Two more goals last night for Rene Bourque as he followed up his hat-trick on Friday with another big game. I think our feelings on him are clear... dude is so money... until he gets hurt. Jay & I own him in a keeper league and are loving this. Would have been loving it more if we had him in our lineup last week but the Flames are always so mysterious about injuries that we weren't sure when he'd return and left him on the bench (trust me, I'm hating myself... let's blame it on Jay, makes me feel better)... no matter, we won last week anyway.
Things are getting even worse for Antti Niemi as he gave up three goals on five shots last night and was pulled after eight minutes and his gaa has ballooned up to 4.50 & his sv% is .854. Antero Niittymaki was solid in relief & has outplayed him on the so far... look for Niitty to see quite a bit of action while Niemi gets himself sorted out.
Victor Hedman has assists in four straight games and while his plus/minus could be a little rough this year he's looking like he's on his way to a breakout fantasy season, especially since he's not afraid to mix it up (10 PIMs so far) and is shooting the puck (on pace for 174 shots).
Michal Rozsival is seeing a ton of PP time on the Rangers top unit (7:49 last night) and averaging over 25 minutes in total ice-time. He's been chipping in offensively with 2+4=6 in his last six games and while his numbers were down last year (3+20=23), he averaged 80 gms, 9+26=35 with 69 PIMs over the four years prior so we expected him to improve on last year's total. The plus/minus & shots won't be that hot but we like him otherwise.
Ilya Kovalchuk was back in the lineup last night, played 22 minutes and scored the Devils only goal so he and the coach seemed to have patched things up (on the surface).
Dainius Zubrus has been bouncing around the Devils lines playing on either the top line or with Kovalchuk lately and while we won't be going anywhere near this guy, we have to mention that he has 1+4=5 with 10 PIMs in his last four games. He's seeing some good ice-time, not less than 15 minutes in a game this season, so John MacLean seems to have no problem with this Russian (actually he's Lithuanian).
Still with the Devils, rookie Matt Taormina was taken off the top PP unit during yesterday's game and was replaced by Andy Greene. Not sure if that's a permanent move, likely just the coach trying to spark the offense a little but something to keep an eye on.
People expected Cody Franson's ice-time to pick up with Ryan Suter out but that hasn't really happened... he scored last night and has two goals in his last three games but his ice-time was down to 12-13 minutes over the past few games. Amazingly, Shane O'Brien seems to be getting the extra ice-time.
Brendan Morrison is off to a fine start with the Flames as he has 1+6=7 in his last seven games and is maintaining his ice-time even after Bourque returned as he played a season high 18:24 last night and plays the point of the PP. I'm kinda on the fence about BMo as he was a solid, consistent & underrated guy for so long but then he kinda let me down the last two years so I'm a little soured... maybe he's back to his old ways.
John Tortorella telling it like it is (this is why he's so great) regarding the waste of space that is Todd White:
"I don't know what he is as a player... I'm concerned about the speed. We'll talk next week and try to figure out how to give him a better opportunity, if we can."