|GOALIE HOT SEAT
|CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS RED HOT
1st Chair: Patrick Lalime
2nd Chair: Nikolai Khabibulin
Skinny: Pretty simple formula here, so let's get it right from the coach's mouth: "I'm going to [play] him as long as I can if he keeps winning," coach Denis Savard told the Chicago Tribune, speaking of Lalime. That winning streak, by the way, is one game. Looks pretty good, of course, compared to Khabibulin's seven-game losing streak.
|TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING RED HOT
1st Chair: Karri Ramo
2nd Chair: Johan Holmqvist
Skinny: Coach John Tortorella said that Tuesday's loss was the most embarrassing he's endured behind the Tampa Bay bench and that if he was in the stands, he would have thrown stuff on the ice. Presumably he wasn't criticizing Ramo, who stopped 22 of 24 shots, surrendering only two power-play goals. This position is beginning to look like more trouble than it's worth.
|OTTAWA SENATORS RED HOT
1st Chair: Ray Emery
2nd Chair: Martin Gerber
Skinny: The fact that Emery started Saturday's "Game of the Year" against the Red Wings was a strong statement. Emery was victorious for his third straight win, though the streak ended Tuesday against the Caps. With three games in four days to close the week, Gerber will get at least one more shot before Sunday.
|CAROLINA HURRICANES RED HOT
1st Chair: Cam Ward
2nd Chair: Michael Leighton
Skinny: Ward started three straight, but allowed a combined nine goals in back-to-back home losses, which prompted another Leighton start Tuesday. That didn't go as planned, so Ward was thrust into third-period duty, which resulted in two goals allowed on 13 shots and a loss. Better goalie play here starts with better defense.
|PHILADELPHIA FLYERS RED HOT
1st Chair: Antero Niittymaki
2nd Chair: Martin Biron
Skinny: Coach John Stevens says he doesn't have a goalie controversy. What he has, he says, is the luxury of choosing between two solid goalies. Niittymaki has won four of five and recently started four in a row. Biron was back in net Tuesday but was so-so in a 6-4 win over Washington.
|MINNESOTA WILD HOT
1st Chair: Josh Harding
2nd Chair: Niklas Backstrom
Skinny: This see-saw affair has tipped back in Harding's favor. He's expected to make a fourth straight start Wednesday after posting three wins, a .959 save percentage and a 1.54 goals-against during a three-game win streak.
|NASHVILLE PREDATORS HOT
1st Chair: Chris Mason
2nd Chair: Dan Ellis
Skinny: Hard to imaging Mason not getting another start Thursday after a three-game run that includes two shutouts and a 28-save effort in a 2-1 shootout defeat. That said, all it will take is one poor effort to get Ellis (.920 save percentage in January) back in net.
|BOSTON BRUINS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Tim Thomas
2nd Chair: Alex Auld
Skinny: Not much of a battle here as Thomas has been carrying the load, but it's worth noting that Auld won his first start of the year on January 12 and may well get another shot Thursday as Thomas is battling the flu.
|ATLANTA THRASHERS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Kari Lehtonen
2nd Chair: Johan Hedberg
Skinny: Tuesday's road win in Detroit should be a big boost for Lehtonen's confidence. It was his third straight solid start and Atlanta earned points in all three.
|DETROIT RED WINGS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Dominik Hasek
2nd Chair: Chris Osgood
Skinny: Pure coincidence, of course, but Osgood allowed nine goals on 45 shots in the two starts that immediately followed his big contract extension. Hasek, meanwhile, hasn't allowed more than three goals in a game for 13 straight starts.
So I own Dany Heatley
in two of my four Yahoo! leagues, Friends and Family League
included. I'm a proud Andrew Bynum owner in both my basketball leagues as well. In other words, it was a rough week for the Skinny. If anyone knows any 100-point left wings or 20-15 NBA centers who are widely available in Yahoo! leagues, please send me a note, because expert or not, I'm at a loss here. Thanks in advance, and on to the roundup …
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
Things to do ASAP: The Heatley issue is quite obviously a tough one because you simply can't replace that kind of production through free agency. For what it's worth, Ottawa plugged Ilya Zubov into Heatley's spot on the No. 1 line, then promptly reassigned him to Binghamton after the game. That might have to be the fantasy approach, too. Try a few guys out until someone sticks. Let's start with the less available and kick the tires on Scott Hartnell (65 percent owned), who has five goals and three assists for the Flyers during a four-game point streak. Streaky forward Ladislav Nagy (51 percent owned) has only two points in six games, so a hot streak can't be far away. Rangers wing Martin Straka (50 percent owned) is expected to play alongside Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez for the foreseeable future.
More likely to be available are guys like Andrei Kostitsyn (points in 14 of 18), David Booth (12 goals in 37 games), Daniel Paille (points in seven of nine and three goals in last two) and Sergei Samsonov (see below).
Forget what I said about: Chris Clark did return to the Caps lineup last week, but tweaked his groin, left the game and is now day-to-day … Also in mentioning Teemu Selanne's possible return, I failed to update the Peter Forsberg situation. Because he plays center (not wing) and probably wouldn't be ready to return for at least a month (as opposed to two weeks) he's not as attractive as Selanne, but it's still worth noting that Forsberg is going to skate aggressively for the next 1-2 weeks to determine if he's NHL ready. If he gives himself the thumbs up, he's hoping a Stanley Cup contender will give him a shot.
One-timers: With Michael Nylander out for the season, the Capitals lined up Tuesday with Nicklas Backstrom and Boyd Gordon centering their top two lines. … Right wing Brandon Bochenski has a modest three-game point streak for the Ducks. … Kings prospect Teddy Purcell (53 points in 40 games in AHL) made his NHL debut Tuesday and recorded three shots in 12-plus minutes of ice time. … Pittsburgh defenseman and part-time shootout hero Kris Letang has assists in three straight games, two coming on the power play.
BARGAIN BIN: Top player available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, Ana – The Bertuzzi to Corey Perry to Scott Niedermayer tic-tac-toe goal Tuesday was a great visual representation of just how well the Ducks are clicking these days. A behind-the-back pass from Bertuzzi started the whole thing. Doug Weight's arrival has allowed Anaheim to assemble two productive scoring lines. In the 14 games since the veteran center arrived, Bertuzzi has five goals, nine assists, 12 penalty minutes and is a plus-7. At 83-percent availability, Big Bert is a solid gamble as a No. 2 right wing.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Sergei Samsonov, LW, Car – Not a bad reclamation project so far. Rescued from Chicago, Samsonov landed in Carolina and found himself on a line with Rod Brind'Amour
and Erik Cole
. He picked up three points Tuesday.
, LW, Cls – Out since early November with back problems, Modin is set to return this week. According to the Columbus Dispatch, coach Ken Hitchcock is enthralled with the possibility of playing Modin on a line with Rick Nash
, though he'll likely wait a few games before uniting the two.
, LW, Bos – With Glen Murray
and P.J. Axelsson
hobbled, Sturm lined up on Marc Savard
's wing Saturday and picked up a goal and an assist, both on the power play. He's a solid short-term add available in 35 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
, G, Col – Still available in about 84 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Sunday, Theodore made his sixth straight start Tuesday. He made the most of it, too, recording his first shutout since 2004. He has three straight wins and impressive splits (1.81 GAA, .936 save pct.) in January.
, D, Fla – One of the best fantasy stories of the early season has turned into a bit of a medical mystery, but good news may not be far off. Murphy, who had nine points in 12 October games, has been out since mid-November with a shoulder injury. He skated with the team Tuesday and hopes to return immediately after the All-Star break.
, RW, Nas – A holdover from last week, Dumont is riding a nine-game point streak that includes seven goals and seven assists. He's still a free agent in about 30 percent of leagues.
, RW, Col – Make it 11 goals in 15 games for Svatos, who is doing his best to keep Denver goal judges employed. Just don't expect much help in the assist department here, as he's holding steady at two for the season.
, RW, Phi – Since returning to the Flyers lineup Downie has at least a point or a minor penalty in six straight games. The totals: 2 goals, 3 assists and 18 PIM.
, D, Nas – He's got power play points in two straight and seven points in his last 10 overall. Six of those points have come on special teams if you need a boost in PPP from the blueline.
, RW, Nas – GM David Poile issued a statement that, in his words, "takes away any realistic hope that (Sullivan is) going to be back this season." This is good news, in a way, in that you can now free up that IR spot without fear that Sullivan could surface on another fantasy roster.
, D, Chi – The Blackhawks are searching for veteran defense help, which doesn't bode well for young guys like Byfuglien. He's not helping his own cause with just two points and a minus-8 in his last nine games.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League
After taking all kinds of heat for dropping Alexander Frolov, Bada Byng sneaks into the top spot, knocking off long-time leader Rotowire-McLarney. How close is the race? Only 1.5 points separates first from fourth. Thankfully the Heatley-less Romig entry is in the mix. This week's player adds include Daniel Girardi, Derek Morris, Brent Seabrook and Chris Neil.