Friday, September 30, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twenty-sixth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Teddy Purcell – Tampa Bay Lightning
Position – Right Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 201
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 81GP, 17G, 34A, 51P, +5, 10PIM

It’s always great to see guys have a breakout season. That’s exactly what happened to Tampa Bay forward Teddy Purcell last year. After spending the first four years of his professional career in Los Angeles, Purcell ended up becoming lost in their shuffle and was traded to Tampa during the 2009/2010 season. That season he had scored 15 points in 60 games which was his first full year in the NHL. Last year in his first full year in Tampa he had his breakout year by scoring 51 points in 81 games. Even more impressive was he was third in team scoring in the playoffs when the Bolts went to the Eastern Conference Finals. His 17 points were behind only Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. When the playoffs were over he actually had five more points in the playoffs than Steven Stamkos.

Looking at Tampa’s roster this season it’s easy to see Purcell playing on the second line with Vincent Lecavalier. Tampa’s big three of Stamkos, St. Louis, and Lecavalier will all go early in most hockey drafts; however, don’t overlook Purcell. With him having a huge playoffs and a career season it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 26 year-old have another career year and flirt with 60 points. There’s bigger name players that also scored 50 points last year like Erik Cole or Jussi Jokinen but Purcell could be the better pick for you since Tampa will continue to be one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL this season.

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
Day 17 - New Jersey Devils
Day 18 - New York Islanders
Day 19 - New York Rangers
Day 20 - Ottawa Senators
Day 21 - Philadelphia Flyers
Day 22 - Phoenix Coyotes
Day 23 - Pittsburgh Penguins
Day 24 - San Jose Sharks
Day 25 - St. Louis Blues

Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - St. Louis Blues

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twenty-fifth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

David Perron – St. Louis Blues
Position – Left Wing
Height – 6’0”
Weight – 200
Drafted – 1st Round, 26th Overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 10GP, 5G, 2A, 7P, +7, 12PIM

Concussions have obviously been a big topic in the NHL the last year. Of course Sidney Crosby and Marc Savard suffered major concussions last season which not only ended their seasons but in Savard’s case his career. Another player that suffered from a major concussion was David Perron of the St. Louis Blues. In a game on November 4, Perron was hit by Joe Thornton of the Sharks just as Jumbo Joe was stepping out of the penalty box. Perron ended up scoring later in the game; however, his season was over after the hit.

This past week was a big one for Perron as he attended the Blues training camp for the first time. According to a recent article on the Blues official site, Perron has been doing some light skating the past four weeks and will continue to work out off-ice until he’s ready to join the rest of his teammates on the ice. It doesn’t seem like he’s quite as close to returning as Sidney Crosby is but what’s encouraging is that Perron is back at the rink with his teammates. While he was hurt he stayed away from the rink to focus on his recovery, so him just being at the rink at this point is encouraging news.

You could make an argument about drafting Crosby in the first round (as per a recent article on Dailyfaceoff.com) but where do you take someone like David Perron? Before he got hurt last season he had 7 points in 10 games and looked like he was on his way to surpass is career total of 50 points in the 2008/2009 season. If Perron can return to the Blues lineup by November 1 he could be a good for 50 points. With the lack of a firm return date a lot of teams will probably stay clear of him at your draft. Remember that this is the type of late round sleeper pick that could win you your draft.

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
Day 17 - New Jersey Devils
Day 18 - New York Islanders
Day 19 - New York Rangers
Day 20 - Ottawa Senators
Day 21 - Philadelphia Flyers
Day 22 - Phoenix Coyotes
Day 23 - Pittsburgh Penguins
Day 24 - San Jose Sharks

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - San Jose Sharks

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twenty-fourth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
Martin Havlat – San Jose Sharks
Position – Right Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 215
Drafted – 1st Round, 26th Overall, 1999 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 78GP, 22G, 40A, 62P, -10, 52PIM

It seems kind of odd to name Martin Havlat as a sleeper pick in a hockey pool but based on his potential this year you might want to move him up on your draft list. After spending the last two seasons in Minnesota, Havlat was traded to the San Jose Sharks this summer for Dany Heatley. Despite playing on an offensively challenged team the last two years, Havlat seemed to rejuvenate his career by scoring 116 points in 151 games. Even though he was once deemed as a bit of a band-aid Havlat has only missed a handful of games over the last three seasons.

With his injury issues being seen as an issue of the past, it’s easy to look at Havlat and assume that he could have a career season. Last season he put up 62 points playing with Kyle Brodziak, Andrew Brunette, & Matt Cullen. This year he’s going to be playing with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Logan Couture. Havlat’s best year was during the 2008/2009 season when he scored 77 points as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s not hard to think that he could have a career year with the Sharks who were sixth in offence last season. It’s scary to think that he could be on a power-play unit this season that consists of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, and Brent Burns.

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
Day 17 - New Jersey Devils
Day 18 - New York Islanders
Day 19 - New York Rangers
Day 20 - Ottawa Senators
Day 21 - Philadelphia Flyers
Day 22 - Phoenix Coyotes
Day 23 - Pittsburgh Penguins

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Pittsburgh Penguins

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twenty-third of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

James Neal – Pittsburgh Penguins
Position – Left Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 208
Drafted – 2nd Round, 33rd Overall, 2005 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 79GP, 22G, 23A, 45P, +7, 66PIM

It’s amazing to think about how good the Pittsburgh Penguins were last year even without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal. Despite missing all three players for the majority of the season, the Pens still managed to not only finish fourth in the Eastern Conference but fourth overall in the NHL standings. It’s kind of scary if you think about how good the Penguins could be this season if they’re back to full health. The team is full of potential and even if Crosby is out for another few months they’re still Stanley Cup favorites. One of the player’s that will benefit from a hopeful Crosby return is James Neal.

Neal was traded to the Penguins last season in the deal with Dallas for defenceman Alex Goligoski. It was a great deal for both teams as they were both addressing some immediate needs and obtaining young players with a ton of potential. The thing that was so promising about Neal was that everyone assumed he was going to be playing with Crosby on the Pens top line. The trade happened in early February and at that time it wasn’t quite known how bad Crosby’s concussion was. When Neal was in Dallas he had 39 points in 59 games. After arriving in Pittsburgh he only managed to score one goal and finished the season with 6 points in 20 games. Keep in mind that he wasn’t playing with either Crosby or Malkin.

It’s easy to overlook Neal’s average stats from last season. What makes fantasy hockey so fun though is trying to imagine what line a certain player will be on. In this case it’s amost a lock that he’s going to be playing with either Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby this season. Neal’s most productive season was in 2009/2010 when he scored 55 points with the Dallas Stars. If Crosby is back it’s easy to predict that James Neal will be having a career year this season.

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
Day 17 - New Jersey Devils
Day 18 - New York Islanders
Day 19 - New York Rangers
Day 20 - Ottawa Senators
Day 21 - Philadelphia Flyers
Day 22 - Phoenix Coyotes

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Phoenix Coyotes

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twenty-second of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Lauri Korpikoski – Phoenix Coyotes
Position – Left Wing
Height – 6’1”
Weight – 200
Drafted – 1st Round, 19th Overall, 2004 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 79GP, 19G, 21A, 40P, +17, 20PIM

For those reading this that aren’t Coyotes fans can you name one of their players not named Shane Doan, Kyle Turris, or Keith Yandle? You had to think about it for a second or two right? It’s too bad since a lot of hockey fans don’t get to see the Coyotes play on TV despite their great record the last few season’s. Even with all the off-ice turmoil the team has had they’ve managed to make the playoffs the last two season’s despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the league. This year could be different though since team MVP Ilya Bryzgalov now plays for the Philadelphia Flyers. Coach Dave Tippett has managed to lead the Coyotes to respectable records with a mix of veteran players like Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata, Taylor Pyatt, Raffi Torres, and Adrain Aucoin. Another veteran who helped the Coyotes and had a breakout year was forward Lauri Korpikoski.

Korpikoski was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in 2004 and didn’t become an NHL regular until the 2008-2009 season. In a limited role he scored 14 points in 68 games as a rookie. That summer he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes where he had similar results his first season by scoring 11 points. Something for him changed last season though as he had a career year with 19 goals and 40 points.  The Coyotes were so impressed that they re-signed him to a two year deal worth $3.6million.

Your friends might laugh at you for drafting a player named Lauri but that’s ok because he’s probably very low on most team’s draft list. With Ray Whitney getting up there in age, Korpikoski could challenge for a spot on the top line but it’s safer to say that he’ll play on the team’s second line. A stat that could be of interest was his lack of power-play time last season. He averaged just under a minute of PP time last year yet was still able to have a career year. If the Coyotes reward him with more time he could have an even bigger season. Since decent left winger’s can be hard to find, Korpikoski could be a great steal for you at your draft this year. 

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
 Day 17 - New Jersey Devils
Day 18 - New York Islanders
Day 19 - New York Rangers
Day 20 - Ottawa Senators
Day 21 - Philadelphia Flyers

Monday, September 26, 2011

Animation Domination Battle Royale - 09/25/11

 I have a love/hate relationship with Sunday's. I love not going into work but I also hate that Sunday night dread of having to go into work the next Morning.


One of the things that helps me get through that unpleasantness of work is Fox's Animation Domination. It's a joyous 2 hours of primetime cartoon shenanigans. My PVR has been getting quite a workout with all of the season premiers and new shows but I was most looking forward to these premiers this week. This week we get the big 4 of The Simpsons, Cleveland Show, Family Guy, and American Dad! Sadly no Bob's Burgers until mid-season and Allen Gregory starts at the end of October.

Let's take a look at who had the better episode this week.

The Simpsons - "The Falcon and the D'OHman"
At the end of last season, Simpsons producers decided to let the audience decide whether or not to have Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel in a relationship. Fans could go on-line to vote this summer to decide the fate of the couple. Those fans of "Nedna" would be happy to find out that the producers are going to keep them together. Not much else was revealed in the episode about the couple but it will be interesting to see what this mean's for future storylines.

The thing that I enjoyed about this week's episode was that they stuck with one storyline. Typically in the newer episodes they'll have two or three storylines and try to tie them together at the end. In Sunday's episode Homer becomes friends with a new security guard at the power plant only for him to turn out to be a former secret agent who is trying to remember who he is. The funniest part was the animated Taiwanese re-enactment of a robbery at Moe's. Overall it was a decent episode (really good for a newer episode) with some good laughs. I probably would've enjoyed it more had the ending been a bit stronger.

Episode Score - B


Cleveland Show - "BFF's"
We get a cross-over episode this week as Peter Griffin decides to stop by Stool Bend only he doesn't call Cleveland. Cleveland is obviously upset and decides to visit Quahog to confront him about it and finds out that Peter didn't really consider him a friend and that he was only a "neighbour and drinking buddy." This leads Cleveland to re-evaluate his adult friendships and goes on a camping trip with Ric Flair to learn all about being good friends. Of course things go bad and Peter ends up saving their lives in the end. The stuff with Flair is really funny especially when the guys wear Flair wigs.
The other storyline was actually the highlite of the episode. Rallo is invited to his two year daycare reunion and while there him and Donna find out that the other kids are more developed than him. Donna ends up entering him in a Quiz Bowl competition where Rallo has a hard time answering questions that don't revolve around "boobies and weiners". Some of the best episodes involve Rallo having to act like an adult and this one is funny when he realizes that he hasn't done anything with his life in the last two years.

Episode Score - B


Family Guy - "Lottery Fever"
Similar to The Simpsons we get one main storyline in tonight's episode. In the classic sitcom formula the Griffins win the lottery. This leads to some great moments with Peter blowing money on things that he bought at the "Nonsence Store". He buys a solid gold suit, get's a penis butler, and in the funniest part decides to be like Scrooge McDuck and dive into a vault of gold coins.

Naturally Peter blows all the families money and has to get help from Joe and Quagmire after he had leant them money earlier. In typical Peter fashion he ends up shooting Joe in the eye with a BB gun. Overall, I thought this was a strong episode to start off the season with. Last season was mixed but tonight's episode was great. The show tends to work the best when Peter is being more ridiculous than usual.

Episode Score - A-


American Dad! - "Hot Water"
Let me start off by saying that normally American Dad is my favorite of all the Animation Domination shows. Even during the first two postings that I did on Animation Domination (here and here) I mentioned how it was the funniest show of that week. So I was kind of disappointed with last night's season premiere.
In a homage to Little Shop of Horrors, Stan ends up buying a used hot tub from the 70's. The hot tub ends up taking over his life and drives him away from his family and job. Cee Lo Green provides the voice of  the hot tub and the episode featured quite a few musical numbers. Maybe it's because I hate musicals but I didn't find tonight's episode to be that funny. There was some amusing parts that involve Principal Lewis and a musical number featuring a ripped Steve and Roger but overall I was really disappointed. According to an article on AOL.tv the episode was originally thought to be the series finale which explains the ending.  They get points for originality but overall it wasn't that funny of an episode.

Episode Rating - C-

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Philadelphia Flyers

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twenty-first of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Jakub Voracek – Philadelphia Flyers

Position – Right Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 213
Drafted – 1st Round, 7th Overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 80GP, 14G, 32A, 46P, -3, 26PIM

The Philadelphia Flyers will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch this season. By trading away their captain Mike Richards and top center Jeff Carter, the Flyers stated that they were drastically shaking up their team. In addition to giving Ilya Bryzgalov way too much money (9 year, $51million contract) and bringing back Jaromir Jagr to the NHL (1 year, 3.3million), they also received Wayne Simmonds, rookie’s Brayden Schenn & Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek. While upgrading their goaltending will only help the team it will be interesting to see how their new forwards do in Philly. Top prospect Brayden Schenn is the new Flyer that everyone is talking about; however, another player that you shouldn’t forget about is Jakub Voracek.

Originally drafted seventh overall by the Blue Jackets in 2007, Voracek just finished his third full season in the NHL. On a team that’s struggled the last few years, Voracek was seen as a key member of the Jackets build for the future. After having a 38 point season as a rookie in 2008-2009 he followed that up with a 50 point season in 2009-2010. He dropped down to a still respectable 46 points last season in Columbus which as a team was 24th in league scoring. Now that he’s going to a team that won’t struggle as much to put the puck in the net what will his role look like?

Based on the Flyers depth chart it would be easy to see him playing on the Flyers second line with the likes of Daniel Briere or Scott Hartnell (when he’s ready to return). Last year in Columbus Voracek was averaging just under three minutes on the power-play each night. With the Flyers going with some younger forwards (minus Jagr of course) they’ll be looking to Voracek to play some big minutes for them this season.

Previous Sleeper Picks:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Ottawa Senators

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the twentieth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
 
Nikita Filitov - Ottawa Senators
Position – Left Wing
Height – 6’0"
Weight – 209
Drafted – 1st Round, 6h Overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 AHL Stats – 36GP, 9G, 11A, 20P, -2, 20PIM
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 23GP, 0G, 7A, 7P, +3, 8PIM
 
Sometimes players just need a change of scenery. After being drafted sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008, Nikita Filitov appeared to have a bright future with the team. He made the Jackets roster that fall and scored a goal in his first game then scored a hat-trick in his sixth game. Former Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was giving limited ice-time to the Russian forward and after only eight games sent him to play for their farm team in Syracuse and let him play for Russia in that winter's World Junior Hockey Championship.
 
The last two year's have been just as disappointing for the young forward. In each of the last two season's Filitov has made the Jackets out of camp yet wasn't able to stick with the team for the entire season. In 2009/2010 he even went to play in the KHL and last year only appeared in 23 games before spending the rest of the year in the AHL. It was clear that Filitov was finished in Columbus.
 
At the NHL Entry Draft this past summer the Ottawa Senators traded a third round draft pick for the 21 year-old. It could end up being the steal of the draft if Filitov can provide some offence for a team that was second last in scoring last season. This could be Filitov's last chance in the NHL so he'll be looking to have a strong season in Ottawa this year. If he ends up having a good camp it wouldn't be surprising to see him play on the top line with Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza this season.
 
Previous Sleeper Picks:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - New York Rangers

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the nineteenth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
Michael Del Zotto - New York Rangers

Position – Defence
Height – 6’1"
Weight – 195
Drafted – 1st Round, 20th Overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 AHL Stats – 11GP, 0G, 7A, 7P, Even, 8PIM
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 47GP, 2G, 9A, 11P, -5, 20PIM
A lot of people like to talk about the "sophomore slump". Of course this refers to those players who have great rookie season's only to have terrible second season's in the league. Just a few years ago, Steve Mason won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year only to have a brutal sophomore season in Columbus. Michael Del Zotto was another name that could've been added to the list of players who had tough second season's.
After making the Rangers in the fall of 2009, Del Zotto went on to have a great rookie season scoring 37 points in 80 games. His name was even mentioned in the talk for the Calder that season. The Rangers were giving him plenty of time on the power-play and it seemed that he was on his way to becoming a top two defenceman on the team. For some reason Del Zotto really struggled in his second year in the NHL. After having a slow start and lacking in defensive area's he was sent to the Rangers farm team in Hartford to work on his game.
This will be Del Zotto's third year in the NHL and the important thing to remember with him is that he's only 21 year's old. With this being the last year of his entry level contract he'll be hoping to have a comeback year and to prove that his 38 point season as a rookie wasn't a fluke. Another thing to remember when debating on whether to draft Del Zotto is that Marc Staal could be out a while with Post Concussion Syndrome. This mean's that Del Zotto could be getting some extra ice time before he comes back. The Rangers are lacking some heavy shots on their blue line so the Rangers could be giving him plenty of opportunities on their power-play.
Previous Sleeper Picks:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Box Office Forecaster - 09/23/11

I still can’t believe how much money “The Lion King” made last weekend. It’s amazing to think that a movie that came out 17 years ago and is easily available on DVD and Blu-Ray could attract such big numbers based solely on the fact that you could watch it in 3D. It really shouldn’t be that surprising as Disney has been re-releasing their older movies for years.  It also would’ve helped that a lot of parents who saw the movie as kids when it originally came out thought their kids would enjoy seeing it on the big screen as well.  This won’t help those moviegoers like myself who are tired of seeing everything released in 3D, as the big numbers it had last weekend will encourage other studio’s to release some of their older movies in 3D. I can’t wait for the inevitable 3D release of “Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace”….

There’s four new releases this weekend. The biggest release will probably be “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt. I did a post a few months ago about how I was curious to see how it would be received by general audiences. Obviously baseball fans will be interested but will non-baseball fans even care about a movie based on how a mildly successful baseball team was built (and how they’re brutal today). I’m a sucker for sports movies so I’ll be checking it out this weekend. The other interesting release is the action movie “Abduction” starring Taylor Lautner. This will be Lautner’s first starring movie outside of the “Twilight” franchise. It will be interesting to see if not only his Twilight fans will go see him but young male audiences since that would be the film’s demographic for a movie like this.

Here’s what the top 5 could look like this weekend:

#5 – Drive
Weekend Prediction – $7.8million
Gross to Date – $15.6million (Week 2)

#4 – Contagion
Weekend Prediction - $8.8million
Gross to Date – $48.5million(Week 3)

#3 – Abduction
Weekend Prediction - $9.5million
Gross to Date – (Week 1)

#2 – Moneyball
Weekend Prediction - $17million
Gross to Date – (Week 1)

#1 – The Lion King 3D
Weekend Prediction - $19.9million
Gross to Date - $39.5 million(Week 2)

Skip It
If someone would’ve came up to you in 1988 and said “hey let’s go see that new Kirk Cameron action movie”, what would your reaction be? You probably would’ve punched your friend for even making such a dumb recommendation. Remember that this weekend if a friend recommends seeing this.

Best Bet
There’s not much more I can say about this movie besides that I hope it ends up being a hit. There’s been some great movies the last few weeks like “Drive” and “Warrior” that haven’t been doing that well despite receiving some of the best reviews of the year. I really hope this movie can beat a 17 year old cartoon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - New York Islanders

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the eighteenth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Al Montoya – New York Islanders
Position – Goaltender
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 195
Drafted – 1st Round, 6th Overall, 2004 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 AHL Stats – 21GP, 11W, 8L, 0OTL, .891SV%, 3.19GAA
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 21GP, 9W, 5L, 5OTL, .921SV%, 2.39GAA

It’s got to be hard for goalies to be patient while waiting for their chance to play in the NHL. Unlike young forwards who tend to get fast tracked to the big leagues, some goalies will spend years playing in the minor’s just waiting for their shot. You would think that it’s probably not fun being a young goalie in the AHL for team’s like Vancouver, Buffalo, or Calgary because you know that their starters aren’t going anywhere. Even if there’s an injury there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to play when you get called up.

One of these goalies patiently waiting for his chance was Al Montoya. Originally drafted sixth overall by the Rangers in 2004 he was seen as the Rangers goalie of the future when Dan Blackburn suffered a career ending injury. Unfortunately for him there was another young goalie by the name of Henrik Lundqvist who was a seventh round pick in 2000 that would overtake him and become the number one goalie in New York.

After playing in the AHL for six years and for three different organizations, Montoya finally caught a break with the New York Islanders last season. The Islanders ended up using six different goalies last season after the injury bug and Brent Johnson’s fist hit their team hard. Montoya ended up playing in 21 games and ended the season with a .921 save percentage and a 2.39 GAA. His impressive play earned him a one year contract extension with the Islanders.

With the Islanders still holding the rights to Evgeni Nabokov it’s easy to think that the Islanders will start the season with three goalies. With DiPietro only appearing in 43 games the last four season’s he’s once again anything but a sure bet. There’s a good chance that Nabokov could be moved after refusing to report to the Islanders last year. This could leave Montoya with the bulk of the starts with an improved Islanders team. At the age of 26 this could be the time for Montoya to become a true number one goalie.   

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
Day 17 - New Jersey Devils

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - New Jersey Devils

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the seventeenth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Mattias Tedenby – New Jersey Devils
Position – Right Wing
Height – 5’10”
Weight – 175
Drafted – 1st Round, 24th Overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 Stats – 58GP, 8G, 14A, 22P, +3, 14PIM 

Last season was a bit of a gong show for the New Jersey Devils. After signing free agent Ilya Kovalchuk to a $100million contract last summer the Devils started the season by looking like they were going to lock up the first overall draft pick by going 10-25-2 during the first three months. They ended up having a great second half and were actually in the playoff hunt for most of March. It was the first time the Devils had missed the playoffs since 1996. Some of their struggles could be tied to the injuries of Zach Parise and Martin Brodeur but the silver lining was that the Devils realized that they have to move forward with some younger players in order to succeed.

One of those younger players that you might not know of is forward Mattias Tedenby. Tedenby did spend some time in the AHL last season but he did spend the majority of the year playing with the Devils. He had a decent first season in North America by scoring 22 points in 58 games. He had a limited role with the team by playing on average just over 12 minutes per night. Looking at the Devils depth chart it’s easy to see Tedenby playing more of an offensive role this year on the team’s second line with Zach Parise and Patrik Elias. If he can hold onto a spot on the second line and receive some additional power-play minutes he could be one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season.

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota WIld
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators