|ESPN.com: 2008||[Print without images]|
For a cogent and extensive medical take on Sidney Crosby's ankle injury, be sure to check out Stephania Bell's latest column, which gives a great description of both the circumstance of the injury and what a typical recovery pattern would be like. For my take on the fantasy repercussions, read ahead.
Matt Cullen, C, Hurricanes: After sitting out since New Year's Eve with a broken nose and concussion, Cullen made his return this past Thursday against Ottawa, and contributed an assist in Friday's epic third-period beatdown of Edmonton. He'll continue to be a valuable commodity, especially given his role on one of the power-play points for Carolina, so check to see if his owner dropped him after December's injury.
John Madden, C, Devils: It was just a week off due to a laceration on his ankle, but Madden decided to make a grandiose return on Sunday, as if he'd been out for months. Madden scored two goals, ensuring a Devils victory over Toronto, and spent more than 20 minutes on the ice, which tells us that he's good to go for this week.
Mattias Ohlund, D, Canucks: Ohlund appeared in his first game in almost a month after recovering from a concussion. Although he failed to appear on the scoring sheet, Ohlund did skate a full game, with 23:09 of total ice time including 2:55 on the power play.
|Paul Stastny will miss two to three weeks due to an appendectomy|
Sergei Zubov, D, Stars: Listed as day-to-day with a foot injury, Zubov took the Stars' last two games off over the weekend. It's unknown whether he will be suiting up for this week's games before the All-Star break, but an extended stay on the inactive list should give even more of a chance to Matt Niskanen, who has had a very solid effort in his rookie campaign and been rewarded with an expanded role on the power play. Many have already heeded the call of the Niskanen, but see if he's available in your league, he's a nice No. 3 or No. 4 defenseman from here on out.
Chris Campoli, D, Islanders: In spite of an inspired victory on Wednesday night, the Islanders lost their top-scoring defenseman, Campoli, to a shoulder injury, and he was held out of Saturday's game as well. The injury provides a little window of opportunity for Bryan Berard to make his mark. Although he has shown steady offensive brilliance in the past (including 32 points in just 44 games for Columbus two seasons ago), he has not been a factor at all this season.
Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins: Sid the Kid's superlative-filled career took a little detour on Friday night, and since the swelling on the ankle has yet to subside, the full extent of the injury is still unknown. Wayne Gretzky, to whom Crosby will always be compared, did not miss significant action in his NHL career until his 14th year in the league, when an upper-back injury caused him to lose his team's scoring title for the first time in his career. The Sid-less Penguins are 1-0 so far, thanks to a game-winning goal by checking-line winger Jeff Taffe, but the team will likely be leaning much more heavily on Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora and Colby Armstrong to shoulder the scoring burden. This would also be a felicitous time for Jordan Staal to break out of his sophomore slump, and with just 9.4 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, he might be someone to take a flyer on for the second half of the season.
Michael Nylander, C, Capitals: Quite largely overshadowed by Crosby this past week was the news that Nylander underwent season-ending rotator cuff surgery. While horrific for Nylander owners, it has given usual checking-line center Boyd Gordon the chance to show his stuff with some of the more skilled guys. Gordon has been the pivot on the second line between Alexander Semin and Tomas Fleischmann and he contributed two assists during the shootout victory over Edmonton last week. He has somewhat limited offensive potential, but could prove valuable if he sticks on the No. 2. line.
Tim Kavanagh is a fantasy hockey analyst for ESPN.com.