Shane Doan (right) is now the all-time leading scorer for the Jets/Coyotes franchise. (Hockeyn3rd.wordpress.com)
The past week has been historic for the sport of ice hockey.
New Year’s Eve saw the first ever Women’s Outdoor Classic between the Boston Pride of the newly formed National Women’s Hockey League, and Montreal’s Les Canadiennes of the more experienced and better known Canadian Women’s Hockey League. An exhibition match with two 15-minute periods, it was still a shining moment for both professional women’s leagues, one that would have been made all the more special had it been televised like the Men’s Classic and the Alumni Classic. The first big clash between the Canadian and National women’s leagues ended in a 1-1 tie, with goals coming from Montreal’s Kim Deschenes and Boston’s Blake Bolden.
Because of previous commitments to Team USA’s training camp, some of the league’s brightest stars — including superstar league leading scorer Hilary Knight (eight goals, 15 points in nine games) — were forced to miss the women’s showcase. As a result, New England based players were pulled from the other three NWHL teams to fill out a competitive roster, making you wonder just how different the score might have been otherwise (in either direction).
Other historic items of note:
1. The Connecticut Whale dropped its first game in franchise history — a 2-1 loss to the Pride at home.
2. Team Canada missed the U-20 World Junior Hockey Championship semifinals for the first time in 17 years. (As a result, our trusty editor was last seen lying on the street curb, drinking Woolite).
3. Potential top three 2016 NHL Draft picks Auston Matthews (USA), Jesse Puljujarvi (FIN) and Patrik Laine (FIN) have combined for an astounding 18 goals, 37 points, a plus-18 rating, six power play goals, five game-winning goals and 59 shots on goal in just five games played. Thought to be a one-horse race for Matthews heading into the tournament, that is no longer the case.
Well, how about this week’s picks?
Shane Doan, RW, Arizona Coyotes (ESPN: 37.8 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): Captain Coyote isn’t getting any younger, but his stats from last week would indicate differently. In four games, Doan had five goals, a plus-4 rating, two power play goals, 20 shots on goal, six hits and three blocks. He has 13 goals, 19 points, a minus-3 rating and 42 penalty minutes on the season. Doan’s hat trick on Tuesday earned him some serious love from the Coyote faithful (see video below). He followed that up the next game with a pair of markers to pass Dale Hawerchuk as the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer.
Michael Stone, D, Arizona Coyotes (ESPN: 49.4 per cent; CBS: 29 per cent): Doan isn’t the only one breaking out (no, that’s not an acne reference given the club’s youth) recently in the desert. Stone had a career week with a goal, four points, four penalty minutes, seven shots on goal, 10 hits and 13 blocked shots. He has three goals, 16 points, a minus-6 rating and 30 penalty minutes this season.
Tom Wilson, RW, Washington Capitals (ESPN: 11.3 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): We mentioned Wilson in our Fantasy Tips section last week, and his performance has vindicated our advice. In four games last week, the hulking power forward had three assists, 10 penalty minutes, three shots on goal, 13 hits and a block. The experiment is still ongoing, but the young Cap has two goals, 13 points, a plus-2 rating and 96 penalty minutes so far this season.
Benoit Pouliot, LW, Edmonton Oilers (ESPN: 0.6 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): Riding Pouliot is a lot like riding a roller coaster. There can be a lot of highs, but there can be just as many lows, if not more. Currently, the former fourth overall pick is riding high with three goals, five points, a plus-3 rating, six penalty minutes, 14 shots on goal, four hits and three blocked shots. Pouliot has just eight goals, 17 points and a minus-9 on the season, but look for him to regain form with the return of wonder rookie Connor McDavid (broken clavicle). The duo — plus Nail Yakupov — seemed to mesh perfectly early on before McDavid’s injury.
Eddie Lack, G, Carolina Hurricanes (ESPN: 8.1 per cent; CBS: 16 per cent): We raved about Cam Ward last week, so we’ll do the same for his backup this week. Lack collected two wins, a 1.64 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in three games last week. His season numbers are terrible, but both Lack and Ward have seen those improve significantly in recent games with better performances from the team in front of them. It doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes on Lack.
Fantasy Tip of the Week: Employ your Injured Reserve spots! If you are in need of a certain position, don’t hesitate to take a risk and add one of the many injured big names available on your waiver wire. Stow him away on IR, then add a player that can help you in the immediate future. Such names you might be interested in would be Sergei Bobrovsky, Carey Price, Jaroslav Halak, David Krejci, Mark Scheifele, Johnny Boychuk and McDavid. We suggest you take action immediately; we wouldn’t currently have Duncan Keith had we not done the same early in the season.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.
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