Evander Kane's slow start is history, and Tuesday night is more proof that this 20-year-old has taken his versatility to new heights.
With two goals, a plus-2 rating, seven shots on goal and three hits in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators, Kane (12 G, 6 A, plus-1, 23 PIM, 4 PPP, 89 SOG, 58 hits) provided more reinforcement behind the claim that he's among the most well-rounded fantasy players in the game. Winnipeg's rising star brushed off a five-game scoreless streak to start the season, and is currently seventh in the League in goals and fifth in shots. His output in hits can also carry a fantasy team's production in that category.
Owned in only 65 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Kane has blossomed in Claude Noel's system after initial impressions this season indicated that he could be in for a down year. After posting a 19-goal, 24-point, 82-shot, 154-hit campaign in 2010-11, this left winger is on pace to shatter those numbers and put together an incredibly well-rounded season. What's more, he has proved, through 23 games, to be the crown jewel of the Winnipeg Jets' organization moving forward -- which gives him tremendous long-term keeper value.
There are enough Ottawa Senators to choose from when it comes to picking capable fantasy players. That'll happen when names like Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Sergei Gonchar are on the roster.
Zack Smith ought to join that list.
Smith is quietly having a reliable campaign for fantasy owners. The best way to break him down is to say that he does a little bit of everything, which is a compliment in the world of fantasy hockey.
Through 24 games, the 6-foot-2, 212-pound center has six goals, seven assists, 13 points, a plus-6 rating, 34 PIMs and 41 shots on net. If you're in need for depth, Smith can be a solid option.
Although he's been held pointless for three games twice this season, Smith has otherwise been consistent. Particularly of late, as the 23-year-old has points in four of his last seven games. In that span, Smith has two multi-point nights.
As you seek depth and complimentary options on your fantasy squad, keep Smith on your radar and benefit steadily along the way.
At 17:35 of the second period in the Rangers/Penguins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke highsticked the puck and it went off Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and then off Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer and into the net. According to rule 80.3 "when an attacking player causes the puck to enter the opponent's goal by contacting the puck above the height of the crossbar, either directly or deflected off any player or official, the goal shall not be allowed. The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick." No Goal Pittsburgh
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Montreal Canadiens begin a three-game West Coast trip as a team in transition.
The three-game suspension to Max Pacioretty, announced Monday, and the uncertainty surrounding defenseman Andrei Markov, who is extremely close to returning from a year-long injury, have left the club searching for answers as it prepares for Wednesday's game against a struggling Anaheim team.
Leblanc, a center, is expected to make his NHL debut Wednesday against Anaheim. The No. 18 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Leblanc is ranked as the club's top prospect by The Hockey News. He has four goals and 10 points with a minus-7 rating in 14 games with Hamilton of the American Hockey League.
"He's a player that has good vision, is good without the puck," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said after Tuesday's practice. "Unfortunately he missed training camp this year, but he's a young player that we feel has a good upside and good potential."
However, Leblanc will not slide right into Pacioretty's spot. There will have to be some line juggling against the Ducks.
The changes could include Andrei Kostitsyn on a line with Tomas Plekanec, who has been playing with Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, while Pacioretty had success on a line with Erik Cole and David Desharnais.
"We got to try and find some solution to get (offense)," Martin said. "We probably need more from our top guys."
Pacioretty spoke with reporters for the first time since the suspension was handed down.
The forward admitted it was "tough to agree" with the decision by NHL Senior Vice President Brendan Shanahan.
Pacioretty delivered an open-ice hit to Letang after the Pittsburgh defender put a shot on goal in Montreal's zone in the third period Saturday. No penalty was called. Letang suffered a broken nose but returned to the game and scored the winning goal in overtime.
"If you look at the situation, me and Letang made eye contact," Pacioretty said. "I think that's what gave me the green light to try and hit him. I felt he put himself in a vulnerable position."
Asked if the incident will alter his style, Pacioretty said, "I'm going to be completely honest: I've been scared to hit people out there. A lot of times you're going in on the forecheck and the defenseman turns his back to you. Things of that nature happen. It's a fast game and injuries are going to happen. That's why it's tough out there, especially for someone who's expected to finish their hits.
"The blame's still on me. I made a bad decision. Down the road, I'm definitely not going to make that decision when someone comes through the middle. But I don't see why I should give him a free pass to come through our zone like that and get a free shot on net."
Martin reiterated Tuesday that "I'm disappointed with the decision, but I accept it and move forward. We have three games on this trip and they're important."
Markov update: The Canadiens will also soon face decisions on defense as Markov nears readiness to play again. Martin said Tuesday that he didn't know if Markov would play during Montreal's three-game trip through California.
"I don't know if there will be a possibility or not," Martin said. "It's something that's going to be left up to him, but I think that it's good that he's practicing."
Markov has not played in more than a year. He re-injured his surgically repaired right knee in a collision with Eric Staal on Nov. 13, 2010, and had a second reconstructive surgery the following month. In Tuesday's practice, Markov again played the point with P.K. Subban during power-play drills.
"He's getting closer, but I don't know when he'll be back," Martin said. "I think it's good for him to be involved in intense practice this week."
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It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.