Times are tough for the Columbus Blue Jackets right now.
After losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday evening the Blue Jackets are now just 4-9-2 in their past 15 games and have fallen out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting one point back of the New York Islanders entering play on Monday.
Now the team has announced that captain Nick Foligno will be sidelined for the next one-two weeks due to a lower body injury that he suffered in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Penguins.
Foligno, 30, is having a down year with just 13 goals and 13 assists in 59 games but he is still one of the Blue Jackets’ top forwards, and for a team that is struggling to score goals they really can not afford to lose anybody. Especially given the schedule they have coming up.
Over the next two weeks the Blue Jackets have games against the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.
That is a tough stretch that could end up making or breaking their season.
This weekly column will aim to help you navigate through the rough waters of your fantasy league’s waiver wire. We’ll recommend players you should think of adding that are owned in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and we’ll also make recommendations on players you should think of dropping.
Here we go:
Clayton Keller– C/LW/RW- Arizona Coyotes (44 percent)
After a terrific start to his rookie season, Keller’s play dropped off. He wasn’t putting up as many points and he wasn’t making as many headlines as he was in October and November. But it looks like now might be the right time to pick up in your fantasy leagues. He has eight points in his last six games, including a four-point night against Montreal last week.
Anthony Mantha– LW/RW- Detroit Red Wings (39 percent)
Mantha was owned in a lot more leagues earlier this season, but his production dropped off quite a bit. He appears to be back on now, as he’s picked up six points in his last six games. He’s versatile enough because he’s eligible to play both wing positions in Yahoo leagues. The Red Wings forward should be added in deeper leagues.
Nico Hischier– C- New Jersey Devils (30 percent)
Hischier and Taylor Hall have formed a remarkable duo over the last little while. After hitting a bit of a wall near the midway point of the season, the first overall pick from last June’s draft has managed to pick up the offensive part of his game. He’s now found the back of the net in four straight games and he’s riding a five-game point streak.
Derick Brassard– C- Ottawa Senators (25 percent)
It sure seems like trade winds have given Brassard an added boost of motivation. The Sens forward has racked up six points in his last four games and he’s coming off a three-point performance against the Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Ondrej Kase– LW/RW- Anaheim Ducks (11 percent)
Kase isn’t a big name, but he’s been lighting it up for Anaheim lately. The 22-year-old has nine points in his last seven games. He’s on pace to hit the 25-goal mark in 2017-18. He could be an intriguing add in deeper fantasy leagues.
Milan Lucic– LW- Edmonton Oilers (59 percent)
If your league doesn’t award points for penalty minutes, there’s absolutely no reason for Lucic to be on your roster. He hasn’t picked up a point in any of his last 11 games and he hasn’t scored in 22. And in his last 12 contests, he’s also managed to accumulate just four penalty minutes. Lucic needs to be dropped ASAP.
Ryan Kesler– C- Anaheim Ducks (47 percent)
The 2017-18 season hasn’t been kind to Kesler. He missed over two months of action because of a hip injury and he just hasn’t looked like himself since returning. The Ducks forward missed the last game because of a lower-body issue. It’s time to cut ties with him and add one of the other players mentioned above.
Robin Lehner– G- Buffalo Sabres (51 percent)
Not only are the Sabres struggling, but Lehner is now day-to-day with an injury. Don’t expect Buffalo to win many games down the stretch, so picking up someone like Petr Mrazek, who might get traded before the deadline, could be a worthwhile gamble.
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — It’s part of the routine now, as much a staple of the Winter Games as the medal ceremonies, the doping scandals or the sequins on the figure skating costumes.
The United States playing Canada for the Olympic women’s hockey gold medal.
Jennifer Wakefield scored twice and Shannon Szabados stopped 14 shots on Monday night to lead the Canadians to a 5-0 victory over Russia and earn the four-time defending Olympic champions a spot in another gold medal game.
It will be the fifth time in six Winter Games since women’s hockey was added to the program that the North American neighbors have met in the final. No one else has ever skated away with an Olympic gold medal.
Canada outshot Russia 47-14 but struggled to pull away, scoring just once in each of the first two periods before Wakefield bounced one in off goalie Valeria Tarakanova’s right arm just two minutes into the third and then Emily Clark made it 4-0 just 31 seconds later.
Russian coach Alexei Chistyakov swapped his goalies, but it was too late. The Russians still have a chance for their first Olympic women’s hockey medal ever when they play Finland in the bronze medal match on Wednesday.
Marie Philip-Poulin and Rebecca Johnston also scored for Canada, which has won 24 in a row at the Olympics since losing the gold medal game in Nagano in 1998.
The United States advanced to the gold medal game with a 5-0 victory over Finland earlier Monday.
The Americans won the Four Nations Cup, third only to the Olympics and world championships in importance, beating Canada in three of the first four games in a Pyeongchang tuneup tour. But Canada has won the last four, with a 2-1 victory in the pool play finale on Thursday.
None of it matters, really.
The gold medal match is the game these two have been looking forward to since Canada rallied from a two-goal deficit and beat the Americans in overtime in Sochi four years ago.
And it’s the only thing right now that can help the 10 American holdovers from that team ease the pain of their 2014 collapse.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at email@example.com.
• The round robin portion of the men’s tournament is over, which means the qualification matchups have been set. (NBC Olympics)
• The U.S. Women’s Hockey players proved to be activists in their quest for equal pay and benefits. (Yahoo)
• German goalie Danny aus den Birken came up huge in a win over Norway. (NBC Olympics)
• There doesn’t appear to be many quality American hockey players outside of the NHL. USA Hockey should probably be blamed for that. (scottywazz.com)
• James Wisniewski’s father, who is in South Korea taking in the Olympics, has been diagnosed with a norovirus. (USA Today)
• Ducks GM Bob Murray thinks the asking prices from other general managers are a little too high right now. (OC Register)
• The ‘Hawks might be struggling right now, but they enjoyed a heck of a run over the last decade. (Daily Herald)
• Eugene Melnyck made himself the new CEO of the Ottawa Senators. (Ottawa Sun)
• There’s always a difference between what a fan thinks a player is worth and what a player is actually worth on the trade market. (Spector’s Hockey)
• The Blues are in a Wild Card spot right now, so should they consider being buyers or sellers at the deadline? (St. Louis Game Time)
• Dallas should consider making a trade to improve their struggling power play. (Defending Big D)
• The Buffalo Sabres have been one of the worst teams in the NHL this season, and season ticket holders are paying the financial price. (Buffalo News)
• Being part of the 2016 All-Star has opened up a number of different opportunities for John Scott. (CFJC Today)
• It sounds like the San Jose Sharks will start using their old logo again. (NBC Bay Area)
• You can check out the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Rangers and Flyers by clicking the video at the top of the page.