Buy the Dobber Draft app for Android - HERE.

Buy the Dobber Draft app for iPhone - HERE.

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The only fantasy guide (to my knowledge at this moment) that you can get that is updated for the 48-game season with analysis of how the players did in the other leagues, injuries, etc. Both the Fantasy Guide and Draft List are updated, buy them here.

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Brian Burke has been fired. Dave Nonis is Toronto's new GM. I'll try to keep my personal opinion aside. I already took my rant too far on Twitter and Facebook. I don't want to get started here. I'll say it is a mistake. I'll say that Burke needed this season and half of next at minimum to turn such a horrible team around. But ideally he needed seven years. Here is why I like Brian Burke - this is an article I wrote last year. And I'll leave it at that.

I suspect that Burke was told to cave into Mike Gillis' demands for Luongo. I suspect that Burke said 'no'. I suspect that Rogers/Bell (MLSE) told him he had to. And I suspect that he rightfully said 'no' again. So they fired him. We'll know if I'm right if the Leafs pay out the ass for Luongo within a week.

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Jeff Angus is really making the rounds. Here is his interview with JetsNation.

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A couple of morning notes - Ilya Kovalchuk is confirmed to play in the KHL All-Star game on Sunday. His thinking is that the NHL still, technically, doesn't have a CBA so what he is doing is legal. The CBA won't be ratified until the weekend. The KHL feels that NHL players left them too quickly and should have waited until the CBA is official. We won't truly know about Kovalchuk until the weekend.

Sergei Kostitsyn is heading back to Nashville now. Like I said below, we need to track these things now...

Bob McKenzie says that what will likely happen regarding the junior-eligible "10-game rule" for burning a year of his entry-level contract is that it will become a "six-game rule" this season. Interesting...

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Phoenix goaltender Mark Visentin was the AHL player of the week. We won't see him this year unless there is an injury, but it's another great sign for the future. With the right development he could be a starter in three years. But if Mike Smith signs long term, then forget it.

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Great quotes compiled by Russian beat writer Slava Malamud. From the KHL president Alexander Medvedev:

"New CBA may be basis for terminating existing contracts, some players will stay. NHL's opinion of itself is so high... OK, let them get drunk on their greatness. We'll see how many Euros look our way. Our league will act according to our own and international rules. If players decide to stay, we will help them… There is no reason to fear (IIHF's sanctions against players who decide to stay)"

Wow. I'll even add a 'zers' - Wowzers.

And Bill Daly's response, courtesy of Tom Gulitti?

"We have no response. We will see what happens."

The repercussions of this are massive. Medvedev's statement, even if he was drunk, is a declaration of war on the NHL. And if he's going to declare war, there is no better time to do it than after the NHL shoots themselves in the foot for the second time in eight years.

So Lubomir Visnovsky and Ilya Kovalchuk will have the backing of the KHL in their decision to stay (Kovalchuk didn't make that decision, but to me it's clear that he wants to). By the time a battle like this gets resolved, even though the NHL will win - it may not be over until April. Which means, drafting Kovalchuk is a big bust for this year. Thank goodness you have a Fantasy Guide that will walk you through this and keep you posted daily, right?

Now we need to watch carefully of news of NHLers flying home! We can't just assume they're on their way back.

Don't worry about Alex Ovechkin - he's already back.

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I've been thinking about Justin Schultz and where he'll be at this year. And even though I'm as guilty as anyone, I believe all prognosticators are taking the chickenshit path. This is not uncommon. We all do it. I try not to do it as much as others, but with Schultz I did. You see, either Schultz makes it and thrives, or he doesn't. he's not going to have a middling year. Not after what we watched him do in the AHL.  He will either struggle to adapt, and thus fail to reach 15 points. Or he will thrive, and top 30-plus. I don't think he'll get in that 15-30 window. And yet in the Fantasy Guide I have him for 26 points. I'm waffling, but for a reason. Many people really count on those projections. So if say he gets 31 points, they'll draft him at the point in the draft where 31-point players get picked. So I dial it back a little, and they pick him closer to where they should.

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I updated the Fantasy Guide late late last night. Do I need to tell you when I update? Because I'm doing an update every day. I guess it can't hurt to remind. This update includes re-doing the Calder Trophy race chart, and the predicted final NHL standings. I also adjusted for the Jonathan Quick news, and I tweaked Tuukka Rask's projection because I felt it was too aggressive.

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There is speculation that, due to Cristopher Nilstorp's strong play, that he would be the Dallas backup and Richard Bachman would be sent down. But that's not the case. However, the Stars seem hell-bent on Nilstorp winning the job in camp. He has been fabulous in the AHL. But to me, Bachman was fabulous in the NHL last year. This situation will be interesting to watch.

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The Flyers may not have Scott Laughton or Nick Cousins to camp. It's not in stone yet, but it doesn't look that way. Makes sense to me. Neither is NHL ready and besides - I don't have them making the team in the Fantasy Guide.

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Besides Alexei Kovalev being invited to Florida's training camp, the Panthers have also invited Marek Svatos. Then, they went and invited Andrei Kostitsyn? I thought his KHL contract was binding…then again, I guess that's out the window.

I love their strategy here. They want a second-line winger and they're looking for bargains. Word out of Florida is that Shawn Matthias, Sean Bergenheim and Marcel Goc are all injured. Nothing beyond that is known at this time.

But if I'm one of the three players invited - I'm declining. I'd want to go where the list of invites competing with me is smaller. Svatos has virtually no chance here.

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Old news, but the Sabres confirmed that Mikhail Grigorenko will be coming to camp.

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Oh no, blood clot strikes again - Roman Cervenka is out indefinitely with a blood clot. He will be in training camp and take a physical and receive treatment. But tough news.

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Gone, but not forgotten - actually, yeah, I forgot about him - Tom Poti has rehabbed for two years and is now pain-free. He plans to take part in Washington's training camp, which could wind up hurting Dmitri Orlov's ice time (when Orlov wanders back from the injury ward).

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Matt Dumba will be in camp for the Wild. Per Russo. I don't think he makes the squad.

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Daniel Briere's hand isn't healing properly and he will see a hand specialist. The start of the season is in jeopardy.

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KHL players of the week:

– Best goaltender was Sergei Bobrovsky (SKA), two shutouts in two games

– Best defenseman was Dmitry Kalinin (SKA), who picked up 2 points (1+1) in two outings and earned a +2

– Best attacker was Evgeny Malkin (Metallurg Magnitogorsk), whose haul from two games was six points (4+2) and a +4

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Washington's Nicklas Backstrom suffered a neck injury December 26 and is still not ready for action. I had no idea this was even a problem! Like I said, the injury news will come pouring out, and some of it will shock us.

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Jeff Angus talked to On the Forecheck about Fantasy Hockey. Happy to have Dirk Hoag, a noted fantasy enthusiast, consider my stuff here as essential for draft preparation.

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Let's do one more KHL update package:


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Comments (16)add comment

Puckhead said:

Puckhead
Burke is fired? WTF??? This firing is thick with irony, in that Burke fought for the ability to trade salary as part of deals, and was as strongly opposed to the long, cap circumventing deals that his GM brethren used all too often. With the new CBA, you can move salary as part of trades, and the ability to circumvent the cap, with front loaded, ridiculously long contracts have both been addressed, and now Burke is no longer in charge to take advantage of the new look landscape.

While it didn't help get the Leafs into the playoffs, what is not being talked about is how he has positioned the Leafs, with $20 plus Million dollars in cap space for next season, and the ability to buy out one or two others, and go after what, at this time appears to be a very talent rich, brand name, impact free agent class next summer.

I liked what Burke brought, and although his vision was far from realized in T.O. what he inherited from JFJ and the state of the farm, prospects, and horrendously bad contracts proved too much for even Burke to overhaul. If there is one thing I can fault him for, was that he over promised, but when you get hired, especially in a market like Toronto, you can't say I plan on taking 7-8 years to rebuild this team. Regardless of all the good trades, signings, and draft picks, he will always be remembered for the Kessel deal, which rewarded the Bruins with a franchise Center and Stud D man, who will both be donning the black and gold of Beantown for the next 15 years.

Thanks for the memories Burkie, you were a special man on and off the job, and my one regret is that I won't get a chance to see you star in the HBO Winter Classic 24/7 series next year...Cheers!
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Rodgort said:

Rodgort
... May be totally made up but I hear that it is in relation to an "Ethics Clause" in his contract. The incident is related to one similar to the Pronger in Edmonton one. Again may be all made up, but it is what I heard.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Rollie1967 said:

Rollie1967
... Not a Burke fan, but the timing is just retarded. They couldnt give him another half-season? but then retain him as an advisor and name Burke2.0 as his replacement? Doesnt make sense on any level. The Kessel trade wasnt a smart move,but his other trades were for the most part impressive. The Komisarek signing was a HUGE mistake, as was Connolly, but not getting a goalie,sticking with Wilson far too long may have been his undoing. Burkes personality may make him a media quote machine, but he got the boot from Vancity from an unimpressed owner here too.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

C.J said:

C.J
... The leafs fired Brian Burke, this is a huge blow to the Bruins organization smilies/tongue.gif
January 09, 2013
Votes: +3

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
nonis I hope he "pays out the ass" for LOU smilies/grin.gif
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

strikelucky said:

strikelucky
Burke I like him too Dobber ! But lets not forget he refused to trade dowm in 2009 to draft Kadri , but later picks such has Ryan Ellis , Zach Kassian or Kulikov where as good of a guess .
January 09, 2013
Votes: +1

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... Unlike during past lockouts, the NHL is not the only high-level, highly-capitalized pro hockey league in the world. The NHL can't just lock out players for 4 months and then expect everyone to come right back on a moment's notice.

As for Brian Burke, he did not move the Leafs any closer to being a playoff team, let alone a contender, in four years. While the timing is curious, the body of work is not impressive.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Sovereign said:

Sovereign
BURKE FIRED TSN's Bob MacKenzie is reporting the Leafs have fired Bryan Burke.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +1

PriceCrazed said:

PriceCrazed
Schultz Thanks for the comment on shultz i've been waivering on where to target him in my keeper draft, the fact his is scoring at the same clip as eberle tells me to draft high. He's not exactly a rookie from jr either. He has been in college for a number of years. Not the same skill level but bigger stronger than jr player.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
kovi hope he stays in the KHL, him and his ego.
January 09, 2013
Votes: -1

kierangunn said:

kierangunn
... I had Lubomir Visnovsky but Giordano was available in my league. Salary Cap league, there always seems to be good players available. I couldn't get rid
of him fast enough.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Dean Youngblood said:

Dean Youngblood
Dumba I can't see Mathew Dumba cracking the roster under any circumstance. He has had a pretty underwhelming first half in the WHL season.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Backlund - absolutely. Only another injury will stop him from taking a step forward
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

InnocentBystander said:

27Blue
... hey dobbs,
you mentioned berglund's terrific stint in sweden this year and what a confidence booster it could be.
what about backlund? he even outplayed berglund and with cervenka out for who knows how long, backlund
could jump into a top six role in calgary to start the year and never let go...
what do yu think?
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Kovi If he stays in Russia it is going to save the Devils a chunk of change but could cost them dearly on the ice, how do you replace a player of Kovi's skill. Got to feel for them after they threw that big contract at him.
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0

donpaulo said:

donpaulo
... NHL hockey is back and its a good problem for the folks at dobberhockey
January 09, 2013
Votes: +0
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