Lockout Update: Day 46: There is still a lockout.
Fantasy Guide - Fully updated as of October 26. When the season is announced, I will re-jig the projections from Abdelkader through to Zubrus.
Andrei Markov is hurt again. You can hang your hat on calling that one. Oddly enough, I did call it and some Habs fans actually protested. I assume they're Habs fans, perhaps they're just Markov owners. Anyway, don't count on Markov playing 60 games in a (full) NHL season.
The good news is, his injury is to his upper body and not his knee. Good news in the sense that it's not serious and he'll only be sidelined short-term. But bad news in the sense that he is a Band-Aid Boy through and through - he doesn't need a wonky knee to ensure an injury, he'll find a way to get one regardless.
Taylor Hall will make his AHL debut Friday for Oklahoma City. Now that Magnus Paajarvi, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are rolling, I would guess that Hall will anchor a second line. It pretty much gives OKC a couple of NHL scoring lines like you've never seen in the AHL before.
The NHL and MLB are teaming up to stop a bill allowing single game betting in Canada. Currently, it's only legal to bet on a minimum of three games. The thinking by the league is that single game betting increases the risk of higher-stakes that lead to players throwing games, or fans becoming violent towards referees.
In case you missed this yesterday - Inside Gary Bettman's annual Halloween party. One of Down Goes Brown's best…
Here is an interview from Michael Russo with Donald Fehr. Some interesting snippets:
Fehr: "You go into buy a car and let’s say it has a $35,000 sticker on it and you offer 15. The dealer laughs at you and says, ‘maybe 33.’ And you say, ‘No, I’ll improve my offer to 20. I improved it 33 percent.’ Well it still doesn’t mean it has any reasonable chance of success at any point. It’s an improvement off a number that had zero chance of success. And so you have to view their position from that standpoint."
Russo: " I always wonder and I think fans do, how do you justify fighting for 12.3 percent of a salary when you’re potentially risking the loss of 100 percent if we lose a season?"
Fehr: "If this was a one-year agreement, that would make a lot of sense. But it’s not. It’s a five-or-six-or-seven-year agreement. Also, look at what’s on the table [from the owners], there’s a lot more that’s on the table in addition to just player share. They’re saying the things players got in the last agreement in return for the 24 percent rollback [and salary cap], they have to take it back. They (the players) lose ground in salary arbitration, they lose ground in free agency, lose ground in the entry-level system, contracts are limited in all kinds of ways that make them much less secure."
Russo: "Are you worried about fractures in the union or players worried about lost wages? Are some players frightened?"
Fehr: "Yeah. … But that doesn’t mean you make a bad agreement because of it."
Here is Radek Faksa's fantasy profile from DobberProspects. Updated March, June, July and October - this is what I envisioned for that site: lots of fresh updates that you can consult at any time on a player, complete with links to stats as well as youtube footage. Brendan Ross and Rich Dillon are doing bang-up jobs over there, and the scouting staff has been great.
Speaking of the great scouting staff, one of the DobberProspects scouts Miika Arponen interviewed Anders Lindback yesterday and asked some questions on our behalf. The key question for fantasy hockey owners is this - can you handle the added workload expected in Tampa, given that your career high in games played at any level is 49 games (from eight years ago)?
"I don’t think I’ll have any problems with the amount of games, of course it’s a challenge but I think I can handle it."
Other quotes from Lindback:
"I was really happy to be traded to Tampa and it’s very exciting to get a shot at the starting role. It’s what I have been targeting my whole life and that’s why I have been training for.
I don’t think [the NHL] will start very soon, it’s been very quiet there lately. But I’m excited to play here and it prepares me well for the NHL. The Finnish league is most like North American leagues in Europe, very straight forward and fast. I thought it’d be best for me to play here while the lockout lasts."
His Finnish team's goalie coach, Markus Korhonen, also had great things to say about Lindback to our guy Arponen:
"Lindbäck is a very diligent player and he gives his 100 percent every day even in the practice. He has very quick feet for such a large goalie and his stickwork and understanding of the game are superb."
Ryane Clowe has signed to play with ECHL's San Francisco Bulls, a team partially owned by proud DobberHockey forum member Ben10 (who later became "Vintage Vibe"). Congrats to both the club and to Ben for landing the big fish.
The Hockey Writers takes a look at the five worst Maple Leafs contracts. I'll go through them, but taken from the proper perspective only one contract is truly horrible and unexplainable:
1. Tim Connolly (two years, $9.5 million) - I disagree that this is number one. It was a roll of the dice that failed, but a two-year deal was very low risk for such a dice roll.
2. Mike Komisarek (five years $22.5 million) - Bingo. Even at the time of the signing this was clearly a bad deal. This should have been your number one.
3. Matt Lombardi (three years $10.5 million) - I wouldn't count this. The Leafs only got two of those years and they got a top defenseman prospect in exchange for taking the two years. Sure, the d-man didn't pan out. But it was a safe gamble. Sometimes even safe gambles fail. But Lombardi brings speed and skill to the checking line so unlike Connolly, he won't be completely useless. Last year was a one-off.
4. James van Riemsdyk (six years $25.5 million) - The only way this deal becomes bad is if JVR is hurt for most of it.
5. Mikhail Grabovski (five years $27.5 million) - Yes. But he would have made more on the open market. Not a lot more, but more. If the Leafs wanted to keep him, this was the contract they needed to sign. So the question becomes - should they have wanted to keep him?
Look for the Top 300 keeper league player rankings and Top 100 D-man rankings to be released tomorrow. October was my first month missed since the last lockout because I was waiting for camps to open…and then too many days had passed.