A total of 24 teams are in action on Saturday. Rather than listing them all, I’ll just say that all teams except Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Ottawa, and Vancouver are in action on Saturday. Say, I wonder why the Ducks seldom play on a Saturday but always seem to play on Sunday – can anyone answer that? There could be an inherent advantage to owning Ducks players in leagues that have high bench/start ratios. That’s something to think about as I ramble on about the Pick Six for Saturday.
Ilya Bryzgalov, G, PHI – start
Perhaps you remember Bryzgalov’s comments last summer about not wanting to go anywhere near Winnipeg, after the Coyotes were rumored to be moving there. In spite of the comments, don’t be afraid to start Bryz, even though Winnipeg is very cold this time of year and the Jets happen to be in the top half of the league in offense. For what it’s worth, Bryzgalov no longer seems lost in the woods, having won five of his last six games.
Brandon Dubinsky, C, NYR and Ryan Callahan, RW, NYR – start
The last time the Rangers played the Canadiens, Dubinsky was hit hard by Michael Blunden, which resulted in captain Callahan doing the honorable thing and fighting Blunden. If this game doesn’t see its share of penalty minutes from the two Blueshirts, it may see its share of points, as both Dubinsky and Callahan have two points in each of their last two games. Callahan is a +5 over that span; Dubinsky, a +4.
Alex Ovechkin, LW, WAS – start
Ovechkin owners may be wondering if their first-round pick was really worth the price. The Great 8 has struggled mightily over his last five games with just one goal, zero assists, and a -4. Then there’s the defensive situation of Bruce Boudreau, which can’t be pleasing Ovechkin right now. In case you were thinking about benching Ovie, you may want to think again: he has 23 goals and 39 points in 23 career games against Toronto. Perhaps he likes playing on Hockey Night in Canada.
Mike Knuble, RW, WAS – bench
Knuble’s time as a reliable source of goals may be coming to an end. He has been downgraded to the Capitals’ fourth line, scoring just two goals and seven points this season while averaging just 15 minutes per game. Don’t forget that he is also now 39 years old while his production dropped by 13 points last season.
Jeff Carter, C, CBJ – bench
Even though the Blue Jackets have denied a report that Carter had asked for a trade, Carter cannot be a happy camper right now. The Jackets’ prized offseason acquisition still has yet to score a goal with his new team, recording just three assists in eight games. In fairness, a foot injury would only compound his unhappiness. The Jackets face Pekka Rinne and the stingy Predators next, so consider benching Carter if you have another option at center who is currently performing better.
Curtis Sanford, G, CBJ – pass
The Jackets have turned to NHL journeyman and all-around good guy Sanford to see if he is the veteran that will provide the frazzled Steve Mason with some much-needed rest. Sanford stopped 26 of 27 shots in a shootout loss to Boston on Thursday, earning him another start on Saturday against Nashville. Only consider Sanford if you are hard-up for goaltending starts this week and can afford to take a chance on a goalie who hadn’t played in an NHL game since the 2008-09 season.