Well, that oddity just happened to Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks. The Finnish Flash, once again a top forward in fantasy hockey, scored two goals Sunday to become the first NHL player to have two 40-goal seasons after turning 35.
Not bad for a guy considered washed-up three seasons ago when he had 16 goals and 32 points with Colorado, and funny that it was an Avalanche player who wiped his name from another record he set while a rookie.
Paul Stastny, son of NHL great Peter Stastny, was playing peewee hockey 14 years ago when Selanne set the rookie standard for points in 17 straight games. That was back in his high-flying first season when he scored 76 goals for the Winnipeg Jets. That might never be topped. But with Stastny picking up an assist Sunday, the points streak record is no longer in his name.
Stastny’s 18-plus run has been mighty impressive. With 66 points as of Monday, he’s a must-own in all hockey pools.
Don’t put Evgeni Malkin’s name on the Calder Trophy just yet because Stastny is one of several late-charging contenders for rookie-of-the-year honours.
Penguins rookie Jordan Staal has seven short-handed goals and 27 goals in all, while Anze Kopitar of the Kings has 38 assists, just three fewer than Malkin.
Kopitar is out with a back.injury and should be reserved for now. Otherwise, he’s a keeper, as are his fellow freshmen at the top of what is, for the second-straight year, an impressive rookie class in the NHL.
Poolies in prize contention are on constant alert for new line combinations and hot hands down the stretch.
Two players to watch are sophomore Mikko Koivu, playing with Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra in Minnesota, and rookie Geoff Platt, who scored his first NHL goal while skating on the Blue Jackets’ top line with David Vyborny and Rick Nash.
Another rookie worth watching is Phil Kessel in Boston. A slow start and treatment for testicular cancer took him off the radar but, with Glen Murray injured, Kessel and young Brandon Bochenski could make noise as Marc Savard’s wingers.
Another Bruin, Chuck Kobasew, just off injured reserve, picked up two points Sunday on the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm.
Longer in the tooth are Bryan Smolinski and Eric Belanger, two veterans recently traded to playoff contenders and definitely worth poolie attention now.
Smolinski is skating with Markus Naslund in Vancouver, and Belanger finds himself with Slava Kozlov and Marian Hossa in Atlanta.
It’s never guaranteed, but poolies will be delirious if those line combinations remain unchanged for a few more weeks.
Did you really expect Peter Forsberg (upper body) to stay healthy after he was traded to Nashville? If so, you probably also think Chris Simon’s skills will be sorely missed the rest of the season.
Forsberg is day-to-day, and with Steve Sullivan (back) also indefinite, pool values for just about every Predator take a dip.
Columbus is another team putting a beating on fantasy hockey owners. Bryan Berard (back) is finished for this season – and possibly his career – while Blue Jackets teammates Pascal Leclaire (knee), Duvie Westcott (concussion) and Dan Fritsche (lacerated wrist) are also gone for the year.
Poolies who scored a surprise by claiming Marcel Hossa off waivers last month can now drop the Rangers forward. He’s out at least three weeks with a knee injury.
Chris Pronger (broken toe) will be out two weeks or more. Ducks defenceman Francois Beauchemin sees his pool value rising considerably as a result.
Was Kyle Wellwood (groin) dropped in your pool? Back after missing 33 games with the Leafs, the playmaker looked seriously sharp in his return Saturday.
Grab him right away.
Greg Dennis can be reached at cp.pool(at)hotmail.com.
Some suggestions on players to watch or watch out for in your hockey pool this week:
1. C Jeff Hamilton, Blackhawks. Yalie registers a hat trick and seven points in two games last week.
2. RW Scottie Upshall, Flyers. Has nine points in 11 games since acquired from the Predators.
3. RW Colby Armstrong, Penguins. Five points in March represents a break of sorts from sophomore slump.
4. Ryan Getzlaf, Ducks. Future continues to brighten as budding star gets six points in four games.
5. D Alexei Zhitnik, Thrashers. Two assists in three straight games – think that trade’s working out?
1. RW Bill Guerin, Sharks. Wow, go figure, not a single point in six games after deadline trade.
2. C Shawn Horcoff, Oilers. His yo-yo season is now walking the dog – no points in past seven games.
3. RW Chris Neil, Senators. No points and minus-four in eight games after unpunished cheap shot.
4. G Dwayne Roloson, Oilers. Six straight losses but the Oilers were shut out in three of those games.
5. D Chris Chelios, Red Wings. No points in 10 games but, come on, he’s like 63 or something.