Left-field commentary on the perpetually expanding fantasy hockey universe. Published every second Sunday throughout the season. View the RN archive here.
I have heard some n̶o̶n̶-̶S̶t̶a̶m̶k̶o̶s̶ ̶o̶w̶n̶e̶r̶s̶ people claim that Steven Stamkos' elite stats have been primarily a by-product of playing with some dude named Martin St. Louis. This has been true to a degree, obviously - but is it still? Well, in his first two games without Marty, Stamkos had zero points. Case closed. St. Louis is the catalyst, obviously. Except Stamkos spent the next three games on an absolute rampage, going 4+3=7 and plus-4. Taking St. Louis' place on Stamkos' seven scoring plays? Studs like Moore, Gilroy, Downie, Kubina, Malone, Hedman, Brewer, and Tyrell. True that Vincent Lecavalier had three assists in there too, but only one was a primary. Mr. Stamkos is the real deal with or without St, Louis, and he'll challenge for the Richard every year for for the next decade plus, or until whenever his laser beam wears out.
After the jump, my least offensive and most conventional column yet. That's right folks - I'm on the wagon.On the subject of with/without comparisons, let's look at the Boston Bruins' shots allowed with and without Zdeno Chara. On average, Boston has allowed 31.5 shots against per game this year. In two games without Chara, they allowed 41 and 49 shots. Chara's first game back vs. Philly? 31 shots allowed. There are a lot of great D-man in the league, and even a handful of what I'd consider franchise d-men. But there is only one Zdeno goddamn Chara. I'm pretty sure I have bad dreams about him on a regular basis.
Here's another one: without Claude Giroux, Philly has been outscored 15-4 over three games. Before he was injured, Giroux had figured in 39 of the Flyers' 106 goals. That's 37.5 percent. Unreal. So what to do without him? The Flyers should still have the depth to cover it, but man, a Jeff Carter or Mike Richards would sure look good in a Philly uni right now.
I picked up Tuomo Ruutu a few weeks ago in the FHS Beta League, and since then he's probably been my most well-rounded forward. I made particular note of his stat line this past Thursday vs. Vancouver: 1G, 1A, +1, 2 PIM, 1 PPP, 6 SOG, 2 HIT, 1 BLK. That, my friends, is full eight category coverage, leaving nothing untouched. If that sounds almost dirty, it's because it is, in fact, totally dirty.
Something I've never seen before: near the end of the first period of yesterday's Boston/Philly matinee. Braydon Coburn iced the puck from behind his own blue line, but actually ended up shooting it over the glass way down in Boston's end of the rink. Insanely, a delay of game penalty was called. Insane not just because there was no actual intent to shoot the puck over the glass. but also because Philly was already short-handed and free to ice the puck, which in itself is a sort of delay of game strategy. Boston scored on the ensuing two man advantage.
Best post-game tweet after that same 6-0 thrashing Boston laid on the Flyers? That would go to @TheBruinsBlog, with "After this #HBO has to change name of show to 21/7 --- #Flyershave taken 3 hours off".
More on the Bruins, as they've been my favorite team to watch this year (nothing to do with owning Thomas and Rask in a keeper league, nothing at all).
- Number of days it took Boston to go from last to first in the Eastern Conference: 41.
- Number of players under twenty to win the Stanley Cup since Jagr did in in 1992: just one, and that would be Mr. Tyler Seguin.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about goalie strategy in leagues with daily lineup changes. Curious to know what your thoughts are on these three questions:
#1: If you have two active slots available, is it smart to dress both starter and backup fromt he same team on the same night? My initial reaction is no: why would you want to burn a goalie start on a backup coming in for a pulled starter? The chances of coming back for a win are usually slim to none. But I got burned on this a few games back, when I dressed Thomas and left Rask on my bench. Thomas was pulled for the third period with the score tied 3-3. Boston ended up winning 5-3 but Rask got credit for the W. Pretty rare scenario though.
#2: If you have two active slots available, do you dress opposing goalies? In my opinion, as long as I don't smell a blowout, the answer is yes. It's a guaranteed win. and as long as aggregate goals are five or less, the GAA isn't going to hurt too much. But mostly, I dress both goalies because there's nothing worse than guessing a winner, and guessing wrong.
#3: Should you always dress your studs? I'm not talking the uber-elite, like Lundqvist or Rinne, as they rarely slump anyway. But what about a guy like Cam Ward? I own him in a couple of leagues, and like the whole Hurricanes team, he is having a terrible year. But at the same time, he has wins over Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Philly, Chicago, and Boston (twice!). If I'd started picking and choosing my starts, i'd be in an even more horrific situation than I'm in now. And things are already plenty horrific around here, thank you very much.
File this under what could have been but will never be: Claude Giroux's pre-injury stats prorated over 82 games: 47+ 67=114, plus-21, 47 PIM, 237 SOG, 41 PPP. For comparison, let's take Sidney Crosby's all-too-brief eight game stint this year and also prorate over 82 games: 21+103=124, plus-72, 82 PIM, 318 SOG and 31 PPP. Good grief. And Jeff Skinner was on a 33+33=66, 284 SOG pace. Man. It hurts my eyes to read that shit. Although it will never happen, the solution to the NHL's concussion epidemic is actually simple and easy: mandatory full cage helmets. I'm not advocating it (yeah who cares jsuites), but if player safety was truly paramount over marketing and commerce, then full cages would seem like a no-brainer. So to speak.
With Jacques Martin sent out to pasture, Randy Cunneyworth is in! For now at least. As a player, Cunneyworth only had one fantasy-worthy season. Lean back, relax, and travel back in time with me to RC's 1987-88 bottom line: 35+39=74, plus-13, 141 PIM and 229 SOG. His next best season was 53 points. Wonder why the huge peak in 87-88?
That's it for me until next year, except of course for the (deservedly) much more popular Fantasy Stars of the Week feature, which I compile and post here every Monday after collecting votes and comments from Cam, Jay, Mike and Dio. It's been a blast so far this year contributing my small part to the intelligent and detailed fantasy analysis those guys write, week in and week out here at FHS. This site is free now, but growing in popularity so that one day Cam and Jay are gonna get PAID, bitches, and when that happens I hope to be hired to wash their cars and keep their swimming pools clean.
See you in 2012. Don't drink and drive, but by all means, drink. Cheers.