Steve Downie is third on the Philadelphia Flyers in scoring. Say what?

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The guy who is third in scoring on the Buffalo Sabres has nine points. Huh?

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Brad Richards is having a weak season, as I had projected. But he's still leading the Rangers in scoring. Wha?

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And just like that, Evgeni Malkin is second in scoring and a point behind Crosby. If these two stay healthy, then this will finally be that season that I saw coming (and hoped would come). The perfect storm? Maybe two players above 125 points, which would drag both Neal and Kunitz up to 80 despite the slow start (and Letang up over 60 despite the slow start). And it can't help but pull up Jokinen and Dupuis too. The Penguins are streaking offensively for the first time and that will happen several times this year.

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Here we go again with "concussion-like" symptoms. Are they symptoms of a concussion? Then they're concussion symptoms. Adding the "like" just makes it sound less serious. But the reality is, if you have symptoms of a concussion it doesn't mean you have a concussion. So it's okay to say "concussion symptoms". Anyway, not as stupid as "successful surgery" on my list of pet peeves, but rapidly catching up. It's already passed "Stanley Cup Finals" on said list (hint: it's "Final", there is only one).

So Tyler Seguin missed Sunday's game with concussion symptoms. I refuse to add the like. He is considered day to day and he will go with the team on their two-game road trip. Here were the line combos, sans Seguin:

 

17.12%

EV

14 BENN,JAMIE - 12 CHIASSON,ALEX - 20 EAKIN,CODY

14.73%

EV

72 COLE,ERIK - 17 PEVERLEY,RICH - 13 WHITNEY,RAY

10.27%

EV

38 FIDDLER,VERNON - 16 GARBUTT,RYAN - 21 ROUSSEL,ANTOINE

6.51%

SH

38 FIDDLER,VERNON - 21 ROUSSEL,ANTOINE

5.14%

PP

14 BENN,JAMIE - 12 CHIASSON,ALEX - 13 WHITNEY,RAY

3.42%

EV

10 HORCOFF,SHAWN - 11 JEFFREY,DUSTIN - 43 NICHUSHKIN,VALERI

 

The fourth line (Garbutt - two goals) provided all the offense while the remainder of the top line - Benn and either Nichushkin or Peverley - were scattered. It didn't pay off and I get the sense that if they had to go without Seguin for a long time, it would take Lindy Ruff five or six games to find the right combo for Benn again.

Garbutt, by the way, has five points in his last three games (though just seven points on the season). There is nothing to indicate that he has any offensive potential, other than the fact that he has 26 shots on goal over the last five games. So if you need that category, he's a good short-term answer.

The magic of Ray Whitney has run out (*looks up nervously but then, convinced no lightning bolt is coming, continues*). It took long enough, but at age 41 we can safely slide Whitney into the same column that we slid Teemu Selanne into a couple of weeks ago. A depth scorer now, and it doesn't help that he's stuck with Erik Cole. So Rich Peverley may as well have been centering an usher and a hot dog vendor for the good it would do his production.

And Valeri Nichushkin can feel his pain.

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Ilya Bryzgalov was having a good game, but then this happened:

He got pulled for Dubnyk and it looks to me like it was whiplash. If there are no - here it is again - "concussion symptoms" and it is indeed whiplash, he's probably out for a week.

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The Oilers have won five of their last seven. Turnaround? I think so. Not "playoff" turnaround, but "no longer sucking" turnaround. They won four out of 21 games before that. So five out of seven is a tad better.

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I was sent a set of Flips headphones to try out and a plug is definitely in order. Actually, I'll plug anything that a company wants to give me, as long as they're comfortable with my giving the bad with the good. But in the case of Flips - I have nothing bad to say. Other than they're not sold in stores in Canada yet, but you can have them shipped if you visit FlipsAudio.com. I have a Galaxy Nexus, and those of you who own one of those are aware of a problem it has with sound volume for music. It doesn't get very loud. These headphones covered me off for that. But the "Flips" part is cool - you can flip the headphones to face outwards and they become speakers. And damn loud ones too. Great sound quality even at full blast. You hit the volume to the max and then the phone warns you about ear damage (in case you have them on your head still). You click "okay" and then the volume indicator starts again and the headphones are in speaker mode. Seriously just like a docking station in terms of sound and ease of use with your phone. Anyway, a great Christmas gift for $120 - comfortable feel, impressive packaging and the sound quality gets my approval.

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Remember our old buddy Brian Kom, former host of Dobber Nation? He launched a new fantasy hockey podcast and you can check it out here. I didn't get a chance to listen to it yet, but he referenced the site and uses Frozen Pool a lot so it's bound to be good, right?

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Is Niklas Kronwall a puck-moving juggernaut now? We all knew he had upside that was buried behind Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski (and, believe it or not, for a year he was buried behind Lidstrom and Ian White!). But now at 32, he's absolutely exploded offensively. He has points in each of his last six games (nine points in that span), including three consecutive two-point efforts. He's on pace for around 65 points. I knew he had low-50s in him, but this is a nice surprise.

Brendan Smith has caught my attention. He's been disappointing us with his production so far, though we knew the offense would be slow arriving (but were still counting on his PIM and he hasn't let us down). But of his four points this season, three have come in the last two games. I made him a backup bid for the upcoming waiver wire bid process, as I need a defenseman for my bench. His teammate Ericsson is my lead bid.

Jonas Gustavsson is still undefeated at 7-0-1, but the Golden Boy is still Jimmy Howard and Howard will keep getting thrown out there until he gets going. Buy low on Howard, even if you have to wait six or seven weeks with him on your bench, it will probably be worth it.

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Stephen Weiss is down to nine minutes of ice time (Sunday). Talk about a terrible fit. He can't do anything right in Detroit. He should be begging Ken Holland for a trade back to Florida! He's a dropsy in all league formats.

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Robin Lehner has lost three of his last four starts, though it's not because he's been sucking. He's been decent, but the Sens haven't been scoring. Craig Anderson started the season 4-1-2 but has been in a tailspin ever since. But with his contract, the Sens will keep throwing him out there (just like the Wings with Howard). Lehner is not taking over unless the team is in the hunt in March and Lehner is the only guy winning. Anderson is getting most of the starts going forward and he'll - at some point - get hot, as he tends to do. The season is still probably going to be a bad one for him, but not as bad as it looks now.

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Jason Garrison is heating up. He has points in four of his last five games after going 14 without a point (and points in eight of 10 before that). Windex Wonder.

After missing much of last season and playing through injuries the year prior, it's understandable that Ryan Kesler got off to a sluggish start (one point in six games). But since then he has 19 in 23. He'll get 60 this year, mark it!

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Andrej Sekera has missed two games now with his UBI, which is a shame because he already has the third most productive season of his career just a third of the way in. He was on a run of 13 points in 23 games before the injury and well on his way to 40 or even 45 points. Since Pitkanen is out and Ryan Murphy isn't ready - and Justin Faulk, while an elite two-way defenseman is overrated offensively - that makes Sekera more of a go-to guy for offense if he can just stay healthy.

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Daniel Alfredsson, honored in his return to Ottawa:

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Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Pens I've always been a big proponent of an artificial cap on a team's points.

It's a game of numbers and the numbers simply need to fit the mould. This isn't NHL 14!

In this day and age, a team just can't possess 2 125-point players, not unless they have 0 depth. A team can maybe possess some really high end scorers if they average 5 goals a game, but no team does that. An average team scores 2.51 goals per game. A good team scores 3 and the most highly offensive team scores 3.5... It just won't get to 5, which is what you're suggesting with the numbers that you've thrown out for Crosby/Malkin/Neal/Kunitz/Letang...

Yes you could maybe argue a short burst of 2-weeks or maybe a month long stretch, but it can't be sustained over the course of a full season.

I could see Crosby/Malkin both get 125 points together in a single season, but not with a Neal/Kunitz and Letang on the same team... and doubly impossible if you add in Jokinen/Dupuis as tertiary offensive support. I think it's a pipe dream to think that it will ever happen. Teams just aren't built to score 800 points in a season.
December 02, 2013
Votes: +2

Shenanigans said:

Shenanigans
... But my buddy was hit in the head with a puck at a game in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals ! Fortunately he's been ok after a very successful surgery, but sometimes he still experiences concussion-like symptoms to this very day !! ( just for you, Dobber smilies/cheesy.gif ) Good Ramblings !
December 02, 2013
Votes: +2
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