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
Brandon Bochenski 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 values
Marcel 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.
Jordan Staal, 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.
Cam Barker, 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.
Martin Gerber, 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.
Ric Jackman, 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.
Marty Turco, 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.
Evgeni Nabokov, 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?
Darren Haydar, 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.