I love Ilya Bryzgalov. He's hilarious! Have you heard some of the things that have come out of this guy's mouth? Here's one of my favorite gems “I’m very into the universe, you know like how was created, you know, like, what is it, you know? Solar system is so humongous big, right? But if you see like our solar system and our galaxy on the side, you know, like, we’re so small you can never see it. Our galaxy is like huge, but if you see the big picture our galaxy (is) like a small tiny-like dot in the universe." Oh god, never stop talking Breezy. Seriously. He's expected to practice with the AHL Admirals today and start for them tomorrow. His tryout culminates in this game and if it goes well he will likely be signed. In that event, there’s a lot of speculation about what would happen next. John Gibson has already exceeded the initial six-week timetable set for his return from a groin pull and word has it he won’t be ready to go until the end of December. That leaves at least a few weeks where Frederik Andersen needs more help than Jason LaBarbera can offer, hence Breezy getting the shot. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun speculates that Gibsy is destined to spend the rest of the season in the AHL with Andersen starting and Bryzgalov backing him up. That’s a viable hypothesis, but there are no signs that’s the case just yet. There’s a reason that Breezy can’t stick with a team for very long, so it’s not like the Ducks are looking for a long term solution here. Gibson will need a conditioning stint in the AHL when he gets back and it may be an extended stay, but for the rest of the season? I don’t know that Gibson benefits from spending too much time off big ice and Breezy isn’t known for his consistency. Questions about whether Andersen’s starting job are already being asked and I have to think that he’s safter with Breezy as his backup than Gibson, who showed some serious chops earlier this season before getting hurt. That said, the Ducks are going to use the kid gloves with their prized prospect, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see an Andersen/Bryzgalov duo in the Anaheim crease for the next few months at least. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
If I asked you who would have the better numbers after a month or so of play, Tuukka Rask (L, 12 SV, 4 GA, .750%) or Jonathan Bernier (W, 25 SV, 1 GA, .962%), I’m willing to bet a case of beer and a back of pucks you’d snap back with Tuukka as your answer pretty quickly. To be fair so would I, and we'd both be wrong. To this point Bernier's sports a season line of 5-3-2/2.58/.917% while Tuukka is sitting ugly at 8-5-0/2.69/.901%. Believe it? You best. It seemed as though Tuukka was getting his act together after a rough October until he was bombed for four goals on 16 shots last night by a team that he has completely dominated in the past. When I say completely dominated, I mean never allowing more than two goals against them before last night completely dominated. To be fair, the Leafs are on fire right now so this is a different Toronto team that Rask has owned in the past, but still, I'm starting to worry about Rask's overall play this season. My gut says he'll be fine, but his stellar play this month comes against teams like the Cats, Oilers, Devils and Sens. That's not exactly the cream of the offensive crop, so it's expected that he'd handle them with general ease. It was also expected that he'd handle the Leafs in a similar fashion, too. If it makes Rask owners feel any better, he was pulled in the second for rookie Niklas Svedberg (2 GA, 15 SV, .882%) who promptly coughed up two of his own on 17 shots. At the heart of the matter here is Boston's decimated defense and most notably the absence of its heart and soul Zdeno Chara, so these struggles aren't wholly his fault. You can't trade Tuukka because his value is far, far below his ADP, so you'll just have to stick it out. This is yet another example of why you shouldn't be taking goalies in the first two rounds. If you own Tuukka, you most likely did just that. Well, while you took Tuukka I drafted Tyler Seguin and I couldn't be happier with my pick, how about you? Goalies are too unpredictable to justify taking that early, even the elites, and they often fail to live up to their ADP. It's not about what your early goalie grab gives you or doesn't, it's what you left on the board while doing it that's at the heart of the matter. Always remember my mantra; skaters first. Skaters first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
As if losing Dan Boyle to the dreaded broken finger curse just one game into the season and John Moore to a five-game suspension wasn’t enough for the Rangers, they decided to go the next month or so on hard-mode with both Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein falling victim to their own injuries over the weekend. McDonagh suffered a separated shoulder on a hit from Evander Kane and he’s down for three to four weeks, but reports are that the Rangers expect he may be out for longer than a month. The big issue here is the injured shoulder in question is the same shoulder that Mac injured late last season, so this could turn out to be pretty bad for Mac and the Rangers. Klein suffered a foot contusion that will cost him at least a few games, but he should be back within a week or so. Regardless of how quickly Klein gets back the situation is dire on the Rangers blue line with four of their top-six defenseman now injured. How does this affect your fantasy fortunes? Well, obviously if you own McDonagh this is a fairly substantial blow. He wasn’t exactly lighting it up with just three helpers in 10 games so far, but given his ADP most of his owners were holding out hope that the points would start to flow sooner than later. The real problem here is for Henrik Lundqvist owners, who might be in a bit of trouble now too. Hank hasn’t been his normal stellar self to start the season but he’s largely been solid. Now that the Rangers defense is even more depleted it’s going to test Hank and I fear there’s going to be some ugly games in there. If you own Lundqvist all you can do is start him, but brace yourself, it could get nasty. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey last night:
Goalies can be notoriously difficult to rank and project for accurately. I give each starter projections but I might not bother trying to predict what kind of numbers a backup is going to offer unless I have reason to believe that they're going to play enough to be worth owning. Most of the time, backups aren't, but there have been some gems in the understudy group in recent years. Cam Talbot's stellar work behind Henrik Lundqvist last year helped ease the pain of the wounds Jimmy Howard's 2014 campaign left me. Damnit, Howie! At any rate, Chad Johnson filling in for Tuukka Rask showed similar value. For the most part, though, backups are backups and largely worthless without a starter getting injured. Then we have the always wonderful goalie committees. Is there anything worse than goalie by committee? Yes, yes there is, but for the purposes of this post, no, no there is not. The Hurricanes look to provide a buttload of frustration for anyone willing to draft their way into that sad state of affairs again in 2015 with Anton Khudobin set for a bit of a regression and Cam Ward being, well, Cam Ward. On the flip side the duos of Brian Elliot and Jake Allen in St. Louis and Frederik Andersen and stud rookie John Gibson where if either guy is asked to go 60 starts their season would end up bleh, but limit them to around 40 starts a piece and they stay healthy and rested, the numbers stay sexy, and you stay happy with a cheap no. 2 tender. Anyhooze, lets get to the meat o' the matter, Razzball's 2014-2015 Fantasy Hockey Goalie Rankings:
The Oilers started the season with Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera in net and that didn't work out so well, so GM Craig MacTavish signed Ilya Bryzgalov for the reminder of the sesaon, shipped Dubs off to the Preds, traded HannaBarbera to the Hawks for "future considerations" and traded for Ben Scrivens. After letting the dust settle a bit, Scribbles bubbled up to become the Oil's starter and that didn't sit too well with Breezy. With fears that he wouldn't resign in the offseason mounting MacTavish assured his tenure with the team was rather short and shipped him off to the Wild for a fourth round pick. Hey, it's better than nothing, right? Wrong! The Ducks quickly turned that fourth-round pick around for the Stars' Stephane Robidas. Robidas has no fantasy value and that doesn't change here, so back to the matter at hand. Considering how well Darcy Kuemper has been playing I'd be surprised to see Breezy supplant him as the Wild's starter, but it may quickly develop into a 1A / 1B situation. If you're dying for goaltending help and Breezy is available, he's worth a speculative flier add, but don't expect much until the situation with him and Kuemper becomes a bit more salient.
Hockey is a dangerous sport, apparently, and enough key players have been bit with the injury bug recently that I felt it warranted an injury roundup post to keep y’all appraised of the situations. I will make injury update posts periodically when enough build up like they have this week.
Sergei Bobrovsky was helped off the ice with a lower-body injury Tuesday night with about 15 minutes left in the third. He was replaced by Curtis McElhinney. Bobber hurt himself being all fancypants and doing a split while making a glove save on just the 18th shot he faced all night from the Bolts. He’ll have an MRI later today.
UPDATE: Bobrovsky is out for four to five weeks, Curtis McElhinney is the new starter.
Pavel Datsyuk participated in morning skate this morning, his first in more than a week. Wings GM Ken Holland said that Dats needs a solid week of practice before he can be cleared to play again. Still, it’s encouraging for his owners to hear that he’s skating again, at least.
Henrik Zetterberg is out for at least two weeks with a herniated disc in his back. This has been a problem for Z going on a few years now, though he hasn’t missed any significant time because of it in recent memory. How screwed are the Wings without Dats AND Zetterberg?
The first quarter of the season is in the books. We’ve seen the West dominate the East. Tampa Bay was looking real good until Steven Stamkos broke his leg. The Pacific Division looks like it’s going to be a race to the end of the season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The New Jersey Devils are the only winless team left in the NHL after Craig Anderson stopped 40 shots and the Ottawa Senators knocked off the Devils 5-2. Jason Spezza, Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson each scored in the win. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jason Pominville‘s power play goal with 10 seconds left in the second period proved to the game winner as his new team, the Minnesota Wild, knocked off his old team, the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brad Richards scored twice and Rick Nash added a pair of assists as the New York Rangers knocked off the LA Kings 3-1 as part of a light night of on-ice action. Please, blog, may I have some more?