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Monday, November 15, 2010


Looks like I, the former Matteau the Magic Wrap-Around, am becoming Bettman's Nightmare full-time over at Behind the Net.  Somehow they got the impression that I'm good at writing stuff.  We all know better, but I'm taking the position before they know what hit 'em.  This leaves me out of time for this blog, but with any luck my compadres will take the reins and make something beautiful here.  I can only hope for Rankin's and Cosby's sake that it isn't overrun by soft-core pictures of Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere, but the Flyers fans work in mysterious ways.  Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you over at my new site!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For Those of Us With Lives: Your Weekly NHL Up-To-Speed (11-3-10 to 11-10-10)

The News
Yeah, Boogaard scored.  We know now.  It was a long time coming.

Crosby fought, and won, against Matt Niskanen.  I'm not his biggest fan, but I'll give the guy props to picking his opponents wisely.  Of his five fights, all five opponents (Niskanen, Marek Zidlicky, Brett McLean, Keith Ballard, Andrew Ference)  were nearly the exact same size as him.  If your star player is going to get into a fight, that's what you want him doing.

GM's held their annual meeting where they shoot down ideas.  They farted around with the All-Star Game, which is fine though it still will suck far more than the skills competition.  They agreed that headshots were being handled correctly, which is fine also because I don't feel like talking about them anymore.  I'll just assume they don't exist, like smallpox.  They decided Dave Tallon is a dope and coach's challenges are clown shoes, so that gained no traction whatsoever.  Also means GM's just gave up the right to whine about calls that were "missed."

Can I call shenanigans?  Because I think Brian Burke is trying to mess with my Maple Leafs prediction.  Toronto is sinking faster than Marty Brodeur's floorboards.

Loui Eriksson embarrasses Brent Johnson...don't hurt 'im, Lou!  Oh yeah, the Crosby fight's tacked on the end:

How 'bout Ze Monster with ze monstrous save:

You know I'm putting this one up, because it cost $1.625 million:

This is the player Cal Clutterbuck needs to be:

And, let me tell you, this isn't hockey-related, but look at Andy Reid looking like a 15-year old Cuban Little Leaguer at a 1971 Punt, Pass, and Kick:

Self-Important Thoughts Section
- There's something to be said when a 1st rounder, instead of tanking horribly and chasing himself out of the league, finds a different way to be an effective player.  Props to Manny Malhotra for his great start this year.

- Steven Stamkos was working out with Gary Roberts over the summer, which explains why he's stellar this year (what's your excuse, Del Zotto?).  Highlight?  Apparently, when Gary gets mad, Stamkos calls him "Scary Gary."

- In case you all didn't know, I've been posting like mad at Behind the Net, bam, bam, bam, and blammo, so you can see why I've only been a once-a-weeker around here.

- In case you feel that sufficient props haven't been given this week, mad props to Jake Plummer for finding a career path that didn't involve interceptions and pissed-off fans.  You should probably be Ryan Leaf's life coach.

- Oh, and if you haven't seen the joke yet, go to Google Maps, type in "japan to china," and look at step 43.

Tweets of the Week
"Khabibulin is as good as there is in the league right now, and that includes Thomas, Halak."
- Damien Cox (@DamoSpin)  Note: Wow, why do you have your own NHL blog...

"How is it in 2010 they don't have edible stickers on apples? We can eat underwear, for god's sake."
- Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy (@wyshynski)

"Playing the settlers of catan with a few of the boys.  This syvret guy, what a strategist!"
- Bobby Ryan (@b_ryan9)

Fantasy Time (Yahoo standard scoring)
Note:  This section has gotten a little labor-intensive, so I'm switching it now to one player at each position (and under 50% owned) that has played well the past week and deserves interest.

Brian Elliott - 3 GP, 3 W, 1.67 GAA, 94.4 SV%, 0 SHO --- 47% owned
- Why should you doubt that Elliott can develop into a good goaltender?  The critics were quick to hit him last year, despite it being his first season being truly leaned on.  I'm not scared of Lehner (yet), and I'm definitely not scared of Leclaire.  This Ottawa team is playing very well, so Elliott should be considered a viable option.

Left Wing
Viktor Stalberg - 3 GP, 1 G, 3 A, +2, 4 PIM, 1 PPP, 9 SOG --- 5% owned
- He's on the top line with Kane and Toews, and it wasn't long ago that the Leafs were ga-ga over this guy's potential.  He's got the situation to go for a run.

Right Wing
Michael Frolik - 3 GP, 2 G, 2 A, +4, 0 PIM, 0 PPP, 17 SOG --- 8% owned
- The Panthers offense came out flat as a pancake this year, but they've picked up the mo' lately and regardless of their final record their top line will produce.  Frolik has two years under his belt of 20 or more goals, is taking a ton of shots, and has the 1st-round pedigree; there are good reasons to think he could have a solid year at a thin position.

Cal O'Reilly - 3 GP, 1 G, 3 A, +2, 0 PIM, 1 PPP, 4 SOG --- 4% owned
- I've seen other fantasy "experts" say that O'Reilly is a mirage, or that he'll only give you assists, but at this point in the year, if you need a center, you aren't going to find people who are going to knock your socks off. That being said, O'Reilly is on the best line in Nashville, he will help you in assists, plus-minus, PPP, and he won't kill you in goals.  He's played at a higher than point-per-game pace in the AHL, and he can do it at this level; that's about as good as you can get off the waiver wire in the center position.

Cody Franson - 3 GP, 1 G, 1 A, +2, 2 PIM, 0 PPP, 6 SOG --- 9% owned
- This one's only if you're desperate, because I was tempted to say there weren't any defensemen worth adding at under 50 percent ownership.  Franson's points came in one game, and he doesn't have much for PP production just yet, but he's getting some PP time, he was a bit of a sleeper coming into the season, and he has 7 points over 13 games.  You could do worse.

I'm going to take a powder (which doesn't mean what you might think it means).  Don't forget to buy long johns this year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For Those of Us With Lives: Your Weekly NHL Up-To-Speed (10-27-10 to 11-3-10)

As the dust settles on another election in the U.S., we are finally free to watch hockey without being interrupted by campaign commercials.  A definite plus.  I'm waiting for the year we have a referendum on outlawing those things.

The News
Probably the biggest news is that sleazebag Graham James has officially been arrested.  If you'll remember, he's the former junior coach that molested and intimidated his players, including future NHLers like Theoren Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy.  He'd been on the run for quite awhile, but now hopefully the long arm of the law slams the barred door shut and throws away the key.

Also, Bettman and Bill Daly had a little chat with Yahoo about various things, spending way too much time on the Wild fan and Rick Rypien and whether the fan accepted a Bettman invitation to dinner and a game.  Wow, that wouldn't be awkward as shit.  When asked about the Coyotes and the fact that they struggle to get to 10,000 per game this year, Daly took the reins with:

"I will say we're light years better than where we were last year at this time in terms of how the fans have responded to the club."

Yeah, nope.  We're in the same boat, maybe worse.  Remember, Coyotes had an up-tick in attendence by December last year because they were in first place and playing incredibly well.  They are definitely not in first place this time around.  As each game passes, the opening and second-night booms are insufficient to keep the average home attendence above 10,000.
It's not like Bettman was without a fun quote of his own.  How about this gem on the impending issue of the expiration of the CBA:

"And frankly, to segue, I don't see any reason why anybody who covers our game is focused at all on collective bargaining.  I mean, we're starting to get to those questions.  There are three other leagues that go before we do.  (Laugh) We've got two years.  Please."

Could you possibly manufacture a potentially more-ironic quote?  Yes, god forbid that we worry when a.) we are less than a decade removed from a lockout, which itself was less than a decade removed from a lockout, b.) Donald Fehr's not afraid to strike, and c.) we are in a salary-cap league.  "We've got two years."  I think it would be wise to handle this seriously, and not like a college kid with a due date on his term paper.

Before I get too steamed, let's just admire the remarkable Pavel Datsyuk.  This is precisely why he's one of the best in the league:

Now that I have pleased you, the less-graceful charge of Dustin Byfuglien.  Let me be the first to say that this is probably the ugliest end-to-end I've seen in awhile:

Self-Important Thoughts Section
- Okay, I get it.  Rinks and teams think that cheerleaders will draw fans, or at least keep them there.  Edmonton fans don't want them, even though the Oilers are setting up to have them.  The fans think cheerleaders are superficial business ploys and sexist, and they are.  But a hockey team is about 75 percent dictatorship.

- Feeling good about my Patrick Sharp prediction; not so much about Nik Antropov.

- Wow, plus-minus is a weird category this year.  Take a look at Joe Thornton, Patrick Kane, and even Nicklas Backstrom.

- This is probably the best costume out there right now.

- Speaking of costumes, I think I know what I'm going to be next year: Slutty Orville Redenbacher.

Tweets of the Week
"Just left 'the joe'. Tough skate today. I looked like datsyuk out there today. Minus the awesome hands, great shot, speed, and hockey sense."

"Baby wipes should become the worlds currency."

"gota text from a friend sayin a guy with his young son showed up trick or treating with a favre jersey and dildo hanging out of his pants"
- Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0)

Fantasy Time (Yahoo standard scoring)
Top Goalies last week
Tim Thomas - 2 GP, 2 W, 0.00 GAA, 100 SV%, 2 SHO --- 87% owned
Dan Ellis - 2 GP, 2 W, 0.00 GAA, 100 SV%, 1 SHO --- 48% owned
Niklas Backstrom - 3 GP, 2 W, 1.00 GAA, 96.6 SV%, 1 SHO --- 84% owned

Top Left Wings last week
Dany Heatley - 3 GP, 3 G, 4 A, +6, 2 PIM, 3 PPP, 6 SOG --- 100% owned
Alex Ovechkin - 3 GP, 3 G, 2 A, +3, 2 PIM, 2 PPP, 16 SOG --- 100% owned
Patrick Sharp - 4 GP, 2 G, 3 A, -1, 0 PIM, 3 PPP, 21 SOG --- 93% owned

Top Right Wings last week
Ryan Callahan - 4 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 0, 2 PIM, 2 PPP, 16 SOG --- 47% owned
Jeff Carter - 3 GP, 2 G, 3 A, +4, 2 PIM, 0 PPP, 14 SOG --- 96% owned
Dustin Byfuglien - 3 GP, 2 G, 2 A, +1, 2 PIM, 2 PPP, 14 SOG --- 84% owned

Top Centers last week
Joe Thornton - 3 GP, 3 G, 5 A, +6, 0 PIM, 3 PPP, 7 SOG --- 99% owned
Nicklas Backstrom - 3 GP, 3 G, 3 A, +4, 2 PIM, 2 PPP, 7 SOG --- 100% owned
Patrick Marleau - 3 GP, 2 G, 3 A, +6, 0 PIM, 0 PPP, 10 SOG --- 99% owned

Top Defensemen last week
Duncan Keith - 4 GP, 1 G, 8 A, +3, 2 PIM, 3 PPP, 15 SOG --- 100% owned
Kimmo Timonen - 3 GP, 1 G, 4 A, +3, 2 PIM, 3 PPP, 6 SOG --- 71% owned
Mike Green - 3 GP, 1 G, 3 A, +3, 6 PIM, 2 PPP, 6 SOG --- 100% owned

Advice: Byfuglien is typically eligible as a D as well, and I'd advocate adding him for that position if he's available in your league.  Just be ready when he locks into the doldrums again.  Timonen would also be worth adding, and might be more helpful in the long run than Byfuglien.

I told you to add Tim Thomas a couple of weeks back.  Now you'll just have to settle for Dan Ellis, who's the better goalie in Tampa and could ride the hot offense to 30 wins.  Ratios will be suspect, though.

I like Ryan Callahan if I'm desperate for RW's, because nearly every winger that takes a ton of shots has a good year at some point in their career.  Callahan has been over 200 shots the last two years, so he's bound to start finding the net.  I'd give him a shot to see if he could put together a Jason Blake-ian year  of around 25-30 goals and 55-60 points.

I voted.  I voted hard.  Peace out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mr. October

Mike Brown

This 'stache is of the Fu-Manchu variety which "auto-magically" yields the power to intimidate upon sight. The thickness and density show dedication and resilience. This particular formation of the Fu-Manchu however, is also quite symbolic to the game of hockey. The handlebars are a representation of the goal, which is the case for almost any Fu-Manchu in the game of hockey, but this one is unique by implying a goal. The simple addition of the soul patch completes the effect Brown was going for: if you see this 'stache, I just scored. Renamed: The Goal-Manchu.