remember to set your clock back? i realize that young people don't care about that sort of thing but i just point out that you might want to change that up before you show up for school an hour earlier than you intend to tomorrow.
i do not think that the NHL has to tweak the schedule much at all and i think i may be in the minority here but the only change i want in the schedule is to take a few inter-conference games and send them over to become intra-conference games. in other words i want fewer games against teams in other divisions in your same conference and more games against the other conference. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PROVIDE US WITH FEWER DIVISIONAL GAMES! the divisional game is the backbone of the schedule, and it lets a team get a real hate on for a closely geographical rival. i think that teams should play every team in the other conference home and away at least once every year and it would even be nice if the Canadian teams can make an extra road trip through the other other Canadian squads.
last night the Leafs took round 2 of the PBBBBBBBBBLT bowl (if you don't know what i'm talking about look in Oct archives for the raspberry title). Matt Stajan scored a PP goal with a minute and a half to go. it's still a foolish option to take a penalty late in any game, you might not get much of a chance to bounce back. WHEW! the Leafs certainly needed that game. Stajan has minimal fantasy value despite going 1 and 1; a couple of my fave Habs did alright for themselves (Higgins with a PP goal and Markov with an assist and 28 mins of ice time) and Tomas Kaberle (please don't trade him JFJ) led off the scoring, a minute into the game on the PP.
people outside Ottawa forget that Mike Fisher is an excellent hockey player. he's one of the best checking C's in the league, he keeps the puck out of his own end and manages to score 20 every year. he got 2 last night and he has the potential to pot 30 in any season where he stays healthy all season.
Victoria Matiash wrote a very good article about the Bruins yesterday and mentioned their secondary scoring. she's right of course, the Bruins are the same bears you're used to and could go a decent way this season. they may even be able to steal a playoff spot from a team that can't seem to keep the puck out of their own net much of late. i'm not saying more about that. on another note i noticed that 2 weeks in a row now she's put into her column "veiled" (pun intended) references to marriage. i wonder if Vicky is hinting to her beau or not about it. anyway, she pointed out that Marco Sturm and Phil Kessel are putting up stats and contributing. that'll continue and i just want to say that i pegged Kessel for a big breakout this season.
i don't know if i've mentioned David Clarkson here or not but i'm mentioning him now. he might end up as a strong viable choice for PIMs and points this season. well, we know he'll put up the PIMs but also pocketed his 1st goal of the season this weekend. if he reaches 30 pts this season he'll be very good and we already know he'll be elite in PIMs. Henrik Lundqvist was amazing against the Devils last night and one sportscaster pointed out that there are fewer "hotter" goalies than Hank right now anyway. Marty Brodeur only had 2 fewer saves than Hank but they were less fantazalicious than Hank's. Peter Prucha got an assist on Gomez's goal and then he scored the shootout winner too. i've been watching Prucha very carefully in the hopes that he starts to get some more ice time. he hasn't been and i don't think the time to pounce hsa come yet.
Ryan Malone seems to be getting more and more time with Sid, go get him. Malone opened the scoring last night and nearly got 20 mins of ice time. if he's lining up with Sid and Gene then his value is through the roof. Miroslav Satan scored twice on only 3 shots and just shy of 18 mins ice time. i'm not a believer in Satan (in more ways than one)(although i now have Dana Karvey's Church Lady ringing in my ears), i just don't think he's a good enough offensive option to be of much use to a fantasy team. i think he runs hot and cold, mostly cold and his +/- always suffers, every year. no thanks. one guy i've been surprised has been having a brutal year is Marc Andre Fleury. i certainly didn't see that coming. i even suggested him as a possible keeper option and had him ranked as my 5th goaltender in my rankings this season. i have him on one team in fact and consequently i have the worst goaltending in the league, one of the best offenses and i'm stuck in 11th place. that sucks. the Pens do NOT need to trade for another goaltender, Fleury can do the job. let him. he lost 3-2 last night.
did you expect that Carolina would be this good? arguably a major power broker to start this year? did you peg Matt Cullen and Jeff Hamilton for their contributions? i didn't but i was also smart enough to realize it early on and i added Hamilton. of course the superstars in Carolina are still gonna do their thing so don't do something stupid like dropping Eric Staal to pick up Hamilton but you know what i'm saying right? take advantage of hot starts. the Canes started running a PP of 5 forwards out there since they couldn't feel all that comfortable with the moves that any of their D could put on a forechecking forward, and the change has paid off. look into it.
hmmm, Ilya Kovalchuk with a hattie. oh and he got another one the night before. i sure hope you didn't sell on him, that would've been stupid ... unless you got someone like Joe Thornton or something. Kovy is one of the best pure goalscorers in the world and all the turmoil behind the bench won't change that. Marian Hossa is going to explode too, do NOT trade him either. i think i'm falling in love with Tobias Enstrom as a fantasy hockey option (notice i don't say i'm falling in love with him as a fantasy option, that's not my way). Marty St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier each dished 3 assists last night, they'll be fine. i worry a lot about Brad Richards' +/- though, there's no way that anyone on that offensive of a team should be minus the majority of his career, which is the case for Richards. it'd be enough for me not to consider him as a keeper option.
Marian Gaborik and Ilya Kovalchuk were separated at birth i think. ok so their births occurred at 2 very different locales at very different dates but still, if anyone can show the goalscoring prowess that Kovalchuk shows, and if that person isn't Vincent Lecavalier, then he would be Marian Gaborik. Gabby only has 4 on the year but he has 13 pts and if healthy he'll compete for the Rocket Richard trophy. Niklas Backstrom was back in net again for the Wild and the kid Brent Burns threw out a couple of assists as the Wild beat up on Calgary last night. with all the talk of defensive hockey in C-bus this season then how about we talk about defensive hockey that has been taught by Jacques Lemaire for a couple decades now (it seems). the Wild will be heard from and if they were in the Eastern Conference they might very well lead their division but instead they fight for power in the west.
Dustin Bfuglien scored a far from Bfugly goal last night. still, move on. nothing to see here folks, at least not this year. Bfugly was an AHL star last year and amongst the scoring leaders, he may even have won the scoring race but i'm a bit too lazy right now to look it up. i still think he has value down the road but he isn't getting much play right now. i only said it was a pretty goal because i wanted to make the Bfugly joke. i don't see much else to note in the Blues/Hawks game last night, i did notice that Doug Weight got more ice time than nearly any other forward for the Blues last night. i still don't want him on my team anymore, unless i was desperate for the occasional assist.
the offense for Anaheim flowed out of the D last night. Mathieu Schneider will be an adequate replacement for Scott Niedermayer until Feb or so when Nied's and Selanne both decide to play again and Chris Pronger is a D anchor that anyone would want on their team. i've mentioned that im in a roto league where one represents an NHL team so that we can see who's the best roto option in the NHL. i'm the Ducks. i've been hurt by the "holdouts", retirements, injuries, replacement RW's who don't contribute and then get injured and the rook 2nd overall pick in the Sid draft who doesn't pan out and gets sent down again. the Ducks beat up on Phoenix last night, like they should.
i have a soft spot for the Canucks. i'd like them to succeed, unless they're playing a team that i like more, which isn't many. they've certainly been hurt by the injuries to Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa in the last week but take heart, they could be the Oilers' D corps instead (incidentally, that Matt Greene injury made me squemish). both Salo and Bieksa are quality defenders with booming shots and in the case of Bieksa a booming regimen to plaster somebody against the boards. but their absence also makes some room for Luc Bourdon who will be a solid player, Mike Weaver who you may never hear form again and it forces guys like Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell to step up and be the quality D men they have shown in the past that they can be. the Canucks held off a hard charging Avs team last night. if you were worried about Bobby Lou in Van then don't be, he'll be fine. one guy in my work league put him on the block and it would've been nice if he decided to move him to me since i really need G help there. oh well. Paul Stastny is a stud player, but you knew that already. Ian Laperriere is a cheap source of PIMs, John-Michael Liles will benefit from playing with so many skilled players offensively on the PP and the price tag on him might be a bit cheaper than you think, and Vancouver still can't seem to score outside of the twins.
Jonathan Cheechoo was back matched up with Joe Thornton again. about freaking time. Cheech is a quality sniper who's value went through the roof the moment that Joe became a Shark. unfortunately he can't seem to generate offense unless he's playing with greatness himself so if he doesn't line up with Joe than you've just wasted a high draft pick on him. Sandis Ozolinsh is back in the NHL and i just hope that his presence doesnt sap away value from Matt Carle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (i call him pickle). Ozo is a character who has struggled with alcohol in the past and in fact got nailed for driving under the influence AFTER he had been in treatment. i just don't like him and he won't go on my team. by the looks of things the ice time for the 2 kids listed above and Craig Rivet wasn't hurt much by his presence, i hope that remains the case. Jeremey Roenick scored his 4th goal of the season in only just shy of 8 mins ice time. JR is a mouthpiece who can be an entertaining figure but not a personal fave of mine (YOU wake the f*** up! to quote one of his fave lines of all time). JR has no fantasy value anymore. Jason LaBarbera is now the main goalie for the Kings.
there is still rumour that Jaroslav Halak has asked to be traded or he'll return to Europe instead of playing in the minors. i think LA, or PHX may be interested. i think Tampa needs goalie help but they may just want to ask for Huet out of Montreal instead then the Habs can bring Halak up to Montreal as the backup. i added Halak on my deep league team and am patiently waiting.