Check out Dobber’s latest Puck Daddy article here!
Justin Williams is doubtful for tonight after sustaining a lower-body injury at the end of the morning skate today. Although Gaborik is still healthy, the equilibrium is returning to the band-aid boy universe.
Some good news with the Rick DiPietro situation. There is no timetable for Rick’s return, but it is finally a case of “when” and not “if” (and yes, it was that bad).
You have $100 to bet – Gaborik over 60 goals or Smyth over 45?
Matt Niskanen left the Stars game last night after being hit hard. He is the only real offensive guy on the back end there – they may have to make a move soon to bring someone in. He was slew-footed by Evgeni Artyukhin. I have yet to see the play but from what I have been told it seems like it definitely was suspension-worthy. Artyukhin has a history of dirty play as well.
Caps lines: Ovy-Backstrom-Knuble, Laich-Morrison-Fehr. I really like Fehr but that is mostly because of his fantastic WHL career. I thought he was a sure thing to be a 30-40-goal guy. If he can ever get over the back issues (and out of Washington), he may still have a shot at being a top-six forward.
Jarsolav Halak is starting tonight against the Islanders. His margin for error is extremely slim as the Habs really want Price to get going, but they will go with the better goalie. Right now that may be Halak.
The flu is ravaging the Oilers right now. Mike Comrie is questionable for the game tonight, and if he isn’t able to go they physically don’t have enough forwards. Emergency call-up may be the option (and Dan Tencer was loosely speculating Eberle could find a way up). I assume Comrie will find a way to go, but an interesting situation to watch.
Both James Wisniewski (over 27 minutes) and Dennis Wideman (19 minutes of ice time) returned from injury last night. Wisniewski recorded a point, while Wideman was pointless. The Bruins are going to be a tough team to follow fantasy-wise while Savard is out. I expect their scoring to come from a variety of players. I really like Wisniewski but because of the style he plays he probably won’t ever play more than 60 or 65 games in any season.
Alex Semin did not travel with the team to Atlanta for the game tonight. According to Bruce Boudreau, he is sick. I’ll have a look to see who gets bumped up to fill in on the second line.
Gustavsson took part in a full practice today for the Leafs – might he play on Saturday? If he feels ready to go, I’d bet my bottom dollar on it.
The Islanders recorded their first win of the season. Matt Moulson scored a goal and played close to a minute more than John Tavares. Dobber believes in Moulson as a sleeper for this season, and I am starting to come around as well.
Willie Mitchell absolutely destroyed Jonathan Toews with an early hit of the year candidate. Check out the clip at the bottom of the ramblings.
Joni Pitkanen had a monster of a game for Carolina, playing over 30 minutes, assisting on two goals, and firing six shots on net. It is too bad he is so injury prone as he has the talent to be a 50-point defenseman.
The Bruins scraped out a win over the lowly Predators, and they definitely looked to be missing Marc Savard. The Bruins entire top line from last season (Milan Lucic, Savard, and Phil Kessel) is missing from the Bruins lineup. They really need Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to shoulder the load while Savard is out, as the Bruins offense revolves around Savard's wizardry.
Colin Wilson played only 13 minutes but recorded his first NHL goal. With Arnott injured, and Legwand stinking it up, how long until Wilson gets promoted? Cal O'Reilly was a –2 in 18 minutes as he got his shot centering the top line.
Brad Marchand had an assist and saw over four minutes more of ice time than Vladimir Sobotka. Both are too good for the AHL at this point, but only one roster spot will be open once Lucic returns. I have a hunch Marchand will stick around – his speed and tenacity make him a seamless replacement for Chuck Kobasew.
Dmitri Kulikov led the entire Panthers roster in ice time, playing exactly 24 minutes. They lost 5-2, but it is still very impressive that a mid-first round pick is having such a big impact this early in the NHL. Kulikov is silky smooth but he doesn't have much value right now because the Panthers are so offensively inept.
Brent Burns owners rejoice – he finally scored!
Repeat above comment for Ryan Getzlaf owners.
Kyle Quincey continues his development as a top-pairing defenseman. Many were questioning his season last year with Los Angeles, as he rose out of obscurity to score 38 points. After watching him play a few times this season, I think 45-50 points is where he will end up. He is a very smart player who knows how to work the point on the power play.
Matt Duchene continues to impress. He didn't get on the scoreboard, but I don't think many people expected him to be this good this early. He continues to make NHL defensemen look silly on a nightly basis.
Buffalo's lack of offensive defensemen is a glaring weakness, but right now Chris Butler and Tyler Myers are carrying the load. Butler is someone that the Sabres hope is running their power play in another season or so, and Myers should become the cornerstone of their defensive unit, if he isn't already. Myers already has two goals as well – I know this happens every year but it is nice to see so many rookies having such big impacts.
Bobby Ryan continues his slow start. He has only two points so far and hasn't really done all that much on the ice yet. I was expecting big things from him personally – his slow start is very surprising. I wouldn't sell low on him but it is definitely frustrating as a Ryan owner!