Cam Fowler is doing everything he can to avoid the sophomore slump and aside from the mandatory Scott Niedermayer comparison that follows the young defenceman in virtually every article written about him, Fowler notes how a simple four or five-pound difference in his playing weight can noticebly affect his speed. His keeper league upside is just outrageously good, but aside from that he's just fun to watch out there.
Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson are turning into a LETHAL combo in Dallas. Benn was a point-per-game player in the second half last season and with Brad Richards gone, Benn's emergence has been a pivotal part of the Stars off to such a strong start. 5-2 Stars over Carolina in the third period as I write this. Eriksson is just such a good hockey player too. Catch the highlights of this game and see Ryder's goal to put the Stars up 4-1. Eriksson's stick-lift before the goal? So smooth. His work on the OT winner of that crazy game with the Avs a few days back, which I wrote about in my live recap at the time, was fantastic. He and Benn both worked so hard on that same play, in different areas, to create the goal. Michael Ryder, it should be noted, has back-to-back multi-pointers in November now and is reaping the rewards of being on that line.
Hawks host the Canucks tonight in a battle of teams who just love each other. Duncan Keith will miss his third straight game with that hand injury. Jonathan Toews offered this to reporters this morning: "There are always games that are marked on your calendar during the regular season. You can't say that every game is the same because it's not. It's the first game since that seventh game loss last spring and we'll be ready for it. Even during the regular season the pace is always elevated between these two teams and I don't think that's changing yet. It seems like it builds every time we play Vancouver, something new comes up that kind of adds to the mix.
"It's always two really good, really competitive teams going head-to-head. It's more than just hockey out there against guys that get into it pretty good. Multiple things add to it as to why it's so competitive and so personal out there. Little things happen, whether it's hit or plays, things that you remember from previous series or previous games during the regular season that you want to get even with them for every time they take it to you."
Ray Whitney on After Hours, after mentioning Devan Dubnyk and Pekka Rinne's size: "If they want to look at rule changes, 5'10 goalies and under would be a great one to start with."
In case you went to bed early and missed the third period of the EDM/PHO broadcast, Scott Oake interviewed Don Maloney and the GM said what he's been saying... there's no way, under any circumstances, that Kyle Turris will be traded this season.
One of my favourite tweets of the night was from Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes, sent near the end of the second period of these games: “I'm covering Sens-Sabres, but I'm PVR'ing BOS-TOR & PHI-CBJ to watch when I get home. Nobody spoil it for me.”
Indeed. The Leafs ended up losing 7-0 to the Bruins and... shhhh... If you listen closely, you can actually hear the sound of the goodwill the Leafs have earned in the last month begin evaporating in Toronto.
So how about them Columbus Blue Jackets? I never like to be the one who slowly drives by the car wreck on the side of the road, but it’s hard not to in this case. A 9-2 loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers and a forgettable season to date in general.
A few of Aaron Portzline’s (Columbus Dispatch writer) tweets from as the evening progressed...
After the first period, when it was 5-0: “I've covered this team for 11 seasons. Never have I seen a worse period. This was NHL vs. ECHL, and I expect a letter of complaint from ECHL.”
Also from tonight:
“#CBJ coach Scott Arniel: "We've hit a lot of bottoms this year. This was another big one."”
For what it’s worth, from a fantasy perspective I’d still be chasing after really good deals on Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski and Rick Nash. The two healthy ones have decent point totals and all, but often poolies are quick on the trigger to sell when the stench emanating from a team is as bad as this one here. The Jackets can’t possibly be this bad all season and whether it’s a coaching change, Divine intervention from the Hockey Gods or just the players actually, you know, trying hard... the ship will turn around on some level. Vinny Prospal, incidentally, added his 11th point in his 14th game here.
This tweet was sent out by the New York Islanders tonight: “The #Isles apologize for any fans that needed to be moved tonight due to the leaking ceiling. Thank you for your patience.” The jokes write themselves there, but kudos to the Isles for taking advantage of their new lines tonight and overcoming an 0-2 hole in the first period to beat the Caps 5-3.
They opened with these new combos: Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Michael Grabner/ Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - P.A. Parenteau/ Blake Comeau - Marty Reasoner - Kyle Okposo. Nielsen and Parenteau each delivered three-point nights.
Adam Henrique had a pair of goals tonight, giving him goals in two straight five points in three November games. He was with Zach Parise and David Clarkson (Clarkson since Ilya Kovalchuk was unable to play) on the first line and Henrique has been making the most of his chance. Said the third rounder from 2008 after the game, "It’s nice to be able to contribute and I feel more and more confident every game playing with two great linemates.”
Milan Lucic has goals in five of six and his 2G, 1A effort tonight was nice, although David Krejci owners were even happier with Krejci’s three-point night since he only had one point coming into this evening’s game.
You either have Nicklas Backstrom or you don’t and he’s a high-priced item in fantasy stores again, as he should be, but I’m really happy to see him thriving again this season. Another two points against the Isles and that makes eight separate two-point results in 12 GP and six in his past seven games. Backstrom and Henrik Lundqvist jerseys, incidentally, occupy the slots in my two shadow box frames in my office.
Sean Avery was back with the Rangers tonight. Fourth line role and he didn’t even see five minutes of ice time. Ugh. I’ve wasted too many words on him already. Michael Del Zotto has points in four of six on D though. He gets so much power play time and has really struggled with results, so hopefully he can keep this trend up and capitalize on his prime spot with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik on PP1.
Henrik Zetterberg scored tonight in a convincing 5-0 Wings win over Anaheim. He only has five points this season, so the window could still be open to get him at a decent price. He’ll be sizzling hot before we know it and his real bonus in standard leagues is that great SOG total. Johan Franzen ended an ugly six-game pointless streak – where Detroit collected only one point as a team - and has 10 points in 12 GP. It was his second three-pointer of the young season.
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