Fantasy Hockey ONE (3/29)

 

This may have been the only goal but Colorado threw the entire kitchen sink at Cory Schneider.  Schneider responded in a big way.  We will get into that in a bit about goalie controversies and the such.  Last night had a little of everything as we finally got down to nine teams in each conference having a “realistic” shot at a playoff berth.  That just means more spoilers which also means more fantasy intensity in the final days.  When you get into this time of year, it just comes down to two factors.  The big one is luck actually because one can put all the pieces in place but the players have to perform.  The other aspect is scheduling.  If you strategize right and take advantage of the schedule, one can draw moves out of their opponent that usually backfire. 

With the schedule condensing, timing is essential.  Now, it is time to reveal our Fantasy POTN and it is not Ryan Callahan.

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FANTASY POTN:

Cory Schneider, G, Vancouver Canucks — Roberto Luongo who?  The sub 2.00 GAA and .937 save percentage does not convince Alain Vigenault enough to give Schneider more starts.  Maybe Vancouver needs to take a serious look at their goaltending situation in the offseason.  Yes Luongo is the entrenched starter but Schneider just seems to play better in net, handles the puck better, and his movement is more dynamic.  The 43 save effort against Colorado was a microcosm of all that Schneider could do especially against a team deathly desperate to get two points.  Hopefully Schneider can get a few starts going into the postseason because that may just help your fantasy bottom line a little more than Luongo would right now.

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QUICK LOOK BACK:

Michael Ryder, RW, Dallas Stars — Who knew Ryder would have this kind of fantasy impact?  There were not many that did but Ryder now has 35 goals on the season after a two goal, one assist effort against the Edmonton Oilers last night.  After two subpar years in Bostom, Ryder is riding the wave with a 17.7% shooting percentage (career high), 62 points, and a +22.  People that expected 45-50 points out of the Forward have to be pleasantly surprised this year and really has been a key depth addition for so many.  Taper expectations down a bit for next year but right now, all is good.

Jonas Hiller, G, Anaheim Ducks — Hiller will be a fantasy spoiler in more ways than one down the stretch and not because he does not play San Jose anymore.  However last night he stopped 28 of 29 against the Sharks in a 3-1 win.  Here is the good.  The bad is this.  Anaheim now has nothing to play for anymore.  Would it kill Anaheim to rest Hiller at least a little bit down the stretch?  It is something to keep an eye on especially for Hiller owners.  Last night though, he was definitely on and just seems to have San Jose’s number in so many ways.

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SCHEDULE TIME:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teams Notes
Washington at Boston 7:00 PM | Gameday
Philadelphia at Toronto 7:00 PM | Gameday
Tampa Bay at New Jersey 7:00 PM | Gameday
Pittsburgh at NY Islanders 7:00 PM | Gameday
Florida at Minnesota 8:00 PM | Gameday
St. Louis at Chicago 8:30 PM | Gameday
San Jose at Phoenix 10:00 PM | Gameday

It is a nice but lower than usual seven game schedule on a Thursday Night.  We did mention the balanced schedule till Saturday however so hopefully you are prepared.  And now we say hello to Ian Gooding and his Pick Six for today and even tomorrow.

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PICK SIX:

Here is something to give you an edge if you are in a dogfight of a head-to-head matchup this week and you want to maximize your games played.

Teams playing three out of the remaining four games this week: Boston, Florida, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh.

In other words, if you’re looking at any waiver-wire pickups for the rest of the week, you should take a hard look at players from those teams.

But as per usual, here is my Pick Six for both Thursday and Friday.

Ryan Jones, LW, EDM – add/start
Wednesday’s game notwithstanding, Jones has points in five of his last six games and goals in three of his last four games. His role on the Oilers has become more prominent now that Taylor Hall is gone for what is left of the season. Jones should also appeal to fantasy owners since the Oilers play on lighter-schedule nights (Friday, Sunday), so he is a user-friendly option for daily leaguers.

Marcus Foligno, LW, BUF – add/start
The son of former Sabre Mike (who was the last NHLer to rock the bubble helmet, if memory serves me correctly), Marcus is off to a fine start to his NHL career (6 goals, 4 assists, +8 in 10 games). If he continues to produce at this pace, he will have his fantasy owners jumping for joy as well (like father, like son).

Allen York, G, CBJ – watch
Usually even considering Blue Jackets goalies isn’t a good idea, but it’s worth mentioning that York earned his first NHL win against the Red Wings on Wednesday. Expect York to start one of the Blue Jackets’ back-to-back games on Friday against Florida or Saturday against St. Louis. If he can throw together another solid game, he could be in for a longer audition with the goaltending-desperate Blue Jackets.

Jason Zucker, LW, MIN – watch
The first Nevada-born player to play in the NHL, Zucker is expected to make his NHL debut on Thursday against Florida. Given that the Wild are dead last in NHL scoring (1.97 goals/game), assume that the Wild won’t be shy about using Zucker in key situations right away. Zucker is only 20 years old, but he was second in the WCHA for the University of Denver with 22 goals this season.

Christian Ehrhoff, D, BUF – drop
Anytime the words “out indefinitely” and “knee injury” are used in the same sentence, the injury news can’t be positive. Although the Sabres are in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot in the East, they will be in tough without their top offensive defenseman. This type of injury would make it seem unlikely that the Hoff will return this regular season.

Ben Bishop, G, OTT – drop
Bishop will be sidelined a minimum of two weeks with a groin injury, effectively ending his fantasy season. It was a nice run while it lasted (3-2-2, 2.40 GAA, .912 SV%), but fantasy owners can effectively drop Bishop. The good news for Craig Anderson owners is that Anderson should start every game for the Sens as they attempt to secure a playoff spot.

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Good luck ladies and gentlemen tonight and do not worry we will have more via Twitter lately.  It is time to get those Turkeys and surprises in.  Then we will work on the best of the best.  Thanks for reading.

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 (3/29)

 

Yes what is above is the Ovechtrick. Last night, most of us were fortunate to see something even better and that was a 40 year score a hat trick for the second time this year.  Nick Lidstrom was the first on December 15th against St. Louis.  Teemu Selanne had five points in all in the victory over the Colorado Avalanche.  It was easy to see why he was our fantasy performance of the night but that was not the only performance that caught our eye.

A LOOK BACK:

1.  Joey MacDonald (Detroit) — The goalie probably deserved a better fate but he was the only reason why Detroit even deserved a point at all in the game against Chicago.  It was not even the fact that he made 38 saves in the OT loss but it was the amount of high quality saves that were made along with the aggressiveness that was displayed along with the fight.  With Chris Osgood out for the year and possibly career, this is MacDonald’s time to take the #2 role and then from there who knows.

2. Marian Hossa (Chicago) — There are times where a man plays with the huge chip on his shoulder and this was one of those times.  He was all over the place as Chciago just played an UP tempo game the whole evening.  Hossa was the reason why Chicago got two points tonight and really not much else.  He was the motivation behind the performance.  The Joe Louis crowd was booing all night but in the end Marian Hossa was the one who silenced the crowd with the Power Play tally in Overtime and just like that Chicago skated out of Detroit with two points and not just one.

3. Lubomir Visnovsky (Anaheim) — Yes there may have been other players that could have been more notable.  He had two assists in a third period where Anaheim needed each goal to stave off Colorado.  There is a reason why Visnovsky deserves some serious Norris votes and tonight was a main reason why.  His fantasy relevance is clear but his defense has always gone under the radar.  Maybe this run will get him the notice because if it does not then nothing will.

SCHEDULE TIME:

TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011

Teams Notes
Buffalo at Toronto 7:00 PM 
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 7:00 PM 
Carolina at Washington 7:00 PM 
Florida at Columbus 7:00 PM 
Chicago at Boston 7:30 PM 
Atlanta at Montreal 7:30 PM 
Ottawa at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM 
Minnesota at St. Louis 8:00 PM 
Vancouver at Nashville 8:00 PM 
Los Angeles at Edmonton 9:30 PM 
Dallas at Phoenix 10:00 PM 

 

BATTLE OF PA Fantasy Quicks:

So with a high intensity schedule, one has to expect many intriguing fantasy clashes.  Another Battle Of Pennsylvania takes place as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh battle potentially for not only Atlantic Division Supremacy but potentially the Eastern Conference as well.  Chris Kunitz and Tyler Kennedy have combined for 16 points in Pittsburgh’s last seven games.  In that span, Pittsburgh has gone 6-1 (including 4 straight shootout wins) to vault themselves into this position.  No Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin but no problem at all.  Philadelphia is 0-2-1 in their last three home games and come in hurting a bit against Pittsburgh.

For the record, James van Riemsdyk may be the key for Philadelphia.  It is believed that he is best suited to play with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.  Eventually he may be but he did have a hat trick against the New York Islanders on Saturday.  Defensively, Matt Carle has picked it up a bit fantasy wise but the Flyers are giving up goals at an inconsistently alarming rate.  Reality dictates that no matter which goalie is in net (Bobrovsky or Boucher) that Philadelphia can not be quite sure what effort they are going to get in all three phases.

Meanwhile Pittsburgh comes in knowing how they have to play with their two major guns having been out for so long.  They have executed well and with Marc Andre-Fleury playing fundamentally solid, the Penguins may be playing better without the superstars.  Sure fantasy wise impacts are a little more limited but it does help the focus a bit.  Pittsburgh has the edge and until Chris Pronger comes back 100%, I think Philadelphia as a team will continue to struggle.  That could be all Pittsburgh needs to steal another two points. 

In the end, expect Fleury to be the main star for Pittsburgh while Mike Richards will excel for Philadelphia.  A likely 3-2 score in OT for Pittsburgh is the expected result with a slightly unexpected game changer by Alex Kovalev.

THOSE TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

1.  Miller V. Reimer — This goalie clash could be the marquis one of the night as Buffalo pretty much has the chance to shut the door on Toronto for good.  Ryan Miller has been alll world Miller since the All Star Break while James Reimer has done everything in his power to keep Toronto in the playoff picture.  Throw the records coming in out the window because the winner of this game will have to have a thick skin.  Expect a fairly low scoring 2-1 pr 3-2 game in this one as the ACC is in for a real goaltending showdown.  Who will win?  The slight edge goes to Reimer on this night.

2. Chicago Versus Tour — Hey so what can we expect for an encore as Chicago travels to Boston straight from an exciting 3-2 OT win in Detroit.  Marian Hossa and company will face a jazzed up Boston team who got a 27 save effort from Tim Thomas in his last outing against Philadelphia.  Brad Marchand returned to his clutch ways and magically they got the 2-1 win.  Boston has very solid offensive talent but this game is going to come down to Thomas vs. Calder Trophy candidate Corey Crawford (who has 30 wins).  Can Crawford outplay Thomas?  That sounds crazy but this kid is not afraid at all.  If Chicago can match the intensity from Detroit, they can beat Boston.  However, if they cannot, this will be a cakewalk for Boston.  Expect a something in the middle and an entertaining game on Versus again.

3.  Luongo V. Rinne — This could be Roberto Luongo’s last meaningful action for the rest of the regular season but that remains to be seen.  Vancouver often finds ways to win these types of games while Nashville finds ways to lose them.  Pekka Rinne is seen by quite a few now not only as a potential Vezina candidate but a Hart Trophy candidate as well.  The numbers do not lie as Rinne comes in with the #2 GAA and save percentage while Luongo comes in at #3 in both categories. Vancouver does carry a more dynamic scoring attack with the Sedin twins and a better supporting cast including Chris Higgins who has been a pleasant surprise of late.  Nashville is going to have to slow it down, keep it low scoring and hope for opportunities against a road weary team.  If they can do that, I would not be surpised in the least to see Nashville pull this out and they may score 3 or 4 goals to boot.

Well good luck everyone in their fantasy leagues as we have a little more ahead today on the blog.  Stay tuned. 

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!

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