FHL: Cracks in the Pond

The new year is supposed to bring a clean slate, a fresh outlook, but for the Anaheim Ducks, it began on a particularly sour note. Losers of three of four to end 2006, the Ducks now begin the year 2007 missing some key players due to injury.

For Anaheim and for fantasy, no loss could hurt more than that of Chris Pronger, No. 9 on the Player Rater and tops among all defensemen. The former Norris Trophy winner (1999-2000) was well on his way to winning another one this year, leading all defensemen in assists (33), points (40) and power-play assists (19). Now, he'll miss four weeks and perhaps more after breaking a bone in his left foot blocking a shot on Dec. 31.

Pronger will undergo surgery once the Ducks return to Anaheim on Wednesday, and the good news is that the upcoming All-Star break does help cut into some of his missed time. The Ducks play only nine games before the league breaks for five days beginning on Jan. 21, and then they resume play on Jan. 28, at which time they hope to have Pronger back.