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It hasn’t been a great stretch of games in Western Canada for Pekka Rinne. What gives?

 

The notoriously streaky Curtis Glencross had a hat trick last night. Time to ride out another hot streak?

 

Mikael Backlund has been one of Calgary’s best players (when healthy) this season, and he was seen after the game tonight walking around on crutches. Not good news at all.

 

Lost in Calgary’s bad season has been the play of a few bright spots – Jiri Hudler is one, and Dennis Wideman is another (both UFA signings from last summer).

 

Hudler was slumping a bit as of late (no points in his previous four games), but 18 points in 23 games is great production from a secondary scorer.

 

And Wideman has been logging a ton of minutes for Calgary and doing a pretty good job of it, too.

 

And finally, there is Lee Stempniak. 20 points in 26 games – who saw this coming? He has a wicked shot and a lot of offensive talent, and he is making the most of his increase in minutes in 2013.

 

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Taylor Hall was dominant last night – he can take over games like none of the other young guys in Edmonton. He is learning how to pick his spots better and stay out of dangerous areas on the ice, which is great to see. He is too talented to keep getting injured.

 

He finished the game with two points and six shots on goal.

 

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He gets slammed whenever he plays bad, but Ilya Bryzgalov was great last night for the Flyers in Jersey, stopping 27 of 28 pucks fired his way.

 

Is father time catching up with Danny Briere? He hasn't been himself this year (granted, injuries could also be a factor).

 

Andrei Loktionov left the game with an injury after playing only four minutes.  I am sure you can find updates here on the Dobber forum when news breaks.

 

David Clarkson scored the lone Devils goal and also had eight of those 28 shots that Bryzgalov faced.

 

*

 

Fantastic contract between Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the Coyotes. Six years and $33 million, or $5.5 per year. He’s worth that amount now, and he is likely going to continue to get better.

 

There aren’t many defensemen I’d take over OEL if I were starting a franchise. Letang, Karlsson, Weber… I think that’s it. An argument could be made for Drew Doughty too.

 

*

 

Florida has acquired depth defenseman TJ Brennan from the Sabres for a 5th round pick. If you can’t make the Sabres back end, that has to say something, no?

 

Brennan is a good puck mover who is a work-in-progress in the defensive zone. Florida is stacked with young talent on the back end, and Brennan is probably a worthwhile gamble for them to take on.

 

I’d expect Brennan to see some PP time down the stretch for the Panthers, as they will want to see if he is worth keeping around past this season. This hurts the short term value of Colby Robak.

 

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My next top 10 ranking list – defensemen. Here are the lists from the past three seasons:

 

2010

2011

2012

 

How would you rank the defensemen for 2013?

 

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Brett Connolly is patiently waiting for his NHL opportunity.

 

Connolly, one of the most consistent players in the AHL this season, is still waiting for his next chance up top.


"When you were there (the NHL) all year, you want to be there next year,'' he said earlier this week.


Tampa Bay is force-feeding Connolly minutes as an AHL mainstay with the Crunch this season, and the prospect is devouring the opportunity. He is tied for eighth in the AHL with 52 points (24-28) and has rarely turned in a bad game, much less two in a row.


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According to beat writer Helene St. James, the Red Wings are in trouble if they can’t pull things together soon.

 

What the Wings really need is to get more out of their regular personnel. Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who shouldered the team the first third of the season, have suddenly gone as cold as Edmonton's weather, with Datsyuk on an 11-game goal drought and Zetterberg coming in at two assists the last eight games. Damien Brunner has cooled off, going seven games without a goal. After a shoulder-injury layoff, Valtteri Filppula scored Wednesday in his first game back, but it was only his fifth goal in 20 games overall.


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Henrik Sedin undresses Chris Mason – what a move:

 

 

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And Luongo and Schneider show off their comedic talents in this funny TSN bit:

 

 

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Who will the Sabres move at the trade deadline this season?

 

According to Pierre LeBrun, the Canucks are once again interested in Steve Ott (they first tried to trade for him last year from Dallas). Ott would be the perfect fit on the Canucks third line – he can chip in offensively, he’s good defensively, and great at faceoffs.

 

And he would help solidify Vancouver’s reputation as the NHL’s most hated team, too.

 

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Sticking with Buffalo... great asset mangement with Mikhail Grigorenko. The Sabres sent him back to the Q yesterday after wasting one year of his entry level contract. Grigorenko played about 220 minutes for the lowly Sabres in 2013 instead of developing in junior, and now the Sabres completely wasted a year of his affordable rookie contract. No wonder they are near the basement in the East.

 

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Ryan Ma and I have developed an App for Android and Apple – FantasyHockeyPP. We aren’t aiming to compete with ESPN, TSN, or RotoWorld in terms of scope or volume of coverage and updates, but we want to provide top-notch analysis on the breaking news in the hockey world. All other hockey Apps on the market give you an update on an injury or a player’s performance, but they don’t dig deep at all. We want to do that.

 

We are also rolling out a Midseason Guide in the next few days… stay tuned for an update. Here is some more info on FantasyHockeyPP.

 

Feel free to email or message me with feedback, too. Want to make this thing easy to use and very useful.

 

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Write comment
Comments (6)add comment

angus said:

angus
... Buck - comes with the territory (writing on the internet). Always negative feedback. I don't really mind. Sabres have been awful this year. Bryzgalov had a great start, but he has been spotty as of late too (not getting much help). I understand frustration from both fan bases.

David - I concur. Meddlesome ownership is never/rarely a good thing.

OEL - depends on role. If the Yotes move Yandle he will see a huge spike in upside. He's so good defensively so he gets a lot of the tough minutes.
March 16, 2013
Votes: +0

davidgoodburn said:

davidgoodburn
... I wonder how much influence Pegula has in the Sabres personnel decisions. Seems like the team management has gone downhill since he bought the team. Too much pressure to please the over exuberant owner maybe?

Where do you slot OEL in terms of fantasy production? Is he in the second teir with guys like Weber, Subban, Buff or is he the dreaded better in real life than fantasy hockey type defenseman? Thanks Angus!
March 16, 2013
Votes: +0

buck0198 said:

buck0198
Angus Just a Buffalo and Philly hater since their teams blow goats so far this season...

Keep up the good work.

Who is the goalie in Dallas for the future? Is it Campbell?

March 16, 2013
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... I wouldn't say my "expertise" lies anywhere. I watch a lot of hockey and write about my thoughts. Sometimes people agree, sometimes they don't.

Anyways, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I don't follow all teams as closely as others, so it is good whenever readers share their insights.
March 16, 2013
Votes: +2

pattywins said:

pattywins
... No Angus

Slammed by you ... thursday for example ... when it would have been 8-3 if not for Bryz.

Two bad pinches, including a short hand break away to kovalchuk, leads to goals.

But apparently he stunk ...

March 16, 2013
Votes: -1

bullwinkle said:

bullwinkle
No Angus Your expertise is with the West. Stay there. The Sabres have great depth at D and Brennan is clearly an AHL Dman. Being the 7th Dman with the Sabres does not mean that he's awful. You might not know this, but there are damned good defensemen in the minors...Pysyk and McNabb just to name two.

Vancouver can dream on, Ott isn't going anywhere. In fact I expect that he'll wear the 'C' next season along with a contract extension. The guy is just what the team needs.

Finally the Sabres made a mistake in keeping Grigorenko up here. After seeing their first 5 games, I thought he should have been sent down. He's not ready for prime time...yet.
March 16, 2013
Votes: -2
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