Another two outdoor games are in the books in the NHL’s attempt to completely devalue the Winter Classic. It’s understandable that the league wants more outdoor hockey because they generate a massive amount of revenue, not to mention the fact they are coming off a lockout and needed to do something big to regain the attention of fans. However, too many will simply make these outdoor spectacles meaningless going forward, especially when you play them in California on ice with the consistency of a snow cone. Although, playing an all-star game outdoors down the line may be something the league should consider.
Let’s look at this week’s MVPs and LVPs.
Kyle Okposo – RW – 82% Owned
Okposo had some week, scoring seven points in four games. The offense was great but the American forward also notched a whopping 15 shots over that span and added in a nice bonus of an unexpected 11 PIMs. Okposo is having a massive year and has already set a new career-high in points with 54. In a related story, he’s playing on a line with John Tavares and Thomas Vanek.
The Runners Up
Alexander Steen – LW – 93% Owned
Steen returned recently from a concussion and the injury did nothing to slow down the torrid pace he was on this season. He notched a pair of goals and four assists over the last seven days, while going plus-3 with six PIMs. Steen also had an impressive 17 shots and if you drafted him based on the age-old theory that every young player the Toronto Maple Leafs give up one will turn into a solid player, you’ve been doing your homework.
Henrik Zetterberg – C – 99% Owned
Zetterberg is playing some great hockey right now and the Red Wings certainly need it with all the injuries they have at forward. The Swede was scratched himself on Sunday with an injury but still managed to post six points last week with a plus-5 rating. He also was great in the face-off circle, winning 41 draws in just three games. The Wings will no doubt be hoping Zetterberg’s play helps them continue their streak of consecutive years making the playoffs, which started before Prohibition.
Kari Lehtonen – G – 84% Owned
Lehtonen is still only 84% owned and the likely reason is due to the fact he is so often injured the only person he would be able to beat in an iron-man streak is Carlo Colaiacovo. With that being said, Lehtonen had some kind of run last week, grabbing three victories and a pair of shutouts. Overall, he stopped 85 of 90 shots in the past seven days.
Honorable Mentions: Alex Semin, Jamie Benn, John Tavares, Andrej Sekera, Rick Nash, Tyler Johnson, Phil Kessel, Thomas Vanek, Eric Nystrom, Gustav Nyquist, Joe Pavelski, Nazem Kadri, Clarke MacArthur, Brad Marchand, Sidney Crosby, Cory Schneider, Tom Gilbert, Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Antoine Vermette.
The LVP (Least Valuable Player)
Max Pacioretty – LW – 84% Owned
It’s no coincidence that Max Pacioretty’s awful week coincided with Montreal losing four straight games. Pacioretty failed to score a point in three games last week and made things much worse by finishing with a minus-4 rating. If he doesn’t pick things up quickly, the Canadiens are going to continue heading in the wrong direction in the standings.
Not Last But Certainly Least
Troy Brouwer – RW – 42% Owned
Brouwer isn’t an offensive powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination, so in a week where he actually picked up an assist some might wonder why he made this list. Well simply put, Brouwer took the place of Alexander Ovechkin for two games last week on the top line and had nothing to show for it. Owners would have been expecting an upswing over the last seven days since he got a chance to play with Nicklas Backstrom.
Dustin Brown – LW – 68% Owned
Brown going pointless last week was concerning but even more so was his lack of ice-time. He managed just six shots in four games and struggled to get even 15 minutes a night for most of the week. In one game he actually played less than 12 minutes. Perhaps his fortune will improve this week when the Kings get back on dry land instead of that lake at Dodger Stadium.
Brian Elliott – G –68% Owned
Elliott made just one start last week but it was bad enough to earn him a spot on this list. He gave up three goals on nine shots to finish with a 14.65 goals against average. He even managed to scare Ken Hitchcock into not starting him again since, and in his system where goalies are rotated faster than the Cleveland Browns go through coaches, that’s really saying something.
Dishonorable Mentions: Carey Price, James Reimer, Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford, Daniel Sedin, Alex Edler, Alex Burrows, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter.