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Daily Dosage - Jan. 18, 2009

Daily Diarrhea     

Kovalchuk After our little chat (amongst ourselves) about Ilya Kovalcuk not shooting the puck enough, he seems to have heard us... in his last 9 games he's had 44 shots (average of 4.9 per game versus 2.8 per game in his prior 37 games) and whaddyaknow?... 8 goals in his last 9 games after starting the season with only 11 in his first 37 games. 

We've mentioned Andrei Kostitsyn's and Robert Lang's fine play lately but the third member of that line is also worth a mention... Sergei Kostitsyn is 2+5=7 in his last 7 games and has been looking to setup his hot linemates as he only has 8 shots over those 7 games.  While on the Habs, Maxim Lapierre's shootout winner last night just shows how much of a joke the shootout has become... he started in at a Jason Allison like pace and then started chopping ice like Russ Courtnall before beating Elliott with the backhand... next thing someone's gonna start skating in backwards or using the wrong end of their stick.

1 for 4 might get it done in baseball (for a utility infielder) but 1 for 4 didn't get it done for Dan Ellis last night as he only lasted 10 minutes while losing his fourth straight decision.  Ellis has been awful lately and we're starting to think his hot run last year was just a fluke.

DubielewiczThe Islanders had a starting goalie tandem of Yann Danis and Peter Mannino. Ouch.  In a move that reeked of desperation GM Garth Snow was all set to add Wade Dubielewicz until, in a shocker, Columbus claimed him on waivers.  "I thought [GM Garth Snow] was joking at first, but he wasn’t," Dubielewicz said. "He was disappointed, and I’m disappointed." It might actually be the best news for Islander fans...did you really want Dubie coming in, saving the day and robbing you of John Tavares?  Phew, close call...bring on Yann Danis (who, by the way, let in three goals in the loss last night)

We weren't too keen on Rich Peverley's chances after the Thrashers claimed him on waivers.  After all, this is a guy with a career high of ten points, but when a guy goes out and scores six points in his first three games with a team, you take notice.  With the quick start, his leash as Ilya Kovalchuk's pivot has gotten much longer and he's worth a shot in deep leagues now.

Milan Michalek had another big game last night picking up a goal and two assists. It was his second three pointer in his last three games.  Many overvalue Michalek, (he had only 55 points last year) but he's on a hot streak now (10 points in nine games) and plays on an awesome team.  He might be a good buy low candidate as his totals look lower due to some inconsistency and injuries.

CloweSticking with the Sharks, Ryane Clowe had a big night too -- four assists.  With 38 points in 44 games Clowe is in the middle of his breakout season.  He gets good power play minutes (where he's picked up 20 of his points) and is looking like a top tier fantasy forward... if he can stay healthy. 

Mike Cammalleri potted two last night and with 41 points in 43 games he's close to the point-a-game pace he showed in 2006-07.  Playing with Iggy does wonderful things, doesn't it?  Not convinced?  Just ask Matt Lombardi as he's got 6 points in his last 5 games centering Cammo and Iggy.

That ankle injury is really hampering Patty Kane, he's only got 1 point in his last 9 games, and you wonder if he wouldn't have been better off resting it (for more than 2 games) and let it heal as opposed to playing hurt.

HillerAfter a rough couple of games, Jonas Hiller bounced back nicely with a 30 save shutout over Minny last night.  He only starts about a third of his team's games so he needs to make them count.  As a fantasy GM, you really don't want to be starting a goalie who only plays 33% of the time but we'd recommend him over a #1 guy who gets shelled every night.

Nathan Horton is having a bit of an off-year as he's taken a step back in points, PIMs and shots but he seems to be coming around lately as he's had 5+5=10 in his last 8 games.

Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):

Rob Blake's facial injury sounds pretty serious.  The Sharks aren't officially saying anything but unofficially it sounds like he has a fractured jaw.  The injury happened when Dion Phaneuf shot rolled up his stick and hit him in the face.  No word on how long he'll be out of the lineup but we would guess he's out till after the ASG...at least. [more]

TkachukKeith Tkachuk also missed last night's game with an injured head.  It might be a concussion, it might not be.  Unsurprisingly, the Blues are keeping hush.  Might be a good idea to sit him for the short week coming up.  We hope he's out a long time and eats a bunch of Taco Bell so we can start calling him Tkachunk again.

Johan Franzen left last night's game with an UBI.  No word on severity but we'll pass along any info we get when we get it.

Jack Johnson (not the singer) returned yesterday after missing 41 games with a shoulder injury, give him a little while but he should jump right back into his role as the leader of a young Kings d-core.

Also, the following players returned from stints on the injured list last night: Shea Weber, Jason Arnott and Drew Doughty.

Distraction of the Day      

What's distracting us today?  We were having our daily read of theScore.com's blog when we discovered we have a reason to hope again.  It seems city officials from Hartford met with Gary Bettman this week and the mayor said: "the meeting was a good chance for him to tell Bettman that Hartford still wants an NHL team." 

We probably shouldn't get too excited for a comeback as the article also said: "that 'difficult financial times' mean that it would take 'a considerable amount of work' to make a [new] arena a reality."  As Lloyd said in Dumb & Dumber; 'so you're telling me there's a chance...YEAH!'

But a larger question remains.  Why do we (and many others) want the Whalers back so badly?  We're not pining over the California Golden Seals or the Kansas City Scouts. So why the Whalers?

There are four possible reasons...that we just made up right now:

1) THE LOVABLE LOSER PHENOMENON
The Whalers played in the NHL for 18 years.  Guess how many winning seasons that had?  Three.  But worst of all they finished fourth or worst every year in the Adams except for one (their glorious 1986-87 season when they finished first in the division... giving them their only championship banner:

Banner 

2) RONNIE FRANCHISE
The team had a few hall of famers who played there for a season or two (Gordie Howe, Dave Keon, Bobby Hull, Paul Coffey) it also had a few very good players (the "little ball of hate" Pat Verbeek, Brendan Shanahan, Mike Liut, Dave Babych, Sean Burke) but the team had no superstars...except for one.  Ron Francis.  Not only did Francis have great numbers (fourth all time in points with 1,798 pretty much sums it up) he was just an all-around good guy.  You say Whalers, people think Francis.  That's a good association to have.

Francis

3) SWEET ASS LOGO
The Whalers may not have won many games or had many great players but they had one of the best logos in NHL history. We like the simple "W" with the creative "H", combine that with some nice colours and it's what all NHL team should strive for.  It's kind of ironic that when the Whalers moved to Carolina they ended up with one of the worst logos in the NHL

Whalers  

4) BRASS BONANZA
Not living in Hartford we never really picked up on this, but a friend of ours who is a big Whaler fan insisted this make the list.  We like it cause it's cheesey, he likes it because he had nothing better to cheer for at the games:

First we get the Whalers back in...  then we can start talking about the Jets and Nordiques.