James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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The Makeshift All-Stars

Friday, February 15, 2013


CAGE KESLER

Many knew that Ryan Kesler seemed like he was on the verge of returning. Now it turns out he’s coming back on Friday. While I expect the former Selke winner will require a little time to acclimate himself to the game, I’d still recommend grabbing him. In fact, in one league, I even made the difficult decision to drop Cory Conacher (whose hot streak cooled off in the form of five straight scoreless games) to make room for an all-purpose guy like Kesler. If you have an expendable player, grab him and don’t look back.

EARNING IT

For a long time, I've felt like the goaltending position is just too unstable to pay anything but the truly elite guys. Now that all but a handful of NHL teams pay their No. 1 guy (or No.1 hopeful) at least $4 million, it seems like a moot point, but at least some of the big bankers are justifying the many zeroes on their paychecks.

Pekka Rinne ($7 million cap hit) - After some tough games early on, Rinne is putting up the kind of numbers that might earn him his first Vezina. He's won six of his last seven games, allowing a goal or less in those victories (with three allowed against the run-ruining Blackhawks). He has three shutouts in the last seven games, including a two-game shutout streak in which he's only needed to make 44 saves. Rinne's greatness vs. Barry Trotz's system is a chicken-and-the-egg argument that the Predators clearly could care less about.

Carey Price ($6.5 million cap hit) - The Montreal Canadiens’ go-to guy has just one bad start this season, allowing six goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs in The Bite Game. Otherwise, he's allowed 1-3 goals each night, except on Thursday ... when he got his first shutout of 2013. He's not just killing it like Rinne, but he's doing great, going 8-3-0 with a .922 save percentage and 2.06 GAA.

INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS

Matt Duchene continues to be the bright side for the Colorado Avalanche. Unless you count Milan Hejduk milestones; he notched career point 800 last night … Eric Staal and Jordan Staal are really getting it done for Carolina, with Eric especially hot thanks to an 11-game points streak … Dainius Zubrus update: wrist surgery could keep him out for 4-6 weeks ... Sounds like Patric Hornqvist could be set to return as early as next week ... Johan Franzen's hip issues are persisting, as he won't play Friday … Bad news for people in hits leagues and funny last name fans: Cal Clutterbuck is banged up with an undisclosed injury … Sounds like Manny Malhotra’s season is over. Aside from gathering FW’s, his value is almost exclusively invisible to fantasy owners, but tough break for the defensive center … Seems like Braden Holtby has established himself as the Capitals’ No. 1. For now, at least.



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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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