GAMES PLAYED BY TEAM: (3 games is a standard week this year)
2 Games: Edmonton
4 Games: Calgary, Dallas, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis
Monday: Minnesota at Calgary: Which one of these teams makes the step back towards the pack and potentially gets on a roll?
Tuesday: New York Rangers at Boston: These original 6 games are the easy pick and I will not try to pick them every week but with the East only playing the East this year these could be some of the best games regardless of my desire to avoid using them. New York Rangers seem to be gathering momentum can they beat the B’s in Boston?
Wednesday: St. Louis at Detroit: After the 6-0 win in the first game of the season the last two match-ups have seen the Red Wings dominating 5-3 and 5-1. St. Louis is trying to find some goal-tending to regain the start they had and may getting starter Jaroslav Halak back just in time. There could also be some rough hard play in this one. These teams have grown not to like each other very quickly this year.
Thursday: Washington at Tampa Bay: It’s Valentine’s Day in case you forgot guys. Remember to get your loved one something special so maybe you can watch a game. If you’re like most guys you like to watch a lot of action. If you have not seen the Lightning plays so far this year try and check this game out. Washington has not been able to find any team defense or goal-tending and the Bolts are averaging a staggering 4 + goals a game so far this year with Stamkos leading the way. Plus you will probably see a token OV goal or two.
Friday: Pittsburgh at Winnipeg: Last year the Penguins lost in their first trip to the MTS Center just like this year where the Jets won the game 4-2. Last season the Pens came back and won the game 4-1. Will history repeat again? The Penguins are red hot and the Jets are not.
Saturday: Philadelphia at Montreal: If you are in the USA and have not had the chance to check out this great weekly program on Canadian television turn into the NHL Network as they are covering the first game each week and showing the CBC telecast. You also get to experience Don Cherry in between the 1st and 2nd Period.
Sunday: Los Angeles at Chicago: This could be the Western conference finals preview. Remember how slow the Kings started last year.
The Warming House – Buy Low Value Plays
Sell High: Thomas Vanek is on pace for a career high pace for goals and points. He has 11 goals even before the game on Sunday night. That works out to around 80 goals over an 82 game season and with about ¼ gone this season he would be on pace for around 40. Consider his career high is 43 and has only hit 40 one other time sell him while you can get a lot in return. (Look at my advice on Marleau last week)
Sell High: Erik Karlsson is another one on a torrid pace. The scary thing with this kid is it could be for real. So if you are selling make sure you are getting a lot in return and a top tier defenseman coming back. Points from the back line are hard to come by.
Sell High: Vladimir Tarasenko has great numbers but has cooled off recently. Hard for a rookie to put up big points anyways let alone a condensed schedule. Rookie let alone the veterans are not used to playing this many games. His output will suffer.
Buy Low: Ryan Suter started out really slow and the Wild have struggled but if you look deep inside the numbers your will see that he know has points 4 of his last 8 and the Wild are starting to show chemistry.
Buy Low: Cam Ward started out slow but is finding his stride. Cam is 2-2 in his last 4 with a GAA of 2.00. I think Carolina may give up some goals this year but they will also score a ton. If you need Wins I think you can get Cam fairly cheap. At home they are going to be especially tough.
Buy Low: Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook both have started out slow and the Chicago Blackhawks have the best record in hockey. Think how good this team will be once these two begin to hit their stride. I for one want to be on upside of that in a great buy low situation.
Scrap Pile Potential: Victor Fasth may still be on your scrap pile and he has a chance to steal the job from Hiller. Also a candidate for Sell High so this one is a little tricky. A lot of young goalies come in and do very well in limited duty before the scouting report and video coaches get the book on them. High Risk High Reward with this one.
Scrap Pile Potential: Alex Goligoski who was benched this past week is another one in deeper leagues who can put up points. He started off as cold as Minnesota January night eat you responded with 2 assists and seemed to be more intense. The Dallas Stars did not trade James Neil for nothing this guy has talent but is a little cow boyish in nature. If you need help on the backline you could do worse.
Scrap Pile Potential: Matt Frattin from the Toronto Maple Leafs has 5 goals in his last 8 games. He may be available in deeper leagues.
Scrap Pile Potential: Rene Bourque also fills all the stats and is skating on Montreal’s top line with Plekanec and Brian Gionta.
Hotter than Don Cherry on the no touch icing rule
Forwards: Jamie Benn, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Kane, Patrik Elias, Thomas Vanek
Defense: Erik Karlsson, Sheldon Souray, Andy Greene, P.K. Subban
Goalies: Kari Lehtonen, Marc-Andre Fluery, Pekka Rinne, Viktor Fasth
Luke warm like a pre-game skate
Forwards: John Tavares, Henrik Sedin, Tyler Bozak
Defense: Shane Weber, Kimmo Timonen, Justin Schultz
Goalies: Craig Anderson, IIya Bryzgalov, Mike Smith
Cold as a game day Puck
Forwards: Wild Forwards, Shark forwards, Shane Doan, Patrick Marleau
Defense: Sami Salo, Marek Zidlicky, Dougie Hamilton,
Goalies: Brian Elliott, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick
NHLWLD thoughts for the week
I am still pondering the whole when to ride or get off on a streak concept and would love to hear from you.
This week’s thoughts are around a concept a veteran GM once quoted. Things are never as bad as they seem and they are never as good as they look. With that thought in mind I have to talk about my own Minnesota Wild. They are 0-3 in their last 3 games and are only averaging 1.4 goals a game in their past 5 games. Wild fans are up in arms asking for the coach’s head. The bad as it appears so to say.
Now let’s look at my theory. They have 9 points which puts them in 11th in the West. They are one win away from 11 points and the last playoff spot. Losses at Phoenix by one goal with at least 3 shots hitting the post and a loss at Anaheim by two goals with one goal coming on a power play late in the game because of the Wild was trying to tie it up and had to take a penalty to prevent and easy goal. It is easy to say well they lost didn’t they, but losing and winning in the NHL is a fine line. (Note this was before Saturday’s OT win)
That’s all for this week and here is hoping that your look through the Plexiglas has you on the winning side and the red light is on.