James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Giroux moves up, Crosby sits

Thursday, December 08, 2011

During the day on Wednesday, Maxime Talbot essentially put his current teammate (Claude Giroux) in the same class as the guy he won a Stanley Cup with (Sidney Crosby). Some might have seen this as a slightly over-the-top political gesture to pump his colleague’s tires, but it became increasingly accurate as Dec. 7 went on.


First, news dropped that a few hard hits would sideline Crosby for the next two games, which includes tonight’s big match against Talbot, Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers. No one was throwing the word “concussion” around, but it is obvious that the Pittsburgh Penguins are walking on eggshells here. (It’s probably wise to make a mental note that a healthy Crosby might not be a guarantee for quite some time.)


The second confirmation was all Giroux, though. The shifty center already had a great night assisting on three of the Flyers’ four regulation goals, but his overtime heroics were a blaring bit of evidence that – hey – he might indeed be in Crosby’s class.


Giroux made a risky Marc-Andre Gragnani turnover look positively suicidal as he beat both Gragnani and Christian Ehrhoff on his way to a beautiful overtime game-winning goal. With that, Giroux had a four-point night, which shot him up to No. 1 on the NHL’s points scoring ranks. Giroux now has 36 points in just 26 games and the most impressive part is that he’s ahead of Phil Kessel, who needed 28 contests to rack up 35.


Giroux had an excellent 76 points last season, but if he can stay healthy, he should obliterate that old career high. The Flyers decided to trade Jeff Carter and Mike Richards based on the playoff work of Giroux and Danny Briere and “G” is really making that look like a solid decision. (Personally, I would have kept Richards and just traded Carter, but that’s just me.)


Giroux is currently on pace for about 114 points, but it’s likely that he’ll tail off a bit. Still, with a newly healthy (and hot-streaking) Jaromir Jagr by his side, it’s not crazy to hope for 100 points. Most fantasy savvy people knew that he was good, but if this hot start is any indication, he might be close to “Crosby good.”



If the theme of the Wednesday Daily Dose was making sense of injuries, then today’s is all about going over some of the suspensions and possible suspensions.




Nicklas Grossman was suspended three games for his hit. It was believed that he left his feet in a way that indicated an excessive hit. That won’t have much of an impact on fantasy, although it’s not great news for Andrew Raycroft.




Alex Ovechkin seemingly speared Chris Neil in the gut (or worse) last night, yet Neil was the one who was penalized two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. It’s likely that this situation was blown out of proportion a bit, so I wouldn’t expect a suspension to come about. That being said, Ovechkin’s bank account might be a little skinnier in the form of a fine. (Surely he’ll survive, mind you.) That’s just my guess, though.




It wasn’t a bombastic hit by any stretch, but Ville Leino’s elbow on solid rookie scorer Matt Read is likely to get some attention from the league. There’s no denying that Leino extended his elbow and it didn’t really seem like an unavoidable circumstance, so I’d guess that something might come of this. You never know, though.


Andy Sutton is likely to catch some heat for a charge on Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday. By almost every account I’ve read, it sounded like a dirty hit. Sutton is also a repeat offender, so that will make an impact, too.


The final noteworthy potential suspension falls to Marc-Andre Bourdon. Bourdon caught Nathan Gerbe with a hit from behind that was pretty bad, although give credit for Bourdon openly showing disgust with his own actions. Still, Bourdon “saw Gerbe’s numbers” but didn’t let up. The pint-sized Sabres winger didn’t return to the game with what sounds a lot like a concussion, so that could factor into Bourdon’s punishment.


Overall, it sounds like 2-3 possible suspensions, although the only major fantasy impact would be potentially losing Leino (and let’s face it, Leino has been hugely disappointing).


After the jump: tough injury for Booth, quick hits and injury bits.

continue story »
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.
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