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Canadian Press
Jan 8, 2007, 3:07 PM EST

(CP) - It's never automatic but certainly the assumption is any player who lines up with an NHL superstar will pick up points and his fantasy hockey owner will reap the benefits.

Not always the case, ace. False expectations abound in Pittsburgh where too many players lucky enough to skate with Sidney Crosby have proved they couldn't drop a puck down a well.

How do you go 22 games on the Penguins' top unit and not score a single goal? That's what Colby Armstrong did to start the season, most of it playing with Crosby. Armstrong's great potential has dissolved into great disappointment.

He's not the only stud turned dud.

Nils Ekman, over from the Sharks, was Crosby's right-winger when the season opened and, rightly so, poolies on draft day were on him like a rash.

But now they're just scratching their heads, trying to figure out how Ekman could only score two goals in his first 12 games as the Kid's sidekick. What looked like a promising 50-60 point campaign is now stalled with injury at 15 points.

Happily for those poolies smart enough to draft Mark Recchi, this veteran is now flourishing on Crosby's right side. The left wing is now occupied by Evgeni Malkin, who would be highly valued no matter where he played.

Before Malkin had the spot it belonged to Ryan Malone, who has one goal and that one point in his last nine games.

The abysmal production defies all reason save for an understanding of how some players can make poolies go bonkers.

Injury Update

It's awfully tough replacing a fallen superstar like Jarome Iginla (knee). Fortunately, it looks like the Flames' leading scorer isn't badly hurt and could return in a week or two. Darcy Tucker (foot) is another sniper on the mend but the Leafs winger should also be back before too long.

The prognosis isn't as good in Anaheim.

Ducks star Chris Pronger (broken foot) will miss at least a month after blocking a shot last week. The league's top offensive defenceman is impossible to replace but, with Francois Beauchemin (spleen) also out a minimum four weeks, poolies should keep an eye on Anaheim's Sean O'Donnell.

He'll get a fair share of power-play time now.

He's better than a point-per-game performer when healthy but after missing 19 games with an ankle injury Martin Havlat (groin) is on the shelf again.

There's no telling the severity of this injury yet, but Havlat owners - and anyone with Blackhawks, for that matter - should keep their fingers crossed.

Columbus forward Anson Carter (shoulder) picked a bad time to get hurt as he was just starting to turn around a miserable season. We'll see if he can pick it up again in two-three weeks, but poolies should search for a permanent replacement.

Waiver Watch

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