Several prominent names dotted the list of “slumpers” heading into the Olympic break. Now, after a couple of weeks off to heal nagging injuries and clear their heads, these players will look to turn things around. Let’s analyze the outlooks for some of these players.
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay – Everybody’s favorite trade rumor responded to his Team Canada omission by managing zero points and a minus-6 rating in the five games leading into the break. Seeing as Vinny had a run of three points in six games in November and a run of 10 points in six games in December, his hot and cold streaks dot the 2009-10 season. He has spent the past two seasons recovering from one surgery (shoulder) or another (wrist). He’ll get back to his old self next year. For now, expect the break to do wonders for his body and look for a strong finish.
Brad Boyes, St. Louis – A new coach was expected to bring in a hockey style that had less emphasis on defense. By extension, Boyes – arguably the Blues’ top offensive threat – was supposed to pick up his game. The result? Seven points in 22 games under coach Davis Payne and an eight-game pointless streak heading into the break. This could go one of two ways. The Blues could free up $4 million in cap space by dealing him, in which case a new team would afford him a fresh start on the first line. Or the Blues could deal pending unrestricted free agents such as Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk, which would give Boyes more opportunity. If Boyes stays in St. Louis, he will probably continue to flounder down the stretch. There has been absolutely no indication of things changing in his game, so a two-week break won’t affect him much. After a full summer off, he should come back strong in 2010-11.
Jarret Stoll, Los Angeles – Stoll is pointless in his past seven games, but it wasn’t that long ago he was looking pretty good for 60 points, a plus-20 rating and six game-winning goals. His ice time is still around 20 minutes per game, so write it off as a slump and don’t give up on that 60-point season yet.
Mike Fisher, Ottawa – Things went awry for Fisher’s breakout season when Daniel Alfredsson went down with an injury. Fisher has 16 points in his past 30 games – and that includes the 10 points in 10 games he posted upon Alfredsson’s return. The acquisition of Matt Cullen is not exactly a vote of confidence by the team in Fisher’s ability to be a second-line center. This isn’t the first time Fisher has faded after a productive run. Do not set your heart on more than 10 points in his final 19 games.
Brandon Dubinsky, Rangers – It’s simple. The Rangers acquired Olli Jokinen and Dubinsky responded by garnering just two points in the six games since. Removed from the Marian Gaborik line, he is in trouble. But his slump extends beyond the date of the Jokinen trade, as he had just one point in six games prior. Without Gaborik, don’t expect business to pick up.
David Krejci, Boston – Krejci returned early from off-season hip surgery and it’s showing in his production. The Czech Republic native is still trying to find his way this season and had just five points in 13 games leading up to the break. After being arguably the Czech Republic’s best player in the Olympics, it is promising he will carry that momentum back to the NHL and have a strong final quarter of the season, posting close to a point-per-game.
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