Get the Midseason Guide here!

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Fresh morning add-ons to the ramblings...haven't done that in a while, so thought I'd indulge.

I watched most of Nathan MacKinnon's games early on in the season, but not so much since Christmas. I caught him last night and it just struck me as a marked improvement. I don't know if it's confidence or that Parenteau is back, but he's playing like a star now and not just a talented rookie. He has five two-point games in the last 11.

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Matt Beleskey has 10 points in his last 11 games. Nick Bonino 13 in his last 11. I, along with a few others, had Bonino as a solid dark horse. But I don't think any of us saw this coming. He's a legit No.2 center, which makes Mathieu Perreault on the outside looking in. Again. Perreault had his chance and did well with it, but injuries - not just to him, but also Silfverberg - spoiled the momentum.

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Blake Wheeler has six points and is plus-6 in his last four games. Evander Kane - 13 in his last 13

The Leafs six-game winning streak can be looked at in several ways, but I find one of them really interesting:

Toronto is 16-16-4 with David Clarkson, and 11-4-1 without him. Not saying they're better off without him, I just found it interesting. Keep in mind they got him for the playoffs, so that's where we'll judge him.

I looked it up and didn't find anything significant here - the Leafs are 12-9-3 without Bozak and 15-11-2 with him.

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An interesting goalie matchup went down last night. One that included goalies I figured would turn things around soon. Craig Anderson is already well on his way and with the 34-save shutout win he is now 7-1-3 in his last 11. Braden Holtby is the other one. He's a good goaltender mired in a tough slump - made tougher by a prospect backup who was on a hot streak. It's hard to turn things around if you don't get any rope. Every time Holtby lost the game, he lost the net for the next game, dating back to early November. Now, after taking over for Grubauer in two straight games that Grubauer was yanked, Holtby gets net back. He stopped 24 of 26. The Caps lost because their offense has dried up. And Alex Ovechkin was absent due to an LBI (day to day).

Holtby owners - hang in there. Just like Leafs fans (they've won six straight now) and Columbus fans (they've won seven straight now), your patience will be rewarded when Washington turns things around.

Mikhail Grabovski - pointless in four - took 12 minutes in penalties Tuesday. Before he missed time with the flu, he had 27 points in 32 games. After the flu - six points in 15 games.

Here is the incident, you can see him claw Zack Smith's face at the 1:30 mark:

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DobberBaseball has its sixth annual Fantasy Baseball Guide up for sale. Release date is Feb. 13 and if you buy before then you get it for $5.99.

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Jesse Winchester continues to enjoy his return to the NHL. The talented, undrafted winger signed out of college - maybe he signed with the wrong team? Or maybe Ottawa wasn't patient enough with him, pushing him to the fourth line by his second season, never to return. But after a year in Finland, he is doing well with the Panthers. He has four points in two games since returning from a hand injury and 13 points in his last 22 games.

Tyler Ennis is on a five-game points streak and has 20 shots on goal in that span. He's shown us a couple of times that he turns it up in the second half.

Linus Omark gets back into the lineup, plays with some quality linemates, picks up an assist - but was also a minus-2 and his ice time was held to 11 minutes. It's not looking good for Mr. Omark. Here were Buffalo's line combos:

 

21.15%

EV

63 ENNIS,TYLER - 26 MOULSON,MATT - 21 STAFFORD,DREW

19.38%

EV

65 FLYNN,BRIAN - 82 FOLIGNO,MARCUS - 28 GIRGENSONS,ZEMGUS

13.22%

EV

19 HODGSON,CODY - 17 OMARK,LINUS - 9 OTT,STEVE

7.49%

EV

19 HODGSON,CODY - 23 LEINO,VILLE - 9 OTT,STEVE

4.85%

EV

37 ELLIS,MATT - 23 LEINO,VILLE - 32 SCOTT,JOHN

4.41%

PP

63 ENNIS,TYLER - 19 HODGSON,CODY - 26 MOULSON,MATT

4.41%

PP

23 LEINO,VILLE - 17 OMARK,LINUS - 9 OTT,STEVE - 21 STAFFORD,DREW

You can get these line combos during the game or immediately after - free - by going here and setting it to "Latest Regular Season Game".

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The Carolina-Philly game was postponed due to snow craziness (I think that's the scientific term), but will be played today at 6pm ET.

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Everyone pick up Ryane Clowe right now because the more I say that I'm not buying his hot streak, the more it will continue. So the reverse curse is alive and well. Expect a five-point game next time, because I'll finish off this blurb with this - Clowe is a shadow of his former self and he'll hit a big slump soon. *looks up and cringes, expecting the lightning bolt to strike*

Clowe has 10 points in his last eight games and is plus-3 in that span.

Damien Brunner was back with a bang, tallying three points. Since he only played four minutes in his prior game before getting hurt, we won't count that one and say that he has six points in his last three games.

Eric Gelinas also tallied three points. There's a defenseman who should be snapped up in most league formats. He has six points in five games. The Devils need his skill set, and I had identified that in the preseason fantasy guide. The problem is - I picked Damon Severson to fill the need, with a slight chance that Jon Merrill does. Didn't see Gelinas coming at all.

Here is the Gelinas goal…from center ice!

The Devils chased Brian Elliott out of the net after scoring three goals on nine shots. For Elliott, he's lost three in a row. Bodes well for Halak owners. Halak was better than Elliott last night, though not by much.

Cory Schneider is 7-4-4 in his last 15 games. His 1.88 GAA is second in the NHL.

Chris Stewart has three points in his last 13 games. Here were his linemates (and the rest of the team):

20.56%

EV

42 BACKES,DAVID - 9 SCHWARTZ,JADEN - 20 STEEN,ALEXANDER

12.22%

EV

21 BERGLUND,PATRIK - 74 OSHIE,T.J. - 17 SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR

9.44%

EV

79 CRACKNELL,ADAM - 10 MORROW,BRENDEN - 75 REAVES,RYAN

7.78%

EV

56 PAAJARVI,MAGNUS - 12 ROY,DEREK - 25 STEWART,CHRIS

6.11%

EV

74 OSHIE,T.J. - 56 PAAJARVI,MAGNUS - 17 SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR

2.78%

PP

12 ROY,DEREK - 17 SOBOTKA,VLADIMIR - 25 STEWART,CHRIS

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Rick Nash has nine points in his last nine games - all of them goals.

Mats Zuccarello has two points in his last five games, which in itself is not concerning. Not at all, actually. But combined with Nash going on a hot streak and the fact that Zuccarello saw just 12 minutes Tuesday, the slump could be a lengthy one. I'm not ready to drop him yet, by any means - but the leash is getting shorter.

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With the win last night, Kevin Poulin has won seven of his last nine games. And suddenly, he's back to the form that he teased us with several years ago. Hint: it's a good thing.

Calvin de Haan has just a point in four games. He's still getting PP time, but not on the top line. That honor still goes to Andrew MacDonald.

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My Hockey News article yesterday looks at the Columbus Blue Jackets and what to expect from the key players in the second half.

James Wisniewski has nine points in his last seven contests, after two more last night. It gives him 30 on the year and moves him into 11th in the league among defenseman. It's all about healthy - a great fantasy own during the rare times that he's healthy.

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Tyler Toffoli gets sent down to "work on his game". I'm not sure how one works on playing with shitty linemates and getting no power-play time, but apparently that's what he needs to do. He's been down for three games with Manchester and has four points - but all four points came in one game.

Martin Jones took a beating last night, giving up five goals on 34 shots. He's lost four in a row now after winning his first eight career NHL games.

Winnipeg was the first team to beat Anaheim in Anaheim in regulation time last night. Ondrej Pavelec was the first star and he's won four in a row. The buy-low window on him has closed - between that and the new coach, his owners are holding onto him no doubt.

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With two points last night, Alex Goligoski has 16 in his last 32. Not great, but a little more Goligoski-like.

Valeri Nichushkin is pointless in his last six. This, despite still playing with these guys:

16.92%

EV

14 BENN,JAMIE - 43 NICHUSHKIN,VALERI - 91 SEGUIN,TYLER

13.53%

EV

20 EAKIN,CODY - 16 GARBUTT,RYAN - 21 ROUSSEL,ANTOINE

12.03%

PP

14 BENN,JAMIE - 12 CHIASSON,ALEX - 72 COLE,ERIK - 91 SEGUIN,TYLER

11.65%

EV

72 COLE,ERIK - 38 FIDDLER,VERNON - 13 WHITNEY,RAY

11.28%

EV

12 CHIASSON,ALEX - 10 HORCOFF,SHAWN - 17 PEVERLEY,RICH

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For Jacob Trouba, give him four points in his last three games. He's also plus-9 in his last four. I've been recommended him to those who ask in the forum and include him in a bunch of choices. I trust him to continue what he is doing, or only slow down a little.

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Kellan Lain plays 0:02 of his first NHL game and was kicked out of it. Then he plays 5:23 and scores his first NHL goal.

Vancouver coach John Tortorella was suspended for six games for the same incident that got Lain kicked out. Well, actually it was more of an 'aftermath' of the incident that cost Torts.

The Oilers were without Yakupov (concussion) and Hemsky (ankle).

Ben Scrivens lost his second start for the Oilers, but stopped 25 of 27.

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Hahahaha this is great. Watch the mini-box on the right ("inside the glass"):

 


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Comments (7)add comment

bullwinkle said:

bullwinkle
... One or two more games like that by the St. Louis goaltenders, and Ryan Miller will be a Blue before you know it.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

27Blue said:

27Blue
... mojavedesert

I was just being sarcastic... I think both Poulin and Nilsson have been great for the Isles this year, considering all of the factors at play. They are rookies on a team without any strong defenders and without a strong commitment to team defense. I have actually been very impressed with their play and think they deserve more credit than they have received. It is easy to look at the stats and say that they have been busts, but for people that have watched them play this year it is easy to see their strengths, but understand why there have been struggles. Most all rookies struggle when they first come into the league, especially goalies. The second coming of Dominik Hasek would have had some brutal games playing in front of the team the Isles have iced for much of this year. I'm not sure what the Isles will do moving forward... common sense says they would have addressed the issue last off-season, but they didn't. I doubt Nabby gets another contract and it would make sense to bring in another short-term tender to hold the fort while these young guys continue to develop, but with Snow leading the way, who knows. He has no clue what he is doing, has no pulse on this team, and leaves no room for optimism heading forward. The Isles have been playing better lately in spite of their poor coaching and management, but there has to be a lot of question marks heading forward.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

Mr Zizzla said:

Mr Zizzla
... excellent ramblings but i think everyone knows that the Leafs are better off without Clarkson and the numbers don't lie.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
@ 27Blue I have not had a chance to watch the Islanders this year, let alone the games that Poulin has played. Based on the solid numbers he posted in his first professional year plus the offensive potential that the Islanders held, I drafted him in my keeper league prior to the last lockout. Since Nabokov has little left and Poulin is apparently not the answer, I value your opinion as to the Islanders' future goaltending situation......do you have any suggestions as to who will be the future starter? Nilsson has underwhelmed but do you think he has better potential? How about Koiskinen? Do you think any of them would be adequate enough to keep the Isles competitive in games, much like Howard does for Detroit? Or do they need to acquire a goaltender through trade to be a viable playoff contender in future years?

Many thanks for your insight.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

27Blue said:

27Blue
... At this point it's becoming clear that Kevin Poulin is not the answer. He looked like he might be, but two years later he has done zero to show that he can handle it.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Rick Nash Second consecutive game in which Nash scores the first two goals of the game. Is this a stat the NHL has a record for and if so, what is the record? My internet search revealed nothing.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

Axeman33 said:

Axeman33
... Getting close to the trade deadline and what a shocker... Hemsky goes on the IR.

Can we trade Hemsky and Kevin Lowe to the highest bidder?? Anyone? Anyone???
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0
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