We have survived many calamities this early fantasy hockey season but now comes the next January edition of “Chutes And Ladders”. Riding the fortunes of a fantasy hockey team can be a lot like the original Milton Bradley game. There are enough twists and turns to drive any normal person crazy. So imagine what it is like for the average hockey fan who takes on a fantasy hockey league.
As 2012 is now upon us as well as Week 13 in fantasy leagues, it is time to first reveal our Fantasy Player Of The Week.
Player Of The Week……
Congratulations to Alex Ovechkin on winning this week’s Fantasy Player Of The Week. The Washington Capitals forward tallied seven points and that included four goals in his last two games of 2011. More importantly for Washington was that Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom seemed to finally mesh with Ovechkin for more than just a flash. The question then becomes can this line and Ovechkin continue in Week 13? That will be something to keep an eye on.
Now it is time to take a look at a few new injuries that seem to be popping up in fantasy circles……
Beware the injuries……..
The situation has now gone to a level where people can almost panic. Sadly I wish I was joking at this juncture but the reality is when you see teams with double digit injury counts, the fantasy GM in me just cringes in horror. Yes this is only a game but literally with so many crippling injuries, treading water is the best medicine. Here is the latest from the injury front….
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) — The nicest way to say this is the following. When Crosby skates, we will let you know. Until then, file it from your memory and just keep him firmly stashed on your IR. This has the potential to be season ending honestly so just be aware of it.
Mike Green (Washington Capitals) — Green is getting better and was finally placed on the IR a few days ago (retroactive) which means he could come back in maybe a week or less. Again, keep an eye on his situation as it tends to change day to day.
Kari Lehtonen (Dallas Stars) — Has been back for over a week and looks like his normal self. Lehtonen owners are definitely rejoicing at the good form he has shown despite missing over a month with that groin injury.
Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens) — When guessing if Markov is going to play, we suggest consulting a psychic first. While this is no laughing matter, the knee injuries and setbacks have just sent anyone who still owns Markov into a land of confusion. Our suggestion would be he is at least three to five weeks away minimum.
Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild) — Koivu is back and playing well for fantasy teams everywhere. Yes breathe a sigh of relief as the injury was not very serious at all. Expect Koivu to be right around a point a game from here on out.
Simon Gagne (Los Angeles Kings) — Gagne is currently on the IR with concussion like symptoms and with his previous concussion history, it may be awhile before he comes back. Yes TSN lists it as an upper body injury but the known is the known in this case. Again, keep him on your IR this week at least.
Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) — Duchene will be out another 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Duchene was honestly having a below average fantasy season (by his standards). Maybe the injury will allow him to have a nice second half push. Expect him back around the first week of February. In the meantime, scour the waiver wire as always.
James Wisniewski (Columbus Blue Jackets) — Wisniewski has had a very strange season and yes he never could be confused with being very responsible on the defensive end but his offense was much needed in Columbus. Yet he is injured again with a broken ankle that will keep him out at least a minimum of 6 weeks. His 17 points in 29 games is nice but that -18 is an eyesore that cannot be ignored. Stash him on your IR until about mid-February.
There are other injuries but these are ones that impact fantasy rosters the most at the moment.
Here are the ladders…….
These are for the players who have seen their values shoot up in Week 12. Some are waiver wire pickups but most are not. January often brings out the best and worst in fantasy weeks and then there is the All-Star Break which creates its own headaches.
Steve Downie (Tampa Bay Lightning) — It seems the magic of playing with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. All three had six or more points but Downie was the main beneficiary with a huge seven point week. Will this be a sign of things to come or is this just a blip? That answer is not clear but for one week deja vu was cleary in effect. Downie should have a pretty good Week 13.
Patrik Elias (New Jersey Devils) — We like to praise the elder set of the NHL now and then and Elias has been fantasy relevant all season long. Elias had four points this week and has a favorable four game schedule this week also. He has 34 points in 36 games this season and for a guy approaching the other side of his career, that is very impressive. He really does manufacture his own offense. Think of him as the “Czech Wizard” if you will.
Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado Avalanche) — This is another player who is quietly putting together a solid season with a four point week for a below average Colorado team. It will be interesting to see what happens in a favorable Week 13 schedule. Now he is approaching 30 points on the season in what would be considered a breakout campaign. Sometimes we nail these and for fantasy owners, we are thankful.
Honorable Mention: Sedin Twins (VAN), Steven Stamkos (TBL)
Let’s slide down a few chutes……
Ilya Bryzgalov (Philadelphia Flyers) — Yes there is a bit of a goalie theme but for good reason. Fantasy GM’s have been getting hammered because of bad goaltending all year. In three of his last four starts, Bryzgalov has given up four or more goals and looked awful against Boston, Tampa, and the NY Rangers. His save percentage has dipped to .890 and the fact that Sergei Bobrovsky started the Winter Classic tells you all you need to know about how Bryzgalov has started his tenure in the “City Of Brotherly Love”.
Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks) — When it all goes bad, it just all gets worse. Hiller has really only had about one good effort for every four which does not do any good for fantasy owners. Worse, with some good goalies struggling mightily, it creates a situation where Hiller owners may be stuck. This is not all on the Ducks and their lack of team defense, their goalie has seriously cracked and some of it could be partially because of the medication he is not allowed to take for his vertigo. The lower dosed form I am guessing does not seem to work as Hiller gave up three or more goals in nine of his last 12 starts. Talk about not encouraging as Hiller followed a 36 save win against San Jose with giving up eight goals in his next two starts.
Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks) — It is rare to single out a 40 year old but sometimes the exception needs to be the case. He has one point in his last four games and only nine shots on goal. Yes he is averaging a point a game currently but clearly in the last week, the body language just suggested it is not all there. Selanne will have to find another gear and soon otherwise fantasy owners may have to consider the unthinkable.
Well that wraps it up for this week. Good luck and hopefully January keeps rolling for everyone out there. Do not forget to follow us @TheProgramBTR for all your fantasy hockey questions and more. Thanks again for reading.