Tag Archives: Carcillo

Summer Hockey Hype

It’s only August and the hype has begun. After the woozying trades and trash, this summer read like more like a gossip column. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were expelled from Philly for bad behavior, LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi  was irked when he was traded damaged goods by Edmonton, and just recently Sean Avery was busted by the cops in Hollywood for shoving an officer.  

If you are sitting by the pool, then you have plenty of time to begin building your fantasy team. Whether you play in a competitive keeper league or drafting an entirely new team, consider the teams who have revamped their lines. However, buyer beware that not all top players perform as well as expected. Duncan Keith’s award-winning 2009-10 season did not carry the same weight in 2010-11. Sidney Crosby’s health is tenuous- one big hit and he could blowout.

Eastern Conference best bets:

New York Rangers- resigning Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan were crucial. Both players have developed their game and are the workhorses of the team. With Brad Richards joining the mix, the Rangers will be a fun team to watch and get behind. With Avery and Brandon Prust, expect some tough guy presence stopping any intruders near Henrik Lundqvist‘s crease.

Philadelphia Flyers- sign Jaromir Jagr. Who knows what to expect? He could be great or gruesome, but you don’t want to be left behind on this one. He snubbed other teams to join the Flyers because of their Cup contention coup. Max Talbot, Claude Giroux and a roster full of hot taletn can be yours if you do your bidding carefully.

Buffalo Sabres- coach Lindy Ruff is still calling the shots on ice, and with newly acquired talents look out. In net, Ryan Miller is one of the best in the NHL. Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr will lend the blueline some direction helping Tyler Myers this season.

Carolina Hurricanes- Jeff Skinner and Anthony Stewart are just two young players to watch in Carolina. Skinner, who won the Calder for rookie of the year, is first line, Stewart 3rd or 4th. Other young talent, Jamie McBain and Chad LaRose need to go on a watch list.

Tampa Bay Lightning- re-signing Steven Stamkos was a necessary requirement before GM Steve Yzerman could go golfing. With Stamkos secured, the Bolts will be out for blood this year. Vinnie Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis may be already drafted, so consider Ryan Malone and Teddy Purcell for a stong support system.

Pittsburgh Penguins- with or without Sidney Crosby, the Pens put the pedal to the metal. All energy, all the time. Kris Letang should be on your list. Tyler Kennedy rocked last year and must be a consideration, same for Chris Kunitz and James Neal.

Boston Bruins- I’d sweep up Dennis Seidenberg. Tim Thomas is an obvious choice, but secured by keeper leagues. If the Stanley Cup win was it, then don’t go overboard with the Bruins. However, there are some good bets here in Rich Peverley, Patrice Bergeron, don’t forget Brad Marchand. I’ve found Shawn Thornton, Andrew Ferrence to be good for fights and scruffy play. Milan Lucic and David Krejci have inconsistent seasons but make good trade fodder.

Western Conference best bets:

Los Angeles Kings-  has a great building process in Hockeywood.  Anze Kopitar will be ready come ice time, and with Mike Richards as the extra kick, look out! Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty are key defensemen. Jonathan Quick in goal is a great pick. Captain Dustin Brown didn’t let me down. Justin Williams was the sought after Kings player in our league rightly so.

Detroit Red Wings- always on the list due to the talent they foster. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Nick Lidstrom are tops on any list if you can get them. Goaltender Jimmy Howard may be a task to acquire but worth if you can make a trade after the season starts- sell low. Johan Franzen and defensemen Niklas Kronwall should be noted for scoring and hits.

Vancouver Canucks- they just couldn’t wrap it up, but that has been their issue. Lessons learned may help Ryan Kesler and the Sedins in creative ways to win. Consider Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and don’t be wary of goalie Roberto Luongo if you can get him.

Edmonton Oilers- I say this because the whole world will be watching the Taylor Hall/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins dynamic. Grab either player and be patient. Hall took some time to warm up and was passed all over fantasy leagues as owners became restless with his growing pains.

Chicago Blackhawks- “Car Bomb”Carcillo  will explode in Chicago enforcing the Hawks second revival. This is a tough team who wants the Cup badly. Patrick Sharp is signed and you should do the same. He’s a quiet player who has his ups and downs, but delivers overall. If you can acquire Patrick Kane of Jonathan Toews, then work your magic. Andrew Brunette is a watch list candidate to see if he can generate something.

St. Louis Blues- I pick them every year due to the talent that passes through. Chris Stewart stands out for the Blues. David Backes is a sturdy candidate but can be unpredictable. Kevin Shattenkirk,Alex Steen and Andy McDonald did well last season and are good choices in the second to third-round. Remember to put Alex Pietrangelo on your list as a stellar young defenseman, and keep an eye on Matt D’Agostini.

Don’t see your team? Oh, well, take a look at some of the choice picks to find your best bet:

Logan Couture (San Jose Sharks)- The Sharks can beat the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs, but can’t seem to get further than that. Couture was nominated for the rookie of the year and deservedly so. Grab him before someone else does. Usually a second-round pick now that he’s on the radar.

Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars)- Benn broke out last year and was quite dutiful to fantasy owners. If he lands in your queue, consider if you need a productive 3rd liner.

Devin Setoguchi (Minnesota Wild) – great during the playoffs with the Sharks. Minnesota has been on everyone’s radar to be big but remains in the middle. Perhaps Setoguchi can spark some oomph.

Your dream team is in your hands. Not all goes as according to plan and your backup choices can make the difference in all areas from trades to suspensions of a key player. Study the new and improved rosters if you haven’t been keeping up with the transactions this summer.

Blood and Guts

Halloween treated the NHL fans to some classic matches, with plenty of blood and gutsy moves.

Fighting is still on deck in the NHL, with some misconduct calls this week including Scott Hartnell and Dustin Brown.  Calgary and Edmonton danced through 30 for fighting and a misconduct call for Colin Fraser.  The battle of PA came to town with brawls early on involving Matt Cooke and Mike Richards. That game followed through with 20 fighting PIMs in the first, then ceased. This week has ended with a 3-game suspension for Daniel Briere for a cross-check. Both Briere and Carcillo were served misconduct calls for Saturday’s game against the Islanders.

And so the standings jumble once again.  In the East, Tampa Bay tops the list, followed by Montreal and Philly. Tampa Bay and Washington remain close in their division, as well as Montreal and Boston, and Philly is fighting tight with Pittsburgh. Toronto has dropped their jumpstart to saunter mid-pack, while the Rangers continue to fight their way above and beyond the Islanders and Devils.

In the West, Chris Stewart and Joe Thornton had hat tricks. The Blues Jay McClement also topped three in a win over Atlanta.  Los Angeles is proving to be a force, taking control of their division. Chicago is hanging in, but St. Louis and Detroit are driving hard. So that leaves Colorado and Calgary chomping on the bit in the Northwest.  With Avs goaltender Anderson out, Peter Budaj is in. Budaj was the starter a few years ago, and did well. He’s taken the reigns and delivered as needed.  Apparently, Budaj donates half of his yearly salary to charity. More reason to back him in goal.

But many of these kudos to the players go unnoticed, whether it’s on their own accord or it’s not highlighted as well as it should be by  PR departments.  For example, the Avs organization supports Full Strength, a fundraising program for youth hockey teams.  The program allows a team or association to sell Avalanche Game Magazines at a home game in order to assist with the costs of a hockey season.  In the first two seasons of Full Strength the program has donated over $95,000 to youth hockey organizations.  The Avalanche website has numerous resources provided for parents, coaches and kids in hockey.

Like most teams in the NHL, the Avs participate with Hockey Fights Cancer. So then why does the Avs PR department allow the promotion of elitism in one of the smallest markets in the NHL?  Publicly in the Hockey News, it states that the Avs have the least paid players and one of the lowest attendance rates in the NHL.   In such a small market, the  management is laughing all the way to the bank with fan’s ticket money because they can afford a luxury penthouse suite at the Pepsi Center that very few have been privy to. The Avs haven’t slashed prices in ways other teams have and now it’s clear why.  And they haven’t paid players their just dues.  The luxury suite penthouse bragged about in the Hockey News is not hidden rather juxtaposed with tales of other NHL players donating time and money for charity causes.   Most fans know the drill and perhaps that’s why attendance is so low.

But all is not lost; T. J. Galiardi gave an Avalanche jersey signed by the entire team and tickets to a game, to his favorite server at the restaurant he lunches at before a game. That’s a good tip.

Crazy Cup Year

Three teams are out that no one thought would be out. The Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Washington Capitals; the reigning Stanley Cup champs, the Pittsburgh Penguins; and the iconic Detroit Red Wings will not grace the cover of magazines hoisting the Cup. This is the year of the crazy cup race.

The top two seeds in the Western Conference and the last two teams to get in for the Eastern Conference converge in a playoff series unlike most have ever seen. Emerging stars in the NHL are making a name for themselves this season, while old favorites are finally getting their due time.  Here are some notable personalities in this crazy cup race:

Michael Cammalleri- Montreal Canadiens

I’ve been following him since he played with the Los Angeles Kings. His injuries this season sidelined him for most of February, but returned just in time to push the Montreal Canadiens up the ladder to grab the last playoff spot. He has twelve goals in the playoffs matching records set by some of Montreal’s greatest players. Cammalleri deserves this fantastic trip he’s on always giving his all and it shows.

Joe Pavelski- San Jose Sharks

His name was flopped around fantasy leagues as a recommended pickup, but who knew this would be the year for Pavelski? He led the playoffs in scoring until Cammalleri broke the bank. Pavelski plays hard as if the other players are just minor inconveniences on his way to the net. Expect explosive plays from Pavelski.

Dan Boyle- San Jose Sharks

He’s had some hard luck in the series with the Avalanche, but rebounded with scoring. Boyle is also due some good karma. Praised as a top-five defenseman in the league, Boyle can electrify his way to the Cup. He’s a smart D-guy who’s always on the puck, but still minding his blueline.

Daniel Carcillo- Philadelphia Flyers

Nicknamed,” Car Bomb,” is no surprise. Fans don’t know if he’ll be scoring or getting a suspension. And the Flyers fans love that about him. He’s their secret weapon. Broad Street fans have a rousing number of tough guys to love with Scott Hartnell, and Arron Asham, but Carcillo brings a raw in-your-face attitude to the game. Some may criticize his penalties hurting the club, but sometimes the rebel rouser can get things fired up including scoring.

Dustin Byfuglien- Chicago Blackhawks

He’s been on fire in the playoffs! Super player, but lacked that spark all year. Buff is one of those all-around players whose contribution to the game may go unnoticed, but his skills lurk and emerge at just the right time. With a hat-trick against the Vancouver Canucks, expect him to play with heart against the Sharks. He’s my bet for the Blackhawks.

Evgeni Nabokov- San Jose Sharks

Yes, the San Jose Sharks have finally made it to the second round of the playoffs. There is hope for them to make it all the way, and Nabokov deserves a big round of applause for being one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. He’s absolutely the best heading into the battle for the Cup as his experience has lent him his composure and fortitude to be a champion.

Jaroslav Halak- Montreal Canadiens

This kid has proven himself, despite several setbacks. He’s beet hot, then not, then benched, and now playing for a chance at the coveted Stanley Cup. The miraculous Montreal Canadiens are a talented group of players, so you have to give it up for Halak making saves on Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, not to mention all the other superstars pummeling the puck Halak’s way.

Hats off to all the great players who have advanced toward Lord Stanley’s Cup. It’s been an amazing playoff run with some unexpected moments that will carry in to the remaining games. Taking the tiger by its tail seems to be the call for this season’s run, as it could be anyone’s game. All the predictions were so far off, and the reluctance to pick the Sharks has been an advantage for San Jose. If the Montreal Canadiens, as the eighth seed, can beat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals, then the Stanley Cup champs, who’s to say they can’t win the whole enchilada?  I’d like to see them try to get past the San Jose Sharks who are chomping at the bit for their turn to hoist the Stanley Cup in the Shark Tank.

Top Tough Guys

Every team has the player who is the scrapper, the guy who causes trouble for the opposing team.  But not only do some of the top tough guys cause problematic penalty points, these guys can score.

David Clarkson- New Jersey Devils

Never was a fan of the Devils, rather was a New York Rangers fan.  Anyone living in the tri-state area can tell you, it’s not an option to be a fan of both. My nephews played hockey in New Jersey and often met the Devils in their junior leagues.  Still wasn’t a fan.  Then, last season I picked up David Clarkson on my fantasy hockey team because he got into a fight every week; he was a guaranteed five for fighting.

After a lengthy stint on injury reserve, New Jersey Devil’s David Clarkson returned packing punches for ten penalty minutes for fighting twice with Calgary Flame’s Jamal Myers.  The right-winger has a total 16 points for the season, which may not seem like much but Clarkson can score with the best of them.  He has 54 penalty minutes thus far, but that stat should climb.

The NHL Network named David Clarkson one of the top tough guys, ever.  He’s not afraid to pick a fight to turn the momentum to his team and it’s showing as the Devils are heading into the playoffs in a comfortable fourth position in the Eastern Conference.   He has been the main reason I am a fan of the Devils, but will follow Clarkson whatever team he plays for in the future.

Sean Avery- New York Rangers

I put Avery on the list because he has 133 penalty minutes, and seems to get into a scruff any chance he can.  I’ve seen Adam Foote back down from a charge from Avery.  He has the ability to score as he has 25 points this year.  Though the Rangers are fighting an uphill battle this season sitting in ninth in the Eastern Conference and will most likely miss any playoff run, Avery hasn’t backed down. But Avery will have to take his energy elsewhere once the playoffs begin if the Rangers are not able to perform a playoff run miracle.  Perhaps his previous internship with Vogue magazine could offer him some part-time seasonal work.  The day Sean Avery works the runway at Bryant Park is a proud day for Rangers fans, at least the ladies.

Daniel Carcill0- Philadelphia Flyers

He taunts the crowd after he’s won the fight on the ice.  He’s a dude you want in your corner if you like the penalty minutes and tough energy.  Carcillo has 156 penalty minutes and 16 points this season.  He’s prone to suspensions, and is the bad kid on the team who behaves for a game or two then lets the fury out of the bag.  You either love him or think he’s overrated.

Colton Orr-Toronto Maple Leafs

As a Rangers fan, Orr was the other tough guy to complement Avery.  The NHL Network also named Colton Orr one of the best tough guys.  Orr ranks third thus far in penalty minutes with 170.  Scoring isn’t his priority with four points, so it’s safe to say he’s the pummel hound no matter what team he’s with.  Now with the Leafs, Orr has kept his image intact in Canada.

Alex Burrows- Vancouver Canucks

The Western Conference is riding high with top talent this year, and Burrows lays claim to the much of the Canucks’ success.  Having been moved to the top line with the Sedin brothers, Burrows has become one winger who can split the stats between plays and punches.

Alex Burrows fought his way to the NHL up through the ranks, and now boasts 55 points, 94 penalty minutes and an amazing plus-32 rating.  Though Burrows seemed to be in a slump early in the year, it’s been my experience that he heats up later in the year.  I picked him up when someone dropped him last year and have never looked back.

Cody McLeod- Colorado Avalanche

This is more of a personal choice because I live in Denver and know more about Cody McLeod from local stories, Avs skates and training camp.  McLeod is a true hockey player in the sense that he just wants to play the game and loves every minute of it.  He’s not into the flashy lifestyle as Sean Avery, rather he’s a Canadian boy who takes one for the team.  For fans, he’s available for autographs, usually walking right into the sea of fans to shake hands and pose for pictures.  Fans love to thank him for taking the punches and scraps against other players to defend the honor of the Colorado Avalanche; it’s just part of his game.

These are just some of my favorite tough guys, because without these guys hockey wouldn’t be the same.  Avery, Burrows, and even McLeod add some spunk to the competition and in many ways adds valor to the game protecting the honor of their teammates.  And there’s nothing better than a great hockey fight.