Jason Arbuthnot here. A new Frozen Pool tool has just been released! It's a tool that allows you to quickly identify Hot and Cold streaks while showing points collected in the last 3-12 games for every player! The new tool can be found here
An interesting/troubling development from Pittsburgh - Crosby has been diagnosed with a fracture in his cervical vertabrae. Read more on it here.
"Crosby's concussion, stemming from a collision with Dave Steckel in the 2011 Winter Classic and a hit from behind by Victor Hedman, kept him out of action for 11 months. He returned on Nov. 21, 2011, scoring four points against the New York Islanders. He played eight games and tallied 12 points before leaving the Penguins' lineup with concussion symptoms.
Crosby visited chiropractic neurology specialist Ted Carrick, who assisted in his previous recovery, and then traveled to California to visit Dr. Robert S. Bray, a neurological spine specialist. That visit with Bray was out of the ordinary in Crosby's rehab, as he's an renowned expert in "neurological spine surgery" rather than concussion rehab."
How the hell did the doctors miss this?
No timetable for a return to skating for either Briere or van Riemsdyk, according to the Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Both have concussions.
I mentioned Cory Conacher a few months ago in my 15 Prime Cuts, but he deserves another mention. He's leading all AHL rookies in scoring. Conacher is only 5'8", but he has a ton of skill and a great work ethic. He has 24 goals and 47 points through 43 games this year in Norfolk.
He's gritty for his size, too. It is only a matter of time until an NHL team gives him a look. I know many undersized, skilled AHL forwards don't adapt to the NHL successfully, but Conacher doesn't rely exclusively on his skill to succeed. He plays bigger than his size, like many other successful undersized forwards.
Here's a good read on Conacher from back in September, written by recent DobberNation guest Erik Erlendsson.
"Conacher has been one of the biggest surprises of training camp and earned his way into the lineup Wednesday for Tampa Bay's preseason game against St. Louis at Amway Center. Conacher has been such a presence to this point, he was rewarded by skating alongside center Steven Stamkos and St. Louis, a boyhood idol.
"He's the exact same player as me, I guess you could say. He's small, he's got a powerful stride, he's quick, he's smart and he's played so many years in the NHL, so it's clear how good of a player he is and I look up to a guy like that,'' Conacher said."
There are many good comeback stories this year.... but it is hard to beat Lupul's. A great read.
“There were months after the surgery where he was bedridden,” his father said quietly over the phone from Edmonton. “The infection knocked him down. He was having so many problems with pain in his back, he would just lay in bed with his feet up. We’re talking five or six months after the surgery.
“It came down to, if the last infection didn’t get healed, he would have needed a third surgery. Which would have put him out at least another year, if not forever. We went through as a family a six-month period where his playing hockey again was not even a consideration. We were concerned about his health and his life.”
Received more than a few questions in my email inbox for today's ramblings. Here goes...
Is James Neal a legit threat at 80 points or is his upside below PPG in your mind?
Neal is on pace for 79 points. He's shooting 12.9 percent this year, which is just above his career number of 12.6 percent. He's big, strong, and skilled. I would consider him a threat for 80 points each year, but I'd value him as I would a 65-75 point forward (until he proves he can hit 80 a few times). More value in leagues that weigh goals heavily, of course.
Predators prospects Taylor Beck and Michael Latta...where do they fit in the Nashville pro team depth chart? Could they eventually become top line players? And how about Kings prospect Linden Vey? Do you see Vey becoming a top line player for the Kings?
Beck is probably two years away from a fantasy impact. He's a big forward with great puck skills - think of Ryane Clowe. I like his game a lot. Latta isn't big or strong, but he has a great work ethic. Also a really good playmaker. He doesn't have the fantasy upside of Beck, but he should become a good second line center at the NHL level. Both players are playing their first full professional seasons in the AHL this year.
After winning the WHL scoring title last year, Vey is having a solid pro debut for Manchester. A few years away from the NHL, but the Kings could use his offensive abilities on the right wing. I like all three of these prospects (Beck the most, and then Vey and Latta).
Some news out of Nashville – Ryan Suter won’t sign an extension before the trade deadline. Damned if you do (trade him, miss the playoffs), damned if you don’t (keep him, make the playoffs, he signs elsewhere in the summer). Suter is arguably a top five or 10 defenseman in the league, and he’s going to get more than a few ridiculous offers this summer. Will be interesting to see how the Preds handle this.
The latest rumour making the rounds – Corey Perry to Vancouver for Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard, and Cory Schneider. First off, I don’t see the Ducks trading Perry before Ryan. Second off, they would likely have little interest in Schneider (unless they quickly flip him for some other asset). The rumour was released by Patrice Brisebois, the former efenseman (the d is missing intentionally) for Montreal and Colorado.
Sounds like Seguin and Kessel may play together at the All-Star game. I would say “what if”… but that would make no sense. Still, interesting to see two players who have been and will always be compared to each other suit up on the same line.
Brendan Ross double feature today! In addition to his terrific piece on the main page, he fired me some thoughts for the ramblings. Here they are:
NHL All-Star weekend does not provide much to look forward to for fantasy owners but if you were lucky enough to tune into Rogers Sportsnet to catch the Sarnia Sting vs. Ottawa 67's you were able to fulfill your hockey needs. After injuring his knee in the Gold medal game and missing the past three weeks, Nail Yakupov returned Friday night to the slumping Sarnia Sting (4-7 in his absence). Ironically, Yakupov's return coincided with the Sarnia Sting's only appearance on national television. The Ottawa 67's are certainly no slouche either as they feature several NHL drafted prospects in Senators' Shane Prince, WJC star and Red Wings' goaltending prospect Petr Mrzarek and leading OHL scorer Tyler Toffoli.
It was quite apparent that Yakupov was a bit rusty, especially in the first period, but the potential first overall draft pick for the upcoming draft certainly showed flashes of why he's so highly touted. Yakupov was able to showcase his crisp passing, explosive speed and quick hands. In the third period, Yakupov quickly caused a turnover from 2012 draft-eligible defenseman Cody Ceci and scored seconds later on a quick wrister. Sarnia's Ryan Spooner (Boston Bruins) was one of the Sting's best players scoring a goal and creating the majority of the team's scoring chance but Sarnia needed a better effort from the rest of the team.
In the end, the red hot Ottawa 67's were too much for the Sting to handle and with strong games from Tyler Toffoli (1 G; Los Angeles Kings), Shane Prince (1G, 2A), Sean Monahan (1A; 2013 draft top prospect) and Cody Ceci (1G,1A). I was definitely impressed with the play of Cody Ceci confirming why I have this big, smooth skating, smart, two-way defender as a top ten selection in the upcoming draft.
Around the OHL Friday Night:
Tanner Pearson (2012) had his strongest game for the Barrie Colts since returning from the World Juniors last month notching two goals en route to a 6-2 win over Brampton. Dylan Blujus (2012) has continued his strong play with two apples in the loss for the Battalion and should see a boost in his draft stock.
The Catenacci brothers, Daniel (Buffalo Sabres) and Michael (undrafted) both scored two goals a piece as Owen Sound and Kitchener faced off. Kitchener's Ryan Murphy (Carolina Hurricanes) is smoking hot right now as he rides a 6-game point streak tallying 4 goals, 11 assists and 14 points in that span. Wow! In fact, Ryan Murphy has 19 points over his last 13 games (only two pointless games) dating back to Christmas when he was cut from Team Canada's World Junior squad. Rising draft-eligible players Gemel Smith (1G) and Radek Faksa (3A) both found the game sheet as well. Faksa is a player to watch closely as I feel he has a great chance at becoming the draft class' most improved player.
The Greg McKegg (Toronto Maple Leafs) trade has worked out perfectly for the London Knights. McKegg has been the OHL's best player since arriving in Forest City scoring 19 points as a London Knight (10 games) including 8 multipoint games. McKegg has been held off the scoresheet only once as a London Knight. Nashville Predators prospect and recent London Knight acquisition Austin Watson had two assists in London's 5-2 win over the Windsor Spitfires.