Lockout Update Day 102: There is still a lockout. But thankfully the two sides didn’t interrupt their Christmas dinners to do what they could to give thousands their jobs back.
As I start these ramblings at 8am, I challenge myself to dig up hockey news without learning the results of the Canada - Germany WJC game. I want to watch it at noon, let's see how I do…
More great hockey today - the Spengler Cup kicks off at 2:30pm ET. Rosters, notable names:
Canada - Jonathan Bernier, Devan Dubnyk, Cam Barker, Jason Demers, Maxim Noreau, Carlo Coliacovo, Matt Duchene, Jason Spezza, Brett McLean, John Tavares, Jason Williams, Patrice Bergeron, M-A Pouliot, Sam Gagner, Tyler Seguin, Byron Ritchie, Ryan Smyth
Salavat Yulaev Ufa - Alexander Svitov, Nikita Filitov
Methinks the two KHL teams are overmatched…
Jeff Angus gives a nice Dallas Stars-centric year in review for Defending Big D.
Litter Box Cats grade their minor league team San Antonio here. Of note:
Casey Wellman - gets a C. But his play has improved over the last three weeks.
Quinton Howden - gets a C. Essentially he's just going through growing pains.
Alex Petrovic - gets a disappointing D. Weak defense, stupid penalties say it all.
Drew Shore - A. "The best Panther on the roster". There you go.
Jacob Markstrom - he gets a C, but this may be harsh. They point to his hot streak and cold streak, which are inconsistencies that won't translate well to the NHL. But I think his cold streak was just the first month, and he has been great since.
Semyon Varlamov has returned from his knee injury. This damn lockout is so long that injuries happen, they concern us poolies, then the player heals…then he rehabs, returns, puts our mind to rest and we're back to normal. All without the NHL starting.
Great find by Puck Daddy digging this up. The NHL posted a "Happy Holidays" thing on Facebook that got 4371 "Likes". It also got 5590 comments. All of which were negative. I've never seen more comments than likes… but since there is no "dislike" button, all one can do to express something negative is to comment.
Luke Adam, who is coming off a slump that lasted a full calendar year, is on an eight-game points streak, with nine points in that span for Rochester. Tampa prospect Alex Killorn and Carolina prospect Zach Boychuk are on six-game points streaks.
After seven points in 14 games to kick off his pro career, Tyler Toffoli has 15 points in his last 14 games for Manchester.
After four points in 10 games to kick of his North American career, Jakob Silfverberg has 18 points in 15 contests for Binghamton.
After eight points in 18 games, James Sheppard has eight in his last nine. Finding his timing now, after a practically missing two full seasons of hockey.
Look who has cooled off - Sven Bärtschi. He has just five points in his last nine AHL games.
One interesting battle, in terms of prospect goaltenders, is the battle between Anaheim prospects Igor Bobkov and Frederik Andersen. Both are profiled in the Fantasy Goalie Guide. Politically, Andersen has the edge because he was drafted for the second time rather high, after his original team didn't sign him. But Justin Goldman prefers Bobkov and really likes his development. So the two have been splitting starts for Norfolk (AHL).
But Anderson got hurt last week, so Bobkov started three consecutive games. That's just what the doctor ordered. For any goaltender, a steady flow of games is the best way to thrive. Bobkov has stopped 96 of 103 shots, which could be enough to see him continue getting the bulk of the workload going forward. In which case he would pull ahead as Anaheim's No.3.
Fantasy Goalie Guide - over 130 goaltenders scouted and profiled by expert Justin Goldman, plus the full fantasy slant and political scenario of every single goaltender belonging to an NHL team done by yours truly. Combined, this bad boy has it all. Pick it up here.
Fantastic deke by Colton Yellow Horn here, well done: