Braden Holtby again asserts his place as Washington’s No.1. He had a 35-save shutout this weekend … Tomas Vokoun might be the biggest disappointment among the most fantasy-relevant backups going into this season … Ray Emery owners won’t get to dance a jig at Corey Crawford’s expense, as the Blackhawks’ No. 1 showed few signs of ill health in an excellent win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday (extending the team’s point streak to 22 games) … I still get the feeling Jonas Hiller is going to push Viktor Fasth for starts. Nothing wrong with floating a sell-high offer here and there, although I’ll freely admit that his ceiling could be high if the Ducks keep this up … Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner are making Craig Anderson look a little less special, except the Ottawa Senators aren’t scoring enough to get them many wins lately … Kudos to Devan Dubnyk for Sunday’s performance. The Wild outshot the Oilers 18-0(!) in the second period, yet he didn’t allow a goal in the middle frame. He still lost thanks to getting little support from his teammates, but big DD seems like he might be a genuine NHL goalie.
NEIL AND WORSHIP
Look, I try to keep my own team(s) out of this because a) no one really cares about anyone else’s team and b) I devote WAY more time to researching the Dose than I do being a good “general manager.” (It’s a cruel irony of the gig, really.)
Still, I must single out a player I never thought I’d praise: Chris Neil. Normally, he’d be a fringe guy because of PIMs and half-decent scoring ability, but in a hits league, he’s a hidden gem.
Really, his six points are gravy because of his 68 PIM, 87 hits and even solid 46 SOG (just one less than Corey Perry.) One of these days I need to concoct the fantasy hockey version of baseball’s 30-30 club, and it will be inspired by multi-purpose goofs like Neil.
Also, he’s funny looking and something of a villain, which really puts him over the top.
INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS
Joni Pitkanen (lower-body), Scottie Upshall (lower-body) and Dmitry Kulikov (hand) also suffered injuries in the Carolina-Florida home-and-home games … Evgeni Malkin is making progress in practice but needs at least a few more to be ready to try to return from a concussion. Hopefully he doesn’t rush back … Taylor Hall either tweaked his leg or didn’t want to face retribution for that Cal Clutterbuck cheap shot on Sunday … Thomas Vanek has an upper-body issue that forced him to miss two weekend games. It doesn’t sound like he’s far off, but you never know … Harry Zolnierczyk was suspended for four-games for a pretty filthy hit. He's eligible to return on March 13, but he's only relevant to fans of typo-friendly last names, not really fantasy owners ... Tye McGinn opted for surgery, so he'll miss an extra month. His absence makes Simon Gagne a better add, if nothing else … I must say, Artem Anisimov seems really driven upon a rapid return from a scary injury. Not only does he have a two-game goal streak, he fired nine SOG in two contests. Before that, he only had 33 in his first 15. Interesting … Kyle Palmieri got banged up on Saturday, so Andrew Cogliano was the latest winner of the Random Duck Hat Trick Sweepstakes … Kevin Bieksa’s groin injury flared up ... Brian Elliott hasn’t just come back to Earth from last season. I think he just discovered some oil … Looks like Erik Cole is settling in Dallas, he had his first goal. I’d venture that means Derek Roy’s a solid depth center in deeper leagues (one goal, two assists on Sunday) … Ryan O’Reilly’s season debut was pretty awful, but he’ll rebound. I don’t see him as a must-have fantasy asset anyway, though, so proceed with caution there … Martin Havlat is out with an undisclosed injury, so let’s just call it “being Martin Havlat.”