Don’t look now, but here comes Corey Perry.
Anaheim’s one-time Hart Trophy winner has been on a tear lately, scoring scoring eight goals over a seven-game goal scoring streak. Suddenly he’s tied with Alex Steen for second behind Alex Ovechkin in league goals. The Getzlaf-Perry combination is one of the most difficult for defenses to handle in the NHL, especially when Perry gets his sniper legs under him, as has been the case lately.
Some of them have been darn pretty, destined for the highlight reel. Like this one from Monday night against the Islanders.
In fantasy hockey, 30 games mean little. A team that’s last can still win the league, while the team leading could fall to the basement. All it takes is several players getting hot and others getting cold over the second half.
Often these players are on the same NHL team and their hot streak is the result of the team picking it up. Or did the team pick things up as a result of the players getting hot?
Regardless of the chicken vs. the egg stance, these things do happen and pools are sometimes won and lost as a result.
I’ll put on my psychic’s hat, or headdress, or whatever it is that psychics wear, and bring you my six teams that will either turn it around or dial it down.
On The Rise
This is my favorite team to stock up on in the second half, particularly because Eric Staal is money in the bank for a second-half surge. I once traded a red-hot young player with upside (I won’t get into names, but it rhymes with Brerrick Dassard) as the key part of the package for a stumbling Staal in early December and pretty much won the league thanks to that move. Twice I’ve acquired Staal in December and both times it paid off.
Staal’s surge in 2011-12 was 45 in the second half after just 25 in the first. The domino effect saw Jiri Tlusty also come on strong. Interestingly enough, Jordan Staal also had a hot second half while with the Penguins that year, tallying 29 points in the last 29 games. The Hurricanes are doing OK in terms of wins and losses this season, but they’re not scoring goals. My theory is that though the wins may not improve any, the offense should.
Defenseman Andrej Sekera, who has eight points in his past seven games, is another player to target.
Sometimes men have a little trouble remembering things. Anniversaries and birthdays, for example, have a history of being bumped in the male brain for things such as which weekend the Super Bowl is being played on and how many paychecks have to be sacrificed in order to obtain that new set of golf clubs.
Mike Sillinger, who suited up for an NHL-record 12 teams, could be forgiven if some of the finer details of his family life have been lost in a haze of boxes and moving vans. But if Sillinger ever is asked to recall where each of his three sons was born, he’s got a visual reminder to rely on: the NHL jersey he was wearing at the time.
“One was born in Vancouver, so we have the Vancouver jersey in his room,” Sillinger said. “My other boy was born in Regina, but I played in Florida at the time, so he picked the Panthers along with my Team Canada (1991 world junior) jersey because he wears 16 (one of his dad’s old numbers) when he plays.
“And my other boy was born in Columbus, so he’s got the Columbus one in his room.”
The sense of irony was inescapable. It was a Tuesday in late October and Teemu Selanne was standing at his stall preparing to answer questions after a morning skate for – give or take a few – the 1,513th time in his NHL career, including playoffs. Just as the first question was asked, the Anaheim Ducks dressing room sound system kicked in and began playing a familiar song. You know it. You all know it. In fact, there’s a good chance it’s been played immediately after the daddy-daughter dance at every small-town wedding you’ve ever attended. Tom Cruise danced to it in his underwear. Read more
About a third of the way through 2013-14 and we’re starting to get a fix on what we have when it comes to this year’s rookie crop. Poolies around the world draft unproven youngsters late in hopes they scoop a nice sleeper, to varying degrees of success. In keeper leagues things are easier, as you can often afford to wait several years on a rookie, but one-year leagues need the help here and now.
Let’s take a look at the 15 best from a fantasy perspective (sorry, Morgan Rielly and Seth Jones fans) so far.
1. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado
Although in a three-way tie for second in scoring among rookies, MacKinnon will be tops in the end if he stays healthy. He’s getting his points regardless of linemates and other than a five-game slump in late October he has been steady. His ice time has been great and he should pick up the pace to finish in the 60s for points.
2. Torey Krug, Boston
Tied with MacKinnon among rookie scorers, Krug has been a savior for fantasy owners. Defensemen are so hard to acquire once the season starts, so drafting Krug late or even getting him off the wire is a fantasy coup. He’s on pace for 48 points and frankly I don’t see him deviating from that, making it one of the best seasons for a rookie defenseman in years.
The Nashville Predators are awaiting an update this week on the status of goaltender Pekka Rinne, who’s been sidelined for several weeks with a bacterial infection in his surgically repaired hip. His condition has fuelled speculation the Predators are shopping for help between the pipes.
Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch recently reported Predators GM David Poile could be interested in Anaheim Ducks starter Jonas Hiller and Florida Panthers netminder Tim Thomas. Both are unrestricted free agents at season’s end, making them good short-term option for the Predators. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson listed the Predators as a possible destination for Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.
A lower-body injury to Ducks backup Viktor Fasth means Hiller is unavailable until January, while the Panthers hope Thomas can revive their flagging playoff chances. Poile is unlikely to pursue an expensive rental player like Miller. Read more
The NHL’s Christmas trade freeze period (Dec. 19 to 27) is fast approaching and the GMs of several struggling clubs hope the trade market improves before then. With 22 clubs possessing less than $5 million in cap space, it’s difficult to find willing trade partners.
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow is among those trying to find help for his floundering team. Entering this week, the Isles are 11 points out of a post-season berth, winning only two of their past 10 games. Snow must address their dire need of an experienced starting goalie and blueline depth soon to prevent his club sliding further out of playoff contention.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported two league sources claim Snow was shopping for a goalie. Garrioch suggested Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller as the best target, though he admitted convincing Miller to waive his no-trade clause to join the Isles was a long shot. Garrrioch also considers the Islanders a potential trade destination for Washington Capitals right winger Martin Erat and his $4.5 million annual cap hit.
Snow has the cap space ($16.6 million) to take on a big salary. Having already acquired Thomas Vanek, Snow’s probably not keen to pursue Miller, especially as the Sabres will squeeze him for young assets. As for Erat, he won’t resolve the Isles’ defensive problems. Read more
Want to know what keeps NHL coaches up at night? It’s simple, really: There is a minimum of 3,600 seconds in every NHL game. That’s a lot of time that things need to go your way in order to win – and a lot of time in which you can lose yourself a game.
Such was the case Tuesday night in Dallas. For the first 2,400 seconds of the game between the host Stars and the Ducks, Anaheim controlled the pace and led 2-1 as the third period began. But in a 53-second span early in the final frame of regulation time, the visitors lost their composure, surrendered three goals and essentially lost the game. (It ended in a 6-3 Stars win that ended a two-game Dallas losing streak and was only Anaheim’s seventh loss of the season.)
In today’s NHL, it doesn’t matter that the Ducks entered Tuesday’s game with a 12-0-2 record when leading after two periods, or that Dallas had a 1-6-2 mark when trailing after 40 minutes. What matters is focus – unrelenting, withering focus – and springing out to capitalize when your opponent’s focus falters.