Friday, February 23, 2007

NHL Starting Goaltenders Saturday Night

Below is the reported starters for Saturday night:
(Bold is my predicted winner, Italic is an uncertain starter)

Capitals - Brent Johnson vs Devils - Martin Brodeur
Canadiens - Jaroslav Halak - vs Islanders - Rick DiPietro
Hurricanes - Cam Ward vs Thrashers - Kari Lehtonen
Maple Leafs - Andrew Raycroft vs Flyers - Antero Niittymaki
Blue Jackets - Frederik Norenna vs Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist
Sabres - Ryan Miller vs Senators - Ray Emery
Bruins - Hannu Toivonen vs Panthers - Ed Belfour
Red Wings - Chris Osgood vs Predators - Thomas Vokoun
Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov vs Flames - Mikka Kirprusoff
Avalanche - Peter Budaj vs Kings - Sean Burke

If you are hoping for some fireworks in the Ottawa vs Buffalo game don't expect them from the goalies. The Sens gave Emery a little talking to and told him in no uncertain terms to knock it off. On the other hand, Murray did confirm that McGratton will be in the lineup tomorrow night.

Almost lost in the shuffle Chris Drury is out indefinitely with concussion like symptoms. Strangely enough it was Ottawa who knocked Tim Connolly out last year in a similar manner. Connolly has yet to return this season, let's hope Drury is not as badly hurt.

Need PIMs? Buffalo and Ottawa play again Saturday night.

Quick, check your waiver wire for Chris McGratton.

If you are in a fantasy hockey league that rewards penalty minutes you can be pretty sure that the Ottawa Senators will be calling up McGratton for their next game against Buffalo on Saturday night.

I would expect Neil and/or Phillips to go toe to toe with Mair and/or Kaleta.

But the biggie will be McGratton going after Peters with revenge in the top of his mind.

If you need to catch up in the PIM category see if you can grab these guys off the waiver wire right now.

Ray Emery fights Martin Biron - Update

Ok, first off, let's correct my previous post. It was Andrew Peters that challenged Ray Emery AFTER he had beat the snot out of Martin Biron.

Yep, the snot.

Funny thing is Emery gave a good account of himself with Peters. Not that he landed anything but the image of Emery laughing after Peters lands three straight right hands kind of gives you the chills.

Thanks to for posting the video on YouTube! You can watch it below.

This fight was pretty good, but I don't think it stacks up against "The Greatest Hockey Fight Ever".

These two teams play again on Saturday night so things should be interesting.

To bring this post back to fantasy hockey, the incident that started the fight was a questionable hit by Chris Neil on Chris Drury. Drury was helped off the ice with a nasty looking head wound. No word yet on how long Drury will be out of the lineup, if at all.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ray Emery kicks the boogers out of Marty Biron

Yep, you read that right.

Ray Emery beat the living crap out of Martin Biron and then threw down with Anton Volchenkov (I think it was him).

Seriousely. If your league counts PIM as a positive factor then Emery just got you 22 minutes in one go. Too bad he was booted out of the game and lost you a start for 0 points.

As soon as I find some video of this fight I'll put it up against the Potvin vs Hextall fight and see if it compares.

Starting Goalies in the NHL tonight Thursday Feb. 12

Below is a list of reported starting goalies to the best of my knowledge:
(the team in bold is my predicted winner)

Tampa Bay Lightning - Marc Denis vs Atlanta Thrashers - Johan Hedberg
Philadelphia Flyers - Michael Leighton vs Carolina Hurricanes - Cam Ward
Edmonton Oilers - Dwayne Roloson vs Columbus Blue Jackets - Fredrik Norrena
Ottawa Senators - Ray Emery vs Buffalo Sabres - Mathieu Biron
New Jersey Devils - Martin Brodeur vs New York Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist
Toronto Maple Leafs - Andrew Raycroft vs New York Islanders - Rick DiPietro
Pittsburgh Penguins - Jocelyn Thibault vs Florida Panthers - Ed Belfour
Montreal Canadiens - Jaroslav Halak vs Nashville Predators - Tomas Vokoun
San Jose Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov vs Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Lalime
Minnesota Wild - Niklas Backstrom vs Colorado Avalanche - Peter Budaj
Calgary Flames - Miikka Kiprusoff vs Phoenix Coyotes - Michael Tellqvist
Vancouver Canucks - Roberto Luongo vs Los Angeles Kings - Sean Burke

Why does Ovechkin suck in Fantasy Hockey

In case some of you haven't figured it out yet, I live in Toronto (well Mississauga, but close enough) and we got dumped on this morning.

My morning drive to Guelph usually takes about 35 minutes, including a stop for coffee at Second Cup. Today it took me over an hour just to get that coffee.

As a result my day is a little sluggish, slow and unproductive. Much like Alexander Ovechkin has been of late.

Ovechkin has gone pointless in his last 4 games and only has 2 points in his last 9. He is also a -3 in that stretch with only 4 penalty minutes. Is this a sign of things to come from the Russian wunderkind? Or is this just a blip on the fantasy radar for one of the most exciting players to hit the NHL in recent memory.

Here are some quick facts for you:
In his last 9 games Ovechkin has only two points and 31 shots on goal
In his previous 9 games he had 11 points and 38 shots on goal
In the 9 games previous to that he had 12 points and 50 shots on goal

Ovechkin's point production has certainly suffered over the last month, but more frightening is his shots on goal total. If a player doesn't shoot he can't score. Quite often offensively talented players go through slumps, most pundits will look at the shots on goal category as a gauge of what the problem is. If the shot totals are still up, the points will come back.

Looking at Ovechkin's monthly totals should make any of his fantasy hockey owners shake in their boots.

Month G A Pts SOG
Feb 2 1 3 34
Jan 7 13 20 61
Dec 6 17 23 76
Nov 12 5 17 66
Oct 6 8 14 65

The drastic drop in Alex's point production looks to be directly correlated with the number of shots he is taking.

I know, I know. February isn't over yet. The Capitals played 12 games in January and have already played 10 in February. Those numbers are close enough that we can predict that his shot (and point) totals will be the lowest of his career.

Last year Oveckin put up 3 goals and 2 assists in February with 43 shots on goal, in only 6 games.

If you own Ovechkin and someone has been banging on your door all season trying to acquire him, right now might be a good time to trade him for a higher producing player.

Unless you are in a keeper fantasy league of course. In a keeper there is a very short list of names that should even make you think about trading him for Crosby's sake! (for example)

If you are going to hold onto him (or you just traded for him like I did) keep an eye on his shot totals. If he is consistently average upwards of 5 shots per game you can expect to see an increase in his point totals around the corner. His February shots per game average is only 3.4, if that doesn't go up consider making a move this season.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More Trade Rumours: Pitkanen, Berard and Brewer oh my!

Today I will be looking at the top defensemen rumored to be on the move this week.

The Philadelphia Flyers have already begun their firesale with the Forsberg trade and the Columbus Blue Jackets have stated that they will be sellers this season. Everyone expected St. Louis to be dumping talent at this point in the year but surprisingly they have put together a decent season all things considered.

There are a number of teams looking for solid help on the blueline this year, among them are the Atlanta Trashers, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just a second here, did I just say that the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to ADD players at the trade deadline this year? Hmmm, obviously the hockey universe has gone a little wonky.

Joni Pitkanen: He has put up 5 points in his last 5 games and has posted a decent 32 points for a dreadful Flyers team this year. Despite the okay offensive numbers I would have to say that this year has been a bit of a let down after last season. Last year he posted 13 goals and 33 assists in 58 games, this year he has only 2 goals and 30 assists in 56 games. Hopefully this drop-off is more a factor of the team he is playing for rather than just a lucky year. In either case any trade that moves Pitkanen to a contending team would help his fantasy status quite a bit. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners the team that has shown the most interest in him is the Edmonton Oilers, not exactly the trade I would hope for if I was a Pitkanen owner. Pitkanen is available many shallow leagues and if you have the room on your roster I would pick him up right now, not only is he a good trade candidate, he has picked up his game lately.

Bryan Berard: Berard is still shaking the rust off after surgery this year. He has only 3 points in 9 games so far this season but he has too much offensive upside to ignore. Berard's fantasy value could actually go down if he is traded at the deadline. He has not yet managed to find his rhythm in Columbus and a trade could make that breaking in process take even longer. With Berard's slow return I would advise you to stay away from him at this point, regardless of whether he gets traded at the deadline.

Eric Brewer: The St. Louis Blues are currently trying to finalize a new contract with Eric and a large number of teams are watching anxiously for the outcome. Brewer is apparently being pursued by the Edmonton Oilers (whom he played with for 3 seasons) as a rental player this season. Brewer's offensive numbers have never been stellar but his fantasy value can only take a jump if he is traded to an offensive powerhouse like the Tampa Bay Lightning. Keep an eye on this one and be ready to pick him up quick if he ends up with a contender.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Trade Rumours: Biron on his way out of Buffalo

Earlier this year Darcy Regier stated emphatically that the Sabres would not be trading Martin Biron. Buffalo was very happy having a solid backup goaltender for a run at the cup this year and the value of a strong backup goaltender was made apparent last year (can anyone say Cam Ward?).

However, the recent spate of injuries that has hit Buffalo is forcing them to change their stance. Biron is making $2.1 million this year and clearing him out of their lineup would give them some badly needed cap room to replace some of their injured forwards core.

Buffalo is currently missing Alex Kotalik, Paul Gaustad, Tim Connolly, Maxim Afinogenov and Jiri Novotny from their forward ranks and will miss defenseman Jarolsav Spacek for a month from the blueline.

If they expect to make an extended run into the playoffs this year they will need to address their issues up front and Biron makes for an enticing piece of trade bait. With only 7 days left before the NHL Trade Deadline you can expect to hear Buffalo making some moves, starting with finally giving Martin Biron the trade he was requesting last year at this time.

If you have an open spot on your roster or a fringe player that you can safely drop you might want to consider picking up Biron for your trade deadline gamble.

After all, what is the point of Fantasy Hockey if we don't take these little gambles once in a while?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Last week in the NHL

Here is the weekly look back at who was hot in fantasy hockey over the past week.

Centers: Mr. Joe Sakic proves that he still has some gas in the tank and he is on an 8 game point streak with 15 points in that span.

Joe Sakic: 2 goals, 6 assists
Vincent Lecavalier: 4 goals, 3 assists
Patrick Elias: 2 goals, 4 assists
Pavol Demitra: 3 goals 2 assists
Brendan Morrison: 2 goals, 3 assists, 1 GWG

Wingers: Milan Hejduk seems to have remembered that he is an offensive talent in the NHL and I advised you to pick him up in the middle of last week. He snapped a 6 game point streak in the Avs 5-4 loss to the Canucks last night, but he is still one of the hottest players in the NHL right now.

Henrik Zetterberg: 4 goals, 4 assists, 2 GWG
Teemu Selanne: 4 goals, 4 assists, 1 GWG
Jarome Iginla: 4 goals, 3 assists, 1 GWG
Andrew Brunette: 4 goals, 3 assists
Milan Hejduk: 4 goals, 2 assists, 2 GWG

Defensemen: Karlis Who? Skrastins put up 4 assists last week but don't jump on the bandwagon just yet, that equals his production from the rest of the season. He has yet to score a goal this season either. Leave him on the waiver wire.

Brian Rafalski: 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 GWG
Karkis Skrastins: 4 assists
Scott Niedermayer: 4 assists
Mathieu Schneider: 1 goal, 3 assists
Sheldon Souray: 2 goals, 1 assist

Goaltenders: With 3 wins and a shutout Manny Legace led all goalies last week and yes, he still is with the St. Louis Blues, for now.

Manny Legace: 3 wins, 1 shutout
Tim Thomas: 2 wins, 1 shutout
Martin Gerber: 2 wins, 1 shutout
Martin Brodeur: 2 wins, 1 shutout
Ed Belfour: 2 wins, 1 shutout