It’s been quite a week for injuries and Coach firings. It’s funny how firings seem to be contagious in all the sports. First it was Davis Payne of the St. Louis Blues being replaced by Ken Hitchcock. After that went well (and lit a fire under the now streaking Blues) suddenly GM’s around the league felt emboldened to do the same. Because surely they have supplied all the talent needed to win a Cup, and the Coach is simply not getting the most out of that talent… Yeah… That’s usually not the case. Usually it’s a delusional GM desperately trying to save his own a$$ and as the old saying goes, you can’t fire the players. That’s what’s going on in Carolina. Simply not enough talent there to expect more than a 9th or 10th place finish in the conference. Fantasy wise I guess it could help Staal, but I was betting on him turning it around no matter who the Coach was (how can it get any worse??). The real fantasy relevant firing is Big Boy Boudreau in Washington. The only guy on that team who didn’t hate him was Tomas Vokoun, and that’s because he’s only been around him a few months. This should allow the struggling stars (specifically Ovie & Semin) to take a deep breath and relax. And not to paint them all with the same brush, but Russian hockey players are inherently lazy. If they aren’t motivated by their Coach and/or don’t like him they aren’t going to give 100% effort. I’m predicting a strong finish to the season for both Semin and Ovechkin…. The rest of these guys probably won’t be having strong finishes to the season, and they have the injury bug to thank:
Chris Pronger – D (Phi): Ooooohhhh, so this is why Pronger was going in like the 10th round of drafts? Yeah injuries have to be expected out of the big guy, but it’s getting a little ridiculous now. A full month will be spent recovering from knee surgery after he’d already missed 6 games with a busted eye. Look for Matt Carle to see a boost in production as he will take a lot of CP’s minutes.
Kari Lehtonen – G (Dal): HA! I knew he was injury proned! It was the one reason why I didn’t want this guy on any of my teams. Now he could be back next week and in 4 months nobody even remembers he ever got hurt, but I doubt it. Dallas is being vague and just calling it a “knee injury” which IMO means they have no idea how bad it is or how long he could be out. Be worried Lehtonen owners and in the meantime go pick up Raycroft. He was good in their Win last night but besides that, you really don’t have much of a choice. You gotta get starts from somewhere right?
Taylor Hall – LW (Edm): This injury is also kind of vague at the moment. All we know is that he took a big hit into the boards and now he’s out 2-4 weeks with a “shoulder injury”. At least there is a timeline though, just expect the time lost to be closer to the 4 than the 2… As far as possible replacements in Edmonton, Magnus Paajarvi saw the biggest jump in minutes with over 15 in the game last night. But no he’s not fantasy relevant so go try to find a LW elsewhere.
Patrick Eaves – RW (Det): No fantasy relevance to speak of here, however this is an injury all hockey fans can appreciate. A broken jaw after taking a slap shot to the face. A frozen pound of rubber traveling at 90+MPH hit him in the face. And football players think they are the toughest athletes around? As Ozzie Guillen would say: Ppphhhh, please!