I own too many t-shirts. That's the conclusion I reached last week while packing up my belongings for a move to Southern California. Even after throwing out gems like a tattered championship shirt from a 2001 winter softball league, I had more than I could deal with. And I hold Yahoo! partially responsible. We went t-shirt happy here a few years back. Y2k? Have a t-shirt. New version of Yahoo! Mail? Here, throw this on. Danny Heatley's position eligibility changed? How about a "Y! not play Heatley at LW" beefy-T?
So you'll forgive me if I overlooked anything this weekend. My back aches as if I carried the Stanley Cup from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I have no cable TV. Even if I did, I didn't bring a TV with me. Not enough room after that box of Yahoo! summer picnic shirts made the cut. I did manage to check out a few games here at the office, where I've been holed up for the better part of three days since I don't have Internet here yet, either. Here's hoping your fantasy weekend went smoother than my ill-planned move. What I managed to catch follows:
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
It's been quite a last few weeks for 30-something journeymen goalies. A few days ago Cristobal Huet was just another forgotten backup. Montreal's goalie of the future? Heck, few even considered him to be the backup of the future. That honor belonged to 24-year-old rookie Yann Danis. Until, that is, coach Bob Gainey gave struggling starter Jose Theodore a few nights off. Enter Huet, who with back-to-back shutouts now has a stranglehold, at least temporarily, on one of the most prestigious jobs in hockey. Here are the numbers: 3 starts, 2 wins, 94 of 96 shots against stopped. Gainey says he still has a plan to help Theodore regain his confidence. The way Huet performed on back-to-back nights this weekend, that plan will surely include some spectating between now and the Olympic break.
For at least a few days, Huet was able to steal the spotlight from another fantasy everyman, Boston's Tim Thomas. While Huet was blanking Philadelphia Sunday, Thomas was doing his best one-man act while trying to keep the Bruins alive against Carolina. He faced 18 shots in the second period. He stopped 16 of them. The two goals allowed matched the >total surrendered by Thomas in his past three starts combined. Like Huet, this 31-year-old undrafted goalie from Flint, Michigan appears to have nailed down a No. 1 job – at least until the Olympic break. Thomas is owned in about 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Huet is available in about 95 percent. If you own Theodore, you have to pick up Huet now as insurance. Either goalie is capable of disappearing – remember Martin Biron? – but both have value right now either as short-term fixes or pre-deadline fantasy bargaining chips.
The 2006 AHL All-Star game Wednesday drew a crowd of 15,015, a record for the event. Hey, why not come out? For the price of admission during the lockout season AHL fans got a look at Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Ryan Miller, Keith Ballard and a host of other players who went on to make a fantasy impact in 2005-06. Actually, there's one name missing there – and it's an important one to remember. Niklas Kronwall was an all-star starter last year. The Grand Rapids defenseman tallied 53 points in 76 games and was named the league's top defenseman.
Knee surgery derailed this talented offensive defenseman's progress, but the 2000 first-round draft pick finally made his season debut Wednesday. He didn't disappoint. Kronwall had two assists in a conservative 14 minutes of ice time in a 3-2 Red Wings victory. That ice time was up to 16:35 Saturday and he was a plus-1 in another Detroit win. As of Sunday morning, Kronwall was available in roughly 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He makes a solid immediate add as a No. 2 or No. 3 fantasy defenseman.
Bad news out of Phoenix, where it was announced Friday that Ladislav Nagy will miss the rest of the season following surgery on his injured right knee. Though far from a household name, Nagy had emerged as a top fantasy forward in 2005-06. Before the injury, he ranked as the 15th-best forward with 15 goals, 41 assists and 74 penalty minutes. According to the East Valley Tribune, Nagy will need four to five months of rehabilitation.
He can't possibly fill the scoring void, but Phoenix recalled forward Pavel Brendl to take Nagy's roster spot. With San Antonio, Brendl recorded 14 points in 13 games after coming over in a December trade with Carolina. The 4th overall pick in the 1999 draft, Brendl is fighting the bust tag. Phoenix is his third team, and he's never scored more than 13 points in any NHL season.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
- Brad Boyes, C, Bos
Boyes saw his point streak snapped at eight games Saturday. No problem. He started another one Sunday. Boston is back in the playoff hunt, and it's not just Tim Thomas doing the heavy lifting. Boyes' line has been on fire of late. In 10 games, Boyes has five goals and eight assists, with six points coming on the power play. He can be had for free in all but a small fraction of leagues. Linemates Marco Sturm (7 goals in past 10) and Patrice Bergeron (15 points in past 11) are more widely owned, but worth scanning the waiver wire for.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Lee Stempniak, RW, StL – There's a scoring void in St. Louis now that Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger are gone. Stempniak has been a beneficiary of more ice time. His goal streak was snapped at three games Saturday, but he assisted on a score in nearly 18 minutes of ice time.
Michel Ouellet, RW, Pit – Pittsburgh's top line seems to have a new look every night. The latest iteration on display Saturday had Sidney Crosby centering Ouellet (seven points in past seven games) and Tomas Surovy (one goal, six shots Saturday). Anyone skating with Crosby is worth keeping an eye on.
Andrei Markov, D, Mon – He scored a goal Saturday and assisted on a power-play tally Sunday. Markov now has a four-game point streak (3 goals, 4 assists) that dates back to Jan. 14. He missed eight games with a shoulder injury.
Sergei Gonchar, D, Pit – Sure it's only a snapshot, but Gonchar was the fourth-best fantasy defenseman over the past week. His colossal goal drought is still drawing boos from Pittsburgh fans, but the defenseman does have 10 assists and 16 PIMs in his past 10 games.
Mikael Samuelsson, RW, Det – Samuelsson was in a funk before coach Mike Babcock threw him on a line centered by Henrik Zetterberg. The result: three goals in three games and a combined 11 shots in his past two efforts.
Jon Sim, RW, Fla – Remember this guy? Sim led the league in preseason goals, but couldn't crack coach Ken Hitchcock's lineup in Philly. They shipped him to Florida, where at least lately he's flourished on a line with Chris Gratton and Juraj Kolnik. Sim had goals Friday and Saturday and Gratton has five points in two games.
Francois Beauchemin, D, Ana – He extended his point streak to five games Saturday and now has two goals and six assists in his past seven games.
Ilya Kovalchuk, RW, Atl – Tuesday it was an illegal stick. Friday it was a dive. Kovalchuk has been responsible for some critical mistakes lately – mistakes he has not offset with offensive production. His goalless streak reached six games before Saturday's tally, and coach Bob Hartley temporarily demoted the winger to Atlanta's third line.
Jeff O'Neill, RW/C, Tor – O'Neill watched Saturday's game from the press box as a healthy scratch. Fantasy owners are much better off employing the services of Darcy Tucker, who has at least one point in 12 of his past 16 games.
Petr Prucha, RW, NYR – The news could have been worse, but Prucha will miss 3-4 weeks after spraining his right knee in Saturday's 4-3 win.
Patrick Marleau, C, SJ – He was benched during Thursday's overtime against Minnesota. Marleau was given his standard allotment of ice time Saturday, but he was still held without a point for the sixth consecutive game.