James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Triumphant returns

Monday, March 11, 2013


BECOMING THE PREY

Circling back to the Predators, it was a tough weekend beyond falling to Suter and Wild in a shootout. As dominant as they looked on Friday in a 6-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville lost two crucial scorers in two nights.

First, Patric Hornqvist hurt himself while being boarded on Friday. The garbage goal machine already missed 10 games this season and could miss at least a couple more beyond Saturday. Speaking of that night of mixed feelings, leading scorer Colin Wilson followed an impressive four-point night (two goals, two assists) by getting hurt in a similar way. It’s difficult to tell how bad it is so far, but it definitely didn’t look great.

Nashville generally impressed me in back-to-back games this weekend (although a big chunk of that admittedly comes from how profoundly awful the Oilers were*), but without Wilson and Hornqvist, the already modest offensive squad could really struggle to score.

KUNITZ THE BOON

It might already be time to hand the biggest fantasy steal award to Chris Kunitz. His hat trick + two assists on Sunday pushes him to 36 points on the season (with a +21 rating, nice), placing him third overall in scoring.

I’ve repeatedly recommended selling high, but every now and then, you have to acknowledge the possibility that you got a winning Lottery ticket and should just ride it out. Especially during this shortened snippet of a season.

You can dismiss Kunitz’s success as a product of Sidney Crosby’s brilliance all you want, but it doesn’t really matter because he’s been such a long-term mainstay with the young star (who matched a career-high with five assists, distinguishing him as the clear league leader with 45 points). There’s nothing wrong with riding the train like you would with Jakub Voracek/whoever benefits from Claude Giroux and so on.

Considering all the dirty work Kunitz has done for Crosby over the years, he deserves it.

INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS

Uh oh, Jamie Benn might have a concussion … Curtis Glencross is day-to-day with an upper-body injury … Artem Anisimov is hurt yet again, with a lower-body deal of the vague variety … Brandon Prust is expected to miss 10-14 days with a separated shoulder … The improved play of the Columbus Blue Jackets might make Sergei Bobrovsky genuinely valuable … Craig Anderson and Milan Michalek are making progress, but aren’t quite there yet … Matthew Lombardi is day-to-day with an upper-body injury … T.J. Oshie is in the same situation with an arm ailment … Tomas Vokoun might get a little more leeway after a solid Sunday win. He’s been disappointing as a potentially valuable backup this season, but maybe he can put together a late run of relevance.

* - Seriously, I know the Oil were on a back-to-back on Friday, but that was the most pathetic effort I’ve witnessed from an NHL team in person. It’s rare when a final score really tells the story like that 6-0 mark did.



James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than two years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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