James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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McGinn and the Fantastic Finn

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At some point, you just have to throw out the spreadsheets and embrace a phenomenon.


I’m not going to lie and say that I understand every facet of Jeremy Lin’s meteoric rise as a New York Knicks guard. (Give me a break, I'm in a hockey bubble.)


To be honest, I had to consult Google to make sure I had his last name right; there are just too many Lyn, Lynn and Linn’s out there to wing it. However you spell his last name, Lin has been a legitimate contributor even as some of the steam evaporated from the amazing hype machine that’s followed him around. He has six double-doubles in just 28 games this season – that’s a pretty tough bit to deny.


(In fact, I’d argue that Lin’s attention is actually far more justifiable than Tim Tebow’s. Sure, Tebow defied stylistic criticisms, but he was a first-round draft pick coming into the NFL with national championships and generally buckets of attention. Unlike Lin, he also had pretty mediocre overall stats, too.)


Anyway, this is a long way of saying this:

Go ahead, pick up Jamie McGinn.


At the moment of this writing, he’s not taken in most leagues. I’m guessing that his resounding availability is likely a combination of factors:


  • His overall stats aren’t that impressive, which might make him rank pretty low for people sorting by rankings/other full-season bits.
  • At this point in the season, people probably feel more “married” to their teams than ever before. The playoffs are approaching/here depending upon your league format and you want to dance with the lady who got you there and such.
  • He’s not that amazing.


Still, if you need some forward help, it’s getting tougher and tougher to deny that McGinn might have found himself a real place – or at least a great spot for the rest of this season (which is almost certainly the only consideration if you’re thinking of adding him, really, as his small sample size makes him far too difficult to gauge in keeper leagues).



Simply put, the former San Jose Sharks forward is flourishing in Colorado as he’s running with the great opportunities that he’s receiving.


After going scoreless in his first two games with Colorado, McGinn has five goals and two assists in his last five contests (giving him a point-per-game as an Av). He's showing a lot of confidence in that time, too. After putting just three shots on net in that scoreless duo of debut games, McGinn has 19 shots in his five impressive games. (It's almost as if Joe Sacco or some other Colorado coach pulled him aside and told him to let loose.)


Another bonus is his mean streak. He has nine penalty minutes in his seven Colorado games, which includes a fight in the two-goal contest against Minnesota that began the whole run.



The Buffalo Sabres keep rolling along, as they’re now just two points shy of a playoff spot. Sure, they also have one less game in hand, so there’s still a way to go.


Ryan Miller is especially hot, with a 9-1-1 run in his last 11 contests and a 14-3-3 record in his last 20 games, as Brian Compton points out. Tyler Ennis also was quite effective in last night's game, with two goals scored in the Buffalo Sabres' 3-2 OT win against the Montreal Canadiens.



In three Western Conference matchups, every playoff hopeful earned at least one point. We can debate the merits of three-point games all day, but it’s actually a good thing for fantasy owners – the more teams that compete, the more guys who are playing with extra incentive. Let’s take a look around the interesting bits.


Finnish finest: Teemu Selanne scored on the power play for his tally No. 22 of the season, but it was important for more than just salvaging a charity point for the dwindling Ducks. That point put him alone at No.19 all time among NHL scorers and ahead of Finnish icon Jari Kurri as the all-time points leader among Finland natives with 1,399 points. (He needs to get at least one more to make it a neat 1,400 though.


It only seems fitting that fellow Finn Saku Koivu hit the 1,000 games played mark last night, then.


In Colorado news, Semyon Varlamov had another strong game and Gabriel Landeskog scored an emphatic overtime game-winner. The guy has a serious argument for the Calder Trophy, by the way.



The San Jose Sharks got their act together with a 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers. The numbers still indicate that San Jose has a great chance to make the playoffs, but they’ll need to earn wins against teams that aren’t just in the West’s cellar.



The Nashville Predators topped the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4 via a shootout, with Pekka Rinne coming up big and Martin Erat scoring a goal and two assists. The Predators might get a bigger win if Alex Radulov really does make his NHL return – which seems increasingly likely.


(By the way, I can’t blame you for scooping him up now, especially if you have a clear opening.)



I’m not going to go too deep into the GM meetings stuff, but the good news is that the red-line isn’t likely to be re-instituted. Any coach who argued for that clearly wants to bore you to tears while bolstering his job security. Other rules like hybrid icing (yes, please), the trapezoid (remove it) and the over-the-glass delay of game penalty (I’ll live either way) are far less important on just about any level. Just breathe easy that the neutral zone trap is at least a little harder to employ.



It’s basically up to Sidney Crosby when he’ll return, so just keep your eyes peeled … Jonathan Toews is unlikely to play tonight, but the Blackhawks believe he’ll come back within one week. We shall see … Kris Versteeg appears unlikely to play Tuesday,  too … This isn’t an injury bit, but note that Jaden Schwartz is set to make his Blues debut and inspire thousands of “Space Balls” jokes in the process … Corey Perry ended his consecutive games streak because of his bum shoulder. (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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