October 19, 2011

by Dobber Sports


The Hurricanes have sent Justin Faulk to the AHL. It was the right move - the team has been winning since dressing Jamie McBain in Faulk's place.


Hey gang - Angus here. Came across an interesting writing opportunity earlier this week - an opening for a hockey blogger/writer at the Province in Vancouver (more on it here). I formally tossed my hat in the ring, and I`d love your support. Read that link, and let those who make the decisions know you`d like to see me there too (or, if you picked Malkin too early this year at my recommendation, keep on reading).

Missed was the fact that Ryan Whitney returned to action last night. Jeff Petry was the scratch. Whitney is a huge addition to this young team and when he gets his rhythm it will help the likes of Cam Barker thanks to an improved power play.


Brayden Schenn has been recalled - Zac Rinaldo has been sent down. This hurts Rinaldo owners, who pretty much just picked the guy up! As for Schenn, I don't know if there's room for both he and Couturier right now - and I predict that within five games, one of them will be sent down. The onus is on Schenn to seize control here.


Jamie Benn goal of the year, by request, tacked onto the bottom of the ramblings. Enjoy!


Mark Scheifele and how to play him - I am moving him onto my bench for next week (I had him active this week, because the Jets were finally playing a bulk of games and I'm thin at center in that particular league). I will keep him on my bench until he starts going. And will he? Well, he followed up a season high in ice time with last game's season low. So it's hard to peg whether or not his role is declining. But branded in my brain are the coach's words - that it would take a monumental collapse in his play for him to not stick with the team beyond the nine games. His words were so iron-clad that I'm not ready to write him off for this season just yet.


I’m leading off with this – Matt Read. Often lumped in the same sentence as Craig Smith because the two of them really came out of nowhere. Sure, they were highly touted college players and those of us really into hockey knew of them… but we also knew of Da Costa. And Butler. And Bozak. And Winchester. And Purcell. By this point, we’re trained to think – and rightfully so – that a college player is rarely a quick fix for your fantasy team. At best he makes the team and plays throughout, but manages 20 or 30 points with the upside to come in a couple of years. But these two made the team and are making an impact. Against the odds.


And by “odds” I mean that Read is on a deep Philadelphia team with tons of offensive options. But so far he’s outscoring Briere, van Riemsdyk, Jagr, Hartnell and Voracek. And four-point games don’t grow on trees (even if it was Ottawa). Six points in five games to start an NHL career is promising in anyone’s books.


And “odds” for Smith is the fact that he plays for a coach who would watch him score twice in 10 minutes of ice time and then next game roll his ice time back to nine minutes. If he scores again, that’s it he’s down to eight. I’m exaggerating, of course, but you catch my drift – Barry Trotz brings the kids in slowly. Yet Smith made the team first try and was out there in the final minute when the team was down by one against Edmonton.


Meanwhile, Ottawa is screwed. I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I saw the final 20 games last year and saw Craig Anderson carrying the team on his shoulders, getting blasted by pucks and stopping almost all of them. Now, he’s stopping some…but there are too many! At this point it would surprise me if Anderson can finish with an SP over .900. The Sens are giving up more quality chances in a period than most teams do in a week. The plus/minus is going to kill each and every one of those players.


Erik Karlsson, at least, has eight points in six games.


Stephane Da Costa is minus-8 after six games. He needs to join his buddy Filatov in the AHL. Another change I would make – Zibanejad goes back to Sweden for a year. Then I would get some character and some defensive acumen. Mike Grier? John Madden? Adam Mair? Bottom of the barrel, sure, but obviously the FA pickings are slim. But let’s win some faceoffs and kill some penalties. Still plenty of skill left, it’s just that instead of trying to cram 50 rookies/sophomores with potential all at once, you’re only trying three or four. Keep the games close.


Filatov, by the way, is one of just two plus players on the Senators. Regin is the other.


Jacob Markstrom stopped 29 of 31 shots, but took the loss. A great start, but the 3-1 Theodore’s job is still safe.


Andrei Kostitsyn has points in three straight games. Wonder how long this one will last? Five games? He’s enjoying 18-plus minutes of ice time these days.


Ryan Johansen saw just 7:42 of ice time. That’s with Carter out. I think he’ll be sent down shortly.


Meanwhile, as expected, Brassard saw a season high 18:42 and scored his first goal of the campaign.


Steve Mason – is he just getting worse? It’s hard for a goalie to regain his confidence and Mason’s is long long gone. Now a few games into what looks to be his third brutal year, it’s not looking promising. Winless in six starts now.


Somebody wake Antoine Vermette. The season’s started!


Alex Goligoski, who can be streaky, is pointless in his last four. But he’s still seeing more ice time than Sheldon Souray so I’m not worried. Yet.


The Oilers were winning with five minutes left when the Flames scored too quick ones. The rookie line is great, but they’ll have their off games. The Horcoff/Smyth line is a solid secondary option and if they can get Hemsky back – watch out. But what disappoints me right now is Paajarvi and Omark. Not so much Omark, as he has looked fabulous at times (he’s just not finishing – hopefully that will turn around). But Paajarvi isn’t playing like a potential star player.


Jaroslav Halak got the hook after giving up four goals on 18 shots. Elliott gave up one in six in relief. Halak has had a terrible start, but then – so have the Blues. This is a good team, why are they sucking? Is Davis Payne the right coach here?


After going pointless in the first game, Simon Gagne has seven points in four games since. Every two or three seasons, Gagne stays healthy. Is this another bounce-back year? He had 74 points three years ago… 79 points three years before that… and 66 points three years before that.


Jason Labarbera stopped just 30 of 35 shots, helping Mike Smith secure that top job.


Quietly, Bryan Bickell is piling up points – four of them in five games.


And the band plays on for Roberto Luongo. I hear lots of talk about his rough Octobers and his poor starts…but this has to be his worst. There’s no sugarcoating this.


Ryan Kesler played 19 minutes in his season debut. Marco Sturm was scratched to make room.


Andrei Markov – out for at least another two weeks.


Patrick Maroon has been sent back down to Syracuse. Perhaps Palmieri will be called up?


Slava Voynov played nearly 20 minutes, saw top PP time and was a plus-2 in his debut.


Why am I high on Jamie Benn? Uh, will this help explain?



Kris Letang gets two games for this hit – here is the explanation. How do the Pens keep winning without Crosby, Malkin and Letang?



Nashville’s Wade Belak tribute:




Comments are closed.