Sens Rebound From Uber Video, Coaching Changes, plus more…
As you already know, the major news story of the day was the firing of Joel Quenneville as Blackhawks’ coach. Mike has your breakdown of the fantasy impact of the coaching change, which involves AHL coach Jeremy Colliton taking over as the new bench boss. To summarize, Mike makes an interesting observation about how a coaching change could improve the Hawks’ power play, which sits at the bottom of the league.
This news was surprising, not because of the Hawks’ place in the standings (currently outside of a playoff spot in the West) but because Coach Q had built up significant equity with his three Stanley Cup wins. Developing younger players may not have been his strong point, which became more apparent in a younger, faster NHL. But you’d have to think Quenneville will 100 percent get a head coaching job with another team if he wants one. In fact, with this being the second coaching domino to fall in three days, numerous other teams may already be assessing their current coaching situation and wondering if they can make a move on Quenneville.
As what often happens, a coaching change will help a team in the short term more than in the long term. (I believe Steve Laidlaw called this the dead cat bounce.) But the truth is that the Hawks could only survive as a contender for so long if six players are occupying a combined $45 million in cap space and only one of these players is under 29. Just like in LA, I don’t get the feeling that this is going to spark a major turnaround on a team that has underachieved, although we could witness some improvement. Simply put, the Kings and Hawks are both on down cycles after some very successful years, and there isn’t much that can change that course.
From one team with special teams issues to another. You’ve no doubt seen the video by now of the infamous Ottawa Senators Uber ride in Phoenix. And just when you think that this is another off-ice disaster that will further depreciate the Sens’ on-ice performance, they score seven on New Jersey on Tuesday night. This after falling behind 2-0 in the first period in this game. Maybe more organizations will now adopt the “bash the bosses on an Uber ride” model as a form of team bonding from now on. I have to admit, it can feel great to get things off your chest, even though there were a few awkward conversations to be had afterward.
Mark Stone, who was not on the Uber ride, exploded for two goals and three assists with a plus-4 and seven shots on goal. Stone had entered this game with five assists over his previous three games, but he had not scored a goal in his past seven games. So do the math and Stone has ten points over his last four games. There was a reason that more than one of us on this site said that he was undervalued by Yahoo.
I seem to remember one of my leaguemates making fun of my team before the season because I own too many Senators. Well, I had a good laugh about that on Tuesday night because I also happen to own Thomas Chabot and Matt Duchene on this team, and they also contributed with three-point games. Chabot scored a goal and added two assists and a plus-3 on nine (9!) shots on goal, while Stone’s linemate Duchene chipped in with three helpers and a plus-4. You may also remember that both were on the Uber ride.
With his three points, Chabot now leads all defensemen with 20 points in just 15 games. Clifford also noted in the Tuesday Ramblings that Chabot leads the league with 11 secondary assists, which makes him a potential sell-high if you can receive a top-10 or top-15 defenseman in return. That might be something to consider.
By the way, the stat that you really wanted out from this game: The Sens’ power play went 1-for-4, while they killed both Devils’ penalties.
Scary moment for Erik Haula, who left Tuesday’s game in Toronto in the third period on a stretcher.
Lately I’ve been seeing quite a few questions about dropping Pacioretty, which I first brought up a week ago. With no points again on Tuesday, Patches now has just two points (both goals) in 11 games. Somehow I think the law of averages is going to make his statline look a little better, but if I were his owner I’d be running out of patience. And those who ask me questions know that I don’t run out of patience on star players that easily. Simply put, Patches has 39 points over his last 75 games played (both this season and last). If you decide to buy low, buy really low.
So why in the world was Wayne Gretzky trending on my Twitter on Tuesday night?
Shades of Gretzky? You decide. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/VMEOs8GZzJ
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 7, 2018
If you think I’ve been spamming the Ramblings lately with too much Elias Pettersson talk, I apologize. Dekey Pete, or the Alien, or whatever you want to call him, scored his tenth goal of the season on five shots on goal in 22 minutes of icetime on Tuesday. With 16 points in 10 games, Pettersson is running away with the Calder race. The next-highest rookie? Try Colin White, with five goals and nine points (Brett Howden also has nine points). Brady Tkachuk had six points in four games before being injured, so he might have been able to make it a bit more of a race than it is now had he not been injured.
In stopping 40 of 42 Canucks’ shots, Jimmy Howard earned his third consecutive win. (I have no idea why he wasn’t picked as one of the three stars on the Canucks’ telecast.) After a rough start to the season, Howard has posted quality starts in six of his last seven games. He’s posted a 2.41 GAA and .933 SV% since October 18. He might not be an appealing option if you’re checking out the waiver wire, but he’s been getting the job done.
When I saw this goal from Neal Pionk, I assumed it was on 3-on-3. It’s “only” 4-on-4, but still amazing to watch.
Pionk, who has now scored goals in back-to-back games, logged 25 minutes of icetime in this game. He leads all Rangers’ players with just under 23 minutes of icetime per game. Over half a season’s worth of games (41 GP) over this season and last, he has accrued 22 points, which is good for a 0.54 Pts/GP pace. That’s in line with defenders such as Will Butcher, Mark Giordano, Charlie McAvoy, and Rasmus Ristolainen. And Pionk is owned in only 15 percent of Yahoo leagues.
With his ninth goal of the season, Max Domi has now equaled his total from each of the last two seasons. You can’t say that you saw this coming from Domi. He’s also now scored a goal in four consecutive games. Domi might be a sell high because of his recent puck luck (28.1 SH%), and I wouldn’t blame you if you tried. But you can’t deny the effect that a move out of the desert to a hockey hotbed like Montreal has had on his career.
Fresh off his contract announcement, Yanni Gourde scored a goal and added an assist on Tuesday. He’s now scored goals in three consecutive games with a plus-4 over that span. With over a point per game this season (16 points in 15 games), he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Over the past two seasons he’s scoring at a 0.82 Pts/GP pace (80 points in 97 games), which places him in the company of the likes of Logan Couture and Patrik Laine. Tampa’s current second line (Gourde, Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson) is better than that of most teams, so it’s probably time to take Gourde more seriously.
It was a great night for two Blues in particular. Ryan O’Reilly posted a hat trick on five shots on goal, while Robby Fabbri scored his first goal since December 2016. O’Reilly is one of the league’s hottest players at the moment with an eight-game point streak in which he has scored 15 points (7g-8a) over that span. Playing on a line with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz will definitely help, which is where O’Reilly found himself in place of the injured Brayden Schenn. If Schenn remains out of the lineup, then the red-hot O’Reilly’s fantasy value becomes, well, scorching hot. Hey, it’s getting late and I’ve already unpacked lots of adjectives.
The coaching switch in LA had its desired effect, at least in the first game. In Willie Desjardins’ debut, the Kings were able to post a 4-1 victory over the crosstown rival Ducks. (More on the fantasy impact of the Desjardins hiring here). Ilya Kovalchuk led the Kings with a goal and two assists, while Jack Campbell stopped 30 of 31 shots he faced. Kovalchuk now has nine points (3g-6a) over his last four games, with goals in three of his last four games. He could be one of those veterans that Willie D leans on to attempt to turn around the Kings’ season.
Some icetime numbers:
Anze Kopitar: 19:26, down 3.5 minutes from his season average
Dustin Brown: 17:26, down over 4 minutes from his season average
Drew Doughty: 25:16, down just under 2 minutes from his season average
Yes, I do recognize that the Kings only received a grand total of 18 seconds of power-play time in this game. But I’m sticking to my guns in that I believe that Desjardins will spread out the minutes more evenly than John Stevens did, particularly with the forward lines. In the end this may not affect their production if the extra minutes aren’t helping their production. I know what kind of player Kopitar is, but I just can’t see him logging 23 minutes per game in a Willie D system if the fourth liners are providing solid hustle.
Finally, here’s Elliotte’s 31 Thoughts for the week, which includes his thoughts on the Senators and Joel Quenneville, among other things.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.