Ramblings: And so…another NHL season ends

by Dobber on April 11, 2016

Rambling about joining my free pool, saying goodbye to Datsyuk, the "magic spray" that heals all, and more…

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That closes the book on another NHL season, DobberHockey’s 11th in existence and my ninth since making this a full-time job.

The DobberHockey pool is over and congratulations to Dodospice for winning the $500 prize from DraftKings (half in credit, half in cash). The standings aren’t official yet, I’ll announce them as official later in the week. But I think with a six point lead over Belle Vegas Bruisers the lead is pretty safe. Odds are the NHL won’t be adjusting his players downwards six points! And Belle Vegas Bruisers has second place wrapped up, so they get a signed stick by Bernie Nicholls courtesy of All-Sports Market. Again, a seven-point lead is probably not going to change. Third, fourth and fifth also have pretty big gaps (those are for the free jerseys from Cool Hockey), but I’ll wait on making the rest official. Again, please think of these great sponsors whenever you consider a product that they provide – Cool Hockey for jerseys, DraftKings if you’re going to play daily fantasy. And take a moment to see a pretty cool app that mimics the real-world stock market by selling stocks of all pro teams from all sports at All-Sports Market.

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Next announcement – my Interactive Playoff Draft List. My obsessive-compulsive disorder of course saw to it that I updated this list seven times over the weekend. So don’t worry – whatever version you downloaded last will be as updated as possible. I’m talking injuries, my own picks, etc. I even updated the version of Excel. Apparently the 2003 version was getting flagged by 2010 users. So I changed the version to “macro-enabled” and the flag no longer appears. I hope everyone is good now. If you’re a Mac user, the buttons won’t work. But the buttons are just an easy/fancy sorting thing. You can still sort manually (click “instructions” to see how to do that).

Fantrax is giving you $10 to register an account with them (new accounts only) if you buy my list. This is the best pool manager out there, I use it myself in three leagues (two hockey, one baseball).

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The season is over, which means it’s time to recap how I did. I did horrible. Everywhere. Just a disgusting year for me. The first half was an absolute train wreck. The second half was actually very, very good. But the end result is – the first half’s horribleness (a new word?) out-weighed the second half’s goodness. I finished third in the league I run (I think that’s just winning my money back), I finished third in the Forecaster league, and I finished a dismal sixth in my 27-year league. Though admittedly in the latter league I traded down since I didn’t have a shot at first at the deadline I chose to improve my future instead. How did you do?

In the aforementioned DobberHockey pool I finished, ugh, 857th. Though three weeks ago I was 1050th so it was interesting that so much ground could be made up so quickly. Still embarrassing though, but I knew I was out back in November. And finally – Bodog. I had my worst performance in over/under that I’ve ever had. I was right nine times and wrong eight times, putting me barely above even. Usually, my picks are closer to a 12-6 spread.

Ugly all around. But the second half was promising enough that I have my full confidence back. I feel like I was right all along with a lot of these guys, but ridiculous starts from Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Tampa Bay really skewed the numbers to the point where they couldn’t fully recover. Odds are it won’t happen again! No, really…

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I do have one more announcement but I’ll get to the Ramblings first rather than have a million announcements all at once…

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A lot of magical injuries this weekend. And even more miraculous recoveries later in the week. The Sunday game between the Ducks and the Capitals may as well have been played in September. A scrimmage, really. The Ducks had Kesler and Gibson “unable” to play, joining the handful of players who were actually hurt. The Caps had Ovechkin, Backstrom and Carlson “unable” to play. This is all nothing that a bit of magic spray can’t fix.

In fact, here is a list of injuries that I think will actually cost some games. This is my best crack at a complete list, any other injury you see will have that player recovered enough to play in Game 1. So while other players may worry you a little, these are the ones who will actually miss time in my opinion. And I’m a doctor*. Dr. Dobber.

(*not really a doctor)

David Perron – He should be out first round with a shoulder injury, but my gut tells me he’ll be back by Game 3. Especially if the Ducks lose one of the first two.

Tyler Seguin – He once said he can’t see himself missing Game 1. I can’t either. But to be safe I’ll assume Game 3 for his return.

Jaroslav Halak – I think he’ll be ready for Game 1, but I also think the Isles may go with Thomas Greiss in Game 1 against the Panthers before going to Greiss after a (almost certain) loss.

Marian Gaborik – Is a threat to miss a couple of games with a knee injury, but I think a little magic spray will fix him right up and he’ll be out there in Game 1.

Mikhail Grabovski – His concussion isn’t recovering well. He’s stopped skating. And I think he may miss a lot more time…

Tyler Johnson – While Johnson may be back in time for Game 1, he has been injured so much over the past year that I don’t trust him to play more than 80% of any games. Yes, he’s great in terms of playing through injury. He’s a warrior that way. But he does still miss time and I fully expect him to.

Vincent Trocheck – He’ll come back early from his foot fracture, but not Game 1 early. Maybe Game 4 or 5.

Matt Nieto – A broken knuckle is a weird injury. I am not familiar with the timeline here so to be safe I will assume mid-first round.

Travis Hamonic – He’s back skating (LBI), but will probably still miss the first two or three games.

Ryan McDonagh – He will be back early. You know this. It’s McDonagh. But I think a first-round appearance is almost impossible. Second round.

Evgeni Malkin – They said “mid-May” but I hear rumblings that he’s coming back early from his mysterious injury (UBI). I think he’s back in time to start the second round, which I think the Penguins will get to.

Steven Stamkos – The blood clot is a serious one. Tough to come back early from that one. If the Lightning go to the Final, then maybe…

Anton Stralman – Broken leg, out at least two rounds. At best we’re talking middle of third round.

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Just in case you didn’t find the Anaheim goaltending situation curious enough…Frederik Andersen started the last game of the season and got a shutout. So here are the final numbers:

Andersen: 22-9-7, 2.30, 0.919, 3 SO

J. Gibson:  21-13-4, 2.07, 0.920, 4 SO

And here are the numbers since March 1:

Andersen: 6-1-1, 2.43, 0.915, 2 SO

J. Gibson: 6-5-2, 2.01, 0.926, 0 SO

What do you think? I’m guessing Gibson gets the nod with a short leash. Or perhaps the two have been going every other game for a reason. And they understand that this will continue throughout the playoffs…

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Brian Murray has stepped down as GM of the Senators. Pierre Dorion was named as his successor. Murray is battling colon cancer, but according to TSN the battle didn’t play a role in his decision. He’s 73 years old (I could never work that long…I hope), so I’m sure he wants to enjoy life with more freedom. All the best to him.

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With a goal on Sunday, Shayne Gostisbehere finishes 17th in scoring amongst defensemen and sixth in goals. He finishes fifth in rookie scoring. I get a vote on the Calder and he’ll absolutely be on my ballot somewhere.

Artemi Panarin finishes with 13 points in five games to get to 77 points on the season. Ninth in overall scoring.

We know that Patrick Kane wins the Art Ross, and Alex Ovechkin wins the Rocket Richard…

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In the Isles – Flyers game Sunday, the mysterious injury list included Giroux, Couturier, Mason, Simmonds, Streit, Boychuk, Leddy, Nielsen, Okposo and Tavares. Thanks for giving your fans their money’s worth guys!

How many pools and bets were lost because of these players getting the extra rest? The Isles made a statement here. Had they won, they would have played the Penguins in the first round. But they lost. Or rather –their AHL-filled team lost. So they play the Panthers. It’s a slap in the face to the Panthers and they should take it as such. I’d be firing up the team over this if I was Gerard Gallant.

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I really like the Rangers and Islanders. A lot. I like the teams that have been put together. I have little confidence in the Rangers in the first round. Penguins are too hot, Rangers seem to be flailing (3-3-1) and have McDonagh out.

The Isles didn’t seem to have any point this season where they dominated. But maybe that’s a good thing. After all, they were 6-2-1 down the stretch, with one of those losses being a throw-away that they didn’t try to win. And three of those wins were in OT or SO, meaning they pulled it off when it was all on the line. They ground out their wins. Give me the Penguins and the Islanders. I do like Florida, but the Isles seem to have a plan.

Toughest series for me to call – St. Louis over Chicago. Man that’s tough. If I change my mind and go with the Blackhawks, it will only be because betting against them is stupid…

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Some big Detroit news – they sent Anthony Mantha down to Grand Rapids. Not unexpected, as he had been fading down the lineup and into the press box. He won’t make the team next year either, but may be up and down quite a bit.

Some bigger Detroit news – Pavel Datsyuk will return to Russia after the playoffs. “I think I am done playing in NHL.” WOW. Apparently it took convincing to get him to play one more season. He really wants to go home to his family. Some keeper league owners are losing a player for nothing. Reading that article, it’s enough for me – I think he’s really done. And at his age, he won’t be back in four years like a Kovalchuk or Radulov.

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Join two things for me:

1. The NHL.com bracket – I created a DobberHockey league so we can show the world that DobberHockey readers are better at projecting than any other group of readers! – LINK IS HERE

2. DobberHockey of course has a free playoff pool for you to join. This time I’m hosting it myself – on Dobbernomics! That’s right, Dobbernomics Beta 2.0 is ready. Our final Beta. Things are mostly as we want it now and at this point it’s just nitpicking and tweaks. Full launch will be in September. There is only one division for this Beta – the main one. Join here. Pick your team, swap players in and out throughout the playoffs. I’m looking for 200 of you to join and try this. Give feedback. The winner of this league, provided 200 people join, will get $100 from me. And the team worth the highest amount (with a legal roster throughout) will get $50 from me.

Dobbernomics is a buy low/sell high game. You not only have to accrue points to win your league, but you start with a $50 million salary and you sell players when their value rises (this happens if a lot of other people “buy” that player) and buy players when their value dips (which happens after a lot of people sell). You balance performance with value. Tons of fun. Join my playoff pool here. Just one team per user name, you can login via DobberHockey