James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Ray of Hope from Raycroft

Friday, December 02, 2011


NO WINS FOR THE NEW GUYS

 

Both Kirk Muller and Dale Hunter have started their respective tenures 0-2-0, which might mean something to Paul Maurice but probably not much to the already-employed Bruce Boudreau. The Carolina Hurricanes dropped a 5-3 game to the New York Rangers while the Washington Capitals only managed a single goal against the hated Pittsburgh Penguins in a 2-1 loss.

 

For Carolina, the bright side is that Eric Staal recorded two assists, but the negative news is that Cam Ward continues to struggle. He allowed five goals on just 27 shots as the Rangers didn’t even need to start Henrik Lundqvist to get the win.

 

Washington’s worries might be greater, although they’ve lost both games to red-hot opponents in St. Louis and Pittsburgh.  Hunter spoke of being all about defense and aggressiveness rather than playing a run-and-gun style, but he has to be greatly worried that Washington was held to a paltry 17 shots on goal. In both of Hunter’s games, the Caps were held under 20 shots.

 

Again, this is a small sample size, but there's no question that many fantasy owners were hoping that the two troubled teams would experience at least a brief period of great play instead of continuing their lulls.


IS THE DOOR BACK OPEN FOR LUONGO?

 

Few goalies have been hotter than Cory Schneider has been lately, but he finally hit a brick wall in the form of the Nashville Predators last night. Schneider was pulled from Thursday’s game, but to be fair, so was Pekka Rinne. Roberto Luongo allowed three goals on top of Schneider’s three to allow Nashville a wacky 6-5 win, so it’s not like he made an amazing statement to take back his job. Still, Luongo is getting paid the big bucks, so the Canucks are likely looking for any reason to inject him back into the No. 1 spot. We’ll see if this game starts a chain reaction in that direction.


QUICK HITS

 

Blake Comeau scored a goal and assist, so maybe he can put his horrendous start to the season behind him now that he’s with Calgary. I’d recommend waiting a little while to make sure that it wasn't just one decent game in a series of awful ones … Curtis Sanford notched another win, so it looks like he’s still at least a good short-term option. If the Blue Jackets are smart, he’ll be in the picture for most of – if not all of – the regular season … Good on Nikita Nikitin. After a rough game earlier this week, he scored a goal and added two assists for Columbus … Eric Nystrom’s nine goals have been impressive, but he doesn’t get enough ice time (none on the PP, basically) to justify jumping on that bandwagon. The same likely goes for Jason ChimeraRyan McDonagh is playing well, but those opportunities might decline when the Rangers get healthier … He’s been pretty bad this season, but keep an eye on Ondrej Pavelec. He netted a shutout last night and has the motivation of a contract year in the back of his head, so a hot streak isn’t (totally) crazy to consider. (I'm not saying that you should add him right away, though. Watch from afar, if he's available.


INJURY SNIPES

 

Kris Versteeg is day-to-day with a broken nose. Bummer … Darroll Powe and Cal Clutterbuck are day-to-day with lower-body injuries. Ryan Whitney won’t face a suspension for his knee-to-knee hit on Clutterbuck, by the way. (Click here for the full injury list.)



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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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