Fantasy Chatter: Week 15 – Top 25 First Half Over/Underachievers & Deep Cuts: Rookie Bias Edition

ItsAlwaysSunny_Underachievers

The Week Ahead: Jan 12 – Jan 18

4 Game slates: ARI, BUF, COL, DAL, DET, NYR, PHI, TB, TOR, WASH, WINN
3 Game slates: ANA, BOS, CAR, CLB, EDM, FLA, LA, MIN, MON, NASH, NYI, OTT, PIT, SJ, STL, VAN
2 Game slates: CAL, CHI, NJ,
Back to Back games: ANA, ARI, BUF, CAR, COL, CLB, DAL, DET, MON, NASH, NYI, NYR, PHI, TB, TOR, VAN, WASH, WINN

By Lane Myer

We’ve officially reached the midway point for all but four NHL teams. That makes for a good point to reflect back on some draft maladies and which players have killed your standing. Thus here are the top 25 over and underachievers in fantasy hockey arbitrarily ranked in an undisclosed (read: highly convoluted) method that contains a mix of ADP in relation to their current ranking in standard size leagues as well as factoring in how much these particular players have probably murdered some key stat categories, again for standard category leagues.

We’ve omitted players who suffered low rankings due to injury such as Patrick Sharp or Zdeno Chara, though not a guy like Alex Semin who has been injured, healthy scratched, and terrible. Read more »

Blackhawks Jump On Wild Early, Cruise to 4-1 Win

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks staked out a two-goal lead in the first period Sunday night, keeping the visiting Minnesota Wild on their heels for most of the evening. The Hawks got plenty of offense to go with a solid night on the part of Corey Crawford. Chicago goes on a four-day break with the good feeling of a 4-1 win.

First Period-After the teams traded a couple of possessions, the Hawks got a shot at a goal when Andrew Shaw came around the net and centered to Patrick Sharp. The shot was off the mark, however.

Shortly thereafter, the top line got the scoring going. Marian Hossa got the puck to Brandon Saad in the Wild zone. Saad found Jonathan Toews at the left circle and the captain drove to the net and got Niklas Backstrom out of the crease. The captain centered to Hossa, who took advantage of a wide open net to give Chicago a 1-0 lead 4:17 into the period. Read more »

Off night for Raanta, Hawks; Oilers skid away late to 5-2 win in Edmonton

By Brad Vandenberk

Just when you think Edmonton was a place you could walk into a get a win, think again. The Hawks came in from their victory in Minnesota last night and looked sluggish the entire night. Mental errors were apparent all over the ice as they let the NHL’s worst, beat them 5-2. Brandon Saad scored the only two goals with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews collecting 2 assists. Saad’s goals were very similar grabbing rebounds off Ben Scrivens’ pads. Antti Raanta was also a shoe in to start as Corey Crawford played the night previous.

Dan Carcillo was sent to the press box once again with Teuvo Teravainen back in the fold.   Tim Erixon and injured Kris Versteeg were also not in the lineup. Teravainen really made a statement making some picturesque passes cross ice finding Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw and David Rundblad on a few opportunities. He wasn’t that mighty with the sluggish Hawks being unable to connect on his standout performance. Read more »

Site notes: Mid-terms and Rankings; IceHogs injury updates [Updated]

By Chris Block

Just a couple quick notes ahead of the weekend.

Rockford IceHogs (21-12-3-1) will reach the halfway point of their season tonight when they host the Milwaukee Admirals inside the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. The ‘Hogs are 7 points up on Milwaukee in the standings, though the Admirals do hold three games in hand on Rockford. Ted Dent’s team leads its division (3rd in the conference) currently and remain 6 points up on both Grand Rapids and the Chicago Wolves, though each of those groups have multiple games in hand on the Hogs too.

Tonight is the back-end of a home and home set. Rockford lost 4-2 in Milwaukee last night. Phillip Danault and T.J. Brennan were the IceHogs’ goal scorers. Scott Darling was pulled in the second period after allowing the 4th goal against 29 shots, but the defense in front of him on a couple of those goals offered little assistance.

Stephen Johns (concussion) continues to be sidelined since being injured on a Stephane Veilleux hit on November 26th in Rockford. That was the same night Curt Gogol broke Alex Broadhurst’s arm when Gogol took a run at Broadhurst low in the IceHogs’ end. Read more »

Clint Reif cause of death; Memorial Fund info

ClintReif

By Chris Block

The death of Chicago Blackhawks Assistant Equipment Manager, Clint Reif was officially ruled a suicide on Tuesday.

Reif, 34, was found hanging and unresponsive in his Lombard home at 8:32 a.m. on the morning of December 21st, hours after returning home with the Blackhawks after a road game in Columbus, Ohio the previous evening. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Lombard police and fire department.

The DuPage County Coroner’s office ruled the cause of Clint Reif’s death as “Asphyxiation due to hanging” in a brief statement released on Tuesday, January 6th.

Reif’s death had been an open investigation until Tuesday, when the coroner’s office and Lombard police closed the case after the results of toxicology exams were returned. There was no autopsy performed.

He was in his ninth season as an assistant equipment manager for the Blackhawks after spending one season with the Chicago Wolves. Prior to that, Reif worked for various minor league teams in Alabama, Florida and the Fort Wayne Komets, who Reif worked for while he attended high school from 1996 to 1999.  He graduated from Snider High School in 1999. Reif spent his teenage years in Fort Wayne after his family moved there from Chicago in 1993.

Reif is survived by his wife, Kelly, and four children – three daughters and a son.

A memorial fund has been set up for Reif’s children. Donations can be made to:

The Clint Reif Memorial Fund
c/o J.P. Morgan Chase Bank
120 E. Wesley Street
Wheaton, IL 60187

There will also be a Blackhawks Fan brunch on Sunday February 8th at The Ogden Chicago, 1659 W. Ogden Avenue from 11am to 3pm. The Blackhawks play in St. Louis at 11:30am on NBC that day. The brunch buffet costs $18.95 with a portion of that money going to the Clint Reif Memorial Fund.

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ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com
Twitter.com/ChrisBlock

Lindbloom’s View: Never Let Go

Lindbloom_Dogs_2016Jan06Never Let Go!

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb – and a brief summary of the chaotic victory over the Dallas Stars

By Rich Lindbloom

The above photo is a picture of our two Newfie’s laying claim to the same toy. Digit, the beast on the right, normally ends up losing these games of tug-of-war. George outweighs him by about 30#’s and is 100% Alpha. (Think Andrew Shaw vs. John Scott) The tussle usually begins after their walk, with Digit picking up the stuffed animal and sticking it in George’s face. The ensuing struggle does bear a striking resemblance to two bulls in a China shop.

While quite amused watching the two goof balls battle over the same toy, (there are plenty of other toys, but they always want the one the other has), I keep a wary eye on things that are breakable in the living room. They both tend to back up, while tugging, with little regard for what’s behind them. I’ve come to admire their 100% focus. Besides, I’ve never really liked the picture on our flat screen in that room, although knocking the Christmas tree over would have landed both in the doghouse. Read more »

Fantasy Chatter: Week 14 – TTMI’s Keeper/Dynasty League Top 50 Under 25 Rankings

ToTheCloud_TheLeague

The Week Ahead: Jan 5 – Jan 11

4 Game slates: CHI, MIN, SJ, WINN
3 Game slates: ARI, BOS, BUF, CAL, CAR, COL, CLB, DAL, DET, EDM, FLA, NASH, NJ, NYI, NYR, OTT, PHI, STL, VAN, WASH
2 Game slates: ANA, LA, MON, PIT, TB, TOR
Back to Back games: BOS, BUF, CAL, CHI, CLB, DET, FLA, MIN, NJ, NYI, NYR, SJ, WASH, WINN

By Lane Myer

As we foreshadowed two weeks ago, here is our maiden entry in the keeper or dynasty league sphere. We’ve ranked the top 50 players 25 years old or younger to perhaps use as a guide for those of you in keeper or dynasty leagues that will be undergoing a rebuild, or continuing to rebuild your roster for the forthcoming seasons.

If you’re a hardcore fantasy baseball player, you may be aware of the 500 inning plateau for young starting pitchers. Meaning that around 500 innings banked at the major league level, you begin to see what a starter is capable of…on average.   Data fluctuates a bit more wildly for hockey, but among NHL level defensemen, you start to see a similar maturation around their third to fourth and into their fifth professional season. This can be seen in Hawkland with Duncan Keith who was a 30 point player in his third year. He then jumped to a 44 point player in his fourth season and then soared to an elite level in his fifth year when he recorded 69 points en route to his first Norris Trophy. It was also true for Brian Campbell who rose to a 62 point season in his fifth full season.

With forwards the data is a little trickier. Some data suggests a forward peaks at 25, while some believe it’s anywhere from age 22 to 25. This is primarily why we’re keeping our requirements at age 25. Obviously this will vary wildly in terms of age range. Max Pacioretty broke out in his fourth year, but in those previous three seasons, he accrued essentially a season and a half’s worth of games. Then you look at a guy like Joe Pavelski who spent his first seven seasons becoming a prototypical second line center only to break out as an elite level first line scorer at age 29. Read more »

Blackhawks Prevail 5-4 in OT Against Stars

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks came out on top of a see-saw affair Sunday night at the United Center, coming from behind four times and besting the Dallas Stars 5-4 in overtime. Patrick Sharp ended a wild night at the Madhouse with the game-winner early in the extra frame.

First Period-The Stars had an odd-man rush in the opening minute of action that was thwarted by a sliding Brent Seabrook. About a minute later, Chicago got some traffic in front after an Andrew Shaw shot from the left circle. Marcus Kruger got a stick on the rebound but Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen kept it out of harm’s way.

Niklas Hjalmarsson struck the post in the fourth minute. Soon after, the Stars jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Tyler Seguin sent a shot off of the leg of Brandon Saad that Corey Crawford was able to stop with his pads. Jamie Benn pounced on the rebound and scored 3:59 into the period. Read more »

Former Blackhawk Troy Brouwer wins the Winter Classic for the Caps, Hawks fall 3-2

By Brad Vandenberk

The 2015 Winter Classic was decided with just 13 seconds remaining in the third period. Ex-Hawk Troy Brouwer found the puck on his stick at the top of the circle and beat Corey Crawford igniting the home fans taking the game 3-2. The outdoor elements were noticeable with the puck bouncing around all over the ice making it difficult to execute the stretch pass that the Hawks love to do, as well as enabling defensemen to keep pucks from jumping over the blue line.

Crawford kept the Hawks alive in the final period of the game making all kinds of saves. Braden Holtby at the other end, was just as sharp making sure the Capitals claimed victory. Michal Rozsival was back in the lineup after missing a few games due to injury. Tim Erixon and Joakim Nordstrom were the two Hawks watching the annual outdoor classic from the dugout.

Alex Ovechkin had a jump in his step on this day. He was all over the Hawks early, testing Crawford. Dan Carcillo and Michael Latta started the pushing and shoving right off the bat. Brooks Laich has a couple of solid opportunities and early on it looks to be an exciting start to the game. Read more »

Winter Classic Game Highlights

From NHL.com

Troy Brouwer beats his former team, scoring with 13 seconds to go in regulation.

Final 3-2 Washington – Box Score and NHL.com recap