Thanks to Brian Kom for having me on Dobber Nation - I really enjoyed the segment. Perhaps Dobber and I should disagree (publically) more often....
Saturday is the last you will hear from me for a while.... next Monday I am off on vacation (no computer) for a couple of weeks. I'll make sure to have a 15 Prime Cuts piece out before I take off.
"Yakupov has been productive during his limited time with the Sting, putting up 53 points in 26 OHL games. However, the expectations for him were sky-high and there is a creeping sensation that perhaps he has not dominated to the extent some anticipated, especially considering he turned 18 in October, not unlike fellow late-birthday blue-chippers Patrick Kane, Taylor Hall and John Tavares during their respective draft seasons a few years ago. Point being, at this point Yakupov being the top guy might be closer to 50/50 on merit and not having anyone else jump up to challenge him, pending Alex Galchenyuk returning to the Sting in another month or so.
His return also makes the Sting the wild card in the Western Conference playoff picture. They are on-paper strong, but injuries and a lack of continuity have conspired to keep them from being as on-ice strong."
Only one game last night – Montreal took it to the Wings in a big, big way. Detroit wishes they could play all games at home…
Jimmy Howard had a rare poor start, and was pulled after allowing four goals. Ty Conklin didn’t help matters at all by allowing the first two shots he faced after coming in as the replacement.
Tomas Kaberle has four points (all assists) in his last three games.
David Desharnais had three points, as did Erik Cole. Both had great games – Cole is flying over the past few months, while Desharnais is finding a way to be a difference maker on a consistent basis (something many people didn’t think he’d be able to do).
Montreal really balanced their ice time around, as teams who jump out to big early leads often do. Josh Gorges was the only skater (forward or defenseman) to play over 20 minutes.
I really like the Liles deal for Toronto. He’s only 31, and in general has proven to be a healthy player (concussion this season). He has brought a lot of mobility to Toronto’s defense – by far their biggest weakness last season. He’ll be a great mentor for Jake Gardiner, too. Liles, unlike many power play defensemen, is adequate defensively, as well.
James Mirtle has some good thoughts on the signing:
“What’s clear is that the Leafs have four veteran defencemen who like to play the right side, and Dion Phaneuf isn’t going anywhere. That leaves one of Mike Komisarek, Luke Schenn or Franson (who is considered part of the future on the blueline) to move.
It also looks unlikely that Toronto would attempt to bring in another defenceman via free agency or a trade, even with someone like Nashville Predators veteran Ryan Suter – an old friend of Phil Kessel – potentially available.
That said, had Liles gone to free agency this summer, he likely would have been one of the higher scoring options available. Toronto likes his leadership qualities and opted to stick with what it knows by keeping him.”
Nothing to do with fantasy hockey – but great to see the Canucks take a huge step with a mental health initiative spurred on by the late Rick Rypien. The website (as well as a pretty moving message from Rypien’s good friend Kevin Bieksa) – can be found here.
I was glad to see Bobby Holik announce his own website. He has been one of the more colorful and honest personalities in hockey over the past few decades. I really enjoyed his thoughts on PK Subban the other day.
“What interests me is P.K. Subban and the reaction, attention – positive and negative -he’s getting around the league. P.K. Is a player with tremendous potential, and he brings lot different dimensions to the game. The great Dennis Potvin recently said it very well – Subban’s game is complex. It will take little more time for him to refine it, but when he does, he will be a stellar defenseman for many years to come.
What’s great about watching P.K. is his passionate-physical play. He’s dynamic offensively, and most of all, he has his own personality. Many people find P.K.’s style disrespectful to the game, or it seems they hide their dislike for Subban’s personality behind those comments.
It is a lot of the same type of people who showed me absolutely no respect when I came to the league in 1990 freshly “off the boat” from eastern Europe. They demand you play and behave what they consider is right and respectful. These people developed a “carbon copy mold” for the “proper” NHL player. I had to battle through it and prove them you can be successful playing a style they don’t like and have a fairly good career.”
I couldn’t agree more.
The Jeff Carter rumors are heating up, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The Blue Jackets made a mistake when they acquired a scorer to fill a playmakers role – top line center with Rick Nash. Carter hasn’t looked comfortable in Columbus (although who has), and he would likely welcome a trade out. The Jackets will be in tough to match the value they gave up to get him (Voracek and Sean Couturier’s draft selection).