January 16, 2010

Jeff Angus


Here it is – the official DobberHockey Olympic Pool! To sign up, simply click on the link here. Click on “Join this Pool” and then proceed to make a team name and fill out the other information. You can then pick your players. You are able to change your picks from now until the beginning of the games, so don’t stress over them too much right now!


If you haven’t done so already – buy the Midseason Guide and support the site!


Mike Knuble had two goals last night, making it five in his last five games. He is going to be money for the Capitals down the stretch and in the playoffs – absolutely fantastic around the net. With Ovechkin shooting the puck, the ones that don’t get through certainly will be rebounded somewhere in the slot.


Patric Hornqvist, who is absolutely on fire right now, scored the loan goal last night in the Nashville 1-0 win over Calgary. Hornqvist is second in the entire league in 3rd period goals with 11, two behind Marian Gaborik. Thanks to the Forechecker for that stat. In addition, Hornqvist has 14 goals in his last 19 games.


There are a lot of players in Europe who are like Hornqvist – on the surface. Undersized, good skaters, and great hands around the net. The difference? Hornqvist has guts. He plays hard, he is feisty, he battles after whistles, and he isn't afraid of going to the net on a regular basis. I am not calling all Euros soft, but many that come over simply can't translate their skilled games to the NHL with the hitting and defensive pressure.


Some news out of Vancouver – Marc-Andre Fleury has a minor finger injury, and may not play tonight. He hurt it in Calgary, but played through the pain in Edmonton. If he isn't ready to go, John Curry will get the start.


Per Joe Haggerty (an insider who follows the Bruins), Dennis Wideman is on the block. Talk about selling low, eh? Wideman is barely on pace for five goals and 25 points, after 50 last season. With miserable production and a cap hit close to $4 million, I can't see too many teams lining up to get him.


Pavol Demitra is playing his first game of the season tonight. Expect him to start on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and someone else (I'll guess Rick Rypien or Jannik Hansen). Steve Bernier is out, as his minor groin strain is still bothering him.


Calgary shook their lines up last night, hoping to spark the offense a bit. Putting a guy who took almost 40 games to get his first goal of the season on the top line (Conroy) probably wasn't the best idea… Calgary was shutout and is really struggling to find the back of the net. I am not sure why this is much of a surprise to anyone – they really were banking a lot on unproven depth to come through. Jokinen is the only real disappointment in terms of expectations. Iginla's production is fine, but he is taking too many nights off for a captain.


Beyond Iginla, Jokinen, Langkow, and Bourque, I wouldn't call any of the other forwards top-six quality. Glencross, Moss, and Dawes are all solid players who can produce in stretches, but having all three in the top six is not a viable solution.


Neither Phaneuf nor Bouwmeester seem comfortable right now, and Mark Giordano has been the best and most consistent Flame defenseman at both ends of the ice lately. It is great when depth players step up, but not when Calgary's top three on defense has a combined cap hit of approximately $17 million.


Dan Ellis on