Lockout Update Day 81: there is still a lockout.
Hey - the Fantasy Hockey Guide is now updated, including a revamped Calder prediction chart, RNH, Henrique, Roy news and more.
Monday I released the Fantasy Goalie Guide - everything you want to know about goaltending with regards to fantasy hockey, is all here. I put up some screen shots so you can see exactly what you'll be getting - and I'll tell you this much, anyone in your league reads this guide they get a huge edge in the goaltending categories. Buy it here (screenshots here as well) for just $6.99, which is really chump change for a magazine that you'll enjoy far more than that Sports Illustrated you were thinking of buying.
Oops, missed this yesterday - Ryan Nugent Hopkins will not go to the Team Canada camp as he is rehabbing a shoulder injury. He will know by Monday if he will participate in the WJC. But it sounds like it could be a concern if a season is slapped together quickly for a - say - December 20 starting date.
How much luck is involved in the NHL draft? The Hockey Writers investigates the history of draft wheel spins and lottery balls - and what will happen to next summer's draft if the season is cancelled.
Some positive news from yesterday. Lots of it, actually. Although we've been down that road once before. The first time, really, was when both sides were hush-hush and meeting like crazy for four days. And now this.
Multiple sources reported optimism at the break - the two sides took a break for dinner from around 8pm until 9:30.
From Larry Brooks: Source reports "cautious optimism"
From Chris Botta: Text from player source: "You were wrong. Wasn't a waste. Will know more by Thursday. Good meeting. I'm optimistic."
From Pierre LeBrun: Told so far talks have been substantive but too early to tell which way it will go... also told that Pens owner Ron Burkle made his presence felt in the meeting so far today. I think the players are receptive to him...
From John Shannon: Hearing that progress was made in the meeting. Owners expect to continue talks tonight.
After the break, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr ruined everything joined the talks briefly, but then did not end up going into the big meeting room. Bettman is holding a news conference today at 1pm. The meeting was still going on at 11:30 pm when I posted these ramblings.
UPDATE: The meeting ended just after midnight. Here are some quotes. I'll let them speak for themselves:
Steve Fehr: "It may be the best day we've had so far."
Bill Daly: 'I want to thank the players and owners for being there and we're going to work hard and try to get a deal.I think everybody wants to get a deal done, so I think that’s encouraging. We look forward to making more progress tomorrow.”
So this optimism makes Steve Burton look pretty good. The only theory I have on this is perhaps that Jeremy Jacobs tipped him off that he is softening. And if he is softening, then the lockout is softening. Here is Burton on the news two nights ago:
Shawn Matthias has agreed to play in Austria on a lockout contract.
A great piece here over at Puck Daddy on how the NHL could lose their COO John Collins, and why that would be mega-costly. The guy brought us 24/7, the Winter Classic, he tried out the ASG Fantasy Draft (you win some you lose some), the NBC deal…
Yesterday I linked to Sweden's and Canada's WJC camp rosters. So here are a couple more.
You know which group of fantastic prospect goaltenders are sucking? The New York Islanders. Kevin Poulin's save percentage is 0.895 in 12 AHL games. Anders Nilsson's is 0.896 in eight games. Both are profiled extensively in the Fantasy Goalie Report and either one could be your Islanders starter in less than 18 months. But obviously, neither is surging to the lead at this point.
Twenty-two players in the AHL have a minus-9 plus/minus rating or lower. Here are some key names of interest (and their NHL club):
Carter Camper, Boston: minus-9
Stefan Elliott, Colorado: minus-9
Spencer Machacek, Winnipeg: minus-9
Steven Kampfer, Minnesota, minus-10
Jack MacLellan, Nashville, minus-10
Kyle Palmieri, Anaheim: minus-10
Devante Smith-Pelly, Anaheim: minus-10
Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia: minus-11
Casey Cizikas, NY Islanders: minus-12
Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis: minus-13
The Schwartz and Elliott numbers tell me that they'll remain in the AHL this year. The other numbers strike me as more team based.
Joe Pavelski with a pair of markers:
Hilarious - Dustin Penner on Conan O'Brien. This is great: