Thoughts on Game 7, Round 2, Flames’ Lines, plus more…
Hockey fans are blessed with their first Game 7 of the playoffs this evening (or tomorrow evening, if you’re up late reading this). Considering that the Bruins have generally carried the play in this series – particularly in the first two games – I’m surprised that the Leafs have made it this far. But the nice thing about the playoffs is that every game starts at 0-0. If you’re curious, the Bruins have outscored the Leafs 21-16 in the series.
I still think the Bruins will win this series. But it’s a Game 7, so anything can happen. Especially if you remember the last time these two teams faced each other in a Game 7 (sorry, Toronto fans).
As strong as the Bruins’ top line has been, it has slowed considerably recently.
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have zero points and are a combined minus-16 in the three losses to Leafs in this series. If that continues on Wednesday night they'll be golfing by the weekend
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) April 24, 2018
David Pastrnak has just two assists in his last four games, while Brad Marchand has a single goal and no assists over that span. If you could sell high in a playoff pool, the time between Games 2 and 3 would have been when to do it.
The Leafs’ playoff MVP so far (at least among scorers) has been Mitch Marner. If the Leafs win Game 7, expect him to be a difference-maker.
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 24, 2018
I’m happy to say that I’ve guaranteed a record over .500 in my DobberHockey Expert Panel playoff picks with a record of 5-2 so far. I made the correct call on Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Winnipeg, and San Jose, while missing the mark on Washington and Vegas. Many of the picks by other writers were similar to mine, so I’m thinking that there will be many other writers with a winning record.
I said in an earlier Ramblings that probabilities suggest that at least one of the six 0-2 teams would bounce back to win their series. There happened to be a seventh 0-2 team, which went 0-2 the day after. That team was Washington. If Toronto wins Game 7, there would be a second team that started its series 0-2.
Here are some quick sort-of-random thoughts on the upcoming series we already know, although I may not won’t make my picks here. You’ll see them in the next experts panel article.
This is the one series that everyone can’t wait to watch. In other words, it’s what Washington/Pittsburgh was last season. #1 overall vs. #2 overall. So the team that wins this series could be your Stanley Cup winner. (By the way, does anyone want to see the #1 vs. #16, #2 vs. #15 etc. format return? Would be hell travel-wise but the most fair method).
Since I have Nashville reaching the Cup final, I should pick them to win this series. But then I have Tampa beating Nashville in the final because I think Tampa’s scoring would be the difference in that series. So if Tampa can beat Nashville, then why can’t Winnipeg? Maybe lack of playoff experience? We expected this series from midseason on and I don’t think it will disappoint.
It’s hard to believe that this series has gone from the main event in 2016-17 to the undercard in 2017-18, yet things change. Is this the year Washington finally gets over the hump that is the Pittsburgh Penguins? One day Wile E. Coyote has to catch the Road Runner, and one day Charlie Brown will kick the football. What if this is the year for the Capitals after we’ve finally thrown in the towel on them? Not a single Dobber writer picked Washington to even make the final, while only 5 of 18 writers picked them to even make it past Columbus. Should be another great series, except if you’re a Capitals fan and they lose again.
This is not a series that I would have picked in my right mind. Especially not Vegas. As good as San Jose has been, I have a very hard time betting against Vegas right now. I don’t know how to describe it except that it is some kind of x-factor.
Because of where I live and the time that is the easiest for me to watch hockey, this will probably be the series that I watch the most. Yet I have the least to say about it. With both teams off for over a week, this series could be a little slow in the beginning.
Start dates for each series, just announced on Tuesday:
Pitt v Wash starts Thursday
SJ v Vegas starts Thursday
Wpg v Nash starts Friday
Bos/Tor v TB starts Saturday#StanleyCup
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) April 24, 2018
Regarding the Bill Peters hiring in Cowtown:
Plenty of interesting stuff at the Saddledome today. One thing Peters mentioned was he's more of a pairings guy and not so much a line guy. I expect 23 and 13 to form one such duo, but I'm intrigued to see how he sees the rest of the forward group and if we see some new pairings.
— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) April 23, 2018
This kind of reminds me of 2016-17, when no-name Alex Chiasson was a frequent linemate of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Last season it was Micheal Ferland and it wasn’t even close (88.6% of Ferland’s even-strength minutes were with Gaudreau and Monahan). The new coach in town could be open to many more possibilities, so there’s a chance that this hire hurts Ferland. He led the Flames with 171 hits last season, so he’s an option in leagues that count that category no matter what. If he can stay with Johnny and Sean, then he can easily build on his first 20-goal, 40-point season. But if not, his value takes a hit.
Assuming Mikael Backlund remains as the second-line center, forwards such as Ferland, Matthew Tkachuk, Michael Frolik, and Sam Bennett will be up for possible line redistribution. But as Dobber said in his Fantasy Take, expect a bump in power-play goals for the Flames. There’s more overall talent on Calgary’s first-unit power play than there was in Carolina.
Ethical dilemma: Someone in your fantasy league drops a player that is 99% owned. A short time later, they message the entire league saying they dropped the player by accident. Do you submit a waiver claim?
— Ian Gooding (@Ian_Gooding) April 24, 2018
Thank you for your responses to this question on Twitter and on the Forum. By the way, the responses on the Forum were unanimously in favor (16-0) of not submitting a waiver claim when this happens.
commissioner overide and re-add to team in question every time
— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) April 24, 2018
This would be the most ideal solution. It would ensure that the owner receives the player back quickly and is not forced to wait several days for the player to clear waivers. In one of my leagues I’ve returned players to owners before. Not just in cases where they wanted the player back, but also in instances when they didn’t want the player (the owner wasn’t permitted to drop the player as per league rules).
But what about a situation where league settings do not grant the commissioner that power, or in this case, the commissioner did not say or do anything? In the end I’m glad no one went rogue and added the player. It would have been awkward if someone else added the player and the owner voiced his displeasure as a result. These situations can get ugly. Yes, the commissioner should have responded in some way, but not every league has an uber-responsive commish. I try to be in leagues where I volunteer for that position, although please don’t ask me to process a trade when I’m at work!
A great point that was made throughout: Should there be a statute of limitations? In other words, how long does this owner have before it’s too late? For the record, this owner posted his message within a day of accidentally dropping the player. I think a day or two is fine, although I’m not sure this scenario happens often enough where a league rule is needed. Usually the owner would post the message fairly quickly anyway.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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