I was at the ACC on Saturday night to cover a highly entertaining contest between the Maple Leafs and the Senators. 

 

Yeah, yeah, I know, nobody cares.

 

Moving on...

 

*

 

Question: What do Devan Dubnyk, James Reimer and Tim Thomas have in common? I mean beyond the fact that all three were totally and thoroughly ventilated on Saturday? 

 

Answer: All three remain reasonably likely to post above average seasons as starting goaltenders. 

 

*

 

It's an 82 game season. We all know this. Yet we all also love to draw big sweeping inferences from the first week of games. Hell, it's human nature to give greater weight to one's first impressions. Which is why I'll spend much of these ramblings doing just that.

 

But before I do, let's offer up a qualifier. We don't know much about the quality of any teams at this point in the season, and it'll take a few weeks before things begin to shake out.

 

In the meantime our impulse to label random chance which occurs early in the season as "indicative" of anything really is shoddy, and will lead one astray. This is true in fantasy and more generally as a hockey fan who likes to be right about stuff.

 

In game 66 some of the guys who were stellar on Saturday - like Jaroslav Halak or Kari Lehtonen - will have crappy games, while Dubnyk, Reimer and Thomas are crushing it. And no one will remember the first weekend of the season. 

 

*

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning spat in the face of PDO on Saturday. Unfathomable that they emerged from that lopsided contest against the Blackhawks with two points. Truly. 

 

*

 

Are you ready to live in a world where the Minnesota Wild are fancy-stats darlings? Because that dawn is nigh, my friends.

 

First the Minnesota Wild out-corsi'd the Kings on Thursday (and lost). Then they controlled 51 shot attempts to 26 for the Ducks at 5on5 on Saturday night (and lost). Granted the Wild were playing from behind for most of the game, and the score effects adjusted stats suggest a much more even affair...

 

But the point remains that the Wild have a chance to be a legitimate good team this season. I thought that before the season started and have seen nothing to dissuade me of that likelihood in week one. 

 

They're still a quality second-line away from slaying either of St. Louis or Chicago in the playoffs, however.

 

*

 

I highly, highly recommend extraskater.com, a new fancy stat resource that came about during the offseason and has had something of a coming out party this week. The game recaps are particularly user friendly and visually appealing, which hopefully will make these numbers more accessible and interesting to skeptical hockey fans.

 

*

 

Every year around this time I get to fantasizing about playing in a fantasy hockey league where shot differential is a category. Ultimately the players who would become most valuable as a result are the best players on good teams anyway (the Malkins, Sedins, Toews', Thorntons, Bergerons and Kopitars etc.), and isn't that sort of the point?

 

*

 

Another category that would make a lot of sense is penalty differential. Or even just "drawn penalties." Treating PIMs like a positive is pretty silly at this point, and I think more fantasy managers are realizing that every year. Drawing penalties on the other hand is a meaningful skill, and something that helps teams win actual hockey fans. It would be cool to play in a fantasy league that took that into account.

 

*

 

In a fancy-stat fantasy league Dustin Brown is a first round pick.

 

*

 

I'm in theScore's news editor fantasy league this year and that's it. It's matchup style with G, A, PPP, Hits, SOG, W, GAA and SV% as cats. I picked 20th out of 20, and each team goes 15 players deep. Obviously seeing as how I picked real late, my club is really shallow on top-end talent. I also probably should've invested more in goal (but we only had one G slot) too.

 

But at least I got Radko Gudas, and Gudas is to the 2013-14 NHL fantasy season, what Rockets center Omer Asik was to the 2012-13 NBA fantasy season. To be more specific about I mean by that comparison: Gudas is (like Asik was last season) a quality player with unbelievable rate stats who was obviously going to see his ice-time explode this season. Four hits and a +1 on Saturday!

 

*

 

I wasn't smart enough target Gudas myself, frankly. Luckily I read Terry Campkin every Sunday, so he was on my radar.

 

You should probably read Campkin on Sunday's too.

 

*

 

With Alex Burrows on the shelf for 2-3 weeks, Jannik Hansen looks like he'll be the forward in Vancouver who caddies the twins. Obviously Hansen won't get you power-play points, but he'll give you hits, points, shots and plus/minus when he's playing on Vancouver's top-line and it looks like he will through October.

 

I just bring this up as a waiver wire suggestion. Hansen scored a goal on Saturday, added 6 PIM and 4 hits in his first game on the top-line. He's also owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues currently, so yeah, probably worth keeping an eye on.

 

*

 

How good has that Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Eller line been this week? Some of it is a mirage for sure (the Canadiens are scoring on one of every five even-strength shots with Galchenyuk on the ice so far), but Montreal is crushing play with those three on the ice. They did it last season too, so it's not just a two game thing. 

 

I could see those three posting first line forward point production this season (I consider a first line forward to be a ~55 point guy).

 

*

 

I'll just leave this here because it's hilarious. It's too early in the season for this to really matter, and I'm sure Buffalo's possession numbers will regress over the next 23 games or so. But wow. 

 

Thomas Drance is a news editor at theScore.


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Comments (30)add comment

Magnum said:

Magnum
... I am shocked and appalled by these ramblings (or lack thereof). Lucky for us the feedback made up for it!
October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
... Uh. Last two years not weeks lol.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

rataylor22 said:

rataylor22
... Hey Thomas, hopefully you check back and see this. I don't think they were bad ramblings, but I have read them every day for the last two weeks. I would say these weren't bad, but they weren't the best we have seen this week. Laidlaw threw down some real thorough ramblings the last two days, so maybe check a look at his last two for some help on what people are looking for. They got a lot of praise so people clearly liked them.

Secondly, I fully understand you have a life. I appreciate the hard work you did to scrape up this information considering you were out all night and didn't have a good chance to properly watch most of the games. Thanks for all the insight you provided and the quality work you regularly provide.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

woodrow said:

woodrow
... Thomas, I appreciate your incites. If anything, over the past two weeks, you're obviously damned if you do or damned if you don't. If the only game you can comment on is the Leafs and whomever there playing, please do post whatever you feel is relevant in what you saw. If peeps don't like it, too bad to them. Keep up the fine work.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

artvandelay said:

artvandelay
... I wonder if the ramblings would be better served to have two writers on weekends. One to cover the Eastern conference and the other to cover the West. Maybe its just too much to have just one person ramble over 30 teams.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +5

pudge said:

pudge
... Todays ramblings were clearly subpar compared to longformed high expectations of the reading audience... the timing of it being the first Sunday of the regular season with a very attentive audience adds to the expectations.

Drance has responded, appropriately and respectfully and I believe will take it into consideration in future ramblings.

The feedback isn't personal attack, and whether the site is free or paid membership, whether the writer is paid or volunteer has no bearing on if offering respectful negative feedback is appropriate. (people should also continue to offer positive feedback where appropriate (and most importantly financial support).

Of course some things need to be thrown out as random internet difference of opinion garbage, but there's legit feedback and a good community on here.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +4

allonblack said:

allonblack
What's with the hate? Seriously, this is a free site...how people feel entitled to ANYTHING on the internet absolutely baffles me. I've been using this site for years and rarely say anything but some of the comments over the last few days have been infuriatingly disrespectful. Guess what guys...the internet is an endless frontier, feel free to go out there, capture and cultivate some space of your own, and then write whatever you want. I, for one, appreciate this site because of it's broad view of many teams (even when it does get Leafs-centric haha) but when something I want isn't covered (like
October 06, 2013
Votes: -4

ynotzz said:

ynotzz
... Wow, cant believe my little comment caused this much heat so not sure I should add any fuel to the fire but....

1. It seems like some people think Thomas is using his spare time to write these ramblings for us, but I am pretty sure he is getting paid. If I am wrong I apologize.

2. I guarantee you that the site makes money on commercial banners etc.

3. If nobody speaks up when the material is below the expected standard it wont get better.

Hopefully Thomas is able to filter through the noise and find the positive in what is essencially just feedback.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +5

shingy said:

shingy
...
@ Ovi42. Well said. Refreshing. Too bad it took over 15 comments before another person showed some respect.

@repenttokyo. Your welcome.

October 06, 2013
Votes: -4

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
re: quality writing i'm a professional writer, and i think i understand the economics of web writing better than most. I write 3-4,000 words a day, so I understand the time commitment involved in producing quality work for my clients.

Dobber has a history of putting good writers with strong insights on his page. If a writer can't perform the job because he's at a game - or for whatever reason - then he should pass the torch to someone who can. It's really very simple. There are others out there who can rise to the occasion. Excuses as to why something couldn't get done at the expected level of quality are just that.

And with a note regarding your economic breakdown of the guide - consider this. A big part of the reason why someone like Dobber is able to sell so many guides is due to the quality of the content on this site - because it attracts regular readers, who then become aware of the various guides. They also stick around and form the community in the discussion forums, essentially creating a pool of regular buyers for one of this site's important products. It's therefore in Dobber's best interest to have the highest quality daily content that he can - including the ramblings, which are a major draw for the site, and far more effective than most forms of paid advertising. In recognition of this, the ramblings are usually outstanding. And when they aren't, we notice.

October 06, 2013
Votes: +4

TheBoneweasel said:

TheBoneweasel
... for what it's worth, i got more out of these ramblings than i have any other day this week...

I think the key is you're never gonna make everybody happy, especially when fantasy hockey is so different league-to-league. Just do your best. These are free, after all..
October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

Ovi42 said:

Ovi42
... I think all of the keyboard Heroes need to get a grip and loose the entitlement.
First, it's a free site. Lots of other places to read news if you're not satisfied .
If you do buy the guide and want to use that as a launch point for being entitled to a certain quality, let's break it down. After all is said and down, let's round it at $12.00 after any cc or paypal fees. We'll just use Sunday ramblings for this context: averaging 4 Sundays over 12 months, you're paying a quarter for each rambling on room of the guide without enjoying the rest of the articles, feautures, etc, it's literally pennies.
Lets also consider that while it may take 10 minutes to read, it takes a hell of a lot longer to review, compline and write the articles.
Nichole's set the bar high and then couldn't continue, likely because he has a real job, probably much the same as Thomas. Cut the guy a friggin break. It's ridiculous. Feedback like this and you're going to chase away a really quality writer with great insight and someone who takes the time out of their lives to produce something for you to read and enjoy. Before everyone starts ripping Thomas, just once, take a saturday night schedule, write your own ramblings and post them in the forum and see what kind of time commitment it takes and the feedback you get.
I'm sure like most writers, Thomas is thankful for constructive critism, but blasting the guy is bush league.
Thomas; thanks for efforts. There are a lot of folks who appreciate the time you take for the Sunday ramblings.
Ps; those of you slamming the first paragraph, go back and read last weeks ramblings comments. I don't blame Thomas one bit.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +1

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
shingy there's no need to act like a jerk. there are plenty of other sites that you yourself can read if you are unsatisfied with the community here, and the comments that are made by its members.

thanks for telling me what I think, etc, etc.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +3
I Get It..., Low-rated comment [Show]

mabus said:

mabus
... I don't think some of us were trolling by saying that these ramblings were poor. We're just hoping they will be updated with something worthwile. Many of us come here for a quick highlight for who is looking good and who is not. The first week is huge in the season because there are a lot of guys that are playing awesome and others that are invisible. If people can't find that out here, they will go elsewhere.

I'd update the ramblings with some thoughts from last night's games. Ideas: Fleury, got his head on straight, or two weak opponents? Galchenyuk and Eller on fire. Krug and Hertl looking great among the relatively unknown (possibly in your pool) rookies. Abandon ship on Florida, or is St. Louis that good? Eller, Raymond, Tanguay, Hemsky, Roy, Setoguchi, Vlasic, Niskanen, Hjalmarsson, Sobotka, etc. are owned in less than half of leagues - which ones should owners be all over and which ones can be avoided.

There are a thousand valuable topics for fantasy owners during the first week of the season. Provide quality information so people return.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +1

poolies said:

October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

repenttokyo said:

repenttokyo
shingy Some of us support this site financially by buying the guide. Even those who don't have the right to voice their opinion, even if it doesn't agree with yours. Dobber has set the bar very high in terms of the quality of the ramblings, and this site's audience has come to expect high quality writing and analysis. When we don't get it, we point it out - as we should.

If you want to live in a vacuum, go read Yahoo's mindless fantasy analysis. If you want a conversation, then stay here - but be prepared for people to hold opinions different than your own.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +7
Whiners, Low-rated comment [Show]

Thomas Drance said:

Thomas Drance
...

I guess I'll try and do better next week. Sorry dudes these are tough pieces for me when I'm at the game (because I don't get to watch much else). Last week I focussed on the game at length and people were pissed. This week I pasted over it and obviously haven't delivered what you're looking for. I guess it's a balancing act and one I'm working on (and struggling with, based on the feedback this week).

Anyway some nights I'll be in the news room and able to talk at length about the action (which I think/hope you'll like better). Other nights (last night being one) that's not possible.

Bear with me I guess, and I'll try and incorporate your suggestions and take your criticism to heart.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +7

BlackGold said:

BlackGold
... Sunday ramblings probably have the highest expectations to them, I'm not sure how the previous Sunday writers covered so Mich content but perhaps you should ask them for some tips.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +1

leafless said:

leafless
Really Really? Nothing on Leafs and Sens. These ramblings have been getting worse and worse. But i must say they hit a all time low today.I come on the website to hear Dobbers insight, not some hack who rambles about nothing. Come on Dobber get a grip on your writers.
October 06, 2013
Votes: -1

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
weaksauce ynotzz a troll? trolls dont get 5+ votes (and counting, frankly this is an underutilized feature) 10 games- and only 3 brief mentions of what happened? I expected more too.
Dubnyk will play lots (assuming they dont trade for a goalie) but thats about it, how many teams out there have a worst starter? Calgary is an unknown, and Im not a Pavalec fan- but not much else out there. Even at 40+ I prefer Thomas, and I think both Lindback and Bishop can be better than Dubnyk if they just decide on a starter. Edmonton isnt going anywhere with him, especially with that defense in front of him.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +3

4horsemen said:

4horsemen
... Are there really multiple Malkins in the league? I was aware of the one but it's news to me that there are multiples smilies/cheesy.gif

I cringe every time a sports announcer pluralises a star players name to make a generalisation. I love what the Drances and Dobbers bring to the table but would prefer to read what writers like Drance and Dobber have to say!

I beg to differ on your assertion that Reimer is the starter in Toronto. I really like the kid but the job is completely up for grabs and if Bernier can build off the success of last night over the coming weeks there won't be anyone calling Reimer the starter in Toronto anymore. At the start of the year I'd have called it a coin flip but I'm now at 60-40 that Bernier is the starter.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +1

mabus said:

mabus
... After the first Saturday of the season, I expected more of a - here is who looked good and who didn't look good type of ramblings.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +6

pudge said:

pudge
... You were at a completely fantasy relevant game live... and the only insight you offer is that we don't care you were there?

Ramblings a little short of the incredibly high target it's set and maintained for a long time today...

better luck next time.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +6

Hawkster58 said:

Hawkster58
... Not being a negative Nellie or trolling, but I did find these ramblings do be somewhat disappointing and not up to the usual high standards I have come to expect from this site. More info on each tilt would be greatly appreciated...
October 06, 2013
Votes: +5

shingy said:

shingy
Dubie's #'s
Dubie posted a .916% and 915% his first two years in the league. This was on an even younger and weaker Oiler's team. He posted a .921% last year and was on pace for 30 wins. Not bad at all. I would think the 14th overall pick will continue to put up good numbers with their ever improving squad.

Great ramblings. Can't cover everything. ynotzz is a troll anyway.
October 06, 2013
Votes: -3

ynotzz said:

ynotzz
Bad ramblings on an important night After a saturday night with 10+ matches I kinda expect a big article with lots of recap and information about ice time, scorers etc. This looks like most of it could have been written on friday.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +12

Axeman33 said:

Axeman33
... I kinda agree with you on the PIM comments. Its funny how in fantasy hockey, its considered a good thing to have guys who get a lot of PIMs, when in real hockey, a guy who takes penalties actually puts their team at a disadvantage by giving the other team a PP, Seems to be a bit of a head scratcher as far as fantasy hockey goes.
October 06, 2013
Votes: +0

MGW said:

MGW
Dubs Above average stats for Dubs? The oil are all offense, and will continue to be completely outplayed in their own zone. I predict it will remain very difficult for Dubs to put up quality stats this season.

Just wanted to throw my opinion in here, thanks for the ramblings. I drafted Gudas too, thanks to dobberhockey...
October 06, 2013
Votes: +2
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