The Canadiens left yesterday for a two game road trip...and they left Alexei Kovalev at home. GM Bob Gainey said the break was so Kovy could 'rest his body and get his mind straightened out'. We've been hearing some swirling trade rumours about Kovalev but the truth is the Habs need Kovalev and by trading him now they would be selling with his value at an all-time low. He has no goals and five assists in ten games so we get where Gainey is coming from...but this still sounds like a desperation move to us. [more]
Just to make sure you realize how messed up things are in Montreal...the Habs also sent down Sergei Kostitsyn to Hamilton. We're not sure why this move took them so long. You know how everybody was saying Sergei's season last year (27 points in 52 games) was so good? This year, he picked up 23 points in 52 games. If you still own Kostitsyn it's time you looked elsewhere for help.
With Johan Franzen returning from injury (below) Ville Leino will either be on the fourth line or a healthy scratch. Leino won't have any fantasy value this year unless the Wings have a few injuries.
Steven Stamkos is finally starting to show some signs of future stardom...he picked up the natural hat trick last night. A nice rebound, a beauty wrist shot and a lovely one timer. [video] He's now sitting at 24 points in 54 games. Not great but he's getting better...11 points in his last 14 games. Not worth an add in anything but the deepest of leagues right now but he's showing signs of life. Joe Thornton scored only 41 points in 82 games as a 19 year old so don't lose faith in the 19 year old Stamkos.
Justin Pogge gave up 3 goals on 8 first period shots and that was the game right there as the rookie had another rough outing in the loss to Buffalo. He'll probably get more starts as Toronto is playing to lose more than anything this year but he's not earning more starts with his play (as Brian Burke so un-eloquently put yesterday).
Senator's coach Cory Clouston has been experimenting with some different lineups and lately he's been giving Brian Lee a chance to run the PP and Lee has responded with 4 points and a +4 in his last 4 games. Also on the point on the PP last night was Ryan Shannon and he replied with 2 goals.
Alright, seriously now, Tom Gilbert had 2 more assists last night and that's 7 in his last 4 games and 15 points in his last 14. Dude is only owned in 21% of Yahoo leagues and yet only sits a point behind names like Phaneuf, Chara & Pronger... so get this guy on your team already.
Another assist last night gives Alexander Edler 10 points in his last 8 games so feel free to pick him up and insert him in your lineup at anytime as he's having a bigger breakout season than even we expected.
Speaking of breakouts, this may not the year for Michael Frolik but it looks like its only a matter of time as the rookie has really emerged this year in Florida and is on another hot streak with 5 points in his last 4 games.
More goals last night for Ryan Kesler and the man is on a serious run with 9+4=13 in his last 8 games since being promoted up to the Sundin line. He is a nice short-term add as he does a little of everything.
We took down our old poll, we asked which of our All 2nd-Half Stinkers Team would stink it up the best. My personal pick and the your favourite was Ryan Miller but his numbers have improved so far, ditto for Ilya Kovalchuk (your 2nd pick). But all is not lost... the other 4 guys on the team are starting to slide with Andrei Markov being the most dramatic... after 37 points in his first 46 games he's now only had 5 in his last 11 (and a minus 9). Our new poll wants to know who's your favourite story-teller... sources say that our old friend Eklund might be a smart pick (e4).
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
John-Michael Liles missed last night's game with a hand injury he suffered Sunday night. Liles should be out about six games according to coach Tony Granato. Which makes us ask the question...will Granato still be the coach when Liles returns?
Johan Franzen is expected to return for the Wings tonight. In practice he skated with Marian Hossa and Valtteri Filppula...which is very good news . Get him in there if you have daily transactions.
We got confirmation yesterday that Brad Richards wrist is broken and he'll be out 6 to 8 weeks... bummer.
Paul Ranger has missed the last 4 games with a UBI and the team is talking that he may be done for the year, so time to look for a replacement.... but don't look at Paul Mara, he hurt his shoulder in a fight the other night and its sounding pretty serious... and when we say serious we mean out-for-the-season serious.
Chicago did not take Nikolai Khabibulin on their 3 game roadie, don't think this was an Alex Kovalev like house arrest, more like Khabby may have re-aggravated his groin injury in practice on Monday. [more]
Returning to action from the injured list last night was: Chuck Kobasew and Alex Picard.
1) From the "You know you live in Northern Canada when..." file:
2) A great piece of blogging by 'Inside the Kings'. GM Dean Lombardi really makes us wish we were King fans. How good would it be to have him as a GM instead of say...this guy?
(stick tap to Puck Daddy for the link)
3) Country Music stars are taking over the NHL. First, it was anthem singer and Jordin Tootoo dater Kelly Pickler. Next Taylor Swift decided to appear in a Predators commercial. Pickler and Swift must be talking up hockey to their buddy Carrie Underwood because she's now dating Mike Fisher (as you probably already heard). Last week the Sens were visting the Gaylord Entertainment Center (tee hee...sorry we still giggle every time we hear that arena name) when Underwood got caught on the big screen. She doesn't look to excited to let people know her and Fisher are an item!
4) 'Life In Hockeywood' does a little star gazing of their own. It's not Carrie-Underwood-famous but they've got a WWE wrestler, a UFC champion, a movie star, a music star, and a ex-black NHLer (we mean he used to play in the NHL...he's still black)