I muse below about which defensive team could meet the defensive LA Kings, but I've just found out that their next opponent is known. St. Louis, known for winning lots of 1-0 games, will face Los Angeles, known for winning lots of 1-0 games. Quick vs. Elliott, because I think Hitchcock is going to ride each goalie until they lose or play badly and right now it's Elliott's to lose. Now, six months ago the thought of a 'Brian Elliott vs. Jon Quick' as an epic goaltending battle was laughable. It's funny the difference that six months makes.


The Penguins are out, and with it my chances of winning two of my three playoff pools. And that’s where my love of this team ends. Without hockey pools, Pittsburgh is just one of thirty. I know some hardcore Philly fans – and Pittsburgh haters – have been teasing me, accusing me of homerism. But the fact is I like the Preds, the Oilers, the Flyers (yes – believe it or not – I just didn’t give them a hope in hell two weeks ago) and the Leafs just as much, were it not for my fantasy hockey stake in them. I also like and respect any organization that builds patiently through the draft, or runs a smart company. So the Panthers and Sens are growing on me, and the Red Wings GM Ken Holland is my favorite. Just so we’re clear on bias.


The teams that I dislike are the ones without a clue – so the Leafs in the pre-Burke days, the Flames, the Wild before they cleaned house a year or two ago, etc. I’m a businessman who loves good business sense. And that’s another reason why I love keeper league fantasy hockey. Run your team like a business. Think short term and long term.


So what went wrong with the Penguins, the best team in the last 20 years other than Detroit in the early 00’s? They took the Flyers lightly, thinking they could out run-and-gun them in Games 1-3. And you know what? They were probably right…if Fleury was on. But he was far from on. Even in Game 4 he was bad, but he was protected. In Game 5 he was finally “on” in the latter two periods.


It’s not because the team poured money into “three stars” as someone suggested last week. In fact, they have poured money into six stars (Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Neal, Letang, Fleury). They also did a “buy low” on Steve Sullivan, have Kunitz on the cheap and they have one of the best defensive defensemen in the league with Michalek. Throw in an agitator (Cooke) a jack-of-all trades (Dupuis) and a tenacious checker (Vitale) and the elements are there. From a business standpoint, the Pens have one of the best put-together teams in hockey. But a) they underestimated the Flyers and b) there was no Fleury to bail them out. If Fleury posted even a .890 SP, the Pens would have been fine. But he wasn’t even close to that.


Fleury’s final save percentage for the round was 0.834. Try to find me any goalie in history who moved onto the next round with that number.


Another reason that the Flyers won? How about the fact that Claude Giroux is a superstar? Of all the arguments that I got a year ago, and two years ago about Steven Stamkos being part of a “Big 4” I think a better argument can be made about Giroux. While Stamkos could one day get 70 goals…I think 125 points is out of his range. Whereas Giroux could get 125 points. Feasibly. Not saying he will, I’m just saying I won’t fall off my chair in shock if he does. I do think we’ll see him in that 105-110 range within three years if he stays healthy.


Giroux has tallied 107 points in 83 games this year!


Signs that Danny Briere is winding down – he’s still a playoff stud, but this is the second year in a row that he’s been a playoff stud after being a regular season dud. And his minus-5, which is a team low, doesn’t bode well either. He’s only 34, and he still dazzles out there. But parts of his game are weakening.


Signs that Jakub Voracek is winding up – he had 15 points in his last 15 regular season games and has seven points in six playoff games in this, his fourth NHL season.


Eric Wellwood has been so strong defensively I hold little hope for him getting a shot as a second-liner. You’re seeing the makings of a solid checking-line player.


So do the Penguins bring Steve Sullivan back? Not a whole lot of room under the cap and they have to re-sign Niskanen. Also, do they go with Brad Thiessen behind Fleury? Brent Johnson’s contract is up.


Sharks. Obviously tear it down. At this point, the group they have will not win the Cup. If it’s me, I think the coach goes. I also see what the market is for Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. One or both get moved for some young talent. If they do as well as the Flyers did last summer, they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. They also need to quit pretending Niemi is an above average goaltender. He’s average at best, and goes through too many cold streaks. I think the team would do better with Greiss to be honest. But he’s not the answer either. Besides – Niemi is signed for another three years.


So what are the moves? Trade one of Thornton or Marleau (or both – but that’s hard to swing in the cap world). Buy out Handzus. Let all the UFA’s go except maybe Torrey Mitchell. And let the coach go. Extreme? Yes, but I’m normally pretty patient – I get upset when fans or the media don’t give a plan enough time. So when I’m ready to pull the plug, it must be serious! What would you do?


Patrik Berglund – great rookie season, terrible sophomore season, great third year, terrible fourth year. Another Vinny Prospal? Look at him go with Andy McDonald (who is signed for another season).


Last week I launched the next wave of fantasy hockey – dobberprospects.com. If you haven’t checked it out, take a look. To my hockey blogger friends – please spread the word! The site is priceless for keeper leagues and it’s only going to get better as we fill it with content. Brendan Ross has been filling the ramblings with some great thoughts from around the prospects world.


Mark Stone played 8:43 Saturday but he’s already outscoring fellow rookie-debut guy Chris Kreider, notching his first assist. He was used properly – limited ice time, quality linemates when he played, and some power-play time. Love it. Hate it when a skill guy comes in and sees time with the pluggers. I’d rather he get one minute playing one shift with two stars, than 12 minutes of action with a checker and an enforcer.


I mused on Twitter that I thought Raffi Torres would get 20 games, such as with Dale Hunter on Pierre Turgeon. Pretty close! I just knew the hammer would come out though, the media has been clamoring for it for quite some time now.


So Red Wings fans – is Jimmy Howard the answer? Solid numbers last season, but in the playoffs he’s 13-15, 2.63 and 0.915. Not to blame, but with a better team in front of him can he do it? And now that some of the veterans are slowing down, to the Wings start to bring in the kids a little faster? A rebuild won’t happen, and isn’t needed. But time to let Holmstrom, Hudler and Stuart go. Beg Lidstrom to stay. Graduate Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith. And sign one marquee free agent. Just like that, an awesome team is iced once again.


Danny Cleary will have surgery to repair torn cartilage on his left knee.


Historic AHL streak – Norfolk won 29 regular season and playoff games in a row before losing Saturday. Finally. That’s Tampa Bay’s farm team. The undrafted Cory Conacher has been leading the way there, and as I’ve said here many times, he’s worthy of a look in keepers.


So how many of you took Michael Frolik in your playoff pool? A point in each of his three games so far. He went 63 games this season without posting points in three of them in a row.


Not a bad time for Tyler Seguin to pick up his first two points of the series.


Rich Peverley has been huge for the B’s so far. Coming off his best points-per-game average of his career, he’s stepped up his production further. He’s in his prime, so if healthy I think he’ll bury his career high of 55 points next year.


With Mike Green’s goal yesterday, give him 33 points in his last 87 games.


So that brings us to the Canucks. Blame Cory Schneider. Couldn’t get it done. Terrible.


That line was a joke, of course. But I think a few Canucks fans popped a vein in their forehead when they read that. Actually, Schneider’s 1.31 and 0.960 numbers are more than enough to win a series. The team just couldn’t score. They were up against a team that had trouble scoring all season long but won enough games to get into the playoffs because their goalie and system often would not allow more than one goal against. Vancouver tried to out-defense the Kings just like the Penguins tried to out-offense the Flyers – but the Kings have been squeaking out wins that way all season …and the Flyers have been blasting pucks by opponents while allowing beach balls through all season.


If it comes down to it, I pray (as a fantasy owner) that the Flyers and their 6-5 ways face the Kings and their 1-0 ways in the Final… that the 6-5 way will win. I would love the copycat trend that it would start.


So what happens to the Kings if they end up playing the 1-0 Blues, the 1-0 Coyotes or the 1-0 Predators? Now those are teams that could go toe to toe with the Kings in this sort of thing.


Zach Kassian was a healthy scratch for the first time. MA Gragnani didn’t get into a playoff game, one year after leading his team in playoff scoring.


So is zero points and minus-3 the last we see from Sami Salo? The 37 year old is a UFA in the summer.


Only four players on the Kings were in the red on the plus/minus ledger – including Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.


For now, the links on the players here aren’t working. For some reason, once clicked, it adds “25” to the link towards the end. But if you remove the “25” from the link it will go to the player. It’s part of a long list of things we’re still working on for the site. The list includes – DobberBaseball logins, mobile access, the new shop that will be up by next weekend (and when it’s up I’ll have the Keeper League Fantasy Pack up for sale!), and the Frozen Pool links. I think in that order, too.


By the way, if you want to check in on how you’re doing in my free playoff pool, the link is in the menu along the top, check it anytime. And please support our sponsors – The Fan Zoo and Cool Hockey, whenever you’re in the market for products that they sell. Without them, this would just be a free fun playoff pool with nothing on the line. Because of them, the winners get cool –quality - stuff.


Tim Thomas with the paddle down beauty – wasn’t going in anyway, but it would have bounced off the post and along the line for an easy tap-in if any Caps were around:



Claude Giroux hammers Crosby and then scores a beauty.



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Comments (14)add comment

mike hess said:

Raw Deal? Not sure how Luongo got a raw deal in Vancouver...Seems like they gave him every chance over the past 2-3 years to bring it home and he failed, did not deliver and performed below expectations...This is pro hockey...win or die...Luongo has not stood up to the pressure of playoff hockey..Yes, he will deliver for at least 3-5 years good stats and wins, just not a Cup!
April 25, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Re: Business Kevin,

To think that because the Flames are making money, they are running their business well is wrong. Enron made a lot money with no product and it caught up to them. It's like saying there is a town with a diamond mine and only has one crappy, dingy pub is a very well run pub. It's not. It's a crappy watering hole, that makes money because of the industry around it, not because it is a good business.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Calgary needs to be blown up... The team that is. Kevin: the Flames management cant take credit for the Alberta Oil economy, fact is the team hasnt been good enough for years and theyve done nothing about it but saddle themselves with bloated contracts. Their lack of playoff revenue is a huge loss. Any canadian team is going to do half decent putting mediocre teams out there- they shouldnt get kudos for that. Infact I would put Calgary in the bottom 5 of mismanaged teams the last 3yrs (now that Florida has turned it around)
Salo didnt look great in the playoffs, was a rock in the regular season and apparently still wants to play, at $2mil (or ideally less) I think he comes back, but only in Vancouver, i doubt he moves for one more year of hockey.
Niemi isnt going to win the Sharks anything,along with Theodore in FLA they are the weakest starters,but that contract will keep him in SJ, whom have drafted alot of goalies-but graduated none since Nabokov/Kipper. Outside of Pavelski and Couture,everyone is fair game. SJ's biggest problem might be the lack of prospects in their system- arguably the worst in the league.
Hockey is a funny game, who wouldve predicted both Pitt and Van out in the first round (and early at that) and that two of the best goalies (Elliott and Smith) were recently struggling backups lucky to get NHL gigs. It wasnt long ago that Anderson in Ottawa was basically discarded by the Avs as well.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

Kevin said:

Buisness? Hey Dobbs, love the site but when you state "I’m a businessman who loves good business sense" and then list the Calgary Flames as a team with none it doesn't really make a lot of sense. Say what you want about their aging team and lack of prospects but if there is one thing that is apparently clear (almost to a fault) it is that the Calgary Flames are run as a buisness. Ken King has lined ownerships pockets over the last decade, and despite fan outcry to trade players such as Iginla and Kipper they realize that they are the faces of the team and 99% of the merchandise sold is directly related to the two. They are, and will continue to be, in the black and have strong connections with the Oil and Gas corporate sector in the City which buy overpriced boxes with overpriced beer and overpriced food and overpriced parking. Say what you will about how the team is run on the ice, but off the ice (BUISNESS) the Flames are a model for success. When (not if) the team starts to fall further in the standings people will still pay to see Flames hockey for the same reason that the fans in Toronto pay absobanant prices - they love hockey.
April 23, 2012 | url
Votes: -1

Dobber said:

... noglove - as far as I know, it IS the date of the last edit, not first post
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

Maximus said:

Mr Zizzla
Pens going forward The entire post can be found in the forum. It's too long for the comments section.

It’s clear that the weakness is D.

First off, let's get the goalies out of the way.

B. Johnson – 600K – Drop
B.Thiesson – 525K+ - Keep

Fleury isn’t going anywhere (not that he needs to) and the best case is that they get a capable backup that pushes him to perform while giving him plenty of rest. Last season Fleury sucked in October and Johnson went on a role and started a lot in November, Fleury rebounded from sitting on the bench and was stellar to end the season. Him losing time when he sucks + being pushed by back-up + getting more rest = near elite status MAF.

Thiessen is a RFA and would need a raise on his 525K (plus bonuses), so long as it’s kept close to 1M, I could see him riding the pine at the end of the Pens bench. He’s played well in the AHL and deserves a shot at some more NHL starts. He played well when Johnson was “sick” for a few weeks (I think he was evaluating whether or not he wanted to keep playing this season and beyond, retirement is pending) except for getting shelled and giving up 8 in his last start. I think he could serve well especially if Bylsma lets him get some starts in October and November and builds up his confidence.

Now to the players.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

noglovenolove said:

Prospects Site The site looks great, and there's a ton of good info. I have one suggestion: on the team pages it has a date next to every player, I think this should be the date of the last edit rather than the original posting date. For example, Sven Baertschi's page was updated in April but it has a date of December 2011.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +1

Christian Bergeron said:

Giroux What a beast! Definitely Big 4, definitely, and he's not the 4th in that group either IMO. What is amazing to see is the elite offensive production despite all the time he spends playing short-handed. I'd like to see Malkin and co putting up Giroux' numbers while playing well over 2min per game SH.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

yes One of the best ramblings of the year. Super good!
(DH & DB are both running smoothly for me, congrats on switch-over)
April 23, 2012
Votes: +1

Stu Neft said:

Disco Stu
Penguins going forward Going to be an interesting off season for the Penguins. I'm not sure Brad Thiessen is the answer to back up Fleury. If Sullivan will come back on another one year deal for the same salary that he played for this yer, you have to bring him back. Niskanen is going to be a salary cap casualty unless the Penguins can find a way to to sucker, I mean get a trading partner for either Martin, Michaelek or both. The Pens have too many defensemen chomping at the bit down in the minors that they need to get to the big club both for their talent and their low cost. Guys like Simon Despres, Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo and possibly even Joe Morrow should all get a long look in training camp next year, and at least two of them should make the club. Where it gets really interesting is that after July 1, the team can open up negotiations on new deals for Sid and Jordan Staal. Sid's deal will work this way. Ray Shero, "Sid, how much do you want?" Sid, "This much(Insert whatever number you want here)" Ray Shero, "Okay" Staal will be a little different. If he wants to hold out for the big $'s that he would get on another team as a first or second line Center, then he will most likely be moved next year. If, on the other hand, he has a talk with older brother Eric, who says he'd trade places with Jordan in a heartbeat, then maybe he realizes that trading some dollars for a shot at being in contention for the Cup every year is a better way to go.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

Derrek said:

Playoff Pool and San Jose First time i check the standings and I'm doing ok I guess lost a few canucks, just need NJ to come back... not one person in the top 50 ATM will finish in the top 50 everyone has Pens players. Tim Lucarelli has a good chance of winning, only lost Ian White so far, pretty impressive

Sharks- Keep Big Joe, not many players like him in the NHL. Guys his age and older are still able to dominate simply because of the natural skill. Iginla, St. Louis, Teemu make teams good sometimes. No Iginla can't single-handedly bring the Flames to the cup finals anymore, let alone the playoffs, but he's good enough to build around for another year, Big Joe even more so.

The problem will be riding out Niemi in nets. So go out and get good D. Ryan Suter anyone? Trade marleau to anyone a solid 2nd-3rd liner. Someone here pointed out the other day they traded away the only hard nosed grinder they had, in Jamie McGinn. That same someone was saying get a David Clarkson type player, agreed. Trade Marleau for that type of guy. Move Clowe to the guy you bring in's line and have them play time with Pavelski. Put Havlat with Big Joe and just ask Minnesota for Charlie Coyle back.

They have enough top end talent to score, a top PP unit of Big n LiL Joe, Havlat, Boyle and Burns should be top 5 in the league. Just get a another top D so Vlasic/Demers aren't in your top 4D.
April 23, 2012
Votes: +0

paul said:

... Love the prospects site D, kudos !

aside from their numerous lottery picks I don't see a lot of real talent coming out of pittsburgh, then again I felt they tanked for a chance at Mario too

robert dome, milan kraft, koltsov, orpik, armstrong, whitney, 4 straight years of lottery picks followed by esposito ?

further half their starting defensemen were free agents

NY's blueline is far superior, younger, cheaper and arguably better because they are improving as a core together.

from the look of it, Nashville has done a better job of assembling talent than steel town has. So have the Sharks, and the aforementioned spoked wheel from Detroit.

As far as lottery picks go, I actually prefer to watch Kane and Toews

But perhaps that is because I will never forget the Crosby slewfoot on Callahan

thanks again for the site
April 23, 2012
Votes: -2

Krysmo said:

NHL's emphasis, GMs' plans The thing I'm wondering about most (after certain teams got eliminated), is this:

The NHL announced a crackdown on obstruction and headhunting going on 3-4 years ago. So GMs of certain teams (the Canucks, the Pens, etc.) build for speed and skill to take advantage of more penalty calls.

Then the NHL, unannounced, relaxes its calls on obstruction, especially this year, and concussions are on the rise with few real penalties.

Shouldn't more GMs be POed at this turn of events?

April 23, 2012
Votes: +1
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