Baseball season begins TODAY. Pick up the Fantasy Baseball Guide (and Baseball Prospects Report, if you want a kickass bargain) at DobberBaseball . My Interactive Playoff Draft List will be released early tomorrow and updated Sunday –includes my playoff picks, and the ability to play around with multiple playoff scenarios.

 

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Buffalo finally snapped out of it. A playoff spot is there for the taking, and it’s like neither the Sabres nor the Caps want it. Same with the Sharks, for that matter. But the Sabres were down three zip, but had 32 shots in the last two periods for the win. Ville Leino was the big hero. Actually no, just wanted you to do a double-take.

 

Alexander Sulzer played 24 minutes and tallied three points. That’s points in three straight games and he’s gone from being scratched to being leaned on. A lot was expected of Sulzer three years ago with Nashville. And after being pretty much pulled off the scrap heap, he has eight points in 15 games with Buffalo. Meanwhile, Andrej Sekera was a minus-3. Not enough to pass Sekera on the depth chart yet, but it’s certainly getting to that point.

 

Look at the line on Markus Foligno so far – 13-6-7-13, plus-8, 9 PIM. Fantastic stuff. And this chemistry with Tyler Ennis, if he can make it work into next season, watch out. If a 50-point player latches on with an 80-point player (as I think Ennis will be in the long run), then 50 quickly becomes 65.

 

I’m a big fan of Matt Frattin – his hustle, his ability to get into position. He just needs finish, but he’s slowly polishing up that part of his game. His numbers are unimpressive, but in the last 38 games he has 14 points and is even. That’s not so bad.

 

Joey Crabb has seven points and is plus-4 in his last six games. I think he’s the perfect third liner, his game has really come a long. Some of you may remember my feelings on his lack of talent a year or so ago. No more.

 

Still with the Leafs, Tyler Bozak is three points shy of 50. He just turned 26, so there’s probably still room for a bit more. If Toronto doesn’t land a No.1 center in the summer somehow, then Bozak gets the job by default and takes a run at 60 points.

 

Tyler Ennis has 19 points in his last 12 games.

 

Sidney Crosby has caught Jeff Carter in the scoring race. The difference is, he got his 34 points in 20 games. It took Carter 55. By the way, Ennis has 34 points – he caught Carter too (46 games).

 

Patrik Elias, who turns 36 next week, has three straight two-point games. He has 76 points and this is the second time he caught me off guard. I remember back in 2000 I thought there was no way that he could build on his 72-point season. Talented, but not superstar talented. Yeah, then he went out and got 96 points. And here I am again thinking his 70-point days were over… and boom.

 

A lot of people are patting Ilya Kovalchuk on the back for having this monster season. It was a good season, not a great one. He just got his 35th goal last night. But then again, so did Matt Moulson. And if Moulson played 25 minutes a night he would have a lot more. Just saying… don’t dislocate your shoulder patting Kovalchuk’s back too vigorously.

 

With back-to-back three-point games, Claude Giroux is up to 92 points. First may be out of range, but he could very well pass Stamkos (95).

 

Ilya Bryzgalov played last night with a chip fracture in his foot. He played, but not well – giving up five goals on 24 shots.

 

Jakub Voracek has nine points in his last five games. You know who could use a sniper like that? Columbus.

 

Torey Krug played 18 minutes in his NHL debut for Boston. The undrafted college star had two shots on net. He had 34 points in 38 games for Michigan State this year. I don’t think we’ll see an offensive splash this year or next, but worth watching and I think the B’s like him better than fellow prospect Warsofsky.

 

Breaking – Marco Sturm still plays in the NHL. Boy, seeing his name in a scoring summary sure brings back memories. Not really. By the way, he plays for Florida.

 

With another assist last night, Spencer Machacek has nine points in his last nine games. He’s not a sniper, and I question if he can even be a top sixer (although in the 2008 Fantasy Prospects Report I figured that he could be). But he’s scoring with Joey Crabb-like efficiency right now.

 

It’s really interesting watching this Nashville dynamic, in terms of ice time. Sergei Kostitsyn topped 20 minutes and saw PP time. Andrei Kostitsyn topped 15 minutes and saw some PP time. Alexander Radulov saw 19:28 of ice time and of course saw PP time. It looks like the Preds are going with a 1A and 1B power-play unit, as Fisher, Legwand, Erat and Hornqvist all saw PP time. Craig Smith – odd man out, but I still say he’s their most talented pivot.

 

Pekka Rinne was a healthy scratch to rest for the playoffs.

 

Anaheim prospect Peter Holland was named rookie of the month in the AHL for March.

 

After zero points in his first 11 games with Vancouver, Marc-Andre Gragnani has points in three straight. Did he do this last year? You know – kick ass down the stretch and into the playoffs. If he’s doing it again, then Vancouver fans are in for a treat.

 

The Isles have signed Brock Nelson to an ELC. Nelson is another great prospect in their stable and he’ll play in the AHL next year. In 2013 though, he should slide in as a Nick Spaling-type on the third line (with second line upside). The pieces are coming together, it just takes awhile.

 

Jacob Josefson is on the shelf for the next 4-6 weeks with a fractured wrist. Thanks for coming out Jacob, that trip across the ocean was well worth it – injury after injury, and a nice little certificate that says “Band-Aid Boy”.

 

Mike Smith has three shutouts in a row. Wowzers.

 

Wow – Kris Letang – hang your head in shame, buddy…

 

 

I've never seen a goalmouth scramble like this not get whistled down. WOW - is this to make up for "the goal" of 1999? Saved Buffalo's playoff hopes right here:

 

 


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Comments (17)add comment

bomm said:

Bomm Bastic
Sabres Send Thanks -to the refs for noticing the puck was never covered
-to Foligno for playing lights-out, and the way he manhandled Frattin in the first
-and a very special, heartfelt thanks to Komisarek for allowing Foligno to get under your skin. Way to focus, my man!!
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Bender said:

baconnol
Scramble That seems silly that the whistle wasn't blown, but did anyone see the cheap shot that Komy lays on Folingo? Maybe he was embarrassed after falling down behind the net letting Folingo walk right out in front, but it seemed to start from even before they dropped the puck.

Nice ramblings Dobber.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

frozenpools said:

frozenpools
Bozak He also missed 8 games and is a "young 26". Its his 2nd full season.

April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Massimo Cinelli said:

rticinelli
Mike Smith Three shutouts in a row is impressive, but even more impressive are the shot totals - 38, 44, 54. These aren't gift shutouts borne from stifling defense. He's earning them! You should post a clip of his crazy glove save from last night.

He's proving to be an extremely streaky 'tender, but ride him for the season and you've got yourself some nice numbers overall.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Dave said:

ddp
yup I have no reason to be bias...I agree with you netwolf. Stick was close enough. Get your shit out of my face is the way I see it.
And Dobber...easy with the hateon for Stamkos...Giroux catch him? he has 2 games left, stamkos has 3 and WILL hit 60 and probably more.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

netwolf said:

netwolf
Letang I readily admit I may have my black-and-gold glasses on, but it looked like Letang did get clipped in the chin by that stick. Getting hit in the face is no fun.

And if it was embellishment, was it any worse than this? I may have missed it, but I don't recall Giroux taking much heat for it.
http://youtu.be/cdb2AyPxuWQ
April 04, 2012
Votes: +1

mick said:

hawkdog
footnote to great ramblings Burrows is the highest scoring NHL player that played in the ECHL
Hank has 7 points and is plus 8 in the last 3 games
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Letang dropping to his knees That was a conditioned reflex based upon previous experience, and losing your balance as a safety mechanism by the body is natural (think fainting to cause your body to be horizontal). Notice that he maintains control of the puck, his prefrontal cortex made the decision to maintain control of the puck rather than maintain balance during the somatic reflex response, as the order of importance in the decision making process was keep the puck rather than give up a break away. Thus, he loses his balance but maintains control of the puck.

Your observation may lead you to believe he dove, but the sciences of motor learning and exercise physiology suggest otherwise, so long as his movements are near enough to 200 ms to the applied stimulus.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +2

david said:

newper114
Kovy Besides what was said and his game rounding out you have to realize that the 25mins a night is combined with PK time and being double/triple shifted on random lines. The devils are also about slreeading the scoring out. They are the only NHL team to have 3- 30 goal scores and Elias close behind with 26. So while kovys out there dancing and moving sometimes it's just to distract the other teams so others can get open and score.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Pre-programmed Lots of good notes to talk about to today now.

1. Letang.
Ugh. I watched it, I don't like it. That's acting. Did he get the call? Yes. Did he get touched by the stick up around the sweater collar/shoulder? Yes. Should he have done it? No. REFs don't take kindly to this sort of thing. Trust me, I've played a hockey to know that refs start making mental notes of "who acts" and "who is honest". In the future, Letang is going to lose 50-50 calls because of this sort of instance. The act works once, maybe twice... but in the long-run, it's going to hurt his chance of getting calls and having calls against him. Bad move.

2. Kovalchuk is -9. He's a minus. Again.
New Jersey is +16, as a team.
Even-strength, Kovalchuk has been on for 53 GF, 63 GA. -10.
He's dragged Parise's +/- to -5.
Guys like Parise & Marian Hossa are complete hockey players. Complete hockey players take a LOT of pride in their +/-. A LOT.
When Parise doesn't re-sign with New Jersey, there'll be one (unspoken) reason - compete two-way NHL hockey players do NOT like playing with Nancy-Minus players that get all kinds of accolades for their high point totals and fancy moves. A minus player is a minus player. Those guys don't win championships.

3. Nice rambling, overall. You & Angus continue to do a great job here. I always notice. You don't get a compliment everyday... because, well... nobody compliments me at my job for making buildings not fall down. They only complain when I do it in a way that doesn't suit their style. Welcome to my world.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Tyler Haskell said:

TheBoneweasel
Kovalchuk, letang Dobber, i think people giving Kovy all this credit are not talking about his offensive game. I've got Parise, and as such have been watching a bunch of Devils games. Plus, i used to live in Atlanta and saw a lot of his play there--the transformation is incredible. On the thrash he used to basically just coast behind the enemy defense and just sit at their blueline in wait for the stretch pass before coasting back into his own end to "play defense." In New Jersey he ACTUALLY plays on the PK. that's unfathomable to me, but he seems to be doing a good job at the little things and defensive side of the game now. Becoming--if not has become--a complete player.

As far as letang, it's more than just jerking his head back, palmer. He DROPPED TO HIS KNEES. You don't do that when just "reacting" to a stick your brain may or may not have thought was going to catch you up high unless youre diving.
April 04, 2012
Votes: -1

Tom Mizwicki said:

Wink
Goalmouth Scramble And Phaneuf gets a nice mouthful of Crabb stick to boot!
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Letang I have no issue with that play. When something goes near your face, either you hit it away with hands with/out moving your head, or if your hands are occupied you either move head into it, or you move you head away from it. These are natural reflexes, and occur at their fastest at around 160 ms (milli seconds) after a stimulus for a highly trained reflex, and on average around 200 ms for a general reflexive time. Now if it was a reaction (a dive) and not a reflex, his head would have moved well after those times. I do not have the technology, nor the time, to break down this play, but it appears that Letang moved on an act of reflex and not of a reaction.
April 04, 2012
Votes: +2

Shao said:

Shao
Leafs Blown Whistle - Not That was a ludicrous play. Even though I want the Leafs to lose, you can clearly see that the referee closest to the play kept bringing his left arm up and down. If he was truly prepared to blow the whistle as they should be (remember, all they need is the intent to shave like 0.5 seconds off the time), then he should have had the whistle inches from his mouth.

Bullshit call. You can't make that in the playoffs. This has to be reviewed and objected to. Even though the Leafs have nothing in it, for integrity's sake it should.
April 04, 2012
Votes: -1

Austin said:

austeane
... And I took BOTH Crosby and Carter in a points-only league... Still in 4th though!
April 04, 2012
Votes: +0

Larry said:

Rollie1967
Letang that was a high-stick.... in Pansyville. absolute garbage play by Letang- he should get fined- the refs job is tough enuff without players diving like that.

Gragnani was brutal defensively vs the Ducks. out of position- looked lost. great skating only makes up for so much. Come playoff time- if Ballard comes back, he falls below Ballard,Tanev,Rome,Alberts on the depth chart. Hopefully for them, they never have to go that far down the chart.
April 04, 2012
Votes: -1

Steve Montpetit said:

Haddock
... Letang overreacted to get the call but it was a high-stick.
April 03, 2012
Votes: +2
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