Another week of fantasy puck has nearly come and gone. Here are some of my own musings from the week that was.
First off, an update on the Missing Persons case involving Marc Andre Fleury. There was a Fleury sighting Friday night when he picked up a WIN vs the TB Lightning. MAF made only 15 saves in the game and I got a serious kick out of listening to the Penguins announcers proclaiming that it was by far his best game of the season to date. How piss poor is it that a 15 save performance is deemed as your best game to date? Thankfully he followed up with more of a challenge in Saturday's victory of the Thrashers. Fleury has a major test coming this week when the Pens host the Canucks. I’m reluctant to start him yet, but if you’re in a league where you need to make a minimum number of starts and you’re stuck, you may have no choice but to continue praying he doesn’t get his ass handed to him and throw him in there.
The freefall of the Toronto Maple Leafs continues. I was debating with a buddy the other night over which Toronto sports franchise is the worst. It’s a serious toss-up between the Leafs and the NBA’s Raptors, both owned by MLSE. How pathetic is it that despite not having a playoff appearance in 16 years, and playing in the toughest division in baseball, that the Blue Jays are the city’s most competitive sports franchise at the moment? I don’t count the Argos, kids. CFL isn’t a sport. It’s a great way to get caught up on the sleep you’ve been missing out on.
Prior to Saturday, the Leafs had been shut out three times in their past seven games, having lost all seven. Coincidentally, their only true offensive threat, Phil Kessel, has not scored in those seven games, a career high which he finally stopped against Vancouver. Lots of talk about firing Ron Wilson, but I don’t think it would make any difference. God could coach the Leafs, Jesus could center Kessel, Moses could play the other wing, and this team still misses the playoffs.
I own Kessel in two of my leagues this year, both leagues where SOG is a scoring stat. I figured going in that even if the team is brutal, he will be good for 30-40 snipes, and five-plus shots on net per game. Along with the missing goal production in the past two weeks, his shot average is down to about three per game. I took the high road and sat him down this weekend, replacing him with red-hot rookie Jeff Skinner in my starting RW slot. (Dobber's note: whoops)
The call-up of Nazem Kadri shows just how desperate the Leafs are. This kid flat out is just not ready to be an NHL’er. The Leafs had HUGE plans for him making this team and being the No. 1 or 2 center, but he let them down in camp and subsequently got sent to the AHL to be taught a lesson. Now they recall him and the crazy media in Toronto will paint he picture of him being a saviour, only to be surely let down. How does this help Kadri’s development? Kadri reminds me very much of a young Jason Spezza. Remember when Spezza first tried out for the Sens and Jacques Martin cut him? Martin sent him a message by telling the media that Spez was “A boy trying to play in a man’s league”. The year spent in the AHL made Spezza what he is today. The Leafs are going about this all wrong with Kadri, who like Spezza at 19, was horribly one dimensional.
I’d personally like to throw out a major THANK YOU on behalf of fantasy owners everywhere to both Michal Neuvirth, and Sergei Bobrovsky. Both of them were drafted in under 5% of leagues this fall, but have managed to save my ass on numerous rosters where I own the likes of the aforementioned Fleury, Antii Niemi, and even the great Martin Brodeur who for the first time in fantasy puck history I have made a healthy scratch on more than one occasion thus far. In one of my more competitive leagues, I have Craig Anderson on IR, Tuuka Rask working the bench door, and Brodeur banged up and not playing like the Brodeur were used to seeing. Bobrovsky has saved my ass from being a cellar dweller. Six weeks ago, I’m not going to lie, I’d never even heard of the guy.
Remember 12 months ago when it looked like the end may be near for future HOF’er Nick Lidstrom? He looked like he had lost a step and gotten really old, really fast. Well, that was then, and this is now. Lidstrom looks like he jumped in his Delorean and gone back to 2003. He has 16 points in 14 games, including 9 on the PP. He had just 20 PPP all of last season. Lidstrom is still one of, if not THE most valuable d-man in fantasy hockey not named Mike Green, who let’s face it, should be a winger.
After seeing both Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle of the Oilers snapped up in nearly every single draft this year, that bomb has exploded with both of them finding their way back on to most leagues waiver wires. I mentioned Jeff Skinner earlier, who for some stupid reason is still available in FAR too many leagues. If you own Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner is available, don’t be a fool and let the aura of a number one selection blur your vision. Make the drop. Both Hall and Eberle have found themselves benched on more than one occasion in the past couple of weeks. The future is certainly bright for the Oilers, but the future isn’t now.
I don’t like seeing a guy get hurt, but I’m not gonna lie, seeing TJ Oshie break his ankle this week in a scrum made me damn near piss myself laughing. Self inflicted injuries are my faves.
David Backes signed a big extension this week, and while I am a David Backes fan, is he really worth the same kind of money as a Ryan Kesler or a Claude Giroux? Not a chance. He’s Colby Armstrong with slightly better hands.
The Habs sent Ryan O’Byrne packing his bags for Denver this week. Old ladies in Denver be sure to have an extra tight grip on your purses. This picture from a Habs blog is one of my favourite Photoshop jobs of all time.
Momentum is building for Dany Heatley Jersey toss night when the Sharks winger makes his return to Ottawa the first week of December. How sweet of a sight would it be to see the ice littered in old Sens #15 sweaters? Great idea by whoever came up with it to donate the tossed sweaters to a local Ottawa charity, but it somehow reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine donated the uneaten muffin bottoms and the homeless didn’t want them.
Good luck this week.