Happy Holidays to all of our readers. I'll have some rambling updates throughout the day when I get a chance to pop on the computer. Feel free to comment away if you want me to add anything in.
Not really a sleeper or an unknown prospect any more, but these WJC will be Jaden Schwartz's coming out party. Reminds me of Parise - an elite combination of skill and work ethic. He could be the game breaking forward that the Blues so desperately need (the odds are great that one of him or Tarasenko becomes a very, very good NHL player).
The LA Kings scored only one goal last night, and are the lowest scoring NHL club. So shocking with the amount of talent they have both at forward and defense.
I wish I got to see John Carlson play more. Such a well-rounded defenseman. Played almost 28 minutes last night in all situations. He's Washington's top defenseman and has been their best player on many nights.
Kurtis Foster had an assist and saw almost four minutes of PP time for the Devils. He'll get the bulk of the PP minutes as no other defensemen have done anything to stand out in that role.
Brian Elliott stopped 24 of 26 shots - an important game for him after Halak got the win in his last start. Elliott's run is impressive, but he has to come crashing back to earth at some point, no? I flipped Pacioretty for him in a one-year league earlier in the week (tired of Ward killing my fantasy dreams each week).
Speaking of Ward... he allowed one goal and got the win. A Christmas miracle?!
Pittsburgh played a stifling defensive game against Winnipeg yesterday, thanks in part to the return of Zbynek Michalek, one of the better defensive defensemen in the game. His return boosts the fantasy value of Fleury, as well as most of the other Pens (except for the defenseman who loses a roster spot). Michalek isn't flashy but he moves the puck way better than most shutdown defensemen.
Weiss isn't expected to play when Florida takes on Toronto on December 27th. Out with an upper body injury.
Watched most of the Toronto/Long Island game last night. My thoughts:
James Reimer looks uncomfortable in net. He was spitting out awful rebounds all game long, but the Isles didn't really take advantage until it was too late.
Speaking of the Isles - their puck moving is horrendous. Seems like their strategy was random dump ins and point shots, hoping for a fluke bounce. Okposo was uninspired. Grabner was fast but didn't do much else. Moulson looked pretty good, but he was probably the only impressive forward. The defense is a mess.
I'd consider Streit a solid buy low candidate right now if only for the fact that he is way too talented to continue on a five-goal, 45-point pace.
Not much to report from Calgary/Vancouver - awful hockey game between two teams that looked like they had already dipped in to the egg nog. Luongo was really good save for a weak second goal. Leland Irving was fantastic for the Flames, especially in the third period. Big and fast - looked a bit like Kiprusoff at times. Nice to see after he has had a bit of an up-and-down developmental path over the past few years.
The unstoppable Boston Bruins are now first in the Eastern Conference. They destroyed Florida 8-0 last night, thanks to more than a few stellar offensive performances:
Marchand (five points, plus-5, three shots on goal, all in less than 13 minutes of ice time), Chara and Seguin (two helpers each), and Bergeron (three points).
The Bruins were obviously able to balance their ice time as they were leading the entire game, as they had only two players play over 20 minutes (Chara and Seidenberg). Could be even better than last year’s team that decimated the opposition on the way to a Stanley Cup.
The daily Studs & Duds are up over on the forums. A great daily read - check it out here.
A good read on why Vancouver limiting Cody Hodgson’s ice time isn’t a bad thing. Hodgson had one assist for the Canucks last night (on their only goal).
“People seem to need a reminder that Hodgson is a rookie on a team with fantastic depth at forward, particularly at his centre position. While Vigneault has experimented with him on the wing at times, the team has a plethora of wingers, particularly top-six wingers. Even with David Booth out, Chris Higgins and Mason Raymond have been quick to entrench themselves as the best options on Kesler’s wings. Instead, Malhotra has been bumped to the wing on Hodgson’s line to help him grow into the role.
The team is also packed full of players who excel at special teams, leaving little room for an inexperienced rookie. Kesler, Malhotra, and Lapierre are all excellent penalty killing centres, while Burrows, Hansen, and Raymond are the go-to wingers, with Higgins a viable option as well. Hodgson has played an important role in making the second unit on the powerplay far more dangerous, but the powerplay opportunities have been drying up recently for the Canucks.”
If you had told me before the season that James Neal would have been on pace for 47 goals, I may have believed you. If you had told me he had done it while Crosby has missed essentially the entire season, I definitely wouldn't have. Here's Neal's 20th from last night: