Great news for Yahoo! fantasy owners of Johan "The Mule" Franzen -- he gained right-wing eligibility Monday to go along with his draft position of center. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has the Swede playing on the right side of Henrik Zetterberg
and Daniel Cleary
. Franzen (5, 3-0-3) is owned in 90 percent of all Yahoo! leagues. …
The most recently added players in Yahoo! leagues as of Tuesday morning: Nashville defenseman Shea Weber (+15), Rangers left wing Aaron Voros (+14), Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (+14), Sabres right wing Ales Kotalik (+14), and Stars right wing Antti Miettinen (+9). Of the quintet, Weber (6, 3-4-7) is the most owned at 73 percent. Hello, 27 percent of the others. What are you waiting for? …
The Top 10 Yahoo! MVPs, according to the list of players who appear most often on the top 500 public-league teams, are: Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek, Predators defenseman Shea Weber, Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, Capitals defenseman Mike Green, Capitals left wing Alexander Semin, Canadiens left wing Alex Tanguay, Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, and Sharks defenseman Rob Blake. …
A couple of impressive scoring streaks were snapped Monday. Marc Savard (5 games, 5-4-9) of Boston had his 4-game multi-point streak snapped. Colorado's Joe Sakic (6, 1-7-8) had his 5-game scoring streak ended. …
Montreal's Andrei Markov (0-9-9) and Paul Stastny of Montreal (1-9-10) currently are tied for the longest scoring streak of the season at 6 games. Stastny will be back in action Thursday against Edmonton, and Markov on Saturday against Anaheim. …
After opening the season with 3 losses, the Avalanche are at .500 following a 4-3 win at Los Angeles. Embattled goalkeeper Peter Budaj (1-3-0, 4.03 GAA) picked up his first victory and Ryan Smyth led the charge with 2 goals.
"Just happy to get the win," Budaj told the Denver Post. "The guys played well in front of me and made some big penalty kills near the end. It's great to finally get the first one and, more important, keep our winning streak going."
The line of Smyth, Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk have been downright dominant, totaling 3 goals and 3 assists against the Kings. For the season, the trio has racked up 11 goals (6 on the power play) and 13 assists. …
Another goaltender who got some weight off his back is Stars veteran Marty Turco, who entered Monday's game at Madison Square Garden with an unsightly 4.70 GAA. After giving up a goal 58 seconds into the first period, Turco and the Dallas defense settled down, and Turco posted his second victory, beating the Rangers 2-1.
"It was a big step at both ends," Turco told the Dallas Morning News. "It's kind of an understatement to say it was much needed." …
With Andrei Kostitsyn out of the lineup Monday, younger brother Sergei assumed his place next to Tomas Plekanec and Alexei Kovalev in Montreal's 3-1 victory against Florida. Kostitsyn went scoreless, but Plekanec scored a shorthanded empty-net goal assisted by Kovalev. No timetable has been established for the return of Andrei Kostitsyn. …
According to the Detroit News, injured star Henrik Zetterberg
(3, 1-2-3) practiced for 45 minutes Monday while preparing for a return from a groin injury that has kept him out of 2 games.
"We'll just have to see how I feel (Tuesday) before practice, and hopefully then I can go full-out," Zetterberg said. "Then we will make a decision."
Detroit next plays Wednesday at St. Louis. …
Also close to returning is Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who has yet to play in 2008-09 after injuring his ankle in a preseason game. On Monday, Zidlicky took part in a full practice with the team for the first time since being sidelined, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
"He looked good, skated well," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He looks like he'll be ready to play soon."
The Wild return to action Thursday at home against Buffalo, and Lemaire said it is a "big possibility" Zidlicky will debut in the contest. …
A member of the 2008 first-round rookies to invade the NHL this season is returning to juniors as the Hurricanes assigned center Zach Boychuk to Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League. After being selected No. 14, the 19-year-old missed the start of training camp because of a hand injury but made the cut after injuries to veteran players (Justin Williams, Rod Brind'Amour) cut into the roster. Boychuk appeared in 2 games and went scoreless, totaling 24:06 of ice time.
"This has been a good experience for Zach," GM Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer. "Despite the fact that he was recovering from hand surgery, his play progressed very well. Another year of junior hockey will be good for his development." …
In a no-brainer decision, Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Oct. 19. In 4 games, he totaled 6 goals and 8 points to help Buffalo go 3-0-1. Vanek's output included 3 power-play and 2 shorthanded goals. The Second Star went to Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom (3-0-0, 1 shutout, 1.30 GAA, .952 save percentage) and Stars rookie wing Fabian Brunnstrom
(hat trick in his NHL debut) captured the Third Star. …
The roller-coaster experienced by Kyle Wellwood may land him back in Vancouver shortly. Last week, the Canucks sent the center down to Manitoba of the American Hockey League after he cleared waivers. But because Pavol Demitra suffered a torso injury in Sunday's game at Chicago, Vancouver is attempting to get Wellwood back through recallable waivers for Tuesday's game at Columbus. He was claimed off waivers from Toronto in June, but was criticized by Canucks coach Alain Vigneault for his poor conditioning.
Wellwood is scoreless with a minus-1 in 1 NHL game this season.
"I feel great, finally recovered from my injuries and I just want to get playing hockey again," Wellwood told the Vancouver Province. … TUESDAY'S GAMES:
Boston (2-1-2) at Buffalo (4-0-1), 7 pm ET (VERSUS, RIS, TSN2)
-- Thomas Vanek has 28 points in 24 career games against Boston, and the Sabres are 14-0-2 against the Bruins when he records at least 1 point. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is 11-3-4 with a 2.50 GAA in his career against the Bruins. If Boston continues to alternate goaltenders, Manny Fernandez will get the start. He is 3-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his career against Buffalo. Anaheim (1-5-0) at Toronto (1-2-2), 7 pm ET (TSN)
-- The Ducks have been outscored 20-9 in their 4 losses. Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is 2-3-0 with a 2.08 GAA in 6 career games against the Maple Leafs, while netminder Vesa Toskala is 2-3-0 with a 3.82 GAA against Anaheim. Vancouver (3-3-0) at Columbus (2-3-0), 7 pm ET
-- Blue Jackets goalkeeper Pascal Leclaire is expected to play following a one-game absence due to a thumb injury. He is 2-3-1 with a 2.10 GAA lifetime against the Canucks. Roberto Luongo is 5-3-3 with a 1.89 GAA against Columbus. Since 2005-06, Vancouver is 7-3-2 against the Blue Jackets. Atlanta (2-2-1) at Tampa Bay (0-2-3), 7:30 pm ET
-- After five one-goal losses, the Lightning and new coach Barry Melrose are looking for their first win. Tampa Bay has scored one or few goals in three of their games and is 2-for-25 on the power play. However, the defense has allowed only 12 goals, and goaltender Mike Smith is among the League leaders in save percentage (.944) and GAA (1.90). Washington (3-1-1) at Calgary (1-3-1), 9:30 pm ET (TSN)
-- Jose Theodore will start in goal for the Capitals, according to the Washington Post. Alexander Ovechkin, who has 2 goals this season, scored twice in his last appearance against the Flames, on March 12. In the last 8 matchups between these teams, the Capitals have 6 wins and 2 ties. Calgary last defeated Washington on March 13, 1999. RECENT INJURIES: Bryan Allen, D, Florida
: Is day-to-day with a left knee injury. Christian Backman, D, Columbus:
Is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Patrik Berglund, C, St. Louis:
Is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, C, Minnesota:
Is day-to-day with a back injury. Pavol Demitra, C, Vancouver:
Is day-to-day with a rib contusion. Marian Gaborik, RW, Minnesota:
Is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Sam Gagner, C, Edmonton:
Is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Bobby Holik, C, New Jersey:
Is out 3-4 weeks with a broken pinky finger. Doug Janik, D, Dallas:
Is day-to-day with an eye injury. Frantisek Kaberle, D, Carolina:
Is out indefinitely with a fractured right foot. Andrei Kostitsyn, LW, Montreal:
Is sidelined indefinitely after being checked into the boards Saturday. Georges Laraque, RW, Montreal:
Is day-to-day with a groin injury. Chris Mason, G, St. Louis:
Had emergency appendectomy Thursday and will miss approximately 2 weeks. Milan Michalek, LW, San Jose:
Is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Brian Rolston, C, New Jersey:
Is day-to-day with a sprained ankle. Tuomo Ruutu, C, Carolina:
Is day-to-day with a groin injury. Sami Salo, D, Vancouver:
Is day-to-day with a groin strain. Sheldon Souray, D, Edmonton:
Is day-to-day with a bruised knee. TRANSACTIONS: Carolina Hurricanes:
Assigned C Zach Boychuk to Lethbridge (WHL). Detroit Red Wings:
Put RW Darren McCarty on waivers. Montreal Canadiens:
Recalled C Kyle Chipchura from Hamilton (AHL). New Jersey Devils:
Recalled LW Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond from Lowell (AHL). New York Rangers:
Signed LW Devin DiDiomete. Philadelphia Flyers:
Assigned RW Steve Downie and C Jared Ross to Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL). San Jose Sharks:
Waived RW Lukas Kaspar. Washington Capitals:
Recalled D Tyler Sloan from Hershey (AHL); signed G Braden Holtby. EMAIL OF THE DAY: Hey,
I have a couple of slow starters in my 15-forward, 4-defenseman, 10-team keeper league: Drew Stafford, Robert Nilsson and Chris Drury. We get an unlimited amount of drops/pickups, but since it is still extremely early in the season I have decided not to make any moves. I am really worried about Stafford, though, because of the limited ice time he is getting and almost no power-play time. I was wondering who you would consider picking up for him. Andrew Brunette, Michael Ryder, Devin Setoguchi and Todd Bertuzzi are all available.
It's definitely time for a change, Tom. I see a minimum of two moves, cutting ties with Stafford (5, 0-0-0) and Nilsson (4, 1-1-2). Through Sunday's games, Stafford was receiving 15:05 of ice time per game, seventh among forwards on the Sabres, and only 1:55 per game on the power play. The third-year right wing was productive in 2007-08 (64, 16-22-38), but now is behind Jason Pominville and Ales Kotalik on the depth chart and competing for minutes with a healthy Maxim Afinogenov. Nilsson is getting more of a chance in Edmonton, with 16:43 per game, fifth among forwards on the team, but he's just not doing much in terms of scoring. He has to take more than the 11 shots he's totaled. Drury (9, 0-1-1) has just gone cold after a hot start in Prague, so give him time to snap out of this funk. He's playing with Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund, and his 20:09 per game is second only to Gomez among forwards.
My choices for your pick up, in order, are 1. Bertuzzi (5, 5-0-5, minus-3, 3 power-play goals), 2. Setoguchi (6, 3-2-5, plus-3, 24 shots), 3. Ryder (4, 1-4-5, plus-2, 16 shots), 4. Brunette (4, 2-3-5, plus-3, 1 power-play goal).
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Author: Rocky Bonanno | NHL.com Staff Writer