Whether or not you have an interest in Regina’s pond hockey tournament or how Daniel Briere’s son is performing at the historic Quebec PeeWee International there is no denying that CBC’s hockey day in Canada is fun celebration of the game. At Star Selector, it means a triple header of Canadian match ups with some great HNIC swag for the top game individual scorers, best third point total and for you die hards the best 3 game cumulative score. Let’s take a look at each match up with some insight into helping you pick your starting 5.
Montreal vs Toronto 7:00pm. Saturday evening, Hockey Night in Canada - Pappag’s beloved Habs vs the re-building Leafs. The perfect match up for CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada. Let me break down the match up with a line of sight to a starting 5 lineup.
Tactics: Take a chance on Kessel. He is due to break out sooner or later.
Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta are both solid choices for your starting 5. They get power play time, throw body checks and are positive +/- players. Keep in mind that there are plenty of Star Selector points awarded for actions beyond goals and assists but in this case you will get those as well as both players usually find their way on the scorers sheet.
It would be irresponsible of me not to mention the Canadiens leading Star Selector, Carey Price, in any discussion concerning a starting lineup. Goalies are always a risk reward pick considering they get dinged with -25 for every goal against so buyers beware. I am personally taking a pass on Price Saturday for my starting 5 but he will be the first person of my bench if the Leafs come out flat.
Believe it or not but since February 1st the Leafs are a respectable 4 - 1- 1 with Nikolai Kulemin leading the offensive charge. Kulemin has 8 points during this span tallying 5 goals and 3 assists displaying no signs of slowing down. A solid player and a must have in your starting line up.
I challenge you to find a Canadiens fan out there that is happy with the investment return on Scott Gomez. Gomez is in the midst of a terrible season and is coming off a 3rd period benching during Wednesday nights Beantown slug fest. Not only is he not scoring (2 points in his last 7 games) but his -15 rating and penchant for turnovers will have you going in the wrong direction. From a Leafs perspective the easy answer is Phil Kessel as his goal scoring slump has been well documented but Kessel is an extremely streaky scorer and is more then due to have a multi goal game. I like him in this match up and will have him in my starting five. The player that I am staying away from is Tyler Bozak. The second year pro is in the midst of an nine game pointless streak and with Kessel being moved off his wing do not see his stat line improving any time soon.
PK Subban is a player that I would strongly consider for my starting lineup. Subban has a history of performing well in the spotlight and playing against his hometown Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada is just the kind of stage that fires this rookie up.
Joffrey Lupol made his Leafs debut in Thursday’s overtime loss to the Devils and as his 18 minutes of ice time indicates he will be given every opportunity to regain a top 6 forward status. Lupol will be one of the first guys to come off of my bench.
So who are my starting 5? See below with my captain’s pick in bold.
Good luck with your picks Saturday night and thanks for playing Star Selector.