James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Another bombshell

Friday, December 16, 2011

I’d say that this week’s Daily Doses have been like a broken record, but that’s not totally true. Sure, the beats are the same, but the song titles are different.


We’ve gone through Sidney Crosby, Jeff Skinner, Claude Giroux, Milan Michalek and so on already. Those high-end injuries made for such a bad week that people are using the word “epidemic” to describe the rash of concussions. (I wonder who would play the “Outbreak” monkey, then?)


The worst news was saved for the last DD of the week, though. In case you haven’t heard, Chris Pronger will miss the rest of the 2011-12 season and the playoffs with “severe” post-concussion syndrome. I expressed my doubts about Pronger returning anytime soon while discussing HBO 24/7 yesterday, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. Like many other people, I can't help but wonder if this might even be it for Pronger’s career.


Many Philadelphia Flyers fans are probably panicking right now, but the truth is that the team is quite familiar with life without the big, mean defenseman. They played 32 regular season and eight playoff games without him last season. As far as this season goes, the Flyers are 8-3-2 with him and 12-4-1 when Pronger isn't playing.


The takeaway is that they’re a very good team either way, although this might be a slight-to-considerable bummer for Ilya Bryzgalov owners. Pronger tends to make whatever goalie he’s playing for better, but that difference is usually most noticeable in the playoffs (when he can get away with being the nasty hockey player that he is on defense).


Fantasy-wise, you might be asking: who might benefit the most? Two defensemen come to mind.



Kimmo Timonen was the Flyers’ top defenseman before they traded for Pronger. He’s already been on a very nice offensive run, with 20 assists in 30 games so far. Unfortunately, he hasn’t scored any goals and he’s not a fantastic peripheral guy. His 18 PIM are acceptable, but with only 42 shots in that span, it’s no shock that he’s without a goal so far. (He probably will score a few, mind you, but don’t expect him to be on the high-end there.)


Timonen’s currently on pace for about 55 points, which would match his previous career-high with the Nashville Predators in 2005-06. I’m not sure if he’ll do that well (he’s been the high-30s to mid-40s with Philly), but he’ll have every chance to make it happen.


He should be owned in most leagues, but if not, he’s certainly worthy of being one of your lower level defensemen.



The perception is that Matt Carle has benefited greatly from Pronger’s presence and that might be true. But that’s more on the “being halfway-decent on D” side of things. He’s been a nice point producer since his first true season with the San Jose Sharks and he already has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 30 games. That would put him on a pace for a career-high 49 points, which would make him easily worth owning.


Unlike Timonen, Carle is available in quite a few fantasy leagues. I would expect him to be fairly close to Timonen production-wise, although he obviously doesn’t have the same resume.


There’s a chance that Andrej Meszaros and Braydon Coburn will make some gains, too, but we’ll have to see.



Taylor Hall came back from his shoulder injury on Thursday night and played as if he hadn’t missed a game. He scored two of the Edmonton Oilers goals in a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. I don’t know if Hall’s return to action will be the difference for a struggling Oilers team, but don’t be surprised if he continues to light it up with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins & Co.



It still might be a short-term thing, but it’s time to give Richard Bachman a shot – especially if you have Kari Lehtonen on the IR. Bachman became the first Dallas Stars goalie in franchise history to win his first three career starts, which is one of those random stats that are weirdly fun to recite.



Paul Stastny scored two goals and one assist last night against the San Jose Sharks in his second game back from his injury issues. He’s probably not available, but there might have been a solid amount of owners who lost patience as he struggled. He’s worth a gamble if he’s a free agent, because it's possible that his worst games are behind him … Drayson Bowman scored two goals last night. Should you jump on that? Well, those were the first two of the season and he went pointless in his three other contests in 2011-12, so probably not … Ondrej Pavelec didn’t get the win last night, but he only allowed one goal against the Capitals in a loss. Speaking of the Caps, Michal Neuvirth earned the shutout, so he's primed to steal another start or two from Tomas Vokoun … Hopefully you added Brian Elliott at some point, because he’s still on fire.



Daniel Sedin missed last night’s game with a sore back. It’s hard to tell how long he’ll be out, so keep an eye open for updates … Somehow Adam McQuaid didn’t get a suspension for his knee-to-knee hit on Nick Foligno. The “Boston Bruins never get suspended” conspiracy theorists gained a pretty good bullet-point, even if it’s likely untrue … The Koivu brothers can spend some time getting some holiday gifts for each other because they’re both injured. Both are day-to-day, as Saku Koivu is dealing with a groin issue and Mikko Koivu has some sort of leg problem … Two Avs (Brandon Yip and David Jones) are also dealing with groin injuries … Rick DiPietro was placed on the injured reserve with his groin injury. This is not a re-print. (Click here for the full injury list.)

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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