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Groin injuries can be the bane of an NHLers life - and a poolies too

And skating. Generally speaking, these adductor muscles are better known as groin muscles. Hockey poolies also know these muscles are easily pulled or strained. And are a powerful pain in the butt.

Groin injuries are as maddening in fantasy hockey as they are common in the NHL. Healing time is always uncertain and players listed as day-to-day can be off the ice for weeks and weeks.

Take as an example Wild winger Marian Gaborik, who strained one of those adductor muscles on Oct. 22. He was at first listed as day-to-day and then figured to be out only a week or two.

Almost four weeks passed before Minnesota finally put Gaborik on the injured reserve list, dashing all hopes patient poolies had of his recovery.

Meanwhile, Rick Nash of the Blue Jackets left last Saturday's game with a groin injury. He's listed as day-to-day - of course - and fingers are crossed in fantasy land that it's not serious.

Kings defenceman Rob Blake also strained a groin muscle on the weekend. The bad news there is it can take older players extra time to recover from these nagging injuries. Keep a close eye on his progress.

Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall have been out of action since Nov. 10 with groin injuries. Reserve Kronwall until further notice, but it appears Holmstrom has recovered and will be back this week.

So too will the Leafs groin-addled goalie Andrew Raycroft and Senators defenceman Wade Redden.

As with all players recovering from groin injuries, make sure they play before you activate them. Also be aware that, as in Redden's case, this is often a recurring injury that can haunt you for weeks to come.

Waiver Wire

Goaltender Johan Holmqvist has stolen the Lightning's starting job from Marc Denis, and might just keep it for awhile. Don't dump Denis just yet but definitely grab Holmqvist, the winner of four games in four straight starts.

We wonder if many poolies were tempted by the news of Wayne Gretzky practising with the Coyotes Friday to put in a quick claim on the 45-year-old coach.

No need to get excited. The Great One was just subbing in for a missing forward and said after his first practice in six years that he has no comeback plans.

A veteran still available in some leagues is Mark Recchi. Dismissed as over-the-hill in most drafts, the 39-year-old Penguins winger is now getting serious power-play time and has 13 points in his first 17 games.

Of the younger free agents, poolies might consider the services of Red Wings forward Dan Cleary. He has nine points in his last six games playing alongside Pavel Datsyuk.

Rookie Guillaume Latendresse now has three goals and two assists since joining the Canadiens' top line five games ago. Another good rookie pick-up is Avalanche winger Paul Stastny, who has a quiet 14 points in Colorado's first 19 games.

Injury Update

Maxim Afinogenov (separated shoulder) returned after missing five games to score once and add an assist in the Sabres' win over the Penguins Friday. He's back playing on the top line with Thomas Vanek and rookie Jiri Novotny.

Novotny will take the face-offs while Derek Roy (hand) takes a couple weeks off, and is worth a wee look from poolies looking for temporary help.

Richard Zednick (wrist) also returned to action Friday night. While he did register a goal and two helpers on the weekend, it should be noted he's now playing on the third line. Consistent production and a promotion could earn him a pick up in deeper pools. Stay tuned.

The Leafs could also have Mats Sundin (elbow) back in uniform soon. Get that finger on the activation trigger and pull it as soon as the captain gets the go-ahead to play.


Greg Dennis can be reached at cp.pool(at)


Who's hot and who's not around the NHL

(CP) - Some suggestions on players to add or avoid in your hockey pool this week:

Who's Hot

1. G Tim Thomas, Bruins. Rebounds with three wins in three straight starts last week.

2. W Geoff Sanderson, Flyers. Veteran returns to form with four goals in four games.

3. C David Legwand, Predators. Perennial underachiever clicks on top line with Kariya.

4. LW Chris Kunitz, Ducks. The waiver-wire wonder stays hot with a five-goal week.

5. G Curtis Joseph, Coyotes. Maybe the old dog will keep the starter's job after all.

Who's Not

1. C Brendan Morrison, Canucks. Two points and a miserable minus-8 in November.

2. C Eric Lindros, Stars. The Big E is a big bust with doodly in five straight games.

3. LW Kyle Calder, Flyers. Annis horribilis (no goals) got worse with a scratch last week.

4. RW Nikolai Zherdev, Blue Jackets. In his past seven games, not a single point. Nadda.

5. C Bobby Holik, Thrashers. Hard to believe any Thrasher could go five without a point.


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