SOME GOOD NEWS
Not every bit of news forced hockey fans to crack out their Bright Eyes/Morrissey/The Cure records, though.
Corey Crawford has been cleared from what he wouldn’t confirm was a concussion. Hossa could return as soon as Thursday after injuring himself in a rather scary fashion. Jimmy Howard seems OK after experiencing blurry vision and actually played last night. Scott Hartnell looks like he’s making pretty nice progress from a broken foot, as well.
In other words, it’s not all bad.
GOING THROUGH HUBERDY
As far as standout performances, Jonathan Huberdeau probably took the cake with a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) in the Florida Panthers’ 5-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers.
It’s borderline scientific that if you’re going to own a guy who’s sort of a fringe player in fantasy, you’ll probably feel more excited about it if that fellow happens to be a potential Calder Trophy candidate. I’m not sure Huberdeau is particularly outstanding in any area at 19, but he’s clearly talented.
It also seems like the Panthers are generally starting to play better offensively, so perhaps that will benefit the gifted rookie as well. If he’s available and you want a fun gamble, give him a try. As you can see from the cheesy section headline, if nothing else, his last name just begs for stupid puns. (People like using “Uber” in particular.)
Say what you will about how little he proved (beyond some scintillating playoff work) before getting a hearty contract with his former employers in Philly, the James van Riemsdyk for Luke Schenn trade seemed like a hyper-steal for Toronto from the second it was announced.
JVR hasn’t disappointed, either. He’s now on a four-game point streak (five points), with Thursday’s two-goal, six-shot performance being the centerpiece.
You can complain about his amusing goal-assist ratio (11 tallies, just four apples), but snipers are valued for filling up harder-to-cover categories. JVR isn't scoring by accident; he has a robust 65 SOG in 18 games, almost four per game. He also has a respectable 12 PIM, giving him nice potential for power forward status.
He's owned in 71 percent of leagues, so if you're lucky enough to be in the 29 percent where he's available, scoop him up.
The NBA’s trade deadline got me thinking about a news item that I failed to mention earlier: the Anaheim Ducks signing Viktor Fasth to a two-year, $5.8 million contract extension after watching him start his late-blooming NHL career with an 8-0-0 record.
A little hasty, huh? There are a lot of things to discuss with that trade in different venues, but it made me wonder about Jonas Hiller. Could he eventually be one of the big targets of the trade deadline in April?
Look, it’s not out of the question for NHL teams to employ two renowned goalies. (No, Vancouver doesn’t really count, since they’re sort of getting dragged into it by GM Mike Gillis’ pickiness.)
Still, those teams (like the Pittsburgh Penguins with Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun) tend to be the league’s bigger spenders. How can a low-to-mid budget team like Anaheim justify spending $7.4 million ($4.5M for Hiller, $2.9 for Fasth) going forward, especially if they want to retain one or both of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf?
It definitely makes you wonder if Hiller or another Ducks player might be shipped at some point between now and early April.
INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS
David Clarkson seemed banged up in yesterday’s game, but returned to action. Keep an eye on his situation … Andrew Ladd had three points Thursday, giving him 16 in 16 games. He doesn’t get enough credit as a viable option, although his SOG (38 in 16 GP) is a little off last year’s 265. He’s super sturdy, too, with just one game missed in the last four seasons coming into 2013 … Jamie McBain is day-to-day with an upper-body injury … No update on Vladimir Tarasenko just yet … Michael Ryder returned for the Dallas Stars on Thursday, scoring a solid backhand goal … I wouldn’t get too excited about Matt Cullen’s three-point output.