Normally you get to read Matt Romig at this time in this space; today you'll get your Fantasy Hockey fix from someone shorter and, um, thicker. Hope you're enjoying the matinees, let's hit the ice and collect some of the news of the weekend:
• Brian Elliott's stats didn't look like much against Montreal (28 saves on 32 shots, 0-for-2 in the shootout), but he passed the eye test, stopping a couple of breakaways in the middle of the game when the Habs were threatening a runaway. With the Senators picking up their play of late and Elliott looking like the real deal (2.23 GAA, .921 save percentage), I don't understand why he's just 23 percent owned at the moment. I'm regretting my slow reaction to the Elliott story, that's for sure. He's already confirmed to start Tuesday against Washington, which should be a good test.
• Five words for the Detroit at San Jose summit two nights ago: Hockey as it oughta be. Look, I don't need every game to feature 75 shots and 11 goals, but it's nice to see passing and stick-handling, regular scoring chances, some lead chances, etc. Puck possession is more fun than dump-and-chase, right? Best regular-season game I've seen all year.
• Mats Sundin has three points in his last four starts and he's slowing starting to amp up the minutes (19:22 Sunday), so let's take the training wheels off and give him some run. I haven't seen the same physical nature from Sundin thus far but that should come around in time – he was an underrated bodychecker for years – but heck, maybe he'll stay healthier if he's not mixing it up as much as he used to. For fantasy purposes, we just care if he scores.
• Ilya Bryzgalov's season stats still don't look like much, but his save percentage has been strong in every month since his rocky October, and he's added a couple of shutouts in the last four weeks. Wins at Calgary and at Vancouver always get my attention, no matter what, and the five-goal hiccup against Edmonton Saturday (his third game in four days) probably makes it easier to steal Bryzgalov in a trade today. I'll sign off on this guy, he's better than the surface numbers suggest.
• Daniel Carcillo's shooting percentage has fallen through the floor (it's hard to be at .038 even if you try), but at the midpoint he's projecting to 246 PIMs and 160 shots, and that helps to take the sting out of his paltry offensive numbers. Keep shooting and keep punching, better days are ahead.
• If the best Claude Lemieux could do in the AHL is 3-8-11 over 23 games, I'm not buying him as an NHL player, I don't care who he skates with in San Jose. Lovers and haters of Claude the Fraud, here's some video to support your respective case.
• Peter Budaj was super in Sunday's win over Calgary (stopping 39 of 41), but I thought he was spotty in the loss to St. Louis and I haven't really trusted a Colorado goalie long-term since Patrick Roy retired. Use at your own risk.
• The best-case scenario for a Marian Gaborik return looks like the end of March, which underscores why he should be long-since-dropped in any respectable redraft league. There's little hope he'll be able to help you, don't burn the spot.
• All things considered, it's not terrible for Kyle Turris to be sitting on a 6-10-16 line when you look at his modest playing time (just over 12 minutes a night). He's not the type of player who projects to be a scoring champ someday, but this looks to be a normal development path to me - and I bet someone steals him at your 2010-11 draft (I'll pass again next year).
• The Mathieu Garon acquisition didn't affect Marc-Andre Fleury's mojo at all Sunday – he was letter perfect against the Rangers, stopping all 33 shots he saw. Fleury had a dynamite second half last year and a slight uptick down the stretch the year before; tie that to his bagel here and I'll push his stock up a notch.
• The Sabres decided to use Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy on different lines Saturday night; it's probably more of a commentary on Vanek (two goals this month) than Roy (5-6-11). Nonetheless, I feel better about both players when they're on the same unit. Line changes happen so quickly in this game, I'm hesitant to even mention them, lest the news be obsolete by the time it hits the blogosphere.
Goalie Watch: Manny Legace left Monday's matinee with a groin injury; Chris Mason was steady enough in relief to guide the Blues to a shootout win at Boston . . . Jonas Hiller continues to do less with more, stopping all 30 shots at Minnesota en route to his fourth shutout on just 23 starts. Be nervous, Giguere Nation . . . Erik Ersberg stopped 32 of 34 against Dallas on Saturday and stole a point, but he also sustained a lower-body injury, so it looks like the Jonathan Quick show again for th Kings. Jonathan Bernier was recalled from the minors Sunday, a clear sign that Ersberg isn't right . . . It's unfair to knock Chris Osgood for the two breakaways that beat him Saturday, but he also let in a couple of softies. No one can dispute that Ty Conklin has outplayed him the entire season . . . Cam Ward played a little better at Buffalo Saturday (stopping 23 of 26) but it still added up to his fifth straight loss . . . Don't look now but Marty Turco has been pretty sharp (stopping 105 of 115) since the Red Wings undressed him, as usual, on Jan. 8 . . . After five solid efforts in a row, Mike Smith didn't have it Saturday against Florida (four goals on 17 shots). Still, Tampa will keep rolling with him nightly.
Sick Bay: Jason Spezza (back) was limited in Monday's practice but should be able to go Tuesday against Washington. He's got 15 points in his last 11 games . . . Johan Franzen (hip) missed the last period at San Jose and is questionable for Tuesday's game at Phoenix. The Wings have little reason to take a chance here . . . Pavol Demitra left Sunday's game with a strained groin . . . Rick Nash (knee) got back on the ice after a 10-game absence and put up a goal and two assists Sunday . . . Danny Briere (groin) is back in form after a brief minor-league stint and should dress Wednesday against the Thrashers . . . Sami Salo (ribs) didn't play Sunday and is out indefinitely. I imposed my own "never draft Sami Salo" rule about three years ago and I've never looked back . . .Carey Price (lower-body injury) is on track to return on either Tuesday (Atlanta) or Wednesday (New Jersey) . . . Teppo Numminen (jaw surgery) is out indefinitely . . . Mike Van Ryn (concussion) could be back Wednesday, and will probably add a visor and mouthguard for added protection . . . Shea Weber (foot) and Jason Arnott (lower-body injury) are both set to play Monday. Ohhhhh, Weber . . . Ales Hemsky is ready to go after missing 10 games with a concussion.
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