NHL Hockey Column: Studs & Duds
Stus & Duds : Week Four Recap
Since puck drop, I stated that Pekka Rinne had to stand on his head every single game in order to give the Preds a chance to win, and that if he was successful in doing so, he would be a strong contender for the Norris. After a bumpy start, Rinne has clearly taken the team on his shoulders, while fighting tooth and nail to get the win every single game. He has been hands down the best player on this team, but he can only do so much. The team needs to start helping their MVP before he burns himself out.
Hart of Kane
If you think the Blackhawks will slow down after their 8-0-3 start of the season, think again. Following last night’s shootout loss to Anaheim, Chicago will be at home for the next six games. Disney On Ice took over in January, forcing the Hawks to go on the road, where Patrick Kane may have found his Hart. The 2007 first overall pick is finally making up to Fantasy owners, after long droughts of bad vibes. In the end, 20 points in thirteen games should definitely silence critics and cab drivers alike.
Feel free to add shorthanded quarterback as well as shot taking monster to Erik Karlsson’s growing list of roles. In his last three games played, Karlsson shot 23 pucks on net, resulting in a pair of goals. With Jason Spezza out for a significant amount of time, it is Karlsson who must take on the mantle and provide the necessary offense to win valuable games. Meanwhile, Craig Anderson continues to play lights out hockey. Last night, he added a 42 save shutout to solidify his league leading numbers.
Pink Slip for the Blue Jacket
Scott Howsen has finally been fired as Blue Jackets GM. Too little, too late? Cue the “what took so long?” and “it’s about %$&@ time!” comments. This should come as no surprise to anyone following hockey – one look at his timeline will show you as such. Mismanaged drafts and poor trades ultimately led to the demise of this troubled franchise’s general manager. To be fair, Columbus hasn’t been a hockey hotbed by any means and over paying players has become a norm to field a subpar roster. Hopefully, the history making decision announced today by bringing in Jarmo Kekalainen of Finland will switch things up.
A bad bounce off a referee in overtime secured the win for Shane Doan and the Phoenix Coyotes. It is very unfortunate that games, of any impact, can be decided in such a manner. Should refs have the ability to call the play dead? If their accidental interference obviously dictates the outcome of a big momentum swing or win, I do believe there should be a review or challenge system. Sadly, such a rule would get abused, delay the game further and possibly become a nuisance. Oh well, c’est la vie!
Ryan Smyth and Ryan Whitney were both healthy scratches on Tuesday night. For Smyth, it comes as no surprise, but the latter expressed his frustration about loafing about in the press box. I for one do not blame management. Counting this season, Whitney has missed a sliver under fifty percent of possible games played due to injury. Fantasy wise, the guy should be a poor man’s Andrei Markov 2.0. Though, I would not recommend having a consistently injured asset on your team. Use this potential trade hype to get rid of this headache of a player.
by Eric Daoust
- The Sedin twins are off to a slow start by their standards. Through 12 games Daniel Sedin has three goals and 10 points while Henrik Sedin has no goals and eight assists. These are not poor numbers by any means but after both finished under the point-per-game mark last year you have to wonder if their 100-point days are over.
- Following up on an item from last week, Jaroslav Halak returned from his groin before re-aggravating the ailment before returning to the game. He is back on the shelf for another week. In the meantime, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen will have to hold the fort.
- Cody Franson is turning heads with eight points in 10 games including a plus-7 rating and 24 hits. People have been waiting for him to take the next step offensively after showing signs early in his NHL career. Perhaps he has arrived as a legitimate fantasy asset.
- Jonas Brodin is making his mark in Minnesota and appears to be in the NHL to stay. Through 10 games he only has three points but he has been on the ice for 20 minutes or more in each of the last eight games.
- Roto league stud Brian Boyle has been sitting in the press box for the last three games. His coach John Tortorella feels he has not done enough to stay in the lineup. The Rangers have a deep club with youngsters like Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller pushing for ice time. Keep an eye on this development because Boyle could find himself fighting for ice time for the foreseeable future.
- Jeff Skinner has bounced back from his sophomore slump and has 12 points in 12 games. He recently had seven points during a five-game point streak before being held off the score sheet last night. Many forget that he potted 63 points as a rookie in 2010-11 and is still just 20 years of age. The sky is the limit for Skinner.
- Journeyman goaltender Joey MacDonald has been claimed on waivers by Calgary which is obviously due to the injury suffered by Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames are bone-dry in goaltending depth behind their workhorse so MacDonald has short-term value. Once Kiprusoff returns it is possible that Leland Irving loses his spot on the team.
- Martin Brodeur played his 1200th career game this week which is a remarkable feat considering that netminders do not play every game. Despite his age of 40 he is still very productive with a 6-2-2 record in 10 games to go with a 2.36 GAA and a .908 save percentage.
- Keaton Ellerby was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for a 5th round draft choice. The Kings are suffering from the loss of two excellent shutdown defensemen in Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene. Ellerby will not replace them but he has a great opportunity to provide some relief which means more ice time and opportunities to produce in various categories. He is not much of a point producer but throws a lot of hits and will block shots.
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