FHL: Looking ahead

Updated: February 28, 2006, 4:15 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Fantasy Games
That sure was a surprising Olympic hockey final, wasn't it? Well, Sweden winning wasn't all too shocking, but Finland's impressive run at the gold captured our attention, and the Finns nearly pulled off a most improbable victory. That's tournament hockey for you, a system that, much like the playoffs, can often be unpredictable.

Fantasy hockey can be comparably unpredictable at times, and as the second half of the season is upon us, you can count on a few surprises or unexpected developments. As things get underway tonight, here's a look ahead at some of the most intriguing story lines:

Hasek hurt: The most significant, and perhaps the most devastating, injury suffered during the Winter Olympics was Dominik Hasek's strained adductor, which knocked him out in the tournament's first game. His status remains unclear, though the 41-year-old has already said he'll probably miss at least the Senators' first game of the second half Wednesday. That's a huge loss, as Hasek is the top name on the Player Rater, a top-three performer in wins, goals-against average and save percentage, not to mention the goaltender for the league's most potent offensive team. Of course, his fantasy critics will happily tell his owners "told you so," having theorized all season that Hasek couldn't possibly make it through an entire season unscathed. Still, while some might have anticipated this, it's nevertheless a startling development, and one to track the next several days.

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