The Dose is going to be more about recaps than injury updates this season for a variety of reasons, the biggest maybe being that I often write these sometime between when games end and when you’d normally get more information via morning skates/whatever you want to call practices in the mornings and afternoons.
With that in mind, let me guide you to what I’d honestly call one of the handiest pages in all of Fantasy Hockey Internetia:
On one scrollable page, you can peruse very up-to-date readings on injuries and suspensions, often with estimates regarding when a player may return. Keep in mind that NHL teams protect secrets better than the U.S. government, so we’re all working with the information we can scavenge, usually from hilarious smoke-screening teams.
(Seriously, you’re all getting a little ridiculous with this stuff.)
Anyway, I’ll probably plop this down as the lead of this column for a bit and then maybe put something like it at the bottom of each Dose just to remind you of one of my favorite tools from Rotoworld … which is saying something.
BLACKHAWKS 4, KINGS 2
-- It's the "Icky Bowl!" Two great teams who got extra gross over the summer/between the summer and 2014-15 season go at it and make so many hockey fans feel conflicted!
-- Patrick Kane is now on a seven-game point streak after scoring a goal and an assist against the Kings. Only the Dallas duo of Jamie Benn (18 points) and Tyler Seguin (17) are ahead of Kane's 16 points.
His mug shot is just wrong.
-- Jonathan Toews has two points in two straight games, giving him nine points in 12 contests overall. He's connected on all three of his SOG during that two-game span.
-- Anze Kopitar hasn't been scoring like crazy even with Los Angeles on a roll (they saw a seven-game winning streak end) and contract year motivation on his mind. Last night's goal was his fourth of the season, accounting for all of his production in 11 GP.
It doesn't look like he'll leave that "Elite in real life, just good in fantasy" club until he's no longer elite in real life.
-- Another strong performance by Corey Crawford, who improves to 6-3-0 with a dazzling .938 save percentage.
Honestly, with scoring the (pitiful) way it is, should I raise my expectations for what a great save percentage is ... or is this just a matter of small sample sizes?
Either way, if you look at Crawford's numbers starting in 2012-13, the argument that he may be borderline elite doesn't seem so unreasonable.
-- Jake Muzzin is an 87 in NHL 16. That’s cool, right?
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MAPLE LEAFS 4, STARS 1
-- Stat-lovers have been calling for more James Reimer reps for years, even if his production has only argued for steady support work in recent years (that .924 save percentage feels increasingly distant from, you guessed it, 2012-13).
Still, with Toronto in a weird spot, why not use this win - which absolutely can be credited to Reimer more than anyone else - as a reason to see what the deeply religious puck-stopper can do?
I've long felt that James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier's tandem stands as one of the brighter pictures in a bleak Maple Leafs structure, especially if they serve as a platoon more than a traditional 1-2. The distance between Bernier and Reimer feels more like a platoon setup, and maybe the number-crunchers are right about Reimer being better.
Why wait any longer to get a better idea about that, though?
-- Joffrey Lupul was the other star for the Leafs, scoring two goals and one assist. He's really had an odd career, by the way.
My earliest memory of Lupul was as the guy with the odd name who scored a hat trick for the Anaheim Ducks. He then bounced around in prominent trades often enough that I thought of him as a (relatively?) handsome version of Kris Versteeg. After that, he settled in as a solid if flawed scorer who seems to hate fancy stats.
Now I don't really know how to categorize him other than "OK." Sometimes I wonder if he's actually the guy people think of when they sneer at Phil Kessel, though they obviously ... look different.
-- With his own three-point game, Morgan Rielly (aka "typo" aka "i before e") now has eight points in 11 games. That inflates his pace, but he's already been hovering around 30-point work, so I see little reason why he can't at least be one of those point-every-other-game-type defensemen.
The crucial question is if he could be even more. I'll leave that to my Buds buds, but it'll be a fun process to watch.
-- I wouldn't worry about the Stars, really. They fired plenty of SOG.
This doesn't really dissuade me from thinking that Antti Niemi's just solid, though (and there's nothing wrong with being solid, not trying to bash him excessively or anything). His 6-2-0 record is great, but his .908 save percentage is mediocre at best. The Stars will probably drag wins out of him at times, and that's more than fine for fantasy owners who likely picked him as their second or even third option.
CANUCKS 4, FLYERS 1
-- The Flyers might not be pleased with losing four straight games, but is it really a surprise?
My theory is that Dave Hakstol has done a solid job keeping games low-octane at times - thus helping to cover up a sometimes horrific defensive group - but that comes at the cost of limiting the team's biggest asset: quality forwards.
I've probably stated this already this season, but it's kind of a bummer that the Flyers are like every other team. They're playing by the cap rules, which is smart, but not very thrilling. They're dumbing the play down, which follows the pack, but sort of blunts the artistry of everyone who isn't a virtual on-ice Van Gogh like Claude Giroux (who scored a beauty).
With three more games coming up against West teams to wrap up this humbling road trip, it could be a rocky start to November.
-- Jake Virtanen scored a nice goal of his own, the first of his NHL career. He's not really getting much ice time and just completed his ninth game. The Canucks grabbed him sixth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.
-- This was a very Radko Gudas game except for the lack of penalties: -2 rating, four SOG and six hits. Not sure I'd be happy giving him 19:02 TOI, even on a bad defense.
-- Well, maybe Steve Mason is back to the Columbus version or maybe those personal troubles threw him off? He's down to 2-4-2 with an unsettling .902 save percentage.
I'd be tempted to give Michal Neuvirth more of a run ... unless the plan is to tank.
And honestly, it kinda should be the plan.