Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday Night Special

Fairly full plate tonight with 11 games on the schedule.

As far as I know here are the starting goalies for tonight:

J-S Giguere (ANA) vs Marty Turco (DAL)
David Aebischer (MON), Ray Emery (OTT)
Miika Kiprusoff (CGY), Ryan Miller (BUF)
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR), Olaf Kolzig (WAS)
Curtis Sanford (STL) vs Michael Leighton (PHI)
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) vs Andrew Raycroft (TOR)
Rick DiPietro (NYI) vs Tim Thomas (BOS)
Curtis Joseph (PHX) vs Ed Belfour (FLA)
Cam Ward (CAR) vs Niklas Backstrom (MIN)
Mathieu Garon (LA) vs Tomas Vokoun (NSH)
Kari Lehtonen (ATL) vs Roberto Luongo (VAN)

As far as I can tell these will be the starters tonight.

The Rangers dumped all over the Lightning last night 5-0, you might want to adjust your lineup to get some Rangers into it. However, much of the scoring last night was done by 3rd and 4th liners so you likely don't have them on your roster. On a personal note, Jaromir Jagr is still on my bench.

Friday, February 9, 2007

More info on tonight's starting goalies

From a few sources I have read that Nikolai Khabibulin is expected to start tonight for Chicago, but none of the sources were very certain of that fact, mainly because Lalime pitched a shutout in his last game. I would tend to agree with them and I am changing my recommendation from Lalime to the 'Bulin Wall'. After all, it Patrick may have got the win and the shutout, but it was his first game this season.

As for the other game, the Rangers will definitely be starting Lundquist for one game and Weekes for the other this weekend, but nobody seems to agree on which one will be tonight. I'll stick with Lundquist starting tonight and Weekes up tomorrow.

Tampa Bay will have Holmquist in net and Edmonton will play Roloson.

New predictions and tonight's starting goaltenders

Hmmm, so yesterday I explained that any game prediction that I make should be automatically regarded as the opposite of what will really happen. In that explanation I suggested that the Nashville Predators would win a relatively low scoring game against the Leafs and because I was predicting that outcome you could expect a massive Leaf's win.

Looking back it seems that a double prediction makes it more likely that my original prediction comes true. Interesting... but I'm simply too lazy to make multiple predictions on each game in the NHL so let's stick with the idea that you can expect the exact opposite of what I predict for a game.

On to hot players and who to watch.

Jamie Langenbrunner continued his hot streak with the game winner in the Devil's 2-0 win over the Islanders last night. Langenbrunner has posted 3 goals and 6 assists in his last 5 games. If he is available in your league jump on the bandwagon while you still can.

Speaking of bandwagons, Martin Biron has won three straight for the Sabres fueling speculation that a goalie controversy is brewing in Buffalo. Don't believe it, the Sabres are committed to Ryan Miller and look at Martin Biron as the best possible backup goalie in the League. If you are a Biron owner make sure you keep an eye on who Buffalo plans to start and get him in your lineup whenever possible. This late in the season Buffalo will likely start Biron a little more to give Miller some rest and keep Marty sharp for the upcoming playoffs. If you were hoping that Biron would earn a starters job this season, forget it.

Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres has flown quietly under the fantasy hockey radar most of this season (not mine though, I've had him on my roster since the third week of the season). On Wednesday night he potted two goals, one of which was the game winner (and no, of course I didn't have him in my lineup). Vanek has already surpassed his output from last season and so far this year he has 28 goals, 26 assists, he is + 28, with 3 GWG and 26 PIMs. Not bad for a sophmore season. Buffalo has recently put Vanek back on their third line with Afinogenov and Roy, expect this trio to regain the scoring touch they had earlier in the season.

There are only two games on tap in the NHL tonight, Tampa Bay vs the Rangers, expect Holmqvist to start against his old team and Lundquist to start for New York.

The second game is the Chicago Blackhawks at Edmonton. The starting goaltender for Edmonton is simple, Dwayne Roloson, but the Hawks have three goalies on their roster, Brian Boucher, Nikolai Khabibulin and Patrick Lalime. Lalime got his first shutout in two years in the Hawk's last game but Khabibulin is the outright star. It's anyone's guess who the starter is but at this point I would bet on Lalime. If I hear any different I will update you immediately.

Speaking of which, Boucher backed up Lalime in the Hawk's last game with Khabibulin sitting out the game in the press box. If that happens again tonight I think we can take it as a sign that Chicago is close to inking a deal to send Khabibulin packing. Regardless of where he ends up it will probably increase his fantasy value quite a bit.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Last night in the NHL, still keeping up my end of the bargain

As predicted Vancouver was shut-out last night by the Chicago Blackhawks and Patrick Lalime.

No, don't worry, that isn't a typo. Yes, in yesterday's post I suggested that the Canucks would put up some good numbers against the Hawks. But in case you missed the point of this blog you are supposed to automatically expect the opposite of any game prediction that I make. So if I think that a team will win a tight game, expect a barnburner... and a loss.

I don't make predictions because I expect the opposite to happen, it's just the way my life goes.

For instance, tonight the Nashville Predators host the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Pred's are one of the hottest teams in the NHL this season and the Leafs are on a 5 game win streak and possess one of the hottest goalies in the league right now in Andrew Raycroft. Vokoun has been pretty good of late himself and I would predict that the Predators will win a tight, low scoring game, somewhere in the 3-1 range. If I were you I would sit Raycroft, start Vokoun and every Predator player you have and expect my prediction to backfire and bank on a monumental 8-2ish type Leaf's loss.

Of course, now that I've made a double prediction who knows what will happen. Tomorrow, we can look at it in Blind Sight and see where I went wrong.

I am pretty horrible at predicting the outcome of games, but I am good at spotting hot players, trends and evaluating possible trades. So if you have questions, send them to me at

Speaking of which, if you have not picked up Niklas Backstrom yet, get on it.

Thomas Vanek has three goals in his last two games with a game winner and 4 penalty minutes, the Sabres seem to be heating up a little so get him back in your lineup if you've been sitting him while they were slumping.

Miroslav Satan has posted 4 goals, 2 assists, +6 rating, 4 penalty minutes and 17 shots on goal in his last 4 games with the Islanders. With a dissapointing 41 points on the season many leagues may be able to find Satan on their waiver wire. And just to make it un-official, there are rumours that Satan is being pursued by the Devils prior to the deadline.

Ok, so that last bit is not true (as far as I know!), but don't you wish it was true just so you could enjoy all the headlines that trade would produce? Besides, as a Leaf's fan, I've always thought that Satan guy was the devil in disguise. When he was with the Sabres he was a significant part of our Buffalo curse.

Have a good day and remember, In Crosby We Trust.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

What Happened... in the NHL last night

The Leafs have won 5 straight and last night it was again Andrew Raycroft who stood up and gave the Leafs a chance to win with a wicked glove save on Bill Guerin early in the third period.

As a Fantasy GM I would suggest you ride the Leaf's and specifically Raycroft as long as they are hot. As a Toronto Maple Leafs fan I want to see them go into a prolonged losing streak that takes them out of the playoff's and forces them to enter a rebuilding period. Ah well, such are the conflicting loyalties of fan and GM.

Most astute GM's have noticed Michael Cammalleri's play of late, but in case you have missed it he has 6 goals and 14 points in his last ten games. If the point production isn't reason enough to pick him up keep in mind that he is putting up those points while playing for the horrible LA Kings. He is available in my league, I would suggest you check your waiver wire right now and grab him if he is available!

Chris Mason didn't do me any favours last night, and I'm sure a lot of Fantasy GM's are groaning about the 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mason and Vokoun have been absolutely stellar on the best team in the NHL over the last month so don't cut bait on him over just one bad game.

Tonight there are 5 games on tap, Ottawa at Buffalo could produce some fireworks tonight and San Jose finishes off a back to back against Anaheim. The Ducks won a 7-4 goal fest last night and I would expect something similar tonight. I expect the Sharks to come out on fire and take it to the Ducks early, I also expect that Anaheim has too much defensive depth for the Sharks and we will see them pull off a win in the third period. Either way, expect a lot of scoring from this game.

Vancouver hosts the Chicago Blackhawks tonight as well, expect the Canucks to put up some decent numbers and adjust your rosters accordingly.

Looking over the waiver wire Bryan Berard may still be available in your league, especially since he hasn't posted a single point in his first two games back from injury. I wouldn't expect that scoreless streak to continue much longer so if he is available in your league take a flyer on him. He could end up as a top 3 defenceman over the remainder of the season.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Forsberg going to Toronto?

Sportsnet's Jim Kelley recently posted a blog entry here that suggests Forsberg is most likely to end up in Toronto or Montreal before the trade deadline.

Hmmm, interesting thought. Obviously, the Leafs would have to make some cap room to accomodate Forsberg (bye bye Tucker) but Mats Sundin would likely help convince Peter that he wants to come to Toronto.

He would likely be a rental player but if this possibility means that the Leaf's trade Tucker then I'm all for it. Don't get me wrong, I like Darcy Tucker, but his trade value will never be better than it is right now... assuming he returns from his foot injury ASAP. Let's get some young talent and/or some picks for him now since it is unlikely that we will be able to afford resigning him this summer.

Interesting thought no? I'm not sure which possibility excites me more, getting Forsberg or realizing some value out of Tucker's career season.

The NHL wakes up from its Superbowl hangover

The Superbowl put the NHL in a sleeper hold this past weekend as we had only 3 games in the last two days.

Speaking of hangovers, Jaromir Jagr is officially asleep at the wheel with only 4 points in his last 6 games. Sit him for the flavour of the week until he wakes up.

Chris Mason of the Nashville Predators will start in goal tonight against Pittsburgh leaving Thomas Vokoun on the bench.

Expect an old fashioned shootout tonight when Buffalo travels to Atlanta to meet the Thrashers.

Super pest Sean Avery has been traded from L.A. to the Broadstreet Bullies, somewhat appropriate don't you think? Hopefully the added grit will help wake up Jagr and Shanahan.

In case you missed it Los Angeles recalled Mathieu Garon on Friday but started Sean Burke Saturday night against the Panthers. Unfortunately for Garon, Burke recorded his 38th career shutout in a 7-0 pasting of Florida. The real question here is... does it matter? The shutout gave the Kings only their 2nd win in 10 tries. Garon may actually regain his starters job at some point but it is unlikely that you can't find a better option in goal somewhere else.

For those of you who jumped on the Kevin Bieksa bandwagon a few weeks ago don't worry too much about his current three game pointless streak. He has had a habit all season long of disappearing for several games at a stretch but he has usually come back with a multi-game point streak after the quiet stretches.

Andrew Raycroft was one of the NHL's three stars last week. Make sure you have him in your lineup tonight against the Blues unless you have a better choice. Toronto has an annoying habit of getting squashed by the teams that they are supposed to beat. If you have better options in goal you may want to sit him out for this game just in case.

The last game of the night is Anaheim at San Jose, this should be an entertaining game but I wouldn't expect a lot of scoring. If you got em, start em. Since I am predicting a low scoring affair it will probably be a shootout.

Remember the cardinal rule, if I make a prediction, bet on the exact opposite actually occurring. Oh yeah... and "In Crosby We Trust" of course.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Who was hot in the NHL last week

This is the first of regular Monday morning posts covering the hot players from the previous week. I will also pick a player worth watching at each position that may be available in your league.

Centers: Surprise, surprise Sidney Crosby does not lead the list of centers over the last week. He is tied with 6 assists but Michael Cammalleri also has 6 points and a game winner to put him over the top.

Michael Cammalleri: 3 goals, 3 assists, 1 GWG
Sidney Crosby: 0 goals, 6 assists
Zach Parise: 3 goals, 2 assists, 1 GWG
Daniel Briere: 3 goals, 2 assists
Chris Drury: 4 goals, 2 GWG

Players to watch: Since returning to Calgary Conroy is on a 3 game point streak with 2 goals and 2 assists. He is currently on a line with Iginla and all indications are that this pairing will last through the rest of the season.

Wingers: Marian Gaborik is healthy and showing us all why he should be drafted in the early rounds this week with 3 goals and 2 assists to go with 2 game winning goals.

Jamie Langenbrunner: 2 goals, 5 assists
Henrik Zetterberg: 2 goals, 4 assists, 1 GWG
Martin St. Louis: 2 goals, 4 assists
Marian Gaborik: 3 goals, 2 assists, 2 GWG
Trent Hunter 3 goals, 2 assists, 1 GWG

Players to watch: Jason Pominville of Buffalo had a strong week with 2 goals and 2 assists last week and 10 points in his last 10 games. The high powered offense of the Sabres makes Pominville a potential short term pick up while his production lasts.

Defensemen: Who the heck is Alexandre Picard? The Philadelphia D-man has only 13 points this season but has 4 multi-point games this year. He potted 5 assists on Thursday in the Flyers 6-5 win over the Devils. I wouldn't rush out to pick him up though, those 5 assists are his first points in 20 games.

Nicklas Lidstrom: 0 goals, 6 assists
Alexandre Picard: 0 goals, 5 assists
Mark Streit: 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 GWG
Sheldon Souray: 2 goals, 2 assists, 1 GWG
Ryan Whitney: 2 goals, 2 assists

Players to watch: Mark Streit is on a 4 game point streak and has 6 in his last 7 games. If your defense needs an offensive shot in the arm Streit is probably available in your league.

Goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury has swung hot and cold all season long, I guess you could call this a hot streak with 3 wins and 2 shutouts in the last week.

Marc-Andre Fleury: 3 wins, 2 shutouts
John Holmqvist: 3 wins, 1 shutout
Miikka Kiprusoff: 3 wins
Andre Raycroft: 3 wins
Niklas Backstrom: 2 wins, 1 shutout

Players to watch: If you didn't listen earlier this week then listen now. Niklas Backstrom should be picked up immediately. With Manny Fernandez's knee injury a concern the Wild will likely start Backstrom fairly regularly over the last third of the season to keep Fernandez fresh for the playoffs. Backstrom's play of late has given Minnesota the confidence to rely on him while Manny recovers fully. The Wild are hot lately and Backstrom is no small part of that.