Howard, Crawford in trouble? Don't get too worked up about Patrick Kane; and more ...
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After his hat trick last night, Cam Atkinson has 20 points in his last 29 games - or about a 57-point pace. That's where I hope to see him at next year. Lord knows he shoots enough to do it.
Corey Crawford has given up four goals five times in his last 13 games and he's been pulled twice. He was pulled last night and Scott Darling shut the door. Darling has played over 100 minutes of shutout hockey and I suspect he'll get the next start. (And get that starting goalie info over at Goalie Post).
What is going on with Brett Seabrook? Boy did I ever trade him just in time. In his last 35 games, here is his line: 35-1-8-9, minus-9. Before that: 39-7-15-22, plus-3
The line combination of Thomas Vanek - Justin Fontaine - Charlie Coyle continues to roll. They combined on a goal, but the fact that they found chemistry has suddenly pushed Fontaine into fantasy relevance. He has 16 points in his last 21 contests. Worth picking up for this season, and an outside chance of being a high-40s player next season if he can keep that plum spot for even half the schedule.
Any Devan Dubnyk 40-win believers out there yet? I'm starting to become one. He has 34 wins and the team has seven games left. Needs to go 6-and-1. To put that another way - the next seven games he needs to do what he did the last seven games (6-1-0).
Benoit Pouliot is a serious must-own for poolies in the stretch run here. And to be honest, I like him a lot for next year as well. Whether the Oilers get McDavid or not, his contract will see to it that he's on a scoring line. And he'll likely get several extended shots at this line - and we're already seeing that it can work.
Richard Bachman seems to have settled in. After getting blasted for six goals in his first loss, he allowed just two in his second loss and then last night picked up the shutout. Edmonton seems to be holding to a pattern in which Ben Scrivens starts eight or nine games in a row before the backup gets in one game, so it's doubtful that Bachman will get a chance to build on that.
By the way - what are the Oilers doing? I thought they were the kings of tank? Winning? A record of 4-4-2 in the last 10? That's not how you get a McDavid!
The Maple Leafs are very much in range of the Oilers. Just three points ahead and performing much, much worse. I'm starting to become a believer that the Leafs can finish third-last.
Valeri Nichushkin has been sent to the minors for conditioning. The Stars are pretty much out of it, but they're desperate and will try to hang in there, so I can see them calling him back up for their last five games. Dallas is off from Tuesday to Thursday next week, so I'm thinking Friday's game.
My latest from Puck Daddy Thursday takes a look at some injured players and what to do with them in your fantasy playoffs. Here. Still reasonably relevant.
And Anatoliy Metter over at THW gives you a list of streaking playoff pickups under 30% owned here.
Sam Carchidi reports on the Flyers' practice, and it's significant in that we get our first peek at their lineup without Wayne Simmonds or Andrew MacDonald. Looks like Vincent Lecavalier draws back in and Brayden Schenn gets bumped back up to a scoring line.
And here is speculation that the Red Wings will stick with Petr Mrazek if he can seize the starting job. He gets the start today against the Lightning and all it would take are a couple of great outings. Jimmy Howard is 5-5-3, 3.14, 0.893 since returning from injury.
There's a lot of talk about Patrick Kane and how he's skating and progressing well. He's supposed to be out for 12 weeks with a fractured collarbone. But before people start to believe that he can return soon (he's at five weeks or so right now), just remember - this is a fractured collarbone. It's not a knee sprain or a separated shoulder. He needs to be able to take a hit and not have that hit re-fracture it. I'm thinking at best it would be 10 weeks. Anything earlier than that would be a serious risk. Ten weeks would put him back in the first week of May. So maybe the end of the second round if the series goes deep.
I'm not going to be taking any Blackhawks in any playoff pool this year. They're going to go relatively early and I'm not going to get mixed up in any of those scrambles to draft a couple. Too many other Western Conference options.
Nick Bjugstad had surgery on his lower back on Friday and is out for the season. If the Panthers make the playoffs, he'll miss that too. But don't worry folks - the surgery was "successful". And they can determine the success of this kind of surgery five seconds after they finish it…because they're that damn good.
Just wondering…if Bjugstad has a setback in August, can the doctors/media/Panthers print a retraction saying that the story from March 27 was false and that the surgery actually wasn't successful?
Last night I solicited stories in the forum about some horrific moves made this year that cost the fantasy hockey championship. I got a few doozies - there were a few about trading away great players to get Tuukka Rask this year. That seemed to be a real poolie killer. The worst move I saw was sent to me on Twitter. The guy traded Monahan and Nichushkin for Kessel two days before Carlyle was fired. Yikes!
But that pales in comparison to my January trade of the Sedin twins for Kunitz, Perron and Scherbak.
Or how about this, from Sunday Rambler Ian Gooding:
Here's a draft day nightmare, in an expert's roto league, no less...
I drafted the following players, all on one team at around their average draft position on Yahoo (between the 5th and 12 rounds): Eric Staal, Mike Smith, Christian Ehrhoff, Jonathan Drouin, Matt Niskanen, and Tomas Hertl. That was all before I had to leave the live draft to take care of a personal matter that could not be rescheduled. Cody Hodgson, Niklas Backstrom (the goalie), Dany Heatley, and Michael Ryder were not autopicks that will win you your league.
Grrrr…Phil angry. Phil no like when Dave battles him against wall:
Just like in real regular season games!
And Dobber buddy Cam Atkinson with a beauty SHG:
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