Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Puck Stops Here: Filling Holes

For those of you still alive in fantasy hockey, I hope I can help keep you alive. For those of you that may have ducked out in the first round, there’s always baseball and football is only five months away. Remember, the goal in fantasy hockey playoffs is to get the most games played during the week. Always be very aware of any injuries or illnesses. The best source of information will be a local paper. Become acquainted with your players’ local newspaper, they will have the most accurate information first.

For those of you considering streaming, be careful. In a league this week, I watched a guy try to stream, and ended up losing because the players he dropped were good, his opponent jumped all over them and, by the end of the weekend, the players he dropped were then beating up on him. Listen, if you are going to stream, use common sense. Don’t drop 60 point guys who have carried you all season. There is a difference between games played by a borderline fourth liner and a bona fide scoring winger. Don’t make the same mistake. I have seen Phil Kessel, Kimmo Timonen, and Jason Blake dropped in another league. These guys shouldn’t be dropped in the middle of the playoffs. Your garbage may be your opponent’s treasure.

Here are some guys that may be worth picking up, as long as you aren't dropping Alex Ovechkin to do it.

Rod Brind’Amour is about as hot as players come. In his past ten games, RBA has five goals and eight assists. He has also added six PIM and been a very solid plus seven. Carolina is playing very good hockey right now and RBA has profited from their solid play. I know center is deep, but his play has been good enough to land him in the top 50 for the last month and the fifth best player over the last week. A month ago RBA shouldn’t have been owned, today he could be enough to win you a championship. Don’t let your opponent jump all over him.

I mentioned Claude Giroux a few weeks ago and he has continued to be solid but not great. He has been a borderline fantasy player since then, but he has recently put together a three game point streak. You may ask yourself, what is so great about three games? Nothing really, what is so great, though, is that he is hot, getting more ice time and power play time, and the Flyers are tied for the most games left to play in the NHL. This could pay dividends for you, as it will mean Giroux will hit the ice more often than many other players. I wouldn’t drop anyone special, but if you have room on the wing, grab Giroux.

In late January, Steve Ott was really clicking and on fire. He cooled off significantly and dropped a bunch of woeful performances. However, he seems to be scoring a little more again, but, more importantly, his is still racking up PIM. He now has 126 on the year, including 18, in his last five games. He has also added three goals and an assist in that same span. Ott isn’t amazing, but every week he will do something in each category. Dallas might be out of it, but Ott is still fighting. Grab him for PIM help.

If you feel like playing some goaltender roulette, bet on Jonas Hiller. I know he is not the every game starter in Anaheim, but he could be worth a spot start in the right match up. Over his past three games, Hiller has posted a 94% save percentage, a 1.63 GAA and two wins. It isn’t hard to figure out who starting goalies will be as long as you pay attention to the local papers. It is a slight crapshoot, but Hiller could provide a solid night of goaltending.

Speaking of goaltenders, Ryan Miller may finally start this week. I would want to see a game to evaluate him first, but, if signs are good, get him in there...Two star players returned to action this week without making much of a splash. Both Marion Gaborik and Nathan Horton returned to action and were most likely available in your league. Take a look and make sure they aren’t still available...Lastly, you have to see Tuukka Rusk throw a tantrum after a recent loss. As hilarious as it may be, I would be a little nervous having such a head case in goal. He could be the next Steve Mason or bad version of Ron Hextall.

As always feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have. Until next week, The Puck Stops Here.

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