Quick notes - Hagman has cleared waivers, the Pens have sent down Ryan Craig, and the Coyotes have called Kyle Turris back up. Obviously Turris was sent down just to get in some game time.
Nicklas Backstrom may (or may not) miss time due to a fractured finger. Details are here. But this puts the onus on the team to pick up a center (ahem Weiss).
About Chris Kunitz - yes, he's a 65-point player on Crosby's line. I understand that he's never hit his top season in Anaheim (60 points). But his production is still up 15% playing with Crosby. Why do I say this? Check out his production after the trade deadline in 2009 - down the stretch and in the playoffs. In 2009-10, he was hurt. He missed games and he played hurt. If you measure his value based on that season, you would be wrong. Now look at this season, minus the slow start of ALL Pittsbrugh players in the first 14 games up until the point where Crosby went down. He's a 65-point player on Sid's line and just because he failed you last year (injury) does not make this statement wrong.
By the way - Mr. Kunitz is "possible" to return Wednesday
Ottawa sent Pascal Leclaire to Binghamton on a conditioning stint.
Mike Green has been out with a concussion and the Caps are saying he is fine and they are being overly cautious. With three days off afterward, they decided to give him Monday off as well.
Something to consider for one year from today - James Neal is signed for 2011-12. If he goes out and tallied 75 points next season (or, say, 55 points in 58 games in mid-February), do you see the writing on the wall? His expected contract extension will require something in excess of $4 million per season. Perhaps more, especially if he scores at an even better clip than that. I wonder if, in the summer of 2012, we will indeed see Evgeni Malkin traded. Thoughts? Just more of my "musing".
Johan Hedberg will get another start tonight. He'll face Jamie Langenbrunner and Dallas.
Another interesting match - Colorado vs. St. Louis in a battle of "the deal".
Nashville is 4-6-1 without Ryan Suter, but he is "possible" for a return Thursday.
Ray Emery is 1-1-0, 2.54 and 0.928 in the AHL. Is that enough time? The Ducks are hurting...
Give Joe Colborne three goals in two games for the Marlies.
I wish there was a way to make every reader understand what I write. I know the majority of you do, but there are some who also get carried away. The amount of emails I received either applauding or denying my statement about James Neal and breaching the subject of 100 points... it worries me. James Neal is not going to get 100 points. I would bet $1000 on it right now. Would I bet $100,000? No. That is where my definition of "upside" comes in. Neal's Upside was 80 points, and his "likely three-year peak" (that's my projection of his three best seasons of his NHL career - averaged) I had as 71 points. The move from Dallas to Pittsburgh, to me, pushes his upside to 95 and his 3YP to 78 or 79. That's a huge jump in the fantasy world. I mused about 100 points, but that's all it was - musing. I sometimes muse about living in a dome on Mars, does that mean I'm going there? So I mused - if Joe Thornton can make Jonathan Cheechoo a 93-point player, than why can't Crosby do the same to Neal? After all, prior to the Thornton trade, I had Cheechoo's upside at 70. With Neal at 80...aren't his odds even better?
Before you tell me about how little Kunitz is doing with Crosby, let me say this - Kunitz is a 55-point player and Crosby makes him a 65-point player. Injuries got in the way of us seeing that. But call the bump 15%. If Neal was going to get 65 points in 2011-12 in Dallas, and I think that's ballpark, give him the same bump in Pittsburgh. So 75 points, if everyone is healthy. But do not go after him in your league thinking he is one of the five players per year who gets 100 points. Because I was just...musing!
One side benefit of this deal for Pittsburgh - they get an extra forward in the deal. So now they can send Tim Wallace back down. One less AHLer for the short term!
I really like Goligoski's short term potential in Dallas. The entire PP is his oyster, nobody in the way. He's a 55-point player, and soon. It's just a shame that he can't be the next Mike Green, like I figured could happen in Pittsburgh.
Matt Moulson has 10 points in his last six games, and seven goals in that span. He has a shot at 35 goals this year and wouldn't that be somethin'
St. Louis is very entertaining to watch now. I'm not sure if that's more Stewart or more Shattenkirk. But the game yesterday seemed pretty wide open and they could have won it.
Michael Frolik is endearing himself to his new team. Zero points and minus-3 in six games. I wonder if this is a ploy (here's my Dobber-for-GM imagination running away from me again) - but a player this talented and in his third year (a contract year), what if you stuck him on the third/fourth line with zilch for power-play time? Then you sign him for two years at a rock-bottom price and he enters that magical fourth season. Budget restraints force you to clear out another player or two, you stick the low-paid Frolik on the top line and "voila", you have yourself a highly productive cheap forward. No?
Ben Bishop got the hook yesterday, allowing four goals on 18 shots. Not good, he may be hard-pressed to find his next start.
Al Montoya is still on fire - nobody gave him a chance last season and half of this one. The Isles could do worse than roll with he and Poulin next season.
Sorry - still behind on the Goalie rankings. Will post today
Good tilt - Bradley vs. Craig:
Bailey - sweet goal: