James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Flyin' Brian

Friday, April 12, 2013

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So, we’re getting to the point where every little edge really can count. With that in mind, there are some teams who have a marginal amount of extra games left and those with one or two fewer than what might be ideal. If you’re struggling with Player A vs. Player B, here’s a guide to the teams that have the slightest of advantage. I’m using 40 games played as the “Mason Dixon line,” so if a team isn’t listed, that means they’re at 40 GP.


Extra game(s)


Nine games left: Calgary, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis


Fewer game(s)


Six left: Winnipeg


Seven left: Buffalo, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, Washington, Los Angeles, Colorado, Anaheim and Nashville


Again, we’re talking about a really marginal difference, but it might matter to enough of you to at least mention. Personally, if you’re wavering between a Blues player and a Jets player, maybe it shouldn’t be that tough of a choice. Maybe.




Anton Volchenkov received a four-game suspension for his hit on Brad Marchand. Not much of a shock, but Marchand has a “mild” concussion. It’s a double bummer because it looked like he was bonding nicely with Jaromir Jagr ... Meanwhile, it appears that Taylor Hall is getting off with zero punishment for his slash on Zbynek Michalek. Hopefully he’ll learn some kind of lesson from this, even if this is the equivalent to a teacher ignoring the fact that his or her best student also seems to be morphing into a bit of a bully. At least it’s great news for Hall owners ... In case it wasn’t mentioned before, Cam Fowler is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. If I’m repeating myself, let me offer new insight: Anaheim Ducks fans should consider naming future dogs Cam Growler ... I’d recommend Mike Richards more heartily if he was readily available, but the streaking center is accounted for in 82 percent of leagues ... There are plenty of red-hot Washington Capitals, but hats off to Braden Holtby, who continues to add accomplishments to his once-light NHL resume ... It’s hard to get too excited about Paul Stastny, but he’s back from an injury, so he might be worth a look if you’re especially desperate ... As some expected, Colin Wilson’s season is indeed over. No sense risking his health with the playoffs in the rearview mirror ... In Steve Ott’s defense, it’s long been known that Jeff Halpern is delicious ... Michael Ryder now has 20 points in 20 games as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. He has to be one of the big fish of free agency now, right? ... It appears that Jimmy Howard won’t hit free agency anytime soon, on the other hand ... Troy Brouwer seems too unreliable (both for PIMs and points) to be a significant fantasy hockey contributor, but he’s exceeded expectations as a guy who really seemed like he was just riding shotgun with talented players. OK, maybe he still is benefiting from the skills of others, but it seems obvious that his mixture of grit and solid ability is an NHL-level asset.

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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