Hello strangers! Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve thrown up a MMS, and to be honest it was difficult to get around to this. The Oilers have damn near killed my interest in the NHL for the season it seems like. I’m still watching the games but it’s tough to sit through some of these games. Even the games in the dark ages were easier to watch (although to be fair, we can’t really call them the dark ages anymore can we?). Looking at the numbers of the site the past little bit, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels the same.
And it’s been minus 30 fucking degrees all week, that sucks too.
Anyways, on with the MMS:
The Oilers, along with the serious dose of the suck lately, have been hit by the yearly crippling injury bug. The Nuge, Eberle and Hall have all gone down with somewhat weird injuries (Hall’s was legit weird, booted in the head by a teammate, however not the first player we’ve lost to a teammate skate injury if you recall Gagner last year). Eberle has been practicing and may return against Calgary so that’s finally some good news.
Also, Hemsky, Hall and Gagner were put on a line and had some chemistry prior to Hall’s injury so that’s a positive…plus it’s always good to have the team enforcer on the same line as two stars for protection.
NHL All Star picks were made, and there were 0 Oilers picked. Some mention was said that Eberle and the Nuge would have made it if they were healthy, but if so doesn’t that violate a CBA thingy? Because one of the bonuses rookies are eligible for is the All Star game, and if they were good enough to go they should be selected and then allowed to bow out due to injury. Lets get these kids paid!
Oh, and Brule got picked up on recall waivers by Phoenix.
As mentioned above, NHL all star picks were made and people seemed insulted that Lidstrom and Selanne were excluded, until they were mentioned to have begged off due to age and using the time to recuperate. No problem to me. Also, two players selection just got injured so there should be some injury replacements coming soon. Maybe Eberle?
Big trade happened too, when Cammalleri got traded to Calgary for Bourque. Personally feel Calgary won that trade (although the Habs freed up 3 mil in cap). Also have a feeling that Gauthier won’t last long in Montreal. This trade also works out for the Caps. Bourque elbowed Backstrom, earned 5 games but wouldn’t have seen the Caps again this year as a Flame, but manages to play them tonight as a Canadien. Look for a scrap to occur, and then it’ll be behind everyone.
Speaking of the Flames only playing the Caps once per year, the big re-alignment deal that was up got kibosh-ed by the NHLPA for the main reason that it was unfair for the two conferences of 8 teams. Fair enough if you ask me.
Finally, the HBO 24/7 was awesome. Hope you watched it.
Question of the week
Should helmets be mandatory for the Oilers during warmups? (Currently only the Rangers mandate them I heard on twitter) What about the entire league?
Fight of the past however long it was since I’ve updated the MMS
Also, funny because Sedin just sneaks off the ice, here is the Boston/Canuck line brawl:
Looking at the bottom first, the separation between 12th and 13th is pretty much impossible to make up in this 3 point era. And I would hazard a guess that 15th is locked up by Columbus, but you can never underestimate the Oilers ability to suck (Hey Tambellini, some help would be nice).
Up top, surprised to see St Louis up there, they have been doing well since picking up Hitchcock. Also, not going to lie but it’s also nice to see the Wild come back to earth. And how about LA picking it up lately. Must be the pancakes.
Seems to be 3 groupings of teams in the East. First one is the dominate teams (which surprisingly includes Ottawa..which is funny because they didn’t have to suck all that bad or long to get good again?), second is the bubble teams which includes Toronto, Winnipeg and Florida (much to my surprise again). Finally the bottom feeders, but they are not that far back. Although I expected Buffalo, Montreal and Tampa to do better than they have.
Since the last MMS, the Oilers have made a move from just outside the lottery to a firm hold on 3rd. Looking at Anaheim’s last 10, we may have 2nd locked up tight (although Tampa looks to be giving us a run).
FHL: DECEMBER SUMMARY
And so we round another month and come into a new year. The FHL, still in its infancy, is worth taking a closer look at. While the league still provides a chance for teams to rise or fall, it appears that December was a deadlock for many – no less than six teams stood pat from the Novembers standings, while an additional eight teams moved only one place up or down. Nonetheless, the league’s still dynamic. I refuse to toot my own horn when the chance presents itself to rather conduct my own orchestra: The Vikings rose a rather stunning 13 places from 18th to 5th in the league. Let’s take a look the team performances, starting at the top.
The rampaging Rhinos (Gas) charged into command of the FHL yet again, after dropping from the top in November. It will be a while yet before the Brian “took over a finished product” Burke comments die down, but Gas has certainly begun to mark his territory with this roster. He was involved in multiple trades in December, dealing players like Simon Gagne, Jimmy Howard and Jaroslav Spacek, whilst adding talent like Mark Schiefele in the process. Some will say Gas has taken an uncecessary gamble by unloading Jimmy Howard from his goaltending pool – a position that has provided the Rhinos with a massive 120 points in three months. That is a remarkable 45 points more than the second best goaltending tandem (Splat’s Wildcats with Lehtonen/Elliott have 75 points, while several sit at 71 points: Saevel’s Tigers with Lundqvist/Varlamov, Racki’s Bombers with Rinne/Montoya/Giguere, Mlab’s Rebels with Thomas/Bobrovsky). Will the Rhinos keep their foot on the Gas?
The mercury is rising and the Heatwave (Ktown) steams into 2nd place in the league. While the Rhinos fly on the back of their goalies, the Heatwave soar onward on the strength of their league leading forwards who have 479pts, 19 ahead of the Burninators’ (Trogdor) 460pts forwards. Ktown must be particularly pleased with the trio of Stamkos, Iginla and Hartnell (!) who put up in excess of 27 points in December. With Stepan and E. Kane providing solid secondary scoring with more than 20 points each, the Heatwave continue to challenge for the Norack Cup. That’s not least because Ktown also commands the second best defensive unit in the league, providing a stellar 188 points so far – though they are some way back of Crott’s FHL leading 226 (!) points from the blueline. That’s some impressive drafting, but Ktown doesn’t appear satisfied yet, as he was involved in a ridiculously complex deal just before the new year. There were players, picks and conditions flying when the Chiefs (zackman35) and the Heatwave had a pow-wow to exchange draft picks, defensive talent Dougie Hamilton, and hitting shooter Dustin Brown. Dynamic man, that Ktown. Will he prevent his lead from evaporizing?
Though by no means disattached from the title race, Trogdor’s Burninatorswere unable to keep up in December and fell two spots into third. Trogdor enjoys well-rounded production from his forwards, but he might desire more from players like Jeff Carter and Milan Lucic in the future. The latter especially, since Boston was destroying teams and scoring in bunches. The Burninators are a strong all-round team though, but perhaps need more from their defense to win the title. Others will claim his blueline lacks a clear leader. What’s in the runes for Trogdor þæm Bærnettamber?
The Tigers (Saevel) are built similarly to the Burninators, with their chief production coming from the netminders and forwards. Jamie Benn continues to be the best bargain in the FHL (although the Bombers’ Henrique will object), giving his boss another 15 point plus month for a measly 822K salary. Kris Versteeg (drafted 384th!), Ryan Callahan and Nick Foligno (drafted 338th!) are also quietly putting up points for the Tigers. Pavel Datsyuk, on the other hand, boisterously harvested himself a record breaking 29.3 points (FHL best month for a forward, split with Marian Hossa). Saevel is still waiting for chubby-wonderboy Doughty to break a sweat and put up more points for a blueline that might need to step it up a bit for the Tigers to crack the top three. Will the first Norack Cup end up in Oslo?
Set the signal fires ablaze and warn the other teams further up, here come the Vikings (NorwegianOiler). The Vikings jump from 18th to 5th place, a rise only rivalled by Christ’s ascension into heaven. Zach Parise and Blake Wheeler finally kick-started their seasons while forwards like Burrows, Bergeron and Hossa kept pace from previous months. The addition of a healthy David Perron (drafted 384th) also helped the Vikings put up a record score of 298 points in a month. Despite picking a goaltender with their first pick (Bobby Lou), the Vikings are no better than 18th in goaltending so far, though having Anders Lindbäck glued to the Nashville pine hasn’t done much to improve that area.
The Lakers (haboiler) hold sixth place, however only 17 points separate 6th from 11th. Haboiler finds evenly distributed scoring from his forwards, although he might be distrought that players like Corey Perry, James van Riemsdyk or Matt Duchene didn’t elevate their game in December. The Lakers are somewhat held back by their lack of prominent blueliners, though a few are keeping pace by punching above their weight. Haboiler will give enigmatic underperformer Steve Mason another chance as he hopes to improve his goaltending output. Still, the rest of the league should take notice that there’s much room for improvement for a team that’s already top six in the league. Will the Lakers get it together in time to move up the rankings?
The Raiders (Steve-o) lost young star Jeff Skinner, but still defended their seventh place position from November. Driven by his unrestrained hormones, Steve-o’s finally decided to bring home his man-crush and treat him right. It cost him all of his 2012 draft picks, but the Bombers won’t mind as they hover around mid-table contemplating if their status is going to be buyer or seller. How far can Hemmer take Steve-o?
The Mustangs (Mr.Majestyk) kept their rivals the Bombers behind them, but was herded back two places from November. Mr.Majestyk will not be happy with the drop off in points behind his top performers (H. Sedin 26.6pts, M. Koivu 19.7pts) – solid forward talent like Stewart, Stastny and Ladd failed to break 11 points, which must be considered sub-par. Fortunately for the team, goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stood tall with some magnificent play. The Mustangs are yet another top team that looks to get a bit more out of their defensive corps.
A team that does not lack production from the blueline is the Rattleheads (Crott). They lead the league in points from defense with 226 (some 38 points more than #2, the Heatwave). Crott’s points come from a wide variety of players, which in December resulted in the Rattleheads’ best month so far at 249 points. That was 4th best last month.
The Rebels (Mlab90) gave a solid month to their boss, Mlab, which was good enough for 6th in December. That kept the Rebels in 10th overall, although their biggest success might have been the trade market. In what I consider to be one of the more lopsided deals so far, Mlab acquired (now injured…)Simon Gagne and defenseman Alex Goligoski from the Rhinos for grinders Tanner Glass and Jim Vandermeer. Though Gas was motivated by the cap relief, I cannot help but think someone might have given him a better deal for a couple of solid players…
The Panthers (Alan-NottsUK) had an average month with 222 points, and fell three places into 11th – though they only trail 10th by three points, and 6th by seventeen. Alan will be spending January wishing for some goaltending to bridge that gap, because both Devan Dubnyk and Corey Schneider failed him in December, combining for a grim 3 points total. That’s the worst goaltending output since Roberto Suckongo and Anders Lindbäckup got the same score for the Vikings in October.
The resident generalissimo of the forum, Racki, saw his Bombers stop just short of breaking 600 points in December. As the optimist he is, he might consider himself to be chief of the bottom dwellers. With the draft picks acquired in the Hemsky trade, will Racki make moves to improve his team or simply mail it in?
The Militia (Jfrizzio77) had their month unfold with a similar trajectory to the Bombers and they ended with the same amount of points for December. Jfrizzio77 showed that he will not Tambellini this season and opted instead to make a trade. He brought in currently injured forward Martin Havlat and Wild checker Darroll Powe for veteran scorer Daniel Alfredsson, Dustin Tokarski and a low draft pick. It may have been more a case of contract duration than improvement for the present, but Jfrizzio77 must keep looking for ways to close the gap to the top teams if he wants to avoid being glued to the middle of the table.
Top forwards Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Eberle kept up their good play in December and helped the Ice Dogs (rhbdken) to their best month so far (230 pts). It was, however, defenseman Michael del Zotto who took the cake, the icing and ate it too. His 29,8 points in December is the current FHL record for any player, skater or netminder. His 3g 11a was followed up by a stunning +17! Sell. Sell. Sell.
It was Samson’s Thunder that suffered the biggest drop in the standings last month, falling 4 places into 15th, this after having climbed seven places from November to December. It has been rumored that Samson has forced Jumbo Joe Thornton (10,6pts) and Brian Gionta (2,6pts) to fight to the death for captaincy of the new franchise the Scapegoats. The winner might have to fight newly acquired Shawn Horcoff next month, depending on the newcomers ability to lift the Thunder into the skies once again.
Another active, yet underachieving, GM was Zackman35 of the Chiefs. He saw his team put up their best month yet, but still continue to elude their apparent potential. The Chiefs clearly have a future in young forwards like Landeskog and Nintendoraider, but is that enough for their GM? Zackman dynamically shipped out scoring centreman Patrick Marleau and Dustin Brown and brought in AHL resident forward Magnus Pääjärvi and claimed Russian scoring softie Alex Semin from waivers. The Caps are seemingly improving, maybe Bongo-Semin can drum up some offense for the struggling Chiefs?
Since their initial 6th place in November, the Flares (iCanada) have continued to dim. They dropped another three places during December and cannot wait for Sidney Crosby’s skullporridge to reform into a working brain. Fine performances from Marchand, Anisimov, Hamonic and White aside, the Flares struggle awfully to make up for the absence of Crosby, and not least, the lack of goaltending. Jonas Hiller’s like a re-used target at the machine gun range and Jakob Markström cannot buy a start. Shakeup time or shakedown time?
The Serpents(MG10) are slithering into hiding after a decent start in October. Although he possesses the FHL’s third ranked defensive unit, MG10 has not been able to patch up a sufficient forward corps or goaltending tandem to really challenge the top sides. Behind Bäckström and Gaborik there are too few that carry their weight, while Carey Price had a stinker in net in December. Is there venom left in the Serpents or will they self-constrict?
In 19th place, the Bulldogs(gr8one) had the second worst point totalt in December, though they retained their rank from November. Gr8one has been let down by Getzlaf, while younger talent like Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier haven’t been able to pick up the remains. There’s an abundance of talent in the Bulldogs’ roster, but somehow it hasn’t come together yet, gr8one has yet to break 200 points in a month. With Letang out for the time being, will the Bulldogs’ food tray be left out on the trade table?
The re-named Elbows High, now Stingers (Chucker), haven’t been able to find traction to zip up the rankings. Ovechkin appears to have shed the Black-Sea-beer-gut and started scoring again – could the Stingers emerge from the hive in time to swarm the top teams? They’ll certainly need players like Zajac to find their form soon though. Having the second worst ranked goaltending doesn’t stop the fall either, unfortunately. Maybe a Roloson for Khabibulin swap?
While any creature of evil is known to be down below, the Devils (mrgod2u) would surely rather be up high with the leaders. For mrgod2u, the talent has been there all along, but the cap space hasn’t. With some dilligent moves he’s shed enough salary to fit most of his talent into the monthly roster, however there is work to be done as good players like Lecavalier, Elias and Selänne continue to sit while the Devils rage on. Though it was his best month (182pts), mrgod2u will surely be seeking to trade even more. The question is, would anybody make a deal with the Devils?
Splat’s Wildcats rose out of last place and surely hope this is the proverbial first step toward glory. Ilya Kovalchuk re-emerged as a superb fantasy player, while Kari Lehtonen- and Ville Leino’s injuries hampered the Wildcats’ bid for further improvement. Splat will have to take charge and make some moves if he is to avoid lurking at the bottom of the standings by season’s end. Will some of the Wildcats’ stars be available?
After enduring a horrendous month, the Tanners (Bostonoiler) are last in the FHL. With their GM in exile, it is not enough to possess talent like Heatley, St.Louis or Richards. Overperformers such as Petr Sykora remain inactive due to the inactivity of their boss, whose mysterious absence continues to baffle the Tanners’ fans.
Seriously amazing writing.
The Barons are still holding onto first in their conference even with Edmonton’s attempts to sink their season as well, currently sitting with 53 points in 40 games. They are second in the league just behind the Hershey Bears.
Surprisingly the highest player is Ryan Keller sitting at #40 in the league with 28 points in 38 games. Pretty spread out scoring on the team otherwise, although it’s kinda disappointing to see Pitlick and Hamilton struggling.
Not surprising, but the two goalies David LeNeveu and Yann Danis sit #2 and #3 in league goaltending.
Oil Kings currently sit first in their conference with a 6 point lead on second place. They are sitting tied for 3rd in the entire league at this point (63 points in 45 games).
Michael St. Croix sits 7th in scoring with 67 points in 45 games, and Dylan Wruck is just behind at 10th (57 in 45). Laurent Brossoit is currently the 4th ranked goalie.