Midseason Guide is out in about six weeks. I've also set up a package where you can get this, the playoff draft list AND a Frozen Pool or Goalie Post membership for $19.99. That's basically just a buck for the membership. There are other deals in the shop too - including one for Hockey Pool Geek, and one for the Midseason Guide/Playoff List together. In the shop!

 

It was getting late last night, so I didn't really touch on the Vancouver game. But Cory Schneider with a 47-save THEFT last night. After back-to-back shutouts, he has then taken it a step further by stopping 90 of 93 shots in the next two games. That's five wins in a row.

 

When Travis Zajac returns in two or three weeks, all signs point to him taking Adam Henrique out of the picture. Peter DeBoer goes on record as saying he will not touch Elias at center.

 

Dustin Penner is ready to return to the lineup. It will be interesting to see how the Kings shuffle their lines - Loktionov is the better player and deserves to hold his top six spot.

 

Not much in this Letang update, but it does indicate that he does not have a concussion.

 

In their first game under the new head coach, Alex Ovechkin played 16:26 and Alexander Semin played 14:17. So many things bouncing around my head about that I don’t know where to begin. I’ll just ramble and hope it all makes sense.

 

This is shocking to say the least. Dale Hunter’s style in junior hockey was to play the hell out of his best players. So why didn’t he do this in the NHL? I know it’s only one game – the sample size couldn’t be smaller – but if I were to give you the worst outcome for Ovechkin and Semin after one game under the new coach, this would be it. Ask me yesterday afternoon to outline the worst result for Ovechkin and I would say “Zero points, zero shots, and 15 or 16 minutes of ice time.” Well, he had one point and one shot, so technically not THE worst.

 

Again – why? Is Hunter making a statement? The difference in SH time vs PP time too minor. Is he making his mark? Doesn’t sound like something a brand new NHL coach would do in Game 1, whether your last is Hunter or Sutter or King George. Bear with me on this conspiracy theory….

 

Fact: Bruce Boudreau and George McPhee met two summers ago and decided to shift focus to defense. Boudreau did as discussed.

 

Assumption:  “discussed” means “ordered to”

 

Fact: BB and GMGM met last summer and decided to keep focus on defense, but increase focus on accountability. This was done, but Boudreau lost the dressing room.

 

Based on the above, I wonder if Hunter agreed to continue McPhee’s mantra during the job interview. In fact, I wonder if it was part of what swayed McPhee to hire him. Broke the tie, so to speak, if there was another candidate being considered. So Hunter comes in and lays down the law, and heavy hands his stars. One game, I know. But I need to find a logical reason for the low ice time and this is all I could come up with. If this is the case, you can expect a long season Ovechkin owners – forget about all the “rebound” talk I mentioned in the Boudreau article. One game, I keep telling myself. Ovechkin getting one shot on goal is a complete shocker, eh?

 

So in the battle of new coaches, the veteran Hitchcock beats the newcomer Hunter. Jaroslav Halak stops 18 of 19 shots – untested really, but I’d bet he gets the next start. The Golden Boy effect – Elliott could be 1.000 SP and 12-0-0 and Halak is still the Golden Boy.

 

A positive for Berglund owners – his line scored (Stewart and D’Agostini). Hopefully it’s one of those “opens the floodgates” situations, as Berglund and Stewart have been two of the most disappointing fantasy forwards this year.

 

Alex Pietrangelo missed the game because he was sick.

 

Marcus Johansson left the game early, but returned midway through the third. He took a puck in the midsection. I stand by my guess that Perreault gets back into the lineup and is given a chance.

 

The other new coach is Kirk Muller – who also takes a loss. Opposite of Hunter, he gave Eric Staal over 22 minutes and Jeff Skinner over 21. Good on Jiri Tlusty to fire four shots on goal – he needs to make his impression on the new coach quickly.

 

I see that, with Andreas Nodl in the Carolina lineup, that he was claimed off of waivers. Yes, I watched the games and went through the summaries before I caught up on my news releases. So I did a bit of a double take there. Nodl played 7:41, so more of the same for that guy, regardless of team.

 

Tomas Kaberle was back in the lineup. Clean slate with his new coach, hungry to prove himself after being a healthy scratch. So he goes minus-2. Atta boy!

 

Dmitri Kulikov left the game Tuesday and did not return. Apparently he was sliced by a skate. Hopefully just minor and not one of those “back in three weeks” type of gashes. We’ll know more this afternoon I’m sure.

 

Kris Versteeg is pointless in three. His line is still rolling, he’s just not in on any of them. It’s called a market correction – the end result will see Weiss and Fleischmann leading this team in scoring and Versteeg tagging along behind them and not the other way around.

 

I knew Al Montoya would start pounding out the wins and the awesome games as soon as the three-headed monster was slain. He’s 4-3-1, 0.933 and 2.07.

 

Luke Adam has five points in his last 13 games. Another market correction.

 

Interesting to see Ville Leino still getting close to 17 minutes and three PP minutes.

 

Radim Vrbata is having a career year. All he needed was chemistry with an offensive stud. And he’s found it with the ageless Ray Whitney. They each have 21 points now, combining for five Tuesday.

 

Mike Smith would have had back-to-back shutouts if the Blackhawks didn’t score a pointless goal with 43 seconds left of a 4-0 game.

 

Corey Crawford got the hook after giving up four goals on 21 shots. The wins are there and will continue to be there, but the SP is taking a shit-kicking and probably will continue to do so.

 

Unless and until one of Sharp, Kane, Hossa or Toews gets injured, Michael Frolik will continue to struggle. He needs linemates and PP time and he’s not finding the magic that he had with Bolland back in April.

 

If you didn’t conclude this already, age has finally caught up to Andrew Brunette. After dropping to 46 points last year, he’s looking at barely hitting 30 this year. And a minus-a million to boot.

 

Nikita Filatov took a skate to the face and broke his nose in several places. Sounds like he will be out for awhile. That’s the saga of Filatov – whenever anything gets rolling, injury hits.

 

Rough game for Andrew Ladd and his minus-4.

 

Are you shocked if Erik Karlsson doesn’t show up in the summary with an assist? It’s getting to that point.

 

Rangers prospect Carl Hagelin now has three points in three games. He is seeing about 11 minutes per game and there is no reason to believe that he’ll be an offensive force. But he was 225 on my Prospects List and certainly moves up from the recall – and the early success. But I have his upside pegged at 65 and his 3YP is something close to the low 40s.

 

Mark Giordano also left the game with an injury and did not return. Lower body.

 

Say what you want about Kevin Bieksa’s season, he’s had three points and is plus-3 with 17 shots and six PIM in his last five games.

 

Kris Letang missed the contest after all. Let’s hope it’s just the broken nose and not the concussion.

 

Kennedy vs. Avery right out of the box:

 

 

Kassian vs. Martin – Kassian with the Rob Ray tribute:

 

 


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Comments (18)add comment

Mater said:

Mater
... Hey Dobber,
Great read. Curious though I figured Hunter was just seeing what he has to work with, he likely know what he can get from the stars, why not give the others a chance to show Hunter what they can contribute. I have a hard time believing that Hunter is a yeas man. (Not that you said that)
cheers
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

lcbtd said:

germant
@ B. W. Great out-of-the-box analysis. I think you're on to something.

Ovi's inability to alter his game (a la Crosby) after defenders caught onto his moves and opposing coaches began adjusting defences is another troublesome factor.

He used to be the most exciting player in the game and I'd tune into Caps games just to watch this electrifying player. Now, he just seems dull.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

B. W. said:

SavageGardener
@BGJ LOL... no no, I've got nothing personal against him! In fact, I'd like to defend OV against claims that he got BB fired on purpose, not playing hard, taking it easy, etc. I'm sure he wants to succeed, I'm sure he wanted to win Olympic gold, win the Cup, etc.

But mentally... some players are enlivened with the responsibility of wearing the "C" and being expected to be a leader... some players should just stick to playing as well as they can, enjoying playing the game as well as they can, and not touch the other stuff. See "Luongo as Canucks captain".
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

BGJ said:

bletchley
... @ B.W.

Wow, buds...sounds like you've been thinking too much about how much you hate ovy..'image' 'promoted'...Settle.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

BGJ said:

bletchley
... Ovy's ice time was lower bc they weren't on the PP and he was playing much better.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

B. W. said:

SavageGardener
OV suffocating under the weight of his own image I remember Ovechkin playing best when he was playing like a free-spirited, devil-may-care man-child, winning adulation while lifting the Caps to contender status.

But some people do very well on the rise, and not so well after they've reached rarefied air. Especially when they are both massively self-promoting (he did more of that than all of the other star players combined, with roadshows, video game covers, marketing gigs, etc.) and being promoted (by Team Russia, by the Caps, being given the captaincy).

He has been pumped up so much by himself and others, that he looks like he's carrying a ton of expectations on his back... and unfortunately, that's not him (at least not at this stage).

Pittsburgh rolled the dice with Crosby by giving him the "A" as a rookie, and soon the "C", and he rose to the challenge and then some. He maintained his focus on being a hockey player. Ovechkin focused on being an icon... and hence, he's a icon, but not enough of a hockey player now. And he's miserably trying to be something he set himself up to be, but isn't.

There probably isn't a way to softly bring OV back to his fun-loving, exciting self. You can't strip him of the captaincy, or take attention away from him, even though it's best to take those burdens away from him.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +1

mick said:

hawkdog
Schneider When Dorsett leads your team in shots on net for the game (double Nash's output)? Does 46 saves really mean stealing a game?

I thought the rookie Johansen played an outstanding game and had the majority of the good scoring chances.


November 30, 2011
Votes: -1

Kingchev said:

Kingchev
Karlsson Threaded the needle to Spez for a nifty one tee, dunno how you missed. EK is looking quite dapper despite the flow.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Loved... ...the rambling today.

Love the use of GMGM and BB. I do that too... big time-saver.
Love the shout out to Vrbata - a SOG monster I've forecasted for a no-reason break-out a couple times.
Love the fight between two boys with ties to Windsor, Ontario! (ahh... home...)

November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

jacques oeuf said:

hammer2003
... Unless they are idiots and send Loktionov back down, the most likely Kings scenario with Penner back is the lines they beat SJ with but Penner replaces Hunter on the top line:

Brown-Kopitar-Penner
Gagne-Richards-Stoll
Clifford-Loktionov-Williams

November 30, 2011
Votes: +1

Puck Crosby said:

Puck Crosby
Caps Caps forward ice time spread around fairly evenly - everyone has clean slate? And only 20 seconds of pp time.

Interesting to note that ice time leader is ex-London Knights star Carlson.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +1

norrisdivision said:

norrisdivision
Schneider steals another one Surprised there was no mention of Schneider's 47 save gem of a game last night. The goaltending controversy continues to build in Vancouver. A 20-save W over the lowly Blue Jackets may have been shrugged off as a gimme, but this guy absolutely stole the game for the Cancucks. And when your goalie is almost single-handedly buying you wins, you just can't bench him!
November 30, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

Ken Shultz said:

kshultz
Conspiracy Theory "But I need to find a logical reason for the low ice time and this is all I could come up with."

It helps explain the move--if Hunter was brought in for the express purpose of going hard on Ovechkin and Co.

Like I said before, the best way to lose the locker room completely was to let a player like Ovechkin win a power struggle with the coach. If reigning in Ovechkin was part of the solution in Washington, then letting him win the power struggle with Boudreau couldn't be the solution too...

Unless! McPhee and Hunter decided beforehand to really give it to Ovechkin and make Ovechkin look back to the Boudreau era like it was the good ol' days.

From a fan perspective, I gotta wonder about a coaching change based on little but fixing the attitude of one (or two) players. If that's what they're doing, that just doesn't sound like a winning strategy.

It's interesting that McPhee said the same things about Boudreau after he fired Boudreau that he said about Hanlon after he fired Hanlon. He said Boudreau had lost the locker room--but I just don't buy that. I think Boudreau had lost one or two guys. And getting them back was gonna take time anyway--or they could have just traded Semin.
November 30, 2011
Votes: -1

Dobber said:

Dobber
ynotzz and doctor I don't know if you caught it, because I blabbed so much, but I said "Is Hunter making a statement? The difference in SH time vs PP time too minor." implying that I caught the team's low PP time and high SH time.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Chad Burly said:

2sticks1puck
Avery Avery was just trying to fix that nose!
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

ynotzz said:

ynotzz
Blues vs Caps Kind of getting the feeling that you are just rambling based on box scores here....even then it is pretty weird that you didnt notice the lack of PP time. Ovi had 16:26 of even strength ice time and that is plenty. I also felt like he looked inspired again.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

doctor said:

chubtown
Ovi that being said, 1 shot the entire game is a little troubling...
November 30, 2011
Votes: +0

doctor said:

chubtown
Ovi Caps on PP last night for only 20 seconds total for the game explains some of the reduced Ovi minutes. maybe Hunter just wants a good look at all his players out there as most of the minutes seem pretty evenly distributed among the entire team. let's hold off on those alarm bells for now. you're right, it's an awfully small sample size.
November 30, 2011
Votes: +2
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