NHL Players in the Olympics

01/07/2010
2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic - Philadelphia Flyers v Boston Bruins

The title says it all.  This article will be no more than a comprehensive list of NHL (and some other players owned by NHL teams) players set to participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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Here's to a New Year Without Head Shots

01/02/2010
New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five

I am certain that an opinion piece of this nature will upset each team’s fans but these head shots have got to stop.  Of course, we are all hockey fans and love the big hit, some live for it but there needs to be a line drawn with the increasing speed to the game.  These hits need to stop or else hockey becomes a survival of the fittest in which young players stand little chance of establishing a career due to playing scared due to footage from the last gruesome head shot.

While the League’s general managers mull over a rule change, I would like to propose a rule change of my own.  Repeat dirty hits will lead to a permanent suspension from the League.  The OHL instilled a similar rule when they banned Michael Liambas, a notoriously dirty player, from playing in their League following a career ending hit against Ben Fanelli.  This instance marked just another time Liambas made a questionable hit, you cam see another one on first overall pick John Tavares here.  The NHL made a similar move with former NHL pugilist Ryan Hollweg, essentially calling any hit remotely borderline until he played his way out of the league.

The moral of my rant will be that these types of players simply do not deserve a paycheck in the National Hockey League.  A League where the rest of the world comes to play and play for the sport’s greatest trophies.  What kind of message does it send when careers start to end due to these injuries? Do we need Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin seriously injured before we start to see lifetime bans?

My nominees for a lifetime ban…

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NHLHS Endorsed Pickups

12/30/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Dallas Stars

Any player written about is under 50 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.

This week we will go over several streaking players in the NHL leading us to another extended version of NHLHS Endorsed Pickups.

Here are today’s picks:

C: Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues –  Despite his position in most fantasy leagues, Steen plays left wing on the second line for the Blues.  Although this team deals with lack of production at times, this second generation forward continues to score at an alarming rate.  With nine points in his last five games the chemistry with current line-mates TJ Oshie and David Backes seems electric

Prognosis:  Hopefully Steen will gain LW eligibility.  Regardless, his production rivals many top fantasy superstars so ride him while he is hot!

C:  Tim Connolly, Buffalo Sabres –  With Derek Roy day-to-day, Connolly should get extended ice time.  This news comes on the heels of a four-game point streak in which this 28-year-old center produced six points.  Since the lockout, the Syracuse, New York, native averages nearly a point-per-game making him a safe bet in all formats.

Prognosis:  Another grab him while he is hot comment would fit here.  When healthy, Connolly makes a solid number two center in all formats.  If your league excludes PIMs, even better.

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The End to All Team Canada Speculation

12/30/2009
2007 NHL Awards Portraits

As the announcement was made on NHLNetwork in the States and TSN in Canada, NHL Hot Stove was on board and prepared to drop the news to
you directly after the announcement.

The selection, in order as it was announced:

Bob Mickelson: “This is a day every Canadian has been waiting for” and those words have never been more true.
Mike Chambers: “…a first ever Olympic Mens Ice Hockey win at home, on home ice.”
Steve Yzerman: (huge ovation) “….like all Canadians we are very excited to be here.  For all hockey fans, it’s a great day.” “This has
been an enjoyable process, but, a difficult one.” “Every player on this roster was put on after great debate.” “We feel we have a team
that will make Canadians proud…….and compete for a Gold medal which all Canadians know that we can achieve.”

Goaltenders:

Martin Brodeur (Montreal, Quebec)
Marc Andre Fleury (Sorel, Quebec)
Roberto Luongo (Montreal, Quebec)

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Weekly Fantasy 3 Stars – Week Ending 12/27/2009

12/28/2009
Chicago Black Hawks v Los Angeles Kings

Similar to our Daily 3 Stars, this section will break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every week and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and therefore omit salaries.

THIRD STAR: Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens (0-0-1) –  The impending RFA continues to prove his worth to the team following an off year.  The 27-year-old and first line center scored two goals and assisted on six more totaling nine points over the week, three of which coming on the powerplay.  A native of Kladno, Czechoslovakia, made famous as the birthplace of superstar Jaromir Jagr, Plekanec fired only six shots on goal while posting a plus three rating.  Not known as a goalscorer he sits slightly over a point per game and projects to post 90 points when the season ends.  Pretty impressive for a guy deemed expendable before the year began.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/23/2009

12/24/2009
Pittsburgh Penguins v Los Angeles Kings

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

With 12 games and 24 teams in action, we saw plenty of hockey to get us through the Christmas break.  Now in the middle of a mandated break, us hockey fans as well as players anticipate a big day on Saturday.  Having said that, since there were so many teams in action, choosing three standout players proved incredibly difficult. Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:

THIRD STAR: Marc Savard, Boston Bruins (0-0-1) –  Savard played a vital role in the Bruins 6-4 victory over the Thrashers.  Going blow-for-blow with the offensive powerhouse in Atlanta, the 32-year-old center stepped up and lead his team to victory.  On the night, Savard put three points on the scoreboard, a goal and two assists all of which coming on the powerplay.  In addition, the Ottawa, Ontario native fired four shots on goal while posting a plus one rating.

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Christmas Spirit Yields Big Returns

12/19/2009
Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders

Today, we will see two big name players return to the lineup.  Are these guys the Christmas present their teams have been waiting for?  Most likely, but who now gets coal in their stockings with their returns.

Andrei Markov makes his long awaited return after missing every Habs game since October 1.  A victim of unfortunate circumstances, the veteran defenseman cut his leg on the skate of goalie Carey Price, a scary and freaky play to say the least.

Now Markov returns and should soon return to form, but at the expense of both recent call-up and subsequently recently demoted Yannick Weber and Marc-Andre Bergeron.  A recently sent down Weber adds to his frequent flier miles while Bergeron finds himself skating on the fourth line, a situation he is not used to being a natural defenseman. The 29-year-old journeyman defenseman, mostly known for his prowess on the powerplay, will have trouble keeping up his torrid scoring pace now that his playing time will be greatly diminished.  Fantasy owners should be in full blown sell mode.

Could this make Bergeron expendable to the Habs and available to a team in need of a solid powerplay QB?

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/08/2009

12/09/2009
Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

Another good night around hockey. We witnessed the Flyers win their first game under new coach Peter Laviolette as well as a breakout performance in Nashville. In addition, the Anaheim Ducks finally snapped their four game losing streak with help from goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

THIRD STAR: Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers (0-1-1) – Briere played solid game helping his team route the Islanders 6-2. The diminutive forward assisted on two goals, one a powerplay marker by Jeff Carter. In fact, both assists came on Carter markers, showing solid chemistry with an elite fantasy player. In addition, the 33-year-old took three shots on goal, sat four minutes in the box and finished the night a plus one. An impressive effort in which he contributed over five offensive categories.

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Flyers NOW Turning the Corner?

12/08/2009
New Flyers coach Peter Laviolette

A few days ago Puck Daddy did an article about the Flyers and their coaching change.  Until tonight, the article appeared very wrong.  After tonight it reads oh so well.

Say what you will about the Islanders, they are a very competitive team.  In fact, before the game they were ahead of Philadelphia in the standings.  Now they are tied and that should be the closest the Islanders get to the Flyers all year.

Their new coach, Peter Laviolette, moves from the press box to the bench, giving them a strong leader who most likely will push them over the top.  Although there were rumors of no fighting and a less physical team I would like to remind you these are still the Broad Street Bullies.  Dan Carcillo felt no need to tone down his game, and it looks like Chris Pronger won’t either (see Boarding call on Tavares).

For this team to be successful they need to maintain their physical nature while feeding off consistent production from their top two lines.

This is why this game is a true turning point.

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Cost Efficiency: Rich Peverley, best player in hockey?

11/22/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Well maybe our headline is taking it a bit too far, but you can’t get a better player for your money.  Claimed off waivers last year from the Predators the 27-year-old now has 59 points in 58 games for the Thrashers. The undrafted free agent recently signed a 2 year contract worth a total of 2.6 million a modest raise from his current 487,500 cap hit.

Since he makes 487,500 this year, as a technicality we can put his stats over his salary to determine his cost-per-point production.  Prior to joining Nashville, Pevs was a point-per-game player in the AHL showing glimpses of his potential.  If the graduate from St. Lawrence University continues his pace, he may be one of the greatest bargains of all time.

He averages a goal for every 61K he makes, a small value in comparison to Dany Heatley’s 441K per goal.  The center assists on a goal for every 33K paid, making Joe Thornton’s 300K per assist look like a king’s ransom. Peverley’s 22K per point is 15K less than the next player James Neal, who is coming off an entry level contract himself.  Nobody can compare to his proverbial bang for the buck.

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