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Angus here... my fantasy mailbag is open for the first time in a long time. Ask your questions here!

So I’m sure you all heard the big hockey news yesterday that the Toronto Maple Leafs are still looking for consistent goaltending. Oh, and the lockout ended as well. Gotta do this:

Lockout update, Day 114 - there is still a hockey is back!

Now that NHL hockey will be returning sometime in the next couple of weeks (probably January 19), the question is, will fans be doing the same? There was plenty of buzz on social media Sunday about the return of hockey and most of it was positive, however, there were some negative comments as well. Many fans are disillusioned with both sides involved in the process and are imposing their own boycotts or “lockouts” if you will. Some will not watch again until the playoffs, and others may have found different activities to occupy their time during the lockout.

It will be up to the NHL to get them back with a goodwill gesture, and let’s face it, the league owes fans a little something at this point. One idea that I have been preaching since this fiasco started, and Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons mentioned it on TSN Sunday morning as well, is to give everyone the NHL Center Ice television package for free. It makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, it’s probably relatively easy to do since the first month is usually a free preview for everyone anyway. Second, it should increase viewers for the product, which helps the NHL as well.

Regardless of what happens, the league needs to do something at this point. Let’s see what you’re made of NHL.

The Vancouver Canucks will be hitting the ice shortly, but don’t expect pesky center Ryan Kesler to be joining them anytime soon. TSN.ca is reporting that there is still no timetable for his return. Kesler had surgery on both his shoulder and wrist this past summer, and his recovery hasn’t gone as quickly as anticipated. He has been rehabbing with the Canucks’ medical staff during the lockout and therefore was one of the few players still getting paid.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News thinks it’s time for Gary Bettman to step down. What say you folks?

There was an interesting piece from The Toronto Star last week by Bob Mitchell on how the lockout could affect the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies are currently tied for first in the Western Conference, but figure to lose several key players to the Maple Leafs now that the lockout has ended. I’m sure there are many other AHL teams, as well as some European squads that are in the same boat. 

Mike Heika is reporting that the Dallas Stars will have a significantly new uniform design in 2013-14. They will be sporting a new logo and the dominant colour will be green. It feels like the Stars haven’t had the same uniform for more than a few consecutive seasons since they moved to Dallas.

Tim Thomas appears content to continue his plan of not playing hockey for the foreseeable future. I wonder how long that will last.

Brace yourself for some shocking news. Carlo Colaiacovo may not be ready for the start of the season after injuring his shoulder at the Spengler Cup, reports Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. With the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings are obviously not as deep on the blueline anymore. Colaiacovo wasn’t a major signing in the off-season, but he figured to be an important piece of a Wings defense core that will now have to get it done by committee.

Edmonton's Ryan Jones apparently suffered an eye injury and is sidelined for three or four weeks. Information on that one is still coming in, but it's one more roster spot open for the likes of Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Hartikainen.

Concussion news about young sophomore defensemen. First the good - John Moore has been cleared to resume skating (per Aaron Portzline). Now the bad - Jake Gardiner is still experiencing symptoms (per Jonas Siegel).

According to Elliotte Friedman it is almost certain that the season will be 48 games long. Speculation is that the trade deadline will be on April 5. The midseason weekend (for your midseason draft, if you have one) will be March 9.

Scary stuff - Evgeni Malkin tallied 65 points in 37 KHL games. 

Reported on Twitter by Carolina beatwriter Chip Alexander - he spoke to Coach Kirk Muller, who said that the injury to Tuomo Ruutu means that the Staal brothers will be split up, and rather than be on the same line they will center the top two lines. Hasn't even played a game yet for his new team and Jordan is already getting pushed down into the lineup...

Other Twitter news - New Jersey beatwriter Tom Gulitti spoke to Martin Brodeur, who was quite clear on the fact that he fully intends to play both years of his contract.

Defenseman Alex Petrovic, a Florida prospect, was having a horrible AHL season. But look at this - he has five points in his last seven games and is plus-9 in that span.

Here’s something from NBC ProHockeyTalk on what young prospects, like Dougie Hamilton, figure to get a look from their teams at the upcoming training camps. I couldn’t find anything that indicated if this season will still use the nine game mark as a qualification for a year of eligibility or not, but whatever number teams are allowed, expect them to take full advantage of it. Some organizations could go in the other direction as well and simply opt to leave players in junior because of such a shortened season.

Scott Burnside of ESPN.com surveys the damage done by the lockout. Meanwhile, Darren Rovell thinks the fans will forgive once the games get going again. I tend to agree.

Although the schedules haven’t been made up yet, there will almost certainly be no out of conference play in 2012-13. While more games inside the division and conference are great for creating and furthering rivalries, having every team play each other at least once is a big selling point for the game. Western Conference teams won’t have the good fortune of seeing their squad go up against the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Steven Stamkos. While the East won’t have the opportunity to square off against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. This certainly won’t do anything for the growth of the game, especially in non-traditional hockey markets. Perhaps the question shouldn’t be how many fans is the NHL going to lose because of the lockout, but rather how many did they fail to gain by not riding the momentum of last season?

Signing P.K. Subban is a priority for GM Marc Bergevin now that the lockout has ended says the Canadian Press. Subban is a restricted free agent and it will be interesting to see how Montreal deals with that. Currently they have 23 players under contract that equates to a cap hit of $63.9 million. This season the cap is pro-rated at $70.2 million, but in 2013-14 it falls back to $64.3 million. Teams signing players now will have to keep that in mind.

Good to see in this piece from the Orange County Register that the Anaheim Ducks, and more importantly Teemu Selanne, are excited to get back out on the ice. It would have been a shame to see Selanne’s career come to an end thanks to a lockout.

Sean Leahy answers seven questions that will be posed now that the NHL is resuming shortly.

Congratulations to the United States for capturing the Gold Medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Defeating both the Canadians and Swedes on their way to the title was no easy task. Goaltender John Gibson was named tournament MVP for making plenty of timely saves throughout the competition. He has been rock solid with the Kitchener Rangers in 2012-13 as well with a .929 save percentage, and with Gibson, the Ducks look to be solid between the pipes for years to come.

While many in this country are disappointed with how the Canadians performed at the tournament, and so they should be, far too often we just gloss over other outstanding performances at the WJHC. The Americans effort at this year’s competition is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

In case you are on the fence about returning as a fan, hopefully this pushes you back towards the side of hockey.

Shame on you Zidlicky.



Feel free to follow us on Twitter at @amato_mike and @DobberHockey

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Comments (11)add comment

Front89 said:

Updated Draft Guide I logged into my download area and do not see any revised fantasy guide dated today? We don't need to buy it again, do we? Thanks
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Teh Doktor said:

Teh Doktor
Guide I realize you were probably getting ready for a 48 game season for some time now, but holy hell. That was quick!
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

... About the nine game limit... I would guess that it's still in place because the NHL agreed to have the same ELC system as in the last CBA pretty early on in the negotiation. I don't think that was re-opened after they put that issue to rest. It's not watertight, but I'd say it's a pretty good likelyhood that it's the same limits for ELC players.
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

... Bettman- I doubt he's going anywhere (his job went back to cushy for the next 10yrs), I doubt that all the owners are happy with him, but lets face it- not all owners are treated equal. If the Phoenix situation doesnt improve,then his ouster might be sooner,but otherwise I think were stuck with him unfortunately.

While highly paid players like Kesler,Garrison drew salaries for all/most of this lockout, once the first paycheque does arrive, Scott Gomez will return as the most overpaid NHLer, while Wade Redden never relenquished his AHL crown.

Rumour has it Marian Gaborik pulled his groin while mocking the flight attendant doing the 'in case of emergency demonstration'.
Whose Tim Thomas again?
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Late Round Gem said:

Late Round Gem
Dobber Guide What time today will the updated guide be posted?
January 07, 2013
Votes: +1

rev_mgr said:

My thoughts A couple of comments:

* NHL Centre Ice package for free? Free is a bad word in most businesses. I think the NHL will show exactly what they are made of and it won't be offering anything for free.

* Bettman stepping down? Unlikely. Bettman represents the will of the owners. I think he is doing his job and doubt the owners have much issue with the way he is doing it.

And third point, only because I have never posted here before and it is my biggest beef with the NHL, why oh why does southern Ontario only have one NHL team? NY / NJ area has 3. Southern Cal has 3. The fact that there aren't 3 in southern Ont is the only reason that the Maple Leafs still have fans and are the most valuable sports franchise. Did I just answer my own question?
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Malkin I would not be surprised to see Malkin get 80 points in this shortened season
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Jason_Banks said:

Marlies situation Really the Marlies situation I'snt all that bleak...

They lose Frattin... Komarov comes back over... and maybe Aucoin or Kadri get a call up... We are currently sitting a couple forwards a night to keep a rotation... and we have guys like Colborne, Ashton, Deschamps, Scott, D'Amigo skating on our 3rd and 4th lines.. they should all be in top 6 roles at this level...

losing 2 = more playing time for Brad Ross and Kenny Ryan... and a likely call ups for Tyler Brenner and Andrew Cresenzi who should be at the AHL level anyway... Also coasting in the E is Sammy Carrick who is getting stronger at Pro and Jamie Devane who is a Fighter who is struggleing...

On D Marlies have Gardiner going up... maybe Ranger (or can be signed by anouther NHL team)... Holzer may get a call up too if the leafs Elect to keep Morgan Reilly in Jr...

Kostka, Fraser, Gysbers, Yeo and Blacker would be our top 5 with Holzer, Ranger or a couple of signed guys (personally I want Phil Oreskovic back)... The D is pretty good...

In net at the moment Rynnas or Scrivens goes up, Scrivens looks like shit, but he is loved by the fans and management, Rynnas is playing much stronger that Ben thus far... Who ever is not with the leafs can handle the Net for the Marlies with Owuya as backup (who is having a rough year, I believe lack of playing time is the issue cause for 2 months we had 3 goalies up)... If Leafs bring in Luongo or other, then our netminding stays as is...

OKC and Hershey are the big suffering teams...

OK loses its top weapons (but its other kids like Pless, Cornet,ect can fill the void a bit) If Khabibulin isnt playing or they need Yann Danis... OKC with drop like a rock on the backs of young netminders Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz....

Hershey doesnt have much offence this year (first time in a while we can say that)... but when they lose Braden Holtby, they will rely on Dany Sabourin (who is aging) and Phillip Grubbauer (who I have never felt was a good goalie)...

Houston is a real loser, as will be Springfeild...

Eddie Lack is hurt and Chicago is relying on Matt Climie... if Loungo gets traded in teh next 2 weeks, Chicago will be signing a new netminder to go with the very green Joe Cannata, ane Climie will be going up...

Charlotte could be a hurting unit as Justin Peters is likey to go up... Dan Ellis is a UFA... if anouther teams steals him they are out of goalies... That said I feel Carolina may sign Ellis and leave Peters down...

Also remeber no Re-Entry waivers in the new agreement... older Vet players can get frequent call ups this season... Meaning Guy like Mark Mancari, Keith Aucoin, Jeff Taffe, Marty St. Pierre, T.J Hensick, can recieve quick recalls... and only clear if they are reassigned down... rather than before when you could lose them both ways....
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

January 07, 2013
Votes: +0

Finnbar said:

Playoffs Nice to have hockey back. The NHL won't get my money for a while, but hey, hockeypools, why not.

Not sure if I believe it, but I heard that the Leafs are now officially mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Does anyone know if that's true?
January 07, 2013
Votes: +2

letangerang58 said:

Shame on you Zidlicky Didn't Crosby pull that same move on Zidlicky twice in that game?
January 07, 2013
Votes: +0
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