Rankings will be up Monday. (Dobber)

Forum - may be more finicky than usual over the next couple of days as we continue with the fixes and creep ever closer

 

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It's Super Bowl Sunday and that means a meagre NHL schedule is on tap for this, our day of rest. The NHL rightly tends to counterprogram the Super Bowl since no North American sports fans are watching anything but football this afternoon anyway, and both of Sunday's games start in the early afternoon.

 

So you have the classic "attempt to appeal to American hockey fans with big names" game at 12:30 (Washington v. Detroit) and also an all-Canadian "we'll be the second sport covered on Sports Centre if not Sports Center tonight!" matchup at 1 pm (Winnipeg v. Montreal).

 

I'll go ahead and assume that you're just now stumbling out of bed, bleery eyed and feeling somewhat worse for wear due to last night's exploits, and give you a friendly reminder: go set your fantasy lineup. Go now. The rest of our Sunday Ramblings will be here waiting patiently for you.

 

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I was at the ACC as a fan last night to take in a relatively meaningful February game, a classic "four pointer" between the Maple Leafs and the Senators. The Senators have been trending in a very auspicious direction for months, while the Maple Leafs have been winning games in bunches of late thanks to special teams play, stellar goaltending, and a dominant top-line.

 

Ottawa's puck possession game didn't show through much on Saturday night and neither did Toronto's usually stellar goaltending, but Phil Kessel sure did. Kessel managed a hat-trick on Saturday, and none of the goals he scored were "cheap" or fortunate. On Toronto's first tally, Kessel just cleanly beat his check and tapped in a perfect cross crease feed from James van Riemsdyk.


On Toronto's go-ahead marker, Kessel manufactured a clever zone entry (stepping over the line and flipping the puck to van Riemsdyk on the far wing) and flashed shark-like instincts when he retrieved the puck and skated straight into the high-slot before unleashing a wrist shot to put Toronto ahead. Finally, Kessel chipped home the game-winner when Tyler Bozak took advantage of an Eric Gryba misplay. That goal put  Toronto up once again after Chris Neil's second of the game tied things up.

 

Basically it was a memorable performance from a great scorer at the absolute apex of his powers.

 

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Kessel being hot like this going into the Olympics is a great thing for the American Olympic team...

 

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Toronto's second goal objectively shouldn't have counted, though I was OK with it at the time since I figured it would set up an interesting third period (and, y'know, I'd paid for tickets). Still, Nazem Kadri's hit on Cody Ceci was textbook boarding and a dangerous play to boot. From repeated blown offsides calls, a handful of phantom penalties that destroyed the pace in the first period, to a bad non-call on a sequence that lead directly to a goal; that was a poorly officiated game.

 

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Riding high on a big winning streak that has seemingly cemented the Toronto Maple Leafs as a playoff team, the Leafs are the toast of Toronto once again. But I'm still not "buying" them as a playoff team, frankly.

 

This recent run of victories, after all, looks like every bit a PDO-driven mirage to me.

 

From Extraskater.com, here's what Toronto's 10-game rolling combined shooting and save percentage at five-on-five has looked like during their current win streak:

 

Maple PDOs

 

So, yeah, might want to be careful when brandishing those "the return of Tyler Bozak has fuelled Toronto's success" angles.

 

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One final thought on Saturday's "Battle of Ontario," it was not the most memorable outing for Bobby Ryan, Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris. While Toronto's "a star American winger and one of the top-3 picks from the 2007 NHL entry draft" line was dominant, Ottawa's bizarro version went quiet. 

 

The Senators top-line was outshot badly at evens and rarely looked very dangerous. While Kessel shone, Ottawa's offensive stars left the scoring burden to Chris Neil...

 

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While I was writing this piece on Sunday morning, the ACC scorekeeper credited Dion Phaneuf with several hits. Inflated or not, Phaneuf had another stellar fantasy outing on Saturday managing seven shots and six hits.

 

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On Saturday afternoon the Boston Bruins power-play led the way in causing Ben Scrivens to crash back to earth. Boston's dangerous power-play (still feels weird to type that) managed two goals in a 4-0 win, and one of those PP points - unsurprisingly - belonged to Torey Krug. Krug now has 16 power-play points on the season, which ties him with Alex Pietrangelo for tenth among defenseman this season.

 

In a standard Yahoo! league (one that counts G, A, PPP, +/-, SOG, hits), Krug is now a top-15 defenseman. I tend to stay away from players who go on big percentage based bursts in the postseason, but Krug has proven to be like the anti-Danny Green this year.

 

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Cool to see Nate Thompson have a big two goal game, even if one of those goals was scored by P.K. Subban. Thompson is an excellent checking forward in a small hockey market, and thus he flies perpetually under the radar. He's basically noticed only by the most committed of gamecenter junkies, but he's a very solid bottom-six forward.

 

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I would've gone after Brandon Prust if he sack tapped me during a commercial break too. Or... At least I would if I was 6,7 and tough like Ben Bishop is.

 

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The Buffalo Sabres got lit up - or embarrassed to hear their captain tell it - by the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the moribund Sabres 7-1 on Saturday afternoon. Tyler Myers was a -4 in the contest and is now down to -26 on the season. That's... pretty ugly.

 

Avalanche forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jamie McGinn managed three points each (with McGinn contributing six shots and a couple hits), while Erik Johnson had a useful fantasy game with three assists.

 

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The Los Angeles Kings continued to be completely unable to find the back of the net, as they were shutout 2-0 by the Philadelphia Flyers. Last week in this space - or maybe it was two weeks back - I mocked Steve Mason at length for being a well below average NHL starting goaltender. Well he's had two shutouts in his past three games, and while he remains what he is in my estimation (i.e. not very good), we'd be remiss if we didn't give credit where it's due.

 

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Kings forward Anze Kopitar didn't register any points but with four shots and three hits, he had about as good a fantasy game as one could hope for in a game in which your player's team is shutout. Also worth noting in deeper leagues: Tyler Toffoli is back with the Kings, logged nearly 19 minutes on Saturday afternoon, and managed six shots and three hits.

 

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The Columbus Blue Jackets continued to roll, posting an impressive 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Midseason Guide "buy low candidate" Cam Atkinson had a bit of a nothing game, which occurs occassionally when the Blue Jackets don't get any power-play time. Rookie Boone Jenner, however, was fantastic and his first period set up of Ryan Johansen was nothing short of spectacular. I suspect that so long as Jenner is riding shotgun with Johansen and Nathan Horton (who turned in a two point night), he'll be reasonably valuable.

 

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The Blues needed a shootout to down the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. Predators winger Patric Hornquist managed an assist and seven shots, presumably fueled by a desire to be an injury replacement for the Tre Kronor at Sochi.

 

While Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko managed a goal, an assist and three shots; most of St. Louis' other fantasy gems (like Kevin Shattenkirk - who I hadn't really realized was a top-5 fantasy Dman this season - and David Backes) were relatively quiet.

 

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Darcy Kuemper has stepped up for the Wild in Josh Harding's absence, but he's had a big of a rough week. That continued on Saturday, as the Wild stumbled with a 4-3 loss in overtime against the woeful Calgary Flames. Speaking of stumbling, Kuemper got insanely unlucky when he was tripped by teammate Clayton Stoner which prevented him from stopping a run-of-the mill point shot.

 

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Wild center Mikael Granlund is only owned in 6% of Yahoo! leagues and is on a five game point streak that has seen him record 8 points in total. With Mikko Koivu out of the lineup, Granlund is logging insane minutes (he's been over 20 the past two contests). He might be worth picking up if you're looking for some short-term offensive category contributions in a deeper league...

 

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Mark Giordano had another stellar outing managing six shots on goal, a couple of assists and a hit against the Wild. He's been a remarkably effective fantasy player when healthy this season...

 

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Dan Ellis shutting out the team at the absolute top of the league table? Hockey is a weird game sometimes, man.

 

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The Coyotes took care of business against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which was a huge victory for them. Dave Tippett's group is back in the playoff hunt, what with the Vancouver Canucks struggling enormously and the Wild stumbling against the Flames on Saturday. Mike Ribeiro - who should be in the argument for best offseason signing, I think - had a two point night, and one of those points was his 200th NHL goal. Good for him.

 

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Joe Pavelski has 29 goals this season which seems insane. I wonder/hope that he'll centre van Riemsdyk and Kessel...

 

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Scary moment for Jonathan Toews who slammed into the net and appeared to hurt himself on Saturday night. Of course, since Toews is tough as nails (not to mention a pristine example of the fantastic accomplishments of Canadian robotics) the Blackhawks captain stayed in the game.

 

Thomas Drance is a news editor at theScore.


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Comments (9)add comment

jjmckenn said:

jjmckenn
PDO By people I mean PDO, Damn auto correct.
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

jjmckenn said:

jjmckenn
Leafs Come on Drance, get off the PEOPLE bandwagon and give the leafs the credit they deserve. They are one of the best teams in the East and will easily get in. They are a team that shoots for a higher sh% than most as they have been showing for the better part of the last 100+ games. They do thus via a dominant pp, skilled shooters, and Ltd. Play from the 4th line. Get with it man.
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

Bomm Bastic said:

Bomm Bastic
... I have been told all day that I am loggged in to the forums, yet when I attempt to access them it indicates I am logged out. wtf???????
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... The split logins were in force for a few minutes - just long enough to not work and screw everyone up. Sorry for that! We put it back the way it was, but the impact of this is that some of you were logged out and have to log out again from dobberhockey, and then log back in. Hassle, I know, sorry. We will be giving this another try (hopefully just one more successful one, but the way things are going I'm sure it will be several more attempts).

When this rolls, the nightmare will be behind us. Sorry again
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
Mojavedesert (re: logging in) Thank you mojavedesert. It turns out I can now go back in without doing that, but I tried it anyway and it worked.
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

xtrain said:

xtrain
... CBJ beat the CBJ last night--intersquad game?

smilies/wink.gif
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
can't log in HF, I had the same problem last night and this morning but both times I was able to access the latest posts in a strange way, so try this...

While logged in, click dobberprospects.com from the drop down box in the upper right corner of the dobberhockey homepage. Remain logged in while you are on the prospects site and type dobberhockey.com into the webpage bar at the top of your search window (my apologies for not knowing the name of the spot where one types websites - I am not very computer literate). Once back to the dobberhockey homepage, click on "latest posts" under the "forum" header near the top of the screen. This gets me into "latest posts".

This was a serendipitous discovery I made last night so I hope it works for you and everyone else having troubles with logging in.
February 02, 2014
Votes: +1

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Granlund Should read "Wild center Mikael Granlund..."
Markus plays in Calgary's system.

Confusing sometimes to keep the Granlunds in order, especially since hockeydb.com shows that all Granlunds have monikers beginning with the letter "M".
February 02, 2014
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
Can't log into forum Not sure if the split logins are in force now, but after being logged onto the main page, I go into the forum and I'm not logged in. So I click on login (both the top right and in the 'new user' message. It takes me to the homepage saying at the top:

"Login
You are currently logged in to the private area of this site."

I've tried logging out of the main page and logging in again. Same thing. I've tried to clear my cache and the same thing happens.

Any ideas?
February 02, 2014
Votes: +1
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