Fantasy Hockey 201: The End Is Nigh (Part 2)

Today we turn the turkeys upside down or in this case, we turn the tables on well yours truly as we give you two more predictions that went horribly wrong. Somewhere Andy Sutton is suing us for royalties.

At this juncture of the year, one pretty much knows what they need to do in order to seal the deal. This is why we are taking pokes at ourselves. It is a novel concept to take shots at your own “expertise”. Hey if you cannot criticize yourself, what is the point of being in the business after all, right?

So many times, predictions go so perfectly right that “experts” are so quick to jump on those but never as quick as the ones that veer off course. The goal is to always learn from the bad in the fleeting hopes that it never happens again. Times like these also make you consider if there is a “higher hockey power” simply because of all the injuries that just seem to keep occurring even at this late stage of the season. Nothing else has ever been seen like it.

When the season started, we here at Inside Hockey tried something unusual. We incorporated the “injury ninja” if you will as a way to consolidate some of the injury information you often see in an even easier to digest form than TSN. They and CBSSports.com do an unbelievable job along in putting out reports for the masses.

Figuring out injuries is a lot like finding a big giant thorn in the haystack but not knowing at times where it came from. It is not enough to just know the injuries but the timetable is even more valuable to fantasy hockey owners.

Even right now we have the uncertainty of Henrik Zetterberg’s injured knee. While his fantasy value is done for the regular season, he is wearing a knee brace and has somewhat acknowledge some kind of sprain or strain which could linger into the playoffs. Getting these injuries right or wrong hurts the fantasy hockey GM and we have made some mistakes here that have cost general managers. We never like to do that and we apologize.

Listed below are three injuries that we absolutely missed the timetable on but not so much the injury. Some of it was because of the player and some maybe was wishful thinking on our end.

Injuries Gone Wrong:

1.  Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)

Well this was the mother load in all honestly. How were we wrong here? Technically in two ways, we may have unintentionally panicked readers.

From the David Steckel hit on New Years Day, we screamed concussion and screamed it pretty loud.  It was honestly premature on our podcast to say that this was potentially a long term injury. Even if, this premonition later proved to be true.

On January 5th, Crosby was leveled from behind by Victor Hedman.  He has not played a game since, is out for the rest of the regular season, and is uncertain at best for the playoffs.

So we went on the offensive and made sure the world knew that Crosby should have been diagnosed with a concussion sooner. Maybe this was wrong on our part but we do take concussions very seriously as I, myself, battle symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. I admit I have been very harsh on the Pittsburgh Penguins medical staff much like I was on the Philadelphia Flyers medical staff in 2000 with Eric Lindros. This kind of investment does need preferred care and players at some point have to be accountable for realizing the danger they can potentially put themselves in.

Was it wrong for us to jump on this staff so quickly? In retrospect, yes it was. We inadvertently caused a twofold panic. Some fans were fearful that Crosby would never return (rumors ran wild).

Furthermore, fantasy hockey GM’s were actually considering trading No. 87. Think about that for a second, the panic made GM’s even consider this. That was not our intention. We wanted to make sure the fans had as much of the information as we were allowed to dole out at the time.

It is excellent that the Penguins have enacted a special concussion program in Pittsburgh. The testing is the same that NHL players get and may be more comprehensive to be honest.  You can find more on the story thanks to the Post Gazette. Hopefully this is a program that gets enacted league wide and good to see a team take some proactive steps in a problem where time is of the essence.

Hopefully Crosby is back when he is 100% ready to play. That is the lesson learned and we all learned it.

2.  Jonas Hiller (Anaheim)

This may have been even worse in some ways than Crosby because Vertigo is so unknown even though it did end Jeff Hackett’s career far too prematurely. Vertigo is a type of dizziness where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary. Often it is misdiagnosed as a concussion and Mike Green also suffered from this earlier in the season for the Washington Capitals.

When the injury first occurred, we thought it was whiplash or just some minor dizziness. No one knew this was full blown vertigo. There was even an inkling it could be fatigue perhaps. As the weeks dragged on, and after several failed attempts to return came and went, it became very apparent this was more serious than we anticipated. There was no definitive timetable with this type of injury, like concussions. No one is really sure so this time we underestimated the injury.

There is still no idea of when Hiller will be able to play again. He tried it for a game against Nashville a couple weeks ago and lasted less than 10 minutes, giving up three goals, and then was put back on the IR for the fourth time this year. Hiller is at least out for the rest of the regular season.

3.  Zach Parise (New Jersey)

This was the third one that we really loused up this season. It may have been worse in some ways because it hit so many fantasy owners right at the tail end of October, just when fantasy hockey is really getting in gear.

The torn meniscus and some ligament damage was severe enough to put Parise out of action for five months. This was far longer than our original diagnosis of 2-3 months tops.

The reality is he played one game after returning, had no points, and is now out for the rest of the regular season. It was clear that Parise was not quite 100 percent still and better not to risk a “long term investment” as it was made clear by the Devils organization. What that means? Well you can read between the lines on that one.

Bottom line is we underestimated the severity of the tear as it was complete and severe. It just did not look like at the time. We will take the blame and shame on that one.

Coming next Monday will be the third and final part of our turkeys as we give out our season ending awards. If you have any suggestions at all as to who they should be, just send a message on Twitter or throw some comments high and hard into the comment section below this article. We would really appreciate and hope the end of your fantasy hockey season results in the highest of success.

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