so did you watch last night? gosh i love my wife but why can't she be more of a puck fan? i had to deal with the game on picture in picture once the top of the hour came and the "real" shows came on tv. not that i'm complaining, she's wonderful to me ... most of the time.
4 games on the sched, 3 go into OT, 1 ends in a shootout.
so i'm sitting there watching most of the first period and i was ragging on Nik Antropov (it's my way) after a mere 8 seconds into the Leafs season he decides, "i've waited long enough, i'm taking a penalty". nothing like a hooking call 8 seconds into the game to make you raise your blood pressure. did i tell you about this guy? yes i did ... yesterday. that's ok though, he redeemed himself in my books by scoring 2 goals.
i saw Tomas Kaberle get beat badly by Antoine Vermette for the first goal of the game. i nearly broke out my "your freaking PYLON!" chant but i just couldn't say that about a quality blueliner like T-Kab. a lot of guys talk about Bryan McCabe's value and Mats Sundin's value to the Leafs power play but let me tell you this, the linchpin to their attack is #15 Kaberle.
i had to go to a church meeting last night so i missed the bulk of the game but i caught the end and boy oh boy, can that Dany Heatley guy play the game or what? he tied the game by taking a pass in the slot, holding it less than a split second and boom, back of the net. and he did that while Chad Kilger was so close that he gave him a stick of chewing gum while he waited for the pass to hit his stick. oh well, half the fun of the NHL sched is all the divisional games. i love it when my Leafs get to play Ottawa and Montreal a gazillion times each. well, the Leafs open up with a point, and against a powerhouse like the Sens i'm ok with that. the win would've been a lot nicer but still, it's a long season.
Wade Redden got into 2 fights. nice. i've heard some that are down on the guy but let me tell you this, you're going to hear from him. if you have him as your D3 on your fantasy team you've got yourself a freaking steal.
i don't have to tell you more about Dany Heatley and his 3 pts last night, you already know he's more than pretty good. another guy got 3 pts last night though, Paul Stastny. i read that someone interviewed his dad (Peter Stastny of Quebec Nordiques fame) who flat out admitted that Paul is better than he ever was. what? only Wayne Gretzky scored more pts in the 80's than Peter Stastny did and he just remarks offhandedly that Paul is better than him? i tell you that this Avs team is going to score a TONNE. Stastny scored 3 times and he wasn't even among the top 3 forwards for his own team for ice time last night. pretty opportunistic but let me tell, that'll keep happening. Ryan Smyth looked like he was still getting his bearings. that'll happen too. i'm expecting close to 40 out of him this year, probably half of that on the PP.
Philippe Boucher is a pet fave of mine and anyone who's read my writing before probably realizes that. he's on the ice forever, plays at both ends like a superstar and is more effective than any other D on his team. it used to be that Sergei Zubov was the man on the Dallas D but the torch has been decidedly passed to Boucher. and given Dallas's defensive style then his +/- is going to be great for the next decade. believe me now.
Detroit hosted the Champion Ducks last night in a repeat of the Conference Finals from last year. the Ducks barely scraped by a couple months ago and going into this year they look like the weaker squad. you'll find lots of fantasy goodness on both teams. the Ducks must be jet-lagged though eh? that trip from London with 2 days to recoop? probably enough but still a convenient excuse anyway. Bertuzzi got his first goal of the season and i wouldn't be surprised to see 30 out of him, even considering the brutal struggles he's had since the "incident". Perry got himself a goal and a fight, one assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. he's going to be pretty good this season too (watch Getzlaf a lot too). everyone loves Nik Lidstrom in Detroit and rightly so but Datsyuk and Zetterberg don't get enough NHL print, particularly Zett who for a good chunk of the season last year played like he was going to be the league MVP. i predict that he could do that this year if people bother to look past how great Lidstrom is for the winged wheel. the Wings will rely on a few "youngsters" and i throw in the quotes because they don't strike me as being all that young anymore. i like Hudler, Samuelsson, Holmstrom, and Filppulla to provide more than adequate support scoring to the big guns.
finally we get to the Habs/Canes game. i wonder if my buddy Motorcat was there. Cat if you're reading this then go ahead and chime in. with all the talk of Carey Price in Montreal people forget that Huet is an elite goaltender himself. i only saw highlights but still Huet (Dewey and Louie) looked more than impressive. the thing i'm banking on is that Huet won't be able to play all season and the door will be open for Price to take the reins and turn Huey into the NHL's version of Wally Pipp. the Habs look incredibly well balanced (@#$!#$), and they do have a significant PP to deal with. i still don't like them for a playoff spot though. Saku Koivu is a special player and his heart is immeasurable. it looks like Mark Streit is their new PP triggerman and if not then he'll still see an uptick in value. i like a guy like Andrei Markov as a D3 or so, yeah that's fantasy goodness. Rod the bod Brind'amour spent 4 minutes in the box and still led his entire team in ice time. that man is just plain dedicated. Justin Williams looks ready to bust out statistically. Cam Ward faced 40 shots and lost in OT. better things are going to happen with him, we haven't heard the last of the Canes.
alright, i'm not sure i like the formatting here and may just be tweaking things regularly but still, keep coming back please. email questions if you have them. post comments if you want to.