Ryan Whitney told the Tribune that he expects to practice within two weeks. If so, he could be back in the lineup in early December, a good two weeks earlier than expected. I think the team will try to move Darryl Sydor as that date approaches. Currently, the Pens PP has Malkin, Crosby, Sykora, Satan and Goligoski. With Whitney coming back, I think it will be at the expense of Sykora, who will be knocked down to the second unit (thus removing Kennedy from that unit).
There was a lot of controversy earlier this week when I said that Semin will likely finish in the high 80s this year. After he left last night's game with an undisclosed injury, I'm betting the protestors will remain quiet for a bit. But I stand by it: 89 points in 79 games. He had 27 in 15, so that means 62 in 64. Make that 62 in 63 now, because he was pointless last night. Hopefully, those of you who didn't object actually took my advice and traded Semin. The term "sell high" does not mean wait until something bad happens – like a slump or an injury. No, "sell high" means actually trade the player when he is flying on all cylinders with no indication of slowing down. That is "sell high".
With Ales Kotalik out for what will probably be at least a couple of weeks, this could result in Tim Kennedy being recalled. Nathan Gerbe is a centerman, so I doubt he'll get the call. This injury will probably result in Afinogenov getting back on the top line, where he excelled in 2006-07. Too bad for Kotalik – he was having a good year.
I was asked in this week's Hockey News Fantasy Mailbag whether I would accept a trade offer of Jason Spezza for my Ryan Getzlaf in a points-only keeper league. I replied something about injury my shoulder in my haste to tap "yes" on my keyboard. It caused quite a bit of contraversy so I thought I would use my ramblings as a forum for an explanation. Getzlaf is a great hockey player currently on a hot streak. He'll be an 85 to 95-point player for years to come. Consistently. But Spezza, Band-Aid Boy or not, is one of a handful of players who 'could' top 120 points. Maybe he'll never get there. Maybe he'll always miss 10 games and get 80 points every season. But just the "MAYBE" factor makes me prefer to take the risk. I would rather have a 'for-sure' 80 points and 'maybe' 120, over a 'for-sure' 90 points and 'maybe' 100. My take.
Bryan Berard has signed a contract to play in Europe this season. I thought he deserved one more chance in the NHL, but whatever.
My take on the Barry Melrose firing.
It turns out that the hit Ryan Shannon took from Thomas Pock (that caused Pock to get a five-game suspension) gave Shannon a concussion. The Sens recalled Ilya Zubov, who could make an impact – he's having a fantastic season in the AHL and is making me regret dropping him in my one keeper league back in September. The Sens need a spark.