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Posted - 09/17/2009 :  21:11:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Heading into your NHL fantasy drafts it's key that you be aware of some of the injury issues that players are facing heading into training camp. With that, here's a run-down of some of the important ones:

Marian Gaborik - Is it a surprise that Gaborik is diagnosed with what some are calling "general soreness" and others a "tweaked groin"? Does it matter? Gaborik took part in a few skating drills yesterday but failed to participate in the scrimmage and won't start with the team during the preseason. I wouldn't touch this guy with a 10 foot pool in fantasy drafts.

Rick DiPietro - DiPietro is gingerly working his way back from three seperate surgeries over the course of last year as he went under the knife to repair issues to his hip and both knees. Oh, and he had back problems last season as well. And...there was those concussion issues. The Islanders are keeping him away from the team and DiPietro is facing shots at a different rink than the rest of the boys. The team signed Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron to fill the void and with so much money invested in DiPietro it is almost a certainty that they will not rush him back. Some are saying maybe November. I think "some" are a little delirious. Don't draft DiPietro in a one year league, partly because there's almost no chance he plays enough to have a fantasy impact and mainly because the Islanders are going to be brutal in 2009-10.

Pavol Demitra - Another band-aid boy, the soft Czech is out another 4-6 weeks recovering from off-season shoulder injury to repair a torn rotator cuff that he sustained in the playoffs last year against Chicago. Demitra had late season success paired with Ryan Kesler and may have been on some back-to-hockey shoppers' sleepers lists. Take him off and forget about him. He may come back, but for how long?

Kari Lehtonen - Once heralded as a can't-miss prospect and one of the brightest young goaltenders in the game, Lehtonen has suffered a myriad of injuries that have held him back. This season is no different as he will miss the start of the year as he is slow to recover from yet another back surgery (the second same surgery to repair a recurring problem). Thrashers coach John Anderson is now saying that Lehtonen is not the #1 goalie and that position is up for grabs. Johan Hedberg, Ondrej Pavelec, Drew MacIntyre, and Manny Legace are all battling in camp to prove they can handle our role. Our money long-term is on the highly regarded Pavelec.

Lubomir Visnovsky - Visnovsky is practicing with the Oilers but isn't 100% and is not taking part in scrimmages at the moment. The fact that he is still sore from off-season shoulder surgery and his "inability to fully rotate the injured shoulder" should raise red flags to fantasy owners. The Oilers are still holding course that he will be ready for the beginning of the regular season, but Visnovsky should be red-flagged regardless.

David Krejci - Krejci continues to rehab from summer hip surgery that will certainly keep him from starting with the Bruins on opening night. This from Krejci: "It feels like it's not healed yet." The problem is when he turns to the right while skating. Meanwhile, Krejci is taking part in on-ice workouts but is being held out of scrimmages for the time being. The Bruins hope he will return sometime in October.

Tomas Fleischmann - Poolies hoping for a breakout season for Capitals forward Tomas Fleischman will likely have to wait until after the season officially starts to find out of their prognostication comes true. Fleischmann is currently out with a blood clot in his leg, a condition that is going to see that he misses the start of the NHL regular season. The Caps hope that he will be cleared for contact in early October and game-ready by the 3rd or 4th week of October.

Marian Hossa - Hossa will miss the first couple of months recovering from shoulder surgery. Expect him to return sometime in late November or December.

Phil Kessel - Kessel is the subject of swirling trade rumours but regardless of where the unsigned sniper is shipped off to, he won't help poolies to start they year. Kessel is recovering from shoulder surgery that will keep him on the shelf for at least the entire month of October, and maybe longer.

Patrik Elias - Elias has off-season hip/groin surgery that isn't completely healed. He is still feeling discomfort and it sounds unlikely that he won't be ready for the Devils regular season opener. Elias actually had surgeries to repair two seperate problems this summer. Lou Lamoriello has already hinted that he is prepared to make a trade to bring in some help if Elias isn't ready, which to us sounds like a gigantic red flag that Elias may be farther away than the Devils are letting on. Or...maybe not. Draft at your own risk.

Joni Pitkanen - Pitkanen had knee surgery last week and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Plan accordingly, and my advice is to think it will be 4 weeks plus a little extra to get into game shape. He could miss the entire first month of the regular season.

Ray Irwin writes for, the most complete fantasy hockey advice website on the internet. Featuring player and prospect rankings and interviews, daily starting goalies, buy low/sell high, injury reports, goalie carousel, and lots more...come on over to and Get Educated!

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Ray Irwin
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Posted - 09/17/2009 :  23:52:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Since the time that I wrote this article, Patrik Elias underwent groin surgery and will be out 3-6 weeks. This should either open up a spot in the lineup for a prospect like Bergfors or Lou Lamoriello will look to go the trade route, as he hinted at before.
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