February 7, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-02-07

Only two more days of NHL hockey before the Olympics. Make sure you get your fantasy hockey fix by signing up for our free Olympic hockey pool. It's free to enter with prizes for the top three finishers. Did I mention that it's free to enter? I think I mentioned that.

 

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Dobber here with an update: Val Filppula is out for approximately six weeks with a broken ankle, possibly longer. Tough break (sorry, pun wasn’t intended) for Filppula, the Lightning and Team Finland. This will ensure that Tyler Johnson continues with his strong rookie season even after Steven Stamkos comes back (which I’m guessing would be early March).

 

More bad news per the Pittsburgh Penguins – Kris Letang suffered a stroke last week. He has a small hole in his heart and is on blood thinners. He is out for at least six weeks, but I think you can safely count him out until the playoffs at best. Right now he’s obviously just focusing on living. Hockey is second. Steve Laidlaw will take a closer look at this and analyze the situation later today, so watch for that.

 

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The Chicago Blackhawks sure are making use of the ability to retain salary, or rather, the ability of other teams to retain salary. They went out and picked up Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the Islanders in exchange for a fourth round pick, which is essentially nothing. They also got the Islanders to retain half the salary of Regin and Bouchard, although what that amounts to with over half the season already complete is beyond me.

 

Regardless, this is some intriguing depth for the Blackhawks. Bouchard is reporting straight to the Blackhawks' farm team but may receive a late call-up. I don't see him having much of an impact without some serious injuries though. He couldn't even crack the Islanders' bleak lineup so that tells you how much he still has left to offer.

 

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In a battle of two struggling teams the Montreal Canadiens took it to the Vancouver Canucks.

 

The Olympic break can't come soon enough for the Canucks. They've now dropped five straight and are just 4-11-3 in their last 18. If they even squeeze out some .500 play over those games they'd be sitting pretty in third place in the Pacific. Instead they are clinging to the last wild card slot with three teams nipping at their heels. I think the Canucks still make it in but it won't be pretty.

 

The good news is, the team probably gets healthy over the break. Henrik Sedin will be sitting out and his return will be huge for the Canucks and fantasy owners alike. Of course, a good portion of their core is still going to the Olympics so there is some risk of further injury, particularly for someone who plays as recklessly as Ryan Kesler.

 

Remember Kesler at the Vancouver Olympics? He was more pinball than hockey player. I'd put it at even odds he gets hurt.

 

Still, I like the Canucks' odds over the final third/quarter of the season, which is why I'd use the Olympics as an opportunity to buy low on Roberto Luongo. His numbers have naturally taken a hit because of the Canucks' struggles but they still sit at impressive levels. His owner in your league might be panicked though and could be even more so if Luongo (heaven forbid) were to lay an egg or two for Canada. Food for thought.

 

Does it count as revenge if you score a point against your former team but your new team loses the game? No, right? I guess, Raphael Diaz's power play assist won't go down as revenge but it counts all the same for poolies.

 

Diaz has scored in both games with the Canucks and is gobbling up top unit power play time. This could be gre