I randomly selected from those who purchased the Midseason Guide either on or before the release date and gave away 20 Frozen Pool packages as a thank you. Sales on this Guide were down this year. Not by 10% or 25% but by nearly half. This is a combination of lockout residual and the site upgrades that have caused problems and lost some regular readers. So to try and get this guide out there I discounted it by $3 over the weekend. It worked, I got it into some more hands.

The Mini-Pack, which most of the advanced buyers purchased, sells the Midseason Guide for $6.99. So I discounted the guide on the weekend to the same price it was already selling for anyway, just without the needing package.

For what it's worth, I recaptured more than half of that shortfall thanks to the promotion. I appreciate that everyone - thanks for the support. I know you'll enjoy your product.

*

Also, some forum news. I have it on good authority that the 12 remaining minor issues that are outstanding - including private messaging, email alerts, account settings and 'already read post' indicators - will be completed by Friday. Do I believe it? No. Nothing ever goes smooth. But I do believe that the bulk of them will be fixed and rolling this week after six weeks of no work done at all.

*

Writer Darren Kennedy and I have been going back and forth for a little while about the Big 3 and how he is adamant that Stamkos is a member and makes it a Big 4. But I suddenly realized where the disconnect was and I now recognize that most readers probably think the same way. So I'll explain it here.

In terms of fantasy draft value, I agree with Darren and most of you. Of course Stamkos is a member. In fact, I would open it up to the Big 7 and include Tavares, Karlsson and Lundqvist in it as "must have" players early in the first round year in and year out.

Where the disconnect was is why I call them the Big 3. It's upside. It's the intriguing possibility of what they can do. Stamkos is awesome and with St. Louis (and later Drouin) he could probably get 115 or maybe in a perfect season get 120. That's just not Big 3 material. In a perfect season, Malkin, Ovechkin and Crosby can get 130+ points. Will they? Probably not (so don't run around saying that I wrote it as a definite fact - I did not). It would take the right coaching, linemates and especially 82 games. But they could do that and that's why they're the Big 3. Nothing to do with fantasy value or how I think a player will do in the coming season. If it was fantasy-draft value, then Stamkos is involved - of course he is, don't be so dumb as to ever believe that I feel or felt differently and under that definition it's a Big 4.

Big 3 is upside when I use the term. I think when others use it and refer to me, they warp my definition to be 'fantasy drafting value'.

Nope. It's upside. Stamkos is not there. In fact, I'll take it one step further. If I were to consider a Big 4 right now it would be with Tavares, not Stamkos. We still haven't seen enough of Tavares to gauge the upside. So while I'm 99% sure Tavares couldn't get 130, I'm not quite at 100% yet. (Interesting side note - Tavares had 118 points in 59 games in the OHL in 2007-08, 13 more than Stamkos had that same year in 61 games…and Tavares was a year younger)

*

All that being said, a Big 4 is possibly around the corner - I'm getting that sense about Connor McDavid.

*

Great of NHL.com to fit video screens on the top of each box score. Kudos for being a leader in providing for your fans. That being said, I come close to get seizures when I click a box score and immediately look at a scoring summary…and it suddenly shoots down three inches as the video screen appears. I have to blink and find the line I was looking at, while at the same time my brain tries to figure out what the hell just happened. Now picture that for each box score. Several times a night. A seizure is bound to happen eventually, over the course of time - that's the law of numbers. Or something.

*

Speaking of laws of numbers - Brad Marchand. Another example of how, over the course of a large sample size, most players' production will fall into the norm. Marchand is looking like a steady 55 to 60-point guy, yet was on pace for 30 or 35. We looked to his power-play time, saw very little of it (if any) and point our finger. As we should. In fact, the last time he was getting power-play time like this it was in 2010-11 and he ended up getting 41 points. He averaged 31 seconds per game of PP time that year and is averaging 33 seconds per game this year. He's on pace for 45 points. So note for the future - if he gets minimal power-play time of 30 seconds (give or take), we can look for 40 to 45 points. If he sees 1:30 to 2:30 as with the last couple of years, then 55 to 65 is a safe range. The only problem is, we won't be able to determine which window he falls in until the 10th game or so. Marchand has five points in his last three games.

Tuukka Rask has just two wins in his last eight games, but I would still have zero hesitation in starting him. Just a slump, happens all the time. And he stopped 35 of 37 Sunday against one of the best teams in the league, so he's fine.

Since Loui Eriksson returned from injury he has one point in four games. Ditto his linemate Carl Soderberg. Let's take a look at Boston's line combos from yesterday - courtesy of the originator of this free tool - Frozen Pool!

 

30.34%

EV

12 IGINLA,JAROME - 46 KREJCI,DAVID - 17 LUCIC,MILAN

22.1%

EV

37 BERGERON,PATRICE - 63 MARCHAND,BRAD - 18 SMITH,REILLY

13.11%

EV

21 ERIKSSON,LOUI - 34 SODERBERG,CARL - 51 SPOONER,RYAN

8.61%

EV

11 CAMPBELL,GREGORY - 20 PAILLE,DANIEL - 22 THORNTON,SHAWN

*

Patrick Sharp picked up an assist Sunday, after going back-to-back games without a point for just the second time in two months.

Just three points in his last 10 games for Patrick Kane. Not to mention two runs of three pointless games in that span. Teams are finding ways to shut Chicago's big guns down (finally). So you're seeing some stats fall back to the norm (yay, another example!).

The domino effect - Duncan Keith has just three points in his last seven games and has fallen to second place among defensemen in scoring. The reality is that even a good season from Keith should not see him in the top 5. A good season from Keith would put him around 8th or 10th. And Brent Seabrook (two points, last seven games), shouldn't be sixth in (defensemen) scoring even in a great year. He should be 20th at best.

To put the above into current numbers, Keith would have 32 points, not 45. And Seabrook would have 26 points, not 33. Remind me to readdress this in early March, as I think that's where you'll see those two.

*

Lubomir Visnovsky is back in practice with the Islanders, though he's not taking contact. Still, it says he's one to three weeks away from a return. And in my eyes, that's how long Calvin de Haan can show that he deserves some power-play time, which he's only just started to get. Visnovsky would obviously gobble up all the PP time for Islander defensemen, as they often go with four forwards.

Andrew MacDonald is pointless in his last six games, and at this point should be dropped in one-year leagues. The fun little productive run is over.

*

Well that's the end of that. Goalie controversy - over? Philippe Grubauer was yanked from his second consecutive game. Holtby comes in, stops 37 of 40 shots. And now Caps fans are talking Neuvirth? For my money, I give Holtby two starts in a row and see what happens.

*

John-Michael Liles saw 5:09 on the power play while Andrej Sekera and Justin Faulk saw just 1:30 or so. Despite the added love, Liles has just two points in eight games (including his assist Sunday). I still pump Sekera's tires even after he was minus-4 Sunday, because I think he's the better puck mover at this stage in their careers. In those same eight games, Sekera has just one point. But in the eight games prior to the Hurricanes acquiring Liles, Sekera had five points. And in the eight games prior to those eight games, Sekera had eight points. Eight prior to that - three. Eight prior to that - four. And in the first six games of the season Sekera had three points. Let me put those eight-game blocks in chart form:

 

Games

Liles

Sekera

8

2

1

8

N/A

5

8

N/A

8

8

N/A

3

8

N/A

4

6

N/A

3

Yes, I'm being selective with my stats, but I don't think I need to be - I can look at stats any way you want, and you'll never find a way to make Liles more productive.

*

Hey, look who's back on the top line:

24.07%

EV

28 SEMIN,ALEXANDER - 12 STAAL,ERIC - 19 TLUSTY,JIRI

20.34%

EV

39 DWYER,PATRICK - 14 GERBE,NATHAN - 11 STAAL,JORDAN

12.2%

EV

16 LINDHOLM,ELIAS - 15 RUUTU,TUOMO - 53 SKINNER,JEFF

7.46%

EV

18 DVORAK,RADEK - 22 MALHOTRA,MANNY - 20 NASH,RILEY

Yes - buy low. An assist Sunday is just the beginning.

Eric Staal has nine points in his last six games. And so it begins…

*

Ah, the ups and downs of a rookie. Ondrej Palat had points in eight consecutive games. Then he was pointless in five straight. Then he gets three points Sunday. When Stamkos returns, he and Johnson will be pushed back to the third line and Killorn will get promoted. But both Johnson and Palat have proven themselves. TB is in good hands for the future. Such depth up front, wow.

Johnson has 12 points in his last 14 games. That's great, but not enough to elbow his way onto a scoring line over Filppula/Stamkos.

Mark Barberio is finally getting the NHL. He scored his first two goals Sunday, had an assist Saturday and has five points in his last nine games. Mind you, he's been scratched twice during that time window, but still - baby steps. I was getting worried about him, since he won the Eddie Shore Trophy in 2012 as the AHL's best defenseman (then again, so did John Slaney) yet could not get a fair shot with the Lightning. Or so it seemed. Question marks about how he is in his own end and his lack of physical play raised flags. Now that Victor Hedman is out day to day with a leg bruise, this is a golden opportunity for Barberio. He's not out of the woods yet, but I like seeing signs of life. These prospects, if they weren't drafted in the first couple of rounds, I get a little nervous about them because the number of chances that they get are limited. (Barberio was drafted sixth round in 2008).

Beauty setup by Killorn for Barberio's first NHL goal. In fact, three nice passes - Kucherov, Palat, Killorn, Barberio, goal:

*

Rick Nash scored twice Sunday and seems to be heating up. He has seven goals in eight games and has taken 35 shots in that span. However, we're 34 games in and he still hasn't recorded his 10th assist.

*

After 50 games, Martin Erat has one goal for the Capitals. After 12 games, Filip Forsberg has one goal for Nashville.

You saw Mike Green get a little more PP time than John Carlson Friday, as that situation starts to shift back in Green's direction. And then Sunday Green saw 4:31 vs. Carlson 2:28. But Green isn't getting it done either (just the one point over those two games). Green is minus-5 over those two games.

*

Ovechkin in his sweet spot. The thing is - Lundqvist was there and knew it was coming. Still couldn't stop it:

 


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Comments (8)add comment

Spec7ral said:

Spec7ral
... Kucherov is going to be Stamkos' linemate.

And Eichel is going to be big 4. smilies/grin.gif
January 20, 2014
Votes: +0

v105memorial said:

v105memorial
Midseason Guide Damn that is a lot of info. Exhaustive read. You prove AGAIN that you are the leaders in fantasy hockey analysis.

Keep up the great work.
January 20, 2014
Votes: +1

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Rod - nice one! smilies/grin.gif

Billy - right you are. Chicken vs. egg I guess - do they suck because he's not getting it done?

Shenan - wow, thank you sir
January 20, 2014
Votes: +0

Rodgort said:

Rodgort
P-Kane I think some credit for shutting Kane down has to go to Coach Q also. He seems to enjoy handcuffing Kane to linemates like Handzus, Shaw, Bickell and Kruger while expecting him to score haha
January 20, 2014
Votes: +2

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Keith/ Seabrook Remember to readdress this situation in early March!
January 20, 2014
Votes: +0

Billy_the_Phil said:

Billy_the_Phil
Mike Green I think you're a little too hard when saying "Green isn't getting it done either (just the one point over those two games). "
Putting things in perspective, in those 2 games they lost 5-1 and 4-1 and they only got 1 PP goal and Green got an assist on it.
So we can also say he's 100% !
In the last 2 games the whole team wasn't getting it done.
I think Green getting more pp time is great news for Green's owners.
January 20, 2014
Votes: +0

Shenanigans said:

Shenanigans
... Even though I'm way out of it in my pool this season in a rebuild mode - picked up the guide yesterday just to show support for all the awesome content this site gives away every day. Turns out its a damn good read, even if its not going to win me my league this year ! smilies/grin.gif

Nice job, fellas.
January 20, 2014
Votes: +3

Khanadian said:

Khanadian
E-Kane Just an FYI, I was at the Jets practice today and Kane was out there doing all the drills so I'd expect him back on Tuesday.
January 19, 2014
Votes: +1
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