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BY STEVEN OVADIA
If you’ve been holding on to Ottawa goalie Ray Emery, hoping he would turn things around, ignoring the fact that he’s given up 12 goals in his last four starts, you’re probably going to be disappointed to learn not only is Ottawa trying to move him, but it can’t find anyone to take him. So if you’re expecting a second-half turnaround, Emery might not be your goalie. At least not this season. The reason the Senators are so mad? Emery was late for another practice. Luckily, punctuality is not a fantasy stat. Let’s not even mention his rumoured off-ice exploits. Oops, I guess we just did. No wonder no NHL club wants to risk Emery screwing up team chemistry.
How about Sergei Samsonov? Did anyone think to draft him at the start of the season? He really hasn’t been the same player since he signed with Montreal in the summer of 2006. I was shocked the Habs were able to trade him to Chicago. And I was even more shocked when Carolina claimed him off waivers. But maybe Southern living agrees with the forward: he’s got three goals and five assists in 10 games for the Hurricanes. Not huge numbers, but certainly not awful ones. And maybe, just maybe, Samsonov, who put up 75 points for Boston in the 2000-01 season, has found his groove again.
It was kind of a big week for returns in the NHL. Teemu Selanne, eating roster spots on many a fantasy team, returned to the Ducks. He’s been skating with the team and should be back in the lineup soon. No word on if Anaheim GM Brian Burke plans to lure anyone else out of retirement, but maybe claim Brett Hull for your fantasy roster, just in case. Heck. Even grab Bobby Hull. Burke is great at getting people to unretire.
And for those of you who want a roster of inactive players who are probably going to return to the NHL at some point, Peter Forsberg is said to be inching closer to a comeback. Of course, when you talk about Forsberg, you’re contractually obligated to qualify it with ‘when/if he’s healthy,’ as in, ‘when Forsberg is healthy, he’s a game-changing player who deserves a spot on your roster,’ or ‘when was the last time Forsberg was healthy?’
Speaking of healthy, you’ve no doubt heard (if you haven’t, you need more help than we can legally offer in this space) Sidney Crosby is out six-to-eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. Since Crosby went out January 18, Evgeni Malkin has been a rollercoaster ride. Malkin’s first three games without Sid the Kid saw him put up four goals and an assist. The next two games yielded a single point. Is this a cause for alarm? Probably not, but it’ll be interesting to watch how Malkin adjusts to being the primary scoring option and to being the focus of a lot more defensive attention.
The Week Ahead
- Super Bowl Sunday kicks off with the struggling Rangers in Montreal for an afternoon game. With the Giants playing the Patriots in Arizona, there’s no chance the Rangers will get Eli Manning to quarterback their anemic powerplay.
- Monday night, the Flames take on the Oilers in a Battle of Alberta. Why this game isn’t being played Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, I can’t really tell you.
- Thursday, the Blue Jackets play the Coyotes, an original 30 matchup. But both teams can almost taste the eighth playoff spot and both teams know two points lost at this juncture could be the difference between playoff hockey and summer golf.
Like what you see? Come visit our fantasy sports analysis blog ( http://www.RotoRob.com ) for daily content. Recent posts include an article about how quiet the Red Sox have been this offseason ; this week's NBA Daily Dose, focusing on LeBron James and his fourth-quarter heroics; and the 2007 RotoRob Football Awards.