Fantasy Hockey ONE (3/3)

Wow its been so much fun in March already.  Just think fantasy playoffs are just around the corner or in some cases already rapidly approaching.  Personally I am in a play-in week for a league this week and currently winning.  The thought of playoff fantasy hockey permeates the air as we go into the Fantasy Hockey Mini One today.  It is time to see what is on tap but first let’s take a look back.

A LOOK BACK:
1. Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey) — Do not look now fantasy hockey fans but Kovalchuk has 16 points in his last 14 games and out of his 22 goals, 8 of them are game winners.  Clutch is everything and if you held on to the Russian sniper then you are being handsomely rewarded after one of the worst starts anyone has ever seen for a star of his magnitude.  Even the game winning goal was scored while falling down.  Not many people caught that one right away.  Yes it was only a goal and assist but it is the impact and the clutch nature that makes people at least somewhat forget what happened early this year.

2. Al Montoya (NY Islanders) — This kick in the groin to Ranger fans brought to you byAl Montoya?  Yes it was a bit of a nonchalant 33 save effort last night against theMinnesota Wild but it was still a solid effort.  The John Madden goal was too good to be honest and nothing could be done about it.  The numbers do not lie and neither does the .933 save percentage.  Let’s face it the 1.93 GAA is pretty damn good too.  Do you mean Rick DiPietro could not do this?  My name is Al Montoya…..yes you know the rest.

3. Jonathan Toews (Chicago) — He was the fantasy player of the month in February and all he has done is continued the party into March with 2 goals in the 6-4 win over the Calgary Flames last night. Simply Toews has been in the right place at the right time and seems to always be.  However he has lifted his play to an even higher level of late that had the entire United Center crowd chanting “MVP! MVP!”.  Time will tell if that will be true but he has to at least enter into not only the hockey world part of the conversation but the fantasy part as well.

SCHEDULE TIME:

THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2011

Teams Notes
Tampa Bay at Boston 7:00 PM 
Minnesota at NY Rangers 7:00 PM 
Toronto at Philadelphia 7:00 PM 
St. Louis at Washington 7:00 PM 
Buffalo at Carolina 7:00 PM 
Ottawa at Atlanta 7:00 PM 
Montreal at Florida 7:30 PM 
Columbus at Edmonton 9:00 PM 
Nashville at Vancouver 10:00 PM 
Phoenix at Los Angeles 10:30 PM 
Detroit at San Jose 10:30 PM 
This will be one crazy night in the NHL.  There are 11 games in all and yes there is much fantasy significance to be had here.  There are so many good candidates for the fantasy game of the night. Where can we go here?  With so many choices and many marquis players, we bring you something not so special about this fantasy hockey season.  Yes it is the injury to Sidney Crosby.

THE SIDNEY CROSBY INJURY:

Think of the impact that the Dave Steckel and Victor Hedman hits had on this fantasy hockey season.  No one really knew it at the time but here is the ever growing realization.  Sidney Crosby is likely not to play for the rest of the regular season.  That could be a minimum or maximum depending on who or what you want to believe.  Right now there is no timetable as to a potential return even so it is safe to assume that Crosby will not return for several weeks at the very earliest. He has been out for eight weeks now already.  Dan Bylsma clearly does not have a definintive answer but has to say something at least.  What has come from his mouth so far is what you would expect. There is no clear timetable and that is the reality.

So in Keeper Leagues, what do you do about Sidney Crosby?  Well, absolutely nothing.  He is surely on an IR or LTIR and that will not change for 99% of rosters to be honest.  There are things that have to be faced as a reality and it is high time to be said that Crosby is likely not back until sometime April at the earliest which would just about kill his fantasy value for the rest of the season.  It is scary to think about it in those terms but it is what it is.

For the Fantasy Hockey GM, keep him shelved and pray is all that readlly can be done at this point.  No points will be scored by Mr. Crosby for the foreseeable future in the NHL.  The words “no roto value” have to be uttered here and sadly at that.

GUYS TO WATCH:

1.  Henrik Lundqvist (NY Rangers) — This is the time for Lundqvist to carry this team on his back and turn in a performance tonight that makes Ranger fans exhale.  Everything is set up for it in the sense that Minnesota comes in limping after a tough humbling 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders. Yes, this could backfire as the Wild do not want to disappoint but they are almost as bumbling at times as the Rangers.  Giving up three goals to Buffalo was not bad but the show was stolen by the opposing netminder and the same against Tampa Bay.  There are no more excuses.  Play like an elite fantasy goaltender at home or things may be much worse next year.  By the way his home numbers are 10-12-3 with a 2.35 GAA and .912 save percentage and 4 shutouts.  Those are not bad but off from the save percentage of near .930 on the road.

2. Tomas Kaberle (Boston) — The home debut of Kaberle is tonight and to be honest I do expect something relatively good to come from the defenseman tonight.  It also helps that Tampa was softened up considerably by a bruising, angry Devils team last night.  The last time the Bolts came in, they were throttled 8-1, so I am expecting more offense in this game potentially than that night even. It may very well end up 6-4 slugfest with Boston winning.  In the end, Kaberle should be a beneficiary with a multi point night at the very least.

3. San Jose Forwards —  This is simple.  Joey MacDonald is in net for Detroit and frankly it should technically be Evgeni Nabokov but it is not.  Basically the Sharks should feast on a guy like this.  Yes I know anything could happen but Detroit comes in limping after losing to a Bobby Ryan penalty shot OT goal last night.  If there was ever a time for San Jose’s offense to come up huge, it would be tonight.  Expect several from the Top 6 forwards to have big nights all around.

NOW CRY MOMMY FOR:

1.  Tampa Bay goalies — Simply whether its Rolo, Smith, or the Berlin Wall, it does not matter here. Boston is on a roll and even if they lose, they are going to score enough that keeps the TB goalies from being a worthwhile fantasy option.  Would I go with Rask or Thomas should be the proper question here fantasy fans.  Stay far away from the Tampa option if at all possible.

2.  St. Louis Blues — The season gets longer for Blues fans as the Capitals entertain them tonight with a bit of a swagger after an emotional 2-1 OT win over the Islanders.  Yes St. Louis has some weapons to keep an eye out for but let’s be honest, Washington is hungry here for offensive blood and not tiger blood.  After all, the Blues gave up FIVE goals at home in the third period to Calgary the other night.  Just imagine what Washington could do at home tonight.

3.  Marian Gaborik — Reports suggest that he had a setback today while skating.  Whether the headaches happened in the morning or during the skate do not really matter.  Headaches are headaches when dealing with concussions.  It is not good news.  What you need to know is that Gaborik is likely at least out for the weekend and who knows how much longer after that.  The Rangers could use his offense as teams continue to key on Dubinsky, Wolski, and Callahan.

So it should be a fun night tonight in fantasy hockey.  Good luck out there and we will see you tomorrow for more FANTASY HOCKEY ONE! 

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Posted on March 3, 2011, in Tonight in the NHL. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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