Pavol Demitra Back In Town, Buffalo Sabres Falling Down

R LSenior Analyst INovember 23, 2008

Some tough breaks this week for certain fantasy owners. Brenden Morrow will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. In Vancouver, Roberto Luongo went down with a groin injury Saturday in Pittsburgh.

The prognosis will be announced tomorrow. Canucks players and fans, keep your fingers crossed. If he's out, we have a disaster similar to the one in New Jersey with Martin Brodeur.

My head-to-head was a breeze this week. It's a 9-1 victory and I'm destined for first place once again in the standings.


The line juggling seems to have come to a conclusion in Vancouver. Pavol Demitra has returned from injury and is now playing between Henrik and Daniel Sedin. It was a busy week for the Western Canadian squad with four games in six days. The trio came through for a combined 19 points and the Canucks went 3-0-1.

Contender is a label the Boston Bruins are earning. The Bruins are 9-0-1 in their last 10 contests and haven't lost in regulation since October 30th. Many are producing offensively, the defense is playing its system smoothly, and the goaltending has been nothing short of superb.

It's amazing how many great players the Detroit Red Wings have. If someone is cold, another steps his game up. Jiri Hudler brought the magic this week with six points (four goals, two assists) in three matches. Two of those goals were game-winners by the way.

Devin Setoguchi has been a pleasant surprise for San Jose. The 21-year-old has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his last five games. The Sharks are first in the league, and his 24 points are a huge assistance. Setoguchi has to be loving life right now.

An ugly goal is the best recipe for breaking out of a slump. Mikko Koivu got one in Pittsburgh and hasn't looked back. Minnesota's captain struck three times this week in as many games.

Pressure to perform may have decreased when Bryan McCabe made the move to Sunrise Florida. The former Maple Leaf product has eight points (three goals, five assists) in the last six matchups. He hasn't given the puck away much or scored on his own goalie either.

Be sure to keep this name in mind. Kris Versteeg may be hoisting the Calder Memorial Trophy at the end of the season. The native of Alberta is on a five-game point streak with four goals, and four helpers. He took a page out of Martin Havlat's book against Dallas with a highlight reel goal. First, he went inside-outside on Sergei Zubov, cut to the front of the net and put the puck past a sprawled Marty Turco.

What's so great about Alexander Ovechkin is that even when his team is losing, you can rest assured that he still contributed some points. The Capitals went 1-2 this week on a Western Conference road trip, but it didn't stop No.8 totalling six points (one goal, five assists).

I don't know if Martin Brodeur has ever seen his team win four straight games without his services. Yes, the New Jersey Devils are getting the offensive outbursts when they are needed most. Just about every game will require it from the group, and it'll be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

In the city of brotherly love, the Philadelphia Flyers are resembling last year's squad instead of the one that finished dead last in the standings two seasons ago. Martin Biron is stopping pucks again, and good news for the organization, Daniel Briere should return to the lineup shortly.

Sit tight Evgeni, Brian Boucher has taken over the starting goalie role in San Jose admirably. The 22nd overall pick in the 1995 Entry Draft has gone 7-1-1 this season with a .928 save percentage and a 1.89 GAA. Nabokov may return soon, but Boucher has shown his abilities and should receive more starts as the season progresses.


Not much has been learned this season about the Buffalo Sabres. They've shown their ability to play great counter-attack hockey backed up by superb goaltending. However, it's also been noticed that they can have the presence of a Pee-Wee hockey club. Where do they go from here?

A turn-around hasn't occurred yet for Marty Turco. He continues to struggle for wins, with one in his last six starts. The 33-year-old's numbers have been improving and they'll be forced to continue with the services of Brenden Morrow lost.

I think Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau needs to have his head checked. Michael Nylander on the third or fourth line? This is a proven playmaker who has put up nearly a point per game over the last three seasons. Perhaps the trade with Chicago will happen if this kind of treatment doesn't stop.

Three points in the last 11 games. That's how it stands for Ryan Smyth after his great numbers in the early going of the season. Joe Sakic is still nursing a minor injury and the former Oiler needs to find that spark he had previously.

A new coach, but the same old issues. The Tampa Bay Lightning are still searching for a consistent game with one win in the last seven outings. Rick Tocchet has given Steven Stamkos plenty of ice time, and the kid is responding somewhat. Problem is, the team needs more from the kid.

It seems like ages ago since Keith Ballard added a point. Nine games? Okay, maybe just weeks ago. At one point, the 25-year-old defenseman had 10 points in as many games. McCabe's return to the lineup was going to slow down his production one way or another.

Normally a defenseman, Brent Burns has been seeing time as a forward. Good for his fantasy owners right? You wouldn't know it by his numbers. After producing a career-high 43 points last year, Burns has just five points through 14 contests. Not a pretty sight for a team still suffering from the Gaborik syndrome.

Oh, the ups and downs of being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Ron Wilson's boys have lost seven of 10, and Chicago's comeback victory last night has to be deja vu for many games last season.

It appeared as though Brandon Dubinsky was going to be one the guys leading the Rangers in the absence of Jaromir Jagr. The stats were there when the season began, but have since evaporated. Only two helpers in the last 10 games and no goals in 13.

Perhaps Jarkko Ruutu should pursue a career in the dramatic arts. He was throwing his body around like a doll against the Rangers earlier in the week, and falling to the ice when someone laid a hand on him. Enough is enough, play some hockey already.

Surely, nobody was expecting Keith Tkachuk to keep scoring a goal per game. He's a great veteran with a good presence, but he's no Ovechkin. The 36-year-old has hit a wall recently with one goal in the last 10 contests.

Goal of the week

It's between Versteeg's goal that I mentioned before and Sidney Crosby's goal while falling down against the Atlanta Thrashers. Both were great, but I give the prize (if there is one) to the young Blackhawk rookie for making Zubov look like a pylon.

Performance of the week

Look no further than today's matchup between the Devils and the Lightning. Dainius Zubrus hit a quadruple with four tallies. It's always nice to triple your goal total for the season. The Lithuanian is seeing time with Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. His performances could be interesting to see for a guy who was once an offensive powerhouse in Washington.

Save of the week

Another tie-breaker here. We have Roberto Luongo's glove save on Wade Redden while lying flat on the ice. Second, we have Scott Clemmensen reaching back to rob Michael Frolik with the paddle. Again, leave your votes if you have seen either of these.


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