James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Plenty on the line for Fleury

Thursday, October 03, 2013





  • To some surprise, the Ducks started Viktor Fasth instead of Jonas Hiller last night and watched him allow six goals on 29 shots. Whatever the context, that statline pretty much assures Hiller the next start. Still, bad luck seems to follow Hiller, who has shown flashes of being near the elite level before. Whether you dig their style or not, context screams “stay away” from both.

  • Sleeper favorite Steve Downie scored a goal and an assist, but what was really exciting was that he seemed to skate with Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly much for the night. Will Patrick Roy separate P. A. Parenteau and Duchene for long, though?

  • I’ve always had a soft spot for Semyon Varlamov, as frustrating as his injury history can be. If Colorado can play half-decently in front of him, he could be a nice second or tremendous third goalie.

  • The good for Nathan MacKinnon: two assists, played with some competent linemates. The not-so-good: just one second of his 15:31 time on ice came on the power play (juxtaposed somewhat hilariously by Paul Stastny, who had 2:56 of his 13:38 on the man advantage). Still, the “remember, this is supposed to be fun” rule applies: if you really want a guy who’s a leading Calder candidate, pick him up. Worst case scenario, the DD will try to direct you to a better option if he struggles.

  • The Avs quietly made a steal of a trade by bringing back Alex Tanguay for inconsistent sniper David Jones. Still, his three-assist night might be a little misleading; he didn’t get a single SOG and only played 13:38. I wouldn’t add him, but I’d monitor his work.

  • Don’t go hog wild on Colorado yet, although I’ll say this: they’ll probably score a ton and allow a ton, so picking up one player might be worth it just to have an excuse to watch them on Center Ice/Game Center.




  • So far, so very, very good for Jonathan Bernier, who stopped 31 out of 32 shots (and all 19 even-strength attempts) against the Philadelphia Flyers, not exactly a punchless squad. The biggest criticism of the Leafs grabbing Bernier - beyond it being kind of a harsh way to treat James Reimer - was that the much-hyped first-rounder carried a sparse resume with him to Toronto. Maybe he's carrying that fantastic relief work from his final season with the Kings (9-3-1, .922 save percentage) along with him?

  • Speaking of platoons, the Flyers did their Flyering thing and started Steve Mason over Ray Emery. Look, I’m fairly certain Chicago boosted Emery’s numbers substantially but … his competition is Steve Mason. I can’t complain, though, because Philly provides us all with so much entertainment … both intentionally and unintentionally.

  • Kudos to Dave Bolland for those two goals, but I’d be reluctant to jump on that bandwagon. He’s never eclipsed the 20-goal or 50-point mark despite being on some high-flying Blackhawks teams.

  • Uh oh, do you hear that? It’s the sound of the Vincent Lecavalier Siren Call, strong as ever. The lure is understandable: his nifty assist showed why his skills are alluring and the Flyers’ system - at least as long as Peter Laviolette is employed - often boosts scorers’ stats. Lecavalier soaked up a hearty 19:26 time on ice, including an eye-popping 6:19 of power-play time. Maybe he really will pan out this time ...

  • Speaking of crazy TOI, Claude Giroux logged an Ilya Kovalchukian 26:02 for Philly on Wednesday. Are they just trying to make sure he’s too tired to golf?




  • People who picked the Sabres to be the worst team in the NHL probably felt empowered last night. Despite getting seven power plays, the Sabres scored one goal all night and only fired 20 SOG on Jimmy Howard.

  • On that note, let’s hope Ryan Miller hasn’t gotten tired of the review: “Miller was basically the lone bright spot for the Sabres tonight …”

  • Daniel Alfredsson received slightly more power play reps (four minutes) than Pavel Datsyuk (3:43) and Henrik Zetterberg (3:38). That's a good sign for Alf owners, though I'd probably give those other two more man advantage shifts if I were Mike Babcock.

  • Let’s hope Alfredsson’s linemates stay healthy. Johan Franzen ranks as a stouter (and Sweder) Martin Havlat while Stephen Weiss wasn’t a sure-thing to play. I’m concerned that Weiss might continue his low-shooting trend from his disastrous final season with Florida; he only had one SOG last night.

  • Is this the season Howard gets some well-deserved consideration as an elite goalie? He could log some big early-season minutes with Jonas Gustavsson on the shelf.


INJURIES (full list) and QUICK HITS


James Neal might miss tonight’s opener for Pittsburgh. He’s easily one of fantasy’s best power forwards so hopefully he can stay healthy … Maybe the Devils will be more reasonable than I expected: Cory Schneider is penciled in to start in the team’s season opener. I’d hope for 50 GP for him and 32 for Martin Brodeur, if not more for Schneider. We’ll see, though … Mikhail Grabovski went from 29 percent owned in the last Daily Dose to 45 percent. Hump Day + four points = people waking up. Grab him if you still can, slackers … Ryan O’Reilly’s numbers from 2013 look funky because of that ugly holdout. He should be owned in more than 43 percent of leagues, even if fantasy only captures portions of his all-around play … Jamie McGinn is a borderliner, much like last season. More than anything else, he shows off Colorado’s staggering depth and could be intriguing if injuries move him up the totem pole … Ryan Callahan was placed on the IR … Dustin Penner was a healthy scratch last night for Anaheim … It looks like Brenden Morrow probably won’t play for St. Louis tonight because of visa issues … Sean Bergenheim’s groin issue will probably keep him out until about Oct. 11, though these situations can change (usually for the worst, sadly).

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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