For the last few weeks, the Puck Pastor has preached to you. This week, he invites you into his office.
From my pulpit at DobberHockey I’ve been aiming for that balance of humor and advice that opens up skeptical ears and has cold hearts warm up to truth. It’s a tactic I use in my day job at www.portagechurch.com. In our church, we try not to cater to religious people so we get a lot of first timers, or people who haven't been to church since they were about six years old. Usually they don't have the best memories of the last time they were in a church - one of our goals is to change that. So, I crack a few jokes every Sunday morning, usually of the self-deprecating variety to lower the fear level of the poor guy who thinks he's going to get blasted from the pulpit. My thinking is that most people's lives are hard enough, what they hear Sunday morning shouldn't make it harder. Humor lowers defenses and creates receptivity. Eventually, I'll transition to the meat of what I want to talk about and hope it is heard with an open mind.
That's what happens in the pulpit and you’re familiar with it by now. But now you’re coming to the office. The office is different.
When people come to visit me in my office often the level of desperation is pretty high. So in the office I don't really crack the jokes. I don’t sing them songs about Keith Ballard. In the office, people simply want help. And that’s you now with a week of the season in the books and your team already looking terrible.
Last week, you were on top of the world - smug and anticipating glory. It was preseason after all and you thought you had all the answers. You had a strategy, you knew who the sleepers were, and you were just fine without the likes of me thank you very much. But now, a mere week into the season you have noticed that Jonathan Drouin isn't playing alongside St. Louis and Stamkos and the 6th round pick you took him with might have been better spent on...well...someone actually in the league. Now, filled with regret you have wandered into my office. Before I offer you a coffee, you catch a glimpse of Dobbernomics and Yahoo open on my browser before I can minimize it. You tactfully say nothing and settle your Zibanejad loving ass down on my comfy chair and I invite you to share what’s on your mind.
You start slow, but then the dam breaks. The regret. The pain. The shameful memories of how half the league was still available when you said "Boone Jenner" based on a couple preseason games and some modest online buzz. Without judgment, I pass you the Kleenex to wipe away the Dustin Penner induced tears. There is no judgment here, only empathetic nods – and hope!
Hope you say? Absolutely, you see, the first couple weeks of the season actually give you something more solid than preseason rumours and media buzz to base choices on. Coaches intentions, toi, linemates, and pp time are actually statistically verifiable in a way they weren’t in the pool guides. In fact, I’d argue that the prime time for finding real sleepers is on the waiver wire in the first week or two of the season. Here are a few guys on the wire who could save your season.
When I wrote a rough draft of this article Friday all were more available then they are now after a strong weekend. I left the Friday % from Yahoo for interest sake. The point is these guys are getting noticed so act quickly if you can.
1. Jacob Trouba
He is taken in only 13% (now 17%) of Yahoo leagues. He is playing over 20 minutes a game with solid second unit PP duty. 19 year old has no panic to his game and has given every indication he is not only going to stick with the big club in his rookie season but also going to be a real fantasy asset.
2. Marcus Johansson
Taken in only 18% (now 20%) of Yahoo leagues. Guy doesn't get a ton of PP time but he is playing with Ovie and Backstrom.
3. Marc Staal
Taken in only 16% of Yahoo leagues. Played 25:40, which is no surprise but the 3:47 pp time means it is only going to take him 6 games to be over his total pp time from 21 games last year. He has expressed his desire to be in a more offensive role and Vigneault seems to be obliging him. Look for a return to his 2010-11 levels.
4. Rene Bourque - 1% (now 2%) in Yahoo leagues. Plenty of playing time with Plekanec and Gionta. Only Subban and Markov had more pp time last game. If this keeps up Bourque has 20/20 potential. If your league has any depth at all this is the early season waiver wire gem.
And now, there is a tap on the door. My assistant is letting us know that the next appointment is here. Time to wind down. But before you left, I’d ask if I could pray for you. You’d either decline or appreciate it depending on where you’re at with that sort of thing. But either way, the atmosphere in the room has changed. There is buoyancy in your step. You can face another day. Life’s problems are not insurmountable if you are paying attention to your spiritual side. Poor choices can be undone in an atmosphere of grace and there are always surprising options on the waiver wire if you look close enough.
Recently from the Puck Pastor:
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|The Ballad of Keith Ballard|
|Follow Your Heart|