Happy beginning of the week, everyone. (Boy, I’m glad that’s not a phrase that people use often/ever. Sorry about that.)
Anyway, if you missed the weekend Hockey Doses, then you really need to make a habit of checking out Rotoworld’s NHL page every day. With that scolding session out of the way, you can read Michael Finewax’s Saturday edition here and Jimmy Hascup’s Sunday column via this link.
It was a pretty light night, although the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets really put on a show as a tribute to Teemu Selanne.
I’ve heard some got a little tired of the Selanne-fawning at times (seriously, it got a little much on Twitter here and there), but what a crazy-good career by “The Finnish Flash.” He seems like the kind of guy who would get trashed by lazy, possibly xenophobic columnists at times - European player, didn’t really thrive in the “hard areas” - but Selanne’s career was so fantastic that his critics were few and far between.
(Then again, maybe playing most of his NHL career in SoCal shielded him from the sun of critics with really weird axes to grind.)
Really, though, I have to tip my cap to Selanne. He was frequently a mid-draft steal for fantasy for your author and surely many others, which only warms the heart that much more.
DUCKS 5, JETS 4 (SO)
-- Ryan Getzlaf took a hard shot (possibly Dustin Byfuglien's scary one) off the foot but seemed OK going forward. He even made a typical awesome play or two afterward. Still, he was shown in a little pain on the bench, so at least keep an extra bead on updates just in case.
-- The shot totals were even through two periods (23-23) and then Anaheim really came on in the third. I'm not so sure how much of it was Winnipeg taking its foot off the gas pedal, especially since the Jets generated a 3-1 lead in the first period. Anaheim owned puck possession for much of the game either way.
-- It's difficult to beat up on Winnipeg too much after they made a nice showing in back-to-back games against California teams, yet they nearly saw two big leads vanish in as many days. They won one shootout and lost the other for their efforts. A probable bubble team like Winnipeg has to be careful here.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday's NHL games. It's just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.
-- Well, who saw this game coming from Rickard Rakell? He scored two goals and two assists on three SOG on Sunday, doing so in just 14:05 TOI despite OT. (His third SOG nearly beat Ondrej Pavelec, too.) The 21-year-old hadn't scored a point in his previous six games and only had nine points in 31 games heading into this explosive performance.
In case you can't tell, all signs point to this being a fluke, at least for 2014-15 considerations. One interesting note is that he isn't a total random, however; he was the 30th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, so at least someone saw flashes of this brilliance ... and perhaps we'll see more someday. Maybe even soon?
-- Dustin Byfuglien was even bigger than his eclectic stat line (one assist, +2, two PIM, three SOG and three hits) would suggest last night. He was throwing some huge hits, including a check that left Corey Perry groggy. Pretty staggering that Winnipeg has fought this "Hey, he's clearly better on defense" notion so long and so often.
-- Evander Kane had a nice evening of his own (one goal, four PIM, four SOG and three hits) and looked dangerous despite just 15:31 TOI.
-- In two games back from his latest injury, Tobias Enstrom has two assists. He's not prolific from a peripheral standpoint, so not a perfect add, though.
-- It's probably not fair to say that Ondrej Pavelec lost this game for the Jets, but I wonder if Anaheim thought "Hey, we can come back, look who's in net ..." when it was 3-1.
BLACKHAWKS 4, WILD 1
-- Part of me wondered if this might be one of those "self-respect upsets" with Minnesota winning. Then I remembered it was a back-to-back game for the Wild and that they were facing the Blackhawks, so that devil's advocate theorizing dissolved pretty quickly.
-- I imagine there's a part of Zach Parise that really wants to just keep playing and not think about his father's passing, but the All-Star break might still do him some good. You can't really question his effort last night (or really, in general) as he fired six SOG but had zero points and a -1 rating to show for it.
-- Nice work by Richards lately, too. After going seven games without a point, the 34-year-old has eight points in his last seven contests. He's been willing to shoot pretty frequently lately, too, so that's a great sign.
-- When you want to think about teams who just settled for paying a mediocre goalie too much and you get tired of citing Ondrej Pavelec, give Niklas Backstrom a look. I understand that goaltending is hugely important, but why give a guy who's average at best a deal that's not so far off the standard for an actual difference-maker?
(At least he took a significant cut from his far more ridiculous previous salary, though.)
PANTHERS 4, OILERS 2
-- The Panthers are kind of the bizarro Oilers. They've been horrible for ages - way longer than Edmonton - and don't have any glory days for fans to remember (rolls eyes in advance at the one person who screams "Vanbiesbrouck!"). They're built from the draft by default, yet they've paid big for some free agents, sometimes for pretty baffling reasons.
Even so, Florida plays in the cushy East, and they have a real-deal goalie in Roberto Luongo and a new coach who may just be able to script a half-decent defense.
I'm not certain how long this will last, but the team that won is also the far less depressing of the two.
-- Jimmy Hayes now has 13 goals and 20 points in 32 games. I wouldn't recommend him in typical fantasy formats, but he's one of the many Panthers who are intriguing considerations in daily formats like FanDuel. (All of a sudden, Florida is flowing with decent guys in the lower price range area. Odd.)
-- If Justin Schultz ever wins a Norris Trophy, it will also be really difficult dealing with white becoming black, the grass being blue and the sky being green.
-- I wonder if the Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle line feels like they're punching a timecard and just going to work each night. "Ho hum, create a goal, lose ..." I picture them making the face Eberle makes in his NHL.com mug while doing so.