If you are looking at my picks in the Draft List, then re-download this list as of 10:30am ET. I made a small mistake by not filling in Pittsburgh in the Final. This has been fixed and my picks/list is ready to go.


You can pick up my SEVENTH annual Interactive Playoff Draft List. I stuck the video clip of how this works at the bottom of the ramblings here – I’ve since updated the playoff tree and injury information. Everything is up to date. Also, don’t forget to join the FREE annual playoff pool. Click here, pick your players – ‘submit’. Done. Win a custom jersey from Cool Hockey or a framed and signed Alex Burrows picture from The Fan Zoo.


Need some more playoff help? Here is my column today for Puck Daddy on the Western Conference. Here is my column for the Hockey News from Thursday on sleepers in the West and then today’s piece on the East.


Now that the postseason is here, we can all quickly grab all the reliable injury information that we could possibly want, as teams trip over themselves to get that to us. Either that, or a player who was perfectly healthy – seemingly – on Saturday could be out for the playoffs with a concussion. Or perhaps he’ll miss a game with what was either a stubbed toe or a broken arm…


In the playoff draft, I would not be taking Daniel Sedin or Jonathan Toews in any of the first three rounds. Just not worth such a precious pick. So if Sedin were to ever get to me in any pool in the fourth or fifth round, I would look at that as a huge win.


An update on James van Riemsdyk – he is out for 2-3 more weeks.


A couple of NHL debuts from Saturday – Jeremy Welsh was signed by the Hurricanes and thrown right into the lineup. Welsh plays a bit of a power game, was undrafted, and he had 81 points in his last 80 games for Union College (last two seasons). He was pointless with four PIM in his debut, but saw time with Skinner and Ruutu (not a bad start and hints at where they see his role). Meanwhile, Scott Glennie got into his first NHL game for the Stars. But he’s some years away from becoming a regular. He was pointless in that cup of coffee.


Another debut – Riley Sheahan, Detroit’s budding power forward. He saw just six minutes, yet managed to get four minutes in penalties. Very impressed that he took three shots on goal during that limited ice time. Look for him …in 2015.


With Nicklas Grossmann re-signing with the Flyers, Ilya Bryzgalov’s numbers for next season just became so much better.


Jaroslav Halak is coming off a win, while Brian Elliott is 0-1-1 in his last two (after three consecutive shutouts, I should add). Halak should get the starting job and the Blues will ride him until he has a bad game. And if he puts in several great games in a row, they’ll ride him through the postseason.  Just my guess. The two just won the William Jennings Trophy.


Generally speaking, I always bet on the bigger contract and/or better pedigree, when determining who gets more opportunities. That’s precisely why Martin Brodeur will be the starter for the Devils, even though Johan Hedberg is, nowadays, the better goaltender.


And I don’t care if Brodeur has won his last five games, or had an improved second half. He played in a protected system that saw the team allow 22 or few shots in nine of his last 24 games.


I won! A hundred dollar bet on Bodog.ca before the season, picking Evgeni Malkin to win the Art Ross at 30-1 odds lands me a cool $3000. Never really placed such a wager before, but those odds were ridiculous and I knew that I would win as long as Malkin played at least 75 games, and Crosby played fewer than 70.  He did, he did and I did.


And Steven Stamkos fans and owners (often one and the same), the fact that he keeps building on his numbers year after year – up over the 60-goal mark now – is extremely promising. It’s reminding me of the Brett Hull vs. Wayne Gretzky debate. If he gets to 70 goals, can he win the Art Ross next year? If Crosby or Malkin are healthy, the answer is still no.


Red Wings injury updatesDarren Helm is expected back for Game 2, Dan Cleary is expected back “soon”. But Todd Bertuzzi may be struggling with his groin injury, which may keep Gustav Nyquist in the lineup.


Akim Aliu, whose stock has fallen tremendously over the years, could not have made a better impression. After being unable to hold down an AHL job and spending quite a bit of time in the ECHL, the Flames gave him a look. He had an assist in his first game, two goals in his second game. Three points in two games, while he has just 14 in 40 AHL games (six in 10 ECHL games). I don’t know what to make of this. I obviously don’t trust it, but sometimes players do better in the NHL than they do at other levels. Andrew Shaw is one example of this. Alex Burrows is another.


Things that won’t shock me:

-          Mike Smith shuts the door on the Blackhawks and finished them quickly.

-          Pittsburgh knocks out Philly in four games.

-          Letang gets hurt and Philly knocks out Pittsburgh in six.

-          Florida goes to the second round

-          The Kings go up 2-1 (games) against the Canucks before Corey Schneider gets a start, saves day.


How did you do this year? I won one of my three keepers. This is on the heals of two consecutive seasons in which I didn't win in any of the three keepers. Feels good to get back on top. And Mike Smith gets a big thank you for that one. Kovalchuk, Benn and Giroux also get my thanks, and a deep, strong defense corps also helped. The other pool I did well in was a basic points only pool done over at The Hockey News. I finished second to Jason Kay, despite having both Malkin and Giroux. My downfall there included Lecavalier, Plekanec and Heatley. In the DobberHockey Experts League, roto-style, I lost two points and Tim Lucarelli gained two points - knocking me down to fourth. Ryan Ma won that one, but it was down to the final week and Peter Hadley - our reader who worked his way up from the Entry League - gave him a good run.


In my other two keepers, I'm rebuilding in one - around Malkin, Neal and RNH. Lots of great youngsters on the way up, including Granlund and Strome. I probably need one more year in that one, but could be surprised. And in the other keeper, because Crosby was out all year I just tried to build a strong playoff team. I got into the playoffs and I think I have a Top 3 favorite playoff squad at this point.


How the Interactive Playoff Draft List works, and what it has to offer…





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Rusty Pickles said:

Rusty Pickles
... Congrats on the sweet payday!

4 leagues - 1 gold, 2 silver, one early exit. not what i was hoping for but pretty good. smilies/cry.gifsmilies/cool.gif
April 09, 2012
Votes: +0

Jean-Philip Guy said:

That year went by fast! 2013? Holy shit, who won the cup last year? Did Montreal pick Grigorenko? How long have I been sleeping? Last time I mix Becherovka with beer...smilies/smiley.gif
April 09, 2012
Votes: +2

Dean Youngblood said:

Dean Youngblood
Malking Payout + Fantasy Year Review Congrats on the huge payout Dobber. I wish I knew about that prior to the season as 30-1 is a ridiculous payout for Malkin. Damn

I did however place a few bucks (literally $2) on St Louis and New York Rangers winning their divisions and the payout totalled over $100 (about $50 each). That was nice receiving those payouts after I forgot about placing these bets before the season.

Fantasy Review
- I won my 20-team keeper cash league for the 4th consecutive year. Unfortunately, our league has voted to change the set-up (# of keepers and roster size) to improve the chances of others winning the league. As the league commissioner, it was an interesting process overseeing the votes as I knew that the reason for changing the rules was simply because no one could catch me. In the end, the changes will be better for the league but with such a big league it's hard to keep everyone happy...and i see this as only a temporary solution.

In this league, I had to drastically consolidate my keepers (with roster AND keeper #s decreasing) via trade often sacrificing good talent for small draft pick upgrades. My off-season keepers will be: Stamkos, H.Sedin, D.Sedin, Kane, Perry, Getzlaf, M.Koivu,Benn Weber, Subban. I will be forced to drop my only goaltending (Luongo) but Gs are more easily replaceable.

In the DOBBER EXPERT LEAGUE, I crashed and burned early with injuries (Staal, RNH, Green, Carter) and was never able to rebound. I finished 10th of 15th and I will admit that I really didn't follow this pool (no time) once I feel behind early. I am just glad I didn't finish last to be honest. Finishing ahead of GM Gates and just behind Angus (who made a huge rebound after a bad start) was nice.

In the COMMISS DYNASTY LEAGUE, I was guilty of not being active (less so than anyother league haha). I rarely set my lineup and my finish of 3rd last in the Third Tier reflects that. It's a league that you have to remain active to have any chance of improving and I just haven't done that. Plus, there are a few teams that are so ridiculously stacked that the winners will always remain the same few. The biggest challenge is improving your team from year to year and attempting to avoid relegation and advance up the tiers. If you can do that then you are a "winner" but you have to remain active. I wasn't smilies/sad.gif Maybe next year as I learn to balance my prospect work with my fantasy leagues.

Hope everyone had a good season. smilies/grin.gif
April 09, 2012
Votes: +0

Patrick Hall said:

... Finished 4th in a pool that pays top 3 ... lost third on the last day
Finished 4th in a pool that pays top 3 ... lost third in the last week
Finished 5th in a pool that pays top 4

Lost over $500 in sidebets on the last day! Why did Malkin play? The whitney assist on the last goal hurt too. Why did Ribeiro and theodore not play?

The playoffs have to be better!
April 09, 2012
Votes: +0

mick said:

pools so I placed 18 out of 115 in the ALS box pool with a 100 entry fee (officepools).
All picks made based on Dobber's draft list.

If Stewart and Duchene hit your predictions I would have be in the money.
Ovechkin hurt me to.

Of your wouldn't be shocked list:
I would add Lou registers at least one shut out as the Canucks knock out LA in 4 games.
April 09, 2012
Votes: +0

lcbtd said:

Aliu Watched a lot of Aliu at the OHL level and the general consensus with him was he had a million dollar skill set and a ten cent head.

There's no telling if the Downie hazing incident unhinged Aliu or if he was already unhinged going in but make no mistake, the kid was unhinged.

Hope he's figured it out.
April 09, 2012
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

Aliu A lot of his progress this season has been down to Troy Ward, the head coach in Abbotsford. He seems to have settled him down and got him playing to his strength rather than trying to get rid of that chip on his shoulder that has been there since the Downie incident.
Whilst he may never become a top 6 player he is going to make a great third line energy guy that will get under the other teams skin, whilst putting up points along the way. I think he might be more fantasy worthy than people think in the next coiple of seasons.
April 09, 2012
Votes: +0
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