James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Vanek's slow start

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


With eight games on the docket on Tuesday - including the debut of Thomas Vanek - it seems prudent to just jump into the game summaries feet-first today. So here we go.

 

RANGERS 3, ISLANDERS 2

 

-- Thomas Vanek didn't have a great debut with the Islanders, registering a single SOG and two hits without a point. The ice time was delightful, however, as he came in at just under 20 minutes total with 3:43 PP TOI. You'd expect a high-volume shooter like Vanek to figure things out; maybe it will just take some time. It's easy to forget that Vanek played his entire career in Buffalo.

 

-- John Tavares was more active on Tuesday, despite going pointless as well. The best part was that he threw in a game misconduct and roughing penalty at the final whistle, giving fantasy owners 12 PIM on a night when he failed to score a point.

 

-- With Carl Hagelin back in action, it looks like the pre-Ryan Callahan dynamic duos are: Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan, Hagelin - Brad Richards and Brian Boyle - Derick Brassard. Richards is playing like a guy in a virtual contract year (he is), Stepan is producing like a guy who's disappointed by the shabby contract he received as an RFA (seven assists, zero goals in 11 GP with just 20 SOG), and Kreider seems solid if unspectacular so far.

 

-- As far as Hagelin's return goes, he registered an assist, zero shots and four PIM in 17:15 time on ice. His PP time was tepid at 1:45 (cue John Tortorella quote about Hagelin stinking on the power play).

 

-- Can Cam Talbot steal more starts? Maybe, although I'd only be truly confident about Talbot getting a start on the Rangers' next back-to-back (Nov. 6 and 7). It’s a wait-and-see thing for now.

 

-- If the Islanders are really serious about making a push, why trust Evgeni Nabokov at 38? He's basically the definition of mediocre (4-3-3, .906 save percentage and 2.84 GAA).

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 8pm ET. Here's the link.

 

For everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News and follow @Rotoworld_ HK+@cyclelikesedins on Twitter.

 

Oh, and there’s still plenty of time to join a Yahoo! Hockey Pool, so get on that.

 

CHICAGO 6, OTTAWA 5

 

-- Jonathan Toews is officially on fire after a slow start to 2013-14. His hat trick (plus assist) from last night gives him a five-game point streak (five goals, four assists for nine of his 13 points this season).

 

-- Corey Crawford got a relief win as Nikolai Khabibulin continues to be lousy. Are the Blackhawks really going to allow themselves to be one Crawford injury away from risking a possible repeat? It baffles me how much teams disregard the value of a good backup (though Chicago's certainly paying "The Bulin Wall" to fail to do the part).

 

-- It looks like Bobby Ryan might roll with Jason Spezza a bit again. Really, it seems like Spezza, Ryan and even Kyle Turris can produce in either setup. The biggest winner of that possible swap could be Milan Michalek, who's having a weak start, which shouldn't be surprising considering his knee issues.

 

-- With three straight losses for Craig Anderson, I'd keep an eye on how often Ottawa leans on Robin Lehner. They're definitely high on him long-term.

 

NEW JERSEY 2, TAMPA BAY 1

 

-- How, in the world, does Jaromir Jagr still do this? His five-game point streak gives him 10 points in 12 games so far this season. While his decent SOG are the only really enticing peripheral (aside from PPP, which I'd argue aren't even peripheral stats), he's clearly a focal point of the Devils offense. He's only owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues.

 

-- Martin Brodeur gets a very Martin Brodeur win: he only needed to stop 16 out of 17 feeble Lightning shots (who managed such a small total despite four power plays). Any thoughts about Cory Schneider get mostly buried by the fact that the Devils have two back-to-backs sets in their next four games. It's almost certain that the two will split those starts.

 

-- Michael Ryder's output has been a little disappointing, but at least three of his five points have come in the last five contests. His weak peripherals make it clear that he's best added on hot streaks and dropped when he's cold.

 

-- Steve Stamkos (ninth goal last night) is on the short list of players who can keep pace with a healthy Sidney Crosby.

 

TORONTO 4, EDMONTON 0

 

-- It's almost as if Phil Kessel still thinks he's in a contract year. His puck luck has really turned around during a four-game goal (and point) scoring streak. Counting last night's dazzling duo of goals, Kessel has seven tallies (plus three assists) in the past four contests. Before this streak began on Oct. 22, he only had two goals.

 

-- The bigger news for fantasy owners might be Nazem Kadri's work with Kessel and James van Riemsdyk in Tyler Bozak (day-to-day)'s absence. He had a goal and three assists last night to push his point total to 12 in 13 games. Not bad considering that Randy Carlyle's basically burying him in the lineup as if his last name was Grabovski.

 

-- There's more word of Dion Phaneuf contract talks, but fantasy owners wouldn't mind his contract year to continue. He's strong in many areas, aside from pedestrian SOG (18 in 13 GP).

 

-- James Reimer's 43-save shutout just perpetuates the "Leafs luck" storyline. We'll see if he can elbow in on more starts.

 

-- Sam Gagner returned ... and registered a -4 rating that was almost as ghastly as the photo of his broken jaw. At least he got plenty of ice time (22:01), highlighting how generally weird Dallas Eakins is. Nail Yakupov also had a -4, along with identical PIM (two) and SOG (three) numbers as Gagner.

 

-- Maybe Jason LaBarbera should sweat Richard Bachman, but Devan Dubnyk's greatest threat is a goalie trade. And his own defense.

 

After the jump: four more game summaries plus injury bits.

 


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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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