Crashing the net: Brodeur, Luongo suffering Olympic hangovers
Since joining the Devils
Booth missed 45 games with a concussion, and it seems like he is intent on making defenses pay for his absence from the frozen pond. Booth has been on the ice for three games since the return from the Olympics, and in that time he has two goals, has handed out four assists and is a +2 skater. He also has two of those points on the power play, has produced seven PIMs and has fired 11 shots on net in that brief time. Don't forget that Booth scored 31 goals and recorded 60 points last season, so if he is on waivers it would be wise to grab the winger who could offer prolific production over the last month of the season.
In each of the past four seasons this Russian born dynamo posted at least 87 points. He won't get anywhere near that mark this season, as he has but 55 points in 63 games, but as the team has gotten healthy around him his production has skyrocketed. Datsyuk has recorded a point in each of the last five games and nine of 10. Stretching back a bit further, Datsyuk has recorded 18 points (8g, 10a) in 14 games. Unfortunately, his vaunted two-way play is still lagging behind, he is "only" a +12 on the year and +1 over his last 14 games. Don't get greedy if you are a Datsyuk owner, just be happy that he is finally performing like the man who you spent your first or second round draft pick on.
Is this the man who will be named the Norris Trophy winner this season? He very well could be. Keith has nearly boosted his play to the point-per-game level with 13 goals and 46 assists in 65 games. In addition to all the points, he is also sporting a strong +21 rating. Over the past six games he has amazingly ratcheted things up even more with two goals and six assists for the team that is arguably the best in hockey. Keith already has career bests in goals, points and PP points (15). And to think, he still has 17 games left to play.
Brown is five goals from a third straight year of 20 tallies, and he is two assists off tying his career best in helpers (29). However, he is also working on a fifth straight season on the minus side of the ledger (-5), and his power-play point total of 12 is also at a four year low (he had 18 last year). Brown hasn't lit the lamp in four games, has only one goal in seven, and perhaps even worse he has only one assist in eight games. Toss in a mere four penalty minutes and not a single power play point since Jan. 31, and it's fairly obvious which way this hard working forward is currently trending.
Cole has bombed this year -- completely. Injuries have limited him to 24 games, and in that time he has but six goals and two assists as his return to Carolina just hasn't sparked a return to relevance. Things have gotten so bad for Cole that he has been a fourth-line role player since the Olympic break. In those four contests Cole has zero points, an even plus/minus mark and a mere two penalty minutes. You've likely already given up on Cole if you were still holding out hope, and that seems like the prudent decision at the moment.
Hampered by health issues for most of the year (foot and knee), things have taken another turn for the worse with the Bruins' top pivot man. Savard sustained a concussion and had to be wheeled off the ice after a shot to the head from
After lighting the lamp at least 36 times in each of the past three seasons, this Austrian-born winger has floundered this year on his way to recording but 19 goals. A large portion of that production has been lost with the man-advantage, as well, as he has scored eight times on the power-play after averaging 18 PP goals the past three seasons. Vanek has been relatively silent of late with two goals in 10 games. Given a mediocre plus/minus of +3, and no penalty-minute help (30), he has been a major disappointment in fantasy circles this year.
A return to the first line in Florida to skate with
Showing little signs of life in Phoenix, the best thing that could have happened to Mueller was a move to a new squad. Even better, after struggling for prime ice time in the desert, Mueller is now skating with star rookie
To make themselves more difficult to defend, the Sharks have switched up their lines and moved
Brodeur has lost his last two starts, three of four, and six of eight for the Devils. He has also allowed at least three goals in nine of his last 12 starts. Obviously, you don't give up on arguably the greatest goalie of all-time, but a run of sub .900 save percentage in eight of his last 11 games, and a poor Olympic showing, certainly has aroused some concern.
The Flyers didn't make a move at the trade deadline, so they'll be hitching their little red wagons to Leighton. A strong 15-7-2 on the year, Leighton has been fantastic since joining the Flyers, going 14-3-2 with a superb 2.29 GAA. It remains to be seen if he can keep this up, he certainly hasn't performed to anywhere near these standards since he entered the league in 2002, but he's "the man" in Philly and deserves to be in your starting lineup until he falls apart.
Like Brodeur, things just haven't gone well for this Canadian Olympian since returning to the NHL. Luongo is 2-1 since the Games, though his GAA is an appalling 4.29. If we include his last game before the break, Luongo falls to 2-2 with a 4.79 GAA. Do you dare take him out of the lineup given he could produce a shutout in any contest? When anyone posts a GAA that is approaching five, you have to seriously consider it.
Called up with due to the injury to
Thomas, fresh off a Vezina Trophy award (best goalie), lost his starting spot to upstart youngster Rask in recent weeks. However, Rask ended up injuring his knee, which opened the door a crack for Thomas to reassert himself. Thomas burst through that opening, allowing only five goals in three games. In the process Thomas raised his GAA to a strong .920, though it still lags behind the terrific .930 mark of Rask. This situation is one to watch as it clearly appears that the team has two options in net that are worthy of starting pretty much every night. With Rask ready to return to game action, could we be looking at a split in net or will the team continue to lean toward the younger Rask on most nights?
* Twelve teams play four games this week: Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, NY Islander, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington.
* No teams play only two games this week.