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.