Monday presented two big bits of hockey news, yet in all honesty, neither one of them is particularly fantasy-relevant.
Sure, concussions loom over the NHL like a slasher movie villain standing stoically behind his oblivious victim, but class action lawsuits? It’s possible such legal action might scare the league to change rules or tweak suspensions, but overall, I don’t really think this stuff is really under the Daily Dose’s jurisdiction.*
OK, with that out of the way, let’s address the rather busy day of games in summary form.
ST. LOUIS 3, MINNESOTA 0
-- First things first, Zach Parise appeared to injure his foot blocking a shot. Word is that more will be known about his condition sometime Tuesday, so cross your fingers that the trigger-happy star (107 SOG, second only to Alex Ovechkin) is OK.
-- Alexander Steen keeps scoring, collecting goals 18 and 19 on Monday. The latter was an empty-netter, prompting me to wonder if anyone’s really been cleaning up in that category. No one has more than two this season, but going back, Blake Wheeler (four of his 19) tied Jiri Tlusty (four of his 23) for the most last season and Milan Michalek (five of his 35) topped everyone in 2011-12.
-- Is Jaroslav Halak the luckiest goalie in the NHL this season? His overall numbers are getting a little better, but still, he's had quite the stroll to two shutouts and 13 wins.
-- It makes me wonder what’s in store for Brian Elliott, as he’s pretty much buried by Halak right now. Elliott’s path reminds of the one Manny Legace took; both were solid journeyman backup/1B types who had an anomaly All-Star run with St. Louis. Will Elliott be coldly dismissed by the league in free agency like Legace was before him?
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BOSTON 4, PITTSBURGH 3 (OT)
-- Wow, Torey Krug already has seven goals this season. While I expect the puck luck to dry up (he has a forward-like 13.5 shooting percentage), he’s worth having if you’re in the rare league where he’s not taken (73 percent owned). Maybe the kid just has “the touch.”
-- Monday was all about former Dallas Stars forwards who are on fire. Granted, Loui Eriksson had a mini-slump going before last night’s three-point output (which included an absolutely beautiful goal), but still. If you follow the Dose at all you’ve probably run into a criticism of his peripherals - which is odd, because I’m a fan of his talent in reality - yet it seems as if he’s getting used to playing in Beantown.
Eriksson is ice-cold compared to James Neal, though. With his three-point output on Monday, Neal now has four-straight multi-point games, racking up nine in that span. Neal is a nice source of PIM - 298 in 364 games for his career, a high of 87 in his first full Penguins season - although he only has four right now.
Perhaps he’s too busy scoring to spend time in the box?
-- Beau Bennett’s out 8-10 weeks after undergoing hand/wrist surgery. Ouch.
COLUMBUS 6, TORONTO 0
-- Hey, Joffrey Lupul got his monthly injury. This time it's a groin issue of unknown severity.
-- I wouldn't hang this one totally on James Reimer's head, but people who've followed the unlucky goalie's path as of late should've seen disappointment coming. He's a good goalie, but it just seems like things aren't working for him.
-- Really fantastic work from James Wisniewski when he can avoid big suspensions, eh? He brings nice peripherals (including 25 PIM and 49 SOG) to go with even-better-than-usual points (18 in 23 games played). He's not easily available, sadly.
-- Somewhere out there resides two wildly different fantasy owners: the people who are playing Ryan Johansen when he doesn't score (15 games in which he failed to score a point) and those who dress him at the optimum moments (12 of his 16 points came in five multi-point contests). That irregularity is disconcerting, although it's not like he isn't trying; 66 SOG in 24 GP indicate he's at least justifying that high first-rounder hype.
-- That same scenario might work out for Sergei Bobrovsky: in his last three wins, he's allowed two goals. Conversely, when he's lost, it's been big: 10 goals allowed in his two most recent defeats. It averages out to ... well, average/mediocre numbers, unsurprisingly.
TAMPA BAY 5, RANGERS 0
-- Nikita Kucherov pulled a Mario Lemieux debut: his first career NHL goal came in his first career NHL game on his first career NHL shot (catches breath) in his first NHL shift. Unfortunately, he didn't get many overall on Monday; he logged just 11:31 TOI. Long-term, he could be interesting, though, as he was tearing it up in the AHL.
-- Ben Bishop shrugged off a tough road trip and continues to be an astounding steal: 14-3-1 with a .931 save percentage and 2.08 GAA. He made 37 saves for his shutout.
-- Really, if you switched Henrik Lundqvist and Bishop's results, they'd probably make more sense, wouldn't they? Lundqvist was pulled for the third time already this season.
-- Martin St. Louis continues to produce admirably, no matter the context. On the superstar scale, he's ruthlessly underrated.
CHICAGO 5, EDMONTON 1
-- (Jim Ross voice): “Mah God, it’s Bryzgalov!” The big question is how often we’ll see Ilya Bryzgalov in the immediate future; the Oilers play on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Who will get two of the three starts, assuming that’s how they divvy them up between Breezy and Devan Dubnyk?
-- Duncan Keith looks like he might just flirt with the kind of production he enjoyed during the one year he jumped from being a very good point producer to one of the best. He had a resounding 69 in 82 games in 2009-10, when he won his only Norris. He'll need his puck luck to turn around in a big way (one goal on 72 SOG, 1.4 shooting percentage) to be within an 18-wheeler of the 14 goals he scored that season, though.
-- With four points in his last two games, Andrew Shaw now has 15 points in 25 games, matching his 2012-13 total (which came in 48 games). He's a borderline guy, but if nothing else, he gives the Blackhawks another viable weapon. At least when the rich get richer in hockey, it usually means a team getting more entertaining, right? /Waits for the Predators to get Seth Jones II …
More tomfoolery and game notes after the jump.
* - Code for “I don’t feel like talking about it”? Maybe. Probably.
LOS ANGELES 3, VANCOUVER 2 (OT)
-- Jeff Carter's back. He already collected an assist (his fifth, only two less than he generated in last season's 26-goal, seven-assist oddball year). Activate him if you haven't already.
-- Is 63 percent owned even low for a goalie, considering that there are fewer spots for netminders? I don't know, but you should still grab Ben Scrivens if you can. Yes, I know I sound like a broken record.
-- Hey, speaking of things I focus on often, how about the contract year impact for Daniel Sedin? He has 93 SOG in 26 GP, just 45 short of what he had in 47 games last season. If he keeps this pace up and plays 82 games, he'd set a career high with 293.
Yes, I know he recently signed a contract extension, but it is INTERESTING that the only total he generated that hovers around 293 is his career-high of 285, which came (wait for it) in his last contract year.
While I agree that John Tortorella could be encouraging him to fire away (which would help explain the lack of a fall-off following an extension), it's still another interesting case study.
FLORIDA 3, PHILADELPHIA 1
-- I think it’s safe to roll the dice with Tim Thomas (30 percent) as a third goalie again. He's generated points in four of five for Florida (3-1-1), with Monday's 38-for-39 save performance being arguably his best night of the season. There will be highs and lows on a weak Panthers squad, but he's doing OK; a .914 save percentage is more than respectable, all things considered. (His .929 even-strength save percentage is especially impressive.)
-- Don’t bother with Sean Bergenheim. That’s just my take.
-- It boggles my mind that Wayne Simmonds (47 percent owned) and Scott Hartnell (39 percent) are so easily dismissed. Both should be judged for strong November numbers (Simmonds - eight points, even rating, 13 PIM in 12 games; Hartnell - seven points, +2, 12 PIM in 12 games) rather than paltry overall stats that were soured by a brutal start for just about the entire team. These are two premiere fantasy power forwards, so scoop them up, you heathens.
NASHVILLE 4, PHOENIX 2
-- Things have really started to look up for Marek Mazanec. He's won four of five and hasn't given up more than two goals in a single game during that span. He's not my first choice for waiver goalies, but could be a decent find in deeper leagues; that's especially true if Pekka Rinne's MRI results disappoint.
-- Good news for Coyotes: Martin Hanzal bounced back from a lower-body injury from Saturday to play (and remain at a point-per-game pace). Not-so-good news: Shane Doan left with a lower-body issue of his own.
-- It seems like Nashville’s forwards are getting things together, though it’s hard to really recommend one. It’s more of a by-committee approach.
WINNIPEG 3, NEW JERSEY 1
-- Maybe scoring a goal will ease things up for Evander Kane, who has a highly disappointing 14 points in 24 games. The budding star had an 11-game goal-scoring drought before beating Martin Brodeur last night.
My guess is maybe Dustin Byfuglien handed his now-long-gone bad puck luck to Kane at some point, as Kane has fired 104 SOG but has only connected for seven, a 6.7 percent success rate. His career percentage is 9.2, so things should better.
-- Brodeur lost two in a row, so maybe it will open the door a bit for Cory Schneider? We’ll see.
-- After going without a point in his first two games back from an injury, Elias appears back in form. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games. He's not a great peripheral guy, which probably explains his 54 percent owned rate.