Thanks to Brian Kom for having me on Dobber Nation - I really enjoyed the segment. Perhaps Dobber and I should disagree (publically) more often....

 

Saturday is the last you will hear from me for a while.... next Monday I am off on vacation (no computer) for a couple of weeks. I'll make sure to have a 15 Prime Cuts piece out before I take off.

 

Nail Yakupov will be back soon.

 

"Yakupov has been productive during his limited time with the Sting, putting up 53 points in 26 OHL games. However, the expectations for him were sky-high and there is a creeping sensation that perhaps he has not dominated to the extent some anticipated, especially considering he turned 18 in October, not unlike fellow late-birthday blue-chippers Patrick Kane, Taylor Hall and John Tavares during their respective draft seasons a few years ago. Point being, at this point Yakupov being the top guy might be closer to 50/50 on merit and not having anyone else jump up to challenge him, pending Alex Galchenyuk returning to the Sting in another month or so.


His return also makes the Sting the wild card in the Western Conference playoff picture. They are on-paper strong, but injuries and a lack of continuity have conspired to keep them from being as on-ice strong."

 

Only one game last night – Montreal took it to the Wings in a big, big way. Detroit wishes they could play all games at home…

 

Jimmy Howard had a rare poor start, and was pulled after allowing four goals. Ty Conklin didn’t help matters at all by allowing the first two shots he faced after coming in as the replacement.

 

Tomas Kaberle has four points (all assists) in his last three games.

 

David Desharnais had three points, as did Erik Cole. Both had great games – Cole is flying over the past few months, while Desharnais is finding a way to be a difference maker on a consistent basis (something many people didn’t think he’d be able to do).

 

Montreal really balanced their ice time around, as teams who jump out to big early leads often do. Josh Gorges was the only skater (forward or defenseman) to play over 20 minutes.

 

I really like the Liles deal for Toronto. He’s only 31, and in general has proven to be a healthy player (concussion this season). He has brought a lot of mobility to Toronto’s defense – by far their biggest weakness last season. He’ll be a great mentor for Jake Gardiner, too. Liles, unlike many power play defensemen, is adequate defensively, as well.

 

James Mirtle has some good thoughts on the signing:

 

What’s clear is that the Leafs have four veteran defencemen who like to play the right side, and Dion Phaneuf isn’t going anywhere. That leaves one of Mike Komisarek, Luke Schenn or Franson (who is considered part of the future on the blueline) to move.


It also looks unlikely that Toronto would attempt to bring in another defenceman via free agency or a trade, even with someone like Nashville Predators veteran Ryan Suter – an old friend of Phil Kessel – potentially available.


That said, had Liles gone to free agency this summer, he likely would have been one of the higher scoring options available. Toronto likes his leadership qualities and opted to stick with what it knows by keeping him.”

 

Nothing to do with fantasy hockey – but great to see the Canucks take a huge step with a mental health initiative spurred on by the late Rick Rypien. The website (as well as a pretty moving message from Rypien’s good friend Kevin Bieksa) – can be found here.

 

I was glad to see Bobby Holik announce his own website. He has been one of the more colorful and honest personalities in hockey over the past few decades. I really enjoyed his thoughts on PK Subban the other day.

 

“What interests me is P.K. Subban and the reaction, attention – positive and negative -he’s getting around the league. P.K. Is a player with tremendous potential, and he brings lot different dimensions to the game. The great Dennis Potvin recently said it very well – Subban’s game is complex. It will take little more time for him to refine it, but when he does, he will be a  stellar defenseman for many years to come.


What’s great about watching P.K. is his passionate-physical play. He’s dynamic offensively, and most of all, he has his own personality. Many people   find P.K.’s style disrespectful to the game, or it seems they hide their dislike for Subban’s personality behind those comments.


It  is a lot of the same type of people who showed me absolutely no respect when I came to the league in 1990 freshly “off the boat” from eastern Europe. They demand you play and behave what they consider is right and respectful. These people developed a “carbon copy mold”  for the “proper” NHL player. I had to battle through it and prove them you can be successful playing a style they don’t like and have a fairly good career.”

 

I couldn’t agree more.

 

The Jeff Carter rumors are heating up, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. The Blue Jackets made a mistake when they acquired a scorer to fill a playmakers role – top line center with Rick Nash. Carter hasn’t looked comfortable in Columbus (although who has), and he would likely welcome a trade out. The Jackets will be in tough to match the value they gave up to get him (Voracek and Sean Couturier’s draft selection).

 

 


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Comments (9)add comment

David said:

OceanMon
carter and nash why couldn't they just split the two up onto two lines? why must nash and carter be on the same line or carter has to get traded?
January 26, 2012
Votes: +0

hammer2003 said:

hammer2003
... Kings should have targeted Carter to play with Kopitar and BJs should have got Richards for Nash. Not like LA is openly disappointed with Richards but I'm sure they expected to be better than the worst offense in the league.
January 26, 2012
Votes: +0

Bender said:

baconnol
Carter If they do end up trading Carter, then Howson should lose his job for sure. Like Marc said, everyone saw this coming and to actually admit it and trade him away in the same season is rediculous. A team like Columbus who has been struggling for so long cannot afford those mistakes.
January 26, 2012
Votes: +0

littleranger said:

littleranger
Some players to buy, sell and a couple of waiver wire pickups http://thehockeywriters.com/ho...-and-more/
January 26, 2012
Votes: -2

thinice said:

thinice
Spurred on, not spurned... "mental health initiative spurned on by the late Rick Rypien"

I'm sure Rypien wouldn't have spurned any mental health initiative...I think you meant spurred on (like spurring a horse).

B
January 26, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
PK Subban Indeed, Subban may one-day be a great defenseman, but he currently lacks a solid defensive game and focus on the fundamentals of defensive play. He has great ice-vision... I'll give him that.

Personally, I find that I critique Subban's overall game because other "fans" build him up a lot higher than he should be placed. At the current NHL level, his overall value is simply average: He has a PLUS offensive game combined with a MINUS defensive game. (At least his +0 is improved from last year's -8. That 2nd year is a key step for NHL defenseman - as a side note, consider how impressive the two-way jump in Erik Karlsson's overall game... from -30 to +5. Wowzers!)

PK's focus appears to be his largest detractor.
http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/01/25/canadiens-p-k-subban-has-a-lot-to-learn/
(He did show some solid maturity in his response to post-practice interviews)

[Lack of "focus" is the same reason I despise Ilya Kovalchuk... a consistent MINUS player. Back-checking, Ilya, is just a mental focus that a forward needs to wrap their head around. Cherry-picking and not passing are a matter of decision-making... and I can't accept any hockey player who can't fix a mental portion of their game.]

Coaches & teachers around the world are aware that you can get the best out of a student if you can first level their humility.

Playing with "passion" is for NHL forwards... not NHL defensemen.
Once PK gets that through his head - he'll develop into the player he can be.
Unlike Ilya - I believe PK will get there.

It would be great if the hockey media would stop throwing him accolades though... as he hasn't done anything, yet, to deserve them.
January 26, 2012
Votes: +0

littleranger said:

littleranger
A Fantasy checklist during the all-star break The all-star break is not a fantasy break. A list of things to do for your fantasy team over the break: http://thehockeywriters.com/te...tar-break/
January 26, 2012
Votes: +0

Uzair said:

Sportfreunde
Holzer In regards to the Leafs signing Liles, it asks questions about who the 6th dman is gonna be. I think it should be Holzer and maybe Schenn due to his value should be traded. Or Holzer traded, he deserves a shot, has been great with the Marlies.
January 25, 2012
Votes: +0

Marc said:

MGW
Carter Who could have possibly seen this coming? Wait, hold on a minute, who did NOT see this coming?
Bringing in a scorer to complement Nash's scoring ability, doesn't take a genius to add that up.

Is it possible the Columbus organization is trying to fail? What are they going to get for Carter, Scott Gomez? Come to think of it...maybe
January 25, 2012
Votes: +1
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