Minnesota played an excellent game on Thursday booking an impressive 5-2 win over the Blackhawks.  Sadly for them, it came at a brutal cost.  Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter both left the game injured and were already ruled out for Saturday’s game.  Coyle was hit in the back of the leg with a shot while Nino looked to suffer an ankle injury that could cost him multiple weeks.  Hopefully you have an injured reserve spot for both of these guys but Nino definitely should be held through the injury.  With Mikael Granlund out as well, the Wild are getting extremely thin.  So who gets a boost?  Jason Zucker (1+1, 5 SOG) becomes must-own in 12’ers while Chris Stewart (2G, 5 SOG) moves back on to the streaming radar.  We’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow but this is a big blow to the Wild and fantasy teams in the short term.  Here’s what else happened the last two nights around the league:

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We have actual hockey to talk about!  After Reid gets me to voice my displeasure with the USMNT for a couple minutes, we get to some teams who have had hot starts, notably the Vegas Golden Knights.  After running down the list of surprises and disappointments, we zoom in and look at individual players who have stood out, positively or negatively, in the early going and how that’s impacting our fantasy decisions going forward.  We wrap things up with a preview of Thursday’s games and bring back The Three Point Challenge!  Be sure to make your picks in the comments section below.  All of that and more on the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!

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The first home game for the Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t have started any better.  After an amazing pre-game ceremony, Vegas stormed out to four goals in the first period en route to winning 5-2 against the Coyotes.  Here we are with Vegas sitting at 3-0.  So do we have to change our expectations for the team?  I’ll talk about it extensively with Reid tomorrow but I still believe they’ll be at the bottom of the league come April.  That said, what an amazing start for a team in the wake of tragedy.  For fantasy, I think there’s three guys I would own right now in standard 12’ers: Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal and Nate Schmidt.  There is still some downside for all of them but in the moment, just enjoy the ride.  I can’t wait to be there next week to see a game in Vegas.  Let’s take a look at what else happened on Tuesday night:

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All everyone talked about in the preseason was wondering how bad Vegas was going to be in their expansion year.  Sure, it’s only two games, but boy did they have some excitement.  On Friday, Dallas was dominating Vegas in their franchise opener but was only up 1-0 in the third.  Down goes Ben Bishop which opened up the door for James Neal to give the people of Las Vegas some relief in an awful time.  Neal scored two goals in the third period to propel the Golden Knights to victory.  To top off the weekend, Neal scored another goal, this time the game winner in overtime, to give Vegas two wins to start the season.  Neal is still available in over 40% of leagues and if you are in one of them, grab him.  The shot rate is going to be elite along with solid penalty minutes and goals.  At least for now, I’m not overly concerned about the top guys on Vegas having bad plus-minuses either.  Let’s take a look at what else happened in the first (long) weekend of the NHL season:

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Giving up five goals to St. Louis in the opener wasn’t extremely concerning for the Penguins.  But ten goals to Chicago in game two?  I believe that qualifies as a mess.  Obviously I’m not going to panic in regards to the Pittsburgh season outlook; I’d actually try to trade for Matt Murray if their owner is panicking.  We’ll have to wait a few weeks to develop a bigger sample size, especially because this spot was perfect for the Blackhawks, but maybe they’re better than I gave them credit for.  Let’s take a look at the eight games from Thursday night and see what developed:

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While the Razzball Hockey committee of one didn’t love the Patrick Marleau contract, we did like Marleau for this season in fantasy.  Like the majority of his teammates, his season debut went extremely well.  Marleau scored twice in his first game as a Maple Leaf registering five shots on goal.  His linemates were inconsistent but whether he’s with Matthews or Kadri, it doesn’t really matter.  Marleau scored 27 goals last season and I don’t see why he can’t get back to that number.  Despite ranking him as a top 150 player, he’s still available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, so grab him now.  Here’s what else happened around the NHL on opening night:

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It’s opening night!  After looking at some recent injuries, signings, and demotions, Reid and I finish our season preview by looking at the Western Conference over/unders and prop bets.  Lines also came out for the Art Ross, Rocket Richard, Norris and Vezina Trophies so we look at all of the available options and pick some bets where we see fit.  We close by previewing opening night along with a couple games from Thursday and Friday night.  All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast!

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Although this podcast isn’t directly about fantasy hockey, it’s one of my favorite of the year.  Reid joins me as always to look at the over/under totals for every team in the Eastern Conference.  We talk about each team, whether we like the over or under, and if we are confident enough to actually bet it.  We also look at the division odds, Eastern Conference championship and Stanley Cup odds for the necessary teams along with prices for the Hart Trophy.  All of that and more in the latest edition of the Razzball Hockey Podcast brought to you by LeagueSafe!

Use leaguesafe.com/razzhockey to get $10 added to your fantasy sports league’s prize pool!

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