November 10, 2009

Crashing the Net takes you around the league touching on hot and cold players, battles for ice-time and what's going on in net.

Nigel Dawes, Flames

With all of the scoring weapons that the Flames possess, a guy like Mr. Dawes is looked at as merely a depth option who is asked to play a gritty, tough, two-way game. Well he has done that for the most part, but of late he has also added a bit of offense to the party. Dawes has four assists in his last two games, in addition to a +4 rating, and dating back six games the man has two goals and four helpers or, clearly, a point-per-game pace. If he continues to see time on the second scoring line he might end up being a nice depth play for a squad looking for an offensive boost, but Nigel only scored 10 times last season with 11 helpers in 64 games so it is clear that he isn't going to challenge for the team scoring lead at any point moving forward.

Scott Hartnell, Flyers

Like American Express says, membership has its privileges. I don't know who Hartnell banks with, but I can tell you this -- skating on the first line with Mike Richards and Claude Giroux certainly has led to a whole host of membership benefits for Hartnell who has recorded four goals and four assists in his last eight games. Even more impressive for the curly haired one is the fact that each of the markers has come on the man-advantage. Hartnell has become quite the feisty scoring threat with at least 22 goals and 96 PIMs in each of the previous four seasons, and with five goals and 16 PIMs through 14 games he is on pace to once again join the 20-90 club.

Corey Perry, Ducks

Nasty. That's a word that is used so often with this guy that some people might think it's his middle name. Perry does whatever it takes to win, and that makes him exceedingly valuable on the ice. In terms of his fantasy value, we love everything this guys does. Perry has 11 goals and eight assists in 15 games, and things have gotten even better of late as he has really found the scoring touch having recorded a point in 8-straight games for the Ducks (7g, 5a). Still, a glance over to the PIM column reveals the number 20, far from an ideal total. However, he has produced at least a single PIM in four of six games, and it's likely just a matter of time before he punches someone in the face, or slaps his stick across someone's midsection to add to that total. We all know the name and over the past three weeks the game has lived up to it.

Brian Pothier, Capitals

Limited to nine games last season because of injury, Pothier probably wasn't rostered in a single league heading into 2009. When he began the year with a run of one assist and an even rating through 12 games, he likely still wasn't on a single roster. However, with the turn of the calendar to November things have totally changed as Pothier has looked, shockingly, like Mike Green. Pothier has suited up for three games on the month and, stunningly, has one goal, three assists and an amazing +7 rating. Pothier scored 35 points and followed it up with 28 in 2005-06, and with time on the power-play he could reach those numbers again this season, just don't go thinking that he truly is another Green -- he clearly isn't.

Sidney Crosby, Penguins

Clearly he can't get it done on his own and really misses Evgeni Malkin. Yeah right. Crosby has just happened to hit a rough patch at an inopportune time, period (duh). Sidney hasn't recorded a point in 4-straight games, a remarkable run of inefficiency for a scoring star who has averaged 1.35 points per game in his career, and the longest scoring streak of his professional career. Crosby has averaged 22 minutes a game in the five contests since Malkin was sidelined with a shoulder sprain (he should be back in about a week), and its just a matter of time before an unfortunate goalie or two feel's Sidney's wrath.

Martin Havlat, Wild

What were the Wild thinking? They rid themselves of one injury risk (Marian Gaborik) and replaced him with another in Havlat. Martin has been healthy this season, that hasn't been the issue, but the guy has produced offensively at the level of a middling second liner not that of a supposed scoring star. Through 14 games Havlat has seven points and he has lit the lamp only once on the year (none in the past 11 games). Moreover, he has produced two points in his last 11 outings, and on the year he owns a pathetic (-12) mark which is tied for the worst mark in the league amongst forwards. Honestly it can't get any worse, and as long as he can stay on the ice, far from a certainty, that might make him a tremendous buy low candidate, albeit one with a fair amount of issues to consider.

Alexei Kovalev, Senators

Dany Heatley has 19 points in 18 games for the Sharks, and the man who was ostensibly picked up to fill that scoring role with the Sens when Dany was traded to the Sharks has failed miserably. Kovalev has all of four goals and two assists on the year for a total of six points in 14 games. Care to guess the last time that Kovalev scored at below a 0.50 point-per-game pace? Try never. In fact, Kovalev recorded an average of 0.96 points per contest the past two seasons with Montreal while at the same time being a simply dynamic scoring option on the power-play with 28 goals and 51 assists over the two seasons. So far not so good in Ottawa as Kovalev has a mere two assists with the man-advantage. One of the keys for Alexei's return to the realm of relevance will be a return to his oft-shooting ways as his per game average of 1.57 shots is about a shot and a quarter less per game than his career mark of 2.81 per contest. Expect him to improve moving forward.

Alexander Semin, Capitals

I'll cut Semin some slack as he is dealing with a minor injury of some kind that he played through in the last game. But honestly, that injury doesn't remove him from the "ice" list this week. Semin has seven goals and 15 points on the year, so he has done just fine by his owners, but things have certainly taken a turn for the worse of late as he has a mere two points in his last six games. Even worse for the goal scorer, the red light hasn't come on once in those six games on a shot off Semin's stick. The dude is far too talented to see this slump last much longer, but the Caps could certainly use some scoring from this Alexander since the other, Ovechkin, is on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. If you can get Semin on the cheap, don't hesitate to jump at the chance.

Devin Setoguchi is set to return from a leg injury, as is Sharks' teammate Ryan Vesce. It is unclear which skater will end up on the first line with Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley, though it looks like Setoguchi will get the first shot. "Does Seto play well enough to keep that spot?" head coach Todd McLellan said. "Does [Ryan] Vesce play better and he gets that spot? We have to play some games now and figure out where everybody's at." Setoguchi is clearly the player to ride out of this duo as Vesce's value would certainly plummet if he isn't able to return to skating alongside the Sharks two best offensive weapons.

J-S Giguere, Ducks

Giguere (groin) appears to be healthy, a fact that is easily discerned as the Ducks sent Justin Pogge back to the ECHL. The question though is what role J-S will fill moving forward? Jonas Hiller has a fine .919 save percentage in his 13 appearances and has clearly taken over in the net for the Ducks, but at the same time his GAA is 2.76 and he is just 6-5-1 on the year. Still, the team seems to feel very comfortable with Hiller between the pipes, and there has even been a rumor floating out there that the Ducks could be entertaining a deal to send J-S to Toronto in exchange for Vesa Toskala. Such a move would allow Giguere to reunite with his former goaltending coach, Francois Allaire, and it might be the best thing for him at this point.

Jonas Gustavsson, Leafs

"The Monster" allowed only three goals on 72 shots over the weekend, and with that it would appear that Vesa Toskala should get used to wearing a ball cap on the bench. "It's strictly, if you win and you're playing well, you get back in," head coach Ron Wilson said. "It's exactly what you want. There's no controversy here or anything like that." Toskala has battled injury an ineffective play this season anyway, a .836 save percentage in five appearances is a travesty, so it's not like Jonas will have to do too much to "steal" the starting role. In fact, it's likely to have already occurred.

Roberto Luongo, Canucks

That rib injury continues to leave the Canucks' star on the sidelines. "I'm practicing with no problems. There still a little discomfort there, but it might be there for a few more weeks. It's just a matter of making sure that if I'm out there, there's no chance of me re-aggravating it." Look for Luongo to sit out Tuesday's game but he could be back between the pipes on Thursday. When he returns, don't expect Andrew Raycroft to be anything other than a caddy despite his strong work in net (1.60 GAA, .936 SV% in seven games).

Cam Ward, Hurricanes

Ward was injured when Rick Nash's skate inadvertently sliced his thigh, and injury that will likely cost the workhorse about four weeks. As a result of having only Michael Leighton ready to contribute at the NHL level, the 'Canes went out and signed Manny Legace who had been in the AHL to help right the ship (you can read more about the addition of Legace in From the Pressbox. Which tender will pick up the majority of work until Ward returns? "There's going to be enough net for both guys, but clearly if either one of them gets on any kind of roll, we'll run him," head coach Paul Maurice said. Legace wasn't playing great with a .898 save percentage in five minor league appearances, but you have to like his chances of seeing the majority of the work moving forward.

* Four teams play four games this week:Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota and San Jose.

* Eight teams play only two games this week:Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, N.Y. Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tampa Bay.

Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Owners Edge and You can also follow the happenings of the game of hockey on our Twitter Page.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)