Due to the server switch, some of you may be seeing yesterday's ramblings here. To see the January 17 ramblings, click here.
The Midseason Guide, you can buy it here, re-released Friday with some updates to prep you for this weekend's midseason draft.
Please note - there may be some website interruptions over the next 48 hours, possibly for as long as an hour as we migrate to a new server. If everything goes as I hope, then the speed and feel of the site will be much much faster and smoother.
Interesting hot streaks I've observed, researching for this week's auction in my one keeper league:
Gregory Campbell has six points in four games.
Brian Rolston has been playing 19 minutes per game and has had two two-point games in his last three. He's loving the new/old coach.
Milan Michalek has three points in two games. Another Mr. Streaky that could help you out for a week or two.
Taylor Pyatt has seven points in his last seven games. I've always had a soft spot for this guy, as I thought his career curve was exactly mirroring Todd Bertuzzi's. But then around the age of 26 he stopped mirroring and started regressing. Now 29, it may be too late to have any hope. But with Keith Yandle emerging, he's going to create a star or two. For now, consider Pyatt "on fire" and temporary help. But man, if a 6-4, 230-pound forward can start finding the net, watch out.
Brad Marchand is a talented prospect thought to be on a team that is too deep up front. And since he can play defense, many have labelled him a third liner, myself included. However, the guy has five points in his last five games and is a plus-7 as well. He's seeing second-line ice time. Still just 22, don't pigeonhole him on a checking line just yet.
Corey Crawford's shutout string ran past eight periods of hockey before giving up two to the Preds in the third, and he took the shootout loss. Losing late in the game has happened often with Crawford. Without looking it up, I would bet that five of his eight losses have come despite having the lead heading into the third. It just seems that way to me. At any rate, the guy is on pace for 28 wins and I think he'll get 34. Jimmy Howard had 37 when he was a Calder nominee. But Howard was up against some rookies with big points, whereas Crawford is up against Jeff Skinner, who will probably win and is on pace for 66.
Jarret Stoll has six points in his last five games and is on pace for close to 60. Big season for him, though his PIM are down.
Marco Sturm has five points in his last five games. He's found his timing and is really starting to roll, and provided he stays healthy I think he can get another 30 points this year - so 38 in total.
These days, every time I look I see the Coyotes scoring lots of goals. I really do think we have Yandle to thank for that. I always bought into the theory that he was/would be a 50-point defenseman - but now he's REALLY sold me. I think he's a potential 70-point star. Or better. And on Phoenix, that makes him the best player.
Anaheim's Matt Beleskey has again settled in at the NHL level, and he's really enjoying the extra ice time thanks to the Getzlaf injury. He has five points in his last six games and I think he'll continue at that pace until Getz returns.
Rene Bourque's goal a few days did not kickstart a hot streak as I had expected. He was shutout Saturday. But another streaky player in Matt Stajan did score. But he had his chance and now he's buried on the third line so I expect nothing.
Still on the topic of streaky players - Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the first time in years. In this case, I do think he'll get rolling again now. For two weeks or so, as per his M.O.
Much ado about Chris Botta's recent prediction that a goalie will snap one day when a player does a spin-o-rama and makes him look bad, and that the goalie will take a fine/loss of points for knocking him on his ass in mid-spin. What a bunch of crap. If a goalie does that, then the skater will retaliate - and I'm sure the goaltender would dislike that much more than he dislikes the fine or the points. The goalies know this. Goalies aren't embarrassed by spin-o-ramas. The only people bothered by the spin-o-rama are whiners. Relax and enjoy the game. Man I hate whiners. Like people REALLY care about shootouts anyway. It's about entertainment, not protecting the dinosaur version of the integrity of the game. As long as the puck moves forward, or close enough to moving forward that it's not obvious, then the spin is legal. Let it be. Why are people so eager to add more rules in this society? Why do some people enjoy creating a stir where there is no stir?
Still not skating - Sidney Crosby. Expect another three games missed. Just Dr. Dobber's estimate.
Who needs Crosby when Jordan Staal is going nutty like this? Five points in two games now.
Scott Clemmensen won his second in a row and has stopped 60 of 64 shots in that span. Vokoun is struggling, although he won his last start. Interesting to see if they go back with Scotty again, given the two wins in a row.
With Tomas Holmstrom out for a month with a broken hand, Jiri Hudler's chance at redemption has been extended. Half the team is sidelined now, it couldn't be on a more sparkling silver platter for him. What more does he need - just he and Zetterberg with 10 minor leaguers? Will that get him going? He had an assist last night, but with six goals scored I would have hoped for more. I picked him up in one of my four leagues two weeks ago and he's still hanging by a thread.
Actually, who is really doing it for Detroit is Drew Miller. Darren Helm, too. Miller has five points in his last three games and is a plus-6 in that span while seeing his most ice time all season. Helm has 10 points in his last nine games and is a plus-2. Miller reminds me of Cleary in terms of upside - and if Cleary never gets hurt, than I believe he would have hit 65 points at least once. All either of them require(d) is (was) a chance.
Helm reminds me of a more talented Kris Draper, whose career high was 40 points in 67 games. Helm can do that and maybe slightly better. Someday. Not this year, but he's giving us a glimpse that he can produce 50-plus points in a couple of seasons.
As if there are not enough young Detroit players stepping up for Detroit when needed (shame on you Hudler), but defenseman Jonathan Ericsson had two points last night. He's seeing over 20 minutes per game, is on pace for 100 PIM and is plus-11 right now. If you pick him up today, I think he'll get you another 10-plus points, plus-10 and 50 PIM in the second half.
Trevor Daley has seven points in his last eight games, and if you're looking for a d-man he's seeing plenty of PP time these days.
Sergei Kostitsyn is pointless in three games. I like Brent Lemon's theory in the recent Puck Daddy article - there is only one Kostitsyn and he takes turns scoring for either MTL or NSH while an imposter fills his roster spot on the other team.
Grand Clitsome has three points in his last two games and he's seeing over 19 minutes of ice time for the Blue Jackets. He's another defender who is available on your wire who could produce for you for the time being. He saw more ice time than either Stralman or Russell and he seems to be hungrier to keep it.
Rookie Matt Calvert scored his second career goal last night. Perhaps he'll be a full-timer next year after all, he seems to be fitting in and producing despite minimal minutes.
I don't care if Simon Gagne has three goals in his last three games, I still don't want him on my team. Just a tease.,
And minus-21 this year.
Teddy Purcell was a healthy scratch. He had just a point in 11 games.
Jussi Jokinen has been playing with Eric Staal since returning to the lineup and he has seven points in three games. Add the three points he managed before getting hurt and he has 10 in his last five.
Despite missing six games, JJ is still on track for 66 points. Possibly the most underrated forward in the NHL?
With 10 points in the last 16 games, Jamie McBain's scoring pace has quietly crept up from a 12-point pace to a 29-point pace. And rising. He needs 29 points in 38 games to get to 45 (and get all the whiners to stop cursing me via email) and frankly I think he'll make it close.
Awesome hit by Doughty on Hall. Love the immediate reaction by Hall's teammates too. A must-see:
Beleskey is not only on a hot run, but he drops the gloves too. Knocks Fiddler out of the game and shrugs his shoulders after Vern turtles: