Ramblings: Crosby vs. Seguin, Karlsson’s star status; more

by Dobber Sports on February 7, 2016
  • Hockey Rambling
  • Ramblings: Crosby vs. Seguin, Karlsson’s star status; more
Sidney Crosby - USA Today Sports Images

Sidney Crosby – USA Today Sports Images

Habs win! Karlsson’s awesomeness, Crosby vs. Seguin, and the greatest junior team ever

Apologies for this being posted a little later than normal… and apologies if any bits in here are already outdated… there were issues with the backend system.

The Edmonton/Montreal game seemed like the right game to start Connor McDavid and his linemates Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot against a Montreal team that is the most frigid in the league at the moment. So of course the outcome that you would expect in some other universe occurred, which was a 5-1 win for Montreal.

Tomas Plekanec, the one player I decided to bench on one of my teams, made me look like a fool with a goal and three assists with a +3. If you’re like me, you’ll justify it by saying that he had just one point over his past seven games. But if you’re a Plekanec owner that has been waiting for something to happen since a hot October and November, this is encouraging.

If you were bold enough to start Ben Scrivens on Saturday, congratulations. He was my “reach” pick in my most recent weekly goalies article for Sportsnet. Scrivens made 24 saves in earning his first win of the season, earning him back-to-back starts. By now, it shouldn’t be a huge leap of faith for Michel Therrien to let Scrivens factor into the goaltending situation a little more.

*

Shayne Gostisbehere extended his point streak to seven games thanks to a power-play goal and an assist against the Rangers. Over that stretch he has two goals and eight assists. If the Ghost keeps this current pace, he could flirt with 50 points! I don’t think that will happen, but 40 points is definitely within reach for this fine rookie defenseman. If his NHL season didn’t start in mid-November, I’m wondering if he’d be in the Calder Trophy discussion, with all due respect to Artemi Panarin.

Also for the Flyers: Wayne Simmonds could be looking at some suspension time. He was handed a match penalty and a game misconduct for this punch to Ryan McDonagh.

McDonagh left the game after this incident and might also miss time next week due to injury.

*

With Kyle Turris back in the lineup for Ottawa, here’s how the lines looked:

16.36%

EV

HOFFMAN,MIKERYAN,BOBBYTURRIS,KYLE

16%

EV

PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIELSMITH,ZACKSTONE,MARK

10.91%

EV

CHIASSON,ALEXPRINCE,SHANEZIBANEJAD,MIKA

6.18%

EV

CHIASSON,ALEXDZINGEL,RYANLAZAR,CURTIS

Turris was immediately placed on the top line with Bobby Ryan and Mike Hoffman, although he was held without a point. Yet it was perhaps the least likely beneficiary of these lines (Curtis Lazar) who scored two goals in this game.

Erik Karlsson also did Erik Karlsson things in this game, recording four assists to go with an outstanding +5. So that’s seven helpers for Karlsson this week. Having exceeded 30 minutes per game numerous times this season, Karlsson is averaging just a shade under 29 minutes per game – the highest total in the league. With 59 points in just 53 games, Karlsson is tied for second in league scoring – something a defenseman hasn’t done (I’m guessing) since Paul Coffey smashed the 100-point barrier back in the mid-1980s.

The Senators shot out to a 3-0 lead in the first period of this game, chasing James Reimer out of the net after just eight minutes. It was a terrible first period for the Leafs, who also lost Tyler Bozak after he took a head shot.

*

This was a night for defensemen to shine. Kris Letang scored two goals and added an assist while taking seven shots on goal in the Penguins’ 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers. Points per game wise, Letang isn’t that far behind Karlsson with 38 points in 41 games, including 13 points in 13 games since the new year. I wouldn’t put Letang in the same class as Karlsson, even without the injuries. But we can only dream of what Letang is capable of if he played a full 82 games.

Sidney Crosby scored a goal and added two assists in the same game. He’s right in the middle of the First Star of the Week discussion, having scored five goals and three assists with a +6 in his three games this week. Did you trade him at some point this season? In the Dobber Fantasy Hockey Pool (the box pool), I traded Crosby for Tyler Seguin back in mid-November. Since November 22, which was the start of the second quarter of the season:

Seguin: 32 GP, 17 G, 9 A, 26 PTS

Crosby: 30 GP, 19 G, 19 A, 38 PTS

Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t have made that swap. And if you’re playing in that league too, I hope you didn’t. It happened back when we all thought there might be something wrong with Crosby, or his days of elite scoring were over. Not quite.

I’m glad these are teams of 44 players, since this trade doesn’t hurt my team mightily. At the time of this writing, I sit 23rd overall, so I’ve made a few good picks (Karlsson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Joe Pavelski, all top 10 scorers, come to mind).   

*

Seguin’s slight decline mirrors that of the Stars, who have allowed the Blackhawks to pass them for the Central Division lead. The Hawks extended that lead on Saturday with a 5-1 win over the Stars. Patrick Kane scored his league-leading 32rd goal and 76th point.

But it was Kane’s linemate Artem Anisimov who had the big night, scoring a goal and adding three assists with a +3. With 18 goals and 32 points, Anisimov is on his way toward a career year. Playing on that line with Kane and Artemi Panarin, Anisimov has benefitted far more by the Chicago/Columbus offseason trade than any other player.

Without Jason Spezza, here are the Stars’ lines for Saturday:

16.6%

EV

BENN,JAMIEEAVES,PATRICKSEGUIN,TYLER

14.98%

EV

FAKSA,RADEKFIDDLER,VERNONSCEVIOUR,COLTON

13.36%

EV

EAKIN,CODYHEMSKY,ALESROUSSEL,ANTOINE

11.34%

EV

JANMARK,MATTIASNICHUSHKIN,VALERISHARP,PATRICK

Patrick Sharp could be hurt in Spezza’s absence, as he has been held without a point with a -4 over his last three games and would not have Spezza as a fallback center if he is not on the top unit. Lindy Ruff decided to try Patrick Eaves on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, while Sharp was with Mattias Janmark and Valeri Nichushkin. Janmark stands to gain the most with Spezza out, although he only played 10 minutes with virtually no power-play time in this game.

*

The woes continue for the Wild, who have won just once in their past 11 games. To shake things up, Mike Yeo decided to make both Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker healthy scratches for this game. Although he has scored a relatively decent 14 goals, Vanek has just one assist in his past eight games. Meanwhile, Zucker has just one assist over his past 11 games. With the Wild only able to muster one goal without their second and fourth-leading goal scorers out of the lineup, expect both to be back in the lineup Tuesday against Dallas.

*

Alex Pietrangelo left Saturday’s game with a right knee injury. Consider him day-to-day (CBS Sports).

*

Filip Forsberg scored a goal and added two assists in the Predators’ 6-2 win over San Jose. The points were Forsberg’s first in five games. Someone on the Forum recently asked whether he is a good buy-low candidate. Yes, of course he is. But maybe not over the likes of Jack Eichel or even Tyler Toffoli.

From that Predators/Sharks game, both Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were a -4. Ouch. Prior to that game, the quietly productive Vlasic was a +8 since January 18.

*

Yannick Weber cleared waivers and is being sent to the AHL. I’m surprised no one picked him up with his cap-friendly deal and his ability to produce on the power play. But after scoring 11 goals last season, he hasn’t hit the twine yet this season. If he doesn’t score, then he unfortunately won’t hold much value to a team in real life or in fantasy.

Scary incident on Saturday for Malcolm Subban, who was hit in the throat by a puck. Hopefully the Bruins’ goalie prospect and brother of PK and Jordan is okay.

*

In his first start in over a month, Michael Hutchinson stopped 32 of 34 shots he faced in the Jets’ 4-2 win over Colorado. Connor Hellebuyck has struggled recently (at least three goals allowed in four of his last five starts) and may be tiring. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a little more of Hutchinson over the month of February. In fact, with Ondrej Pavelec possibly returning in “days”, it wouldn’t be a total shocker if Hellebuyck is sent back to the AHL. Hellboy has played well enough overall to stick around, but coaches generally don’t like three-headed monsters.

*

I own both Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller on one of my teams. So as a Canucks’ fan, I decided to start Hiller over Miller to hedge my potential disappointment. Sure enough, Hiller stopped 34 of 35 shots to lead the Flames to a 4-1 win. But if you started Hiller, you were spoiled of a shutout with a minute and a half left to play thanks to Emerson Etem’s first goal not only as a Canuck, but of the season.

*

Finally, Saturday was Hockey Day in Canada, a day in which your favorite Canadian team that won’t make the playoffs was playing, just like every other Canadian team that won’t make the playoffs. Did I mention that every Canadian team is currently under the playoff bar? In fact, the four Canadian teams in the Western Conference all hold the bottom four seeds. If one Canadian team sneaks the playoffs, perhaps the entire country will back that underdog like it’s their own.

I’ll end today’s Ramblings with something personal and not fantasy-hockey related. This year’s Hockey Day in Canada was based in Kamloops, British Columbia, a small city that I am very familiar with. About to turn 19 years of age (yay, drinking age in BC!), I moved to Kamloops to attend university at University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University).

At that time, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers were at the pinnacle of their success, which included three Memorial Cup championships during the 1990s. Those teams included current NHL mainstays such as Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan, along with the now-retired Scott Niedermayer and Mark Recchi. I will honestly say that I don’t think there has been a CHL team since that time that was as powerful as those Blazers teams. They were easily the toughest ticket in town for a city of around 80,000.

After the Blazers’ run, I graduated from university while meeting numerous lifelong friends along the way. I eventually moved away from Kamloops after university but returned several years later for work. After moving back to Kamloops, I ended up buying a house, getting married, and then leaving again for the much larger greater Vancouver area. Although I haven’t been back to Kamloops in several years, I had many great memories there, so I’m glad that it was recognized as the great hockey city that it is.

 

Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday! Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.