Breaking - Crosby is on the ice with full face shield. Also, James Neal and Paul Martin are on the ice skating.

*

The best update I can give you on James Neal is to tell you what I did with my weekly lineup for midnight Sunday, after an exhaustive search for the latest news. I kept him on the bench. My lead is slim and I chose to dress the likes of Fleischmann and Bailey rather than benching one of them and risking Neal. That being said, most NHL teams would stay mum about progress at this time of year, and then he starts skating Monday and is back in the lineup by Thursday.

In other concussion news, Artem Anisimov suffered one (allegedly - nobody is admitting it yet) Saturday. That would probably bump Mark Letestu up to the Gaborik line - or possibly Ryan Johansen. Either way, Johansen gets an upgrade in linemates, the alternative being Cam Atkinson who, given his play of late, is a great upgrade. Charlie Coyle could get suspended for the hit.

*

If I were to name five coaches least likely to give significant ice time to a youngster playing his first game, Barry Trotz would be on that list. So the fact that he gave Filip Forsberg 18:37 in ice time in his NHL debut tells me two things - one, that the kid can play and play Trotz hockey, and two that the Preds admit they're finished. If they went 6-0 they had a marginal shot at a playoff spot at best, but the loss to eighth place Detroit Sunday all but made it official. Forsberg was minus-2 and managed two shots.

Line combos:

Beck - Legwand - Forsberg

Kostitsyn - Smith - Spaling 

 

 

Bang - Watson - Butler

Clune - Halischuk - Mueller

Each line seems to indicate "tryout for next year". Does Watson stick? Can Butler earn a contract? Has Smith regressed too far? Where does Forsberg fit in? Can Spaling hold his own on a scoring line? You'll see Trotz look to answer as many of these questions as he can in the final five games. My answers, if I were to guess, are - no, no, no, Milwaukee, and no.

Taylor Beck has one point in his last six games and is minus-3 in that span. Prior to that, in the first eight games of his NHL career, he had six points and was plus-6. Just keep that in mind when you look at Dallas rookie sensation Alex Chiasson, who is off to a similar hot start to his NHL career.

*

After being scratched twice, Benoit Pouliot has points in each of his last two games. In fact, he has 18 in his last 24 games and so it's a troubling sign that he was scratched to begin with. You keep seeing glimpses of 'sleeper' and then he keeps giving your reasons not to believe. Of course, most sane poolies were done with this guy five years ago…

*

Mike Babcock gets kudos from me for sticking with Damien Brunner through thick and thin early on, which eventually helped him blossom into what looked to be a star forward. But now that Detroit has to win every game they can, it's interesting to see Brunner's ice time disappear. They say he's playing with a sore hip, which may be true. But his last five games he's seen less than 12 minutes of ice time and he's off the Zetterberg line.

Danny DeKeyser picked up his first career NHL point, an assist, last night. He's been playing 18 or 19 minutes of late, but he's not an offensive guy. DobberProspects profiles him here.

It's also interesting to see Gustav Nyquist playing with the Red Wings, even in a lesser capacity, when the team needs wins. I gauge a coach's trust in a young player by the ice time he is given during crunch time.

*

Case in point - Matt Bartkowski. He's a seventh-round pick and you so rarely see a seventh-round pick get into the lineup over a Golden Boy. Yet Dougie Hamilton is getting scratched in favor of Bart when it counts.

Patrice Bergeron is symptom-free and could return to the Boston lineup tonight. And prospect Carl Soderberg has been cleared to come and play in the NHL, though I doubt he gets into the lineup tonight.

*

Bryan Bickell has five points and is plus-5 in his last six games. His ice time is still low, but he's on this "Zeus Line" with Stalberg and Handzus. The 6-3 Stalberg is the short guy on the line.

Brandon Saad was white hot for so long, but now he's pointless in three games. Still, it must be nice for the 'Hawks to put out the quality players that they do and get results when the big guns struggle.

 With the shutout last night, Corey Crawford's GAA is now 1.92…closing in on Ray Emery's 1.90.

*

The Sabres keep throwing Jhonas Enroth out there and he keeps winning. The problem is, I think they want him to lose. They need to run the table in order to get into the playoffs. Anyway, with three straight games Enroth has found a rhythm and making a statement that he doesn't want to be written off as a career backup, as my colleague Justin Goldman opines that he will be. Time will tell. He's still only 24. When Ryan Miller was 24 he had played 18 career NHL games and was 6-11-1.

Sabres rookie Brian Flynn has 10 points in his last 18 games and saw 18:32 of ice time last night. He also has five points in seven games and is plus-7 in that span. The 24-year-old undrafted prospect signed in March of last year out of Maine and he had 32 points in 45 games for Rochester this year. His profile on DobberProspects can be found here.

Meanwhile, Kevin Porter is on a four-game points streak and has seven points in seven games.

*

The Coyle hit on Anisimov, followed by Dubinsky fighting Coyle. Clean?

*

Beauty tic-tac-toe from Saturday:

 


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Comments (15)add comment

shingy said:

shingy
D'oh
Don't ya hate when that happens...
April 16, 2013
Votes: +0

shingy said:

shingy
Ramblings
Wow. I'm half way through and had to write a thank you message before finishing. Thank you. The Dobber Network was built on it's ramblings, and it'll have no worries about maintaining membership if Dobber keeps letting people like you contribute to the ramblings. Love it. Great work.
April 16, 2013
Votes: +0

shingy said:

shingy
Ramblings
Wow. I'm half way through and had to write a thank you message before finishing. Thank you. The Dobber Network was built on it's ramblings, and it'll have no worries about maintaining membership if Dobber keeps letting people like you contribute to the ramblings. Love it. Great work.
April 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Axeman33 said:

Axeman33
... Great job on the ramblings Steve!
April 16, 2013
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

donpaulo
... aboot Anisimov, as I said I am a fan of his and he puts himself in vulnerable positions. Looked to me like the shoulder hit the noggin and not Artems shoulder. Then again AA is what 6'3" ?
April 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Leumas said:

Leumas
... Hey, great ramblings Steve! Very funny and lots of great detail with a fantasy outlook as well.. The word titillated should be used far more often.

I hope Dobber gives you more opportunities like this. You are a good writer.
April 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Ken Shultz said:

kshultz
@repenttokyo It's a one year money league at CBS Sports. You can join any league there if you pay the buy-in.

I don't know anybody else personally in the league.

Playing for money, they're usually pretty competitive--I suppose. Although I haven't failed to make the playoffs in all the years I've been playing there. But I attribute a lot of that to what I learn here from Dobber and company...

Anyway, there are only four reserve slots available, and the guy that dropped Dupuis was still in the hunt for a playoff spot--and he had Crosby, a couple of injured goalies, and Letang on his bench. He probably questioned whether Dupuis would continue to perform through the end of the regular season with all the best Pens in band-aids. ...at any rate, he had to get another goalie to set his line up that week--and for whatever reason, Dupuis became the odd man out.

Certainly speaks to the question of how I decide whether to fish or cut bait with an injured player. The question is really about what the alternative is. If you're in a one-year league, and the alternative (with three weeks left in the fantasy season) is a Dupuis or, say, a Troy Brouwer, then dropping the injured player should be a pretty easy decision to make. And the thing is, if you're following along with what Dobber and Co. are saying, there's usually somebody like that waiting in the wings--even if it's only a good matchup for the next week.

I think the biggest mistake I see people make (in one year leagues) is people hanging on to hurt players when they shouldn't. In keeper leagues, you wouldn't drop James Neal for any reason--certainly not just because he's hurt.

I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the league Dobber has James Neal in is a keeper league.



April 15, 2013
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
Ken Another way to win is to play in a pool where players like Dupuis are available on the wire. Can I have an invite for next year?
April 15, 2013
Votes: +2

Guy Incognito said:

Guy Incognito
... Must say I agree with ross10019... I can see how the hit could be viewed as borderline, but I don't see how dp arrives at "clearly Coyle has to improve his decision making", as it was a quick play with little time to make any decision at all. Anisimov lowered his head during the execution of the play.
Also don't think it was an illegal hit by current NHL rules, as contact with the head happens multiple times per game and what matters is whether the head is specifically targeted, and given that Coyle did not lift his elbow at all and did not leave his feet even after contact, I just don't get how one would interpret that as intentional.
April 15, 2013
Votes: +0

Ken Shultz said:

kshultz
Knowing When to Cut Bait I actually dropped James Neal a week ago. Pascal Dupuis, amazingly, was available in my league, and I'd rather have whatever Dupiuis gets over the last few weeks of my fantasy season than whatever James Neal may or may not get.

This is the same H2H league that I drafted Cam Ward. I dropped him early on, after the injury, too. You'd think losing those two players would have really hurt me, but I made the playoffs (the first week starts today). Lineups are set once a week and points average over the week, so I was able to make up for Ward by spot starting Brian Elliot and Emery.

Knowing whether to fish or cut bait on an injured player is one of the most important keys to winning in fantasy. And I'll just say this...for every time I've regretted cutting an injured player, I've regretted keeping him five!

Looking at it from the guy that picked up Neal's perspective, he has to set his lineup today not knowing whether Neal is going to play--so he probably won't start him. He's carrying a player for the last three weeks of the season that probably won't produce for two of those weeks--one of them during the playoffs.
April 15, 2013
Votes: +0

letnry said:

letnry
Charlie Coyle https://twitter.com/Russostrib/status/323452954982105088
Charlie Coyle faces no discipline. #NHL Dept of Player Safety determined that there was no targeting of Anisimov's head. #mnwild #cbj
April 15, 2013
Votes: +0

pbhockey4 said:

pbhockey4
Coyle hit on Anisimov Totally agree with ross here, I think it was a perfectly legal hit. At some point, the onus has to be on the players to try and protect themselves (I think everyone has similar thoughts on Gabriel Landeskog getting hit by Brad Stuart earlier this year). Anisimov should be expecting contact there, and instead of playing Coyle AND the puck, Anisimov ONLY plays the puck, and does so by reaching out and thus putting his head and himself in a vulnerable position. Now, instead of being able to absorb any potential hit, Anisimov is off balance and unable to protect himself. Add in that Coyle keeps his elbow tucked, didn't jump, didn't charge, and that he makes significant contact with Anisimov's right shoulder and it furthers the evidence that this was a clean hit (Coyle's jersey numbers seem to do the most damage to Anisimov's head). I think it's hard to separate out and sift through hits to the head, and our knee jerk reaction to everything (especially after watching replays in slow motion) is typically to yell "Shanaban!"--but not all hits to the head are created equal, and players also need to bear the responsibility to protect themselves in situations where contact can be reasonably expected (as was the case here). Ask anyone who's played or coached contact hockey if Anisimov should've been expecting a hit in that situation, and the answer would be a resounding yes. It was a loose puck battle coming up the boards and Anisimov needs to know better than to reach for the puck, expecting to come out with it on the other side. That's a play you can make playing shinny or men's league, but not in the NHL. Good, clean hit by Coyle with an unfortunate result for Anisimov.
April 15, 2013
Votes: +0

ross10019 said:

ross10019
Donpaulo's post re Coyle donpaulo, I have no idea how you can watch that Coyle hit on Anisimov and conclude that it was an "illegal hit to the head". It was a shoulder to shoulder hit, and perfectly legal (albeit it Anisimov was vulnerable), and the league didn't hand out any suspension.
April 15, 2013
Votes: +1

bullwinkle said:

bullwinkle
How about a few words about Ruhwedel? Here's a kid who comes in straight out of college, has never played a pro game in his life, and performs VERY well in two straight games for the Sabres!

The kid doesn't have size (5'11") but he is very smart with the puck and has ice water in his veins. He was one of the Sabres' better defensemen out there.

April 15, 2013
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

donpaulo
... clearly Coyle has to improve his decision making when it comes to following through on the hit. Granted I am an Artem fan and the kid still skates with his head down far too often but that was an illegal hit to the head of a vulnerable opponent. Hopefully Coyle learns from the experience.
April 15, 2013
Votes: -1
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