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.
A LOOK BACK:
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
|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 Fantasyhockey.com. 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.
OTHER HAPPY THUMBS UP:
- Henrik Lundqvist vs. Nashville
- Claude Giroux vs. Minnesota
- Evgeni Malkin vs. Carolina
NOT SO HAPPY THUMBS DOWN:
- 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.