Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Puck Stop Here: The Dead of Winter Edition


Welcome back to another installment of The Puck Stops Here. Before I get to my hockey content, I want to address a situation that I can’t ignore.

It is clear that I love hockey, but what most don’t know is that I also have an affinity for Terrell Owens. Yes, that Terrell Owens. Many people are saying that his tears were a charade, or on the other hand, that maybe he has turned a new leaf. I disagree; I think this is the same TO that wept after he held onto the game winning catch against the Packers almost a decade ago. I think this is a guy who really does care about his teammates and above all wants to win. The problem is that he is supremely confident and believes the best chance of winning is through him. He cannot fathom why a team wouldn’t give him the ball constantly. Dallas and Tony Romo have, and he has rewarded them with his best season as a football player combining great stats with being a great teammate. Perhaps the problem hasn’t been TO all along, although he hasn’t always helped. Perhaps McNabb was more a part of the problem than we all wanted to believe.

Enough about Terrell, let’s hit the ice. This week I want to talk about a few situations in the NHL and how they will affect the fantasy world.

Philadelphia Flyers: Word is that Joffrey Lupul won’t be on the shelf much longer, thus once again crowding the forward situation in Philly (go get Lupul if he is available). The Flyers are filled at center with long-term commitments to Briere and Richards; the odd man out may be Jeff Carter. Carter has played well and may garner attention in the near future as other teams request him in return for a defenseman. Philly needs a solid defensive defenseman, as they rank in the lower half of the league in goals against per game. If Carter is traded, his ice time should go up and along with it, his production. It is a situation worth paying attention to.

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs have been killed by injuries to All-Stars Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, these injuries have had a fantasy impact beyond just those players. The entire Colorado roster has struggled over the last couple weeks. It looks like they may be heating up again, however it may not be too late to buy low on Hejduk, Brunette or Stastny. Smyth and Sakic should be back in about 8 weeks, just in time for the fantasy play offs. Plan ahead and you can have some of these studs on your team come play off time. On a side note, Svatos seems to be the big winner from the injuries as he has been solid over the last couple weeks while most of the team struggled. If you followed my advice last week and picked up Svatos, you were well rewarded. Also, keep an eye on Jose Theodore. He is playing well and has given Budaj stiff competition for the starting spot.

New York Rangers: The Rangers are at a crossroads. If they continue to flounder they may find themselves out of the play off race, but with all their talent you can never call it quits. As of now the Rangers are targeting David Vyborny. If this happens, Vyborny will most likely play alongside Jagr, which would be a very good thing for Vyborny. However, there have been some rumblings that Jagr may be moved. This can be good or bad for Jagr owners depending on where he goes. If he is surrounded by talent Jagr will thrive, if not he could be in trouble. I would try to buy low on Jagr, he is playing through a bone bruise in his foot and I see his numbers getting better down the stretch.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are playing their way out of play off contention and this could lead to a fire sale in Toronto. If Toronto management begins its sale and keeps Sundin, his value should drop, but not too drastically. If Sundin goes, I would want to own him especially if he ends up with a team in the hunt. Blake is rumored to be on his way out; I don’t see much change in his value if he is moved. He playing with the top talent in Toronto, but as with Sundin, playing for a contender can only help. Toronto also has a lot of defensive talent to shop around. McCabe, Kubina and Kaberle are all very capable defenseman who would be better off with contenders.

I will see everyone back here next week, until then, stay warm.




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6 comments:

braskypoop said...

Great job with the blog. Love the pics.....What do you think the Pens will do before the deadline? Do you see them trading any of their goaltenders for a winger that can skate with Sid? If the Pens meet the Ducks in the Cup do you think Pronger and Conklin will fight it out at center ice to win the heart of the one and only Mrs. Pronger-Conklin

McPuck22 said...

Good insight as usual. As far as your mancrush on TO...I disagree. I think the guy has serious insecurity problems but that's surprisingly the case with many successful people. They are so scared of not being good enough that they do anything and everything to be the best.

Joe Romano said...

Brasky,

The Pens are in a tough situation, they have really good young players, some marginal young players, and some over paid vets. I think when Fleury returns they will keep Conklin and Fleury at the NHL and move Sabourin to the minors. I don't think they trust Sabourin enough as a back up in the play offs, but I also don't see Sabourin getting much attention at the deadline. Another major issue is the Wilkes-Barre Pens. They are a good team and sell out constantly, providing a great revenue stream for the organization. Unfortunately for Pens fans, the organization does make some moves with this in mind and this can have an adverse effect at the NHL level. With that said, I see them moving Christensen for some help on the blue or another winger. I don’t see them pulling off a blockbuster deal to get a stud winger to play with Sid. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Brooks Orpik moved, his contract is up this season and a rumor has the Rangers ready to offer a boatload for his services. In a perfect world they would move Gonchar for a better two-way defenseman with a small contract, which would allow them more room to keep the young Orpik. Five million a year for Gonchar is way too much.

Lastly, although Conklin’s heart is big, Pronger would eat him for lunch. Thanks for the comment.

Joe Romano

Joe Romano said...

Mcpuck,

I don't disagree with you, but I still believe that TO has really cared all along. He may not have chosen the best way to show he cares, but I think the media has targeted him as the sole bad guy and that is not the case. He has a great relationship with Romo, and I believe he truly meant what he said. I feel as though McNabb and the entire Eagles organization threw TO under the bus and was their scapegoat for all the problems.

McNabb has escaped as a media darling even though he has been critical of teammates multiple times and has pointed fingers more than shouldering any blame. It is also clear that there is dysfunction in every part of Andy Reid's life, and I don't mean to make light of any of Reid's family issues. Also, there were a large number of Eagle players who had a problem with how TO was treated in Philly, most notably Jeremiah Trotter.

I am not saying TO has been innocent in all the team issues surrounding him. What I am saying is that it hasn't always been TO's fault. I believe this guy cares about winning more than most others in the league and will do anything to help that. Thanks for the comment.

Joe Romano

mcpuck22 said...

He does care but he's attention starved and that'll create problems anywhere he goes. Just watch Me-shawn Johnson on ESPN sunday mornings for a perfect example. That clown went as far as writing a book to say how he deserved the ball more.

As far as the pens, for Conklin or Sabourin to be sent down they are going to have to clear waivers. This creates an interesting problem for the pens since this was how they lost Sabourin last year as well to Vancouver. Do you keep the solid goalie or the younger prospect knowing the other will probably get snatched up? In regards to gonchar, not only does his contract average $5 mill a year but it is also back-loaded, making it even more expensive for teams to take on the remaining years which probably average more like $6+ mill.

Joe Romano said...

Mcpuck,

First, I love the conversation; this is what I have been hoping for.

As for Sabourin, I am a little less confident that a team will grab him off of waivers this year. He has now had a couple opportunities to show his stuff in the NHL and for the most part the results have not been good. I would like to see them trade Sabourin, while he isn't anywhere near a sell high candidate, young goalies are always enticing and he could fetch something on the market. I think a package of Sabourin and Christensen would get the Pens a little more firepower to play with Sid. I still think the Pens need another solid defensive defensemen and another scoring winger to really be considered contenders for the cup. The Pens need to ask themselves do we want to win in the minors and go for gold in the NHL. Thanks for the comment.

Joe Romano