Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays in Hockey Land

Hopefully everyone is enjoying a happy and healthy holiday with friends and loved ones. The NHL takes off for a few days but there have been some games since my last update, so let's take a look at them before leaving out the milk and cookies for Santa.

Antero Niittymaki - Didn't exactly have his best game of the season VS the Sens but did get the win. I'd except Biron to start seeing at least half of the starts soon, and in the long run back to the 60/40 or so split that they had last season. As I've said before though, I like Niitty in deep leagues and would still have no problem owning him while he's backing up Biron.

Tim Thomas - Although inexplicably announced Manny Fernandez as the Bruins' starting goaltender in some newsbit recently, Thomas showed again last night why he's still one of the best goalies in the NHL. While I like Fernandez a lot this season too and could see the two of them sharing a lot of the playing time, but Thomas is never going to be the clear "back up" so it's really nothing to worry about.

Tomas Vokoun - Back to back shutouts, neither against offensive juggernauts in the Predators and Avs, but still, holy crap. What are they feeding the goalies in Florida? He's available in 30% of Yahoo leagues, probably because of the Anderson fiasco. If you're lucky enough to be in a league where he's available, obviously pick him up.

Blake Wheeler - Didn't do much in the last Bruins game, but the game before netted 2 goals, one shorthanded. He isn't getting much powerplay time but his staggering plus NINETEEN makes it easy to look past that. Well worth owning in most leagues.

Rod Brind'Amour - On the other end of the plus/minus spectrum we have Brindy's improbable -23 so far this season. Rod is one of the best two way forwards of his generation so I have to think a lot of this is bad luck and it has to turn around for him eventually. He is coming off a 6 game point scoring streak and a good game last night with a goal and an assist. He's beeen dropped in a lot of leagues, not surprisingly, and will probably end up producing at a nice pace for the rest of the season.

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Another name for the "Owned In Way Too Few Leagues" club, Ponikarovsky has been quietly and consistently on pace for a career season.

Bryan Little - Had his first really good game in a while last night, posting 2 G, 1 PPP, and 4 SOG. He's cooled off significantly in the past month or so, but he has the talent to heat up again soon. Keep an eye on him.

Jon Quick - Enjoyed his first career shutout over the Blue Jackets. Quick has played slightly better in the AHL this season than Kings top prospect Jonathan Bernier, so it's not that surprising he got the call up while Ersberg is injured. I'd be surprised if he stayed up after Ersberg returns, but for the time being he might be good for some spot starts.

Patrik Berglund - Surprisingly only owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues, with Brassard's injury Berglund is now my top pick for the Calder trophy along with Drew Doughty. He has been scoring consistently for two straight months, and while the Blues have struggled he's still a +10.

Marion Gaborik - Will miss the next two games after the break. Is it to rest his groin? Will he be traded? Will you ever draft him again?

Mark Giordano - I've had my eye on this young defenseman all season. He came up and played very well for the Flames last year and hasn't been too bad this time around either. He was 1st star of the game in a nice win over the Ducks last night in a close 4-3 game. His stats for the season aren't very impressive, but his stats last night would have looked good for you, with 1 G, 1 A, +2, 1 PPP, 2 SOG. In very deep leagues, he's worth a look if you're weak at defense.

Mats Sundin - Can't get to Vancouver fast enough for Canucks fans this holiday. A healthy Roberto Luongo is also at the tops of their wish lists considering prospect Cory Schneider hasn't looked all that impressive in his time in the NHL. But hey, if you're going to get blown out by someone in the NHL, it's not too embarassing for it to be the Sharks. At least they didn't let up something like 8 goals to the Dallas Stars. Happy holidays Toronto fans!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Slowing down for a bit

Just a heads up, I'm home for the holidays and am going to be pretty busy from now until about Jan 4th. As such updates are going to be less frequent, probably more like every other day. Hope everyone has a good holiday and Santa brings you fantasy hockey greatness.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gonna Fly Now

The Philadelphia Flyers, much like the Calgary Flames, are a team I see building momentum all season. Neither team had a great start but both now find themselves in the top 4 in their conference. The Flyers have been particularly hot as of late, with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games (not counting the game going on right now against the Devils). They are a team with a ton of scoring depth, and as such I can see some people wondering just how valuable anyone on their team not named Richards, Carter or Gagne is. Joffrey Lupul? Scott Hartnell? Mike Knuble? How important can these guys REALLY be to your team? Hell, they're playing this well without Danny Briere, should I even bother holding onto him through his injury? What does that mean for those other guys when he comes back? The answer to all these questions is YES. Doesn't make any sense? Too bad. The Flyers are a high scoring team and everyone will get their chances. Coach John Stevens mixes and matches his lines, and rolls them often enough that everyone sees as much time as they need sooner or later. Last season they had 6 players with 20+ goals, this season they already have 6 in double digits not even halfway through. And I think if Briere comes back healthy they'll have 7 players break 20 goals this time around. Don't worry about how they'll all get enough ice time, just pick them up and play them. You'll be happy you did.

Scott Hartnell - Remember what I said earlier in the week about when he gets hot? I'd say scoring a hat trick in 12 minutes is pretty hot. Hartnell will probably hit a dry spell again soon but as long as he's clicking on Jeff Carter's line like this, grab a hold of his lion's mane and ride him as far as you can.

Joffrey Lupul - Lupul is maybe the most maddening of the top Flyers' fowards, because he has the talent to break 30 goals easily, but tends to vanish for two or three game stretches. Still, his offensive bursts like last night make patience a virtue with Joffrey. I recommend owning him in all leagues.

Antero Niittymaaki - He's been filling in for Martin Biron as he recovers from a nasty flu, and has played very well despite giving up 5 goals to the Canadiens earlier in the week. Niitty probably won't be the starting goalie for any long stretches in Philly this season, but he is as talented a back up as there is in the NHL, and like I've said before I like him as a 3rd or 4th goalie in deep leagues. In other leagues you'll probably want to wait and see how Biron does in his first start back before considering Niitty.

Manny Fernandez - Shockingly still available in 50% of Yahoo leagues, Fernandez continues to play extremely well. While the best case scenario for him in Boston is the current situation, platooning with Thomas, splitting time in net for the Bruins isn't a bad gig by any means.

Sergei Kostitsyn - 2 goals last night, a goal the game before, and 9 SOG combined between the two. Has been very, very quiet this season. Deafly quiet. There have been mice at the Bell Centre making more noise this season than Sergei. But if he gets hot, keep your eye on him.

Pavel Kubina - In between practices with his 80s glam rock band he's starting with Mike Smith and Dazzler, Kubina has put together two straight 2 point games. Not available in a ton of leagues but he's out there in some, and if you need help at D he's a very good option.

Todd White - Had a goal in a rare home win for the Thrashers. He continues to produce at a boringly oconsistent enough pace to be relevant.

Loui Eriksson - 18 goals on the season and only 32% owned. I didn't expect this kind of production out of Eriksson but even I think that's just silly. Also take into consideration he's playing on a line with Brad Richards who's heating up a bit lately.

Pekka Rinne - While shutting out the Islanders is no great accomplisment, Rinne being owned in only 15% of leagues is even more of a joke than Eriksson. Considering the amount of goalies splitting time in the NHL this season, even if Ellis is getting more starts, Rinne is very worthwhile in most fantasy leagues.

Manny Legace - A solid win over the Wild in his first game back. If I toot Manny's horn any harder I'm going to have to start a Manny Legace tribute band. Don't let his unfortunate season so far fool you, Legace can tend goal, and tend it well.

Ilya Bryzgalov - Rewarding patient GMs who stood by his struggles with excellent play as of late. Goalie is a fickle position, where good players will look very bad for stretches. But the good ones bounce back, and Bryz is one of the good ones. I wouldn't worry about him (past my general worries about the Coyotes) for the rest of the season.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Day Wrap Up

My apologies for not getting anything up yesterday, but to make up for it here's a video of Sydney Crosby punching a guy in the taint.

Patrice Bergeron - This happened in the game today, but I thought I should mention it right off the bat. Patrice left the game after a blow to the head. He's been playing more of a defensive role this season and has had some sort of nagging hand or arm injury. Basically he wasn't producing much and now the concussion worries are back. I'd drop him in all but keeper leagues.

Matt D'Agostini
- Looks like this kid is the real deal, with 5 goals in 9 games. He's not seeing a ton of ice time and hasn't registered a powerplay point yet (although I think he's seen some time on the 2nd unit), but on the plus side he is averaging better than 3 SOG/game. I've been hesitant to talk him up but I think it's safe to say he's worth a move.

Ryan Whitney - Very close to returning from injury. If you're in a league where someone doesn't have him stashed on the IR, make your move now. This will also take away from Goligoski's value for all of you that own the dopey looking wunderkind.

Ruslan Fedetenko - Points in five straight games. They have to find some wingers to play next to the centers in Pittsburgh, and as I've said before, Rusty actually has a little talent and could click on a line in a big way.

Simeon Varlamov - Was sent back down to the AHL after another impressive win. Today Brent Johnson gives up 3 goals and Jose Theodore 4. You do the math. Sooner or later Varlamov will be the starting goalie in Washington, and with a team with a young nucleus like the Caps, Varlamov is a goalie I'd want to own in any keeper league.

Manny Legace - And for the GM looking for goalie help in the immediate future, we have Emanuel Legace. He's available on FA in over 50% of Yahoo leagues now and is just about to come off the IR. Legace's had injury problems this season and the Blues have had their struggles, but make no mistake he's still a good goalie that can help you in any league.

David Krejci - Notched his first career hat trick Thursday night. Officially on the "Should Not Be Available In Any Leagues" list.

Tuomo Ruutu - I kind of hate the dude, but holy shit look at his profile picture on Yahoo.

Paul Stastny - Apparently read my post on Monday about how he's due to score more goals, and has one in three straight games since. It's cool being right on a prediction like that, but it also kind of sucks because there's no chance you're buying low on him now.

Johan Franzen - On the other hand, Johan Franzen scored his 14th goal of the season and thinks I'm a bold faced liar. Strong words, Johan.

Derick Brassard - In 4 minutes of ice time he scored his 10th goal of the season, was in his first NHL fight VS Jame Neal, and went down with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for a month. Busy guy. We appreciate that you'll drop the gloves Derick, but if it leaves you looking like this, stick to going after the Calder Trophy when you get back.

RJ Umberger - 1 G, 2 A, +2, 2 SOG in the same game. I know I just wrote Umby off a little while ago, but he has goals in back to back games. If Brassard goes on the IR and you're looking for someone to replace him, I'd be happy with Reginald Julius Umberger.

Pascal Leclaire - Finally gets a chance to start a game and make a case for himself in the goalie battle with Steve Mason. Proceeds to let in 5 goals on 17 shots against the Dallas Stars. Team battles to take the game to a shootout, which Leclaire loses. Ouch.

Kyle Turris - Had his first mutligoal game of his career Thursday night. Turris has been a very small blip on my radar all season, but there hasn't been much to talk about. Maybe things will start to pick up for the kid.

Drew Stafford - 1 G, 1 A, +2, 1 PPP in a dominating win against the Kings. Stafford is another guy I'm looking at if/when Brassard goes on the IR.

Joey MacDonald - Looks like he's a few weeks away from outliving his fantasy hockey usefulness. If you have Joey Mac it's time to start looking at other options for your goaltending. On the plus side it doesn't sound like Roberto Luongo will be back anytime soon, so look to Sanford and Schneider for your fill in needs.

Rene Bourque - 1 G, 1 A, +1, 5 SOG, 2 PIM in a tough loss to the Blackhawks. I've been talking up Bourque for deep leagues all season, but it's just about time to upgrade that to all leagues.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stay Classy, Vancouver

Very nice move by the Vancouver Canucks to retire Trevor Linden's number last night. Although he hasn't been retired that long, there's no doubt that Linden will go down as one of, if not THE greatest Canuck of all time. He was a favorite player of mine growing up, and as such I thought I'd put up this video they played at the ceremony. Typical schmaltzy tribute song aside, it's a nice send off.

Steve Mason
- Absolutely steals a game from the Sharks, stopping 47 of 48 shots, and still isn't even owned in 60% of Yahoo leagues. I just don't get it. Unless 40% of GMs are inactive. Which, knowing Yahoo fantasy sports, isn't too hard to believe.

Travis Zajac - 1 G, +1, 3 SOG last night. Zajac isn't going to set your world on fire but he continues to consistently produce. He sees almost no powerplay time but at only 11% owned he's probably available in some leagues deep enough where he could be useful.

Drew Stafford - The former 1st round pick has points in 4 straight games. He's been playing next to Derek Roy for a while who's no slouch. If he stays hot he's a RW worth a look.

Andrew Brunette - Netted his 10th goal of the season last night and now that Gaborik's back they have Brunette on a line with him centered by Mikko Koivu. I like the odds for his production to increase dramatically in the near future.

Patrick O'Sullivan - Points in six straight games now, with 8 SOG to go along with his 8th goal of the season last night. With the way Patty O's played of late I would not leave him available in any leagues. He's shooting too much, putting up too many points, and has been a nice boost at plus/minus to boot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rolling out the Welcome Mats

So the latest news on Mats Sundin is that his agent says he'll "make a decision between the Rangers and Canucks by the end of the week." It's curious that he specifies between those two options, as if Sundin retiring is out of the question. I may have missed somewhere along the way where Mats announced that, but my gut feeling on the situation is that he's just as likely to hang up the skates as he is to play for the Canucks or Rangers. But what's it all mean to you? Unless you're in a very deep league, I wouldn't have recommended holding Sundin as dead weight on your roster this whole time (as many have). But if you're in the 55% of leagues where he's available, by all means drop your 4th defenseman and pick him up just to see what happens. Worst case scenario, you lose your 4th D and probably pick up someone comparable. Best case scenario, you get a PPG and pentiful powerplay points and SOG from Sundin on his new team. Make no mistake that if Sundin does return, he'll be coming back to play, and the guy is the model of consistency. I just wouldn't count on it too hard.

Danny Briere - Finally received IR eligibility in Yahoo leagues. If you're lucky enough to be in a league where he was dropped, pick him up and stash him. I don't expect his recovery from the groin strain to be easy, but he could be a big contributor to your fantasy playoffs.

Erik Ersberg - Out at least 2 weeks with a groin strain. Unless LaBarbera plays exceptionally while he's out, I still like Ersberg when he comes back. The MRI results came back negative and the strain sounds relatively minor. In the meantime though, if you own him you should probably drop him for another goalie.

Richard Park - 1 G, 2 A, +1, 1 PPP, 4 SOG last night in a narrow loss to the Caps. The NHL's resident Korean is putting together a respectable season, and at the shallow RW position he's worth consideration in very deep leagues.

Scott Hartnell - An assist, +1, and a fight. He also could (and supposedly did) make claim that Joffrey Lupul's goal deflected off his stick. With points in 4 straight games, as I've said before, I would not let him sit on FA.

Kimmo Timonen - Sometimes I write about players that just seem silly. It goes without saying that Timonen shouldn't be available in any leagues. And yet there he is, sitting unowned in 34%. With 20 points through 30 games. FOURTEEN of which came on the powerplay. Unbelievable.

Scott Clemmensen - I admit to being completely wrong on my prediction that Weekes would take the starting job with Brodeur out. Clemmensen has played well and is still available in a lot of leagues. He shouldn't be.

Todd White - 1 G, 1 A, 3 SOG last night. Granted the goal was in an empty net, but White now has 26 points on the season and is only owned in 15% of leagues. He's also somehow even on +/- on the Thrashers. He may be the most boring player in hockey (I wonder if anyone's nicknamed him White Bread), but he still shouldn't be available in that many leagues. Man, imagine a team with Todd White on the top line and Scott Clemmensen at goalie. Spine tingling.

Ilya Bryzgalov - Stopped 28 of 30 shots but the Yotes still lost in OT. Like I said, Bryzgalov is a confident start from now on. But that doesn't mean he'll be getting you many wins with the struggles his team has had this season.

Chris Mason - Even with Legace out, I don't think he's worth owning in almost any leagues. Expect Ben Bishop to get some starts soon.

Patrik Berglund - His goal and -1 last night brought his stats to perfect symmetry on the season: 10 G, 10 A, +10. If that's not a sign from above that you should pick the big rook up, I don't know what is.

Troy Brouwer - His stats for the season look decent now after notching 2 G, 1 A in the blowout against the Oilers last night. Keep in mind that before last night his 3 G, 7 A on the season weren't exactly lighting the world on fire. Wait and see if he can put a few more good games together before considering him as a RW option in deep leagues.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slow Day Scraps

Now that I'm updating BOTI regularly again I want to get in the habit of putting something new up daily. Of course the problem with doing a hockey blog is you get days like today, where there were only 2 games the previous night. Without much to talk about I thought it'd be fun to start putting up some fight videos on slow days. Personally when I'm not watching a game or highlights, I'm usually watching fights on youtube. Last night there was a great scrap in the Sharks/Kings game between Raitis Ivanans and Jody Shelley. These are two guys I always like to see drop the gloves and they don't disappoint against each other.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Market Movers

I have to be honest, there weren't a lot of names that jumped out at me for this edition of MMM. But a good GM should always have trades on the mind, so I put my thinking cap on and came up with these names. Let's see what you think about them.


Brad Boyes / Rick Nash - I'm going to do the write up for these two together because they might as well be the same player. Let's be clear about something: these guys probably aren't going to get you a PPG. I'm guessing both will be in the minus by the end of the season on +/- (well let's be frank, there's no guess work to be done for Boyes). What they will give you is 35+ goals, 20+ PPP, and 200+ SOG (over 300 most likely for Nash). These are the hardest stats to pick up good players for late in the season. Yes they're both very streaky, as natural goal scorers tend to be. But if they get hot while you're in the playoffs, they can single handedly win you a championship. That's the type of player you want on your team.

Paul Stastny - On the flip side you have Paul Stastny. Doesn't shoot as much as you'd like, isn't scoring goals, and still isn't doing well on +/-. There's no doubt that Stastny is underacheiving so far this season. But the upside with him is 30+ PPP. On top of that, with 28 goals in his rookie season, and 24 in 66 games last season, Paul's too talented of a player to continue at this pace scoring goals.

Dion Phaneuf - I think the Flames are a team that will continue to slowly but surely build momentum all season long. And as the Flames play better, it goes without saying Dion Phaneuf plays better. There's no doubt the guy is a beast. How many other defensemen can up 23 points through 30 games and have it be considered a disappointing start to the season? The complaint is obviously that Phaneuf's goal scoring is way down, but with no less than 17 goals in his past three seasons, I'll be shocked if he doesn't start putting pucks in the net soon.


Marty Turco - He's finally starting to put together some impressive wins, so now is the time to buy, right? Well if you're a team hurting at goalie, that's certainly a likely train of thought. If you're a Turco owner however, and you have another solid goalie or two, now would be the time to take advantage of GMs thinking that way and sell him while he's worth something. Dallas is going to end this season as one of the worst teams in the NHL, bottom 5 I reckon. If you could take Turco, trade him for one of the forwards mentioned above, and then drop someone for Erik Ersberg? I'd do that in a heartbeat.

Tomas Vokoun + Craig Anderson - I wouldn't sell either one individually, because you're unlikely to get value back for them on their own. But as a package these two could turn a pretty penny right now. I know, I know, Craig Anderson is the second coming of Jesus and Vokoun is better than a lot of goalies that get more attention than him. Guess what, they still play for the FLORIDA PANTHERS. Anderson is going to end up in the backup role again eventually and Vokoun is going to continue to play well but face 40+ shots on a regular basis.

Filip Kuba - Now that Kuba has slowed down a bit I don't know how much you can get for him, but I'm willing to bet it's better than what he'll give you for the rest of the season. His 20 points through 30 games already has him halfway towards a career year. That says to me that his next 20 or so points are going to be spread a lot more thin over the next 50 or so games. And as a career -27 on a mediocre Sens team I also see his current +8 going down. Shop him around.

Johan Franzen - If there was ever a poster child for "sell high," his name was Johan Franzen. In three full seasons previously his highest point total was 38, and this season he already has 21. I'm sure he's clicking on some great line in Detroit (I honestly pay no attention to the Red Wings) and he has a goal scorer's touch and yada yada yada, none of that changes the fact that I foresee the big stat correcting eraser on the ass end of the pencil of the Hockey Gods descending towards Detroit, MI in the near future.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday Wrap Up

Scott Hartnell - After his last game, I said "If he has one more decent game to follow it up he'll definitely be worth a pick up, if available." Well he followed it up with a goal yesterday. When Hartnell is hot everything he touches seems to find the back of a net. Grab him if you can.

Matt Carle - Returned to the Flyers lineup with a bang, getting the primary assist on two very nice goals. It's been a while since Carle was relevant in fantasy hockey leagues, but he is on his way to getting there again. He's played well in Philly, was seeing powerplay time before his injury, and if he stays healthy he could become a viable option for a fourth defenseman.

Erik Ersberg - I was going to say he's playing better after struggling for a stretch, but looking at the numbers he really has only had one flat out bad game this season, letting in 4 goals VS the Flames last month. Otherwise he's been very consistent all season long and has two straight impressive wins. Why he's only owned in 17% of Yahoo leagues remains a mystery to me.

Patrick O'Sullivan - Assists in 4 straight games, and coming off a strong end to November before going cold for a few games. Patty O shoots a lot and is both C and LW eligible if you're in a league where that would help. He isn't going to turn your season around, but he's available in over half of Yahoo leagues and is good for 50+ points and 200+ SOG.

Simeon Varlamov - Not the Caps' web master that was their back up goaltender for 10 minutes the other night, but the prospect who got there late to replace him. He started his first NHL game last night and looked impressive doing so, stopping 32 of 33 shots. Both Johnson and Theodore have nagging injuries right now so Varlamov might see a handful of starts before being sent back to the minors. In other words, probably not relevant for much playing time this season, but if he's the goalie of the Caps' future, keeper GMs should be aware of him.

RJ Umberger - I like Gumby Umby as much as the next guy, and you know how much the next guy likes RJ. But I don't think he's going to be breaking 50 points again this season.

Michael Ryder - If he's available, it's now or never. The Ryder train is leaving the station, and the next stop is 30 goals. Keep in mind he STILL isn't playing next to Marc Savard. Not that there's any reason for him to with how will he's playing next to Krejci, but still. Keep it in mind.

David Krejci - Yesterday I asked about Brian Gionta "How many other players at a point per game pace are available in almost 40% of Yahoo leagues?" Well Krejci just about falls in that catagory, as he's available in over 50% of leagues and is one point away from a PPG.

Blake Wheeler - Let's take a look at the whole line while we're at it. Blake Wheeler, Calder Trophy winner? It's certainly a possibility. He's 5th in rookie scoring and he's playing better and better as the season goes on.

Martin Gerber - Shuts out the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yawn.

Dan Ellis - Shuts out the Dallas Stars. Whoooo.

Dwayne Roloson - Shuts out the Vancou-alright are you guys seeing a pattern here?

Joel Ward - 2 goals last night. Something tells me he's not related to Cam.

Ed Jovanovski - 1 G, 10 A, -1, 15 PIM, 5 PPP, 22 SOG in his last 10 games. I think his early season slump is just about over.

Shane O'Brien - 17 PIM last night puts him in the league lead with 105 for the season. I've endorsed O'Brien for PIM a few times this season. If you're in a league where the stat counts, it's unlikely that your 4th defenseman is contributing as much as O'Brien will towards your team winning.

BJ Crombeen - 6 goals in his last 5 games. BJ is a grinder, 3rd line type player that would be lucky to hit 20 goals this season. But he's also a RW and isn't afraid to drop the gloves, with 52 PIM this season. In very deep leagues he could be a nice addition compared to what's probably out there on FA at RW.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Raining Goals

Every season it seems there are stretches where there are two or three games a night with 10 or more goals scored. Well, it sure seems like this is one of those times this season. And I know what you're thinking after each one of those games... "Come on, the Devils score 8 goals and Parise can't get a single one?!?" Although Parise's 4 assists might lighten the blow, but you get my drift. The point is, a goal counts the same if your player scores it when their team wins 9-3 or when they lose 2-7. Don't get too disappointed if your guys aren't cashing in big during blowout games, the important thing is that they keep putting up points consistently all season, even when there aren't 30 points a game to go around.

Tom Poti - Assists in three straight games, even if the 7% that own him want to pull their hair out over the fact he manages a -1 while his team wins 5-1. Poti's debut in Washington last season was a big disappointment to fantasy owners but he didn't play poorly. He's a talented defenseman and if he sees some more powerplay time he's not a bad 4th defenseman in deep leagues.

Aaron Voros - 7 PIM and 5 SOG last night. He was obviously dropped by a lot of GMs after they realized he wasn't going to put up 50+ points. Still, if he stays healthy he'll be the only player at the end of the season in the top 10 in PIM with over 30 points. He gets in front of the net and bangs at pucks, leading to bunches of SOG at a time and some goals here and there. Just because he's not on the second line anymore don't ignore the fact that Voros is the best points + PIM guy in the NHL.

Brian Gionta - How many other players at a point per game pace are available in almost 40% of Yahoo leagues? Well I'm sure there are others, and a 4 point game last night obviously boosts Gionta's stats considerably, but he's still having a hell of a season.

Michael Ryder - His season's been a bit slow so far, but take a look at his past 10 games: 5 G, 4 A, +5, 2 PPP, 25 SOG. That's solid production, and two things jump out at me there. He still isn't getting a lot of powerplay time, which I think will come sooner or later, and even without getting a lot of icetime he's still getting a good amount of SOG. So unless time on ice counts for your leagues, even without him playing on the top line Ryder is still a good addition to your team.

Martin Havlat - 27 games into the season and he's still healthy! Yaaayyyyy!! 1 A, + 2 last night is one of the best games he's had in his past 10! Boooooooooo!! Havlat hasn't been bad, but I think most owners would agree that we would rather he plays up to his potential and gets red hot for a good stretch and then get his inevitable injury, rather than putz along all season healthy at this level of production. He just isn't making a significant enough impact on weekly matchups.

Nikolai Khabibulin - He's back from injury and if any GMs dropped him while he was out, now is the time to pick him back up. His first game back wasn't great but he got the W, and while Huet has played well lately, his play overall while the Bulin Wall was out didn't cement him the starting job. Cement... Wall... I say, that's a joke son!

Rene Bourque - No matter how many Yahoo updates tell you he's not worthwhile in fantasy leagues, the fact is, just as I've said a few times this season, he's a very good option in deep leagues. And he had 2 goals last night to prove it. Plus don't forget he'll beat up a rookie in front of his family now and then to help you win PIM for the week. What a swell guy.

Tomas Vokoun - Finally gets a start and puts up an impressive win, stopping 35 of 37 shots and shutting Calgary down in the shootout. As hot as Anderson's been lately, Vokoun is still a heck of a goalie and there's always a good chance he'll win back the starting job.

Friday, December 12, 2008

On The Road Again

Well, my laptop is functioning once again, my van is out of the shop with a new fuel injector, but my ceiling is still leaking when it rains. Two out of three ain't bad, right? My apologies to anyone who was checking for updates while I was out of commission, but I'm back and hopefully I'll get back into the flow of things seamlessly. Let's take a look at what happened last night in the wonderful world of hockey.

Martin St. Louis - Had his first multi-goal game of the season. I was advocating selling him earlier this season but even with the mess in Tampa Bay he hasn't been bad. Not at a point per game like those who drafted him were hoping, but not bad. If the Lightning actually start to win some games he could be a real threat again in the near future. But that's obviously a huge if.

Scott Hartnell - Maybe the greatest moment that happened in hockey while BotI was MIA was Scott Hartnell throwing his glove at Ryan Malone on a breakaway to try and distract him, leading to a Malone penalty shot. Hartnell is a throwback kind of player, with his ridiculous hair, oafy demeanor on the ice, and inexplicable ability to play well enough to be kind of dangerous. He had a hat trick in a stunning come from behind victory for the Flyers last night and when Hartsy is hot, he can get red hot. If he has one more decent game to follow it up he'll definitely be worth a pick up, if available.

Michael Leighton - Don't be fooled by the two solid games he had before this loss, Leighton is a mediocre goalie at best and not worth anyone's time.

Steve Mason - This kid on the other hand looks to be the real deal. He's still available in half of Yahoo leagues surprisingly, so if you can grab him, go for it. I would be a little hesitant to draft him next season though, as goalies this young are prone to falling off after hot debuts.

Derick Brassard - While he cooled off a bit during my time off here, he's contributing some points again lately, and I still like Brassard for the rest of the season as long as he's getting decent ice time. It seems like Ken Hitchcock is hesitant to use him too much, which is understandable, but hopefully for all us Brassard owners he's seeing at least 15 minutes a game from here on out.

Patrice Bergeron - I caved in and dropped Patrice in the league I owned him. Supposedly he has some sort of nagging injury that's hurting him in the faceoff circle, which apparently has also taken away all ability to shoot the puck (3 SOG in his last 5 games). I don't know what the deal with him is this season, but unless you're in a keeper I'd move on for the time being.

Pascal Dupuis - Of course he notches a hat trick in a game where his team would have still won by 4 goals if he hadn't played. Still worthless.

Alex Goligoski - He's cooled off lately and it seems like some owners gave up on him. He's still having a hell of a rookie season and I'd still go after him in most leagues.

Ilya Bryzgalov - Either Yahoo GMs are getting way less reactionary, or the majority of GMs that own Bryzgalov haven't logged in since draft day. Either way, holding onto the Bryz through his struggles was the right move, as he's a much, much better goalie than his perfomances of late would indicate. It seems like the Coyotes have some new found energy with Jokinen back, so start Bryzgalov with confidence again.

Enver Lisin - I have no idea who he is, but he has a funny name and is scoring points lately.

Antti Miettinen - Is heating up again. I'm sure he was dropped in tons of leagues after his red hot start, and while he's still only relevant in deep leagues, if you're in one he's worth picking back up.

Craig Anderson - Believe me, I don't get it either. But Anderson should officially be owned in all leagues. Craig Anderson. What the fuck.

Kyle Quincey - When I mentioned Kyle at the beginning of the season, this is what I had to say: "Kyle is quietly playing 20+ minutes of ice time while putting up damn fine numbers so far this season (1 G, 2 A, +5, 1 PPP). Quincey doesn't have the pedigree of Doughty or Johnson (not a first round pick, hasn't been able to break into the league despite playing his first NHL game back in 2005) but he's still only 23 years old and worth a look in keepers." I'm kicking myself for not listening to my own advice. He's not available in either of my leagues now, and if he's available in yours, he won't be for long.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When it rains...

To give everyone an update, just as it looked like I was almost out of the woods on my other problems, the forest decided to burn down around me. As I was traveling home from visiting my family for Thanksgiving, my van broke down somewhere in Maryland. After a 2 hour tow last night I am still waiting to hear back from my mechanic on the diagnosis. My laptop should be functioning again once I get back so Blog On The Ice will be active as soon as I'm back on the road.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Experiencing technical difficulties

Unfortunately both my laptop and my ceiling decided to stop working on the same day. I currently have no working computer to do the blog from and am posting this from a friend's PC. I also have massive water damage and leaking in my bedroom. So needless to say, Blog On The Ice is going to be going through some delays this week. I'll hopefully have things running smoothly again as soon as possible.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Are you feeling sorrow over Morrow?

I was also considering "Does Brenden have you feeling Morrowsful?"then I found out "moroseful" isn't a word.

David Booth - In most leagues he would be one of my top choices to replace Morrow. Scored his 9th goal of the season last night and shows no signs of slowing down. You'll lose a lot in assists and powerplay points but you'll gain a little in SOG and you might end up doing better in +/- than you would have with Morrow, based on how the Stars have been playing. There might be better options in your particular league but Booth is available in over 80% of leagues so he's my fix-all recommendation.

Patrice Bergeron - If Bergeron is available in your league he's an even better option. He's been off to a somewhat slow start but the real test early in the season has been whether or not he can stay healthy. It's looking good for Patrice and as he gets more and more comfortable playing, nights like last night are going to become more commonplace (1 G, 1 A, +1, 3 SOG, 1 PPP).

Kevin Weekes - Had a good game against the Islanders, which my sound like faint praise except the Islanders have been playing much better lately. Like I said before, I think Weekes will be the starter in NJ if they don't trade for another goalie.

Brian Gionta - Has goals in three straight games. I'm not crazy about Gionta but if he's available in your league he's worth a pick up to see how long the hot streak lasts.

Eric Staal - Hat trick, +4, 8 SOG, 4PIM. I don't think you're going to be able to buy low on him anymore.

Joni Pitkanen - After notching 3 assists last night his stats for the season are suddenly looking pretty good. Pitkanen is inconsistent and bad in his own zone, but if the Canes offense continues to wake up he'll be good for a lot of assists.

Steven Stamkos - Points in back to back games, which is a big deal for Steven. Such a big deal that it's only happened one other time so far, and those four games combined make up ALL of his points this season. It's definitely too early to jump back on the Stamkoswagon, but keep your eye on him.

Manny Legace - I'm going to praise him and praise him until he's at least owned in 75% of leagues. Took a shut out bid into the 3rd period against the Ducks and came out with a very nice win in overtime, along with the first star of the game.

David Backes - Interesting points and PIM combo sort of player. Had a goal and an assist last night and has over 50 PIM this season. It looks like he's prone to game misconducts, which are always good in fantasy hockey.

Bobby Ryan - Had an assist but only 1 SOG in 15 minutes of ice time. Although a lot of people are ga-ga over Ryan, I'm still not sure if he's worth going after in shallow leagues. I'd like to see some powerplay points before picking him up.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kool Moe Dano

Now, I know the Stars didn't win tonight, but 38 year old Mike Modano had a goal and an assist, giving him 13 points through 18 games this season. So I present you this question: is Modano the best forward in the history of the NHL to never break 100 points in a season? Either way you can't deny Mike is one cool customer. Stayed with the organization that drafted him his entire career? Cool. The all-time goals and points leader for US-born players? Fuck yeah America's super cool. Only career fight was against Rod Brind'Amour? You know that cat's out of sight! And let's not sugar coat things, the Stars have been lame ever since they moved to Dallas, but Modano has that old school North Stars street cred. If you own Modano you're probably in a fairly deep league, and good for you. He's worth it just for the leadership he brings to your squad. So here's to you Mikey M, keep showin these kids how it's done.

Scott Clemmensen - Well, I'm not sure exactly why, but it looks like he's taken the starting job from Weekes. He managed to (shockingly) beat the Panthers tonight. I have a feeling that eventually he'll lose the job back to Weekes (or the Devils will trade for another goalie), but in the meantime if you're looking for starts in NJ, Clemmensen's your man.

Slava Kozlov - Netted his 11th goal of the season, has goals in 3 straight games, and is still available in 50% of Yahoo leagues. Kozlov's numbers cover such a wide range over his career that I honestly never know what to expect from him, but he's playing too well to pass up so far.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - If anyone is still holding onto him, I think it's time to let it go.

Pavol Demitra - I won't be mentioning him again anytime soon, but he's clicking with the Sedins and still available in a lot of leagues. Ride it while you can!

Kris Versteeg - 1 G, 2 A, +1, 2 PPP. He's quietly putting together a run at the Calder trophy this season. Definitely should not be available in any keepers, and it's almost time to pick him up in all other leagues too.

Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers - Well it looks like Dwayne Roloson isn't the answer to the Oilers problems after all. We'll have to wait until next WEDNESDAY to find out if JDD or Garon gets the next start. Seriously what is wrong with the NHL's schedule? I honestly don't know what the right call is on this situation, but if Three's Company taught me anything, it's that nobody is getting lucky.

Andrew Cogliano - Goals in back to back games after slumping hard for a while. I'll admit I gave up on him, but picked him back up after he started heating up again. Hopefully he keeps it going... although the SIX DAY BREAK before his next game might kill his momentum a little bit!

Mark Giordano - Had an impressive 48 game rookie season last year and is off to a good start this season as well. Had 1 A, +1, 3 SOG, 2 PIM against the Avalanche. He's only worth looking at in very deep leagues and keepers, but in those sort of leagues I like him.

Erik Ersberg - I don't know why he's still available in so many leagues, but he is for some reason, so I have to keep mentioning his name. I would pick him up in my one league if I didn't already own 4 good goalies. Hell now that I mention it I'm going to go back to trying to trade one of them to make room for Double E.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Patience Is Key

By this point of the season, you know the score. You know which guys on your team should be there all season, and which ones are expandable. The problem is exercising the patience to stand by your man (or men) while he (or they) go through dry spells and avoid that ever so tempting free agency pick up that you know deep down in your gut won't pan out. If you happen to catch the box score update, or you happen to be watching the game, and that free agent notches an assist, or worse yet scores a goal, you must be strong! Do not give in to temptation! It's getting to the portion of the season when you have to be looking towards the big picture. Then later in the season, when the big picture comes crumbling down due to injuries, trades and goalie shake ups, then you can start getting trigger happy with the free agency moves again.

Nevertheless, it's always good to keep your ear to the ground.

Sam Gagner - Could he have finally found some linemates he's clicking with? Craig MacTavish sure hopes so. It's very early to say, but if you've stood by him this long you're probably in a keeper and your best bet is to stand pat.

Dany Sabourin - Even though the lack of a second "n" in his first name makes me believe he's secretly a girl, Sabourin could be getting a decent amount of starts depending on MAF's dreaded undisclosed injury. At the very least Dany is starting tomorrow. He's a decent goalie on a good team, and definitely worth picking up in deep leagues.

David Booth - Scored his 8th goal of the season Tuesday. It was his third on the powerplay and he's up to 58 SOG so far. Only 13 players so far have goals in the double digits to give you and idea of where that ranks Booth. Let's play Guess What Percentage Of Yahoo Leagues He's Owned In! 65%? Hell no!!! 50%? Not even close!! 35%? Hahahaha!! 20%? Hmmm gettting warmer! 13%? Ding ding ding ding ding!

Rene Bourque - Hasn't beat anyone up in front of their parents lately but he did score his 4th goal of the season. He's been in a slump but is shooting a lot and I still like him in deep leagues.

Nikolai Khabibulin - Khabi is inching closer to #1 goalie status. Huet owners be warned.

Mikkel Boedker - On the subject of guys to be patient with, Boedker's a good example. Had a powerplay assist Tuesday night and saw 20 minutes of ice time. The best is yet to come with Boedker this season.

Jonathan Toews - Isn't scoring many goals but at least he's fighting people! ...Except the league I own him in doesn't count PIM. Fuck you and your weird last name Jonathan! Nah I'm just joshin, Toews is awesome.

Manny Fernandez - Learned that Tim Thomas' job is harder than it looks, but still got the win. I like Boston's chances this season a lot if Fernandez can keep playing well and giving Thomas some nights off to stay fresh.

Marc Savard - Does this guy ever slow down?

Shane O'Brien - Racking up the PIM again. He hasn't been providing anything else while in Vancouver but in deep leagues, there are worse 4th defenseman out there. If the league counts PIM.

Pavol Demitra- He's been hot since he's been back. He's only available in about 50% of leagues, and he'll probably be hurt again within a month top, but if you can grab him he could be worth a ride for the time being.

Bobby Ryan - The second overall pick from 2005 has been called up in Anahiem and had 2 G, 1 A, +2, 5 SOG, 2 PIM in his second game. Not too shabby. I doubt he's available in any keepers but keep an eye on him in other leagues as well.

Tomas Fleischmann - No longer has that great Carrot Top head of hair, but he does have goals in three straight games. He's also a -3 in those games, which I blame squarely on the lack of luxurious locks.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Market Movers

Before I get into my picks for the week, let me just apologize to all the Andy McDonald owners out there I jinxed by mentioning him the other day. And for all of those considering picking him up, you can scratch that idea. But some guys I WOULD consider going after, would be these four...


Eric Staal - You know it's funny, now that Eric's in his fifth season in the NHL I don't even think of him when I think of the Staal brothers. Eric's his own man, all the other Staals are just an afterthought. He's hit a real dry spell as of late though, and GMs that own him might be getting fidgety. I still like him to finish around 75 points, so see if you can't wrap up a flavor of the week or two in exchange for the original Staal.

Manny Legace - Yes I'm back to praising Manny! He looks healthy again and will always be one of the most undervalued goalies in the NHL. The fact he's coming off injury problems and has Mason behind him should only help you bargain for him.

Duncan Keith - With Cam Barker and Brian Campbell coming off monster games some owners might be second guessing Keith. This would be a grave mistake as Keith is as good of an all around defenseman as there is in the NHL. What he lacks in powerplay time he'll make up for in inhuman plus/minus.

Ilya Kovalchuk - Kovalchuk will probably still demand a high price tag but considering his good but unspectacular start of the season, this is probably as cheap as you'll be able to get him. The Thrashers are playing much better lately and Kovalchuk sounds like he's determined to make something of this team this season. Whether or not he'll be able to, I won't comment on that, but I do still like him as a player.


Tomas Plekanec - This may seem like the time to buy low on Plekanec. I say sell low on him while he still has name value. I'm not sold on the Plek, I think he's an inconsistent player on a team with an inconsistent offense that likes to spread their lines too thin. If I had to guess, 50 points would be my generous prediction for him this season.

Alex Auld - I like Auld, he's an underrated goalie and has been for some time. I thought he should have been starting in Vancouver back in the Cloutier days (insert noise Sideshow Bob makes when getting hit in the face with a rake). But I think the Senators have some serious problems this season and Auld's not guaranteed to keep the starting job. I'd be willing to bet his value is higher right now than it will be for the rest of the season. Take that as you will.

Loui Eriksson - Remember when I told you to sell Brunnstrum right after his hat trick? Hasn't done much since then, has he? Well here's another young Swede that just scored a couple goals. Not trying to make any generalizations here, I like In Flames and Soilwork as much as the next guy. But I would sell high on Eriksson while you can too.

Milan Hejduk - Seemingly is off to a much better season than last year. Right? Well, he was off to a better start... when he was shooting the puck. In his past 4 games he has 4 SOG (and 1 point). I don't think it's any coincidence that he had his worst season in five years last year, and also shot the puck the fewest times he had... in five years. Hejduk at his very best upside at this point in his career is a 70 point guy, and at his worst is in the low 50s. I kind of think the latter is going to be the case this season.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Day Wrap Up

Let's get right down to the nitty gritty.

Nicklas Backstrom - It looks like most GMs were patient with him, but man are the ones who got restless kicking themselves now. 8 points in 3 games? Ridiculous.

Brooks Laich - Starting to get a bit more playing time, starting to shoot a bit more, seeing powerplay time... in deep leagues it might be time to make a move on Laich.

Jose Theodore - Holy crap, he used Propecia to keep his hair looking like that?! Jose, I feel like I don't even know you anymore.

Lee Stempniak - 3 assists, +1, 5 SOG against the Blackhawks, averaging a point per game through 11 games so far this season. Don't forget that Lee scored 27 goals two seasons ago.

Andy McDonald - Scored two goals, one on the powerplay and one shorthanded in his last game. It's hard to believe that someone with EIGHTEEN points is only owned in 54% of Yahoo leagues. Yes he'll kill you on +/- just like he did last year, but as long as he's playing with Brad Boyes he plain and simple should not be available anywhere.

Johan Hedberg - Coming off 3 consecutive wins. I always liked the Moose and wanted to see him get another shot at starting. This season might be that chance. He's available pretty much everywhere so if you own Lehtonen, it'd probably be smart to pick Hedberg up.

Bryan Little - Riding a 5 game point scoring streak, averaging a point per game, is a PLUS SEVEN on the freakin Thrashers, shooting a good amount... and owned in 36% of leagues. I just don't get what's wrong with some GMs. This kid is legit and should be owned everywhere.

Derick Brassard - Is still awesome.

RJ Umberger - Gumby Umby is starting to get a bit more comfortable in Columbus. I wouldn't make a move on him yet but a few more good games and he's worth a pick up. He's got the talent to put together a 60+ point season.

Fedor Tyutin - Notching a lot of assists lately and playing on the powerplay. Worth a look if you're in a deep league and hurting at defense. Although at 25 he looks like the most miserable 45 year old stereotypical Russian dude ever. "In Soviet Russia, soul crushing depression ages you!"

Shea Weber - Norris trophy bound? You heard it here first.

Alexander Ovechkin - TWELVE SHOTS ON GOAL last night. I like how 18 points through 15 games is a slow start for AO.

Joey MacDonald - Joey Mac for Vezina? You heard it here... no.

Jordan Staal - Starting to score goals and score them in bunches. He's available in exactly half of Yahoo leagues, and even though I'm not ready to forget about his pathetic season last year, he'll most likely be closer to his rookie season form this time around.

Alex Goligoski - Very surprised to see he's only 47% owned. Realistically I find it hard to believe you have 4 defensemen more valuable than Goligoski on your team.

Mark Parrish - Just when I was considering dropping him he comes up with a powerplay goal. Coming from someone who has owned him before, this is what you can expect it to be like with Parrish, slow sailing with just enough bright spots to keep him bregrudgingly on your team in deep leagues.

Dustin Penner - Healthy scratched. If you still own him I'm sure you're in a very, very deep league so you might as well wait this out a little longer and see if the motivational tactic works or not.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Price Is Wrong

Get it?? There's a TV show called The PRICE Is Right, and there's a goalie that plays for the Canadiens named Carey PRICE!! I am almost completely certain that I am the first person to EVER think of that play on words!! I better use it again at least 20 times this season to make sure EVERYONE KNOWS HOW CLEVER I AM!!!

Seriously, I wish Price had 6 goals scored on him every game so I never have to read one of those headlines again.

Derick Brassard - I've mentioned him before, but at 21% owned in Yahoo leagues I'll keep mentioning him until Blogspot decides to change the name of my Blog to DerickBrassardOnTheIce. Even in a bad losing effort for the Blue Jackets Brassard still manages a goal and an assist. This kid is just flat out good.

Patrik Berglund - Speaking of rookies playing well despite their team sucking, Berglund has a 5 game point streak with 4 goals, in 5 straight losses for the Blues. I just picked him up in my keeper and I think he's a good move in any keepers. Still a bit early to say for normal leagues though.

Lee Stempniak - 4 game point streak. If the Blues can figure out what's going on in net maybe they'll start winning some of these games!

Toni Lydman - For the thrifty fantasy hockey GM looking for a free agency pick up to help with his or her plus minus, I present Toni Lydman. Toni is a +7 so far on a good defensive Sabres team and is usually in the 20+ point range. He is also available in burgundy and periwinkle.

Travis Zajac - Keeps scoring points (11 through 15 games, 3 game streak right now) and also shooting a lot, and people keep not picking him up. And you know what? I can't blame you, he's about as boring a paint drying.

Cory Stillman - Remember when I told you to consider picking up Stillman? Forget I ever said that.

Marco Sturm - Not one of my favorite Bruins but it looks like he's for real this season. Check if he's available, because at this point he shouldn't be in any leagues.

Taylor Pyatt - Was probably just as surprised as I was that you get a +1 for scoring on a penalty shot. I feel like I've noticed that a bunch of times in the past but each time it feels like I've never heard of it before.

Milan Lucic - Remember when I told you to sell Lucic? Forget I ever said that.

Joey MacDonald / Erik Ersberg - Remember when I told you to go after Joey MacDonald and Erik Ersberg? Over and over again? Remember that. Remember that in your dreams.

Joe Pavelski - Shockingly only 26% owned. I've given some Sharks wingers crap on here in the past but I'm a big fan of their centers (well, if you pretend Marleau is still playing C and Marcel Goc isn't on the team). I tried to draft Pavelski in my keeper but didn't go after him high enough, and I'm kicking myself now. He keeps getting better and has a natural goal scorers touch. I also like that he's an American dude with a Polish sounding last name. There aren't enough "-skis" in hockey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Has Your Goaltending Left You Weekes In The Knees?

These recent weeks have been a fantasy GMs nightmare when it comes to goaltending. Goaltending is an interesting position from both a general sports perspective and from a fantasy sports perspective. There's no other position in the four major US sports that is anything like it. I would argue that it's the most exclusive and important position in all of fantasy sports. And yet a lot of the time GMs will neglect drafting three strong goalies. Why? I guess offense is sexier than a guy dressed up like the Michelin Man, I don't know. Every fantasy hockey team I've had success with has been based around strong goaltending. But don't fret, if you didn't draft the best goaltending, it's not too late. Take a look at who's available on free agency, or make some trade offers and don't be afraid to give up whatever it takes for the goalie you need. Come the playoffs, you'll be glad you did.

Nikolai Khabibulin - He's available in about 40% of leagues right now, and you better believe that's not going to last much longer. Khabi is the prime candidate to get traded to a team like New Jersey. Even in his platoon currently he's worth owning in all leagues and is an absolute neccesity for all Huet owners.

Kevin Weekes/Scott Clemmensen - I'm amazed at how little I know about Clemmensen for how long he's been around. I'm fairly sure that Weekes is the only goalie of the two worth owning right now, despite the fact he's coming off back to back losses. Weekes is a better goalie than most people give him credit for, which isn't all that surprising when you look at his bad career record (99-161-33) along with his very good career SV% (.902) especially considering he's been playing since 1997. Still, all that said, a Devils trade for a goalie is a realistic possibility, so if Weekes has become one of your top 3 starting goalies, start looking at a backup plan for your backup plan.

Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers - His ridiculous name and douchey Yahoo profile picture are no excuse for the fact he's only owned in 17% of leagues. This kid is playing out of his mind right now and even when Garon and Roloson are healthy neither one are a sure fired bet to take the job from him. This is another situation where a trade seems likely in the near future, but for the time being unless your have three very good #1 goalies, JDD should be on your team.

Erik Ersberg - I know I just mentioned him earlier this week, but 8% owned?! Seriously?? News flash people, the Kings don't suck anymore, and chances are Ersberg is the #1 goalie from here on out! To quote Gob Bluth, COME ON! (Speaking of which, some great news from Jeffrey Tambor regarding the Arrested Development movie)

Joey MacDonald - Okay, a lot of this update is me beating a dead horse. But I see too many people saying "I need someone to trade me a #1 goalie!" while decent starters sit on the FA list. I mean seriously, with the goaltending catastrophes that some fantasy teams are going through right now, if I told said GM that there was a goalie already available in 80% of leagues that has a 4-6-2 record with a 3.04 GAA and a .902 SV%, they'd probably be at least a little interested. Marty Turco would kill for those numbers. Nabokov's SV% wishes it was that good. But as soon as you tell the GM that the goalie with those stats is Joey MacDonald, they run in fear. Fantasy GMs, they are a fickle bunch.

Manny Legace/Chris Mason - I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. And when it comes to my constant pimping of Manny Legace so far this season, I was wrong. Of course I have Sarah Palin to blame for that, but I never let Palin stop me from managing good fantasy hockey teams before, and I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to let her stop me now. If you own Legace, now is the time to bite the bullet and carry Mason as an insurance plan. I'm not sure when Manny is going to be 100% again, but I think it's safe to say that it isn't the case right now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Market Movers

Well I know this isn't going up on Monday (despite what the heading might say) but I had it started then and I've had trouble coming up with anything past these 6 guys, so I figured it was time to get it up and keep things rolling.


Joey Macdonald - Macdonald and the Islanders both haven't played as poorly as the numbers suggest. The Isles actually look like the young hungry team they're supposed to be, shooting a ton and staying aggressive all game long. Now there's no doubt that Joey Mac is a mediocre goalie at best, but if you need a bonafied #1 goalie on the cheap because you drafted Gerber/Kolzig/Theodore/Garon/Labarbera, then Macdonald is a good option.

Danny Briere - Looks like Danny "Don't Call Me Daniel" Briere is injured yet again. I bet GMs that own him are getting pretty sick of it, and I also bet he continues to score at better than a point per game pace when he does play. Be a nice fellow and take this problem off your fellow GMs' hands.

Vincent Lecavalier - Vincent "I Don't Care If You Call Me Vinny But Now That We Have Prospal Back It Makes Things Kind Of Confusing" Lecavalier hasn't quite been putting up the numbers his owners were hoping for. While Lecavalier was a late bloomer as an elite player, I do think he bloomed and I don't expect him to end a season with less than a point per game anytime soon.


Corey Perry - His numbers this season are inflated because of a five point game last month. I do like how much he's shooting, but I don't see him finishing the season with more than 60 points. Meanwhile, there are probably plenty of guys who will finish with more than 70 that you could trade him for.

Devin Setoguchi - Coming off a great game and playing at a high level early this season. Why should you sell him? Because the second that he cools down and someone else starts to click next to Thornton, just watch as his stock plumets.

Mike Smith - While I may tell you to buy Lecavalier, it doesn't change the fact that the Lightning suck and Smith has never played an entire season as a starter before. He's a good goalie and he's been exceptional so far, but who knows how the rest of the season will play out. If you have two other capable goalies, you could probably get a very nice return from a team hurting at goalie.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Back In Action

My apologies to the few people who might have been checking back on a regular basis through that downtime. I made a 650 mile move so as you can imagine it took a little while to get settled in. But here I am and here we are. The big news since I've been gone is obviously Brodeur's injury, which I'll touch on in my Tuesday update. Right now though let's just get into the thick of things with some players who have been on my radar in the past week.

Cam Barker - I think part of the reason Barker is only owned in 13% of Yahoo leagues is due to his injury earlier this season. Well he's 100% healthy now and has 5 points in 5 games. Barker is a former 4th overall pick who has shown flashes of big talent in the past, and plays for a very good Blackhawks team. You do the math.

Mikhail Grabovski - I don't know whose job it was to send Toronto the memo that they're not supposed to be good this season, but apparently it didn't get to Grabovski. I don't know anything about the guy but he has 6 goals in the past 4 games.

Craig Rivet - He's back from his injury and while he isn't getting the same amount of ice time yet, he's still a very good option at defense especially in leagues that count PIM.

Blake Wheeler - Only worth a look in keeper leagues, but he has been Wheelin' and Dealin' a bit this season. The former 5th overall pick netted a hat trick two games ago. Also take into consideration he's a RW, a very thin position.

Manny Fernandez - While I think Thomas has made it clear that he's the #1 goalie, Fernandez is a very capable backup who has played pretty well this season. In leagues deep enough to own backups he's absolutely worth a roster spot.

Tyler Kennedy - I'm going to be a complete hypocrite here because he's available in my extremely deep league and I still haven't picked him up. But only 4% owned in Yahoo leagues? Are you kidding me? In his last game he had 6 SOG and 2 goals.

Brent Johnson - Is probably one more good start away from taking the starting job from Theodore. If you're hurting at goalie there are a few interesting options available in just about every league right now, but Johnson is one of the most realistic and on a good team to boot.

Derick Brassard - He's at nearly a point per game pace so far this season. Simply put, he shouldn't be available in any leagues.

Olli Jokinen - Here's what I had to say about Olli a little while back: "Jokinen will be exploding for multipoint games soon enough and is worth almost any price you have to pay for him." Yeah I stand by that.

Mikkel Boedker - Had a 2 goal game Saturday night and is still getting some serious ice time. He's cooled down a bit as of late but as long as he's seeing time on the Jokinen line, you want to be as patient as need be.

Mark Parrish - Started his career in Dallas with a hat trick. I wouldn't be shocked if it was the last of his career. Still I like Parrish and picked him up in my deep league. It helped his case that he's a RW and Kyle Okposo hasn't instilled the utmost faith in me as my backup on the right side.

David Booth - Scored a natural hat trick against JS Giguere no less. In the modern sports climate the term "natural hat trick" could confuse some younger fans who may assume all other hat tricks were scored by Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds. But as for Booth, I've mentioned before that I like him, and I like him even more when he's scoring hat tricks, natural or enhanced.

Drew Doughty - Has been logging huge ice time and playing well all season. Now he's starting to get the points to make him worthwhile in fantasy leagues to boot. He's a must-own in keepers and worth keeping an eye on in other leagues as well.

Erik Ersberg - You know, scratch what I said about Brent Johnson earlier. While I've got no problems with LabbyBarbera, I think there's a pretty good chance that Ersberg stays the #1 guy for most of the season. The Kings are a better team than most realize, with a good young defense corp that will only get better when Jack Johnson returns. Ersberg is a capable goalie that looks a little like Harvey Pekar. In other words I strongly recommend owning him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Short Hiatus

I'm in the process of moving so I'm taking some time off from the blog. I'll probably resume regular updates around the middle of next week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shut Out In The Cold

With 3 shutouts in 7 games, it could have been a great night for your fantasy hockey teams last night or a terrible one. If you're a Blog On The Ice reader it may have been a great one, because all three of the goalies that shut their opponents down are net minders I've advocated making trades for or picking up on this fine blog. For me it was an especially great night because I owned all three! But if there's one thing I've learned, it's to savor nights like these while they last, because they don't last as long and you'd like. So enough gloating and onto the show.

Joffrey Lupul - I know I just talked about him but Lupul is only owned in about half of Yahoo leagues. Do not sleep on him. He scored 2 goals last night and is up to 6 points in 9 games now. Keep in mind he scored 20 goals last season... in 51 games.

Antero Niittymaki - Got the start because of his ridiculous track record against the Thrashers and his countryman Lehtonen (10-0 career). He's still the back up, but like I said before, Nitty is worth owning in keepers because I think he'll end up a starting goalie in the NHL sooner or later, and I think it goes without saying that in any league deep enough that back ups are relevant he should be on a team. Even when Biron is starting Nitty will continue to get a decent amount of starts.

Steven Stamkos - Not sure who this guy is, but he put up his first point of the season so I thought I'd mention him... wait a second, THIS was the guy that was supposed to win the Calder this season? Really? Huh... well, glad I didn't draft him!

Mike Van Ryn - In my ongoing list of "guys who aren't half bad to fill in if you have an injury at defense," I present you Mr. Van Ryn.

Miikka Kiprusoff - If anyone was actually able to buy low on Kipper when I told them too, man did they ever buy low. It looks like his slow start this season only lasted for a few games instead of a month or two, which comes as a huge sigh of relief to everyone who drafted him high.

Rene Bourque - 1 G, 1 A, +2, 3 SOG last night. I think this is the third time I've mentioned him. If you're in a very deep league, he's most likely still available, and he deserves a home. Will you give him one?

Michael Ryder - Another guy I keep extolling the virtues of, and I'm not going to stop until he's owned in better than 80% of Yahoo leagues (he's at 62% as I write this). Yes he only scored his 2nd goal of the season last night but I'm telling you, sooner or later he's going to be scoring goals by the boatload next to Marc Savard. I don't know how many goals you can load into a boat, but my guess? It's a lot.

Tim Thomas - Well after his second straight shutout it's probably too late to buy low on Thomas, but you may be able to just pick him up in some leagues. Like I said before about the Bruins goaltending situation, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see Manny Fernandez bounce back and have a solid season. But Thomas is plain and simple the better goalie, and will be the #1 for the majority of the time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LemaireMania's Running Wild On You

Seven games into the season, the Wild still have yet to suffer their first regulation loss. Are the Wild for real? Long story short... yes. If you want the proof, just take into consideration that they've gotten off to this start with top offensive producer Marian Gaborik having only played two games, along with injuries to important players like Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Marek Zidlicky. The Wild are loaded with talented young players, some of which are about to bust out for career seasons (Mikko Koivu) and some of which are just starting to tap into their potential (Benoit Pouliot, Colton Gillies, Josh Harding). They also have veterans who have been passed over by team after team but still have something to prove (Marc-Andre Bergeron, Owen Nolan). And of course Jacques Lemaire, still never naming a team captain, still trying to bore us to tears with the neutral zone trap. But I don't know what it is about the Wild, maybe it's their youth, maybe it's the fans, maybe I just like forest green and iron range red together... either way, I like watching them play, and I hope they keep running Wild over the competition this season.

Kyle Okposo
- Finally breaks out for a big game, scoring a goal and registering 7 SOG. I think I jinxed him when I said he'd lead the Islanders in scoring unless Sean Bergenheim had his break out season (since which Bergenheim scored 2 goals). I still like Okposo even though I dropped him in my non-keeper, more due to the fact that I have trouble justifying having any Islanders on my team than anything.

Francois Beauchemin - Has scored 3 goals already while putting 24 shots on the net. Beauchemin might be a bit boring but there are worse defensemen taking up spots on fantasy hockey rosters. If you have had injury problems at D (now that Rivet is on the IR, for example) Beauchemin is a solid pick up.

Fredrik Norrena - Off to a crap start, but with Leclaire on the IR now all Pascal owners need to pick him up. I like Leclaire a lot but the fact of the matter is with how injury prone he is, owners might be seeing a significant amount of Norrena this season.

Cristobal Huet - 15 saves on 18 shots. Woof. It looks like CristoWall needs some spackle. If you can still reinforce him with the currently more structurally sound Bulin Wall, then put on your hard hat.

Brent Burns - Scores a goal, owners celebrate. Leaves the game with a lower body injury, owners look at the free agents in their league. Don't get too worried, Brent is traveling with the team for their road series so I'm guessing he misses a game at most.

Antti Miettinen - Scored his 6th goal of the season last night and is still clicking with the AMA line (Antti, Mikko, Andrew). For some reason he's still available in over 50% of Yahoo leagues. Are you guys kidding me? Don't be Antti-Miettinen!!

Andrew Brunette - Speaking of which, Brunette is off to a point per game start (3 G, 4 A in 7 games) and he's available in a whole mess of leagues. The main knock against Andy is that he's so "accurate," or in other words only has 7 shots through those 7 games. But in deep leagues there's no reason he shouldn't be on a team.

Tim Thomas - Making a pretty good case for himself to be the #1 by shutting out the Oilers on 27 shots. Like I said when I was talking about platoons last week, I don't think Fernandez is worth owning at this point. Thomas should be able to hold his own.

Kyle Quincey - Wait, there's a promising young defenseman on the Kings NOT named Drew or Jack? That's right, Kyle is quietly playing 20+ minutes of ice time while putting up damn fine numbers so far this season (1 G, 2 A, +5, 1 PPP). Quincey doesn't have the pedigree of Doughty or Johnson (not a first round pick, hasn't been able to break into the league despite playing his first NHL game back in 2005) but he's still only 23 years old and worth a look in keepers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Market Movers

I am my way out the door so I'll have to skimp on the witty intro today. Just enjoy the cold hard analysis instead.


Kimmo Timonen - Last week I went with the Flyers' #2 defenseman, this week their #1. Timonen is always under valued and off to a slightly slow start on a team that's had some serious early season struggles. If you need help at defense Kimmo will probably get you the most bang for your buck.

Brad Richards - Richards is a gamble right now, and I could see some people thinking about selling. Which is why I'm advocating buying. The Stars are a question mark and Richards hasn't been clicking on one particular super line like he did when he got there last season. He's never been the most consistent player and you can't be quite sure what you're going to get from him, but I like the upside.

Jonathan Toews - He could be hitting a sophmore slump, or just a slow start. I think it's the latter, and I don't think it lasts long. You might not find many sellers, but test the waters and see if any GMs are getting anxious.

Olli Jokinen - Off to a slow start if you can call a point per game "slow." Once again I can't imagine a lot of sellers out there but it's worth a shot. Jokinen will be exploding for multipoint games soon enough and is worth almost any price you have to pay for him.


Ryan Clowe - Injury prone and plays wing in San Jose. That's pretty much an instant sell in my book. Not because playing wing in San Jose is a bad gig, but it always results in the player being over valued. The fact of the matter is that as long as Joe Thornton plays there, there will be a rotating door at both wings throughout the season, and one or two of them will get hot for a stretch, all the fantasy GMs will treat them like rock stars, and then realize a few weeks later that they're just Thornton groupies taking up space on their bench.

Dan Ellis - He isn't off to the best start so you might not get great value for him, but I don't think much of Ellis as a goalie, and don't think much of the Predators this season. Don't sell him low, but see what you can get in return.

Erik Cole - Not doing anything for you unless he's getting game misconducts. Now's a good time to offer Cole around because he's getting a little bit of buzz for moving to LW. He's about as mediocre of a one time 30 goal scorer as you can find and if you can get anything decent for him, go for it.

Daymond Langkow - The points Langkow scores by association from hanging out around Jarome Iginla are highly over rated in fantasy hockey. He's prone to dry spells and "one point here, one point there" kind of weeks. If you could do a trade involving him for any of the fowards mentioned above, for example, then you'd probably be on the winning end.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dear Sarah Palin, Please stop dropping pucks at hockey games

Blog On The Ice

Manny Legace - Tripped over Sarah's carpet (...) and left after one period with a lower body injury. No word on how serious it is (the injury, not the rug). I've been preaching that Legace is the best goalie to go after for a cheap price if your situation in net is questionable. I'd still stick to that, and maybe even use this injury scare to your advantage to give a lower offer yet.

Luca Sbisa - Even before the Palin curse was finally exorcised from the Flyers last night, Sbisa was one of the only bright spots on the team. The 18 year old defenseman looks wise beyond his years and plays smart two way hockey. He's not worth looking at (yet) in normal leagues, but if he makes it past 10 games with the big club (today will be his 8th) and is going to be around for the long haul, then he is someone I wouldn't leave available in any keepers.

Joffrey Lupul - My patience was wearing thin with Joffrey, but I'm glad I stood by him even when his play was a little Luupy (just joffin). He's a talented goal scorer and with Briere out for a month Lupul should be playing on a top line, most likely with Mike Richards for a while. They have a lot of chemistry together, so if some GMs in your league had an itchy trigger finger and dropped him, take advantage and pick him up.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Although his plus/minus took a hit last night, he's still consistently scoring points and seeing powerplay time. He's still available in a lot of leagues and at this rate won't be much longer.

Brian Boucher - It looks like Nabakov will not reprise his role as superman this season. Boucher is one of the better back ups in hockey and if he's going to start getting some regular starts, in very deep leagues he might be worth a pick up.

Travis Zajac - Available in almost all leagues, Zajac is a former first rounder who has put together two decent seasons in the NHL and has come out playing hard this season. In deep leagues and in keepers there are worse players you could (and probably do) have on your team.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Looks like he's back and 100% healthy. My prediction that I could drop Bouchard and pick him back up when he returned did not work out because he got IR eligibility. Don't you love how that works, when players who are actually injured for a considerable stretch (Rivet, now Briere) you'll need to wait game after game after game to get IR, but Pierre-Marc who was figured to miss two, maybe three games gets it right off the bat. Beautiful.

Mikkel Boedker - Still scoring goals and still getting significant ice time, plus he's shooting more. I doubt he's available in any keepers at this point, but if he is, you better believe he shouldn't be. Even in normal leagues he's about to become relevant if he keeps this level of play up.

Daniel Girardi - He's a good, young defenseman, off to a good start on a red hot Rangers team. Read the last sentence I wrote about Boedker, rinse, wash, repeat.

Cory Stillman - Available in the majority of Yahoo leagues (as in, a little over 50%) and probably shouldn't be. His numbers so far this season are great (5 G, 4 A, +3, 3 PPP, 16 SOG). Even though he's getting up there, Stillman has shown no signs of letting up.

Tomas Vokoun - Got the win and only had to face 50 shots in the process. If there's one goalie I'd like to draft but refuse to because of his team, it's Vokoun. If you own him, enjoy starts like this while you can.

Jason LaBarbera - Got a shutout on 15 shots. "I dids what now? Hey Patty O, hows my faux hawk looksin?"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

To Platoon Or Not To Platoon?

Platoon - verb (used with object)
a. to use (a player) at a position in a game alternately with another player or players.
b. to alternate (to different teams or units), as separate offensive and defensive squads.
c. to fuck your fantasy hockey goaltending situation in the ass.

Yes, we fantasy hockey GMs are more than familiar with the term platoon. It is one of the most dreaded words in our lexicon. And yet early this season it's a reality we must face. Many teams are either using platoons or are dangerously close to one. Let's take a look at some of the more relevant pairs, and whether or not you need to own one of these goalies, two of them, or none of them.

Cristobal Huet / Nikolai Khabibulin - Huet comes to Chicago to a nice long contract for big money after being shunned by two teams he played very well for last season. The Blackhawks even go so far as to putting former four time all star Nikolai Khabibulin on waivers. But nobody wanted him, so what did the Bulin Wall do in the starts he got next to Huet? Put up a 2-1 record with a 1.97 GAA, .931 SV%, and a shutout. Somehow he's still only owned in 31% of Yahoo leagues, and as much as I like Huet, at this point Khabi should not be available anywhere.

Tim Thomas / Manny Fernandez - This is a tough one. Manny Fernandez, at one point in time, was one of the more under rated goalies in hockey. While last year was a huge disaster for him, this season could see him bounce back. Thomas on the other hand is currently one of the most under rated goalies in hockey though, and should play well enough to keep Fernandez firmly in the back up role. I hope. I would not bother picking up Manny in anything but the deepest of leagues.

Martin Biron / Antero Niittymaki - A situation where you have two talented goalies playing for a team that is playing absolutely no defense. Even I'm at a loss on this one. Nitty isn't really worth owning except in the deepest keeper leagues, but he very well could take the starting job. Biron is too good to just flat out drop, but he's not doing you any favors and may end up a back up for the umpteenth time in his career. My best advice is for the time being bench Biron for his starts and wait and see what the hell happens with the Flyers.

Chris Osgood / Ty Conklin - Right now Osgood is the #1, but that could change very quickly. Conklin has looked good in his two starts and could be snatched up in your league at any moment. I don't own Osgood in any leagues, but if I did I wouldn't feel comfortable with him on my team without Conklin as an insurance policy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two Day Wrap Up

I'll try not to make these a regular feature, as ideally I'm trying to update the blog daily. But sometimes there isn't that much going on that's relevant to fantasy hockey, and sometimes there aren't that many games being played. Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well, he eats you.

Craig Rivet - Out 2 weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery. I'm going to hold onto Rivet and wait this out at least a few days to see if he gets IR. In not so deep leagues he's probably your 4th defenseman, and there most likely isn't much out there on FA that would make a big impact in the meantime. In deep leagues he's even more important to you, so obviously you can't risk dropping him. Ride it out.

Trevor Daley - Still getting a lot of ice time (the most on his team in the last game). If you are looking for a hand on defense, I still strongly recommend him in deep leagues, at least until Zubov comes back.

Jaroslav Halak - Stopped 35 of 36 shots in a Habs win over the Panthers, his second win of the season. I like Halak a lot, and if it looks like he's going to get a decent number of starts, he's absolutely worth owning in leagues deep enough where back ups are relevant. He's young, and I think he's good enough to eventually get a shot somewhere as a starter, which is worth keeping in mind if you're in a keeper.

Phil Kessel - Scored his 5th and 6th goals of the season in his last two games. I had a feeling Kessel was going to come out big this season. My feelings don't lie. They cheat and steal, but they don't lie.

Oscar Moller - Some young center on the Kings. Had 1 G, 1A, 1 PPP, +1 and 5 SOG in his last game. You know the drill. Keep your eye on him in keepers.

George Parros - If I keep talking about him I'm going to have to change the name to StacheOnTheIce. Scored his second goal of the season, more than he netted either of the last two seasons, and tying his career high.

Rene Bourque - When I suggested him on here I wasn't really counting on PIM, but 19 in one game? Yeah I'll take that! And oh boy is his cousin Wayne proud. Here's the recap of how Rene was penalized...

"Seven minutes into the first period, Washington defenseman Tyler Sloan leveled Calgary center Daymond Langkow with a clean bodycheck at the Capitals’ blue-line.

Sloan, 27, playing just his third NHL shift, was immediately tackled by Calgary’s Rene Bourque, who then pummeled him while he was down on the ice.

Out of that altercation, Sloan was not penalized while Bourque was handed 19 minutes in penalties—minors for unsportsmanlike conduct and instigating, a fighting major and a game misconduct. ^Notes: Sloan made his NHL debut after 406 games in the minors. A Calgary native, Sloan’s brother and parents were among the friends and family in the crowd. Sloan’s father Fred had just flown back after driving 36 hours to Hershey, Pa., to drop off Tyler’s car and watch him play in an AHL game."

Well done Rene!