February 18, 2013

Dobber Sports

2013-02-18

The Fantasy Baseball Guide is updated through Saturday. You can pick it up here. And don’t forget that DobberBaseball has content flowing daily now, thanks to seven great new writers added over the past month or so…

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I’m back from my vacation. I didn’t lose money in Vegas, so I guess that’s technically a win. The most devastating thing to happen to me there was finding out about Erik Karlsson. And that’s including the fact that I drove to Buffalo, flight delays cost me missing the connection, and having my flight moved back to Toronto for the next morning. That Karlsson news is devastating. And I don’t even own him. Well, I own him in a one-year league, but I have my heart invested in my three keepers. But it’s devastating because I feel for all you guys. To me, Erik Karlsson is the Sidney Crosby of defensemen. Nobody is close.

I know we said that about Mike Green, and we only got two years out of him. But were it not for injuries, we would be saying the same about Green still. At this point, Karlsson is not a Band-Aid Boy, so his high production will be sustained for years – until I see different.

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So what’s my biggest Fantasy Guide whiff? Alex Ovechkin? Dustin Brown? Gustav Nyquist? I had a lot of hits this year, but I’m not seeing enough chatter about the misses. I guess that means nobody is too surprised? In the case of LA, the team isn’t scoring. I guess the offense only shows up for the postseason?

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Another thing that has jumped out at me after being out of the loop for a week is – goaltenders. Are you kidding me? Viktor Fasth, Petr Mrazek and Jake Allen are suddenly in the mix – and Fasth has continued his surge that he was on before I left.

Mrazek has made Gustavsson irrelevant. Gustavsson gets his chances and has the upside…but gets hurt at the worst times. Happens all the time, careers stall before they even start. Not saying Gustavsson is done for good, but if he doesn’t stay healthy in the final two months I can’t see him getting another NHL contract. Meanwhile, Mrazek is the new Jimmy Howard. In fact, he may be more talented than Howard. But he’s an average goalie behind a strong system and a team with little options besides playing him. He’s not stealing Howard’s job anytime soon…but it could be the start of something along those lines, say a year or two from now. Mrazek stopped 21 of 24 Sunday, taking the loss.

We waited all last year for Brian Elliott to come back to earth. He didn’t. And because he didn’t – he fooled us all. Another example of ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t’. Jaroslav Halak is ready to return anyway – he backed up Allen (who is 3-0-0) last night.

Fasth is now 8-0-0, while Jonas Hiller is 3-2-1.

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I like how patient Boston is being with Chris Bourque. Most coaches give smaller, skilled minor leaguers one or two games and if they don’t have two hat tricks then they’re back to the minors. Sure, Pittsburgh gave him 20 games three years ago when he was there, but that was different – that was with fourth-line ice time and healthy scratches every second game. The Bruins are giving him third-line ice time and they’re not scratching him. The result has been a slow buildup of confidence and thus three points in his last six games. He turned 27 a couple of weeks ago. He’s a long shot, but those make the best stories.

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Jason Zucker played his first game of the season last night and he scored. The Wild are trying to bring the 21-year-old along slowly, but he’s not letting them. Those are my favorite prospects – Cam Atkinson and Cory Conacher are other examples. Zucker has 41 points in 47 games as an AHL rookie. He’s assimilating quickly to the pro game.

Johan Larsson played his first NHL game – two shots, two Hits and a BS in 14:02 of action.

Darcy Kuemper got his first NHL win, and he has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his NHL career now. He and Matt Hackett are great prospects in the Minny pipeline, and it’s so hard to pick which one will be “the guy” in two or three years.

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Interesting to see Gustav Nyquist get one-game stints, while Tomas Tatar sticks. Both are going to be great players, but Tatar is starting to feel comfortable. He had five shots on goal last night in 13:45 TOI. I can only assume that Mike Babcock prefers Tatar’s more aggressive play right now, and he probably gets the nod as more of a sniper than Nyquist. Regardless, you have to respect this team’s patience – 29 other teams would have had both those guys playing by now, as regulars.

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Alexei Ponikarovsky has been bumped up to the first line for New Jersey after they picked him up from Winnipeg for a seventh-round draft pick in 2013 and a fourth-round pick in 2014. He’s seen more ice time in the two New Jersey games than pretty much any other three games in a row with the Jets this season. He has but one goal to show for it. We call that ‘blowing your chance’.

With Dainius Zubrus undergoing wrist surgery and Jacob Josefson being sent down, the Devils recalled Andrei Loktionov. They had him recalled a couple days ago, but the Poni trade forced the team to send him back down. Now they made room for him (via the Josefson demotion). So this will be interesting to watch – I love seeing promising young players on new teams.

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Richard Bachman‘s not doing well under pressure. Not like last year when he was Mr. Cool, calmly stealing Andrew Raycroft‘s job and frankly he outplayed Lehtonen at times. At this rate, he’s not going to Mike Smith or Dan Ellis his way into a starting job with another team…

Meanwhile, the Flames rode Joey McDonald for the win (over Bachman) Sunday. He’s allowed six goals in two games and is 1-1. His numbers are below average – I’m dying to see Danny Taylor get a shot. His game has really come to life at the AHL level. As soon as Kipper went down I saw that Irving was taken, so I snapped up Taylor for cheap. Just as a No.4 goalie I can keep him on my bench for a bit and see what happens. But at this point, Bob Hartley is going with the veteran.

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This logic is interesting, and I’m guilty of it as much as anyone else: Player A is 36 years old. Player B is 26 years old. Player A had more points than Player B two years ago. He had more points last year. He has more points right now. And damn if he won’t get more points next year too before maybe the younger guy tops him. And yet, nobody would trade Player B straight up for Player A. In fact, even when I packaged Player A with a couple of high draft picks in my one keeper league, I was laughed at.

Try and guess Player A and Player B, I’ll stick the answer at the bottom. No cheating.

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Eric Fehr is on fire. He’s doing everything that Wojtek Wolski wished he could have done. A four-game points streak, three goals and three assists in that span, not to mention a plus-5. Hell yes, pick the guy up. I’m surprised that he’s only taken four shots in those games – if he shoots more and stays healthy he’ll have a big year. His 16:12 of ice time yesterday was a season high.

Remember in 2006 when Wolski joined the Avalanche and made a huge splash – six points in nine games and then four in eight in the postseason. I didn’t trust it myself, but I know guys in my leagues who really threw the kitchen sink at Wolski’s owners and they were not giving him up. He was gold, in their eyes. Man, if they only took those kitchen sinks.

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Mike Green missed the game with an LBI. Uh oh. The LBI is to Mike Green as bacon is to eggs…or at least we hoped that stopped being the case after a lengthy lockout and rehab.

And wouldn’t you know it, John Carlson scores with Green out of the lineup. He also had five shots on goal. If Green remains out, we could very well see Carlson start to flourish. Adam Oates is “optimistic” that Green will miss just the one game.

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After three wins in a row, Braden Holtby took the loss despite stopping 38 of 40. He’s finally getting his rhythm. It took two or three weeks.

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Patric Hornqvist should be back in the Nashville lineup for tonight’s game.

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Both Cam Atkinson and Artem Anisimov are inching closer – either one could (key word: could) play tonight.

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Uh oh – Peter Laviolette is going to be fired soon. The Flyers said he’s “not on the hot seat“. The vote of confidence is the kiss of death.

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The Kings think defense will win them another Cup? Not at the expense of offense. Someone show these clowns the F’n net. Here’s a tip – if you’re having trouble scoring, why not see what the kid who has 24 goals in 48 AHL games can do?

Signed, a frustrated Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli owner.

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Ryan Kesler has seen 40 minutes of action in his two games. He has two points but is a minus-3. Still, his return looks a lot more promising than his return did last season.

More importantly though, Kesler’s return has brought back the Sedin twins – Henrik and Daniel have four  and three points respectively in the two games that Ryan has been back. Scoring depth means so much in hockey.

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Ohhhh man. Heartbreaker here. This ruins Gallagher’s nice flow, I cringe when young players disrupt their flow so early (obvious health concerns aside). The rookies are the ones who sometimes have trouble getting their spot back, or regaining that chemistry with linemates. Anyway, Brendan Gallagher‘s concussion happens here:

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A healthy Hemsky is every bit as skilled as the much-hyped kids. If only he can string together 80 games and play them all at full health. Here he is, from Saturday:

 

 

Player A is Elias. Player B is Wheeler


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