Update on RNH - 7-10 days with a sprained shoulder according to TSN.


Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left last night’s contest in the third period after aggravating his shoulder injury. It was a “precaution” and he’ll be re-evaluated. Regardless, I think the point totals are on the way to a big dip now that Sam Gagner has taken his spot on that big line. Gagner with another point last night.


Matt Duchene skated on his own (finally). Also in that blog was news that Peter Mueller was back in practice, so maybe it really was the flu (phew) this time.


I know a lot of people were upset at Ken Campbell’s piece on how Sam Gagner only had seven points in that game and not eight, but I think it’s a brilliant way to bring in reads. First of all, what he says is true. Secondly, it’s the flavor of the week – he can’t sit on this observation for a month and then say it. Has to be now, and the story will be passed around like smuggled chocolate bars at fat camp.


It would seem that the Leafs are unstoppable right now. The first line is red hot. The second line is even hotter. This is the ‘zone’ that teams dream of being in and don’t often get there. But Grabovski is playing like an 80-point player right now and has been for a month. Meanwhile, Lupul and Kessel are playing like 90-point players, like they have pretty much all season. The Leafs ate up the Hemsky/Smyth/RNH line for lunch – they were a combined minus-10. Throw Barker and Whitney in there too (minus-3 each).


James Reimer’s shutout string ended… 21 seconds into the game.


I don’t trust Mike Smith’s consistency late in the season and have been quietly shopping him. But perhaps I should just shut up. The guy has been fantastic in three of his last four games and is keeping his numbers – SP and GAA – in the top portion of the league. And he’ll get 31-36 wins, which is nothing to sneeze at.


Joey MacDonald is stealing the backup job from Ty Conklin. Conklin is on thin ice and if he blows it next game, I think Joey Mac will be a nice fantasy asset for about two or three weeks before Howard returns.


Matt Stajan.


As you can tell from the paragraph above, every once in awhile I’m going to try to squeeze in a joke of the day. Put a smile on your face while you sip your morning coffee. Naw, I’m hard on Stajan. He’s a player that I really liked and can remember when he transitioned from a checker to a top-line player in Toronto. And after all – he’s outscoring Scott Gomez (although not out-pointing him, but let’s keep this positive). Oh, another positive – he sleeps on a big pile of money.


As you’ve heard by now, Sidney Crosby skated and practiced with the rest of his team. The coach played it down, saying that Jordan Staal and Simon Despres were ready to practice with them and he didn’t want Crosby skating alone. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in action next week. Wouldn’t put money on it, but wouldn’t be surprised. Just a feeling. And I think he’ll be a little more tolerant with any symptoms now that he knows it was the neck and not the head.


Here’s an interesting look at the offensive zone starts for the Dallas Stars and how they’ve changed over the past week. Essentially, the scorers are taking more offensive zone faceoffs and the defensive guys are taking much fewer. That should bode well for the likes of Ribeiro et al.


After going pointless in his first game back, Alex Tanguay has points in three straight (four points total). He played with Jokinen and Iginla, which pushed Mike Cammalleri with superstars Blair Jones and Krystofer Kolanos. Cammy owners – my fingers are crossed for you that this won’t continue for long.


Aaron Ness has been recalled by the Islanders because Travis Hamonic suffered a broken nose Saturday.


My Puck Daddy column from yesterday is here. My THN column – where I give you my take on Tavares vs. Hall vs. Nugent-Hopkins vs. Seguin – is here.


Also a reminder that the DobberBaseball Fantasy Guide was released yesterday. Pick it up! And please stop by the forum over there, as there have been some pretty good new members come on board.


Some interesting players put on waivers yesterday – Anthony Stewart, Andrew Murray and Zach Hamill. There will be a lot of this over the next three weeks as teams try to push some of their extras off to other teams and clear what room they can. Or failing that, then the player gets off the books via the AHL.


Mikko Koivu took practice with some contact yesterday.


It looks like Nikita Nikitin, James Wisniewski and Mark Letestu will all be back next week for Columbus. But Kristian Huselius may be out for the season.


I also wanted to remind you that you can get the latest line combos for free right here, and some great volunteers from the forum have done a fantastic job of keeping up with the news throughout the day – and summarizing it here.


Remember James Sheppard? He’s with San Jose now and is skating. Target date is March 1 for a return, although you can expect two weeks in the AHL for conditioning I’m sure.


Five to 10 days, that’s the word on a Jordan Staal return to action.


Straight out of the text book, from tic-tac-toe to the give-and-go :




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Paul said:

... Doulos,
I agree with you up to a point - that point being, winning it all. Gillis's stated goal is winning the cup with this core group, however, the Sedins will find it increasingly difficult to deal with the grind and the speed in games where it really counts. I think the Canucks need to get back to the final in the next two years or they will take a step back. Fit Nash on a good team with good players and you have a 50+ goal scorer. It must be very disheartening to be stuck (17 goals, -21) where he is.
CBJ should trade him and start over by building around players received in return for Nash and their top pick in next year's draft. The Jackets have eff'd up and should reset. I don't like the Canucks that much either.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

buriel said:

Fanduel? Did anyone get the fanduel payout? Finished #70
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

doulos said:

Hmm.. Ken Campbell might be right about Gagner's assist but who cares. It was a great story and he comes off like a crotchety old fun wrecker who always has negative things to say about even the best things in life.

Must be depressing living in his world where your only purpose is to get people to read your blog by moaning and bitching.


I hate the Canucks but not sure I see how their window is closing. They have much of their core locked up long term at decent salaries and will only need to shuffle complementary pieces for the next few years. It's a great time to be a Canuck fan.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Paul said:

... Reason for prediction: the Canucks window of opportunity is closing fast.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Paul said:

... Prediction: The Canucks trade Schneider, Ballard, a first rounder, a roster player and a prospect to CBJ for Rick Nash.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Sheppard Firstly I should state that I am not a San Jose fan.

I commented on him in the article when he was traded to San Jose. I have faith in this guy to bring help to San Jose's fourth line if/when he returns. I am not saying he will be a fantasy producer by any means, but he will take some defensive zone faceoffs and is good in his own end in the corners.

Could provide less defensive responsibilities to San Jose's top 6, and if all goes well give potentially a slight increase in production opportunities for the top 6.
February 07, 2012
Votes: +0
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