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Hiller making most of opportunity with Ducks

by Dave Lozo
You're probably wondering where our Fantasy Forecaster has been since the All-Star break. At last check, he was on a goodwill tour to spread the joy and wonders of fantasy hockey in Central Asia and his return is forthcoming. Rocky is sort of like the Batman/Navy SEAL of -- when he disappears like this, we don't ask questions and only receive sparse communication. While he's out of reach, you get a cheap imitation to hold his spot. I'm just as disappointed as you are about this.

In the meantime, let's catch up on all the latest news and notes.

Jonas Hiller is continuing to make Jean-Sebastien Giguere look expendable in Anaheim. Making his fourth consecutive start, Hiller stopped 21 shots in the Ducks' 3-2 win against Buffalo.

But fear not, Jiggy owners -- while Hiller has been impressive, the move likely is just temporary. Giguere hasn't quite been the same since his father died in mid-December, and Ducks coach Randy Carlyle is letting him clear his head and refocus.

"We think this is the best route to take in this situation, and we're going to live with it," Carlyle said. "It's not like he (Giguere) is not going to play for our hockey club again. He's going to get his opportunity."

Ride Hiller for as long as you can, but don't count on him for the long term. ...

Avs right wing Marek Svatos has been mired in a slump, scoring just 3 goals in his last 16 games, but the one-time 30-goal scorer broke out against Calgary, scoring twice in Colorado's 4-3 win against Northwest-leading Calgary, and no one was more relieved by the performance than Svatos.

"It's very nice," Svatos said. "I've been struggling not scoring goals lately. I've had lots of opportunities. I got a couple of bounces and hopefully that will be the case for the next 30 games."

Svatos is off his 2007-08 goal pace with just 11 this season, but a strong finish isn't out of the question. ...

According to the Los Angeles Times, it was a rough night for Calder Trophy candidate Bobby Ryan. The Ducks' star rookie was held scoreless by the Sabres, and he limped off the ice twice, dragging his leg after sliding into the boards and later holding his right wrist. He finished the game, but stay tuned to see if the Ducks release any news on the situation. Also, free-agent bust Brendan Morrison (51 games, 8 goals, 18 points) was a healthy scratch for the Ducks. ...

Ken Hitchcock told the Columbus Dispatch that goaltender Steve Mason (mononucleosis) likely will start Tuesday as long as he's feeling up to it. ...

Henrik Zetterberg, who has yet to play since signing a 12-year contract with the Red Wings, is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday night due to back spasms.

"It feels much better," he told the Detroit News after skating Monday morning. "I've been to the chiropractor a few times to loosen my back up. I feel good now. I'm shooting for Wednesday." ...

In not-so-good news for Detroit, Tomas Holmstrom is scheduled for an MRI on his groin. He already has missed two games with the injury, so don't expect Holmstrom back right away. ...

Panthers leading scorer David Booth (flu) is a game-time decision Tuesday night. ...

Brendan Shanahan has been a sparkplug for the Devils, and coach Brent Sutter is trying to find him more playing time. According to the (Newark) Star-Ledger, Shanahan was practicing on a line Brian Rolston and John Madden. With 3 goals in five games with New Jersey, Shanahan is proving he's still an asset offensively. ...

On the injury front, the Canadiens' Robert Lang and the Capitals' Chris Clark could be done for the season. Clark definitely is out for the rest of 2009 after surgery on his broken wrist. Lang, however, is listed as "out indefinitely" by the Canadiens after surgery on his Achilles tendon.


Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2) -- The Devils will go for their ninth straight victory in this matchup of Eastern Conference division leaders. Washington's Jose Theodore is expected to be in net for Washington, which is on a hot streak of its own, going 5-1-1 in their last seven contests.
Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET) -- After an eight-game losing streak, the Islanders have won three in a row. Yann Danis is expected to be in goal for New York. In their last two visits to Long Island, the Lightning have been shut out.
St. Louis Blues at Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m. ET) -- The Blue Jackets have lost four straight to the Blues, who are coming off a shootout loss to the Red Wings on Monday night. Chris Mason stopped all 13 shots he faced against Detroit after coming on in relief of Manny Legace, who allowed three goals on eight shots.
Florida Panthers at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET) -- You know it's been a rough season when you're looking to match your season-high winning streak of three. That's what Toronto is after against Florida, which could be without leading scorer David Booth.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS) -- Montreal has lost five of six, while Pittsburgh has just one win its last four games. The Penguins have been terrible on the road recently, posting a 1-5-1 mark.
Los Angeles Kings at Ottawa Senators (7:30 p.m. ET) -- Cory Clouston makes his coaching debut with Ottawa, which could miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons. Los Angeles had won three in a row before suffering a 4-3 loss to Montreal on Saturday.
Phoenix Coyotes at Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET) -- My kingdom for a goal. That's the cry of Wayne Gretzky's Coyotes, who have been shut out in two straight games. The Predators play six of their next eight at home, where they've lost five of seven.
Atlanta Thrashers at New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET) -- The Rangers, who are averaging just 2.43 goals per game this season, should get a lift on the night they retire Adam Graves' No. 9. Henrik Lundqvist is 7-1-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last eight starts against the Thrashers.
Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars (8:30 p.m. ET) -- Dallas goes for its fifth straight victory. Marty Turco is rounding into form, allowing just six goals during the streak. Turco will be tested by the Flames, who have scored 36 goals in their last 10 games.
Chicago Blackhawks at Edmonton Oilers (9 p.m. ET) -- Chicago is hoping to the ride the momentum of a 4-2 win against League-leading San Jose into February. If the Blackhawks' goalie rotation holds to form, Cristobal Huet will start tonight. Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson is 0-1-0 with a 4.80 goals-against average in the two games against Chicago this season.
Carolina Hurricanes at Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET) -- Vancouver will try to avoid losing its 10th straight home game. Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is 0-2-3 with a 3.70 GAA since his return from a groin injury. Pavol Demitra, who has missed three straight games with a groin injury, could make his return.


Hey, Forecaster:
I'm in a league here in my office and recently someone offered me a deal in response to a post I made attempting to move a RW for a LW or C... I was offered Chris Osgood and Brendan Shanahan for Marian Hossa. Should I do it? I also received a trade offer the same day, Vinny Prospal and Doug Weight for Daniel Alfredsson. It's my Hossa and Alfredsson. Can you analyze these two offers and let me know what you would do?
Brad Cheveldae,
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Apparently the people in your league think very little of you. I hope you deleted the first offer without an explanation. Osgood and Shanny for an elite scorer like Hossa? Unreal. Unless you're starting Yann Danis and Manny Legace in goal, there's no need for you to even consider that deal. It's so bad that even I'm insulted by it.

And the second offer is its own brand of crazy.  Prospal has 32 points in 50 games. Weight hasn't played in a month due to a lower leg injury. And as bad the Senators have been this season, Alfie is still nearly a point-a-game player.

There's nothing in it for you with either trade. I suggest finding out why your fellow owners think so little of you to make these offers or just drop out of the league altogether.

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