March 4th, 2010

Jeff Angus


Tuukka Rask will be out day-to-day with a minor knee injury.


Only 17 followers away from 500 on twitter… start following me!


Does anyone expect Mueller to get cheered tonight as his Avalanche pay a visit to Phoenix? I’ll toss my hat on the “no” side.


Sidney Crosby has the most goals in the league since the halfway point of the season. Guess who is second? Alex Burrows.


The promotion of Pavol Demitra to the second line will hurt Mikael Samuelsson’s even strength production. He did score a goal last night (his 22nd on the season), but playing with Kyle Wellwood and Jannik Hansen is a step or three down from playing with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond.


Peter Mueller’s Colorado debut: one goal and two shots on goal in just over 15 minutes of ice time. If there is a place that Mueller will find his groove again, Colorado is it. Unlike Phoenix, the Avalanche have a lot of young players around Mueller’s age, who will be able to push him and develop with him. Most of his young teammates in the desert ended up playing on the farm this season (Turris, Porter, Boedker, etc).


Dobber here jumping on real quick. Our live chat was a success, at one point Angus, Lemon, Ma, Goldman and myself were chatting with 398 readers – not bad considering we only decided to do it about 12 hours in advance! You can read the live chat again here.


Also – I have two luxury suites side-by-side at the Marlies game on Sunday March 21. The game is sold out as it will be on CBC. They play Calgary’s farm team. I have sold most of the tickets for the two boxes, but still have six left – if you live in the Toronto area and want to hang with myself, Russ Miller, Brent Lemon and Notch – while eating wings and talking fantasy hockey – get your ticket now. Just $35 for all that. But it HERE.


Defenseman Jason Garrison had two points last night for the Panthers. He also had three shots on goal, which is pretty impressive considering in his first 19 games this season, he only had six shots on goal total. Garrison did have eight goals and 35 points last year in the AHL, and he may get a shot to play more minutes with the Panthers down the stretch. His ice time last night (12 minutes) was only about 50 seconds higher than his season average, though.


Check out Pick Em First – an awesome fantasy hockey add-on to both Firefox and Internet Explorer (I am a Firefox guy myself). Go to the site and watch the instructional video – it explains it better than I could. There are a lot of gimmicks in the fantasy sports world, but so far so good with this thing for me. Essentially cuts out a ton of time and saves the hassle of having to always switch back and forth between your league page and whatever other web page(s) you are browsing at the time. Works especially well with comprehensive player lists.


One of the more under the radar moves of the past few days – Minnesota re-signing Marek Zidlicky. For whatever reason he is a player that is often forgotten about in fantasy circles. He is on pace for about 50 points and close to 70 PIM. As a defenseman, that is awesome value.  Unless Brent Burns suddenly shakes off the cobwebs, expect Zidlicky to be the man on the blueline for Minnesota’s power play attack.


Ville Leino played his first game as a Flyer last night, and scored a goal. He played less than 10 minutes and I don’t see him having much fantasy significance for this season.


It was interesting for me to check the box score of the Caps game last night. Next to Jeff Schultz (who I own in a few leagues), I am used to seeing 0 (goals), 0 (assists), and a 1 or 2 in the plus-minus column. I have stated before that he is the first player I have ever owned solely for his ability to be a plus player. However, last night Schultz had two helpers and finished the night even. Go figure.


Derek Roy has two points in two games since the Olympic break concluded. Nothing significant, but he was on my list of players to watch down the stretch. Has the ability to get white hot offensively.


John Carlson was pointless last night in over 16 minutes of ice time. He saw none of it with the man advantage.


The Sedins combined for six points and played their best game in a long time. Henrik has apparently been battling back spasms, which helps to explain the recent slump.


David Booth, in addition to the fight, had four points.  For those of you that held on to him, good work. I have dubbed him "Zach Parise-lite" in the past for his ability to create chances using sheer determination and hard work. Booth now has six points in two games since the NHL started back up after the Olympics.


Bryan McCabe had four points as well for Florida, and now has seven in his last five games. He is a good buy low guy for keeper leagues and one year leagues right now, as he should finish well above his current 38 point pace.


Michael Frolik, who has been maddeningly inconsistent offensively this season, scored twice last night. It was his first time(s) lightning the lamp in 17 games. I really like Frolik and think he has monster upside – it may take him another year or two to hit it, though. Florida is a team to watch if they add another puck moving defenseman this summer, as there is some good talent up front just blossoming now.


Interesting stat: “From over 2,000 players selected in the third round and beyond during 1990s, just 261 made it as NHL career players. That’s about 12 percent.”


I want to toss out some kudos to Dobber for excellent fantasy coverage of the trade deadline yesterday. His instant fantasy analysis is one-of-a-kind!


I had a great time in the chat yesterday with about 300 DobberHockey readers and members. Hopefully it is something we can do more often!


Some of my thoughts on the trading yesterday:


What is Edmonton thinking? They traded Visnovsky for a much worse version of himself in Ryan Whitney. Visnovsky is an elite level talent. This trade makes absolutely zero sense. Then again, not much of what GM Steve Tambellini has done this season does.


I really liked the move by Nashville to pick up Dustin Boyd. Boyd was a big time scorer in junior, but in four seasons with Calgary he has never really been given a long look in a scoring role. He is a great skater and plays with a ton of energy, so worst case he develops into a useful and versatile bottom six forward who can win a lot of draws and play on the penalty kill. Best case? A 50-60 point second line center, which coincidentally is exactly what the Predators need.


The D'Agostini for Palushaj is another really interesting deal. On the surface, I'll give the win to St. Louis, as D'Agostini has proven he can play in the NHL. However, Palushaj is a great spark plug of a forward who should become a solid pro. He has had trouble adjusting to the size and speed of the AHL, so expect Montreal to be patient with him. The Blues are pretty deep up front, so I am not sure if this move really benefits D'Agostini all that much.


Jeff Halpern will help the Kings a lot, but they are probably the only team that is deep enough to deal Ted Purcell and a 3rd round pick and not skip a beat. The Kings prospect pool is DEEP, to say the least.


I tweeted this yesterday – I always figured Curtis McElhinney had no trade value. I was wrong – it was negative. Not sure what Darryl Sutter is thinking anymore. Moving out Boyd, trading for Kotalik/Higgins, trading for Staios, and now Toskala…. ouch. The Flames are going to be in cap hell next year with a lot of awful contracts. They essentially swapped Jokinen's expiring $5.25 million out for Kotalik and Staios.


David Booth and Mike Richards have a bit of a tussle. Kudos to Booth for standing up for himself, and kudos to Richards for giving him a shot:


The most interesting trade from a fantasy perspective is far and away Wojtek Wolski for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter. Wolski has proven himself to be a top six NHL forward.  He has the size and skill level to take over games, but the issue with him has always been the effort and willingness to compete. After a strong start with Colorado, he has faded a bit. The fact that he had arbitration rights this summer made the Avalanche more eager to deal him, as he is probably going to look for a deal worth in excess of $4 million per season.


At this point Mueller is a complete wildcard. He could become a point-a-game top line center, or fizzle out of the league in another year or two. He has been getting no ice time under Dave Tippett, so it will be interesting to see if Colorado is willing to give him a bit of a leash to work with right off the bat.


Gary Bettman… I mean Don Maloney… had a very busy deadline this year adding some veteran talent to the Coyotes.


Joe Corvo will probably not play on the first PP unit with the Capitals, as both he and Mike Green are right-handed. However, he will be the second unit quarterback. This move was a bit puzzling to me, as Corvo is a bit of a train wreck in his own zone. Senators fans not-so-affectionately referred to him as "Uh Oh" Corvo.


Do we have any Family Guy fans here? I bet Ryan Kesler's agent, Kurt Overhardt, is sitting on his couch at home and rubbing his hands together, like the giant bug that was setting fire to the buildings of Quahog. "Good…good." Kesler has been so, so good for the Canucks (and Team USA) in every role this season. A 70-80 point center who can log heavy minutes and shut down the opposition is incredibly rare.


For those of you wondering why Boston only got a 4th round pick for Derek Morris, it is because he has a NTC and would only waive it for Phoenix.


I know this may reek of 20/20 hindsight, but I swear I was thinking it earlier yesterday! Philly going all-in with Pronger last summer, only to not add a goalie at the deadline this year is completely foolish in my eyes. Michael Leighton has played well (awful last night), but not adding someone like Roloson or Ellis (maybe they weren't available, who knows), was stupid. This team mortgaged the future to win now, but they are completely hamstringing any cup chances with a liability in net.


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