Sergei Gonchar injured his shoulder in last night's game and went to the dressing room. No word on the extent. Suddenly… Alex Goligoski is looking pretty good to make this team.
Mikhail Grabovsky is centering a line with Antropov and Ponikarovsky as the wingers. If this holds up, Grabovsky is every bit of the sleeper pick that I made him out to be in the Fantasy Guide.
Paul Stastny left the ice yesterday with a shoulder injury. Coach Granato told the Denver Post that he will be fine.
Brandon Bochenski had a three-point game last night, despite playing fewer than 15 minutes. He is an underdog to make the team, but few players get his hot streaks so if he is starting one of those now – watch out. Steven Stamkos, by comparison, was pointless and a minus-1 in 21:41 of ice time.
Janne Pesonan played with Bill Thomas and Kris Beech last night, and put up an assist on the power play (Petr Sykora scored). So far so good…
In the battle of under- the- radar offensive defensemen, Janne Niskala had two points for TB last night in 24:07 of ice time, while Andrew Hutchinson was pointless in 20:59.
Nicklas Backstrom was back on the ice yesterday for a quick skate and a light practice. He is recovering from a sprained ankle.
Chris Clark (groin) did a full practice and says he feels good.
Calgary is pairing dark horse Mark Giordano with Dion Phaneuf in practice.
It will be interesting to see the Bruins game Monday, as Manny Fernandez will get the start. All eyes in fantasy leagues will be on every Fernandez and Thomas start, overanalyzing the results in an effort to find who will be the starter. Despite making four times the money, Fernandez will have to unseat Thomas.
Thomas Vanek pinched a nerve during physicals and will miss a few preseason games, including Monday's against the Leafs (which I will be attending).
Dallas has moved Mike Modano over to the wing. This could push Fabrian Brunnstrom, or possibly Loui Eriksson, out of the top six and onto the third line. Again – coaches change lines more than they change their socks so I do not change my mentality about any of my Dallas players.
Speaking of changing line combos, how does Brassard sound centering Huselius and Nash? Well that is how things are right now in Columbus, while Umberger centers Modin and Voracek. This will all change when Filatove comes back next week.
Thomas Hickey is making a strong case to make the Kings out of camp. Kings brass has been impressed with the intangibles and if the team does not land another defenseman he has a real shot.
His offensive upside is minimal, but down the road he could be a 35-45 point player.
Jesse Winchester played 16:48 last night including 6:32 on the PP. Ryan Shannon saw just 6:47 and 50 seconds PP, so the writing is on the wall for small, skilled forward. Winchester, however, needs to put up points or he won't see this kind of ice time for long.