As of this writing, there’s nothing confirmed regarding Patrick Kane and his possibly broken collarbone, but the initial reports certainly don’t seem promising.
Injury situations like these are tough, especially with a top-round guy like Kane. Especially when there isn’t even a morning practice that might provide an opportunity for the Blackhawks to clarify something.
My advice is uncomfortable: sit tight for now, but with a finger hovering over the “drop” button, at least in single-season leagues. It’s essentially March already, so if it’s clearly more than a month, then you’d have a big name on your roster who won’t play.
Of course, hockey players are tough, even some boyish wonder like PK, so I wouldn’t recommend throwing in the towel until it’s obvious this fight is over. Which brings me to pertinent links to stay on top of this and other situations (leave it to Kane’s injury to overshadow the solid but unremarkable Sean Bergenheim trade …)
OK, with 11 games on the docket, we have to just get rolling here.
BLACKHAWKS 3, PANTHERS 2 (SO)
-- Man, thank goodness for the trade deadline.
We've hit that point of the season when ruts take place, and if you're a (poor) Fan Duelist like me, you might be fed up with the steady stream of losing. I'd probably be out altogether if the fun of new lines wasn't looming.
Blackhawks sans-Kane probably won't be very fun, and while this game provided some shifts without him, I'd rather wait until Chicago's next game (and a Kane update) before diving too deep into combos.
-- Scott Darling won in his first post-contract-extension game, stopping 34 out of 36 pucks. I'm often concerned about a goalie being "fat and happy" right after a deal, but then again, it's probably not that much of a risk when the gains are modest (if obviously appreciated by a journeyman like him).
-- Bryan Bickell was ineffective last night, yet it's remarkable that he delivered seven hits in just 9:47 TOI.
-- So, the Panthers got a third-round pick for Sean Bergenheim, which is OK since his influence was waning and he was leaving anyway via UFA. Still, a frisky-if-limited team like this would probably prefer to add rather than subtract.
-- Actually, this Panthers team reminds me of the late Jay Bouwmeester-era ones that were respectable but still fell short of the postseason. The difference, though, is that this team is brimming with better prospects.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday's NHL games. It's just $25 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Wednesday at 7:30pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.
CANUCKS 2, BRUINS 1
-- Go ahead and give Eddie Lack a shot, preferably now (he's only 34 percent owned at the moment). He's a solid enough goalie on a solid enough team, and you won't see many better opportunities for a decent starter this deep into the season.
Easily worth a fringe position just to see what happens if you're hurting for goaltending, I'd say.
-- Looks like Zack Kassian has a decent hold on a spot with the Sedins, who are now both at 40+ assists on the season.
-- I've been calming the nerves of Bruins hopefuls for a while now, but no David Krejci is a concern. No denying that.
-- Brad Marchand's been doing what you hope in fantasy. For one thing, he's finally getting PIM like you'd expect from one of the most obnoxious players in the league: 82 PIM overall, 12 in the last four games. The points are coming pretty steadily, too.
KINGS 1, RED WINGS 0
-- That's now eight straight wins for Jonathan Quick, who's been especially hot lately. Including last night's shutout, he's only allowed five goals in as many games.
Astounding work in October and February combined with bad-to-average work the rest of the season combines for a 25-15-10 record, four shutouts and a respectable .914 save percentage.
-- Speaking of odd goalie numbers, take Jonas Gustavsson. It's almost as if he was punished for getting a win on two saves and 9:33 TOI of work on Feb. 21, as he lost despite only allowing a goal on 27 shots. He's now 2-2-1 with a .924 save percentage and one shutout, so it's tough to fault Detroit for seeing what else he can do, even if my instinct is to wonder why they don't just roll with Petr Mrazek behind Jimmy Howard.
-- I'd be more worried about Detroit only managing 20 SOG if they weren't wrapping up a back-to-back on a top road trip against the hottest team in the NHL. The rest of this week should be bumpy with a Thursday game at San Jose and Saturday's trip to Nashville, though.
ISLANDERS 5, COYOTES 1
(Seriously, this week has already been pretty dense with news ...)
-- Mark Arcobello has three points in his last four games and four in six with Arizona, his fourth (!) team of the 2014-15 season. I understand why he's bouncing around a bit, but man, can we cut this guy a break?
-- Brock Nelson update: 17 goals, 19 assists after getting one of each on Tuesday (36 points in 62 games). He inevitably slowed down, but that's quite good, especially since he's shooting a decent amount (154 SOG). The Isles can get a little fuzzy beyond the top line, as their attack is balanced enough that it can make it harder to figure out who else is a truly reliable fantasy contributor.
HURRICANES 4, FLYERS 1
-- Don't be shocked if Carolina goes on a self-defeating hot streak soon. From March 6-29, 11 of 13 games will be at home. They're 13-11-3 in Carolina vs. 9-19-4 on the road, so they could really play themselves out of a premium pick going forward. Kind of an awkward spot for their front office.
-- Cam Ward hit his 500th career game. Quite an odd career: Stanley Cup win, piles of money and a generally unimpressive run in the last few seasons.
Plenty of athletes would gladly take that, and who could really blame them?
-- Honestly, I'd trade both Staal brothers, especially if it means loading up on assets and avoiding winning too many games in March. This team's core has failed so often and been so expensive that it's time to drop the sentimentality, especially since GM Ron Francis (still a weird phrase to write) isn't the one who got Carolina in this mess.
Jump for more recaps.
RANGERS 1, FLAMES 0
-- I wasn't certain what to expect from this game, but Cam Talbot winning via a 1-0 shutout was pretty low on the list. I expected this to be a pretty wide open affair, but apparently not.
-- I have to hand it to the Hayes brothers for really rising in prominence in 2014-15. Solid rookie year for Kevin Hayes so far: 12 goals, 27 points in 56 games. Not exactly a guy who's all that relevant in fantasy, but the Rangers have to be delighted to have a halfway decent addition at 22 years old, especially since they lost so many pieces via free agency last summer.
-- It's hard to believe that Karri Ramo has more than 100 NHL games under his belt, especially since he received scattered time from 2006-07 to 2008-09 and then returned to the NHL scene last season. He could easily be a run-of-the-mill backup or vanish again going forward.
-- Alain Vigneault must have felt a little nostalgic seeing his team casually grab two points from an overmatched Calgary squad. /Imagines Vigneault pouring one out for the Northwest Division.
SABRES 4, BLUE JACKETS 2
-- Was Tuesday anti-tanking day, or what? The Hurricanes, Sabres and Oilers all won their games. Then again, Columbus would be best served joining that club, so the theme would have worked even better if these two teams made it to OT.
-- Has any Sabre suffered more than Cody Hodgson? I could easily see him salvaged as an OK second-line center after all of this, but sheesh. The Zack Kassian jokes have at least quieted in 2014-15 since Hodgson hasn't exactly been blowing his trade partner out of the water.
-- Michal Neuvirth stopped 45 out of 47 shots in this one, strengthening the argument to Dubnyk him out of Buffalo before he ruins his team's chances of being really bad for another month and a half.
-- Look, if your team trades for Chris Stewart, you're probably going to end up being disappointed. That said, he's a nice gem in fantasy when he's engaged.
CANADIENS 5, BLUES 2
-- The Blues' line combinations have been a little erratic lately, but the good news is that they can generally go three deep if they want to.
That said, Ken Hitchcock's welcome to stop throwing things in a blender whenever he'd like.
-- Alex Galchenyuk scored two goals and is generally really, really good. Montreal remains my choice for a team that could be really captivating if their coach doesn't mess it up.
-- Andrei Markov continues to be a cheaper version of P.K. Subban in a lot of ways. Not saying he's on the same level, but he's not that far behind and likely didn't cost fantasy owners much more than a middling pick.
PREDATORS 5, AVALANCHE 2
-- Thank you to these two teams for maintaining some order on a weird day, as Nashville doubled Colorado up (41-20 shots) as expected. The Avs are in big, big trouble and it's hard not to giggle at least a little bit at them, considering their significant hubris.
(Aka they're being Patrick Roy.)
-- This is already the best season of Roman Josi's career, as he has new top marks in assists (33) and points (44), not to mention a +20 rating. He's two goals away of equaling last season's career-best 13 goals, as his had a tally and a helper last night.
-- Josi actually has two more points than Shea Weber, who rewarded owners even without scoring last night with a peripheral explosion: +2, 17 PIM and nine SOG.
-- If you're making a Carey Price MVP argument, you have to put Pekka Rinne in that discussion, too. I know I've made this general point before, but it demands another mention. His numbers (35-8-3, .930 save percentage) are staggering.
OILERS 2, WILD 1
Scrivens is enjoying easily his best month of the season: 3-2-0, .21 save percentage in five games. Hey, beggars can't be choosers and all.
-- Not sure how exactly Sean Bergenheim will fit into the Minnesota mix, but he fits thematically by being good if not especially interesting.
-- These two teams bum me out in drastically different ways. Let’s move on.
JETS 4, STARS 2
-- Bryan Little has 24 goals and 50 points in 62 games, making the "underrated" talk very much in line with reality. He could very well threaten his career-best 31 goals from 2008-09 and 64 points from last season.
-- Man, Jhonas Enroth's been terrible in Dallas so far. It might start to get awkward if he doesn't win soon.
-- He's not a miracle worker, but my point remains: if you want to gauge Winnipeg's desire to make the playoffs, note how often Michael Hutchinson starts. If the answer is "barely more than half of their games," then it's clear pride trumps giving themselves the best chance to win. Sorry, Ondrej Pavelec, it's just the uncomfortable truth.
-- Erik Cole's really running with his opportunities lately, as he now has 18 goals (12 in 2015). Considering his history, his linemates can really make or break his production, so you wonder if the Stars will work a little harder to put him the right situation going forward.
His puck luck indicates that the party will die down eventually (18.6 shooting percentage), but the ride might last at least a little longer.