That hair-doo is still tough as nails but Hunter likes the finesse game
The Caps have fired Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with Dale Hunter. Good news here for fantasy GMs as Hunter is a very aggressive offensive coach, his teams in London are typically amongst the highest scoring teams in the OHL (currently in 1st place and leading the league in goals). I have to believe that he'll open up the Caps offence as Boudreau's defensive system wasn't working this year as they were 29th in the league in goals against. Skilled players have typically done well under Hunter as he's coached and developed the likes of Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner, Dave Bolland, Nazem Kadri and current Cap John Carlson. I also like the fact that he's shown that he's willing to work with Russian players as he's had Vladislav Namestnikov, Igor Bobkov & Sergei Kostitsyn (Belarus) on his squads over the past few years. All around, this is good news if you own some struggling Capitals, particularly Ovechkin & Semin.
Paul Maurice has also been canned, replaced by Kirk Muller in Carolina. Muller was an assistant in Montreal for a number of years and was largely credited as being the guy behind the Canadiens consistently strong PP. He's been the head coach of Milwaukee in the AHL this season but there isn't a lot of data to go on to predict what style he'll employ. I'm guessing he's going to be more defensive, which will help Cam Ward as the Canes are currently 28th in the league in goals against. Any changes he can make to the PP would help as well as they sit 29th in the league at 12.2%. There should be a "new coach bump" for guys like Staal, Ruutu, Jokinen & Kaberle but Maurice also had a thing for former Leafs like Kaberle, Ponikarovsky, Tlusty, Harrison & Brent and who knows if Muller feels the same way about these guys.
Brian Elliott with his third straight start and third straight win last night as he stopped 23 of 24 to beat the CBJs. What is really insane about him is how little he has to work, in his five starts since The Cock took over Elliott has faced 24.3 shots/60. You still have to stop them but a lot of goalies would be successful playing in that system.
Erik Karlsson with two assists and he had eight of those over his last eight to take over sole possession of the scoring lead amongst dmen. His teammate Sergei Gonchar isn't far behind as he's top 10 and has 2+5=7 & plus-4 over his last seven.
Cal Clutterbuck with a goal, two PIMs, two shots & four hits yesterday... he's been playing on the 2nd line lately with Cullen & Bouchard and has come through with 4+2=6, 20 PIMs, 28 shots & 36 hits over his last eight games... definitely a worthwhile own in most leagues.
David Backes with the GWG last night and he has 5+2=7 & 18 shots over his past six games.
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 26 of 28 for his fourth straight win and he's pulled his sv% above the mendoza line of .900 (sits at .901 right now).
Tim Connolly extended his point-streak to five games where he has 2+6=8.
Tyler Bozak with two more goals on six shots last night and he's on a nice run with 6+5=11 over his last nine games.
The Leafs Joey Crabb has a goal in three straight games... he's rocking a 35.7% sh% so far this season.
Is the inevitable slowdown we're all anticipating for Milan Michalek upon us???.... he has points in his just one of his past five games and just nine shots in his last five.
David Rundblad returned after being a scratch for five straight games and he scored his first NHL goal last night but only saw 15 minutes of ice.
Nikita Filatov had a pair of 3-pointers in the AHL over the past few weeks and that earned him another call-up to Ottawa. He was in the Sens lineup yesterday and played a season high 15:07 (2:41 on the PP) while lining up with Spezza & Greening on the top line. What's the over/under on how many games this lasts? Stephane Da Costa was sent down to make room for Filatov, he hadn't been playing or doing much anyway, so better for him to get his mojo back in Bingo.
Tomas Kaberle was a healthy scratch yesterday, he's been pretty awful this year with just 5A & minus-10 in his first 24 games with Carolina. But he played 23 minutes in Friday's game, so it's not like the coach has decided that he can't use this guy... just sending him a wake-up call, hopefully Kaberle picks up the phone.
With Kaberle sitting, Jamie McBain played 24 minutes with 9:15 of PP time... he's really struggled this year but this is a good sign.
Kurtis Foster was scratched last night and Friday night as well... so my idea that he might see some decent ice-time with Visnovsky out showed poor judgement on my part. Same with Daniel Carcillo, while we're on the topic, as he had no points in his previous five and then was scratched on Saturday night.
The Ducks have called up Jeff Deslauriers from the AHL to fill-in while Dan Ellis is banged up... I wouldn't expect JDD to play though as he's been struggling in the A this year with 4.75 & .854 ratios.
The Coyotes say that Kyle Turris has reported in excellent condition so they're unsure if he needs to go down to the AHL to get himself into shape... he may find his way into the lineup within a week.