Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Puck Stops Here: Closing Time

Whelp, my fantasy hockey season came to an abrupt end this weekend with early exists in all of my leagues. I am in three different leagues, two of which I was in first heading into the playoffs, and I got bounced before the finals. I am becoming a bigger fan of rotisserie each season. The worst part of my early exists is that in both leagues that I was in first, I lost because of outrageous streaming. In both instances, I was playing the lowest seed that streamed every day. Head to head rewards mediocrity by allowing a mediocre team more options to stream with than a good one. To say the least, I am very frustrated.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to survive, keep plugging away, two more weeks for all the marbles. After my experiences, I can’t recommend streaming anymore, even if your opponent is doing it, take the high road and be proud you didn’t need to cheat to win. However, make sure you keep an eye on your roster, any questionable injuries that could linger for a couple days need to be dealt with immediately. I recommended it last week, but over two weeks lingering injuries from a couple players could mean four or five games missed. Also, you need each start you can get from your goaltenders, make sure you keep an eye on who is starting. and excellent resources for this.

Staying on the topic of goaltenders, Craig Anderson seems to be the hot goalie in Florida and the Panthers are going to ride that streak until it ends. I recommend picking up Anderson. Four goalies over a two-week period can really give you a distinct advantage, especially if they are all good options. After only playing once in March, Anderson has started three games in a row and is posting solid numbers. Florida is playing well and Anderson should have a chance to win each night. Tomas Vokoun owners should be worried, if Anderson continues to play well, Vokoun won’t start again. If you own Vokoun, Anderson is must add.

I am not going to spend a lot of time on Alex Burrows because I have been touting him for weeks, but why is he barely 50% owned. He has been a top 20 player for over a month now and delivers in all categories. Perhaps his ownership is a reflection of fewer owners paying attention because they lost already, but if you are still playing, get Burrows. Did I mention he is playing with the Sedin twins who are scorching hot right now?

Toronto isn’t winning a whole lot right now, but they are actually playing much better hockey. If I were a betting man, I’d put money that they steal a game from Philly this week (written prior to Wednesday night's match up). A major contributor to Toronto’s play has been Alex Ponikarovski. Ponikarovski is scorching hot. He is on a five game scoring streak including a three and four point performance in that stretch. Toronto has nothing to play for, but is still scoring like they are in the hunt. They play four more games against teams that are goaltender and/or defensively challenged. I’d bite if I were you.

One of my favorites from last year is finally making good on his promise and raw skills. Tobias Enstrom has been putting up number one defenseman numbers recently. I was not surprised that he struggled this season as the Thrashers’ defense got much deeper, not necessarily better, though. Enstrom had trouble finding consistent ice time, but with the departure of Schneider to Montreal he has been getting more ice time and is doing more with it. I can say with certainty that he is out performing your third or fourth defensemen, if he’s available go get him.

This will be my last advice column of the fantasy season, check back next week as we divvy up the 2008-2009 fantasy awards. Good luck the rest of the way. As always, if you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them. Until next week, The Puck Stops Here.

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