My THN column yesterday focused on the most consistent players in the league this year. Including Kessel, Fleischmann and the Nuge. Also, here is my Puck Daddy piece.

 

For what it's worth, Kris Letang seems as though he is on the mend, but would need to be symptom free for a week before getting clearance. He's probably looking at 10 more days on the shelf, barring a setback (or something unreported).

 

Realignment! Per TSN

Conference 1

Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto

Conference 2

Carolina, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington

Conference 3

Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg

Conference 4

Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver

 

Teams play outside their conference twice each team, and within their own conference five or six times each team. Top four teams in each Conference quality for the playoffs – 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3.

 

For what it’s worth, I’m thrilled that they are going with four conferences instead of this six division stuff. Fairly happy with the process, although if I were in charge I would screw history and politics and go strictly by geography. That would mean moving the Florida teams into Conference 2, bumping the three New York teams up to Conf. 1, and swapping Colorado with Winnipeg (UPDATE - I take this last point back. Neglected to consider time zone difference between those two teams)

 

Boy did Matthew Barnaby really blow it. First the whole domestic dispute with his ex, and then he gets drunk and drives a car that was missing a tire. Now ESPN has fired him. I’m not a big fan of ex players becoming analysts anyway. There are exceptions – I think Nick Kypreos is great, for example. Don Cherry, Kelly Hrudey are other good ones. The jury is still out on Aaron Ward. But definitely do not really get a whole lot from listening to Jamie McLennan and Mike Johnson. And I have no idea what PJ Stock’s purpose is, don’t even get me started. The point is, there has been an influx of ex players getting a shot, when meanwhile there are no doubt plenty of great broadcasting students or unknown radio analysts/commentators around the continent who could be great but we’ll never know because these stations would rather give Tie Domi a 10-episode tryout. How many Elliotte Friedman’s are out there waiting to be discovered?

 

Okay, back to fantasy hockey. Mikhail Grabovski missed the game because his wife is having another baby. Wasn’t the last one just a year ago? Killing his owners, i.e. me in one league…and two babies that close together will really hurt the energy level (take it from me haha).

 

Michael Del Zotto was hammered into the boards towards the end of the game and was down for a long time. No word on the injury at this point, but I’m sure he’ll miss some time.

 

Rich Peverley has quietly put together a four game points streak (six assists). His ice time was up over 20 minutes last night as the coach starts to really lean on him. Looking at the last three seasons, it would seem that his range is 41 to 55 points…and with the lack of PP time, and the depth of the Bruins, you would have to think that he would be on the lower or middle part of that range. But with his ice time, his performance in the postseason last year, his plus/minus, the prime of his career…man, this is a tough one. Where do you peg him? His pace is 57 points, which is a career high. I had him for 40 points in the fantasy guide, but now I would be surprised if he fails to reach 50.

 

Benoit Pouliot has three points in four games. He also saw a season high 14 minutes Monday. No, I don’t recommend him, but it’s something I’ll be watching to see if anything has come of it by three games from now.

 

Tim Thomas stopped 45 of 46 shots. The win streak continues and the quest for back-to-back Vezinas continue.

 

Malkin had nine shots, Kennedy had eight. Malkin has just one point in three games (zero goals) despite 20 shots in that span. His 100 shots ties him for third in the league now – and he missed seven games.

 

Craig Anderson has three assists already. He’s on pace for 10! Nice bonus in leagues that reward that (like mine).

 

Two more goals for Zack Smith – he’s up to 15 points on the year now.

 

Dmitry Kulikov picked up another three points last night, quietly putting together a nice breakout season. He needed a power-player partner (Campbell) and quality players to pass the puck to on the PP (the big line). And now that he has those things, he’s really flourishing.

 

Under his new/old coach Dale Hunter, John Carlson was up to 26 minutes of ice time yesterday and picked up three assists. He has four points in the four games now under Hunter. It was the second most ice time that he received all season and the past three games mark the most ice time he has seen in any three game span this year. Oh, and he had eight shots.

 

The Kings have shuffled the deck again. Here are the new lines: Gagne-Kopitar-Williams Brown-Stoll-Hunter Penner-Loktionov-Moreau Clifford-Fraser-Westgarth. . Poor Loktionov – set up to fail. Mike Richards did not skate.

 

JVR – back in practice and could be back for Wednesday’s game.

 

Brenden Morrow “looks pretty good” for Thursday. And Alex Goligoski was also skating, but from what I read in that piece, I get the feeling that the points may not come in the first couple of weeks because the thumb is affecting his shot.

 

Interesting notes here about St. Louis – Colaiacovo is set to return, Brian Elliott will get the start and Vladimir Sobotka has been moved to center. Elliott is coming off his worst start of the season and he’s playing a tough Detroit team. Hitchcock could be setting him up to fail here, and it’s win-win for him – if Elliott gets the W, then obviously Hitch is happy. If he loses for the second time in a row, it justifies riding the Golden Boy (Halak) on a more consistent basis.

 

Update on Filppula – the cut on his leg was on the right shin and is not too serious. He may play tonight.

 

Rangers prospect Christian Thomas was named OHL player of the week.

 

I’m reading that Andrei Markov had successful knee surgery. Didn’t I read that last time, too? If it was so successful, why is he having it again? Headline writers love throwing around the word “successful” even if the doctors can’t measure the success or failure of the surgery until weeks later.

 

Here’s a break for Matthias Tedenby owners – he is now replacing Dainius Zubrus on the Elias/Sykora line.

 

Phaneuf with the big hit!

 

 

 

 


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Comments (24)add comment

mounD said:

mounD
Ex Players @JasonBanks I think you make some great points about ex-player/coach analysts in the industry. I'm very partial to Kevin Weekes myself, as he seems to be one of the more "educated" analysts, and as you mentioned about his personality: he's incredibly easy to get along with which adds a comfort level for players. While it's distressing to see the Barnaby situation [and reflect on his poor commentary], it's easy to dismiss ex-player analysts, but there are definitely some really good ones out there.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Jason Banks said:

Jason_Banks
EX players and such I must agree I dis-like former players as analyists... Unfortunatly I have to throw a kudos to Pierre McGuire on this, but ex-coaches are the best and most informative at breaking down plays, systems and stratagys... I think most of that has to do with thier ablity to quickly identify and thier ability to word and teach/communicate, what they are trying to get across...

That said P.J. Stock is a bit awkward to listen to presenting scores, but also fun and quick witted, I would like to see him doing color commentary along side a GOOD analyst...

Mike Johnson is a great speaker/comminicator... I feel he is more Host material... sorta like Ron MacLean... altho I don't know that he can spin things the way Ron can to create discussion with the likes of someone like Don Cherry or the guys in the Hot Stove...

Kevin Weekes, for those on the West Coast or late night Easterners is in a perfect position... he looks and presents well in interviews, asks great questions and very quick. He is also easy to get along with so I've noticed when Scott Oak cant get a player to open up, Kevin can...

I agree I have no use for Healey, McLennen...

Kypreos is too much pounding his chest and really never says anything informative... just contraversial opinions is all he offers... (and alot of the time I do agree with him on his points, but his presentation of it is poor)

I'd like to see John Torteralla or Doug MacLean to head towards taking over from Don Cherry... Torts likes to pick out tiny little things that most people don't notice or discuss and make a big deal outta them... and I think thats one of the Keys to Cherry's success is he make a big deal outta minor things and gets people talking... be it Visors, Equiptment, no Touch Ice-ing (was never really talked about until he threw Hand Gernades on the subject)... Torts only problem is that he is an asshole and he doesn't like to hear the flip side of a convo...

Doug MacLean is open and has great storys to tell and likes to take over talks... and while doing it he tends to put his foot in his mouth which is fun to see... But he too can pick out small things and is straight forward with everything... His problem is he has not been on a big enough stage... Hockey Central isn't exactly a massively watched show...

Now that Paul Maurice is Un-employed I think he make a great person to offer insight to a conversation... his problem is he looks like he is crying on camera too often and for that I dunno that he'd be ok to watch... but information wise the man is a vault of knowledge at a good age..
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

derek said:

buck0198
Caps Dobber/angus/steve/anyone

I want to hear some reasons why you think the Capitals are in a funk right now. I know everyone has their own ideas but I am curious what you guys' take is.

December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

derek said:

buck0198
Teds and surgery I hope Tedenby succeeds...need some of my young wingers to pan out to speed up my rebuild.

Successful surgery means that they performed the surgery and things didnt get worse or the person didnt die.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Malkin Ma8er said:

crookedvulture
PJ Stock PJ Stock is awesome man. He is easy on the eyes and wears nice suits!
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
time difference I take it back. For some reason I thought COL/WPG were same time zone but now that I think about it, they are actually an hour apart, is that right? I think so. So yeah, given that extra time zone it makes no sense to swap COL/WPG so that part I rescind.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

lcbtd said:

germant
@BG and Ramblings Agreed on not understanding why guys take it so personal when some players aren't mentioned in the ramblings and then take the time to post a "wow, no mention of so and so."

The irony is that while complaining about not mentioning them, they could have easily mentioned them.

A post saying - a few fact:

Toews scored x points and was a plus y
Vrbata did this last night . . .

Then not only would readers have the ramblings to look forward to, they'd also have the comments to find even more nuggets of info to look forward to.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

letnry
... I can see swapping WPG with COL being fairly equal as far as travel for the Central conference, but adding WPG to the Pacific conference would be much worse for the California teams and PHX. Add to it the time zone difference and you make it that much worse for all involved.

I do agree that WPG would benefit from having more Canadian teams in its conference, but that really has nothing to do with geography as you have stated and more to do with politics.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

Dobber said:

Dobber
... RT - sorry to hear about the problems with surgery. That's something that should be in a headline - unsuccessful surgery. But otherwise, the term 'successful' should be left out because it's either implied or you/they just can't know. Tough news though for your ex

Mike, Ryan - look at this map here:
http://www.canescountry.com/2011/12/5/2614393/bettman-four-conference-nhl-approved-by-governors-today
I think a Colorado/WPG swap is an equal swap, but in keeping WPG with other Canadian teams it would certainly help travel costs (flying within the country)
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

letnry
...
Fairly happy with the process, although if I were in charge I would screw history and politics and go strictly by geography. That would mean moving the Florida teams into Conference 2, bumping the three New York teams up to Conf. 1, and swapping Colorado with Winnipeg.


Sort of contradictory don't you think?
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Repent Tokyo said:

repenttokyo
successful surgery Dobber - you aren't right regarding when a surgery can be judged successful. My ex's father had throat surgery last week, and after they performed the procedure it was immediately clear that it would not be enough, and that a second, more invasive surgery would be required. He is now scheduled for a second surgery. So, his surgery was not successful - it did not correct the problem, even though the procedure was performed.

Is it odd that upon learning this news, I immediately thought of your rants against the term 'successful surgery?'
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

Mike said:

thestandard
Geography? Dobber,

I see your point swapping the New York teams and Jersey into Conf 1 and moving the Florida teams down, but how is swapping Colorado with Winnipeg accomplishing anything? That makes no sense based on geography!
December 06, 2011
Votes: +2

Dean Youngblood said:

Dean Youngblood
... I believe it's Grabocski's girlfriend (not married).

I don't mind Kypreos too much.
Glen Healy is the worst former player analysist. I have never heard Healey say anything positive -- EVER.

Personally, I am getting tired of TSN going the former player route (McLellan creeps me out, Johnson is alright but doesn't interest me at all).
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
re: Wow Toews is a good player. He got four points. Well done Toews!
Kane is a good player. He got a couple points as well. Well done Kane!
Flash, for the 20th straight ramblings, continues to post the numbers. I was right about him, kudos to me!
OEL - what a nice shootout goal! His first!
Vrbata - as I've said 100 times - is really thriving with Ray Whitney. Great stuff!
smilies/wink.gif I'm yankin your chain, of course. But...

I'm not sure what adding the obvious about these players, in many cases stuff that I've said dozens of times this year, would do to make these ramblings any better. I put in a few hours pouring over the stats/summaries and all the news sites to pick out a portion of what will help you in your pool. And I don't think that talking about how Toews getting four points yet again is going to give anyone an edge. I didn't mention Phil Kessel and his two points either. Or Jonas Gustavsson and his ninth win.

Ramblings are not the news - they are just a guy 'rambling' about his thoughts on the fantasy hockey world. Lots of sites out there provide the news, but this one is more 'opinion'.


smilies/cool.gif
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

ynotzz said:

ynotzz
Re:Re:Wow I understand where he is coming from though, because I've been getting the feeling from some of the ramblings lately, that they haven't really watched more than one match and the rest are pretty much based on the box scores/summaries. They still make a good read though.

What if the ramblers started out by stating which matches they actually watched? I hope people dont get me wrong here, because I'm all about the numbers and love having people pointing out interesting statistics, but I also like hearing about which players looked energized, motivated, slow, rusty etc etc.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

mick said:

hawkdog
Hrudey is so annoying.

Another example of a "shouldn't be commentator" is Cassie Campbell.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

DuklaNation said:

DuklaNation
... Most people break in on radio unless you're a hot babe who knows sports from their brothers.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

CommittedToTheIndian said:

CommittedToTheIndian
Re: Wow Baffles me why commenters do this. You obviously already knew what those players did, GB, so what difference does it make whether they're mentioned in Ramblings? To me, Ramblings should tell us what we didn't already know or offer fresh insight on something we did know. Toews is good; not a new development.

As for ex-players (and coaches) as analysts, many turn out to be not cut out for it, but I still put more stock in game analysis from someone who's been there, done that at the highest level than from someone with a broadcast journalism degree.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

pharling said:

Harling
BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!
What a hit by Phaneuf, beautiful.
Perhaps Markov's surgery was "successful" because he didn't die?
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

Tom said:

jack_oat67
ex jocks.. I have to agree with Larry on this one... Kypreos is brutal. The only time I listen to him is during trade deadline when he really has good leads and information. Other than that he should stop talking. He is a big blowhard. A guy with hands of stone who made his career that way should not keep putting down others that do the same.

Del Zotto stayed in the game after slamming into the boards on that non-icing race to touch the puck. I think he was the one who missed the net by 10 feet on a slap from the point that caused the puck leaving the zone and lead to the empty netter.

Phaneuf's hit was a thing of beauty. Sauer didn't get hurt by the contact, he got hurt when his helmet popped off and the back of his head hit the edge of the boards. You can really see his head whip forward after hitting that edge.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

Nick said:

nick12345
Del Zotto Del Zotto came back and played the end of the game so he may not miss any time
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0

GB said:

Front89
Wow No mention of Toews, Kane, Weiss, Vrbata and Flash from last night? Or OEL scoring on his first SO opportunity?
December 06, 2011
Votes: +1

tim roberts said:

BamNeely
Player Analysts Forgot to mention JR! Roenick I actually don't mind because he has a unique opinion on a lot of subjects and really sticks his ground backing that opinion. Kinda like Milbury.
December 06, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
ex jocks on tv... to each his own- I like Johnson with his new role between benches ala Ray Ferraro on TSN, and Stock too- much more than Kypreos and his 'youre an idiot if you dont agree with me' approach to broadcasting. Ward is certainly better than McLennan,Barnaby or Peca. Friedman rocks,just wish TSN would stop stealing the CBC's talent, Kevin Weekes and Darryl Reaugh drive me nuts.
December 06, 2011
Votes: +0
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