Lockout Update Day 108: There is still a lockout. Happy New Year!
My predictions from yesterday, and the result:
The proposal will be similar to the PA's last one, but with some minor tweaks.
Apparently I was wrong. The counter was off of the NHL's proposal. Shocker!
Donald Fehr will hold a press conference, indicating that a deal is at hand and that their offer is so close that the NHL would hardly have to move at all in order to come to an agreement.
The offer would actually be nowhere close, and Bill Daly will be annoyed and upset.
It was actually no comment. So that's progress. I was only one for three.
The two sides are meeting today at 5pm, after several smaller meetings throughout the day.
Alex Ovechkin has announced his engagement to tennis star Maria Kirilenko. Expect a sharp uptick in points this year as a result. Or a sharp downtick. Or very little movement at all, since I don't believe in this stuff other than as an occasional explanation 'after the fact'.
Canada moves onto the Semi-Finals in the WJC, thanks to a 4-1 win over Russia. Time to talk some Jonathan Drouin. I almost threw down some thoughts on him after the USA game. The guy has been dynamite. Every time he steps onto the ice, he makes something happen. And for the most part, that has been playing on a checking line. In the game against Russia he was bumped up to the top line - a well deserved promotion. He is 'only' ranked fourth at this point for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, but as good as Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones and Aleksander Barkov are, I have to think that Drouin is in the conversation for a Top 3 pick.
For what it's worth, here is the Central Scouting's Top 10, as of December 22:
1. Nathan MacKinnon
2. Seth Jones
3. Aleksander Barkov
4. Jonathon Drouin
5. Sean Monahan
6. Bo Horvat
7. Max Domi
8. Elias Lindholm
9. Ryan Pulock
10. Rasmus Ristolainen
Ryan Strome is another player on Team Canada who has really impressed me. Very creative, quick reflexes, accurate shot and a great instinct when it comes to knowing when to let it go.
If I were to list players who have disappointed me for Team Canada, I wouldn't be able to come up with any. But there are a couple who, and I'll try to word this carefully, failed to meet my lofty expectations. I guess that's the best way to put it. Not that they have been playing poorly, but I had set the bar pretty high and they didn't reach it - don't take it as a slight against them, it's just my opinion coming down to earth.
1. Morgan Rielly - I was really hoping to see a potential generational superstar. Instead, I'm seeing a future five- or six-time All-Star (which is nothing to sneeze at). A great defenseman who will do great things in the NHL. Just not what I was hoping to see. You know - one of those guys who comes along once every three or four tournaments and surprises everyone with just how good he really is.
2. Ryan Murphy - I was hoping to see a future All-Star, and instead I saw a player who at this point looks to be my pick to be the next Bobby Sanguinetti. Sanguinetti was picked 21st overall in 2006. He then had 123 points in 128 OHL games after being drafted. Murphy was taken 12th overall and has 76 points in 80 games since. But I'm seeing a guy who not only susceptible to injury with his style, but he frequently shoots when there is a better passing option available.
Nine goals scored by the Americans yesterday, and Rocco Grimaldi was in on zero of them. It just keeps getting worse. (My opinion of him as a fantasy prospect)
Team Canada won the Spengler Cup yesterday, hammering Davos 7-2. I turned on the replay, not knowing the outcome, and it was just in time to see Canada's second goal. It was like two minutes into the game! When they scored the third time, rather quickly, I just went back to my New Year's preparations and had it on in the background. Disappointed that I couldn't sit and watch a close battle between two great teams.
Hat tip to 'anathema', who gave me this link in the comments section. It's the top scorers of the Spengler Cup tourney. A five-way tie, with five points, led the scoring race: Patrick Kane, Julien Sprunger, Joe Thornton, Patrice Bergeron, and Andrey Bykov. Sprunger was a Wild draftee (2004) who never panned out. Bykov was never drafted, mostly due to his size (5-8). But at 24, he's still young enough to garner some interest.
Isn't this getting old? Jordan Eberle with four more points last night. Taylor Hall with three, Justin Schultz with two. They're way above the AHL in talent level, if we didn’t know that already.
Fantasy Goalie Guide - over 130 goaltenders scouted and profiled by expert Justin Goldman, plus the full fantasy slant and political scenario of every single goaltender belonging to an NHL team done by yours truly. Combined, this bad boy has it all. Pick it up here.
TSN's Top 10 plays of 2012 (all sports):