Just a reminder to pick up the DobberBaseball Fantasy Guide, if you haven’t already.

 

Blake Wheeler has seven points in his last two games. He has 39 points in his last 41 games, breaking through in this his fourth NHL campaign.

 

I was asked on the weekend by a buddy what I thought the odds were of a lockout next season. I said 40%, and by that I mean at least one game missed. I’m not talking the entire season here. I put those odds at “extremely remote”. But getting a CBA done in mid September, starting camp late and pushing the season back two weeks…sure, I think those odds are around 40%. And they seem to be getting worse with each passing day.

 

James Neal is doing what I said four years ago wingers in Pittsburgh would do. This is what I had in mind. The problem was, until Neal, the likes of Crosby and Malkin had to play with the likes of Petr Sykora and Miro Satan. Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. If they can make those guys 50-point players (Kunitz make it 65), then they can make Neal 80. Another problem with this taking so long is that their wingers in the system have turned into zilch. I’m talking Luca Caputi, Jonathan Filewich, Eric Tangradi, Keven Veillieux. With the track record there, it’s hard to imagine anything coming from Tom Khunackl and Beau Bennet – although Bennett is a top prospect. I’m just saying I don’t like the track record. The Pens can develop defensemen and checking forwards, but I’d like to see them develop a scoring forward.

 

I love the contract extension announced Sunday for Neal – the Pens knew that the price would go up if he reached 40 goals this year, so they signed him right after he got 30.

 

Time (again) to take the Preds seriously. Hal Gill was a great addition. But what I would like to see is some balls – trade a popular forward and upgrade the offense. Seriously, if you can swap a guy like Martin Erat and (if healthy) Patric Hornqvist, plus a high pick and a great prospect….  for Rick Nash, then bingo – you have an amazing fit. The team has like 10 second liners and zero first liners. Time to bring one in and overpay to do it. Not many teams have the depth that Nashville does.

 

Steve Yzerman is still impressing me. Getting great draft picks for Moore and Kubina is genius. With not many teams committing to being sellers, it’s great that he got in early. He’s only moving bit parts, so it’s not truly “sell mode”.

 

The Flyers know they are handcuffed to a goalie for a long, long time. So it’s time to make him good. He thrived in a defensive system but not so much in a run-and-gun. So adding Grossman and Kubina will help.

 

According to Puck Daddy, the KHL president Medvedev believes that Vladimir Tarasenko could be convinced to say in the KHL, and that “I know for a fact that Evgeny Kuznetsov is very seriously considering the possibility of continuing his career with Traktor”. Uh oh.

 

Martin Brodeur is looking as though he will be making the wrong decision – a la Mark Messier – and overstaying his greatness. He’s talking as though he will play another season in the NHL. All that will do is bring his numbers down (or up, depending on the number). Then again, is it really the wrong decision to make another $3 or $4 million? Ummmm… okay I take it back.

 

From the offices of Too Little, Too Late – Patrik Berglund has eight points in his last 11 games. He does seem to be playing better now that Andy McDonald is back in the lineup and the forward dynamics have changed.

 

Wild prospect Chad Rau, a decent scorer in college and ranked 312 on my fantasy prospects rankings, scored his second goal in five career NHL games Sunday. He played a career high 11:46. He has modest scoring-line upside, but his offense has not developed in two years or so at the AHL level.

 

David Krejci has just one point in his last nine games. Still no positive update on Nathan Horton.

 

That’s two games in a row with a point for Dave Bolland, and he was plus-2 in each of them. Thanks Dave, Mr. Guy-I-Dropped-2-Game-Ago.

 

Corey Crawford has (finally) settled down and banged off three wins in a row. He has allowed just four goals in that span, stopping 84 shots.

 

The Wings decided to give Jimmy Howard more time since Joey MacDonald was winning. MacDonald won again, giving him six W’s in 12 days. He boasts a 0.934 SP in eight games this year.

 

Antti Niemi is 4-7-1 in his last 12 games. That’s a significant slump. Meanwhile Thomas Greiss is 7-3-1 in his last 11. If there was a candidate for the backup stealing the starter’s job after said starter blows the first two playoff games – Greiss is it.

 

Derek Roy must have read my ramblings last week – since then he’s banged out five points in three games, including three points and going plus-4 Sunday. Exhibit A as to why fantasy owners hold onto prove stars no matter how long their slumps are.

 

Jordan Staal has nine points in 10 games. Par for the course when Crosby’s sidelined. He’s a 70-point guy without Sid. With Sid, knock him down to 60 or even 55 (hard to tell because Staal’s been hurt so much lately).

 

I’ve dug up another file in the offices of Too Little, Too Late – Tyler Ennis is on a three-game points streak.

 

Rene Bourque: five points in 16 games, minus-4, 28 shots since the trade.

Mike Cammalleri: seven points in 14 games, minus-4, 33 shots since the trade. It’s the battle of who’s sucking more! Place your bets!

 

Well Andrei Kostitsyn got his wish and saw 17:44 of ice time with over two minutes on the power play. Yeah, that didn’t help.

 

Wait a minute! Scott Gomez played 17:44 as well. Hmmm. Yep, they were linemates. Sorry I jumped the gun there Andrei. Crosby would struggle to get points playing with that guy too. You’re off the hook.

 

Kari Lehtonen is 8-10-2 since returning from injury. He was 13-5-1 before that.

 

The Wild have signed Kyle Brodziak to a three-year extension. Kinda sad that he’s tied for third in team scoring.

 

Sure enough, Hal Gill’s arrival has pushed Ryan Ellis out of the fantasy mix for now. Ellis was the seventh defenseman and saw less than four minutes of ice time.

 

Mike Fisher missed the game because he was sick.

 

Here are the results of CBC’s player poll. Datsyuk the smartest (as well as about 10 other categories!), Lucic the toughest, Vancouver the most overrated team, Florida has the worst ice, etc. Everything here.

 

Niklas Backstrom stopped a five-game winless skid with a 48-save shutout.

 

Matt Duchene was back in the Avs lineup Sunday. To make room, Peter Mueller was placed on IR, though Mueller is eligible to return any time. They still stress that it’s “torso” injury.

 

Both Vlasic and Pavelski took shots off the head yesterday. Both are fine apparently. Pavelski took it off the helmet and passed all the concussion tests. Vlasic took a shot off the face/nose/shield.

 

Wow. I guess they allow drinking in the video review room:

 

 


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Comments (16)add comment

bluejays said:

bluejays
... Totally agree ukflames
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Steve Johnson AKA Notch4077 said:

notch4077
Response to James Nagy's comment @ James Nagy - Simply put...Jim O'Brien.

O'Brien had a terrible training camp and lacked work ethic and attention to Paul MacLean's detail. Since his time in the AHL throughout the first half of the year, O'Brien has come in and done everything asked of him. He is a right handed center, which the Sens could use and really just plays every aspect of the game hard. Coach MacLean has really done a 180 when it comes to O'Brien. All that, spells trouble for Konopka who may have lost his spot on the 4th line. A game or two here and there is all I would expect from Konopka going forward.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

James Nagy said:

nagyj
konopka Why is my PIM guy from Ottawa not playing and getting any PIMs.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Cammy Dobber - I was "rushing to his defence", as you put it, because the total points don't tell the whole story. This is a fantasy hockey site, so I expect you too look at it through those glasses, but the truth of the matter is that over the past few weeks Cammy has been playing better than his numbers suggest, play which has benefitted the team but maybe not your fantasy squad.

Marc - The flames added Cammy because the owners are still in a playoffs now frame of mind, rightly or wrongly, and Bourque had become a bad fit. He was taking stupid penalties at costly times in the game, whilst also not putting up a lot of effort on a nightly basis. Cammy had had good chemistry with Iginla before and the opportunity to get him back was a risk worth taking. As it is he has settled into a different role.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Dave Poleck said:

hockeyrobot
... @Pengwin7.......Pacioretty was drafted a few picks after Angelo Esposito. That's the only example I can think of off the top of my head, but the fact that Pittsburgh hasn't been able to draft/develop ONE winger In five seasons that can play with their two elite centers has got to be worrisome though, no?

Putting more value on a winger drafted by Pittsburgh is more common sense to me vs Dobber pointing the finger at himself.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

BGJ said:

bletchley
... Yzerman impressing? You mean the guy that entered the season with that goaltending and did nothing? He's done a brutal job IMO...and Brett Connolly will be a flop too.
February 20, 2012
Votes: -1

Dobber said:

Dobber
expectation vs hope Big difference. PIT's strategy is to use their great defensemen to bring in an established forward (Whitney, Goli). It has worked wonders. Great strategy and one that I didn't foresee. I'm not down on myself at all for not foreseeing it. Nothing to "suck up" sir.

The point is, no longer is a great winger in their system getting undo value boosts from me.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

KK said:

Kudelskis Krushers
@ Dobber re: Nash trade Isn't Quinton Howden still Panthers' property?
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
PIT development Great rambling - lots of great stuff here.

Second time in a week though you seem to be focusing on a team's "development" issues as a reason why players never hit YOUR expectations.

If you look at PIT's draft picks... they really haven't had anything in the 5th-50th draft pick range where they could draft a sniper to compliment the Crosby/Malkin game. Even Bennett (more of a passer) is not going to "seem" to fit. Neal is/was a perfect addition by the Pens because of his fit. I probably wouldn't criticize PIT's drafting or development though... as they just haven't been in a position to grab the appropriate guy. So, all they can do is draft the best talent available and do their best to get value for/out of him later. If these are defensemen, so be it. They can always trade them later (Goligoski) to find a player (Neal) to fit their needs.

PIT's track record only looks bad because they haven't had a good draft pick to find a Neal-like player. Seems you are criticizing the "system" when I'd really say that you should be pointing the finger at yourself, as we all know, for pegging PIT prospects much higher than they should have ever been ranked.

Not a fan of how you dressed up this topic in a skirt.
Suck it up and admit that you've overvalued way too many PIT prospects.

Other than that... a very, very excellent rambling.

(ps. to Kevin: Winnipeg's first line is Ladd-Little-Wheeler. Kane plays 2nd line)

February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Bender said:

baconnol
Philly's Goaltending Lot's of discussion around Philly's goalies, how they suck, and how they are looking for goalie help. Did they forget they just signed one of the best goalies in the league for 9 years? This seems similar to the Nash situation, if they find themselves trading for another goalie then the GM should be fired. If the problem is their system, then they need to change their system, not trade for another goalie (even if it is a backup). Maybe they need to hire a new goalie coach? They probably aren't allowed to poach one from another team, but maybe they can get someone from Phoenix that helped Bryzgalov in the past.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +1

Kevin said:

mrmojorisin
Wheeler Worth a mention, Blake Wheeler had FOUR points last night giving him 13 in the month of February. The first line of Wheeler, Kane, and Little is really lighting it up as of late.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Marc said:

MGW
Thoughts Columbus needs changes at the top levels of management. Both Bernier and/or JVR need plenty of guidance and mentorship, something the Blue Jackets organization can't very well provide.
I just don't understand the Flames acquiring Cammy. Do the Flames really think they are a competitive team, and are going to challenge for the cup in the near future? I would have thought they would attempt to pick up some picks for Bourque and begin the rebuild already. Cammy is the last thing they need in the lineup IMO
February 20, 2012
Votes: +2

Dobber said:

Dobber
UK Flames I can't believe all the Flames fans rushing to Cammy's defense. You realize that you are saying "Hey, this rotten meat has bbq sauce on it, so it's waaay better than THAT rotten meat!"

Dave - Add Quinten Howden or Austin Watson and a 1st, deal is not so bad. But yeah, they need a star. Bernier is not the answer. Bernier is Mason - they could ruin him just as easily.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Dave said:

ddp
cmon Erat? Columbus should have Zero interest in acquiring Erat and hornqvist and whatever else for Nash. They need to start with Bernier, JJ and more. Or to philly for JVR, Schenn and more...

Erat and Horqvist? my god.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Cammy V Bourque Stats don't tell the whole story on this one but I suppose it helps to fill space and cause people like me to respond.

Whilst cammy hasn't put up major points since his arrival he has made himself a valuable part of the team. When the flames lost Backlund and Jones to injury Cammy went to Sutter and voulnteered to move to C, where he had played before. He has settled into that role nicely and winning draws, which the flames were struggling at.
Of those few points you mentioned, the last two (or is it three) goals have all been game winners including the one against the Kings on Saturday night. A crucial goal in the flames push for the playoffs.
To top it all off cammy doesn't take stupid penalties at the wrong time, which Bourque is very good at.
February 20, 2012
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
... Guess the video reviewers didnt sober up in time to allow Maholtra's goal either. The conspiracy theorist in me is starting to wonder- 2 of the top teams have goals disallowed to bottom dwellers?
February 20, 2012
Votes: +1
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