Behold, another week of fantasy hockey news for all you armchair GMs. Malkin has returned, AO was funnin’ about his prolonged absence and are the Red Wings finally starting to heat up?
Yes, last season’s scoring leader is back on the ice after being on the shelf for the past few weeks. This is great news for fantasy teams around the globe, especially the High Noon team (Kamil Kreps may have a cool name, but he just wasn’t cuttin’ the mustard). Just how big of an impact did Geno have in his first game back? Over 26 minutes of play (including OT), 3 assists, +3 rating, 2 shots on goal and 2 penalty minutes.
Looks like Malkin is doin’ just fine. Get him back in your line-up as quick as you can and go ahead and drop any of the fill-in centers you may have picked up. Crosby is certainly happy his line-mate is back: Malkin assisted on Sid’s first goal in seven games (the Kid had a trio of points as well in the 6-5 OT win over the Bruins).
AO the Joker
I had a bit last week about Ovechkin saying in an interview that he was going to be out for longer than expected. Turns out, AO was having a bit of fun with the interviewer and was perhaps preparing to knock Yakov Smirnoff out as Russia’s top comedian.
Look out AO, you might have some competition:
Joking aside, Ovechkin is still missing in action, as he did not play in Saturday’s tilt versus the Devils and his absence is a huge blow to any fantasy team. If you picked up Capital’s winger Fleischmann as I suggested last week, then you should be doing OK (he’s certainly helped the High Noon team).
It has been a rough season so far for anyone who drafted any of the big guns on the Red Wings. But, it looks like things are staring to turn around, as the Wings are on a three game win streak and have scored 19 goals in that span. Zetterberg had a heck of a Saturday night, picking up a hat trick, including the game winning goal, and 5 points total against the Ducks. D-man Kronwall is on a tear himself; notching 7 points in the past three games, including 3 goals.
It is unlikely Zetterberg or Datsyuk are lying around in your league, but there is a chance Kronwall might be—grab him. Kronwall’s point total has increased each season, and if the Wings are in fact finally starting to click, he could start racking up the points. Another possible pick-up is Patrick Eaves (RW), who has 3 points in his last four games and he’s +4 in that span (+7 on the season). Danny Cleary (RW) might be available too—he’s got 6 points in the past four games and he’s +7 in the past three games.
Fantasy News Around the NHL
James Neal (LW, Dallas) is back after being out since early November. He had 2 points in his first game back, including his tenth goal of the season. It was his sixth multi-point game of the season. If Neal is available, grab ‘im. Carey Price (G, Montreal) had 53 saves against the Predators, but lost the game 2-0. Jonathan Toews (C, Chicago) is back for the Blackhawks after being out since late October. Toews chipped in and helped the ‘Hawk beat the Sharks on Sunday. Phil Kessel (RW, Toronto) is on a 5 game point streak, the Leafs have won only two games with him in the line-up—which is twice as many as they won without Kessel.
Slava “I’m Still Here” Kozlov (LW, Atlanta) scored his first goal of the season Sunday night, helping the Thrashers top the Oilers. Maxim Afinogenov (RW, Atlanta) is benefiting with the return of Ilya Kovalchuk (LW), getting 6 points in Kovalchuck’s first three games back. Oh and speaking of Kovalchuck—he’s got 8 points himself. Afinogenov might be worth grabbing—he seems to be clicking with Kovalchuk.
If you are hurtin’ for a goalie, the Hurricanes signed Manny Legace (G) this past week, but keep in mind that Carolina was suffering through a 13 game winless streak going into Sunday’s game against the Wild. Legace gave up 8 goals in his first two games. To make matters worse, the Hurricanes are going to be without goalie Cam Ward for a month, which is why they brought Legace on board. Mike Knuble (RW, Washington) broke his finger and will miss three to four weeks. Knuble played every game of the past two seasons.
Peter Sykora (RW, Minnesota) is out indefinitely with a concussion, which isn’t a big deal because he’s been missing from the Wild score sheet for awhile. Curtis Glencross (LW, Calgary) was suspended for three games for his hit on Chris Drury (C, NYR).
Drury is day to day, but he hasn’t been that valuable to a fantasy team so far this season.
High Noon Showdown
Last week I decided to pit Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik against each other—let’s see how they did.
Well, it looks like Gaborik is the winner. Barely. What do folks think of the Showdown? I’m realizing that a week probably isn’t that much time when it comes to deciding who did better. Maybe I’ll go about this in a different way, let me know what you think. I could pick a stat for each week and just list the top scorers in that category.