James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Returns and Rebounds

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In this media-saturated age, it can be tough to decipher the difference between willful ignorance and outright obliviousness.


During the first part of this week, the Daily Dose focused plenty of energy and spilled buckets of digital ink* regarding the NHL’s seeming ineptitude regarding policing violence. Sure, there have been two public admissions of disapproval regarding Ray Emery’s action - commissioner Gary Bettman followed by Brendan Shanahan - but those statements only made things worse for some of us. If you really care, why don’t you DO something about it. Pretend Ray Emery is Sean Avery if you need to.


Yet there’s been a decent trickle of reports that make one believe that maybe some among the NHL brass might get it. Or at least a light or two might be on in the house. It almost makes me wonder if they’re pretending to be more out of touch than they really are.


I spoke about the questionable (yet somewhat heart-in-the-right place) idea of policing certain goalie fights on Tuesday, but I’m most heartened by Elliotte Friedman’s CBC report that NHL GMs could very well propose that teams and/or GMs will face consequences for their players’ actions, not just the players.


Friedman summarizes the idea as such:


The proposal is in its early stages, but the idea goes something like this: After three suspensions, the coach, GM and organization would also get slapped with a cash penalty. The amount would escalate with each further violation.


We can quibble about the details - I wouldn’t mind the threat of a lost roster spot to scare teams with deep pockets who might merely shrug their shoulders at what would probably be a drop in the bucket fine - yet the concept is so heartening I swear I almost hear angelic voices and harps playing upon reading each promisingly reasonable paragraph. (/Goes to check side effect warnings on allergy medication.)


Will it happen? I don’t know, but the NHL is developing a strange habit of rotating between frustrating rigidity and borderline progressiveness. Hybrid icing might be the most symbolic example; the alteration frustrates people who hate the change and doesn’t seem sufficient for those who wanted no-touch icing, but it’s still a genuine move toward increased safety.


So, in summation, I might just see a little light peeking out of the end of the blood-soaked tunnel of violence. Although that might be coming from those angels …


Anyway, let’s get to some game summaries.


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 7:30pm 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.


First, two quick injury notes because I’m not doing an injury section for Wednesday: word is that Pekka Rinne is expected to be out longer than expected (until around late December), so that either means the Predators will seek out a different option via free agency/trade or Carter Hutton/Magnus Hellberg will run with the ball. (Seems like the latter for now, at least.) The other bit is that Rick Nash’s concussion might indeed be a long-term concern.


Bad news in both cases, no doubt.




-- So, at least one person doesn't dig the idea of Ray Emery being a "cult hero" in Philly. OK, I admit that hero might be a bit much, but it's a lot more fun than saying "a figure who's become more popular in a subset of a niche audience." Regardless, is it really true that Emery didn't earn himself a notable amount of new fans in Philly? Keep an eye out for some fresh Emery jerseys (or a lack thereof) this season and let me know. I'll file it in an imaginary cabinet of tidbits we'll all probably forget about in a month.


-- I'll say this: Steve Mason cares. The pure frustration he showed after Jordan Staal tied the game in the last minute of the third period was noticeable. Maybe he can really keep those strong individual stats going considering his drive to prove himself and earn a new deal?


-- Claude Giroux has zero goals and seven assists in 14 games. Sure he's a little snake-bitten, but with just 29 SOG, it's not like he's firing a ton of shots on goal for a guy as prominent as he is. (Dustin Byfuglien deserves to be more frustrated, for one.)


-- Vincent Lecavalier played on Tuesday, so I think he earned the right to not do a whole lot. And he didn’t do much.




-- Man, what a return by Alex Ovechkin. He scored two goals and an assist while Nicklas Backstrom collected three assists - all six of those points coming on the PP. Wow.


-- Marcus Johansson doesn't get the SOGs to soften the blow of slower periods, but I still think he's worth a depth spot in deeper leagues, at least when Ovi's playing. He scored his first goal of the season and 11th assist. Both, naturally, were on the PP.


-- John Tavares scored a goal and an assist but sounded understandably livid after the game. Credit to him for not throwing Evgeni Nabokov under the bus. Gotta wonder how much longer former goalie Garth Snow can watch his team deal with lousy-to-average goaltending.


-- Braden Holtby returned from Emery's fists of doom to a solid win. Great news for his fantasy owners.




-- So, Bruins fans booed Tyler Seguin because ... uh ... he had fun? Because he once topped the team in scoring? Because he won a Cup with them? Because he wasn't the one demanding a trade …?


-- Milan Lucic might miss Nathan Horton, but perhaps he's shaking some of the inconsistency both forwards showed. It's too early to know, but he's been reliable to the point of maybe jumping an extra level or two among power forwards.


-- Kari Lehtonen's generating some quality work now that he's healthy. He probably enjoyed getting one over fellow Finn Tuukka Rask, especially with Rinne's injury possibly opening up a spot in Finland's daunting netminding ranks.




-- Erik Karlsson sure looks like Erik Karlsson again. His two goals bumped him to 17 points, tops among NHL defensemen. He's also starting to fire a lot of SOGs.


-- You never know when you'll get the kind of game that makes Chris Neil so appealing. Tuesday was the first true gem this season: one goal and 12 PIM. Too many goose eggs (six out of 15 games) in SOG, though.


-- I think Robin Lehner's worth a short-term add. Craig Anderson's injury could open up a nice window for Lehner, who may very well be the team's future in net.




-- Alexander Steen scored his 13th goal in 13 games and now has 19 points. He won't maintain that 30+ shooting percentage, so should you sell high? Look, I normally like doing that but ... why not just enjoy the run and see how far he can take you? This could be a contract year for the ages, even though his puck luck is bound to subside.


-- The abuse P.K. Subban takes is pretty absurd. If it's all about the Habs trying to keep his price down, Montreal's playing a dangerous game of chicken. Don't players often take less money to stick with teams that treat them well or at least fairly?


-- Chris Stewart's season's been wildly disappointing, although his PIMs (38) keep him viable. He now has three points in three games and is starting to shoot (13 SOG in four games). I'd be tempted to grab him (43 percent owned) but I also acknowledge that I believe in his fantasy potential more than most.


After the jump: four more game summaries certain to titillate.


* - At least, I assume this is only being read on computer/tablet/phone screens. If you happen to print these out, let me know, because that would be delightful.


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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.
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