Kadri, Crosby, Budaj, plus more…
Leafs and Canucks… where do I start? I promise there will be a fantasy spin to this, although I am going to be awhile on this one.
So in case you missed it, Nazem Kadri laid out a questionable hit on Daniel Sedin, which you can see below. There was actually another hit (Morgan Rielly on Jannik Hansen), which preceded the Kadri hit.
The hit led to a breakout of some old time hockey. Eddie Shore, Toe Blake, and all that. That included Derek Dorsett fighting Leo Komarov and having to be restrained while yelling at Matt Martin on the bench on his way out.
Then the 6’3”, 220 lb. Martin showed some real bravery in tossing the 5’10”, 190 lb. Troy Stecher to the ice, very nearly leading to a goalie fight! Both Ryan Miller and Frederik Andersen were handed game misconducts for leaving the crease with just over five minutes to play.
Martin’s actions led to this comment after the game from Erik Gudbranson after the game.
Matt Martin's dead. Everyone can hear that right now..f'n dead
— Jon Abbott (@HockeyAbbs) November 6, 2016
So yeah, these two teams meet again on December 3 in Van City. So if you’re in a league that counts penalty minutes or even hits, you may want to stock up on players on these two teams.
I’m thinking that Kadri, already a three-time recipient of supplementary discipline, will receive multiple games for that hit. At least I think he should. The hit sure looked like a predatory head shot to me, although I suppose you could defend it if you want to get overly technical and say it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. So given the NHL’s unpredictable history of issuing suspensions, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the NHL justifies the hit being perfectly legal, completely defying its mandate to remove headshots from the game. If I’m a Kadri owner (which I actually am in one league), I’d prepare for a suspension, although there’s the chance he’ll be let off the hook.
Sedin returned to the game shortly after the hit, which surprised me given that the Canucks were still behind two goals and how business picked up after that hit. If you own him, this situation is worth monitoring since Sedin has a concussion history, most notably from a Duncan Keith hit in 2012.
Before the hit, I was planning to be complementary toward Kadri, who picked up his sixth goal of the season two periods before he picked up his 20 minutes in penalties. With his “shadowing” role on the Sedins in this game and on Connor McDavid in a game earlier this week, Kadri has been showing his worth as a valuable two-way forward. But with suspension number four quite possibly on its way, he’s also going to have to rethink the way he plays.
But there was more to this game than the shenanigans. Tyler Bozak scored two goals and added an assist, while James van Riemsdyk added three assists. With all the attention that the rookies have received in TO, veterans Kadri, Bozak, and van Riemsdyk are quietly putting together solid seasons.
Don’t forget that veterans can bring consistency that youngsters can’t always provide. After his scorching four-goal debut, Auston Matthews hasn’t found the back of the net in six games. In fact, Matthews had been held without a point in five games before recording an assist on Saturday.
I went all in on Frederik Andersen in this game against the punchless Canucks’ offense, picking him as my Draft Kings goalie. After posting back-to-back wins in 40+ save efforts, Andersen fell to earth a bit in allowing three goals on 26 shots. But at least this week has restored my confidence in Andersen, as also I own him in a keeper league that counts saves.
From the Canucks’ point of view, it’s no surprise that Ryan Miller had a rough night, considering that the Canucks were missing both of their top two defenders in Alex Edler and Chris Tanev. It’s easy to dump on Miller, but prior to Saturday’s game he had allowed two goals or fewer in four of his five starts this season. He has only one win to show this season because the Canucks had been shut out in three of those games. So up until Saturday, he had at least been doing his part.
One other thing: What if I told you that the Canucks have allowed an average of just 25.1 shots per game, the lowest total in the league? The Canucks have 99 problems, but shot suppression ain’t one of them.
It was Hansen playing alongside the Sedins again, leaving Loui Eriksson with Brandon Sutter and Markus Granlund. Not exactly good times for Eriksson, who is still waiting for his first goal as a Canuck to go with four assists in 11 games. You can probably drop Eriksson in shallow leagues, although I’m simply keeping him on the bench right now. But I’m going to agree with what Don Cherry said in Coach’s Corner – Willie Desjardins has given up too early on Eriksson making it work with the Sedins.
That’s all I got on Toronto and Vancouver. Let’s move on.
So what could the Canadiens do for an encore after that ten-goal disaster on Friday against Columbus? I really don’t understand why Michel Therrien couldn’t have pulled Al Montoya for Carey Price, even just for a period or something. Price stopped 34 of 38 shots in earning a 5-4 win.
The Canadiens might be 10-1-1, but if you look closer there’s a real problem that’s been lingering the last few games. Price faced 38 shots on Saturday. Montoya was hit with 40 shots on Friday. In the two previous games, Price faced 42 and 38 shots. In fact, the Habs have allowed an average of 33.7 shots per game this season, which is the second-highest total in the league. Price is arguably the best goalie in the league, but if I’m a Price owner or a Habs’ fan I’d be worried.
I was almost floored when I read that Michal Neuvirth was making his fourth consecutive start on Saturday, although he had earned wins in his last three starts. But after allowing five goals on 17 shots on Saturday, rest assured he won’t be making a fifth consecutive start on Tuesday against Detroit. In each of his eight games played, Neuvirth has allowed a minimum of two goals. It’s not as though Steve Mason has been a whole lot better, as both goalies are saddled with a goals-against average of over three goals per game. The Flyers’ goaltending situation should be one to avoid right now.
Sidney Crosby currently leads the NHL with eight goals despite playing in just six games. He’s also scored points in each of those six games. Need to know how he’s getting it done? See below.
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) November 6, 2016
Any reports about his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
By the way, Carl Hagelin recorded three assists riding shotgun with Crosby. With just a goal and an assist in 11 games entering this one, he might be one to scoop up if someone gave up on him in your league.
Thanks to a fast start (seven points and a +9 in ten games), Jason Zucker was moved to the Wild’s top line on Saturday with Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal. But that was to no avail, as the Wild were shut out 1-0 by Calvin Pickard and the Avalanche.
Speaking of Pickard, how long is it before he at least forms a timeshare with Semyon Varlamov? Pickard’s numbers (1.67 GAA, .944 SV%) are drastically better than Varlamov’s (3.30 GAA, .891 SV%). Varlamov is confirmed to start Sunday against St. Louis (Goalie Post), but a rough start against the Blues could mean that Jared Bednar gives the nod to Pickard on Tuesday against Arizona.
I don’t like to see this, not just because the Panthers are overwhelmed with injuries but also because I would like to see Jaromir Jagr play as long as possible. But Jagr left Saturday’s game against Washington after the first period with a groin injury. The Panthers’ lines are hard to figure out right now, but it looked like Shane Harper and Colton Sceviour replaced Jagr on his line with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Marchessault. By the way, I listed Sceviour as one of my waiver-wire pickups for Sportsnet this week because of his recent uptick in icetime.
Like the Panthers, the injuries continue to pile on for the Stars’ forwards. Jason Spezza left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury. Since Lindy Ruff mentioned that Spezza will miss some time, plan to be without him for Sunday’s rematch with the Hawks and possibly next week. The Stars are basically a one-line team at the moment, with Patrick Eaves the lucky winner playing alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
Hopefully you’ve remained patient with Derek Stepan, although he had recorded seven assists before Saturday. Stepan scored his first goal of the season and added two assists in the Rangers’ 5-2 win over Boston. Don’t forget that Stepan was the Geek of the Week a few weeks ago. If not for injuries, Stepan should have probably had his first 60-point season by now. I think this is the year, particularly on a Rangers’ team that is really rolling offensively (a league-leading average of over four goals per game).
Peter Budaj will never be Jonathan Quick – that much we know. Yet Budaj has at least resembled Quick in reeling off nine straight starts. And although those starts have shown mixed results, Budaj posted a 24-save shutout of the Flames on Saturday – his first shutout since 2013. With Jonathan Quick not expected back until after the new year, expect Budaj to continue starting for the foreseeable future. He’s still owned in less than half of Yahoo leagues.
Budaj wasn’t the only “turn back the clock” star for the Kings on Saturday. Devin Setoguchi helped break the Kings out of their scoring funk (just three goals scored in the last four games) by scoring his first two goals as a King. His recovery from substance abuse is a nice story, but unless you think it’s still 2009 it’s best not add him. Same goes for linemate Dustin Brown, who added two assists. If only the Kings broke out the purple and yellow jerseys for this one.
Enjoy your Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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