February 21, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-02-21

Here it is folks! For the first time in two years, Dobber Sports is having an event in Toronto. It’s going down…TODAY! Tonight at 6pm, actually. At the Sports Centre Café (Yonge/St.Clair). Details here. But come sit down with me, let’s talk some fantasy hockey. Also meet Steve Laidlaw, Michael Amato, Gates Imbeau, possibly Thom Drance, as well as at least a half dozen other writers from these here parts. It’s right on the subway line, come on down (or up) and have a pop with me.

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I’ve felt that the NHL should not – and likely will not – participate in the next Olympics. I felt that the league does not want:

a) To stop the season for two weeks

b) “Showcase” their talent at 6am or whatever ungodly hour the games would be on over here

I won’t get into it too far here, because I already talked it up in the forum. They can have a World Cup in September – with all games on prime time (and that more than makes up for the hype that the Olympics brings) and they won’t have to shut down for two weeks. But with the John Tavares injury (Islanders best player) and the Mats Zuccarello injury (one of the Rangers best players), further case is being made. If this injury happened in mid-September, said player gets two extra weeks to heal before having to return to NHL game action. And if he misses time, it’s early in the campaign.

Garth Snow really went off yesterday on how ridiculous the Olympics arrangement is and how the IOC gets all the money and all the glory, but do not compensate for teams losing best players. He has a point.

I love this tournament, but I wish the NHL didn’t do it. I wish the same tourney were held in September –  The World Cup – and that it was on prime time. It’s incredibly annoying watching games at noon and trying to get work done and picking up my girls from school/daycare either a couple of minutes late…or I miss overtime. And although the latter reason won’t be a reason in 2018, the former reason will still apply. I don’t like stopping NHL hockey for two weeks. I don’t like stopping fantasy hockey for two weeks. And I don’t like only half-watching games because I’m trying to get work done. /rant

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And I promise – above rant was my feeling early this month, last month, last year, always. It has nothing to do with my owning Tavares and Zuccarello in my fantasy league. Honest. Honest?

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John Tavares was all over the forum yesterday – at least 10 threads on trade offers using him or for him, as well as injury chatter and the Garth Snow thing. Here is one trade offer in which I advised the poster (“boneman”) not to give up Tavares for Patrick Kane/Drew Doughty/Alex Pietrangelo. Am I nuts? It’s an example of different league rules warrant different responses. And since his league only keeps six – there is no need to add depth and upgrade the other manager’s best six.

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Alex Tanguay is out for the season. He is to undergo season-ending hip surgery. Which, for Nathan MacKinnon owners, is a good thing as it doesn’t disrupt the flow. He was in the zone prior to the Olympics – so assuming the shutdown doesn’t disrupt that, he doesn’t have to worry about Tanguay messing with his power-play time, etc.

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Detroit finally gets some good newsJohan Franzen should be back when the NHL returns, and Stephen Weiss will be right behind him. Weiss has a lot of making up to do, I’m very curious to see if he’s 100% healthy and can actually be a 60-point player again. He sure didn’t look like it in October/November. Jakub Kindl is also hoping to return (sprained MCL) when play resumes.

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This is concerning but not terrible – Tyler Johnson missed practice with a bruised foot. He has been nursing the injury for a couple of weeks and even played a couple of games with it. I don’t think he’ll miss any time, but hopefully it doesn’t affect his play.

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I don’t think that Tomas Vokoun gets back into the Pittsburgh lineup before the end of March, but he is now medically cleared for activity and is getting close to practicing. I can see him getting into a game just before the playoffs, and maybe a few AHL conditioning games. The Penguins know all too well that they may need him in the postseason. Glean from that what you will…

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Thomas Vanek is taking a lot of heat for “partying too much“. Apparently, he was out until six in the morning getting hammered the night before Austria was eliminated. And so forth…

I’ve never been a huge fan of Vanek. He used to make me eat my words for 20 or 30 games to begin every season, but now I’ve caught onto his game and no longer care if he gets 50 points in 30 games to start the year – because I know he’ll end with 10 in 50 games. I’ve never had him on my team and don’t think I’ve ever made an offer to get him unless I was treating him like a throw-in.

Vanek, along with Raffl and Grabner, apologized to Austrian fans.

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Alex Ovechkin‘s father underwent heart surgery and there is a chance that Ovechkin does not make it back for the first couple of NHL games when the season resumes.

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The Bruins recalled Alexander Khokhlachev and Craig Cunningham – likely just for fill-ins at practice with Krejci, Eriksson and Bergeron are away. For Khokhlachev, it’s his first NHL call up. Here is his fantasy hockey profile and scouting report.

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Ryane Clowe missed practice Thursday with “general soreness“.

“Just general soreness. Pretty natural for the first day back,” DeBoer said. “Nothing I’m worried about. Just not going to take any chances with things. You always deal with these things coming back off a break like we had.”

DeBoer said the Devils are using the same approach to these practices as they did coming out of the NHL lockout last year.

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Jason Zucker had an operation on his leg at the start of the Olympic break and is not yet ready to return. They say it’s “not serious“, but he will miss the first two games at the very least.

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Mike Green (concussion) has been cleared for contact. He should be ready to go next week. And Mikhail Grabovski (ankle) is also skating “well” and “seems fine”. The interesting one is Jack Hillen, who has been unable to stay healthy after having a good second half to last season. Hillen is still limping and I would guess is still some weeks away.

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Viktor Fasth is now “fully ready to go”. After he gets in some AHL starts, if they’re successful (they weren’t last time) then he’ll come up and get some NHL starts, likely pushing Andersen back down. Because it’s the stretch run, Hiller will still get the bulk of the starts. Especially after his Olympics performance.

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It’s starting to look very realistic that Josh Harding does not return again this season. He left the team December 18 for MS treatments and at this point he has not yet returned…and no projected return has been discussed.

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Pekka Rinne practiced with his teammates for the first time since October. The Predators have 23 games left and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Rinne started 18 of them. I think a safe bet is 15.

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Terrible news regarding David Poile. As most of you know, he took a puck to the face a couple of weeks ago and was rushed to hospital with an eye injury. It turns out that he still can’t see out of that eye. Here is an interview from the Tennessean:

 

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