Programming note: Jimmy Hascup’s going to take care of the Wednesday Dose, so expect valuable insights and fewer comments about bonbons and peanut butter-flavored coffee. You’ll get an extra Dose of my dosings on Sunday, Dec. 20.
(That could be a long night, so it may be an especially weird Dose, too.)
The Board of Governors meetings are going on, but fantasy and salary cap concerns aren’t super-connected. About the most noteworthy stuff is that expansion talk is scarce and that the league may go back into shoulder shrug mode as far as scoring goes.
Oh well. Guess we should go back to Plan “Clone Radim Vrbata” then …
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CANUCKS 5, SABRES 2
-- Radim Vrbata generated a hat trick during this game, the first time he's managed a trio since he joined the Vancouver Canucks.
That broke up quite the slump, as Vrbata was also +3 on Monday after going without a point and with a -6 rating over four games.
Vrbata, 34, remains in a contract year, so he really needs to pick up the pace. Maybe this will be the spark?
Not necessarily the kind of work that will make Sedin feel like Vancouver is a tough team to face, but at least the Canucks' five-game losing streak is over now.
-- Evander Kane failed to score and had a -1 rating, but he was a peripheral beast: four PIM, six SOG and nine hits. Gotta say, he really looks "right" in a Sabres sweater nowadays.
Probably doesn't hurt that Ryan O'Reilly is on his line, generally being awesome.
-- Sam Reinhart is on a nice little run lately, including last night's goal. Four tallies in his past five games, and he's getting solid ice time to boot. Promising stuff.
PREDATORS 3, BRUINS 2
-- One game after Shea Weber became the first defenseman in Nashville Predators history to generate a hat trick, Roman Josi nearly accomplished the same feat. Josi scored two power-play goals, but couldn't quite get a tally, even with a Boston net empty for some time.
Josi is at seven goals and 20 points on the season, including a red-hot run of three goals and three assists for six points during a four-game point streak.
Interestingly, those five goals all came on power plays. Nashville went 2-for-7, which may not be great from an efficiency standpoint, but here's a hot take: percentage is overrated. I'm more interested in quantity of PPGs, and they're strong in that area with 20 (tied for third-best in the NHL).
-- Really nice GWG by Viktor Arvidsson, who scored his third goal of the season and second tally in as many games. He has those three goals (zero assists) in nine games.
He was a fourth-rounder (112th overall) in 2014 and seems to be a pretty quick study. Not sure he's a guy to add, but he's interesting, especially as Nashville can use more support offense.
-- Carter Hutton improved his record to 3-1-0 after stopping 15 out of 17 shots. Let's just say that the Predators have provided solid support so far.
They probably should have given him a mulligan on his mug shot.
(I mean, it’s perfect for us … maybe not for him.)
AVALANCHE 2, WILD 1 (OT)
-- You know a game is bland when even Minnesota Wild players - more than one of them, actually - essentially says, "Yeah, that was super-boring."
Even with a big chunk of 3-on-3 OT time, the two teams combined for 40 SOG. Yikes.
As an aside, I'm not specifically bashing the game, just passing along post-game commentary and some stats that sure seem to back those thoughts up.
-- At least the overtime period was exciting, though.
I've mentioned this a few times before, but we're approaching that "dog days" phase of the 2015-16 season. The new car smell is just about gone. The playoff push is in the minds of hardcore fans, but for others, it's still a little too far off in the distance.
Bland games may only become more widespread, so a 3-on-3 OT may indeed be an entertainment oasis for otherwise yawning fans.
Is it as ideal as fixing some of the problem with, say, a 3-2-1 point system? No, but the NHL will probably take years to do anything that bold, if they ever do something like that at all.
(I say pretty nicely because other defensemen are spoiling us a bit, like Ryan Suter.)
-- By stopping 19 out of 20 shots, Semyon Varlamov is now at .900 save percentage-wise. This win gives him a 7-8-1 record on the season, so things are looking up for the Russian netminder.