Tag: Evgeny Kuznetsov

My Top-Ten Most Disappointing Fantasy Hockey Players of 2018

Man, you came into the draft licking your chomps. Thinking I am going to be steal this guy, he is going to be MVP caliber, my star, my bread and butter and boy have things gone south for you. Here are my top-ten most disappointing fantasy hockey players.

  1. Evgeny Kuznestov, where has this guy been lately. Kuznestov was solid in the first month and a half but has slowly fallen off the horse. He came into the year ranked 27, and is now ranked 113. Kuzy has just 8 goals and 29 assists on the year with 15 power play points.
  2. Anze Kopitar, when are fantasy owners going to see some consistency in this guy? Had an almost Hart Memorial trophy year last year and now is in the bottom of the barrel again. Kopitar has 13 goals and 18 assists (31 points) with 7 power play points.
  3. Ryan Getzlaf, time may be up for the big, power forward Getzlaf. A one-time superstar has slowly fallen off the ranks of the NHL. Getzlaf had some hope coming into the year, but has not lived up to projections. He was ranked 54 coming into the year and is now ranked 144. Getz has 10 goals and 21 assists (31 points) with 4 power play points.
  4. Drew Doughty, a down first half for Doughty so far, a Norris trophy winner, All-Star and top-paid d-man in the league can not be producing 25 points 40+ games into the year. Not to mention he is a 2nd-3rd round pick. Doughty was ranked 58 coming into the year and is now ranked 204. He has 4 goals and 21 assists on the year with 12 power play points.
  5. Shayne Gostisbehere, another rough year it seems like for Ghost. Someone who resurrected the Flyers season two years ago has been very sub par. The Flyers are waiting for the 2015-16 Ghost to come back but he seems to have disappeared. Ghost was ranked 67 coming into the year and is now ranked 287. He has 5 goals, 13 assists and 8 power play points in 46 games.
  6. Dougie Hamilton, my last defenseman I swear but Hamilton was a 50-point defenseman and since coming to Carolina he has not done a good job sharing the wealth on that offensive-minded d-core. Hamilton was ranked 96 coming into the year and is now ranked 256. He has just 16 points in 45 games (6 goals, 10 assists) with 5 power play points.
  7. Casey Mittlestadt, it is not like we expected this kid to be a 40 point player at this point but perhaps a little better than 13 points in 45 games. Mittlestadt has to have shaken the jittery bugs out and is getting acclimated to NHL speed, but it seems like he is having difficulty getting on the score sheet. Mittlestadt was a Calder favorite coming into the year, ranked 152 at the beginning and now 504 mid-way through the year.
  8. Zach Hyman, you would think playing with either Auston Matthews or John Tavares Hyman would be able to be productive well it has been the opposite for this kid, he is not grossly under performing and despite missing some games with an injury. Hyman should be a more efficient player just due to the fact who he is surrounded with. Yes William Nylander is on the cusp of being on this list but give him another 1.5 months. Either way Hyman was ranked 162 coming into the year he has now ranked 282. He has 7 goals and 9 assists in 35 games this year.
  9. Derek Brassard, for the same reason as Hyman, Brassard should easily have around 25+ points. He has missed a few games this year but Brassard is not finding his way in Pittsburgh and Jim Rutherford is not pleased with him as well. Do not be surprised to see Brassard on the move soon. He has just 13 points in 36 games. He was ranked 195 coming into the year and is now ranked 447.
  10. Kevin Shattenkirk, based on the contract and how unpleasing it has been for Ranger fans to see his production since coming to the Big Apple. Shattenkirk has not been able to stay healthy, let alone out of his way in the d-zone this year. Shattenkirk is a number three-four defenseman on an under skilled Rangers blue line. He was ranked 175 coming into the year and is now ranked 500. Sure he has missed games but 2 goals, 10 assists and 2 power play points in 37 games is disappointing.
Advertisements

Washington looks for series lead on home ice: Vegas looks to bounce back from game two loss

The Capitals headed back to Washington after their game two win with high spirits as the Golden Knights headed to Washington a little less happy, but still remain confident as coach Gerard Gallant said after game two. The Capitals and Golden Knights have done their fair share of road winning and home ice winning. The Golden Knights have won 6 games on the road while the Capitals have won four games on home ice.

The Capitals ended all three of their series on the road, lost two games to Columbus on home ice, two to Tampa Bay and one to Pittsburgh. The Capitals head into game three with a chance to take a much needed series lead and gain some massive momentum. Some keys for both teams here tonight are…

Capitals keys to game three 

(1) Capitals need to score first. The Capitals when trailing from behind or allow the first goal have struggled a bit this playoff run especially on home ice cracking the seal first is huge for the crowd and the players.

(2) Eliminate Vegas’s speed, the Golden Knights play a quick transition game and they really do have a ton of speed on their front end. If the Capitals can reduce and or eliminate the Golden Knights ability to transition and move from defense to forward quickly and just reduce the amount of neutral zone turn overs this game will be a lot easier.

(3) Capitalize on the power play. The Capitals have had the best power play all playoffs and making sure you use that to your advantage is big, every chance the Capitals get they need to do something with it. Burying the Golden Knights on their mistakes is crucial that’s what Vegas does to teams so using Vegas mistakes to hurt them will be huge for the Capitals.

Vegas keys to game three

(1) Vegas needs to play simple and psychical to stir this game. Which means get the puck deep, chip and chase and just do whatever it takes to keep the game simple and reduce the amount of mistakes you make. The Capitals will rely a lot on their power play therefore the Golden Knights need to be aware and stop the Capitals from getting many man advantage chances. Which comes from keeping it simple and not trying to do too much.

(2) Capitalize on the chances you get! The Golden Knights blew a 5 on 3 in game two and they ended up losing in the Stanley Cup final that cannot happen you need to bury a team when they take two bad penalties. Therefore that means do not retaliate and go back and give into the Capitals nonsense. Vegas needs to be smart and pick and chose when to get chippy.

(3) Slow down Kuznetsov and Oshie, Ovechkin obviously too but they know that. Kuzy is definitely not 100% so getting to him early is crucial. Oshie has been a wagon this series so getting him off his game, in anyway is crucial too. Vegas needs to mix and match lines here and slow these two guys down.

Inside look at what Vegas is saying…

The line opened up at -135 Washington and +115 Vegas that was the open though, now it is well the same thing actually not much has changed and it seems Washington is favored a but, not but a lot but a decent amount. The over/under line is 5.5 goals and -119, pretty fair based on how the first two games went. I’d go under though. The other 13 sites out there are saying, Vegas to be around +105 the lowest and +119 the highest and Washington to be -125 the lowest and +139 the highest. I would go Washington here tonight, I think the same thing happens as it did in Vegas. Home team takes game one, away team takes game two. Monitor the lines though I highly doubt they stay like this as the bets are 52 percent Vegas and 48 percent Washington.

Capitals tie series at one, heading back to Washington for games 3 and 4…

The Capitals have done the impossible! What a win for the Capitals last night though, not many expected this too happen a lot thought it was going to be a 2-0 Vegas lead heading into Washington and home ice was going to play a huge role in this series. But now for Washington they’re heading home with a tied series and the chance to go up 3-1 before heading back to Vegas for game five, HUGE.

The Golden Knights had the chance to win this game several times and something we have not seen Vegas do, but they did not counter on their chances. The Golden Knights had a 5 on 3 with minutes left in the third and then a wide open net that Alex Tuch got absolutely robbed on, and that was it, 3-2 Washington. 1-1 series.

The story here is Alex Ovechkin does anybody think this guy may be possessed by some Russian milk or something. He is not only scoring goals but he is absolutely ruining the Vegas defenseman and forwards. Ovechkin has now registered 9 hits in two games. I don’t know what Ovechkin is doing but there is something about him this year that is different. He certainly feels the pressure being in the Stanley Cup, getting older and realizing his window is closing but still, he looks locked in and ready to run through a wall. In game one when he got hit in the face with that puck, and just wiped it off like it was a fly, that’s when I knew ok this guy is probably not human.

This Golden Knights and Capitals Cup match up has been interesting series, totaling 10 goals in game on and 5 in game two, the goal scoring is there and it has been also a back and forth battle with non stop action. The good part the teams are starting to really dislike each other, that took a total of 24 hours. Anyways, the Golden Knights should not be too worried the Capitals have lost four games this playoffs on the road, so winning on the road is not impossible for Vegas as they have also won 6 games on the road this playoff season.

This series is going to go seven games I think though but the Capitals have to hope that Evgeny Kuznetsov is healthy for game three and the rest of this series or they are in some deep trouble. Nothing has come out about his injury but it looked to a be wrist injury after Brayden McNabb hit Kuzy late in the second period.

Game three and four will be in Washington, game three airs Saturday June 2nd and game four Monday June 4th. The positive to this is that Vegas and Washington get two full rest days to refocus, recoup and get back together. The Capitals need to utilize these two rest days to do all they can to hope Kuznetsov comes back for this series. Without Kuzy this is going to be even harder for the Capitals to win.

For now, game three in Washington, 8:00 p.m….

Video summary of game two below!

All You Need To Know About the Stanley Cup Finals: Capitals vs Golden Knights

To start for those that are here just because Vegas has made the Cup during their first year and has been following the Golden Knights narrative, one of the most exciting stories in sports, welcome! For those that are familiar with the NHL and these teams, sorry but the Golden Knights have drawn a ton of traffic and eyes to the NHL so there are some new fans waiting to know the logistics of these teams.

The Golden Knights posted a 51-24-7, 109 points, a top the Pacific division and being crowned the Western Conference champs while posting a 12-3 record in the playoffs thus far. The Capitals posted a 49-26-7, 105 points, a top the Metropolitan division, winning the Eastern Conference championship and posting a 12-7 this playoff run.

First Stanley Cup appearance 

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights winning streak

To start this is the first Stanley Cup in 11 years where two teams are in pursuit of their first ever Stanley Cup. One team has waited 20 years for this, another has waited 11 months. Vegas was officially welcomed to the NHL last off-season before the NHL draft and then the expansion draft began and their team emerged! The Capitals have been around since 1974, appearing in their last Stanley Cup final and their only one in 1997-98 where they got swept by the Detroit Red Wings. The Golden Knights well, they have been around not even a year yet, and have made the Stanley Cup so that is what you need to know in regards to them.

The way the Golden Knights team came about though? We have seen this a few times over the last 20 years, but they are what one would call and expansion team and the last expansion team(s) the NHL welcomed were the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in 2000. Expect this time around it was done much different, the Golden Knights picked from all other 30 NHL teams based on what the other teams had protected and not protected. From there they chose their roster. The spin to it though a lot of players got picked due to George McPhee the Vegas GM working out deals with teams to receive a player and a pick so Vegas would not select a “good” player from their rosters. Well with that Vegas was able to choose 35 players from these rosters as well as additional draft picks.

Key players for Vegas 

The big names that come out of Vegas this year, well if you have not been watching the most obvious one. Marc Andre Fleury, the goaltender and possible Conn Smythe winner, Jonathan Marchessault Vegas’s pick from Florida as well as Riley Smith who came from Florida in a deal. William Karlsson the forward Vegas selected from Columbus, which they also revived 2 picks from this selection. As well as James Neal the 30-goal scorer from Nashville. Colin Miller the selection from Boston, Deryk Engelland from Calgary. The other players were also selected but these players have made a large impact on the Vegas roster this season and have helped propel this Vegas story further and further each month. William Karlsson tallied 25 points last season to an astonishing 78 this season, Marchessault tallied 75 compared to his 51 points last season, Colin Miller scored 41 points compared to 13 last season, Riley Smith scored 60 points compared to his 37 last season. It is safe to say that Vegas has gave these players a new life of confidence and have made them into some of the best players in the league right now.

Key players for Washington 

The Capitals, the players you need to keep an eye for these guys are Alex Ovechkin, the 7-time Rocket trophy winner, Hall of fame caliber player tallying 1,002 points in his career and also a possible Conn-Smythe NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018candidate this playoffs. Ovechkin draws the most attention to fans due to his off-ice personality and on-ice goal scoring and screaming. Ovi has been in the league for 13 years now reaching his first Stanley Cup. Braden Holtby the one-time Vezina trophy and William M. Jennings trophy winner, and back bone to this Capitals defensive end has been on quite the run as of late. Coming into the playoffs and essentially this whole year as not a starter the 28-year-old, 8-time veteran makes his first appearance as well. Nicolas Backstrom who has been battling an injury, but when in the line up has certainly helped Washington in key situations, as he has tallied 519 assists in 799 career regular season games, Backstrom has been a key piece to this Capitals roster for several years now. The new and emerging power forward Evgeny Kuznestov, Ovechkin’s Russian teammate and line mate has shattered some records this year being the youngest player to score 24 points in a playoff run since Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in 2010. Kuznetsov had a career year this season and has emerged as a threat to all defenseman with his recent play this season and last season.

John Carlson the glue to this back end and a player who has put his name on the board with some of the best defenseman in the game today. Carlson has tallied 16 points in 19 games along with 10 power play points. Carlson is a player you will not miss especially due to his 6’3 stature. Finally and not last but for now at least, TJ Oshie the player they acquired from St. Louis in 2014-15 and who they recently just signed to a lucrative deal has been a key piece in their top six, holding the second line together and being a great, two-way forward. Oshie has tallied 15 points in 19 games this playoff run. Now, obviously they’re plenty more to name but these players are the guys you will hear most about and probably see the most of!

Other headlines! 

This Stanley Cup is not like most, these two teams have never been, while they have some players on their roster that have experienced the Stanley Cup atmosphere, not many players on either roster know what it is like to play in a Stanley Cup game. The intriguing part about this series is that current General Manager George McPhee of Vegas was the old GM of Washington before he came over to Vegas. Therefore essentially McPhee has built both these teams and win or lose, he still wins right? Marc Andre-Fleury will be going for his fourth Stanley Cup, appearing in his 3rd straight, Nate Schmidt plays against his old team, Washington. James Neal appears in back to back Stanley Cups. The story lines are not hard to find in this series, but for now, I hope this is gave you a better understanding of the teams, enjoy!

Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule 

Well heading into the Stanley Cup, I hope if you are new you have all the information you need! The schedule will look like…

Monday May 28: Capitals @ Vegas 

Wednesday May 30: Capitals @ Vegas

Saturday June 2: Vegas @ Capitals 

Monday June 4: Vegas @ Capitals 

Thursday June 7: Capitals @ Vegas

Sunday June 10: Vegas @ Capitals 

Wednesday June 13: Capitals @ Vegas 

Washington Capitals head home up 2-0 in series

You read the title correct. The Capitals are in fact heading back to Washington up 2-0 over the Lightning with two home games to play and a chance to do the unthinkable and sweep the Tampa Bay Lightning. I don’t think this series goes to that extent though. Although the Capitals have outscored the Lightning now 10-4 and have scored within the first minute of both games. The Lightning have to take at least one game in Washington right?

Well, not so fast because as much as you want to write the Capitals off and say, they will lose at least one game in Washington. Who is to say they can’t take two games and finish this series in four games. The Capitals have now proved EVERYONE wrong. Not one person, probably not even Capitals fans, first off thought they would be in the Conference finals, let alone be up 2-0 against the EASTERN CONFERENCE’S number one team this season.

What could be the Capitals reason(s) for success, there are plenty…

(1) HUNGRY. If you have not noticed by now the Capitals are winning every puck race and hunting pucks down like they are lion seeking prey in the jungle. I have never seen a Capitals team like this. Typically they have always been a very talented team up and down the line up but taking a look past Ovechkin and Kutneztov, the Capitals are winning games with guys like Alex Chiasson, who’s never tallied over 35 points in his career and was a free agent signing, or Jay Beagle, Lars Eller, Devante Smith Pelly, my point is, who are these guys? Does not matter because every one of these players whether they are scoring goals or not are buying in and doing something productive. Which has been the biggest reason the Capitals have not been successful in years past is that usually they have one or two guys carrying the load and everyone else was not chipping in. A hungry Capitals team has been of the many reasons they are up 2-0 right now.

(2) Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are unreal. Need to say more? Anytime the Capitals win you can guarantee these two either scored or had a huge role in the game. Kuzy and the game-tying goal in game five vs Pittsburgh, game-winning goal in game six, Ovechkin scoring 11 goals, second among active players, plus Kuzy and Ovechkin combining for 38 points this playoffs is a major reason. I don’t think this point needs to be explained anymore, they both rank 1, 2 among active playoff players.

(3) Braden Holtby, the guy has been lights out. He is not making fantastic saves or anything that is mind-blowing but the guy has been so consistent, allowing 2 goals per game and when the save needs to be made he is doing it. Holtby has always been known to be a Vezina goalie, and a goalie who is a freak of nature when it comes to focus and rituals. In years past it almost seemed like whenever the Capitals would go down a game, Holtby would struggle so credit the Capitals for staying up, consistent and supporting Holtby back there. This time around though, Holtby seems to be really confident, dialed in and really on another level. Holtby is arguably one of the best goalies in the last six or so years in the NHL, and with this playoff performance and possibly a trip to the Stanley Cup we are finally getting to see a different side to Holtby. He has been one of the most consistent players for the Capitals and coming in not even thinking he was a starter for the first round is unbelievable to now see him 10-2 through his 12 starts with a 2.04 and .926 save percentage. We are seeing a whole different Holtby right now and when this guy is on, the Capitals will have no problem winning two more games.

Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning: Eastern Conference Finals

This is a matchup we have seen in the playoffs only two times, 2002 and 2011, the Lightning holds the series advantage 6-2. In 2002 they beat Washington in the first round 4-2, in 2011 they beat Washington 4-0 in the second round. The good thing about hockey is as much as those numbers play a factor, they essentially mean nothing. In 2002 no active player is still on either team to this day and in 2011, the only two players who remain on the Lightning roster still to this day are Stamkos and Hedman, I am going to have to guess they barely remember that series.

Who has the edge here though this year? Let’s break down each aspect of the game.

Offense…

Tampa Bay: The Lightning have a very deep top nine, one of the best in the league and every player on this roster is capable of scoring and chipping in some way. Their leading scorer is Nikita Kucherov with 12 points, next up is Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos with 10. Ondrej Palat(8), JT Miller(7), Alex Killron(6), Yanni Gourde(6), Tyler Johnson(5). They have a list of players who can score every night, as we saw with Boston. When the lines look a little like, Kucherov-Stamkos-Miller, Point-Palat-Johnson and still have Killron, Gourde on the next two it is going to be a handful for the Capitals.

Washington: As we all know, the Capitals run through two guys a lot, Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, their two top scorers and guys that have been their fuel all playoffs. Their leading scorer is Ovechkin with 15 points and Kuzy with 14, despite Backstrom being out one game, game six he also is a point per game player with 13 points in 11 games. Throw in an all-around forward in TJ Oshie(8) and a defensive forward in Lars Eller(7) the Capitals will rely heavily on these guys like Oshie and Eller to chip in a bit more and take some pressure off Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. Welcoming back Tom Wilson will give them that edge as well, with the Lightning, have Coburn, Hedman, Callahan as their guys who like to throw the weight around, Wilson will match any Lightning and bring that physical presence each day.

Winner: Lightning on pure depth and versatility. Any line can chip and every line has a ton of speed plus their fourth line has been causing havoc every shift they are out there. A good fourth line makes a championship team.

Defense…

Tampa Bay: With Norris trophy winner Victor Hedman leading the backend, with the help of Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev and Dan Girardi. The Lightning have a very deep, versatile defense as well. In McDonagh you can get both offense and defense(offensive defenseman), Girardi you know a solid 16+ minutes a game playing a fairly solid defensive game and Stralman playing a very solid 18+ minutes shut down style. With Sergachev and Hedman leading the rush on the backend, they have a ton of tools who can get do it all.

Washington: John Carlson through and through has been the most underrated defenseman this whole season, logging major minutes this postseason, producing 11 points, 3 goals and 8 assists in 12 games behind all defenseman by one point for the defenseman lead in the playoffs. With Matt Niskanen and Dimitry Orlov who have played a very solid shut down game with the Penguins and their top guys and the old veteran-like Brooks Orpik doing the same thing as Girardi in a sense. With two very inexperienced and young defenseman in Christian Djoos and Michale Kempny, the Capitals have seen these two young men, grow exceptionally well this playoff run and not make any MAJOR mistakes. A simple game that has been working well for them.

Winner: Lightning, too much depth and tools on that backend that supplement their offense so well.

Goaltending…

Tampa Bay: Andrei Vasalivskiy is up for a Vezina trophy and has been very solid and consistent this year for the Lightning. Someone who has really risen to the ranks of a starting role and has given the Lightning the confidence they need, making the saves he needs to when he needs to. Just in the Boston series, he allowed 12 goals in 5 games and 5 of those goals came in game one. He ranks third among active goalies in save percentage(.927) and third in goals against 2.20. This is a tough one because Vasilevskiy has had his team played very well in front of him, but has still been a part of their success in a big way.

Washington: Braden Holtby once a Vezina winner, but after one of his worst years as a starter, coming into the playoffs the Capitals went with Phillip Grubauer after that failed and the Capitals lost their first two games. They gave the torch back to Holtby who has been lights out for them with an 8-2 record, one coming in overtime in game two. Ranking second in goals against with a 2.04 and fourth in save percentage(.926). Holtby has allowed 23 goals compared to Vasilevskiy’s 22 this postseason and their numbers are very similar.

Winner: Capitals, experience-wise, I think we see Holtby elevate his game and play big on this stage that he has never been to before. They are very similar in numbers as far GAA, SV % and goals allowed but I think Holtby is going to be again the big difference maker for the Capitals and rise to the big stage when they need him most.

Series winner: I see the Lightning taking this series in 7, the home ice will play a major role and their offense is just too much to stop right now. With Point, Palat and Gourde all having great series thus far, along with a solid fourth line and Stamkos and Kucherov being relatively quiet that second round, the Lightning’s top guys will come to play and give them the edge here.