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!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday Market Movers

What better day to start this new weekly feature than when the actual stock market is on the rise? If I can keep this trend up every Monday maybe I'll eventually be able sell my shares of Sears Holding Corporation without bleeding red. Anyway, here are my top candidates to buy and sell in the NHL fantasy market right now.


Mikka Kiprusoff - I know, I know. Kipper is off to a pretty terrible start. I've given him crap. You've given him crap. I'm sure Mike Keenan's given him crap. I bet his mom even called him up and gave him crap. But here's the thing: if you're hurting at goalie, there's nobody more talented out there who you can probably get this dirt cheap, at least compared to his value over the entire season.

Michael Ryder - He's off to a good start but only has one goal so far. Some owners might be fooled by this, and Ryder seemed to be generally under valued going into this season. I still say he'll be scoring goals by the boatload soon enough playing next to Savard, and by then there's no chance you'll be able to get him on the cheap.

Steve Bernier - I'm not crazy about the Canucks but Bernier is playing with the Sedins and clicking. If Richard Park was in that situation I'd list him as a buy too.

Braydon Coburn - More of a buy in keepers, but either way if your defense is hurting I'd say make a move for Coburn. He's off to a decent start (1 G, 1 A, +1, 10 SOG) on the winless Flyers. In other words, that's the type of production he puts up when his team is slumping. When the Fly Guys break out of this nonsense, Coburn will be racking up powerplay points and his +/- will only get better. He's good in his own zone, has good hands, and a mean shot.


Martin St. Louis - With how he's been under performing, he might seem like a Buy. Not so. The Lightning are in for a rough season, and St. Louis is past his prime. Sell him while you can still get something out of his name value.

Vesa Toskala - Toskala is not a bad goalie, but he's not a very good one either. And he plays for a bad Maple Leafs team. He's off to a good start, so use that to your advantage. For example, a package deal including Toskala for Kipper? At the end of the season you'll be thanking me.

Milan Lucic - Fantasy hockey GMs will always get a hard on for a player they think can maybe get them a good amount of PIMs and points, even though you're almost always better off going with one guy you know will get you a ton of PIMs, and another guy you know will get you points. Lucic might have 40+ points and 100+ PIM. He might also have 27 points and 89 PIM (his stats from last season). In a roto league that might help a little. In head to head, not so much. Sell Lucic for someone who can actually make a difference in your match ups.

Fabian Brunnstrom - Do I even need to say that he won't keep up this pace? I see many dry spells and general inconsistency in Fabian's future. And with how hot he's started, I wouldn't be surprised if you could get an underperforming 4th round pick for him, maybe even a 3rd rounder. That is value right there. Kick Fabulous Fabian to the curb and go get yourself someone who doesn't sound like a swordfighting magician (Sorry David Schlemko, Yutaka Fukufuji and Steve Silverthorn).

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Often the best keeper draft picks are the ones that fly under the radar late in the draft, or go all together undrafted. Players that were highly touted prospects a season or two ago, didn't have huge seasons so far, but still have a ton of upside. Players on good young teams that are going in the right direction and should continue to improve. Players like Andrew Cogliano. I drafted Cogs 243rd overall in my keeper league, the 16th round. He was a 1st round, 15th overall pick in the real life 2005 NHL draft, had 18 goals, 27 assists in his rookie season last year, and is only 21 years old. A player like that has no business being available in any keeper league. If he is? You better get out there and pick him up. If not? Then keep your eyes open for those incognito keepers that the other GMs aren't picking up on.

Alexandre Picard - Maybe the defensive version of Cogliano. Not as young (23) or as highly touted (3rd round pick) but highly valued by each of the teams he's been on so far. Now he's in Ottawa seeing powerplay time with guys like Heatley and Spezza. He has all the tools to be a 35+ point defenseman and he has a chance to secure a spot as a top defenseman on the Senators which it looks like he's taking advantage of.

Mikkel Boedker - Opportunity has come knocking for young Boedker as well, and he's responded with 2 goals in 5 games. An 18 year old 8th overall pick seeing time on a line with Olli Jokinen? In a keepers he's a "duh" pick up, and might be worth your time in standard leagues as well.

Nikita Filatov - It didn't last long before Filatov was called up by the Blue Jackets. I said before that keeper GMs should keep an eye on him. Well he may only be up for a short period of time to fill in for injuries, but he already has a goal in his first two NHL games. If he makes a case for himself that's too strong to send back down, then he'll be another essential player in keepers.

Ales Kotalik - Let's throw a bone to the GMs in non-keeper leagues. Kotalik has shown 60+ point capabilities in the past, and is off to a torrid start (7 points in 5 games). Do I think he'll keep it up? Not at all, but for the time being Kotalik is as hot of a hand as you'll find available in the majority of leagues.

Bryan Little - It looks like Little has shown up to play in a big way this season. There's nothing tiny about the caliber of play he's shown so far. Putting up better than a point per game on an offensively lacking Thrashers team is no small feat. Other synonyms that may appear in bad puns on the cover of an Atlanta sports page near you: bantam, diminutive, elfin, imperceptible, meager, miniature, shrimpy, teeny and wee.

Christian Ehrhoff - Much like I was saying about Vlasic the other day, Ehrhoff's value is decent just for being a defenseman on the Sharks. The fact he's getting serious ice time and powerplay action just increases it that much more.

Kris Versteeg - I would feel bad not knowing anything about Versteeg, but the fact that he's a former 5th round pick that had only played 12 games before this season might have something to do with it. Regardless, this young LW is getting the chance to play next to guys like Toews and Kane and has put up very good numbers in the process (1 G, 5 A through 6 games). Sound like he fits into the theme of this update?

T.J. Oshie - Berglund might have the better season but Oshie has the better hockey name. He's young, he's playing next to Paul Kariya right now, and will probably play a fairly big part in the Blues offense for a long time to come.

Shea Weber - I'm trying not to say "I told you so" about too many guys, but with Weber? Come on. I told you so.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Day Wrap Up

Maybe I'm feeling uncreative, or maybe there isn't a lot to talk about right now. Or maybe I nailed too many key players in my past couple of blogs (I don't want to just highlight players and say "Told you so!"). Either way, I've got nothing for an opening piece tonight. Let's jump into some stuff that I've noticed in the past two nights of games.

Lee Stempniak - The Blues are playing pretty well early in the season, and when Stempniak comes back from a minor knee injury he could jump right into the thick of things. Remember Lee scored 27 goals two seasons ago. He may play Saturday.

Tim Thomas - Tough shootout loss to the Canadiens the other night as he played a good game. Just as I said about Legace the other update, Thomas is another under rated goalie who some people still believe isn't a clear cut #1, in this case due to Manny Fernandez backing him up. These people are wrong, and if you're having early goalie problems and would like an insurance policy, you might be able to buy low on Thomas.

Marc Savard - He gets a talented goal scorer like Michael Ryder next to him, and decides to open the season with 5 goals of his own. Go figure.

Dave Bolland - Has quietly been creeping onto the scene in Chicago since last season (17 points in 39 games). There was talk about starting him on the first line this year because of how good he was in the preseason. I don't think that's happening any time soon, but he's young and could fit into a line with some good wingers next to him. Worth keeping an eye on in keepers.

Nikolai Khabibulin - Congratulations for clearing waivers Khabi! Your reward? You're now in an every-other-game platoon with the expensive starting goalie we signed in the off season! Makes as much sense as everything else that's been going on with the Blackhawks. As a Huet owner, I'm going to wait out the next start from both goalies before grabbing Khabi as a contingency plan. Hopefully if it comes to that, he's still available by then.

Shawn Horcoff - I think some people are wrongly under the impression that Horcoff is a 50 point per season guy because that's what he's been around the past two seasons. Keep in mind he put up those points in just 53 games last season. I think Horcoff is going to have a good season, and you should get in at the ground level.

Martin Brodeur - Seriously? Marty. Do you ever grow old?

Trent Hunter - Could this guy be anymore boring? Well, he has 4 goals so far and is usually good for around 200 SOG a season. I don't know what to tell you. I'm not picking him up, but hey, you gotta live your life man.

Marc-Andre Bergeron - If you need help on defense, he's probably the best under the radar option out there. He has the talent, but was ignored in most drafts because of a disappointing, injury plagued season. Well he's healthy now and on the white hot Wild.

Brooks Laich - I picked him up late last season and have had my eye on him early this season. 1 G, 2 A, +5 through 3 games. Hmmmmm. Still not getting a ton of ice time. But hmmmmm.

Martin Biron - I know it's hard to believe with how bad his numbers have been so far, but he still isn't playing poorly. The Flyers have just started their season asleep at the wheel. Still, if you own him, picking up Niittymaki would be a good idea just in case. And then benching both of them until the Flyers decide to start showing up for their games.

Joffrey Lupul - He still has a lot of upside, but my patience is wearing thin. Plus he's being bounced all over the place by coach John Stevens, even trying him at center for a bit. Unless you're in a keeper, there are probably better options available.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't Be Antti-Miettinen

Pierre-Marc Bouchard already missed a game for you last night and will be out at least one more with a sore back. That means if you have Bouchard on your team, he'll be a waste of roster space for you until Saturday at soonest, when the Wild play Tampa Bay. And when you hear a player will miss "at least X games" it's always safe to assume they'll miss an additional game or two. If Bouchard misses the game Saturday, he'll be wasting a space on your roster until NEXT THURSDAY the 23rd against the Sabres.

Jason Arnott has a broken finger and will be out "at least" 3 games. This means Arnott will be wasting roster space for you until... you guessed it, NEXT THURSDAY the 23rd when the Preds play the Flames! And that's the best case scenario. Now I like Bouchard and I like Arnott. I know both are arguably coming off career seasons. But when you sit on little injuries like this all season, you're basically saying "well if I don't have enough guys playing to win this week, there's always next week." If you're in a roto league you're hurting yourself even worse. This stuff adds up. Bouchard and Arnott are guys who can have good, maybe even great seasons for you. But every week of every season there's some guy getting hot, someone you can pick up that can make up those stats that you'll eventually lose from dropping an injured Bouchard or Arnott. And I can say from experience, the GMs who usually win are the ones who not only draft well, but who take chances and pick up the hot hands while they're still hot.

Enter: Antti Miettinen, Bouchard's teammate on the Wild. His stats tonight? 2 G, 1 A, 1 PPP, +1, 3 SOG, 4 PIM. Think those stats might have helped you? And I watched his goals, they were beauties. I picked up Miettinen late last year when he got hot for the Stars (15 G, 19 A in 69 games for the season) and he was a nice shot in the arm. I was lucky enough to draft him late in my deep league this season and it's paying off nicely. And in my not as deep league, I'll be picking him up for Thursdays game, after I drop Boedker, who I picked up for tonight. Who did I drop to do a little mini-streaming this week? Pierre-Marc Bouchard (and I should point out I hate streaming, but I'm getting drastically out-manned this week thanks how many games my players have scheduled). Hell, I'd guess I'll be able to pick Bouchard back up at the end of the week because he'll probably clear waivers. So what am I trying to say? Take risks, don't grow attached to players who are dead weight on your roster, and don't count out guys you don't know that well who are hot. Don't be Antti-Miettinen.

Bryan Little - I'll write something a little serious about him now that he put together a good game (1 G, 1 A, +1, 2 SOG) on a night when the Thrashers didn't have a fluke blowout win. In fact, they lost 5-2, but Little still came out smelling like roses. He played on a line with Kovalchuk which will obviously help, but Little was a 12th overall pick in 2006 and could end up as one of the very few rays of sunshine in a dark and stormy Thrashers season.

Antero Niittymaki - Had a pretty good game despite a losing team effort against the Pens. Nitty has the talent to be a starting goalie, and is still young as far as goalies go. I think Biron has the job locked down in Philly, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Nitty end up starting somewhere else eventually. So in keepers, he's worth taking a look at.

Miikka Kiprusoff - Held on to win a hard fought battle with the Avs. The Flames didn't help him with dumb penalties and some bad defensive lapses, and his stats won't look the best for you aside from the win. Still, this was a great back and forth game and a win like this against a division rival can do a lot to turn things around for a team and a goalie.

Todd Bertuzzi - The biggest heel in the NHL is back to being relevant for something other than delivering the one-handed bulldog heard around the hockey world. If Bertuzzi continues to click with Iginla AND stays healthy, a 65+ point season would be a modest prediction. But that's a Big If for Big Bert.

George Parros - A +1 to go along with his 5 PIM. I told you to believe in the stache!

Devin Setoguchi - Another guy off to a hot start (2 G, 2 A, +4 through 4 games). Don't Deny Devin!

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - If you're looking for young defensemen, this kid is worth keeping an eye on. Really when you get right down to it, any halfway decent defenseman on the Sharks is worth keeping an eye on. In fact, I'm adding Brad Lukowich to my watch list RIGHT NOW.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

RIP Alexei Cherepanov

I don't know if I should be more disgusted with the KHL or the local paramedics. Either way, hopefully we never see another young talent like Alexei die due this type of negligence. Just a quick update today.

Patrik Berglund - 1 G, 1 A, +1, 1 PPP, 1 SOG. A lot of ones across the board. Berglund might be a top 5 contender for the Calder this year. He's a necessity in keepers, and worth a look in all other leagues as well.

Manny Legace - Manny is always undervalued and if you're hurting on goaltending, now might be your last chance to still buy relatively low on him. Once people realize that the only way Mason is getting a decent amount of starts is if Legace gets hurt, you'll have a harder time making a lowball offer for him.

Craig Rivet - He's under the impression that serving as team captain means fighting the entire opposing team. 25 PIM, 1 A, +2, 1 SOG. Not bad at all cap! Rivet is a good 4th dman even in leagues that don't have PIM. If PIM count he's even more valuable, though he probably won't hit 25 in one game again this season.

Daniel Paille - Former 1st round pick who started to show what he was capable of (19 G, 16 A) last season. He collected two assists last night and if you're in a deep league, you should definitely check to see if he's available and keep an eye on him if so.

Marek Zidlicky - It sounds like his injury is worse than early reports let on. Might seem harsh, but with some good puck moving defensemen on the Wild like Burns and Johnsson (and eventually Foster), I wouldn't bother waiting the injury out unless you're in a deep league. Zidlicky could easily revert back to a 30 point season.

Ty Conklin - Stopped 27 of 28 shots and picked up the win. If there are Osgood owners out there who don't own Conklin, they're asleep at their keyboards.

Roberto Luongo - It's games like last night that kept me from drafting Luongo. Yes he's an elite goalie, but when your team musters a massive 10 shots on goal in front of you, you don't stand a chance.

Michael Nylander - He was off to about a point per game pace last season with Washington before he was injured. This year he has 4 points in 3 games. You do the math.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goons For Hire

After mentioning Aaron Voros in my last update, he notched an assist last night. Tonight Todd Fedoruk had an assist, +1 and 2 PIM. And in only 4 minutes of ice time, George "the Greatest Facial Hair In Hockey" Parros scored his first goal of the season. While everyone else drafts Daniel Carcillo too high, you can always grab some good brawlers in the last round of your draft or in free agency. Of course Parros has now reached his quota for goals scored in a season, but the idea is still solid: just look for fighters on good teams. If your PIM guys play on a decent team, they're more likely to see ice time with talented players and happen into some points. In Fedoruk's case he's currently playing on a line with top Calder Trophy contender Mikkel Boedker, who I'll touch on later. Fighters on good teams are also more likely not to hurt you at +/- than say, Raitis Ivanans. And maybe most importantly, they're more likely to be under strict orders to protect star players. Anyway, here's what I noticed in the past two days of hockey...

Sergei Kostitsyn - The unpopular Kostitsyn scores two goals against a sad, sad Toronto team. Still, Sergei could have just of good a season as his brother, and is available in a lot of leagues.

Martin Biron - His team collapses in front of him in the first period and his stats make him look like a bum as a result. Nothing to get worried about.

Patrick Kane - The "let's play the kids on different lines to help add scoring depth!" idea continues to sputter as Toews' line scores one goal, and Kane goes -3 with no points. I'm not sure how much longer Chicago wastes their time with this, but between this boneheaded idea and the weird situation with Khabibulin they're in, I've gone from being very high on the Blackhawks (as in excitement, not second hand smoke from Ben Eager) to a lot of head scratching and a lot of going "Huh?"

Kyle Okposo - The Islanders score 5 goals and all Okposo gets is an assist? Seriously? Oh well, unless Sean Bergenheim finally has his breakout season, Okposo should still lead his team in scoring when all is said and done.

Chris Mason / Manny Fernandez - If there's any doubt that Manny Legace and Tim Thomas should be bonafied #1 goalies and not 1As, nights like last night should cast those doubts aside.

David Booth - Broke 20 goals last season, already has 3 this season. Plus he shoots a ton. My rule of thumb is to stay clear of anyone on the Panthers, but in a deep league I'd make an exception for Booth.

Joni Pitkanen - Joni's always had Sandis Ozolinsh Syndrome (defenseman who thinks he's a forward) but last season he couldn't even get the point scoring side of things right. He's on a tear to start this season though and he's always had the skills to be a top notch puck moving dman. Maybe Carolina's where he finally puts it all together, and realizes he has to skate forwards AND backwards.

Shea Weber - Scored a goal in a surprising 3-1 Preds win over the Stars. Don't let his injury problems last season fool you, Weber will be right around 40 points again if he stays healthy. Plus he shoots like it's going out of style, which I love to see from defensemen. Even with the disappointing season he had 152 shots in 54 games last year!

Phil Kessel - He always seems like he's on the verge of putting together a really hot streak, and he has 2 goals already. Keep an eye on him.

Mikko Koivu - 2 A, 5 SOG, 20+ minutes of ice time in his first game. I was able to pick him up off FA in my one league when we expanded our rosters an extra spot. He really shouldn't be available in any leagues, if you can grab him, make room for him.

Kyle Turris - 1 G, 2 A, 2 PPP in his first two games. Stamkos who?

Mikkel Boedker - Scored the first goal of his career tonight. If you're in a keeper and Boedker is available, you need to stop reading this and pick him up. I like how Phoenix is bringing along their kids, playing next to veteran centers like Jokinen and Reinprecht who can open up the ice and give the youngins a chance to do their thing.

Rick Rypien - I honestly know nothing about this guy but he has 2 goals and a fight already, and he looks like a hooligan in his Yahoo! player profile pic.

Rene Bourque - I always expect him to have a breakout season, because I think I subconsciously have been under the impression he's Ray Bourque nephew or something. Instead it turns out he's the cousin of boxer Wayne Bourque, which judging from his Wikipedia picture and bio, might make Rene even more awesome. Either way, he's playing on a line with Michael Cammalleri and is off to a good start with a goal and an assist. Worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues.

Randy Jones - Will miss four months after hip surgery. Nearly decapitating Patrice Bergeron last season seemed to get in his head as he never regained the same level of play. With the injury problems now too, I wouldn't even bother waiting around to put him on the IR. Move on.

Denis Grebeshkov - 2 A, +1 and 20 minutes of ice time in his first game this season. He's a former 1st round pick playing on a much improved Oilers team with strong defensemen around him.

Brian Boucher - Picks up where he left off last season putting up shutouts while backing up Nabakov. It's a shame the Sharks and Evgeni are hell bent on having him start 98% of the games this season, otherwise Boucher would be a decent backup in leagues deep enough to warrant carrying one.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Redden The Face

So the Rangers are off to a 3-0 start for the first time in 19 years, and on paper you may be hard pressed to figure out why. Are they just riding the play of Lundquvist? Well to an extent, the Rangers' success all season will depend on Henrik continuing the career year he had last season. But a big part of the Rangers' success this season will also depend on Wade Redden, who has 2 goals and 1 assist through 3 games. I saw some Senators' fans at the end of last season saying that losing Redden wouldn't be a big deal because he's getting older, slower, and his stats are on the decline. Well the fact of the matter is, 35+ point quarterback defensemen don't grow on trees, and while Filip Kuba might end up being a suitable replacement, he is no Wade Redden. Redden is one of the best puck moving defensemen of his generation, and the change of scenery is just what his career needed. The entire Rangers defense will improve for having him there, much like the Senators' defense did when Redden was playing his best. He may be slower, he may be older, but his stats won't be on the decline this season. He's everything you want in a fantasy defenseman: he's a playmaker, he has a good shot, he can score goals and rack up assists, he's on the top powerplay unit, and he shoots a good amount. And at 31, he might be ready to top his career year, which he accomplished in only 65 games... and was just 2 years ago.

Brandon Dubinsky - Another reason the Rangers could succeed this season is Nikolai Zherdev. When the Blue Jackets were making moves in the offseason, I thought Zherdev would be the main building block of their offense to put pieces around after Nash. But he had continuous problems with the organization and instead they traded him for 2 mediocre defensemen. If Dubinsky breaks out this year (2 G, 2 A through 3 games so far), it's because he's playing on a line with Zherdev. And he currently should be available in most leagues.

Jonathan Toews - The Blackhawks are playing around with their top 2 lines early in the season, and it looks like Toews will be seeing time on the 2nd line as a result. I doubt it will last long.

Aaron Voros - Showed glimpes of putting up Carcillo-lite numbers last season, and through 3 games has 1 G, 2 A, +3 and 5 PIM. He's playing on the afformentioned Dubinsky/Zherdev line, so his offensive upside should be much higher than last season.

Rod Brind'Amour - Doesn't look like he'll miss any time after knee surgery, had a goal in his first game. Brindy is a workhorse and only gets better with age. Will probably play for 10 more years and break his nose 16 more times.

Bryan McCabe - Almost broke his back thanks to Dennis Seidenberg. Will be out for at least 2 weeks. Hey, no sweat, Jay Bouwmeester will just play 40 minutes a night instead of 30 to pick up the slack.

Bryan Little - Wow, the Braves scored a lot of runs on the Nationals last night... wait a second, neither of those teams came close to making the playoffs. Huh, that's weird, did the Falcons and the Redskins have a really low scoring game on a Friday night? Hmmm, no... oh I get it, I must be looking at a Hawks/Wizards preseason game that just started! What?! THE THRASHERS SCORED SEVEN GOALS?!?

Jose Theodore - You know how you keep thinking this will be the year he's good again? It might be time to give that up.

Andy McDonald - Had a red hot preseason and 2 powerplay assists last night. Should not be available in any leagues. McDonald is one of the most under rated playmakers in the NHL when he has wingers to work with. Stempniak has always showed good potential (and is worth keeping an eye on too) and Boyes is one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL. If you can pick McDonald up, do it ASAP.

Derick Brassard - Was supposedly going to start the season on the top line centering Nash and Huselius. That didn't end up happening in the first game (to the relief of everyone who drafted RJ Umberger) but he still scored a goal in limited ice time. No matter if he's playing on the top line or next to fellow super rookie Jakub Voracek (who also shouldn't be available in any leagues), he should have a good season.

Trevor Daley - Had a goal and 20+ minutes of ice time in his first game. With Zubov out for a few weeks Daley will have more responsibility on the Stars blueline and could get off to a hot start. Also good for some PIM.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lose One for the Kipper

After Ross Mckeon predicted the Canucks to be the worst team ever this season, I should have figured they'd jump out to a hot start. Still, 6 goals on 23 shots on Mikka Kiprusoff was beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The Flames were without their second best defenseman, Robyn Regehr, and as a result Adam Pardy (???) was third on the team in time on ice. Still, you can't blame this one on a pardy foul (wah wah), Kipper has to get his act together. I appreciate Mike Keenan leaving him in for the whole game, as opposed to last year when he would have been pulled on the second goal. But Kipper needs to face the facts. His stats have been declining for three seasons. He's prone to bad early season starts and not showing up to camp in great shape. He supposedly had worked all that out in the off season. If he's going to prove he's still an elite NHL goalie, now is the time he has to do it, because by the time he puts together another strong end to his season, nobody will care.

Chris Osgood - Either the Maple Leafs offense is way better than expected, or Osgood owners should check and see if Ty Conklin is still available. I'm not convinced that Ozzie has a repeat of last season.

Peter Budaj - 5 goals on 20 shots. How in the hell the Avs' ownership looked at their fans with a straight face and said "It's okay guys, we have Peter Budaj AND Andrew Raycroft in net this season." and didn't get run out of town is beyond me.

Patrice Bergeron - 16 minutes of ice time, 2 A, +1, 5 SOG, 2 PIM. If you got him late in your draft, you can finally exhale. Just don't do it too close to Patrice, for fear that the gust of wind might give him another concussion.

Michael Ryder - I think he's playing on the top line with Savard, although it's hard to tell since almost EVERY forward on Boston had the same amount of ice time last night. But he did score his first goal as a Bruin, assisted by Savard. If he's next to Savard all year, he breaks 40 goals without breaking a sweat.

Milan Hejduk - 1 G, 1 A, +1, 7 SOG. You know how often Hejduk had seven or more SOG last season? Once. "Oh, I wasn't scoring goals because I wasn't SHOOTING?? Huh, go figure."

Nikita Filatov - Scored the game tying goal and then the winning goal in a shootout to finish off an extremely impressive preseason for the Blue Jackets. Was promptly sent down to the minors. If he's not back up on the big league club by the end of the season, I'd be surprised. Keepers, keep your eye on him.

Jonathan Cheechoo - Two goals in the first game of the season. I wanted to grab him late in one of my leagues but didn't get the chance. Should rebound with a nice season.

Randy Jones - May need hip surgery. Unless you're in a deep, deep league, not worth waiting out to see if/when he's put on the IR.

Daniel Alfredsson - Out at least 2 weeks with knee surgery. Remember what I was saying about Jesse Winchester?

Dan Boyle / Rob Blake - Could they combine for more points than Lidstrom & Rafalski?? Well... probably not. But maybe!

Steve Bernier - Forget the goal, the plus 2, and the big upside of him playing next to the Sedins. He fought Dion Phaneuf! Are the Canucks NOT a bunch of pussies this year?? Well I'll be damned!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It Begins

Welcome to the beginning of Blog On The Ice, a daily fantasy hockey report. I've got no shame admitting that this is a blatant rip off of Razzball, the best fantasy baseball analysis on the internet. Which shouldn't go to Grey's head, because the level of quality for fantasy sports analysis on the internet is somewhere between that of Frank TV and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Just a short post to start things off since I'm still getting the hang of this and I only have 4 regular season games to talk about so far. As more teams play I'll have more to talk about than Pascal freakin Dupuis.

Mike Smith/Olaf Kolzig - Good start from both statistically, it's just a shame they faced 41 and 39 shots respectively. Here's hoping you didn't draft either, because the Lightning's defense will be among the worst in the NHL this season. Oh wait, they got Lukas Krajicek, their season's saved!

Shane O'Brien - If you're counting on him for PIM from D, I guess the trade improves his value since his +/- should be better be playing in front of Luongo.

Pascal Dupuis - Some people drafted him late hoping he'd play on the top line. Some people are disappointed.

Alex Goligoski - I honestly never heard of this kid before, but he's a young dman, drafted reasonably high by the Pens (2nd round in '04) who will apparently be seeing powerplay time on a team with Malkin and Crosby. Yeah, you want to keep an eye on him as long as Gonchar and Whitney are down.

Alex Auld - Good shot at taking the starting job from Gerber in Ottawa, if Gerber ever had the job to start with. If your third goalie is Khabi, Manny Fernandez, Joey MacDonald, someone on the Lightning, someone on the Kings, or Martin Gerber... then pick up Auld.

Ruslan Fedetenko - Seeing some time on the first line. No points to show yet, but Rusty can surprise you. If he clicks a 60+ point season is not unrealistic.

Daniel Briere - Will be starting the season at RW on the top line. The Flyers seem serious about sticking to this experiment so hopefully Yahoo doesn't slack on giving him eligibility. Also his abysmal +/- from last year should improve at wing. Asking John Stevens to stick to one line for any significant amount of time though is like asking Dusty Baker to pull a starting pitcher after 6 innings.

Jesse Winchester - Was pegged to play on the top line to move Alfredsson down and give the Sens some scoring depth. Hasn't happened yet but with a 2nd line that features Chris Kelly at center, I wouldn't rule it out in the near future. Still posted 1 A, 6 SOG and a +1 in his first two games.