|December 08, 2012||Tweet|
|Written by Jeff Angus|
|Friday, 07 December 2012 15:22|
One quick thought for the afternoon - Cam Atkinson had four points last night for Springfield - he is the real deal. I could see him leading the Jackets in scoring if and when the NHL returns. Great talent, lack of size doesn't hold him back at all.
Some optimism for Saturday - Pierre LeBrun sums up why we are close to a deal - I agree with his points 100%. This dog and pony show is irrelevant, looking beyond the PR spins (which are past the point of nausiating now), both sides are moving closer.
Want to pick up an inexpensive Christmas present for yourself? Give the 2012 DobberHockey Fantasy Goalie Guide a look. Dobber and Justin Goldman share their thoughts on hundreds of goaltenders, from the elite starters to the backups to the prospects, both blue-chippers and sleepers.
Even if your league has shut things down for the year, this is a great way to plan for the future. And if the NHL ever does sort itself out in time for a January return, you will have a leg up on your competitors with regards to valuing goaltenders.
You will have a lot of insight and knowledge regarding the 30 goaltending depth charts across the NHL after reading the guide. Here are a few excerpts:
With all of the crazy KHL drama behind him, even at age 37, Nabokov should be considered one of the top goalies in the NHL. He plays with a narrow butterfly, has some stand-up elements in his style, and can log big minutes with heavy shot totals. Last season was a big adjustment, but when healthy, he was solid on most nights. In 42 games with the Islanders, he posted a .914 SV% and 2.55 GAA with two shutouts, proving he could still be counted on to win games and carry a team on his back. What makes Nabokov such a steady goalie is his economy of movement, but his overall tactical balance. He plays a refined version of the style taught by Vladislav Tretiak, combined with some more progressive elements taught by the great Warren Strelow. So he will square up to shooters with an upright stance, but when forced to rely on reflexes to scramble or make desperation saves, he has the agility and flexibility to do so.
A proven winner wherever he goes, Tokarski has the mental makeup of a future NHL starter. From his time spent in the WHL to his experience in the World Juniors to his solid AHL career, he simply finds a way to win games. But technically speaking, a few areas of his game have scouts concerned about his long-term value. One of those areas is his low game. He’s often caught dropping down early and he’s not that big to begin with. He loves to utilize the butterfly slide and the back-side recovery, especially when the puck is behind the net. This could be a major issue when he tries to establish himself as a full-time backup because NHL shooters will pick up on that tendency very quickly. Regardless of this issue, Tokarski is still a great No.3 goalie for the organization. He certainly benefits from a team that has dominated the AHL over the past 10 months, and he seems to shine on the big stage and in the playoffs.
This video is worth it alone for Pierre McGuire hyperventilating near the beginning:
DigiTitles has put together a list of the top 10 hockey movies all time, with some bonus features from the likes of Miracle (a great movie) and Slap Shot (the classic).
I really enjoyed Goon – I’d probably put it third or fourth behind those two and Mighty Ducks 2 - so many to choose from.
A few players who are doing really well over in Europe right now – Aleksander Barkov (the draft-eligible Finnish player currently in the SM-liiga), Mikkel Boedker, Jesse Joenssu, and Erik Karlsson, who are all playing in the SM-liiga as well.
Joenssu has been a prospect forever (or at least it seems that way) – does he finally earn a spot with the Islanders soon? They have stockpiled so many picks in recent years, and many of those picks have developed into very solid prospects.
Eric Fehr is also playing very well in the SM-liiga – the injury-prone winger has 10 goals and 18 points in only 14 games for HPK Hameenlinna.
Another player doing well in Europe – Linus Omark. I discussed his impressive play in the NLA (Switzerland) in my weekly recap of European hockey for the PlayNow sports blog.
One player having a tremendous season in Switzerland is Linus Omark. The former/current Edmonton Oiler has been sensational for Zug, along with a pair of Red Wing teammates in Damian Brunner and Henrik Zetterberg. Omark was unable to come to terms on a new contract with the Oilers this past summer. He never really was given a crack at a top six roster spot in Edmonton, and his game isn’t suited to third or fourth line duty. If he wants to return to the NHL, I’d expect more than a few teams would be interested in acquiring his services. At the moment, Omark has scored 12 goals and added 31 assists (43 points) in only 28 games.
Are the NHL and NHLPA closer to a deal than the doom and gloom press conferences are letting on? Yes. And Gary Bettman needs to learn the meaning of the world “ultimatum.”
The Rangers' Rick Nash was on a Friday morning flight from Zurich to New York after reaggravating a groin injury late last week while playing for HC Davos of the Swiss League, The Post has learned.
The groin issue, which had first sidelined Nash for three games late last month, is not believed serious. The winger is returning for "precautionary reasons," according to an individual with knowledge of the issue. Nash, of course, has not yet played a game for the Rangers--you do remember the hockey Rangers?--after having been acquired from Columbus this summer for a package including Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round draft choice.
PM Bouchard has started to skate and practice with the AHL’s Houston Aeros – he hasn’t played since suffering a concussion last December, and he has been battling concussions for quite a while now. This is good to see, but it is scary to think about what would result from him suffering another concussion.
Getting Bouchard healthy and into the lineup would be a huge boon for the Wild. He’s a gifted offensive player — despite all the injuries, he’s racked up 60 points in his last 96 games — and provides playmaking skill.
That said, it’s unlikely Minnesota is counting on him for the upcoming campaign.
He wasn’t cleared for contact in October — meaning he’s still collecting salary on his f
ive-year, $20.4 million deal — and, as the Star-Tribune suggests, he likely wouldn’t be able to participate in training camp if the season was to begin soon.
Evgeni Kuznetsov scored twice yesterday, and included a few very interesting post-goal celebrations (at 1:05 and 2:30, respectively):
Here is more on the Ryan O’Reilly two-year KHL deal from the Denver Post:
“No good reason not to,” Guy told me. “It’s a very good deal for Ryan. He has an opt-out clause and if the lockout continues or we can’t reach an agreement (with the Avalanche) he can play with his brother.”
O’Reilly remains the only player of the Avs not signed to a contract for 2012-13, when/if that season begins. My feeling is O’Reilly would finally get his deal done with the Avs when/if the lockout ends, but there is no question that it was a surprise that wasn’t signed entering in the cutoff date to get players signed before the Sept. 15 lockout.
This simply gives O’Reilly a bit of leverage – he isn’t going to stick around in Russia for two years if the lockout ends.
Here are my 10 fitness tips for December- packed a lot into here - Rory MacDonald, a star MMA fighter, has benefitted from training with a certain NHL player. I also touch on the importance of sleep, some common injury fixes, and more.
Sleep promotes muscle recovery. Sleep is a critical time for cell regeneration and repair in the body. During non-REM stages of sleep, cell division and regeneration actually becomes more active than during waking hours. Insufficient sleep, on the other hand, hinders muscle recovery.
The wife of Brandon Reid (former NHL player, now in the DEL playing in Hamburg) tweeted me this picture - it is a pre (or post) game dance/celebration of some sport... Jamie Benn and Reid are in there somewhere.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 16:17|