Crashing The Net: Capitals hope lineup shakeup wakes up Ovechkin
Capitals hope moving Alexander Ovechkin to right wing will rekindle his offense
Dan Boyle is rounding into form after playing most of November with a broken foot
Ray Emery has won last five but does not have experience of starting regularly
From goal scorers to defenders to the men who keep the puck out of the net, each week we'll take a spin around the rink and touch on some of the players that are in the news.
Alexander Ovechkin has been a miserable performer this season (10g, 12a in 31 games), and the "good times" have just kept on rolling in December with a mere four points in eight games. Frustrated with the "former" superstar, the Caps have decided to shake things up by shifting Ovechkin from the left to right wing. Who knows if the move will stick, or if it will help, but at this point they have to try something.
Jannik Hansen had 29 points in 82 games for the Canucks last season. In just 33 games this year he has 18 points. Already having set a career-high with 11 goals, Hansen has been a substantial offensive performer in the month of December with six goals and two helpers in nine games. Take that, Ovechkin.
T.J. Oshie isn't exactly a household name, but the young forward is a leader on and off the ice, and he's also a pretty darn good hockey player. Skating on the Blues' first line with Alex Steen and David Backes, Oshie has scored a goal in his last two games and has points in three-straight games. With 11 goals this season, he is well on pace for his first 20-goal campaign in his fourth year in the league.
Derek Roy isn't an elite goal scorer, but in his last four healthy seasons he's produced 21, 32, 28 and 26 goals, respectively (he had 10 in 35 games last season). This year he's fallen well off the pace with just seven markers in 32 games, and it's been 15 games since he lit the lamp for the Sabres. He'll continue to get prime ice-time with the Sabres and could be a nice pickup on the cheap.
Teemu Selanne is 41, but the guy is simply an offensive marvel. After racking up 80 points at the age of 40, Selanne is off to the races yet again with 35 points in 33 games this season. Included in that is 16 points with the man advantage. This is likely be his last season, but it's clear his skills are still borderline elite.
Eric Staal is still saddled with a minus-18 mark, but at least he has picked up the pace a bit with eight points in his last eight games. That doesn't erase an overall poor season with seven goals in 34 games. Moreover, he's the only skater in the league with more than 107 shots who doesn't have at least 10 goals. His 120 shots on net is tied for fourth in the league.
Kyle Turris will make his Ottawa debut on Tuesday. Skating on a line with the Nick Foligno and Erik Condra, Turris will attempt to kick start an offensive game that was nonexistent when he was with the Coyotes (zero points in six games). The third overall selection in the 2007 NHL has shown little of the flair that he possessed when he was drafted.
Dan Boyle didn't produce a point from Nov. 11 through Dec. 5. For a guy who had recorded at least 50 points in five of six seasons, that was a massive run of futility. Now we know why: Boyle had been playing with a broken foot. He has four points in his last four games for the Sharks and is finally starting to look like the offensive weapon that he always has been.
Brian Campbell is second among blue-liners with 25 points. But he has only one point in his last five games.
After recording 46 points last year in Colorado, John-Michael Liles has moved on to Toronto and the points have continued to flow. Liles has 21 points in 33 games. That's the same total as Ryan Suter, Duncan Keith and Zdeno Chara.
Bryce Salvador isn't likely to be on any fantasy clubs after averaging 15 points the last two years. This season, he has only four points and is a plus-4 on the year, but that plus/minus mark is on the rise of late as he has posted a rather amazing plus-11 in his last six games.
White leads the Red Wings with a plus-23 mark. Guess what? That leads the NHL, one ahead of Tyler Seguin.
There are only three blue liners with 50 PIMs on the year: Theo Peckham (66), Shane O'Brien (58) and Andy Sutton (50). O'Brien has more points, 10, than the other two combined (Peckham and Sutton each have three points).
Ray Emery has become an early season savior for the Blackhawks. With Corey Crawford failing to live up to the standards he set last year, Emery has emerged as the starter in net for the 'Hawks. Emery has won his last five starts, and over his last eight outings he has posted a .936 save percentage. Don't give up on Crawford, though, since Emery last appeared in 40 NHL games during the 2006 season.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere continues to tend some excellent net for the Avs. He improved his record to 6-4 with a victory in his last two outings, and he has a .929 save percentage overall. He hasn't stolen the job from Semyon Varlamov, but the Avalanche must play him more with the way that he's playing in net.
Roberto Luongo is back. After struggling with his performance and some minor healthy issues, and watching Cory Schneider impress the hockey world while tending some impressive net, Luongo has reasserted himself as the star between the pipes for the Canucks. Luongo has won six of his last seven games, and in December he's sporting a 1.67 GAA and .937 save percentage. Hopefully you didn't bail when he had some struggles because he's back to being the elite goaltender that he is.
Carey Price has had a disappointing 2.96 GAA and .900 save percentage in the last two weeks. Still, he's been facing a barrage of shots as his 190 saves lead the NHL (11 more than Pekka Rinne).
Claude Giroux (concussion) skated for an hour and half on Monday. He also skated with his teammates on Sunday while wearing a no-contact jersey. No return date has been set, but clearly he's feeling better by the day, so a return before the new year would seem to be possible.
Martin Havlat (lower body) will likely miss one game, maybe even a couple. He was injured when he tried to jump over the boards to get back to the bench. It's been a tough start to his career in San Jose as he has only two goals in 26 games.
Mikko Koivu (left) has missed two straight games, but after a strong workout on Monday the hope is that he will return to action on Tuesday against the Flames.
Brent Seabrook (upper body) is traveling with the 'Hawks, but it's not known if he will be able to suit up on Tuesday against the Penguins. Seabrook was smashed into the boards by Rene Bourque and many have speculated that he might have suffered a concussion. Since he's traveling with the team, a concussion seems rather unlikely, so hopefully he won't miss much, if any, time.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, and his NHL thoughts can be read at Rotowire.com. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.