Week 9 Fantasy Hockey Planner
Between goaltending situations in flux to injuries and line changes, our Michael Hurcomb has plenty to break down in his latest Fantasy Hockey Planner.
The Fantasy Hockey Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.
Teams with four games: Colorado, Columbus, Los Angeles,
Minnesota, Phoenix, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington
Teams with three games: Anaheim, Atlanta, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Montreal, Nashville, N.Y. Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay
Teams with two games: Boston, N.Y. Islanders, New Jersey, Ottawa
Fantasy Week 9 (Dec. 1-7)
Heading into Fantasy Week 9, who could have imagined that two of the four most drafted players are out with serious injuries?
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has been out since Nov. 1 with an elbow injury expected to sideline him until February. But Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is now out indefinitely with a groin injury and could be sidelined until late mid-to-late December.
Fantasy Football owners have had to deal without Patriots quarterback Tom Brady all season because of a torn ACL and now two of Fantasy Hockey's premier players are floundering with injury. It has not been a good year for elite Fantasy options.
Editors Note: Projections are for Dec. 1-7 games and all stats are through Saturday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is back from his one-game absence due to personal reasons and will resume his starting job heading into Week 9. Fantasy owners need to keep Giguere active as a No. 1 Fantasy option despite just one win in his last five outings ... Ryan Getzlaf led the Ducks with 16 points in November before Sunday's game against the Hurricanes. Corey Perry was on his heels with 12 and Teemu Selanne was third with 11 points ... Rookie Bobby Ryan has been around for just six games since his recall in mid-November, but has made quite an impact. He has two goals, three assists and a plus-6 rating while logging top-six minutes.
Atlanta Thrashers: While starting goalie Kari Lehtonen , who has been out since Oct. 30 with a back injury, is eligible to come off IR at any time, he is not expected to be activated in the near future. Lehtonen received an injection into his back Thursday and could resume skating in the coming days, but there is still no firm timetable for his return. Keep him reserved Week 9 and Johan Hedberg is still likely to see most of the starts in his absence ... Erik Christensen , picked in the preseason to be Atlanta's top-line center, is in the doghouse for his poor play. He was a healthy scratch Friday in favor of rookie Joey Crabb and might only get back in the lineup once he works harder when he doesn't have the puck ... Jason Williams , a key offseason acquisition, hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 9 ... Defenseman Tobias Enstrom has just one assist in his last eight games and is lacking offensive contributions despite playing more than 30 minutes on some nights ... Rookie defenseman Zach Bogosian , who has been out with a broken leg since Oct. 28, has resumed skating on his own, but hasn't practiced with the team ... Atlanta is away for three games Week 9 and the Thrashers rank third in road GFA (3.27). However, they have two games Week 9 against top 10 defenses == Ottawa and Montreal.
Boston Bruins: Starting goalie Tim Thomas sat out Saturday with an illness, but since Boston doesn't play again until Thursday against the Lightning, he will get plenty of time to rest ... Backup goalie Manny Fernandez started back-to-back games for the first time this season Saturday and notched a sixth straight victory in a 4-1 win against Detroit. Fernandez is 7-1-1 on the season. He and Thomas arguably make up the league's best goaltending tandem at this time ... Despite playing Saturday, second-line center Patrice Bergeron is hampered by an undisclosed injury which is limiting his ability to take faceoffs. Fantasy owners might want to keep tabs on his progress in the event he has to take time off ... Marco Sturm has missed six games with an upper-body injury, but still remains just day-to-day ... Michael Ryder , one of Boston's top free-agent signings, has been dropped to the team's third line with Blake Wheeler and David Krejci . However, it has had a profound effect as Ryder has two goals, two assists and a plus-5 rating in two games since the move ... Krejci has also been hot as of late with six goals and four assists during a six-game point streak ... Boston is opting to keep Phil Kessel at right wing on the top line as he has six goals and five assists during a nine-game point streak.
Buffalo Sabres: Paul Gaustad finally scored his first goals of the season Friday against the Penguins after going without a score in his first 12 games. Gaustad got off to slow start after missing the first several weeks with a thumb injury. But he is finally settling into a groove and has been moved up to the second line with Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville ... Left winger Thomas Vanek scored twice Saturday against the Canadiens to leapfrog Jeff Carter for the NHL lead in goals with 17 ... Don't look now but Derek Roy is finally heating up for the Sabres. He has a point in seven of eight games. Roy has four goals and five assists in that span and has also been moved back to the team's top line with Vanek and Drew Stafford . It appears Roy is back to being a reliable high-end Fantasy option ... Ales Kotalik , who has been sidelined since Nov. 14 because of a pulled hamstring, is expected back Monday against Nashville. He is a low-end Fantasy forward when healthy.
|1.||Curtis Sanford , G, VAN||24|
|2.||Scott Clemmensen , G, NJ||23|
|2.||Matt Hunwick , D, BOS||23|
|4.||Doug Weight , C, NYI||15|
|5.||Kyle Quincey , D, LA||15|
|6.||Justin Williams , RW, CAR||13|
|7.||Kevin Bieksa , D, VAN||12|
|8.||Loui Eriksson , LW, DAL||11|
|9.||Jiri Hudler , C, DET||10|
|10.||David Booth , LW, FLA||10|
Calgary Flames: Dustin Boyd has missed two games with an upper-body injury believed to be a shoulder issue. He is day-to-day and Rene Bourque has moved back to the second line in his absence ... Fourth-line center Wayne Primeau missed just one game with a foot injury. He has little Fantasy value outside of leagues that reward heavily for short-handed stats ... Jarome Iginla led Calgary in November with 16 points and six goals in 13 games ... Curtis Glencross has been one of the Flames' hottest skaters with three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. He totaled 11 points in 13 November games, which put him second on the team behind Iginla.
Carolina Hurricanes: Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle jumped back in the lineup Friday at Philadelphia after missing several weeks with a broken leg ... Scott Walker is on the injured list with a lower-body injury, but is just being treated as day-to-day at this time ... Patrick Eaves is back from an upper-body injury that forced him to miss two games, but the former Senator still doesn't have a goal in 18 contests this season ... Carolina is at home for three games Week 9. The Hurricanes rank 23rd in home GFA (2.58) ... With one back-to-back slate Week 9, we could see Michael Leighton steal a start from Cam Ward .
Chicago Blackhawks: Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin continues to be sidelined with a lower-body injury -- believed to be a hip or groin -- since leaving Wednesday's game at San Jose. The team said the injury is not as bad as it was first thought, but Chicago can be cautious since Cristobal Huet is a qualified netminder. It's probably best to keep Khabibulin reserved Week 9 and start Huet ... Defenseman Aaron Johnson suffered a left arm injury against the Sharks and has been placed on IR ... Enforcer Adam Burish has been on the shelf since Tuesday's practice with an ankle injury. He is wearing a boot on his foot and it is probably best to keep him reserved Week 9 ... Defenseman James Wisniewski , who has been on IR all season following knee surgery, is eyeing a Dec. 12 return at Colorado ... Patrick Kane was Chicago's most productive player in November with 14 points, but he was topped in goals by Patrick Sharp , who led the team with six scores in 11 games. Rookie Kris Versteeg continues to exceed expectations with 20 points in 21 games. He had 12 points in November.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche begin a three-game road trip Monday against the Wild, but will not be accompanied on the trip by injured players Joe Sakic and Adam Foote . Sakic has missed 8 of 11 games with a nagging back injury and Foote has been placed on IR with back and knee issues. Make sure to keep both players reserved Week 9 ... Forward Darcy Tucker could miss a month after spraining his left knee Nov. 24 against the Ducks ... Center Paul Stastny has been elevated to the team's top-line center in the absence of Sakic, but sure isn't producing like one. He has no goals and two assists in seven games since signing a five-year extension Nov. 17 ... Wojtek Wolski has finally snapped out of his scoring funk with three goals in his last four games after going without a goal in 17 games. He is needed to pick up the scoring slack in the place of Sakic and Tucker ... Colorado is up for four games Week 9 and with three contests in four days from Dec. 4-7 it is likely Andrew Raycroft starts once in the upcoming scoring period ... Three of the games are on the road where Colorado is averaging just 2.17 goals per game (28th).
Columbus Blue Jackets: It has become quite evident that Columbus is looking toward the future in net with the way Steve Mason has surged past Pascal Leclaire and Fredrik Norrena on the depth chart. Mason recorded his first career shutout Saturday against Washington and has already been named the team's starter for Monday's game with the Canucks. Consider starting Mason in the upcoming scoring period as Columbus plays four times ... Columbus has put R.J. Umberger back on the top line with Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius after he scored eight goals and added three assists in 13 November games. Umberger started as the team's top center, but was bumped after scoring having no goals, three assists and a minus-5 rating in October. Rookie Derick Brassard has been relegated to the second line with Jason Chimera and Jakub Voracek ... Rookie enforcer Derek Dorsett had surgery Friday to reset a broken right ring finger and is expected to miss 3-5 weeks ... Three of Columbus' four games Week 9 are on the road where the Jackets are averaging 2.91 goals per game (8th). Consider starting your Columbus skaters.
Dallas Stars: Oft-injured forward Jere Lehtinen , who is out with an upper-body ailment, skated on his own Friday, but the team still has no firm timetable for his return ... Loui Eriksson netted his team-high 11th goal Friday against the Sharks. He has been hot as of late with five goals and three assists in six games ... James Neal has been a surprising breath of fresh air for the Stars. He has scored three times in his last two games and is third on the team in goals with six ... The Stars are up for three games Week 9, and with the way Marty Turco has struggled in net, Dallas could throw rookie Tobias Stephan a start with one back-to-back slate.
|1.||Blue Jackets||VAN, @SJ, @LA, @ANA|
|2.||Red Wings||ANA, VAN, CHI|
|3.||Coyotes||LA, TOR, @STL, @CHI|
|4.||Sharks||TOR, CLB, EDM|
|5.||Canucks||@CLB, @DET, @MIN, @COL|
Detroit Red Wings: Jiri Hudler scored a power-play goal Saturday against the Bruins to give him 12 points on the man advantage this season. That ties him for the team lead with Henrik Zetteberg. With nine goals and 11 assists, Hudler is well on his way to establishing career highs ... Daniel Cleary , who has played just two games since missing eight with a scratched cornea, is playing on the left wing of the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa while Tomas Holmstrom is dealing with back inflammation. Holmstrom is expected to return to practice this week after missing five games, but still remains an injury-risk option ... Darren McCarty aggravated a nagging groin injury during Friday's morning skate and has missed two games since. He is day-to-day, but a risky start Week 9 ... D Chris Chelios , who sustained a fractured right tibia during a preseason game on Sept. 30, hopes to return to the lineup late Week 9. However, he will be just a seventh or eighth defenseman most of the season for Detroit, which severely limits his Fantasy appeal ... Detroit is home for three games Week 9 and rank fourth in home GFA (3.78). Consider starting your Detroit skaters.
Edmonton Oilers: Coach Craig MacTavish has not been pleased with the so-called Kid Line of Robert Nilsson , Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner and is considering breaking up the trio ... If Edmonton doesn't pick up their scoring in the coming weeks, the Oilers might be forced to recall prospects Rob Schremp and Gilbert Brule ... Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky left Wednesday's game against the Blues with an undisclosed injury and had to be helped off the ice. The severity of his injury is still not known, so consider him a risky start heading into Week 9 if he is not in uniform Sunday against the Stars ... Ladislav Smid is back in the press box after the move from defenseman to winger didn't spark the Oilers offense as expected ... Ales Hemsky had a team-high six goals and 15 points in 12 November games and defenseman Tom Gilbert was the only other player with 10 or more points ... Dwayne Roloson is back at the Oilers' No. 1 goalie, but with one back-to-back slate Week 9, we can expect to see either Mathieu Garon or Jeff Deslauriers steal a start.
Florida Panthers: Top-line forward Nathan Horton has missed two games since suffering a cut on his ankle Wednesday against the Devils. Coach Peter DeBoer said the injury is in a difficult spot which is making it tough for Horton to put on his skate. Horton is not a recommended start Week 9 ... David Booth has scored in four straight games and five of six. He has lit the lamp nine times in 13 November games and is the only Florida player with double-digit goals ... Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has scored in two straight games after not scoring in his first 19. He also has nine points in his last eight games and is finally starting to click offensively.
Los Angeles Kings: Injured defenseman Jack Johnson , who has yet to play this season because of a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, is still expected to be out until just after the All-Star break. However, he is making progress. Johnson has been participating in regular conditioning skates and is said to be working out tirelessly in the weight room ... Rookie forward Wayne Simmonds has been dropped to the team's fourth line because of troubling handling the puck ... Forward Kyle Calder scored a goal Saturday against the Blackhawks, but he continues to frustrate coach Terry Murray. Calder has just four points in 16 games and has been a healthy scratch five times. Murray is afraid to play Calder on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown , and has primarily kept him on the team's energy line (third) ... Los Angeles has a pair of back-to-back games Week 9. We could definitely see Erik Ersberg and Jason LaBarbera split the four starts in net, but if Ersberg is hot, he might start three of the games ... L.A. is home for three games Week 9 where they are averaging 2.8 goals per game.
Minnesota Wild: Right winger Marian Gaborik missed his 20th straight game Saturday with a lower-body injury and continues to experience soreness. He is not skating on his own and there is still no timetable for his return ... Eric Belanger was not in uniform Saturday against the Predators after injuring his leg Friday against Tampa Bay. He is just day-to-day ... Minnesota has four games Week 9 with three at home. The Wild rank just 20th in home GFA (2.75) ... With one back-to-back slate, Josh Harding should give Niklas Backstrom a breather for a game ... Not one Minnesota player eclipsed 10 points in November. Both Belanger and Marc-Andre Bergeron had nine points in 12 games. Mikko Koivu led the team with five goals.
Montreal Canadiens: Coach Guy Carbonneau is becoming frustrated with some of his star players and made some line switches Saturday in hopes of jump starting their offense. Alex Kovalev , who hasn't scored in 13 games, was moved to a line with center Robert Lang . The two combined for nine shots Saturday, but failed to score against Buffalo. Andrei Kostitsyn had better luck after being moved to a line with brother Sergei Kostitsyn and Maxim Lapierre . He collected a goal and assist against the Sabres ... Forward Alex Tanguay has been suffering from whiplash since being checked by Brad Stuart Wednesday. He is only listed as day-to-day, but is still an injury-risk start Week 9. Matt D'Agostini started in his place Saturday on the top line with Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins ... Defenseman Mathieu Dandenault , who has played exclusively as a forward this season, was moved to defense Saturday as error-prone Ryan O'Byrne was a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season ... Montreal has three home games Week 9. The Canadiens are averaging 2.9 goals per game at the Bell Centre.
Nashville Predators: Despite rookie goalie Pekka Rinne moving to 3-0-0 on the season after Friday's win against the Thrashers, the Predators are not talking about replacing Dan Ellis as the team's top netminder. Ellis still remains a No. 2 Fantasy goalie ... Center Jason Arnott scored his team-leading 12th goal Saturday against the Wild and has scored four times in the last four games ... Defenseman Shea Weber had an outstanding November with six goals and five assists for his second straight 11-point month.
New Jersey Devils: Goalie Scott Clemmensen has started three straight games and six of seven over Kevin Weekes . The Devils still haven't named him the starter with Martin Brodeur sidelined by an elbow injury, but the fact he has been solid in net leads us to believe Clemmensen is the goalie of choice for now ... John Madden has missed four games with a bruised ankle and coach Brent Sutter still has no timetable for his return ... Forward Dainius Zubrus left in the third period of Saturday's game against Pittsburgh with a stomach ailment and is just being listed as day-to-day ... Brian Gionta had his goal streak end at five games Saturday, but extended his point streak to seven games with an assist. He has five goals and five assists during the run ... New Jersey has just two road games Week 9. The Devils are scoring 2.2 goals per game on the road, so consider benching your New Jersey skaters.
N.Y. Islanders: The Islanders have opted to keep 2008 first-round pick Josh Bailey instead of returning him to his junior team. Bailey didn't have a goal in his first nine games, but has five assists and has exceeded the expectations of Islanders' management. Coach Scott Gordon trusts Bailey with his vision and passing ability, especially on the power play ... Forward Mike Comrie has begun light skating Saturday after missing his last 10 games with inflammation in his surgically repaired hip. The Islanders still have no timetable for his return, but Comrie only wants to return when he is close to 100 percent. Keep him reserved until further notice ... Yann Danis has returned as Joey MacDonald backup after being sent to the AHL for a conditioning stint ... Right winger Trent Hunter became the first Islander to reach 10 goals this season with an empty-netter with 1:01 remaining Saturday against the Senators ... Mike Sillinger has completed a three-game conditioning stint at Bridgeport (AHL) and is expected to make his first appearance since February hip surgery Thursday against Washington ... Forward Kyle Okposo has resumed practicing since suffering a hand/wrist injury Nov. 17. He could return Week 9, but is still an injury-risk option.
N.Y. Rangers: Petr Prucha has been unable to crack the Rangers' lineup, sitting out his ninth straight game Friday at Florida. Coach Tom Renney indicated Prucha might return to active duty soon or he might be asked to report to AHL Hartford for a conditioning assignment ... Defenseman Michal Rozsival has turned it around since he's been realigned with Marc Staal . He has consecutive multi-point games and has five assists in his past three appearances ... Nikolay Zherdev has one goal, six assists and a plus-5 rating during a four-game point streak.
Ottawa Senators: Defenseman Luke Richardson has cleared waivers and the 21-year veteran is likely to call it quits after stops in Toronto, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Columbus, Tampa Bay and Ottawa ... Shean Donovan (upper body) and Alexandre Picard (wrist) both missed Saturday's tilt with the Islanders, but coach Brian Hartsburg expects both players back in the lineup Wednesday against the Thrashers ... Forward Ryan Shannon has resumed skating, but still remains out indefinitely with a concussion suffered Nov. 13 ... Dany Heatley is still the only Ottawa player with 10 or more goals ... No Seantor managed 10 points in November. Daniel Alfredsson had a team-high nine points and Heatley had five goals.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers are hoping to get Daniel Briere back in the lineup Tuesday against the Lightning after he has missed nine games with a groin injury. However, coach John Stevens has a tough decision to make once Briere returns. The Flyers' top line of Mike Richards , Simon Gagne and Mike Knuble has produced 12 goals during Briere's recent nine-game absence. Stevens will be tempted to keep them together and move Briere onto a third line with Scottie Upshall and Joffrey Lupul . Briere is still an injury-risk start Week 9 ... Riley Cote has been taken off IR, but is still not 100 percent. He is questionable for Tuesday ... Defenseman Randy Jones (hip surgery) is hoping to play Saturday, but Stevens will likely keep him out until Dec. 9 at the earliest ... Carter had his five-game point streak (5 G, 3 A) end Saturday against Toronto, but played the entire game despite a seriously bruised shoulder. Carter- is second in the NHL with 16 goals ... Richards had his first two-goal game of the season Saturday.
|1.||Maple Leafs||@LA, @SJ, @PHO, WAS|
|3.||Avalanche||@MIN, @NSH, @DAL, VAN|
Phoenix Coyotes: Phoenix has lost it's best player == Olli Jokinen == for 2-4 weeks with a shoulder injury sustained Wednesday against Columbus. The injury ended Jokinen's consecutive games streak at 397 ... Despite Mikael Tellqvist starting two straight games in net for Phoenix, coach Wayne Gretzky said there is no goalie controversy brewing and that Ilya Bryzgalov is still the team's top netminder ... Struggling rookie center Kyle Turris says he has built up a lot of confidence with his first goal since Oct. 12 on Saturday against the Sharks. Turris, once considered a top candidate for the Calder Trophy, has been in Gretzky's doghouse this season, but Phoenix is not giving up on the 2007 first-rounder ... Shane Doan increased his team-leading point total to 22 with two assists Saturday ... Doan and Jokinen were the only players in November to break 10 points. Martin Hanzal was a close third with nine ... Phoenix has four games Week 9 with three games against teams with GAA's 2.77 or higher == Chicago, Toronto and St. Louis.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins gave Janne Pesonen a quick two-game look before sending the rookie forward back to the AHL after Saturday's game against the Devils. The Swedish import is having a tough time cracking the Penguins roster and is not adjusting well to North American hockey ... Defenseman Ryan Whitney , who has been on IR all season following foot surgery, has finished his first full week of practice. He is hoping to participate in full-contact in the coming week, but his game status is still on a week-to-week basis ... Defenseman Philippe Boucher missed his first game Saturday with an undisclosed injury after leaving Friday's tilt with the Sabres. He is only listed as day-to-day, but is an injury-risk start Week 9. Boucher has no points in his first five games with Pittsburgh ... There is still no word on when starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will return from his undisclosed lower-body injury. Pittsburgh is treating him on a week-to-week basis, but he remains a risky start heading into Week 9. Dany Sabourin and John Curry continue to replace Fleury in net ... Pittsburgh is on the road for three games Week 9. The Penguins rank third in road GFA (3.27), so consider starting your Pittsburgh skaters.
San Jose Sharks: Right winger Jonathan Cheechoo re-aggravated an upper-body injury Friday that caused him to miss four games earlier this season, and he did not play Saturday against Phoenix. He is day-to-day and an injury-risk start Week 9 ... Seven-game scoring streaks were snapped for all three of San Jose's top-line forwards Saturday ==- LW Patrick Marleau (4 G, 6 A), C Joe Thornton (4 G, 9 A) and RW Devin Setoguchi (5 G, 8 A) ... San Jose had five players total 10 or more points in November == Setoguchi (17), Thornton (17), Marleau (16), Ryane Clowe (15), Rob Blake (15) and Dan Boyle (12) ... Milan Michalek scored six times in 12 November games ... Goalie Evgeni Nabokov has shown no rust coming off a lower-body injury and has won three straight starts since returning. He has an eight-game win streak dating back to Oct. 28 ... San Jose is home for three games Week 9. They rank third in home GFA (3.92), so consider starting your Sharks skaters.
St. Louis Blues: After Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Oilers, starting goalie Manny Legace ripped his defenders for poor coverage assignment. Coach Andy Murray said he would need to analyze the game film before evaluating Legace's performance, but Legace has struggled as of late and Murray might be inclined to turn to Chris Mason in the near future. Fantasy owners should keep tabs on the rumblings in St. Louis ... Forward Patrik Berglund returned from a groin injury Saturday and centered a line with LW David Perron and RW David Backes ... Fellow rookie forward T.J. Oshie , who has been out since Nov. 1 with an ankle injury, skated for a third straight day Saturday. He is hoping to be back in the lineup within the week ... Injured forward Paul Kariya , who has been out since Nov. 5 with a nagging hip injury, has not returned to practice and is expected to miss at least another week ... No Blues player topped 10 points in November. David Perron was the closest with eight points and injured center Andy McDonald had a team-high five goals despite playing in just seven games.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Evgeny Artyukhin was a healthy scratch for the first time Saturday against Colorado after making several defensive mistakes Friday against the Wild. Coach Rick Tocchet said he wanted Artyukhin to watch a game from a different vantage point in order to watch how things develop. He is likely to return to the lineup shortly ... While he is not pleased with Artyukhin, Tocchet has praised the recent play of Steven Stamkos and Radim Vrbata , meaning both players could see increased Mark Recchi , Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier all tied for the team lead with 10 points in November.
Toronto Maple Leafs: New general manager Brian Burke pretty much ruled Toronto out of the Mats Sundin sweepstakes. Sundin continues to train in L.A. for his inevitable return from semi-retirement ... Jason Blake was given off a second game Saturday against the Flyers just to make sure he didn't suffer from a concussion Tuesday against Atlanta. He is expected to join Toronto for a three-game road trip starting Monday and is a low-risk start Week 9 ... Toronto is averaging 2.73 goals per game on the road this season ... Defenseman Jonas Frogren is out a month with a hyper-extended elbow ... With four games Week 9 and one back-to-back, Curtis Joseph could get a start in place of Vesa Toskala ... Toronto had four players total 10 or more points in November -- Matt Stajan (14), Mikhail Grabovski (13), Niklas Hagman (11) and Tomas Kaberle (11) ... New acquisition Lee Stempniak has one goal and one assist in his first three games with Toronto.
Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks haven't given a timetable for starting goalie Roberto Luongo return from a groin injury, but a return within two weeks is unlikely. Reports are that he will be sidelined 4-5 weeks. Curtis Sanford is expected to see most of the starts in Luongo's absence, but rookie Cory Schneider impressed in his NHL debut Saturday against the Flames. Schneider was a 2004 first-round pick and believed to be the Canucks' goalie of the future. However, if he continues to impress during his current stint in the NHL, he could overtake the veteran Sanford while Luongo is out ... Right winger Steve Bernier returned to the lineup Saturday after missing one game with a bruised shoulder and foot, but not to the second line spot he vacated with the minor injury. Bernier's spot on the second line stayed with Mason Raymond , who had a goal and an assist for his first points in nine games. Bernier was dropped to the fourth line ... Left winger Daniel Sedin had both his five-game goal streak and his seven-game point streak (eight) snapped Saturday. He is still tied with brother Henrik Sedin for a team-high 22 points ... Vancouver is on the road for all four of their games Week 9. The Canucks are averaging 3.08 goals per game away from home, so consider starting your Vancouver skaters.
Washington Capitals: The injury news got even worse for Washington Saturday against Columbus after rookie defenseman Karl Alzner left the game with an undisclosed injury. He is now the ninth person on the injured list for Washington ... Forward Alexander Semin is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He as well as Sergei Fedorov (ankle), Mike Green (arm/shoulder), Tom Poti (groin) and John Erskine (concussion) are all injury-risk starts Week 9 ... The Capitals have four games Week 9 with one back-to-back. Coach Bruce Boudreau has gone back to Jose Theodore as his No. 1 goalie, but we should see Brent Johnson at least once Week 9 ... Reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin has surged to the team lead with 30 points and is tied with Semin for 13 goals. Ovechkin used a very strong November to take the scoring lead with 25 points and a plus-11 rating ... Second-year center Niklas Backstrom was also solid in November with 17 points ... Tomas Fleischmann was second on the team with six goals in November.
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