Author: James O'Brien

Ottawa Senators v Arizona Coyotes

Keep the Kia: Denial, acceptance and going last in the fantasy draft


The beauty of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game’s fantasy draft is recreating that feeling of picking teams in a way that evokes playground nostalgia. Of course, there’s one subversive twist … a single player experiences something they likely didn’t encounter often as kids: getting picked last.

With media availability kicking in on Friday, some players shared their thoughts on possibly following Phil Kessel as an All-Star who was tabbed last. The range of emotions seemed quite varied.

For Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan, the consolation prize of a new car won’t be enough incentive to go last overall, as he told the Ottawa Citizen.

“I really don’t want a Kia,” Ryan says. “Although if it happened, I’m not going to be upset about it. Mom will have a nice ride.”

Ryan noted that he already dropped former Anaheim Ducks teammate Ryan Getzlaf to try to convince him that he would be a “mid-round steal.”

While Ryan represents the denial phase, New Jersey Devils veteran Patrik Elias seems to cover the acceptance spectrum, as the Bergen Record reports.

“It is what it is,” Elias said. “It’s good for the fans. It’s fine. The draft is the draft. I don’t care where I’m picked. I’m just happy to be there.”

While Elias takes the veteran approach, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is almost like the new kid at school.

One imagines Kessel’s reaction would simply be, “Oh no, not again,” even if he seems to say otherwise.


Odds are on Zemgus Girgensons, Radim Vrbata going last

PHT’s take

Girgensons, Vrbata favored to go last at fantasy draft, says oddsmaker

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres

For the record, Friday is Media Day for the 2015 All-Star weekend, not Pick on Zemgus Girgensons Day.

Brovada released some 2015 All-Star odds today, covering obvious questions such as who will be selected first and last during the fantasy draft (as well as more esoteric ones, like Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price being on the same team).

Let’s start with who might be selected last:

Who will be picked last in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Any Other Player                       3/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         4/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  4/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        5/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     6/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    6/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      9/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           15/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     15/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    20/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             30/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  30/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   50/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                100/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 100/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                100/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      100/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    100/1

(Don’t sleep on the “one of the captains outright trolling a friend and/or teammate,” by the way.)

On the flip side, who might get selected first?

Who will be picked first in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                2/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 2/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                4/1
Duncan Keith (CHI)                    10/1
Corey Crawford (CHI)                 10/1
Shea Weber (NAS)                    12/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      30/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    30/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      30/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI)                 40/1
Carey Price (MON)                     40/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   40/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             40/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    40/1
Any Other Player                       40/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         50/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  50/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           50/1
Jaroslav Halak (NYI)                  80/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     80/1
Ryan Suter (MIN)                       80/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    80/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     80/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)             80/1
Roberto Luongo (FLA)               80/1
Mark Giordano (CAL)                 80/1
Brent Burns (SJ)                        100/1
Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)             100/1
Erik Johnson (COL)                   100/1
Justin Faulk (CAR)                     100/1
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)              100/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        100/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  100/1
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (PHO)      100/1

Despite being one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL, Oliver Ekman-Larsson said he wouldn’t be shocked if he went last:

As far as who will win, Team Toews is at even odds while Team Foligno’s -140 (5/7). Finally, some of the odder bits:

Will Carey Price (MON) and Jaroslav Halak (NYI) be on the same All Star Team?        
Yes                  EVEN   (1/1)
No                    -140      (5/7)
Will Ryan Johansen (CLB) and Nick Foligno (CLB) be on the same All Star Team?     
Yes                  – 200     (1/2)
No                    +150     (3/2)
Will Jonathan Toews (CHI), Corey Crawford (CHI), Duncan Keith (CHI) and Brent Seabrook (CHI) and be on the same All Star Team?   
Yes                  +550     (11/2)
No                    -900     (1/9)

Is anyone else a little disappointed that “uncomfortable Phil Kessel facial expressions” wasn’t a category? (Taking over-four.)

Canucks GM says Bieksa’s injury won’t prompt a trade


With Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa out indefinitely with a hand injury that requires surgery, some might wonder if the team should explore the trade market. GM Jim Benning is opting to stay put, instead.

Benning said the Canucks are “not going to go out and get anybody” following that injury, noting that Frank Corrado has been impressive in Bieksa’s absence, the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre reports.

Corrado, 21, scored Vancouver’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Bieksa, 33, generated nine points in 45 games while averaging 21:16 time on ice per contest.

While Alexander Edler easily leads Canucks defensemen in ice time, Bieksa came in second, so it would seem like a substantial loss on paper.

Either way, Vancouver faces a golden opportunity after the All-Star break. While they face some challenging opponents (and struggling ones, like Minnesota and Buffalo), six straight home games signify a chance to strengthen the Canucks’ position in the Pacific Division and Western Conference in general.

Apparently they feel properly equipped to do so, even without a trade to bolster their defense.

Julien: Bruins ‘ran out of gas’ against Avs

Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche

The Boston Bruins have been on a roll since 2015 began, but they just couldn’t get it done against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, dropping a 3-2 decision via a shootout.

Head coach Claude Julien explained it simply to NESN: the Bruins “ran out of gas.”

The stats certainly back up such a sentiment. After slightly edging Colorado in shots 19-17 through the first two periods, the Avalanche dominated in that regard to the tune of a 19-5 disparity in the third period and OT.

Overall, Torey Krug and plenty of other Bruins seemed happy with most of their efforts, but disappointed with the outcome, as the team’s website reports.

“We played a good 58 minutes of hockey,” Krug said. “And killed a lot of penalties and Tuukks came up big for us in some key moments. They just outbattled us at the end and they scored the goal in the shootout that mattered.”

The Bruins enter the All-Star break playing some of their best hockey of the season, even with this last blemish. They’ve won six of eight and have generated at least a standings point in all but one of their games since Dec. 29.

While they aren’t in a perfect situation – the Florida Panthers could surpass the Bruins by winning in their four games in hand, for example – Boston is currently in the East’s second wild card spot as of the break. Considering how shaky certain stretches of the 2014-15 season have been, they’ll take it.

PHT Morning Skate: More on Metallica and the Sharks


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

So, uh, apparently San Jose Sharks and Metallica teamed up for a special night last night. This post’s main image is one example of … “#MetalliSharks” (Kinda looks more Danzig than Metallica, if you ask me.)


PHT covered the finer details of this odd marriage yesterday, but let’s look at a few of the results of this strange offering. Dust off your Napster jokes if you still have them …

1. Wonder if the Vancouver Canucks feel jilted?

2. Perhaps it was too on the nose for Metallica to link up with the Tampa Bay Lightning?

3. Does Dan Boyle feel left out or would he have just trashed the combination because the band cut its hair about a million years ago?

… So many questions.

Moving on …

Toronto seems to be the one place Eric Staal would consider accepting a trade to, depending upon the rumors you may believe. The question is: why? (Sportsnet)

Check out what this “Hulk-like” hockey parent did. (Deadspin)

GM Steve Yzerman assesses the Lightning at the All-Star break. (Tampa Tribune)

How various Washington Capitals approach contract years. (Washington Post)