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!

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