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Sunday Daily Puck: How Will Sochi Affect Your Team?

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner

Dan Waldner covers hockey for RotoWire, and has been involved in fantasy hockey pools for 15 years. He's a lifetime Toronto Maple Leafs fan, a passion his wife puts up with and his daughter is starting to emulate.

Sunday’s Daily Puck: How will Sochi affect your team?

Around the Rink

The Olympic countdown has only a matter of weeks left, and various nations are revealing their rosters to both acclaim and dismay. Nothing can rile up a nation’s hockey fans like the debate over who should and should not be named to best represent your country. Do you pick the speedsters who can best take advantage of the bigger ice or the rough, physical player who can put opponents through the boards? Do you choose the young up-and-comer or the older, established veteran? Do you add players based on chemistry, or by individual skill?

From a fantasy GMs point-of-view, the Olympics can serve as both a blessing and a curse, depending on a number of factors. Some players returned charged from victory, increasing their output; some players return fatigued and prone to injuries. Others still return dejected from their team’s loss, and take a while to get their game back.

To illustrate, let’s look at Patrick Kane - after a successful tournament, recording three goals and two assists in six games, a +4 rating and taking home a silver medal, his fantasy production dipped noticeably. Prior to the games, he had 25 goals and 44 assists for 69 points in 61 games (1.13 P/GP) and was in the top-five in league scoring. Following the disappointing overtime loss to Canada, he recorded five goals and 14 assists in 21 games (0.9 P/GP). He finished the year ninth in scoring with 88 points - certainly no slouch - but down from where his pre-Olympic trends were indicating.

As a contrast, when Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal, it set off a burst in performance that was impressive for even him. Before the games, he had 42 goals and 36 assists for 78 points in 61 games (1.27 P/GP); following that historic golden goal, he had 9 goals and 22 assists for 31 points in 20 games (1.55 P/GP). His production was actually elevated as a result of the Olympics as was several of his teammates’ – Jarome Iginla, Rick Nash and Jonathan Toews all increased their production following the Games.

And if it wasn’t enough to worry about post-Sochi slumps or streaks, you also have to consider the injury factor. GMs who are currently holding Roberto Luongo must be worried about the potential effects that any games there may have on the injury-prone netminder. If he’s healthy enough to play, there’s a good chance he’ll start at least two games, and if he’s successful, it may lead to another five. While it doesn’t sound like much, a seven-game addition to the season would represent a 10% increase to his workload over the course of a typical season. That could be detrimental towards the end of the season – right around the playoffs for head-to-head leagues. Worse yet: if the Vancouver management thinks along the same lines, they may start to reduce his workload which would greatly reduce his fantasy value.

As a hockey fan, I’m awaiting the start of the Games to watch the best hockey we’ll get to see for the next four years; as a fantasy GM, I don’t know what to think. Buckle up – it’s probably going to be a wild and unpredictable ride.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 1:00 PM

Nashville Predators (Carter Hutton) at Carolina Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00 PM

San Jose Sharks (Alex Stalock) at Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford), 8:00 PM

Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Edmonton Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov), 8:00 PM

Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack) at Anaheim Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 8:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Sunday

Winnipeg Jets

Jim Slater, C - Slater (sports hernia) resumed skating Thursday morning, Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press reports. (12/5/2013)

Matt Halischuk, RW - Halischuk (forearm) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 14 by the Jets on Monday. (12/16/2013)

Grant Clitsome, D - Clitsome's undisclosed injury is a back ailment, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. (12/27/2013)

Paul Postma, D - Postma (blood clot) took part in some light skating at Wednesday's practice, according to TSN's Sara Orlesky. (12/12/2013)

Pittsburgh Penguins

Beau Bennett, RW - Bennett will miss the next 8-10 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his hand and wrist Monday. (11/25/2013)

Jayson Megna, LW - Megna (lower body) will miss the next six weeks of action for the Penguins. (12/19/2013)

Paul Martin, D - Martin (leg) passed a bone scan on his fractured tibia and was back skating Saturday. (1/4/2014)

Evgeni Malkin, C - Malkin (leg) could be activated from IR in time for Sunday's game vs. the Jets. (1/4/2014)

Kris Letang, D - Letang (elbow) indicated that it's a "coach's decision" whether he plays Sunday vs. the Jets, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/4/2014)

Chris Conner, RW - Conner underwent successful hand surgery Saturday. (1/4/2014)

Andrew Ebbett, C - Ebbett has a broken ankle and will be out indefinitely, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (12/6/2013)

Tomas Vokoun, G - Vokoun (pelvis) remains on blood thinners, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/4/2014)

Pascal Dupuis, RW - Dupuis (knee) has a torn ACL and appears likely to miss the rest of the season. (12/27/2013)

Chuck Kobasew, RW - Kobasew is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/4/2014)

Nashville Predators

Pekka Rinne, G - Rinne (hip) will remain under limited activity for the next two weeks. (12/20/2013)

Carolina Hurricanes

Jay Harrison, D - Harrison (concussion) was placed on injured reserve by the Hurricanes on Friday. (12/27/2013)

Jiri Tlusty, LW - Tlusty underwent an emergency appendectomy Tuesday and will miss the next 2-to-3 weeks, Michael Smith of the Hurricanes' website reports. (12/27/2013)

Riley Nash, C - Nash (lower body) has been ruled out for a week to 10 days, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (1/1/2014)

Joni Pitkanen, D - Pitkanen (heel) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (10/1/2013)

Cam Ward, G - Ward will miss the next two games due to a lower-body injury, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (1/1/2014)

San Jose Sharks

Martin Havlat, RW - Havlat has been placed on IR, according Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area. (12/31/2013)

Raffi Torres, LW - Torres, who has been sidelined since a preseason collision with Anaheim's Emerson Etem, is still undergoing rehab from right ACL surgery. He has been skating regularly and feels he's currently able to perform around "60 percent," according to CSN Bay Area. (12/29/2013)

Adam Burish, RW - Burish will undergo back surgery in the coming days and is out indefinitely, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports. (10/16/2013)

Tyler Kennedy, LW - Kennedy will not travel with the Sharks on their current road trip due to the flu, David Pollak of the Mercury News reports. (1/3/2014)

Tommy Wingels, RW - Wingels (leg) has been placed on injured reserve Saturday. (1/4/2014)

Tomas Hertl, C - A former NHL trainer familiar with Hertl's type of injury told CSNCalifornia.com that a best-case scenario for Hertl's return would be approximately 12 weeks, but he'll likely miss six-to-nine months. (1/1/2014)

Chicago Blackhawks

Brad Mills, C - Mills (lower body) was waived by the Blackhawks on Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports. (11/15/2013)

Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Khabibulin (groin), who has been out since Nov. 16, is still "a way" from returning to the ice, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. (12/7/2013)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Mattias Ohlund, D - Ohlund (knee) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reports. (10/2/2013)

Brian Lee, D - Lee (knee) is still only doing off-ice workouts. (11/9/2013)

Steven Stamkos, C - Stamkos (leg) participated in a non-contact jersey during the latter portion of Thursday's practice, Damian Cristodero of the Los Angeles Times reports. (1/2/2014)

Keith Aulie, D - Aulie (hand) is expected to miss at least three more weeks of action, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (12/28/2013)

Edmonton Oilers

Philip Larsen, D - Larsen (illness) was placed on injured reserve by the Oilers on Friday, Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun reports. (12/27/2013)

Corey Potter, D - Potter is nursing a groin injury and will not be in the lineup Saturday vs. the Flyers. (12/28/2013)

Jordan Eberle, RW - Eberle will miss Friday's game against the Ducks due to a knee injury. (1/3/2014)

Vancouver Canucks

Andrew Alberts, D - Alberts left Sunday's game against the Flames to be evaluated for a possible concussion and will not return, Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/29/2013)

Alexandre Burrows, RW - Updating a previous report, Burrows underwent successful surgery on a broken jaw Monday and will be out for four weeks, News 1130 reports. (12/3/2013)

Alexander Edler, D - Edler took the ice to test out his injured knee Monday morning, the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/30/2013)

Jordan Schroeder, C - Schroeder (ankle) had successful surgery on his broken ankle in early November and is expected to return in eight-to-nine weeks, News 1130 reports. (11/5/2013)

Ryan Stanton, D - Coach John Tortorella said Stanton would miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury, Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/19/2013)

Hunter Shinkaruk, C - Shinkaruk will require major hip surgery and miss the rest of the WHL season, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/27/2013)

Anaheim Ducks

Viktor Fasth, G - Coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday that Fasth (lower body) would remain off the ice for about a week, Curtis Zupke of NHL.comreports. (12/27/2013)

Stefan Noesen, C - Noesen is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. (10/14/2013)

Luca Sbisa, D - Sbisa will miss the next six-to-eight weeks after suffering a torn tendon in his right hand in Friday's game, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (11/23/2013)

Sheldon Souray, D - Souray (wrist) skated before Thursday's practice, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. (11/21/2013)

Hot

Patrick Sharp C, CHI – He’s certainly making a case for his inclusion onto Team Canada – in the last five games, Sharp has seven goals and two assists in addition to an astounding +10 and 4PIM. He’s easily the hottest player in the league right now, and will be a handful for San Jose to handle Sunday.

Jeff Skinner W, CAR – The last month has been one of the most successful in Skinner’s career, recording 15G 4A 19P in 14GP, putting him on a point-per-game pace for the first time. He’s playing atop the top line with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin against Nashville on Sunday, and there’s every expectation that the success will continue.

Mike Fisher C, NAS – With eight points in the last three games, he’s on fire. He’s also been promoted recently to the first line with Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson, which has paid dividends. It will be interesting to watch on Sunday to see whether Fisher’s is able to continue the trend against Carolina.

Cold

Daniel Sedin & Henrik Sedin W, VAN – If Vancouver has any chance for success this season, both Sedin twins need to be successful; the last six games have been anything but for the Twins. In that span of time, Daniel has only two goals and one assist, and Henrik only has three assists - two of which were on Daniel’s goals. Combined with current winger Jannik Hansen, the top line has been ice cold.

Antti Niemi G, SJS – In his last 10 starts, Niemi’s record has been an uncharacteristically mediocre 6-3-1 2.60 GAA / 0.912 SV%. While he plays for a very good team in San Jose, he’ll continue to win, but his save percentage has been poor since October. He’s currently 10 SV% points below where he finished last year, which earned him a Vezina nomination.

Jason Garrison D, VAN – Showing extreme streakiness this year, Garrison is in the middle of one of his cold snaps. After scoring nine points in the first ten games, followed by a patch of 14 games without a point, which was then followed by another stretch of 13 points in ten games, his season has been a rollercoaster. In his last eight, he’s recorded one point, and if his game log is to be trusted, that won’t change anytime soon.

Recommended Pickup

Mike Fisher C, NAS – We couldn’t very well pass this up; not only is he on a hot streak right now, as evidenced by his inclusion in the section above, but he’s also criminally under-owned in all but the deepest pools (8% ownership rate). If you need to grab one guy to boost a week-end matchup, grab Fisher. He’s probably going to be the best available option for tomorrow.

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