NHL Skinny: Hasek Done?

Matt Romig
GOALIE HOT SEAT
SAN JOSE SHARKS RED HOT
1st Chair: Vesa Toskala
2nd Chair: Evgeni Nabokov
Skinny: Toskala has started four of five for the Sharks, but some of the magic is gone. In his past three starts, he's allowed 4, 3 and 4 goals as the Sharks earned three of a possible six points. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the Sharks haven't officially handed this job to Toskala. The decision is day-to-day, the team says. San Jose has a stretch of five games in seven days just around the corner, so it's safe to hold on to both in fantasy leagues.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS RED HOT
1st Chair: Antero Niittymaki
2nd Chair: Robert Esche
Skinny: Robert Esche still has life. He made 31 saves in a 4-1 win Sunday to help the Flyers snap a two-game skid. Coach Ken Hitchcock told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Esche had "probably earned a start" for Tuesday's game against the Rangers in New York. These things turn just like that, so if you've been riding Niittymaki you'll want to take a close look at Tuesday's box.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING RED HOT
1st Chair: Sean Burke
2nd Chair: John Grahame
Skinny: Tampa Bay is tumbling again, and as usual goaltending is under scrutiny. Grahame has been pulled twice in his past six starts and since March 1 has a goals against average right around 4.00. Burke returned from a broken finger Saturday, making nine saves in relief after Grahame was chased by Florida. According to the Tampa Tribune, Burke will likely get the call Monday against the Panthers. You know the drill. If he plays well, he'll stay.
PHOENIX COYOTES HOT
1st Chair: Curtis Joseph
2nd Chair: David LeNeveu, Philippe Sauve
Skinny: It looks like that dreaded three-headed goalie situation won't materialize after all. Joseph finished the week by making three straight starts for the Coyotes and in the process extended his personal winning streak to five starts. Sauve looks like the odd-man out and LeNeveu will still see action when CuJo needs a breather.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS WARM
1st Chair: Jean-Sebastien Aubin
2nd Chair: Mikael Tellqvist
Skinny: The torch was passed in Toronto, all right, it was just intercepted by an unexpected recipient. Aubin, the former Penguins goalie who toiled in the AHL for Toronto this season, has taken over, making three straight spectacular starts. Is he Toronto's version of Cristobal Huet? It's too soon to tell, but if you were counting on Tellqvist taking over for injured starter Ed Belfour, you'd better re-adjust your plans.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS LUKEWARM
1st Chair: Olaf Kolzig
2nd Chair: Brent Johnson
Skinny: Johnson faced two of the NHL's toughest teams on the road to close the week and was nothing short of spectacular for the Caps. Thursday he beat Carolina, stopping 49 of 50 shots. He was just a little better Saturday, turning aside all 46 shots he faced to record Washington's first shutout of the season. Without question he's earned himself more work down the stretch.

Now that we've turned the page to April, we can tell just how close the end is. Heck, in three months the NHL playoffs will be over. But before we crown our first Stanley Cup champion in two years, there's the matter of these fantasy leagues. Looks like The Skinny will have to write one concession speech this year. Peter Schoenke from RotoWire has been in first place in our Yahoo! Friends and Family league since the shootout was still a novelty. Despite my best efforts, it looks like I'm destined for second place. Never one to give up, I'm still tweaking my lineup (welcome Andrew Brunette and Alexander Frolov, so long Alex Tanguay and Nils Ekman). Here's what else caught my eye this week:

WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days

Is Dominik Hasek done? The rumor mill says yes. The Senators say no. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the Sens are refuting claims that Hasek has no chance of returning for the playoffs. General manager John Muckler first said Hasek would be healthy enough to return for the playoffs, then backtracked and clarified that the plan is to allow Hasek to get some regular-season work before the playoffs. Emery has been claimed in roughly 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so if you're looking for Hasek insurance, look elsewhere (perhaps Aubin, Budaj or Toskala). If you don't own Hasek, keep an eye on the waiver wire on the off-chance an impatient owner cut him loose.

Line changes: Dmitry Afanasenkov has been skating on a line with Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis in Tampa Bay. The left wing scored two goals Thursday … Atlanta's Marc Savard has been moved to a line with wingers Marian Hossa and Slava Kozlov. The shift leaves Ilya Kovalchuk on a line with Patrik Stefan and Peter Bondra.

BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues

  • Andrew Brunette, LW, Col
    Since Alex Tanguay left the lineup with a knee injury, Brunette has been a savior for the Avalanche. Playing on a line with Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk has had the expected influence on his fantasy numbers. In the six games without Tanguay, Brunette has four goals, five assists and a plus-7 rating. Tanguay may begin skating again this week, but his return is far enough off to make Brunette a wise addition for the stretch run.

MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values

Steve Reinprecht, C, Pho & ndash; He has five goals in two games and dating back to mid-march has seven goals, seven assists and a plus-8 rating in seven games.

Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ana – A solid No. 2 fantasy center or injury replacement, Getzlaf has four goals, eight assists and a plus-5 rating in his past seven games.

Sergei Samsonov, LW, Edm – He hasn't exactly exploded as an Oiler, but he's a point-per-game producer since the trade, not bad for a No. 2 left wing. He's still available in about 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Kyle Calder, LW, Chi – Calder extended his point streak to nine games Saturday with an assist against Columbus. The streak includes seven goals (including two game-winners) and four assists.

Steve Yzerman, C, Det – Yzerman's age is a concern, of course. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Red Wings planned to rest the 40-year-old on Sunday or Monday. Since he played Sunday, there's a chance he'll sit tonight. When he does next take the ice, he'll bring an eight-game point streak with him.

Steve Bernier, RW, SJ – He's still available in 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues and he's still piling up points. The rookie has seven goals and five assists in San Jose's past 10 games.

Jay Bouwmeester, D, Fla – If you need goals, look elsewhere. But Bouwmeester has been a consistent assist producer this season and is on another hot streak. In his past five games, the blue-liner has one goal (just his third of the season), six assists and six penalty minutes.

Nikolai Khabibulin, G, Chi – No matter how strong he finishes, he won't be able to justify that huge contract he signed. The best he can hope for is reminding fantasy owners that he's relevant. The Bulin Wall has faced 40 shots in consecutive starts, but came out a winner both times by stopping a combined 83 of 87 shots.

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