Anyone know who runs NHL.com? We're guessing only Gary Bettman himself could be such a bonehead... there's a headline on there right now suggesting that you vote Scott Gomez and Paul Kariya into the all-star game cause they are "all-star calibre playmaking centers". First-off, Kariya doesn't even play center... but nice try, you were close. Second, Kariya's only played 11 games this year and is still out with a hip injury. Gomez is healthy, at least, but only ranks 132nd in the league in scoring. Only logical explanation is that the league is trying to deflect heat for potentially having an eastern conference starting lineup that is entirely made up of Habs... what a joke & PR disaster that will be.
Brad Richards has 10 points in his last 8 games and seems to have benefited from Brenden Morrow's injury as he's now lining up with Mike Modano and Loui Eriksson while Mike Ribeiro plays with the scraps.
St. Louis rookie Patrik Berglund returned from his groin injury with points in both games on the weekend and is 5+4=9 and a +6 in his last 9 games... the breakout might not happen this year but this kid is going to be a star, he's a big kid and protects the puck like Mats Sundin.
Stephen Weiss seems to be enjoying the chance to take on the #1C role with Olli Jokinen gone... its not much a streak but he does have 5 points and is a +5 in his last 3 games and is being given a lot of responsibility by new coach Peter DeBoer.
Slava Kozlov is 9+7=16 in his last 14 games and could be in for a bounceback season after only putting up 41 points last year. Don't forget that this guy had 80 points in 2006/07.
It seems like we're posting about one of the Mason goalies every day. Today it's Chris Mason, who looked good stopping 28 of 30 shots against the Thrashers. He is hot, Manny Legace is not. You do the math.
Another crease conflict that we've been watching is in Florida. Craig Anderson (the leagues SV% leader) has started the last two games while Tomas Vokoun has been riding the pine. Vokoun has been pretty ordinary this year but we can't see Anderson keeping this up. Essentially, neither one is a good long term option.
Defender Andrew Hutchinson was traded to the Stars for the rights to winger Lauri Tukonen. When you're a d-man and Tampa doesn't want you it's time to worry. No fantasy value here ... we just like trades.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page which gives you a consolidated list of injuries):
Steve Sullivan skated with the team for the first time in a year and a half. It's a nice story, but we would be surprised to see a Sull ivan comeback come to fruition. [more]
Mathieu Schneider played only 7:31 before leaving with a UBI on Sunday. More on this as information gets released.
Joe Sakic will not accompany the team on their three game road trip due to his back problems. He'll be out at least three more games but we're getting the feeling these back problems are going to be a pain for fantasy owners all season. You probably can't get anything of value for him now, so you're stuck with him.
We've got disclosure on Sergei Zubov's undisclosed injury... its a lower body injury and he'll miss at least a week. Man, that really helps.
Cam Ward left last night's game with a LBI, the coach said "hopefully its not serious". Great, well all your "hope" and a quarter gets us is a phone call... actually I think a call from a pay phone is like 35 cents now? (not that we're big users of pay phones), so ignore that last sentence.
Lubomir Visnovsky didn't miss any games with the concussion he sustained on Saturday, he was right back at it on Sunday.
Distraction of the Day
What's distracting us today? Puck Daddy posted a story about Tony Hand (Britain's version of Wayne Gretzky) and wondered if he should make the Hockey Hall of Fame. The guy has (get this) almost 4,000 points so the case even sounds plausible.
We did a quick look at Hand's career stats at the amazing Hockey DB and these seasons stood out:
Imagine having those two years on your fantasy team. Just in case you missed it go back and look at the number of games played. Crazy. He was averaging three goals a game in 1986-87!
So like us, you're probably thinking ... how did this guy not get a shot at the NHL. Well, he did. He was drafted by the Oilers in 1986 with their last pick. He impressed the team in training camp and made it through the cuts. Glen Sather said:
"At the training camp I could see that he had a great ability to read the ice and he was the smartest player there other than Wayne Gretzky. He skated well. His intelligence on the ice stood out. He was a real prospect."
Hand couldn't handle the pressure/was homesick/could make more money in England (depending on what you read) so he went back to Britain to play. 20 years and 4,000 points later...here we are.
Puck Daddy's question of Hand's HHOF qualifications are ridiculous but we're glad we read the article because we got to experience the insanity that was the BHL. Check out these other 'classic' seasons in the BHL:
|Patrick Scott||1993-94||Milton Keynes Kings||BHL||56||180||139||319||98|
|Rick Brebant||1993-94||Cardiff Devils||BHL||63||119||154||273||130|
|Hilton Ruggles||1993-94||Cardiff Devils||BHL||62||140||103||243||116|
|Jamie Crapper||1988-89||Bracknell Bees||BHL||28||97||126||223||55|
|Garry Unger||1986-87||Peterborough Pirates||BHL||30||95||143||238||58|
|Rick Smith||1988-89||Oxford City Stars||BHL||25||150||78||228||12|
So Hand wasn't as much of an outlier as Puck Daddy would lead you to believe. He was definitely one of the best BHLers in history but he's no British Wayne Gretzky. Maybe more like the British Ron Francis. From our research (which involved more time than any one person should spend looking at BHL stats) he never had the best individual season in the league in any of his 20 years.
What it comes down to is Hand was a very good player who played in a league where teams averaged 10-15 goals a night. Case closed on the HHOF.
As an aside, it's odd how so many goals were scored. Wouldn't the goalies and defensemen be just as bad as the forwards in the league? Hockey DB doesn't have any statistics for goalies so we'll never know. Wait a minute...no goalie statistics? Maybe they played with six attackers all game? No wonder Hand wanted to stay in Britain...that's much easier to score.