James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Breaks of the Game

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Kyle Palmieri didn’t just score the first hat trick of his NHL career last night; he made it a natural hat trick to boot.

Still, an out-of-left-field trio isn’t that big of a deal for a random winger. It’s the context that matters, and in this case, it’s the kind of scenario that should leave at least a few forward-needy folks (and aren’t we all?) intrigued.

Here’s the context: every Palmieri goal from Wednesday had these credited assists: (Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf) … right down to Perry getting the primary and Getzlaf grabbing the secondary bit.

Palmieri only has seven goals and two assists on the season, counting the hat trick. He doesn’t really stack up a ton of peripherals, either. Every sign is saying don’t pick him up except the most obvious one: he’s on a line with Perry and Getzlaf. (He also has a nice shot.)

My advice: if you’re the type to add and drop guys from you fringe, give him a try. If you don’t want to concern yourself with the ups and downs of younger players, then stay away. Either way, at least keep an eye on him, though.


It’s weird that Jonathan Bernier is the odd Jonathan out in Los Angeles instead of Jonathan Quick. If you remember back a few years ago when the Kings seemed stuck in a perpetual rebuild, Bernier was supposed to be the big deal (in a small package) while Quick seemed like he’d accept the table scraps as a backup.

Things have obviously changed since then, but considering Bernier’s upcoming RFA status and Quick’s motivation-sapping mega-deal,* he’s been worth following. Bernier improved his record to 5-1-0 by stopping 32 of the Detroit Red Wings’ 33 shots, probably his best performance of the season.

That might help him actually wrestle a few more starts from Quick - before, Bernier was winning but not really standing out - but an ideal scenario fantasy-wise would be a trade to a needy team. (Bonus points if he gets shipped to a contender.)

Bernier’s worth watching, but not really a smart add just yet.


The Edmonton Oilers mysteriously placed Nikolai Khabibulin on the IR. In very deep leagues, I actually was taking a bit of a shine to him. So much for that (looks like a groin injury) … James Wisniewski joins Jack Johnson on the IR for Columbus … Raphael Diaz hasn’t declined as much as some expected with P.K. Subban back in the fold. Unfortunately, it appears that he is suffering from a concussion … Speaking of concussions, Evgeni Malkin’s at least skating again … Brendan Smith (again) and Valtteri Filppula are day-to-day with upper-body issues for the Red Wings … Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter might be the hottest among heating-up Kings. Both displayed incredibly deft hands in Los Angeles’ crucial third period goals last night … The Philadelphia Flyers’ defense took another blow, as Erik Gustafsson has a lower-body injury … Blues update: Alexander Steen is day-to-day while Andy McDonald is on the injured reserve … Man, did Max Pacioretty ever look dominant last night? Never a dull moment with that guy … Hey, another win for Viktor Fasth. Is it too early to crown him the steal of fantasy with Craig Anderson injured?

* - I’m not saying Quick lacks motivation, mind you; I’m just saying it’s human nature to take your foot off the gas pedal at least a bit once you realize your dreams. I mean, I assume; most of us don’t get to be astronauts or professional athletes.

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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