Michael Del Zotto has been sent to the minors. It was the right move. But we've seen flashes of what he can do, he's a great hockey player with a bright future. I still think he can be a 55-point defenseman. Think of this as a confidence boost.

 

Philadelphia has waived Michael Leighton. That's the best move from a cap standpoint, and from a hockey standpoint. Now I can drop Leighton and get a forward... unless a team picks him up. I don't see it unless Chicago does (and in turn waives Turco), or wouldn't it be funny if the Islanders did? They'd be swapping Rolo for Leighton and acquire Wishart, and pay Leighton half his salary and come out smelling like roses.

 

The best read in hockey (aside from this site) - Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts.

 

Countdown to Midseason Guide: Four Days. Buy it HERE.

 

Shea Weber has five points and is a plus-4 in the last two games, finally showing us the type of star that he is in this league. We've waited all year for back-to-back games like that. He's normally a strong starter, so perhaps this year he's Bizarro-Weber and will be a strong finisher.

 

Undrafted college star Trevor Smith scored four times yesterday in the AHL for Syracuse. He had a cup of coffee with the Isles two seasons ago and now the 25-year-old belongs to the Ducks. It will be interesting to see if they give him a look.

 

So... Linus Omark gets sent down, he scores in his first game and tallies four assists in his second game. Get this guy back up!

 

Finally waking up? Patric Hornqvist was pointless three games ago despite an eye-popping 14 shots on goal. I think that pissed him off, because he has three points in two games since. If he has awakened, look for a good - a reall good - 10 or 15 game run.

 

Carey Price lost again. As a Price owner I'm bothered because I know this will drag out for at least another two weeks, possibly a month. If he comes out of January going 2-7-3 I won't be shocked. More disturbing - the team isn't getting outplayed when he loses. Ondrej Pavelec faced 50 shots and stopped 47 of them. Whereas Price faced just 28 shots, stopping 24.

 

Ironically, Price was Montreal's player of the month for December. He must have built a great lead in the first half.

 

Max Pacioretty had seven of the shots, and recent recall David Desharnais had three shots. I really like Desharnais (of course - he's small!) and hope he can make an NHL roster next season.

 

PK Subban scored, giving him 12 points on the year. As long he doesn't get scratched, I still believe he'll get 40 points.  But that's the key - being responsible and not getting scratched.

 

Now that's the Ryan Johansen I've been waiting to watch all tournament. If he didn't make so many bad decisions on the power play in the final 15 minutes or so, he would have had the perfect game there against the Swiss. If you want to know what to expect from him, simply look at Derick Brassard's numbers. And maybe bump RJ up a year because he's not as fragile as DB. But they have similar upside and similar readiness at the same age.

 

On my radar: Casey Cizikas. Man, you just can't ignore him. He's been all over the place every game. He may wind up an energy player on the third line, however. But you never know. He has some upside as a second liner. The Islanders are building very slowly...but they're building very well. Make no mistake.

 

Adding Ty Wishart to their stables helps as well. Wishart will get a look this year, mark my words. They acquired Wishart in the Roloson trade.

 

With three more Sunday, Tobias Enstrom now has 12 points in his last nine contests.

 

James Wisniewski has five points in his last two for Montreal. The offense is waking up, Price just needs to keep opponents to three or fewer.

 

Forget Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom is on a seven-game points streak. It's so impressive when a defenseman does this. So if 40-year-old Lidstrom finishes with 70 points (and he'd have to slow down to do that), how many more 50-plus seasons do you think he will have?

 

Mark Visentin got the start and, minus the soft goal, looked confident. He'll get the start against Team USA today.

 

Brayden Schenn leads the WJC with 14 points in four games (did not include Sunday). Ryan Ellis and Washington prospect Dmitri Orlov have eight each.

 

The top USA scorer is San Jose prospect Charlie Coyle. I'm sure he'll remain in the college circuit next season, but he could arrive in San Jose for 2012-13.

 

Oddly enough, the one-dimensional Cam Barker was not out on Minny's only power play last night. He scored though. The team went with Brent Burns, who had a three-point night.

 

Martin Havlat was pointless and minus-4. Go figure. The Wild finally score six goals in a game and Havlat has his worst outing.

 

With two more last night, Keith Yandle has 17 points in his last 14 games. I had to double check that. Wow.

 

Cal O'Reilly broke his leg. Wow, the Preds just keep on getting hurt, don't they? I can see them moving Colin Wilson back to center and seeing how that goes. Or Legwand moves up to the top line. It looks like Spaling, Goc and Wilson benefitted the most in the latter part of Sunday's game.

 

Jonas Hiller stopped 39 of 40 shots to steal one for the Ducks. They were outshot 40-18 by Chicago, spoiling Corey Crawford's return to action. Hiller has stopped 105 of the last 109 shots that he's faced.

 

Jason Blake left the game with an undisclosed injury. That will mean even more ice time for the likes of Matt Beleskey, who is already seeing a boost thanks to the absence of Getzlaf.

 

The Ducks really leaned on Saku Koivu last night - over 23 minutes of ice time. No points though.

 

Winter Classic ratings: 4.56 million viewers on NBC in the USA. Their biggest since '96. I want the Americans to understand that Saturday night at 8pm is THE best time of the week for hockey. I want it to be so obvious that they bow their head in shame for pushing Saturday afternoon hockey for the last two decades. I hope this is enough.

 

Mikael Backlund has been assigned to Abbotsford of the AHL for conditioning. In hindsight, he should been sent there in the first place, to get him out of the negative environment and hone his game even further.

 

Jonathan Toews, expected to be out for two weeks, could be back in the lineup tonight.

 

Tatar and Mursak were pointless again for Detroit, and Mursak was a minus-1 for the second game in a row. Just not ready yet, but I'd sure like to see more from them. And a bit of PP time would be nice.

 

Meanwhile, Hudler's offensive outburst last week was apparently a blip. He's getting the ice time now...and is pointless in two games.

 

Nik Antropov has been activated off of IR by the Thrashers. He needed time off, as his hip was bothering him all season long and I think the rest should kickstart him again.

 

Ruslan Fedotenko suffered a bruised hand in yesterday's loss and will probably miss a couple of games, if for some strange reason you own him.

 

Kevin Bieksa has points in four straight contests (five points). He seems to finally be finding his stride. So many injuries the past couple of years have really hurt his development and career progression.

 

Look at the height Wayne Simmonds gets with his stick here haha:

 

 

Fight of the year? Puck Daddy suggests so...

 

 

 


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Comments (16)add comment

fzusher said:

fzusher
Leighton / Islanders I think Dobber meant half of Roloson's salary - Roly's making 3M this season, Leighton's only 1.5M. As for the Islanders picking him up, I had the same thought the second DiPietro got injured ...
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Renaldo? said:

Teh Doktor
... Yeah, well good luck to both of us then on the Hudler thing.

I hate daytime hockey. It reeks of lame, but I don't think we're the ones NBC is after. They're after the lazy Saturday afternoon crew who might be more likely to sit in front of a TV on a weekend day than a weekend night.

Then again, what do I know? I dropped Hudler the only productive week he had, and now I'm stuck with him again.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

torrock said:

torrock
Leighton "and pay Leighton half his salary and come out smelling like roses."

Isn't half the salary only on re-entry waivers?
January 03, 2011
Votes: +1

Darcy Sulz said:

swamp_mule
Mid-season guide purchase Does anyone know why there is a 13% tax for the guide? I understand it's the "Harmonized" tax, but shouldn't that be only for ON/BC residents? I was under the assumption that you only pay the sales tax/GST for whatever province you are in ...
January 03, 2011
Votes: -1

Chad said:

tryhard87
Evgeny Kuznetsov No comments on Evgeny Kuznetsov taking team Russia on his back last night and single handedly beating Finland? I didn't see the game but I watched the highlights on TSN and he scored to pull the game within one late in the third, walked through the Finish defense to set-up the game tying goal and then sniped a goal top shelf to win the game in overtime.

I haven't heard too much about Kuznetsov since he's been drafted but this has to be a huge positive.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
Nucks vs Avs Great game last nite, the Avs speed and forechecking stood out,but the calm,cool skating of Shattenkirk was a sight to see. Reminded me abit of Housley-seems to be covering both points at times. Liles also looked good (except for his Murzyn impression trying to draw an icing call in the last minute of the game lol). Adam Foote may be a little slower-but still a pain to play against-how he doesnt get called for roughing every scrum is beyond me.
The last minute of the game had some intense pressure by the Avs, but Luongo held,turns out the added pressure was due to the Avs having 7 skaters on the ice (no call!) DOH! wouldve been interesting if they had managaged to tie it.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Curtis Curve said:

tcescon
SATURDAY HOCKEY As an American TV viewer, I cannot agree more with you Dobber. I despise Saturday afternoon hockey, especially when the weather is turning nice and there is no real competition on TV during prime time.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

gregory churchill said:

spitball
leighton "If Leighton clears waivers, Holmgren said, the Flyers will send him back to the AHL on Tuesday."

leighton isn't dead to the flyers...just sleeping.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Enapai said:

Enapai
Leighton According to ESPN, the Flyers waived Leighton today, choosing to go with Boucher and Bobrovsky the rest of the way.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/...id=5984699
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

agentzero said:

agentzero
re: Backlund Just wanted to add that Jay Feaster was on CBC After Hours on Saturday and he said they were sending down Backlund to Abbottsford temporarily and that he would rejoin the team on the next road trip and it's odd that it's on a conditioning stint, since he does not need to clear waivers, as per Feaster. So looks like he'll be back up soon.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Olivier Cossette said:

ocossette
Weber Maybe I'm wrong but I remember last year's owner in my pool was pretty pissed off that Weber was not producing.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

gregory churchill said:

spitball
hudler believers anonymous hi, my name is greg churchill, and i believe hudler will score again. two weeks ago, i lost my faith and dropped the sorry mf. thus purged, my fantasy team clawed back into contention.

then, the little sucaz picked up four in two and, fearing potential shame and embarrassment...should hudler finally explode on someone else's roster...,i bid $2 on the soft one and got him back. reserved connolly to make room. @#$%.

i'm hoping malkin finally gets rw status, i can activate connolly, and stuff mini-mo back on reserve where he belongs.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

JULES said:

itzjules
... Did you guys stop doing a podcast? I coulda sworn I saw a WJC preview on here last month but I can't find a section for radio...
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

bball said:

bballplyr321
... As an American, the NHL has it completely right with Hockey Night in Canada. Saturday night is the PERFECT night for watching a sporting event. You have the whole day to get your stuff done and you can relax and have a few cold ones because you don't have to go to work the next day. I really wish that the NHL would realize this and start to market it a little better here in the states. If anything, the winter classic proved this point.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... The good news, Renaldo, is - I'm right there with you. In one league I drafted him very high, sat on him for 14 weeks, dropped him, and then in Week 16 or so when he tallied four points in two games I made a play for him again but was outbid. But in the Expert's League, I won my bid for him and put him in my lineup... and he's gone pointless and minus-2 in two games.
So I'm putting my money where my mouth is and suffering just as much as you! But hopefully he can get rolling next game.
January 03, 2011
Votes: +0

Renaldo? said:

Teh Doktor
Hudler Dude!

You're killing me here with the Hudler thing. I get that you're just reporting what you seeing. But...

I draft him on your advice.

I finally get a chance to drop him and do so... mostly on your advice.

Then I actually get a chance to pick him back up... and do so...

And now this?!? EVERY move I make is Wrong, Wrong, WRONG!!!

ugggghhhhhh.

Love the site though. Read it daily.

Happy ending New Year!
January 03, 2011
Votes: +2
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