My Puck Daddy article is up. Find it here.

 

Both Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek have been diagnosed with concussions. Simon Despres makes an excellent pickup - do it now.

 

Some Avalanche notes - Paul Stastny left the game late after suffering a torso injury. Also, Stefan Elliott's low ice time came after a terrible turnover that led to a breakaway, further leading me to believe that he'll be sent down. Semyon Varlamov had another terrific game. He is 4-2 with a 1.81 GAA and .939 save percentage in his last six starts.

 

Valtteri Filppula left the game last night with a cut on his leg. They're not saying how serious it is right now. So probably not a paper cut.

 

St. Louis lines with David Perron back in the lineup: Backes, Oshie and Steen remains intact; Berglund with D’Agostini and Perron; Arnott with Sobotka and Stewart. This arrangement hurts Langenbrunner and Stewart, but helps Arnott and Sobotka.

 

Questions in Nashville are starting to arise about Sergei Kostitsyn’s commitment level. Here we go again – and just when we thought he was a changed man. He played five excellent months of hockey to end last season and had a strong camp (four points in four preseason games). But now this. I get the impression that with either Kostitsyn brother, if they have the slightest hangnail they start to mail in the effort. They need to be comfortable. One little papercut and they go from possible 70-point players down to ECHL players. Just my gut feeling.

 

The Guardian Project was a failure. I did my part, but I think the powers that be underestimated how much the negativity of bloggers and hockey fans would impact the growth. And then they failed to build momentum – as Wyshynski says here, the characters weren’t used on any jumbotrons to pump up the fans in the different arenas. This was meant to bring in (or keep) the very young fan. But even though it was targeted to 11 year olds, it should have been predicted that the 30 year olds would come down hard on this thing every step of the way. And that, in turn, would impact the interest of the 11 year olds. Anyway, I would have done it differently. It needed another year to build behind the scenes, for one thing.

 

If you want to see Lindy Ruff’s reaction to Tootoo (hit is below), you can see it here.

 

Andrej Meszaros has an apparent shoulder injury.

 

I just realized (thanks to an email from Ryan) that I haven’t addressed the Stamkos vs. Malkin debate here yet this season. This, after pretty much discussing it every two weeks for the prior year! My stance hasn’t changed. Stamkos will get you between 90 and 110 points in nine of the next 10 years. If you want the security, you can’t go wrong. Malkin will hit that range two or three times in that span – and he’ll beat that range two or three times. And, of course due to his fragility, he’ll fall short of the range three or four times. That’s how I see it. And I understand that I’m in the minority when I say that I’d prefer sitting on him for 10 years just to get those two or three glory seasons. I’ll suffer the three or four tough years out of 10. His upside makes him part of the Big 3. Upside. Not reliability. Not number of scoring titles. Upside.

 

If Martin Brodeur doesn’t retire after this season, I’ll be shocked. He has nothing to prove. But he’s allowed six goals on nine first-period shots in the last two games. He hasn't looked right in a couple of years.

 

To me, Ryan O’Reilly needed to cross that 19-point barrier. That’s where he was stuck as a rookie (19 points in 26 games and then seven points in 56 games). With two more Sunday, he’s beat the threshold. The Avs have one good line rolling right now – Landeskog and Hejduk are his linemates. How badly does this team need Peter Mueller to help kickstart a second hot line?

 

The wait on Mueller will be a little longer yet – he pulled his groin a few days ago, per Adrian Dater. During a bag skate, of all things. Meanwhile, his replacement Joakim Lindstrom has returned to Sweden.

 

With Erik Johnson back in the lineup, Stefan Elliot saw just nine minutes of ice time, although 3:28 on the PP. Still, it’s hard to run a PP coming off the bench cold like that. Next stop – AHL.

 

Henrik Zetterberg has eight points in his last seven games now.

 

Ty Conklin had the start, so Jimmy Howard’s seven-game win streak is intact. For Conklin it marks three straight losses.

 

Matt Duchene was stymied again (in terms of goals), but Sunday marked the second straight game in which he fired six shots on net. Positive sign, obviously.

 

Nick Johnson has a five-game points streak going. Seriously, he does. Hey, I noted him as a dark horse when the Wild picked him up. His ice time has been rising, hovering around the 15-minute mark. The first 10 games that number was closer to 11. When the Pens waived him, I called him “the most appealing name to go on waivers yet this year. Underrated player who deserves more than the minors this year.” Then Angus chimed in with “I like the Nick Johnson claim by the Wild. At worst Johnson is a third liner capable of chipping in with 12-15 goals and physical play. If an injury strikes in the top six, he can slide up (and depending on potential linemates, could be 20-25 goals).”

 

I then really put my money where my mouth was but putting him down for 41 points in the fantasy guide. He’s on pace for 33 at the moment. So what did the other guides have him at? Again I invite you to email me proof that you bought another fantasy guide elsewhere, and I’ll send you a free copy of the Guide I released in the summer for you to compare (and kick yourself over having missed).

 

The Midseason Guide is coming out in about five weeks. You can pick it up here – the packages that I have put it with this year make things cheaper than last year (if you buy it on its own it is the same price though). So if you miss the incredible tools available by Frozen Pool, or the true expertise offered by Goalie Post, or you want to try out Hockey Pool Geek – these packs really drive those prices down.  If you were to, for example, buy the “Midseason Goalie Pack” you are essentially getting a membership at Goalie Post for a dollar.

 

I have openings on staff for DobberBaseball. Email me if you are interested. The forum over there is also picking up steam again if you want to jump in with your thoughts and keep the ball rolling I would appreciate it!

 

With two points last night, Casey Wellman has appeared on the radar. He had a goal in the prior game. If he’s continuing a trend that we’ve seen in undrafted college players, then keep your eye on him. The trend I refer to is, after two or three years of getting acclimated to the pro game, they become quite valuable (Bozak, Purcell). Just ignore Matt Read – that guy’s a freak of nature!

 

Fingers crossed that Josh Harding can stay healthy this year. He’s proving that he can be a starter…but if an injury derails him…again…then there may not be any more chances. But now at 7-2-1 and with Backstrom sidelined, he’s taking the ball and running with it – and Backstrom may not get it back.

 

I still don’t take back all the teasing I did with Chris Higgins, nor all the laughter. But they guy now has 17 points in 26 games. His last three seasons have seen 62, 67 and 57 games played. I guess injuries are Excuse No.1 with him, and that excuse seems to be eliminated now. And his linemates David Booth and Ryan Kesler are showing a lot of chemistry. Higgins and Booth had three points each Sunday.

 

Mason Raymond played his first game of the season. He played 14:35 and tallied an assist.

 

From all accounts, Kevin Bieksa is having a horrible year. But all I care about is 10-2-7-9, plus-7 and 27 shots. Last 10 games. Doesn’t look sucky to me.

 

That’s three straight games with points for Rene Bourque. That’s his M.O. – he’s a top Windex Wonder, so I would expect that his points are undergoing a market correction and so the streak will continue for awhile.

 

Bruce Boudreau likes Matt Beleskey. That’s all you need to know – now go pick him up. Beleskey has two points in his last two games (new coach) and his ice time was up to 16 minutes Sunday. Just some very positive signs.

 

Lovely goal by Bouchard:

 

 

Fistric knocks Niederreiter out of the game:

 

 

Buffalo learned their lesson from the Lucic inaction – look at them jump to Miller’s protection after Tootoo hits him:

 

 

 


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Comments (11)add comment

donions said:

donions
Gaurdian project I'm pretty sure the Guardian project failed because it was a terrible idea.
We've been witnessing some of the best hockey the leagues ever seen post-lockout, featuring new and exciting superstars; yet the NHL decides marketing childish superheroes is the way to go...thank god it's over.
I still don't get the connection, 11 yr olds are gonna like these superheroes? So they're gonna get there parents to spend 200$ to take them to a hockey game? Something's missing.
December 05, 2011
Votes: -1

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... I don't think there is a Big Three anymore. I think there is a Big One (#87) and then there is everyone else.

I would take Ovechkin, Stamkos, both Sedins, Tavares, Duchene and Corey Perry all over Malkin. At a certain point, durability is a tremendous factor. Malkin may have them all beat in point-per-game potential, but if he plays 60 games a season and all of those other players play 80 games per season, who cares? It's not like he produces at a Crosby- or Lemieux-like clip that would balance out the fact that he misses that much time every season. I'll take 85 points in 80 games over 70 points in 60 games any day of the week. Depending on league format and depth, it could be difficult plugging in a reserve to make up that kind of difference, especially if the games missed by Malkin aren't consecutive.
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Noam said:

Holymanm
... umm... well consistency can give you a shot at winning pools, yes, until consistency implodes and makes it hurt all the worse for having *consistent* players do poorly.

100-70-82-75-70-76-?
92-73-70-80-?

why, yes, yes i do have both zetterberg and eric staal in the same pool this year! (zetterberg is picking it up a bit, i admit, but it's going to tkake a 15-20 in 10 streak at some point to get back to normal)

everyone dreams of having at-least-consistent players throughout the lineup, but that isn't always possible. unless you have a team of sedins and lundqvists...
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
Bieksa Bieksa's play lately has been much improved -along with the rest of the team. Hes cut out some of the bad defensive miscues that were awful to watch, keeping it much simpler rather than trying to be a hero every time (or justify that big contract with a hilight defensive play).
I hope they throw the book at Tootoo,he couldve skated behind the net, but as soon as he lost the puck he went straight for Miller. Wouldve been interesting if Gaustad ran at Lindback, only problem is Lindback is about 5 inches taller than Miller, Gaustad mightve just bounced off him.
December 05, 2011
Votes: -1

Massimo Cinelli said:

rticinelli
Malkin vs. Stamkos I feel that, unless you're talking about a true band-aid boy (and I don't think you can call Malkin that), injuries should not really be a consideration. Stamkos could get seriously concussed or have a horrible knee injury tomorrow that he has to deal with the rest of his career. We just don't know. What we do know, though, is that Malkin is the more talented player of the two. I take Malkin, and it's not even close.
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Meghan - thanks!
Dave - nope. Consistency gets you a lot of second place finishes, and a few third place finishes. It's the lucky bastard with two or three players who did a crazy production explosion that wins pools.
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
Pengwin Pengwin
Funny as always
I thump my chest about everything. I'm enjoying a great year. Seriously busting my balls about that? Really? He's on a hot streak now and I'm hoping it's a market correction, not pushing him "well above" my predictions. My point is that he was mentioned at all - like Craig Smith and Matt Read, or last year Jeff Skinner - whereas other Guides do not mention him. Just trying to put food on the table for my two little girls. A bit of promotion where I can get it. Enjoying my free site?

1. I said in my blurb that he is on pace for 33 points. Not sure why you needed to do this math here. I said it in the ramblings already.
2. He's trending upwards and if he keeps going he'll surpass the "at worst". If he doesn't, then he'll get the "at worst". It was bang on.
3. Yes. Without the pedigree, a player needs luck. I always preach this.
4. I own Cullen as well. I don't own Nick Johnson. Because there is a little thing called "proven" vs. "unproven"

"Got to be something better in that 52% to squawk about...no?"
Not really. Not when I post a 3000 word essay every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - plus 3000 words between Puck Daddy and THN. In those 12,000 words per week you eventually run low on "new" and "fresh" opinions and helpful tidbits. So at that point you are down to the Nick Johnsons.

Thanks for the feedback, but it's okay if you go easy on me every so often smilies/grin.gif
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Ry said:

PC_269_
Geno Hey, I'm just glad you check your email Dobber! Thanks for the mention.

I happen to agree, it's amazing the amount of people who picks Stamkos. Upside is so important to actually winning; I love the go big or go home approach and that is why I take Malkin. Stamkos is very good however, but I think you could find the consistency elsewhere.
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Nick Johnson! Oh now... Nick Johnson... this is what you are going to thump your chest about?
Nick Johnson!

So he's on a hot streak now, which means he should be well above your predictions.

1. I'm looking at a guide prediction of 41pts, eh. Johnson has 10pts in 23games and if he keeps that for the remaining 55 Wild games he'll finish at... 34pts. (I have a feeling that somebody sent you a little "You are Crazy" Hallmark card for that prediction.)

2. Angus said Johnson is "at worst" a 3rd liner capable of 12-15 goals. Johnson now has 4 goals through 23 games. At pace, he'll finish at... 14goals. So I guess he's right on pace for that "at worst" condition. I sure hope he keeps it up!

3. Kyle Brodziak is playing very well with Johnson on... the 3rd line. Latendresse is out and Casey Wellman has 3pts in 3games. Heck, Wellman's on pace for a PPG. I'd say it is pretty fortunate that Latendresse has head issues. Might've gotten lucky on this one.

4. How about predicting Matt Cullen for the same number of points as Nick Johnson?! What's up with that?! I can tell you there's a reason I own Cullen in two leagues and Johnson in zero.

Nick-Johnson-tire-pumping-and-chest-thumping. Ah - psssh.
Gotta be something better in that 52% to squawk about... no?
smilies/cheesy.gif
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Dave said:

ddp
Malkin Pfff....Malkin COULD have more pts, higher ceiling...YAAAAAWN.
Give it up already. Consistency wins pools and Stamkos is consistently better than Malkin now - bottom line. I have them both, and Stamkos is clearly the only untouchable.
December 05, 2011
Votes: +4

Meghan Schulz said:

mschulz
Malkin Great ramblings today! I agree with the Malkin vs Stamkos debate. I drafted him 3rd overall in my keeper league and would again in a heartbeat. Consistency is great (Stamkos) but when Malkin goes off the rails, that's what wins fantasy leagues. looking forward to the mid season guide!
December 05, 2011
Votes: +0
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