Attention: if you are, or have ever been, a regular user of the Forum, there is an important announcement here.

 

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Time is running out to join the DobberHockey Olympic fantasy hockey pool. Sign up now!

 

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It appears far from certain that Russian forward Pavel Datsyuk will be participating when the tournament kicks off later in the week. He missed 14 games with a knee injury before checking back in for two contests right before the Olympic break. However, Datsyuk wasn’t himself and didn’t take face-offs at times as well. It is likely a more difficult decision for him to skip the proceedings considering Russia is the host and he is the captain of the squad, but he also has to consider his responsibilities to the Red Wings with the rest of the year still to come. Not having Datsyuk in the lineup would be the equivalent of Canada losing Steven Stamkos. So Detroit fans, should he play?

 

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Martin Brodeur reportedly met with Lou Lamoriello to discuss his future with the team. Cory Schneider is clearly the No. 1 goalie in New Jersey now, so Brodeur is understandably not happy with ending his career as a backup. He’s in a tough spot this season for a couple of reasons. The first being his play is far from what it once was and the list of potential interested teams in contention wouldn’t likely to be long. Then there’s also the fact that Ryan Miller is on the block and he obviously makes a lot more sense as an addition than Brodeur right now. Especially if you can lock him up long-term. It’s rare we get to see a player finish a lengthy career with one team anymore and let’s hope Brodeur doesn’t pull a Mike Modano and go somewhere for a cup of coffee just for the heck of it.

 

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Speaking of Ryan Miller, where does he end up? The two probable destinations in my eyes are Minnesota and Washington. Even though the Caps are sitting outside the playoffs and looking in, it wouldn’t take much for them to get on a run quickly after the break with all the talent they bolster. They’re still a contender. Washington’s goaltending is up in the air as they have used three different netminders at times this year. No one has been able to sustain success for a lengthy period of time, opening the door for someone like Miller to be added.

 

Minnesota is in a playoff spot and they have added fellow Americans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in recent years, which could make it an attractive destination for Miller. The only issue here is there have also been rumors the Wild want to take a run at signing Thomas Vanek in the offseason, so they likely wouldn’t have the dough to sign both him and Miller this summer to long-term deals. It would cost Minny a handsome sum to grab Miller before the deadline and giving up that much for a rental would be foolish.

 

Of course there is always the chance Buffalo hangs onto him. Starting a rebuild with an elite goalie isn’t a bad plan, although they would have to convince Miller to re-sign, which won’t be easy.

 

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Remember Janne Niinimaa? He is retiring from hockey. In other news, Janne Niinimaa was still playing somewhere.

 

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Keep a close eye on how the Tampa Bay Lightning forward group is impacted once Steven Stamkos returns from his broken leg. Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson have excelled while Stamkos has been down but there should be less minutes once he gets back. If I had to pick one to keep it going I may go with Palat. He’s produced similar numbers while playing more than a minute less on the power play than Johnson per game. Johnson’s time with the man advantage is likely to slide a little after Stamkos hits the ice. The one thing both forwards could have going for them is Valtteri Filppula’s ankle injury. If he’s not ready to return after the break there will still be additional minutes up for grabs.

 

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Here’s my fantasy MVPs and LVPs for Puck Daddy last week.

 

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David Poile won’t be making the trip to Sochi after all due to being hit in the face with a puck last week and undergoing surgery.

 

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Rob Ford officially picked the Anaheim Ducks to win the Stanley Cup, so you can pretty much write off their chances of claiming a championship this year.

 

 

S/T to Puck Daddy

 

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The Blues are reportedly willing to move forward Chris Stewart. He’s got 15 goals and has already passed his career high in penalty minutes with 112. That combination of scoring and PIM is hard to find so keep tabs on what happens to him before the deadline.

 

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There is good value right now with a pair of Leaf defensemen in some rough and tumble categories.

 

Cody Franson's offensive numbers and plus/minus may be down this season but his hits are way up. He's already at 212 to lead the Leafs by a mile and ranks second in the entire NHL in the category. He's never even been close to that number so far in his NHL career, so the upswing is a pleasant surprise. If he can get scoring on a better pace down the stretch, Franson is going to be quite the asset to have on your team if you have hits as a category in your league.

 

Carl Gunnarsson on the other hand is climbing his way up the blocks category and currently sits sixth in the NHL with 132. Gunnarsson is paired with Dion Phaneuf so you know he is going to get respectable ice time and with the amount of shots the Leafs give up on a nightly basis, he has a great chance to improve on his pace the rest of the way.


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Great look back here at the Gold Medal game between Canada and the United States from 2010 through the eyes of the players.


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It doesn't look like the Colorado Avalanche have any plans to trade Ryan O'Reilly this season. He is set to become an RFA again this summer.


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Lightning head coach Jon Cooper is concerned about the health of goaltender Ben Bishop and rightfully so. Bishop has left games three times in the last month with injuries and perhaps being a No. 1 goalie for the first time is a reason why. Prior to this year Bishop hadn't played more than 22 games in a season and he's already doubled that in 2013-14. The schedule is going to get more compact after the Olympics, so hopefully he holds up as it looks like Tampa is going to need him in the playoffs as well. If he is your No. 1 you might want to think about a contingency plan just in case.


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With NHL news slow over the next couple of weeks, feel free fill the comments section with questions about things you would like to see in the Ramblings.


Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike


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Comments (8)add comment

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
however...... If Bishop remains healthy, then TB would not need Miller. I can see them trading for a good backup such as Montoya, or perhaps one of Washington's goalies, if Washington can decide who it wants to keep as a starter and backup.
February 11, 2014
Votes: +0

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
Bishop/Miller @Laidlaw - No, I do not think Bishop is done for good but if he does wear down or does get injured over the remainder of the season, can Cooper depend on Lindback, whose numbers have not been very good this year? TB might be more comfortable with a quality experienced goaltender. If they bring in Miller, Bishop will get some rest and have a great mentor. Even if Miller does not return next season, TB will be better for having provided Bishop with an experienced goaltender as a teammate to teach him things in the stretch run and into the playoffs. Miller probably would not be happy to be a backup but if he can split starts on a solid team with a chance to do well in the playoffs, he might be willing to share the starting job for a few months.

I do not know how long Lindback will be out with his ankle injury, but if it is long term, then would TB be happy with Desjardins if Bishop is injured? I think they would need to bring in an experienced goaltender.
February 11, 2014
Votes: +0

toddmackay said:

toddmackay
... How does the landscape change in New Jersey next year?

Will it be good to hold on to young defencemen like Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas in a points only keeper league or do you see the firepower fading away (even more b/c they ain't no juggernaut now!) with the inevitable retirements of Jagr, Elias and Brodeur?
February 11, 2014
Votes: +1

Username said:

Username
... Minnesota has $22+ million of cap space for next season, and Vanek would directly replace UFA Heatley's $7.5m cap hit, so they could probably sign both Vanek and Miller if they wanted to.
February 11, 2014
Votes: +0

reeveta said:

reeveta
Ramblings Question for ramblings: Who do you think are the fantasy d-men to own on Colorado? They have some good fire power up front but who will be a threat from the back end?
February 11, 2014
Votes: +0

metaldude26 said:

metaldude26
... Mojave - you assuming Ben Bishop is down for good? Because I don't see Tampa needing a goalie with him back there.
February 11, 2014
Votes: +2

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
... Miller to Tampa Bay? Yzerman could easily trade a forward prospect for a goaltender like he did last season. Buffalo could ask for a forward prospect and a goaler prospect (if not Lindback) in return for Miller.
February 11, 2014
Votes: -1

newfcollins said:

newfcollins
... My favourite Niinima story. Apparently, his wife's name is Nina. So that name is probably the most fun name to say ever: Nina Niinima.
February 11, 2014
Votes: +1
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