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Hockey Notes

What a crazy season from an injury perspective or the lack thereof. Marion Gaborik isn't hurt, Tim Connolly is healthy, Martin Havlat is fine. What are the odds one or more of them goes down any day now? Hard to say, but I know I'd be pretty nervous if my season depended on their health. Meanwhile, what was thought to be a one or two week time frame for Semyon Varlamov has morphed into nearly two months. Varlamov hasn't played since Dec. 7. Theodore has picked his game up lately, but at least Varlamov won't have to worry about Michal Neuvirth, who has cooled off since a red-hot start.

Flyers fans chanting "Crosby s|STAR|cks, Crosby s|STAR|cks" shows more respect for the Penguins star than anything else. What I find amusing is that the stadium organist leads the refrain. Speaking of Sunday's Pitt-Philly game, Pierre McGuire asked Eddie Olczyk if Crosby was the same hard-working player when Olczyk coached the Pens in Crosby's rookie season. Olczyk replied that Sid's compete level of wanting to be the best doesn't surprise him. That's all he really had to say about the superstar. Interesting. Olczyk was miscast as an NHL hockey coach went he went from the booth to the bench. I think he's still bitter, in a way, over his lack of success in Pittsburgh, only to see the team prosper after his dismissal. That's understandable, but remember that it was Olczyk who tried to move Crosby from center to wing and had Sergei Gonchar pulling his hair out because of the lack of a defensive system.

I've always tried getting an undervalued Henrik Sedin on my fantasy teams. Unfortunately I only have him on one of my nine squads. Figures. Anyhow, he's going to have a hard time keeping the NHL points lead. Vancouver plays 19 of its last 29 games on the road – including a 15-game road trip sandwiched around the Olympics. The team is 21-7-1 at home but just 10-11-1 on the road. Sedin is averaging a little more than a point per game on the road (27 in 22), but can he keep up his scoring rate of 21.9 percent? After all, his career mark is 13.3 percent. My money is on Ovechkin – no great reach there. It is amazing to see Henrik in front of the likes of Ovie, Sid, Thornton, Gaborik, etc. any way you look at it. Good for him.

Defenseman Duncan Keith already set a career high in points with 46 (11, 35) in 52 games. Only 11 of those points are on the power play.

One of my all-time favorite fantasy players, Brenden Morrow, isn't playing up to his pre-injury level. With 27 points and 55 PIM in 47 contests, Morrow has been nothing special. He's always day-to-day with an injury. Last year before his injury he had 49 PIM in 18 games. Deciding whether to stick with him and his reputation or cutting bait by replacing him with a hot player will decide a few fantasy championships. I think I'm going to stick with him.

Jaroslav Halak vs Carey Price. Another week, another screw up of starting Price over Halak. Price started one game, an OT loss with a 3.81 GAA while Halak wins twice, saves 63 of 64 shots and records his third shutout. I don't think either one gets traded. 

What's with tough guys getting top six minutes? Daniel Carcillo, Steve Downie, Chris Neil? These guys are even picking up the occasional point.

Finally, where's Ray Whitney going at the trade deadline? Pittsburgh could really use him on the power play, though what the Pens really need is a big guy in front of the net. Dion Phaneuf? A change of scenery might do him some good. Ilya Kovalchuk to the Blackhawks just wouldn't be fair. I can't see that happening, but Marian Hossa to the Pens surprised me a couple years ago.