Countdown is on - four days away from the release (and return) of my Midseason Guide! The seventh edition was missed last year thanks to the battle between the millionaires and billionaires, but it's back stronger than ever with deep analysis and the usual strong second-half projections and advice!

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The big buzz yesterday, of course, were the Olympic teams being named - and the players left off. I won't get into it too far here, because I was very active in the forum yesterday and free with all of my thoughts on it. The posts are red hot right now if you want to chime in. Here are a few of the good ones:

Team Russia roster discussion

Team World-All-Exclusion Squad (I put together my team of castoffs from around the world - done prior to Team Russia being announced though)

Poll: Most Glaring Omission from Team Canada

Other discussions in the forum also sucked me in - such as Team Canada's total salary, omissions from other teams, etc.

And on that note, I'll move onto fantasy hockey.

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Oh wait - one more thing. What the hell is up with the idiots in the suits for Hockey Canada? Those speeches were brutal. Boring, pointless pomp-and-circumstance and told us absolutely nothing. I'm trying to pump my young kids up about this big event, and I had to call them back into the room three times they were so bored. "It's coming in a minute - they're announcing the team!" And it took like 20 minutes of useless waste of time before they finally brought Yzerman up. Marcel Aubut - for next time - just shut up. We don't need a speech. Just say "here is Steve Yzerman" and then go away. /rant

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The Carolina/ Buffalo game was postponed due to the crazy weather in Buffalo. Crazy up here around Toronto as well. I kept my kids home from school yesterday. With the Olympic break, you could see this game rescheduled for down the stretch, making those players a little more valuable in H2H leagues with playoffs.

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With three more points last night, give John Tavares 16 points over his seven-game points streak. It moves him into a tie for second in NHL scoring - and I'm not a believer in Patrick Kane being able to hold him off.

Interesting development with a prospect on the cusp of "bust" status. Calvin de Haan scored his first NHL goal here. And he has three points in his last two games. Ice time is consistently over 20 minutes. But his goal was, to be fair, a fluke:

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Matt Read had 19 points in 30 games before suffering a UBI that has kept him out for three games. He's expected back any game now, and seemed to be a game-time decision each of the last two. Philly line combos last night without Read:

 

21.37%

EV

28 GIROUX,CLAUDE - 12 RAFFL,MICHAEL - 93 VORACEK,JAKUB

16.67%

EV

14 COUTURIER,SEAN - 9 DOWNIE,STEVE - 40 LECAVALIER,VINCENT

15.81%

EV

19 HARTNELL,SCOTT - 10 SCHENN,BRAYDEN - 17 SIMMONDS,WAYNE

5.13%

PP

28 GIROUX,CLAUDE - 19 HARTNELL,SCOTT - 17 SIMMONDS,WAYNE - 93 VORACEK,JAKUB

4.7%

EV

18 HALL,ADAM - 36 RINALDO,ZAC - 76 VANDEVELDE,CHRIS

Of note - Raffl gets a pretty sweet spot…and Hartnell down (pun intended).

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Vincent Lecavalier 16 points in 30 games and minus-11. Seriously Flyers - do you have to go after every big name on the market? Can't you put scouts on players before you sign them, rather than going by reputation? Wouldn't it be funny if they used a buyout on him a year after another team did? I don't know if they still have a compliance buyout or not…(update - they don't. Briere and Bryzgalov were bought out)

Lecavalier's buyout from last year pays him $1.76 million as late as 2027! The Flyers pay him $4.5 million for each of the next four years. The Flyers buying him out - which won't happen, by the way, I'm just having some fun - would pay him $1.375 million as late as 2022. In fact, if they bought him out and he quit playing hockey, he would still make between $6 and $8 million for each of the next three years (between TB and PHI paying him), and about $3 million per year for the next five years after that… and then $1.7 million for six years after that. To do nothing. He should push for that, it sounds pretty sweet!

So if he becomes one of those ex-players who becomes a broadcaster - let's shoot him. Because we know for sure he doesn't need the money!

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Ryane Clowe has been back for six games and I didn't even notice. I thought his skills had eroded before the Devils signed him and I haven't changed my mind on that. He did, however, get six shots on goal last night and picked up an assist. Do that for another few games and I'll start to believe it.

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I've been hard on Marek Zidlicky. And my instinct is still to believe that he is terrible. And I think it was because I was such a big fan of his when he was with Nashville. But then he started hurting my fantasy teams due to my faith in him and it left a bitter taste. But I can't deny he's having a good year and I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. But it's not bursting! If anything, he's getting better. Eight points in his last eight games and plus-5 in that span with 16 shots. Peter DeBoer just kept throwing him out there time and time again, no matter how much he sucked, and never gave up on him. And now a year and a half later it's paying off.

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Matt Nieto is really take advantage of the added ice time thanks to the losses of Hertl, Wingels and Couture. For six games now he's been getting top-line ice and he has four points in his last five games. He should be snapped up because it looks as though the ice time is his to lose - for the next month.

I think Tommy Wingels will be productive again, with those guys out. His UBI doesn't seem too serious, though he is on the IR I would expect him back within a couple of games.

We've been waiting a few years on Jason Demers, but injuries kept striking at the worst times and he was never able to get off the ground. Well, he's off the ground now - eight points in his last nine games and on pace for a 40-point year. Dan Boyle has two points in his last 10 games and the Sharks are turning to Demers more and more.

After being yanked from the game on January 4, Antti Niemi gave up three goals on 28 shots and took the loss. I'm thinking we see Stalock next game.

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The Preds G Marek Mazanec stopped 26 of 28 and was the second star. Barry Trotz will lean on him until Rinne returns. Hutton had his chance - he had a couple of chances, actually. And Trotz is not happy with his play at all.

After going four consecutive games without a single shot on goal, Ryan Ellis had five of them last night. I wish I knew what was going on with that guy and I know he's still young. But at 23 years of age and an 11th overall pick - you'd expect more than 28 career NHL points in 105 games. Defensively he's come along, but I'd be surprised if he carved out an NHL career based on that. He needs to put up points, and if we don't see 30 in 2014-15 it's time to give up on him.

Patric Hornqvist left the game in the third with an LBI. He is day to day.

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Pissed off that he didn't make Team Canada, Martin St. Louis took it out on the newest Canadian team the Jets - the game winner, plus an empty netter. But it's the youngsters Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov getting my attention. For Palat, he has points in seven straight now (nine points). Kucherov has points in four straight. This season Palat has a plus-11 rating.

I mean, look at these guys. A force! Ridiculous pace -

The Lightning held the Jets to 14 shots. Which is a good thing, because Lindback is horrible this year. But Jets should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, Eric Tangradi had three shots. Which means that all non-Eric-Tangradi players on the Winnipeg Jets combined for 11 shots on goal last night.

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Reto Berra, named to Team Switzerland, celebrated by coughing up six goals on 30 shots for the Flames. It was his sixth loss in seven games and I get the impression that he's not very good coming in cold. But rather, he's at his best playing lots of games. Not that the Flames were winning if he stopped 29 of 30 last night - the offense is non-existent there right now.

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Waiver alert - Lauri Korpikoski has 10 points and is plus-5 with 26 shots in his last 10 games.

It took Thomas Greiss between the pipes to give Phoenix their first shutout of the season. Don't shoot me, but I think he's a superior goalie to Mike Smith. Not really a knock against Smith, I just really like Greiss and would like to see more of him. As a starter somewhere.

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Now back to the Guide work. When I need a break I'll be popping on the forum throughout the day. I'm closing in on 10,000 posts - quite the milestone. I might hit it today!


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Comments (12)add comment

marsid6687 said:

marsid6687
Carolina/Buffalo As I recall last year I believe the Pit/Bos game was postponed due the the Boston Marathon bombing and there was no way to fit the game in with the remaining schedule of Pit & Bos so the league tacked the game on after the regular season ended. They'll probably do the same here.
January 09, 2014
Votes: +0

pittshamblyuins said:

pittshamblyuins
... Get Car/Buf to go March 12th...yes it means 3 in a row...but two of those will be back to back nights against each other...making it at least more equal for both teams involved. Aside from that...maybe they could play over the Olympic break...since there are not many stars from either team in the Olympics anyways...LOL!!!
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

germant said:

germant
Solid Great ramblings as usual Dobber!

I don't get the intended pun in the "Of note - Raffl gets a pretty sweet spot…and Hartnell down (pun intended)." line.

As for Lindback, he had his chance when he was given the reigns in Tampa but he didn't produce initially. Then he was given the chance to earn the gig again by outduelling Ben Bishop and Lindback failed then too. Now with Vasilevsky playing so well, I'm afraid there's no room in the inn. To boot, I think his chances of a number 1 gig are over...unless Edmonton comes calling.
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

rob2kx said:

rob2kx
MacKinnon picture on front page You gotta change that stock picture of Nate MacKinnon that runs on the front page. It looks like he's bragging about stinkfingering Bunny Cody.
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Great rambling Enjoyed it! Thanks
January 08, 2014
Votes: +1

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... There are still regular buyouts, so technically the Flyers COULD actually buy Vinny out if they thought that was a good idea smilies/wink.gif
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

RunningLucky said:

RunningLucky
Buf v Car Maybe they can try for a double header on March 13 smilies/grin.gif
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Ah, Briere - that was who I forgot. I knew there was someone! smilies/grin.gif
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

Potatoeman said:

Potatoeman
Philly buyouts Correct me if I'm wrong, but I beleive the Flyers have used both of their compliance buyouts already: one on Briere and one on Bryzgalov.

Would have been funny as hell tough if they had bought out an already bought out player!
January 08, 2014
Votes: +1

johnnyimpala said:

johnnyimpala
Buf v Car They might need the points for the lottery, not the playoffs. Do they even play it?
But v Ott last year was a play in game playoff seeding was decided.
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

Axeman33 said:

Axeman33
... When ISN"T Hornqvist "day to day"???
January 08, 2014
Votes: +0

BabyElias said:

BabyElias
CAR/BUF reschedule Thanks for ramblings again Dobber!

I wonder how the NHL is able to fit the new game without making changes to other games. By looking at the rest of the season schedule (http://www.kafenatid.net/scheduleFull.php - great site by the way), there are ZERO "empty" days that would not result into three consecutive games for BUF or CAR. Does anybody think NHL mandates three consecutive games for the team(s) or is it blocked by NHLPA?

This is interesting. Anyways, as Eric Staal owner, I am happy that game was postponed!
January 08, 2014 | url
Votes: +0
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