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It is always amusing how every year fantasy hockey players jump on the bandwagon of the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
It mattered little that Anaheim finished just five points ahead of Dallas. They were going to hammer them four straight.
(disclaimer - in the Expert Panel I chose the Ducks in 5 - so I'm just as guilty, at least for the first round!)
I am in more playoff pools than usual this year and it was astonishing how these players were ignored. In the DobberHockey playoff pool, do you know who the top Dallas player was in terms of popularity? Brenden Morrow. Do you know where he ranks? He sits 57th, selected just 138 times out of 2250 participants.
Todd Marchant beat him (47th – 200 times). The injured Corey Perry beat him (250 times). The frequent scratch Doug Weight beat him (265 times). Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Teemu Selanne and Todd Bertuzzi all were chosen more than any Dallas player.
I’m not saying that Dallas, 2-0 after Saturday’s games, will win the series. I am saying that it looks good – and you should not be surprised. Marty Turco is back on his game, just like a year ago when he had three shutouts against Vancouver – and still lost. A year ago, the team could not score. Now they have added Brad Richard, discovered Mike Ribeiro is a star, and have given Loui Eriksson more responsibility.
Dallas is no pushover and more poolies should have caught onto that. Besides, when was the last time a Cup champion repeated?
In Sergei Zubov’s absence, Stephane Robidas has stepped in to fill the void, leading all Dallas player in ice time with 22:15. Robidas has four assists in the first two games and is logging over five minutes a game with the man advantage, although none of his points have been earned on the PP…
Incidentally, Zubov is day-to-day recovering from his second hernia surgery of the year. The Stars were slow on picking up on the problem – he had been over-compensating for his foot and as a result a second surgery is need. A team trainer has been fired as a result. Do not expect Zubov back before Game 5 at the very earliest and if the team has won or is comfortably ahead, do not expect him back before Game 2 or 3 or the second round…
Dallas’ power-play units so far: Ribeiro, with Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow up front and Robidas and Philippe Boucher on the blue line. Richards, with Steve Ott and Eriksson up front and Mike Modano and Matt Niskanen on the blue line…