Merry Christmas everyone, from myself and the gang at DobberHockey! Be safe - and hopefully my Southern Ontario readers aren't looking at this in the cold on their phone because they're still without power.

My power returned later in the day Monday, and around midnight I got phone service back.

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So Linus Omark had a weak debut for the Sabres and was scratched the next game. Gee, I wonder if it's related to the fact that he had the beer vendor as his center and the 50-50 ticket seller on the far wing. Come on. Try skill guys with talent. If they can't hack it after 10 games, experiment over and move on. But give it 10 games of 15 minutes of ice time with quality linemates and first-line power-play time. Putting him with Matt Ellis and Kevin Porter is only going to show you that he's not good playing with Ellis and Porter.

I keep going back to Steve Sullivan. The Leafs Pat Quinn kept putting him with Kris King and Tie Domi. And then he'd get scratched when he didn't get any points. Well, duh. And then they put him on waivers to try to sneak him down to the minors. Chicago scooped him up and he got 64 points in 73 games right off the bat.

If a coach wants to make a player fail he can make him fail. If a coach wants a player to succeed, he can't make him succeed - but he can set him up in the best position to succeed.

We see this all the time. It's hockey politics. Golden Boys get every opportunity no matter how bad they play, while talented players with zero pedigree are set up to fail (and 99% of the time they do). Sullivan was an exception. But if Chicago didn't claim him, Sullivan would have eventually wound up in Europe - screwed by hockey politics. For every 20 guys who would thrive and become stars, 19 of them never get a fair shot and toil in Switzerland or Germany by the time they're 26.

And usually these players are small, or else they weren't drafted. Sullivan was 5-9. Simon Gamache was also 5-9. Lonny Bohonos was 5-11 (not small, but never drafted). Omark is generously listed at 5-10.

I like these players, the underdogs. But I don't realistically believe they will succeed. I just hope they do. And I'm confident they would if they got the right chance. Sullivan was lucky. So was PA Parenteau. Omark, apparently, is not.

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Jacob Markstrom was sent back to the AHL as Tim Thomas was activated. Markstrom got a start, but got rocked for five goals. He has the AHL figured out, but can't get rolling in the NHL. He's a Golden Boy, but that only gets you so far. He'll be given two more years of chances before losing his Golden Boy status. In the meantime, ideally, he'll dominate the AHL until Florida shores up their defense. And that includes getting an elite defensive coach (which would be cha-ching for Markstrom owners) and a couple of veteran defensive blue-liners.

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Our friends at The Hockey Writers offer up five backup goalies under 20% owned.

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Jonathan Ericsson is out three to five weeks with two fractured ribs. This will put Jakub Kindl back into the lineup.

Right now it looks like Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm are looking good for a return Saturday. Zetterberg coming back would help Gustav Nyquist immensely.

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Top 10 goals of 2013 - enjoy:

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Anyone who thinks Claude Giroux lost his touch should take a look at No.6…

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Listen, if you didn't get a chance to see Steve's ramblings yesterday, take a look here. It could be the longest, most in-depth ramblings on record. If you're looking to kill time while the wife (or husband, I won't discriminate) takes an hour getting ready for that family function - this read is a beauty.

Merry Christmas!


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Red John said:

Red John
Small players The reason most of these small guys end up in Europe is not because they're hard done by, it's because they are one-dimensional. Guys with one dimension don't cut it unless that dimension is truly elite (like Brett Hull's shot). Guys like Omark are a dime a dozen - guys who are fairly skilled but not elite and don't know what the other side of the red line looks like.

Why would an NHL coach put a guy like Omark with your best forwards on the top line? Sure they may put up some points that way but they'll drag that top line down defensively especially going against top defensive assignments. NHL coaches are paid to win games, not cater to certain players stats sheets.

Which comes down to the biggest difference between fantasy hockey and the NHL. We only care about player stats. They care about winning games - and to expect them to blur that line is silly.

Omark is destined for Europe because he sucks.
December 25, 2013
Votes: +1

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Omark Omark may have missed the next game with the flu, as did other players, but Nolan was not very happy with his play in his first game.

http://www.buffalohockeybeat.com/ted-nolan-on-linus-omarks-sabres-debut-he-has-to-be-better/
December 25, 2013
Votes: +0

Nifty Mittens said:

Nifty Mittens
... Was omark a healthy scratch or did he have the flu?
December 24, 2013
Votes: +0
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