and mailbag, let me just state that I greatly respect Mats Sundin, I think Anze Kopitar is a talent and an All Star in the making and Andrei Markov will be on the top 50 next week (unless I go crazy and add Mark Streit instead). See you back here next Wednesday. On to a slightly abbreviated updated …

MID-WEEK UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do ASAP: The Carey Price ownership watch is up to 80 percent. We're getting there, folks, but again there's no reason he's not owned in 100 percent of leagues. Heck, Mathieu Garon is more popular in Yahoo! leagues. Price, for the record, picked up his second career shutout Tuesday. He now has eight wins in 13 starts since the All Star break and even more fantasy-friendly totals of .929 save percentage and 2.36 GAA.

While we're on the uptick subject, a few other players due for a bump: Niklas Kronwall (56 percent), Patrick Marleau (56), Ryan Smyth (52 percent and returning way ahead of schedule) and Sergei Samsonov (9 percent and still on a roll).

One-timers: Peter Forsberg missed a second-straight game with a groin injury Tuesday. He was listed as day-to-day heading in, so it's not expected to be long-term. That said, this is what you get with Foppa. … Sabres.com is reporting that defenseman Dmitri Kalinin could miss 1-2 weeks with a shoulder injury, but more importantly fantasy-wise is that Jaroslav Spacek (chest) could be out even longer. Jason Pominville could play some defense in a pinch. … Avs defenseman Adam Foote played just under five minutes Tuesday before leaving with a hip injury.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Andrew Brunette, LW, Col – Both of his Tuesday shots found the back of the net, improving his recent scoring run to five goals and four assists in seven games.

Michel Ouellet, RW, TB – On the short list of streakiest players in the NHL, Ouellet is on one of those runs with seven goals and four assists in his last nine games. Linemates Jeff Halpern and Mathieu Darche have been along for the ride, though both are producing to lesser degrees.

Jason Blake, LW, Tor – He was held without a point Tuesday, but Blake (83 percent owned) had seven points in his previous seven. He did snap off four shots against the Flyers after averaging five shots per game in his previous five. Helps in leagues that accepted the default SOG category.

Dustin Byfuglien, D, Chi – There's probably been a bit of overkill with Byfuglien in this space, but the 51-percent owned "defenseman" does rank in a tie for second among d-eligible players with 16 goals. Four of those have come in Chicago's last seven games as Byfuglien is playing exclusively on the wing and, more importantly, serving as a big body in front of the net on the power play.

Alex Burrows, LW, Van – Following in the footsteps of Aaron Voros, Daniel Carcillo and Sean Avery, we have Vancouver's Alex Burrows establishing himself as a heavy-PIM guy who also possesses some soft hands when it comes to scoring. He has six points in his last three games and dating back to mid-February has 62 penalty minutes in 12 games.

Peter Mueller, C, Pho – Fantasy owners, myself included, have cooled to this rookie in recent weeks. Better days could be ahead, however, as Mueller has five points in four games and has been put on a line with Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata.

Sam Gagner, C, Edm – He quietly reached the 30-assist mark and hasn't slowed down. Gagner had a nine-game point streak in February and now more recently has one goal and four assists in Edmonton's last two games.

Braydon Coburn, D, Phi – Another two points (power-play goal and assist) and a team-high 29 minutes of ice time followed his three-assist effort Saturday on Long Island. Still bargain-bin eligible, he has a more than respectable 18 points in 22 games.

Yahoo! Friends and Family League
Different week, same leader as Rotowire-Maingot maintains the lead. He has to be happy to see Martin Gerber carrying the load again in Ottawa. Team Romig got a six-point boost Tuesday, thanks primarily to Carey Price's shutout. Weekly transactions involved Corey Crawford, Milan Michalek, Brian Gionta and Jeff Carter among others.