Blackhawks Struggling Without Corey Crawford
There has been quite a bit of speculation about what is ailing goaltender Corey Crawford. All Chicago coach Joel Quenneville would say is that the team expected Crawford to return to the team before the end of the season. That is now in doubt, as it was announced Tuesday that Crawford’s mystery ailment is vertigo. This is the second time in his career that he has had to deal with vertigo and the Hawks are taking all necessary precautions.
As far as a timetable for his return, like a concussion, there is just no way of knowing. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. What should Fantasy owners do? Well, he has already been out almost a month. If you have an injured reserve slot you can safely keep him there but if not, it may be best to move on. We don’t know when he will return and even when he does, the Hawks are not a great team this season.
They have struggled with consistency all season long. Crawford was their one saving grace, as he was having a fantastic season with a 2.27 GAA and .929 save percentage. I wouldn’t want to release him but if you need the roster spot, you may not have another option. Jeff Glass (3.10 GAA and .910 save rate) and Anton Forsberg (2.92 GAA and .911 save rate) aren’t bad goaltenders, they just aren’t in the same league as Crawford. If you have to choose between Glass and Forsberg, good luck.
The Hawks are likely to use a rotation in which they ride the hot goaltender. If you’re in a daily lineup league, you could claim both and make your roster adjustments each game. It’s not an ideal situation since you would lose a bench player, but if you need a starting goaltender it is feasible. In a weekly lineup league, I’d rather rid myself of the problem if I don’t have an injured reserve slot to stash him.
Jaromir Jagr: Career About to Flame Out?
Could this be the end of the line for Jaromir Jagr? The union of Jagr and the Calgary Flames has not gone as planned. He has dealt with multiple injuries this season and he has just one goal and seven points in 22 games. Jagr is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best players ever, but his NHL career is likely coming to an end. The Flames placed Jagr on injured reserve and will decide how to handle his possible retirement.
All-Star and Bye Week Scheduling
The NHL All-Star game is Jan. 27, which means that some leagues will combine that week with the one after for Fantasy purposes. Keep this in mind when setting your lineups as some teams may play more often than others. The good news is after the All-Star break, the byes will be over for each team. There will be no more weeks during which it seems half the league only has one or two games to play.
Kings’ Jeff Carter Nearing Return
Jeff Carter has begun skating again. Carter was lost to the Kings during the second week of the NHL season. The injury was originally expected to cost him six to eight weeks, but we are at the three-month mark now. He hasn’t started practicing yet, but that should be the next step in his rehabilitation. He should return to Los Angeles by the end of the month and could be a sneaky pickup if he is still available on your waiver wire.
Exploit the Wounded Islanders
The New York Islanders are a team of walking wounded right now. Josh Bailey has missed the past four games with a lower-body injury, and Andrew Ladd the last two with an upper-body injury. Casey Cizikas is out with a hand injury. Johnny Boychuk has been out almost a month with an upper-body injury. Calvin de Haan and Nikolay Kulemin are also wounded Islanders who are done for the season.
Bailey was in the middle of a career season with 12 goals and 50 points. He is still in line for a big payday next season since this is a contract year. He is also the closest of the Isles injured players to return to the lineup. The Isles have been forced to start players and give additional ice time to players they ordinarily wouldn’t. This has hurt their defensive efforts. They are in the middle of a stretch during which they have given up at least 32 shots in 12 straight games. So far, they have survived this stretch due to improved play from Jaroslav Halak, but eventually, that dam is going to burst. No matter what kind of league you’re playing in, you should be starting anyone you can think of versus the Islanders.