Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Puck Stops Here

Welcome back to another exciting edition of The Puck Stops Here. The season is quickly winding down and that means most of us are in the midst of heated championship battles. Remember, most of the fantasy hockey playoff formats make the championship match up a two-week battle. This is a bit of a different creature than the normal one-week match ups we have grown accustomed to during the season. This is what you have been playing for, so be attentive and check your team and the waiver wire everyday. The slightest advantage can make the difference.

Before getting to some of my recommendations I want to mention streaming players. I mentioned this strategy two weeks ago, but it is worth mentioning again during the two-week championship run. In this situation, streaming almost always works. Over the course of the week an extra 3 or 4 game won’t make a huge difference. However, over two weeks this could mean extra 6 to 10 games, which could make a world of difference in the results. A word to the wise, if you are heads and shoulders better than the competition or are confident you can win, DON’T STREAM. If your opponent isn’t doing it yet, he surely will when he sees you doing it. Don’t invite unnecessary competition.

Ok, here are some players that may be of some service to you. Remember, this is a weekly column, at this point in the year you should be checking your waiver wire everyday. Keep an eye on these players and others that you find interesting as well.

Wade Dubielewicz, G, NYI: Rick DiPietro is on the shelf for the remainder of the season opening a door for WD to get some quality time in goal. He is making the most of this opportunity, playing very well in his first 3 games in net. In those game he has only given up 4 goals and has a save percentage of 96%. Those are very good numbers that could help just about any team. If your goaltending could use a little help, give WD a try. However, I do not recommend him against the Penguins tonight. While he held them to one goal on Monday, the Pens offensive is too high powered to only score one again.

Jeremy Roenick, C, SJ: Roenick has 5 points in his last three games and is really starting to catch fire while playing with better linemates in San Jose. Roenick has found himself on the top unit with Thornton and Michalek, as well as the top power play unit. Playing with Joe Thornton is never a bad thing, Thornton is the Steve Nash of ice hockey and makes everyone around him better. As long as Roenick is playing with Thornton, Roenick is of definite value. It is also worth mentioning that San Jose is defensively sound with great goaltending and that combination tends to lead to higher +/- totals.

Adam Burish, W, Chi: I wouldn’t normally recommend a player like Burish because he is only valuable in the PIM category, but the value he could provide over the next two weeks would almost assure victory in the PIM category. Burish is 4th in the league in PIM and one night of solid work could net you anywhere between 5 to 20 PIM. He is worth a flier if you need help in PIM. But don’t kid yourself, if Burish gets you any form of offensive production, the hockey gods were smiling down on you.

Andrei Kostitsyn, W, Mon: Kostitsyn has found himself in The Puck Stops Here before and he has also made appearances on my own team. However, I could not handle his inconsistency, when he was cold he miserable but when he was hot, wow. Guess what. He’s hot, very hot. He has 5 points in his last three games and has found himself on Montreal’s top units again. This couldn’t be better timing for fantasy owners who can ride this hot streak during the championship round. At the very least, pick him up so your opponent doesn’t.

Johan Franzen, W, Det: Much like Kostitsyn, Franzen is really on fire right now. Franzen has 15 points in his last 10 games and is also a plus 7 over that same span. I expect all of this to continue. He is getting high quality ice team playing with Zetterberg and the top power play unit. Don’t be surprised if someone already nabbed him, but if he is available get him immediately.

Good luck with your playoff match up and check back here next week for more hockey advice. Until next time, The Puck Stops Here.

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