Last night was a lot of fun hockey fans and just think tonight we get 13 games to pour over. There really has been an amazing amount of fantasy hockey craziness as well. Muscles have been flexed and matchups have been well documented. This is the first big pivotal night in Week 16, then there is one Wednesday game and a long extended weekend hockey vacation.
So what happened Monday Night in the hockey world? There were six games and it went a little something like this. It is time to take a quick look back.
A LOOK BACK:
Blues and Wings Playoff Like Clash -- St. Louis and Detroit really played one hell of a game and although Detroit did win 3-1, this was a game that absolutely felt like a late round playoff tilt. It had fights, clutch goals, and physicality to the max. Hits were 31-29 but with the intensity hits felt more like 51-49. It was that kind of game but in the end, Detroit was the more disciplined squad and two power play goals keyed a hard foughts 3-1 win over St. Louis. Though the Blues were more than game, in the end, it was Detroit playing smart that was the different. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves to get his 30th win (on pace for 50) and Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and assist in a game that will make you salivate until April (when the two teams play next).
A Monster Lays Claim -- We have killed Jonas Gustavsson quite a bit this year but its time to give credit where credit is due as the guy is playing with a .920+ save percentage since Mid-November and posted a 25 save shutout in a 3-0 Toronto win over the Islanders last night. Phil Kessel scored once and Matthew Lombardi tallied twice for the Maple Leafs who outshot the Isles 35-25 and just peppered Isle goalie Evgeni Nabokov all night. Can you consider "The Monster" a viable fantasy goalie? That answer right now is actually yes and that may shock quite a few but the facts are the facts. He is getting the job done for Toronto in the here and now.
LA Story -- In a rare offensive explosion and support for Jonathan Quick, the Kings scored four times in the first 40 and coasted to a 4-1 home win over the Ottawa Senators. Yes there were a few very questionable calls but the Kings converted on one power play and a penalty shot on their way to victory. Quick by the way stopped 28 of 29 shots as Daniel Alfredsson scored a power play goal midway in the final period to spoil the shutout bid. Ottawa did bog down a bit on the road trip but LA did play much better tonight. Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, and Colin Fraser all had two points tonight in the victory with guys like Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards noticeably absent from the boxscore. It was just one of those nights. Let's dig into the schedule....
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
|Buffalo||at||New Jersey||7:00 PM|
|Toronto||at||NY Islanders||7:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||at||NY Rangers||7:00 PM|
|Columbus||at||Tampa Bay||7:30 PM|
|Pittsburgh||at||St. Louis||8:00 PM|
|San Jose||at||Calgary||9:00 PM|
There are just no gamedays needed for this Tuesday Night. With the 13 game schedule, there will be scores, previews, and updates flying all over the place. Yes also to add to the bread and circuses will be how Tim Thomas comes out against Washington. With the "political/sports" fallout, who knows if anything will happen. However, it could be much ado about nothing and then again maybe not. Either way, the action will be intense.
Next up is Ian Gooding with his Pick Six. It is that last big night before the break and Mr. Gooding is raring to go. Here he is unleashed.....
A total of 26 teams are in action on Tuesday – all teams except Carolina, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Montreal. Detroit and Montreal are the only two teams playing on Wednesday, which is the last day before the All-Star break. Plan accordingly.
ESPN and Yahoo leagues are all operating under extended weeks, so there should be no worry about a three-day week in most formats. However, one CBS league I play in (and a money league at that) is operating on a three-day week, for some strange reason (hello Commissioner Jack?) Check your league settings to be sure.
Oh yeah, wasn’t there something about an Alex Ovechkin suspension that got lost in the Thomas-gate scandal? Don’t forget to bench Ovie for tomorrow’s game, although his three-game suspension won’t affect his status for the All-Star Game (would the NHL really do that?)
Onto the Tim Thomas situation, now that everyone else has issued their two cents’ worth by now. Shouldn’t it be an honor to carry the Stanley Cup into the White House and meet the President? Can’t he put aside his political allegiances for just one day? His decision takes away from the entire event, and only gives people one more reason to dislike the Bruins. (I know that as a Canucks fan, I have plenty of reasons, but I’ll spare you those right now.)
Those of you that argue in favor of freedom of speech and freedom of thought have a point. However, haven’t we all been forced to attend a work function, a family gathering, or a party against our will? We attend as a favor to someone else, or we simply to put the group or team ahead of our own self-interests. We crack a smile, imagine that we are someplace else, and hope that it will be over soon.
Thomas may have attempted to send a message standing up for better (read between the lines: Republican) government. In the process, he snubbed another long-standing organization with a proud tradition. That organization is the Boston Bruins, who no doubt preferred not to be dragged into a heated political debate on what was supposed to be an enjoyable day recognizing a major accomplisment.
For a deeper probe into Thomas’ personality, check out this read from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com.
Enough political commentary – how about that Pick Six?
Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI – add/start
Before Monday’s shutout at the hands of the Leafs, John Tavares was on a 12-game point streak. Okposo, who recently moved onto the Tavares line, has points in 10 of his last 12 games. Okposo has 8 points in 13 games against the Leafs, so he is definitely worth a look again in fantasy leagues.
Martin Erat, RW, NSH – add/start
The Predators mean business again this season, in no small part to Erat. The streaky Czech is having a January to remember, scoring 10 points (3g-7a) in 10 games this season. With 33 points (11g-22a) in 40 games this season, he has a chance to reach 60 points for the first time in his career.
Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI – add/start
As I mentioned on Twitter, weekend injuries to Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr create a big-time opening for Simmonds. He paid immediate dividends on Saturday, scoring a goal and two assists against New Jersey. The Flyers have a strong schedule for the extended fantasy hockey week, so Simmonds is worth at least a short-term pickup.
Francois Beauchemin, D, ANA – add/start
Beau’s season total (18 points in 47 games) isn’t great, but he is having stellar January (7 points and +10 in 10 games this month) along with the Ducks. He didn’t record a point Sunday against Colorado, but the icetime eater logged 29 minutes in that game. If you need a fourth defenseman, he could be your guy.
J.S. Giguere, G, COL – start
Jiggy is at it again with another fabulous run (wins in three of his last four starts). He has also been confirmed as the starting goalie for Tuesday’s matchup against the struggling Wild (Mile High Hockey). The Avs appear to be going with the hot goalie, Jiggy for a few games, then Semyon Varlamov for a few more. Right now it’s Jiggy’s turn on the merry-go-round.
Nathan Horton, RW, BOS – bench
The Bruins have been recently been accused of being on the wrong end of some thuggish play, but Horton has found himself the victim of another concussion (CSNNE). Mild concussion or not, expect Horton to rest until at least after the All-Star break.
KEEP AN EYE ON:
Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators -- Rinne is going to face the kitchen sink (if he thought last night was bad against Columbus) at Chicago tonight especially after those nice Barry Trotz comments. Thanks to Nashville Examiner Jim Diamond for the link by the way. More importantly Chicago will try to prove a point even without Captain Jonathan Toews who is out with an injury which may have been caused by a Nashville player. The subplots are many in this one and Chicago will be out to prove a point. Rinne will have to be at his best if Nashville expects to come out on top.
St. Louis Blues -- The Blues have an important game against Pittsburgh tonight and honestly Brian Elliott is likely to get the start. With their disciplined style and how Pittsburgh wants to play things, expect another fairly low scoring affair. How St. Louis plays this one could go a long way in determining their fate. It really is how you get back up after a tough loss that makes a team but also the fantasy parts of St. Louis need this game more than most think. Can they bounce back? We will find out.
Well with that, we wish everyone good luck tonight and of course to follow us on Twitter for the latest hockey and fantasy hockey updates. Lastly, Weekly Slapshot comes at you at 9:30pm ET tonight with fantasy hockey news in a rapid fire 30 minute slant. Thanks for reading.