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Cam Atkinson had three points and nine shots on goal for the Jackets. He won’t be 100% until next season (high ankle sprains take forever to heal), but he has looked better in recent games.

 

Matt Calvert had two points and four shots on goal – one of my favorite young players in hockey.

 

Artem Anisimov also had three helpers – 12 faceoff wins, too. What is his upside? Can he be the top center for the Jackets? He is a huge guy and is learning how to use his frame to his advantage offensively (much like Anze Kopitar did/does).

 

Sam Gagner’s strong season continues – it is crazy to think that he has been in the NHL for almost 400 games and he isn’t even 24 yet….

 

*

 

Antti Niemi has back-to-back shutouts – when he is on his game, there aren’t many goalies who are better. Consistency is his greatest enemy, but he is playing great hockey right now.

 

Brent Burns scored again – only 12 minutes of ice time, though. He needs to be playing more.

 

Justin Braun, Matt Irwin, and Jason Demers were all in the lineup for the Sharks – all three of them are homegrown talents on very affordable deals. San Jose continues to do a great job drafting/scouting talent that other teams miss.

 

*

 

Colorado/Vancouver was a snoozefest – Cory Schneider was great, no one else on the ice really stood out.

 

PA Parenteau was probably the best Avs forward – him or Duchene. Parenteau has been a factor in every Colorado game I have watched this season.

 

The Canucks added a pair of empty netters to make the score look a lot more lopsided than it actually was.

 

Keith Ballard missed the game with a minor foot injury – he is expected back in week at the most.

 

Zack Kassian is also expected back soon – the club is being very cautious with his low back spasms – they want him 100% for the postseason.

*

 

*

 

The Phoenix Coyotes erupted for six first period goals against Nashville. Phoenix had scored six first period goals all season before last night’s game (OK, that may be an exaggeration).

 

Rusty Klesla had four helpers, and Hanzal and Vrbata each had three point nights.

 

Pekka Rinne got the hook early, but returned after Chris Mason was even worse in goal.

 

Shea Weber had a goal and seven shots on net – but he was a minus-2 (in 30 minutes of ice time with seven goals against… that isn’t too bad).

 

Roman Josi had six shots on goal – pretty impressive to get 13 shots on goal from a defensive pairing. Josi also played 30 minutes. Probably too late, but he’s a young D I’d look to build around in any and all keeper formats.

 

*

 

Tyler Toffoli had a helper in 14 minutes of ice time for the Kings. He looks pretty good as a rookie, and it is easy to see why LA fans are so excited about his future. Tons of offensive upside, and the team will bring him along the right way (no pressure to produce right away).

 

Trevor Lewis has 14 shots on goal in his last four games. He doesn’t have much value in most leagues, but that is a solid shot total for a depth forward.

 

Vlad Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues in the loss – his first point(s) in four games.

 

*

 

The Sabres and Panthers combined for 11 goals – defense was very, very optional in this one.

 

Ed Jovanovski is done for the season with a hip injury – how Florida of him.

 

Christian Ehrhoff’s rock solid season continues – an assist, plus-2, and six SOG.

 

Drew Stafford had two points – I bet he is on the trade block (it seems he is there each year). With his skill set, he simply has to be a more productive and impactful player.

 

Marcus Foligno scored and now has three points in his last four games.Could get hot down the stretch, much like he did last year.


*

 

Ben Bishop stopped 24 shots from Ranger attackers for the shutout.

 

Mika Zibanejad had a pair of helpers, and was the best player on the ice for either team. He plays a lot like Alfredsson/Zetterberg – more gritty and tenacious than the typical “Swede” (not saying they are soft, more a reflection of their focus on skill and playmaking).

 

*

 

Winnipeg was abysmal last night against Pittsburgh – they couldn’t generate much offensively, and their defensive zone coverage was very spotty.

 

Al Montoya faced 43 shots (let in four of them), and the Jets had only 20 on Vokoun.

 

*

 

Speaking of spotty defensive coverage… how about those Carolina Hurricanes? Joe Corvo’s effort on the Joffrey Lupul GWG was appalling. I feel bad for whoever tends goal for Carolina – their defensemen (outside of Faulk) simply can’t defend with any consistency.

 

Alex Semin had a nice roto night – minus-2 (not so nice), but two points, 10 PIM (misconduct at the end), and five SOG.

 

Dion Phaneuf had three points – I made the point in my top 10 defensemen list, but it astounds me that he continues to get so little attention considering his role and where he plays.

 

Phil Kessel had two helpers – he has really developed into a good playmaker over the past two seasons, and that has forced defensemen to pay attention to his linemates a bit more.

 

Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch – can’t really criticize Carlyle because the Leafs won, but he is easily one of the six best defensemen on the team.

 

Brett Bellemore played his third career NHL game for the ‘Canes – I know absolutely nothing about him. This happens from time to time….

 

*

 

Dupuis sure doesn’t want to lose his spot to Iggy – he scored twice, and directed 11 shots on goal (seven of which reached the net).

 

Dobber favourite Colin McDonald had a pair of goals for the Isles last night. I’d love to see them come in 8th and face the Penguins – that would be a very, very fun series to watch (goal-fest 2013).

 

Pittsburgh got a lot better over the past few days; that much we all agree on. However, I would still take Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston in a best-of-seven series. Boston, especially. The Bruins won’t stand pat at the deadline, but even if they did, I don’t see any team matching their combination of goaltending, size, skill, and structured play.

 

Can Marc-Andre Fleury rise above last year’s playoff meltdown? Tuukka Rask is a vastly superior goaltender. And Kris Letang’s injury issues have to be of concern too, as the Penguins aren’t as deep on the back end as they once were.

 

Playing a bit of a devil’s advocate here I guess – they are stacked up front (although all three teams I mentioned above are stacked up front).

 

*

 

Tommy Wingels had his best NHL game to date on Wednesday (playing on a line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau sure helped).

 

Deploying four lines of scoring, including a top six featuring burners Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat and Tommy Wingels, San Jose attacked the opposing defense with more speed than we've seen at the Tank since the days of Nils Ekman putting his linemates offside every other shift.


*


Jarome Iginla’s career timeline (spoiler alert – it’s impressive).

 

*

 

Roberto Luongo is still the best goaltender available, but there are a few other names to keep an eye on – Ryan Miller and Mike Smith.

 

Smith has been hesistant to re-up with the ownerless Coyotes, and who could blame him? Will teams be equally hesitant to sign him after seeing Ilya Bryzgalov struggle outside of Phoenix?

 

Miller may be wearing thin on his teammates in Buffalo with his consistent complaining and criticism (he really needs to keep it in the room).

 

Rogers Sportsnet’s Daren Millard reports that Miller’s name is “in play” amid the Sabres’ talks with the Tampa Bay Lightning.


I could see the Lightning having interest. Heck, Miller would interest a lot of teams. How would Buffalo go about replacing him? An interesting potential series of moves, to say the very least.

 

*

 

Eugene Melnyk needs to get his meds checked, I think.

 

*

 

Paying tribute to Jarome – his finest shift in a Flames sweater.

 

He was everything to this team.


For 1:32 on June 3rd, 2004 - he played like it.


*


A prospect to keep an eye on in deep keeper leagues – Justin Dowling.

 

Signed to a standard AHL contract (SPC) in early January after scoring a whopping 46 points in 34 games for the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads, Dowling has smoothly handled his transition to the AHL level. After Tuesday's game he now has 12 goals, 21 points and a +9 rating in 28 games since he joined the Stars, and is looking more and more dangerous as he continues to adjust to his new team.

*


Matt Fraser is tied for the AHL lead in goal scoring with 32 goals. He has 69 goals in his last 133 AHL games – he has arguably been the most dominant scorer in the entire league over the past two seasons down there. His NHL opportunity is coming. Deadly shot, and he is not afraid to use it.

 

*

 

Montreal is proving to be one team you can’t collapse against when they have a power play. Markov and Subban are both set up for one-timers, and they can both move the puck, too.

 

This play was a bit of a lucky bounce, but all game long Subban and Markov were creating scoring opportunities whenever the Bruins gave them some open ice.

 

 

*

 

Torey Krug had a point for the Bruins on Wednesday night, and he is having a great AHL season – 10 goals and 34 points in 55 games. Love his offensive upside. He plays a really smart game, too (most undersized defensemen have to).

 

*

 

David Booth hasn’t worked out (yet), but it was still the right move to make, writes Thomas Drance.

 

Since losing in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, the Canucks have drafted almost exlclusively big forwards at the draft (2011: Nicklas Jensen, Alexandre Grenier, Joseph LaBate, Ludwig Blomstrand, 2012: Brendan Gaunce, Alexandre Mallet). Meanwhile they dealt Cody Hodgson for a mammoth with potential in Zack Kassian, they purchased David Booth and they spent an entire summer playing footsie with Shane Doan.

*

 

My latest fitness post – why you are (probably) training your core all wrong.

 

The core is a lot more than just your “six pack abs.” It is better to think of your entire torso as your “core.” Why? Well, because it forms the core of your body. All power and movement starts there and works out through the head, arms, and legs. Your core’s number one responsibility is to protect your internal organs and spine (and a close second is to impress people at the beach).


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Write comment
Comments (12)add comment

Anze said:

Anze
... They are not as dominant 5-on-5 this year. Bergeron-Marchand-Seguin-Chara are a combined plus 83, the rest of the team combines for minus 8. They rely a lot on 4 guys for an elite team. The top 4 players on Pitt are plus 91 and the rest plus 52.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... Oh, I'm not blaming Boston at all - they are a fantastic EV strength team and they won the Cup fair and square. Thomas was the main reason they won more than toughness or any other factor anyway.

My point is - teams that rely on the PP to score are in tough in the playoffs when the refs swallow their whistles.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

Anze said:

Anze
... True that the PP is less important in the playoffs, with less PP opportunities, as the teams change their game ( players don't want to take dumb penalties and be responsible for a defeat ) and officiating also different. I wish playoffs were called like regular season, one set of rules is enough, but can't blame a team like the Bruins to take advantage of a league policy. They stretched it in the finals with the Canucks ( Marchand on Sedin ) but then blame the league, not the Bruins.

The Bruins got somewhat lucky winning 3 game seven, including 2 in OT, they were a couple inches away from a first round exit against the Habs, but they never gave up, battled adversity and came out on top. I don't like them, but they won, period.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

hockey said:

hockey
B's B's didn't have a PP when they won the cup last time. In the late rounds when the refs start swallowing their whistles it comes down to 5 on 5 play, a tight defensive system and of course goalkeeping.

I'm sure the B's didn't actually deserve to win though cause they don't play fair.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

Anze said:

Anze
... They can't be after last year's meltdown. At least they have Vokoun now, but it will remain in the back of their heads until they lift the Cup. And Letang's health in another concern. Right now they look OK, esp after 2 shutouts, but Fleury is so inconsistent.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

angus said:

angus
... Thanks SD.

And Anze - you are forgetting the biggest part of playoff success: goaltending. Are the Pens 100% comfortable with their tenders?
March 29, 2013
Votes: -1

Ross The Boss Palmer said:

Ross The Boss Palmer
Boston v. Pittsburgh Anything can happen in a 7 game series, that's what makes hockey so great.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

SeaDawg said:

SeaDawg
Excellent Ramblings This is exactly why I come to this site...excellent ramblings as usual, Angus. Full of details from last night's games, but lots of personal opinions thrown on players' potential fantasy value.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

Anze said:

Anze
... Any team coming out from the Western conference might also be tired from the travel schedule and tougher early rounds, the West looks much deeper than the East right now.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

Anze said:

Anze
Pens > Bruins I disagree with you putting the Bruins above the Pens. Aside from the Bergeron line, the Bruins are not playing very good hockey these days. If Malkin is healthy, Chara and Bergeron are not gonna be able to cover 2 world class lines, the Pens will be just deadly. And the Bruins need a PP quarterback ASAP, more than a forward.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0

marsid6687 said:

marsid6687
Minor correction Al Montoya faced 43 shots (let in four of them), and the Jets had only 20 on Fleury Vokoun.
March 29, 2013
Votes: -1

lockedge said:

lockedge
Re: Ekman Thanks for bringing up all those horrible Ekman-related memories. I recall at least a dozen 2 on 1 rushes that he ruined by going offside, and those are just the moments of seething hatred that are burned forever into my memory.

Guy had wheels, but he was just so dumb.
March 29, 2013
Votes: +0
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