Fantasy Hockey ONE (1/17)


Monday was a packed day by Monday standards with six games and it was not without controversy ladies and gentlemen.  Let’s take a quick look back and then we will go ahead previewing Tuesday’s action for hockey fans and fantasy hockey fans alike.



Buffalo Beatdown — It is clear Ryan Miller has to at least shoulder some of the blame for Buffalo.  Not only did Buffalo lose 5-0 to Detroit last night but Miller and his chance to play in front of his family and friends was cut down to less than 25:00 of game action. For fantasy hockey fans, Miller has absolutely killed rosters with his performance since being ran over by Milan Lucic.  Whether anyone wants to admit it was a concussion or not, Miller does not look right out there.  The Sabres are 9-16-5 since the Lucic hit and Miller is 6-8-2 since returning from that alleged concussion.  He has given up four or more goals four times and given up three or more goals a whopping 12 times.

It is not even the goals he is giving up but how Miller is giving them up. Yes Buffalo has a myriad of injuries but that is no excuse for the performance last night from Miller.  Does anyone in Buffalo have the balls to say that he is part of the problem?  He is a big problem for fantasy owners who some are actually considering a drop of the once All World netminder.  The 3.13 GAA and .898 save percentage are almost unfathomable to comprehend for a guy who even at his worst is usually around a .915 save percentage.  There is not much that can be done other than hope that Miller somehow figures it out.  Until then, other fantasy options should at least be considered.

HOME COOKING? — It was truly a split day and night as the home squads only won three out of six or yes 50%.  However, Phoenix and Detroit looked very dominant while St. Louis played “Hitchcock Hockey” to a 1-0 win over Dallas.  Winnipeg shut out Ottawa of all teams with an impressive 2-0 road win and Tuukka Rask stole the show in a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers.  The Boston Bruins gained a huge two points but more importantly showed they could win without playing their best.  Rask is proving to be a more than capable backup with a .946 save percentage! 

Jaroslav Halak posted a shutout for the Blues last night and will get the start Thursday as well.  Take note Elliott owners that Halak will be getting the bulk of the starts for the foreseeable future.  Hold on to Elliott but just lower the expectations a bit.  Chris Mason, speaking of backups, had another shutout against Ottawa last night for Winnipeg.  Although Mason does not start that often, he tends to come up with these type of performances more often than most think.  Pekka Rinne, who stopped 36 of 37 in the 3-1 win over the New York Islanders is expected to start tonight against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.  With 11 games tonight, but a lot of tilted matchups, it could be another split home night.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teams Notes
Ottawa at Toronto 7:00 PM | Gameday
Winnipeg at New Jersey 7:00 PM | Gameday
Minnesota at Philadelphia 7:00 PM | Gameday
Carolina at Pittsburgh 7:00 PM | Gameday
NY Islanders at Washington 7:00 PM | Gameday
Edmonton at Columbus 7:00 PM | Gameday
Boston at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM | Gameday
Nashville at NY Rangers 7:30 PM | Gameday
Detroit at Dallas 8:30 PM | Gameday
Los Angeles at Vancouver 10:00 PM | Gameday
Calgary at San Jose 10:30 PM | Gameday

The schedule is ready to roll with the first big fantasy night of the week.  Now what we are doing today is properly introducing Ian Gooding to the readers here on The Program.  Ian writes for Kuklas Korner in the fantasy hockey section.  What makes Ian different from most is his straight no nonsense approach to the fantasy hockey world.  If you have some time go read his writing over at the site and his past material over at  Here is today’s Pick Six.



Ryan Kesler, C, VAN – start
This “war of words” between Kesler and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was the major news in Canuck Nation today (Vancouver Sun); although this small time reporter believes that the whole situation has been blown out of proportion. Still, an angry Kesler is a productive Kesler, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take out his frustration on the Kings on Tuesday. After scoring 41 goals last season, Kes has found the twine just 12 times this season and has just three points in his last eight games.

David Booth, LW, VAN – add/start
Booth returned from a knee injury on Sunday and proved to be one of the better Canucks despite not earning a point. Booth had 12 points in 19 games before his injury and had found his stride with a three-point game the game before the injury. Although Alain Vigneault doesn’t correlate icetime with contract size (just ask Keith Ballard), Booth should find ample opportunity to work on the second line alongside Kesler. He is available in most Yahoo leagues.

Jay Harrison, D, CAR – add/start
The concussion to Joni Pitkanen has opened up considerable minutes for Harrison, which he is making good on. With five goals and seven points in last eight games, former Leaf has accrued 23 minutes of icetime in each of his last two games. Although he didn’t score on Sunday against Washington, you can’t criticize him for lack of effort, as he registered five shots on goal in the game.

Derick Brassard, C, CBJ – add/start
Maybe I’ll bring Allan Walsh along with me the next time I ask my boss for a raise. Brassard’s agent was kind enough to remind the masses that Brassard has nine points (4g-5a) in his last 12 games. I will beg to differ with Mr. Walsh that Brassard is a 60-70 point forward, but at least Brassard has improved his stock considerably – whether the Jackets decide to keep him or not. He’ll at least continue to see top-6 minutes with Jeff Carter on IR for a while.

Richard Bachman, G, DAL – add/start
Bachman is your waiver-wire goaltending add for Tuesday (Mike Heika), although there are probably more reasons not to start him than to start him. The Stars minus Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro face a Red Wings team that is in its usual place at or near the top of the standings. As well, the Stars will be playing their second of back-to-backs, but then again so will the Wings. Bachman was solid in his temporary stay as Stars’ starter (6-2-0), so he’s worth a flier if you are chasing wins.

Matt Niskanen, D, PIT – bench/drop
One regular reader recently asked me about keeping Niskanen. Looking at the stats, it’s difficult to justify a roster spot for him with just one assist in his last ten games. With Kris Letang medically cleared to return following a concussion (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Niskanen’s fantasy value will soon be very slight. Start looking for other options.



  • Henrik Lundqvist vs. Nashville
  • Claude Giroux vs. Minnesota
  • Evgeni Malkin vs. Carolina



  • Tampa Bay Goaltending
  • Evgeni Nabokov vs. Washington
  • Brad Richards vs. Nashville


Good luck tonight in your fantasy hockey leagues and the Weekly Slapshot airs at 9:30pm ET on Blog Talk Radio’s Fantasy Sports Channel.  Thanks again.

About Chris Wassel

Simply I am a hockey writer who is a jack of all trades. Whether it is draft, fantasy, NHL, KHL, AHL, etc...I probably can write about it. The challenge in hockey is to be able to step out of your comfort zone and write like you are still there. Hopefully you enjoy the humor in the writing on the site and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Hockey ONE (11/7)





It was probably the way the Vancouver Canucks demolished the Chicago Blackhawks via five power play goals that shocked people last night more than anything.  That 5-6 outburst pushed Vancouver to 2nd in the league at just over 26% success.  Also, Henrik Sedin had a goal and three assists plus Daniel Sedin chipped in a goal and two assists.  Corey Crawford really could do little on this night and gave up six goals while Roberto Luongo did not get off easy giving up only two goals on FORTY shots.  That was lost on a lot of people last night but give the goalie credit.  Chicago did fire a ton of shots to rattle him and it was not successful.

Then there is Colorado which if they are at home, you almost have to feel its a loss no matter how well they play.  The Avalanche seem snakebitten at home.  When a team gets 33 shots on goal at home and only gives up 23, they generally should win but not Colorado who fell to 1-5 at home after a 2-1 loss last night to Calgary.  Paul Stastny scored on the first shift of the game at :34 and they still lost.  Clearly there are problems with crowd involvement at the Pepsi Center.  Some have been saying it for years but this season it seems to be amplified by the poor start at home.  Seven goals in six home games just will not get it done and two of those three goalies against Los Angeles was directly off goalie blunders.

That is not all.  We are still wondering what is really going on with the Carolina Hurricanes and Eric Staal?  While Cam Ward just continues to get hung out to dry (gave up 4 goals on 14 shots yesterday), Staal has been abysmal and the slump is more than just a funk now.  He has five points in 14 games as Carolina continues to struggle with an eye popping -16.  Throw out a three point game against Tampa at game 4 and it just gets more and more depressing.  Yesterday he was a -2 and just looks to be gripping that stick tighter and tighter.

Now it is time to take a look at tonight’s relaxed schedule of two games.



Monday, November 7, 2011

Teams Notes
NY Islanders at Boston 7:00 PM | Gameday
Los Angeles at San Jose 10:30 PM | Gameday


The late night matchup will get all the attention and somewhat rightfully so but the Bruins and Islanders play a game tonight that could be pivotal.  The two teams are at 10 points which is good for the Eastern Conference cellar.  Boston is trying to climb out of a hole while the Islanders are trying to avoid one.  Coaches Jack Capuano and Claude Julien usually play this pretty tight to the vest and most of these games hit the under and are usually 2-1 or 3-2 almost snorefests.  Look deeper into these games and one sees solid goaltending and not many mistakes.  Both teams have to stay out of the penalty box and clearly both have had problems doing that at times in the early part of the schedule so far.

Now the 10:30 tilt is the one that everyone seems to be talking about.  LA and San Jose are struggling a bit and we are still trying to figure out when Dustin Penner and his “improved physical shape” are going to break out.  Hey, when he does, let us know.  Seriously, Jonathan Quick has looked a bit human in his last three starts and San Jose has looked a bit better but their goal differential is only +4 which is not that impressive for a team of their caliber.  This game comes down to two things.  One, how scoring depth helps either team or hurts and two, how the goalies respond.  Antti Niemi has also had an uneven week as well so the two goalies do come in a little cool.  The winner of this game may be the team where their goalie makes the least “yips”.  Look back to last year’s playoffs as Exhibit A.  Goaltending will decide this one tonight.



Jonathan Quick and Antti Niemi (LA and SJ Goalies) — This really is the only thing we have our eye on fantasy wise tonight.  Sure Tim Thomas garners attention but we expect a really good performance by him.  What we do not know is what Quick and Niemi will do especially based again on last year’s playoffs.  Throw out the fantasy numbers from last week and just go into this with a mind aware of that Round 1.  The goalie that makes the least mistakes in these games leads their team to victory.  It is that simple and why unlike most, I do not think either of these guys will ever be confused with an elite goaltender.  They are exactly what we think they are.


Good luck tonight hockey fans and we will be keeping people updated on the news of the day as well so keep an eye out for those tweets!


About Chris Wassel

Simply I am a hockey writer who is a jack of all trades. Whether it is draft, fantasy, NHL, KHL, AHL, etc...I probably can write about it. The challenge in hockey is to be able to step out of your comfort zone and write like you are still there. Hopefully you enjoy the humor in the writing on the site and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!