FH201: Two Steps Back; One Step Forward

Simon Gagne probably wishes he was still a Flyer at this point.

With no points at all in six games and a -8, Gagne was paid a visit by the Injury Ninja and now has a stiff neck. It is a nice way of saying that Gagne may need to stay on your bench for awhile.

It was thought he was going to have so much promise and yet it has started much like Alex Tanguay’s stay in Tampa Bay.  Odd that a guy with so much potential has gone turkey so fast and now may be a fantasy casualty on rosters already.

All that aside, its now time for this edition of Fantasy Hockey 201

What went right last week for fantasy owners?

Apparently it was the week of the hat trick as quite a few players thought it would be fun to tally three times in a game. However, that was not the only story as some players continues their hot streaks that you should know about.

Let’s get into a few as we are tossing out the tables this week and giving you straight numbers you can use.

1. Rene Bourque (LW) — Calgary Flames

He was straight ballin as they say with six goals and an assist in four games this week. Besides the hat trick, he had a two goal effort last night that was a post away from being another hat trick. This week has even ignited the hot and cold Jarome Iginla which has Iginla owners smiling at least for a little bit.

Bourque was a bit banged up in Week 1 for fantasy owners but more than made up for it in Week 2. Just think of how little he did in Chicago and what he is now doing in Calgary.

Can this continue? That is the big question in all of this.

Last year’s “breakout” does not seem like that much of a fluke. He could exceed 60 points which would be great in Calgary considering how woeful they were in scoring goals last year (30th in the league btw and under 200 goals). The sneaky fact to throw in is that he has three GWG’s on the young season. That leads the NHL.

2. Ondrej Pavelec will play this week.

Atlanta Thrasher fans and all fans have to be happy that Pavelec has been activated from the IR today. Yes he did not play at all in Week 1 and Week 2  except for the two and a half minutes in Game 1,  but he could be an important cog in some players and their teams.

There is no question that Pavelec is the future of the Atlanta Thrashers but owners may want to ease him into the lineup as opposed to rushing him. See how he does when he plays first before going all guns ablazing.  The bottom line of just the fact that he is playing is great news for everyone.

3. We keep on seeing a lot of Steven Stamkos

Early on in his rookie year, the joke was have you “Seen Stamkos”? Well now he keeps on racking up numbers for fantasy owners like a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin.

The fear was once he got going that he would not stop. Certainly we are thankful that he has kept up the torrid pace.

Stamkos leads the league with 15 points already with eight goals and seven assists along the way. Stamkos also has three power play tallies and two game winners on his resume as he clearly has been the best fantasy player of the year so far.

Again naysayers will ask can this continue? Consider that in the last month of the year last season, he produced at a pace that was  higher than Ovechkin or Crosby, I say it is very possible.

The 100 point barrier looks like it is going down for the count for Stamkos owners. He even could make a push for 110.

4. Sharp as a knife?

Patrick Sharp has eight goals on the young season already and many think he is not done yet, including yours truly.

Winning the Stanley Cup was not enough for this talented Center. Now he wants to become an elite player in the NHL.

Sharp has posted a solid 11 points in eight games. This should not come as a suprise as Sharp made a name for himself in last year’s playoffs.

How could people miss on this guy? Well it is simple. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews still kind of rule the fantasy landscape in Chicago and even Marian Hossa too. Oh by the way, Hossa has seven goals on the year.

Though Sharp may cool off a bit, do not expect a frigid drop like the waters around Lake Michigan. Clearly this guy’s stock in fantasy circles keeps rising and will continue to do so.

5. Hat Tricks much?

Yes there were hat tricks this week by Bourque, Daniel Alfredsson, and John Tavares too. Adam Gretz and Chris Botta touched on this for Fanhouse this week as well.

Hat tricks are very good for fantasy owners and some leagues have bonus points specifically set up for hat tricks. Then there is always the unexpected like the Brad Richardson hat trick against the Avs in a 6-4 win. Even Stamkos and Alexander Semin joined the party so over a two night period, there were six three goal nights combined. Quirky thing about the Stamkos hat trick and this should make fantasy owners drool is this. Each goal in his hat trick was scored with under three minutes left in the period.  The guy knows clutch.

6. There were some great goaltending performances too……

Thanks to Fanhouse for these as I had forgot a few and a special stick tap to CB.

Goaltending Greatness: Jaroslav Halak stopped all 31 shots through regulation and one minute of overtime to blank Pittsburgh on Saturday in the Blues’ 1-0 win … Nashville’s Pekka Rinne shut out Dallas on Saturday, 1-0, making 30 saves … Behind outstanding team defense, Carey Price stopped all 19 shots in Montreal’s 3-0 shutout in Ottawa on Saturday … In his first start of the season, Curtis McElhinney made 40 saves in leading the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win in Philadelphia on Thursday … Faced with another chorus of skepticism about how much he has left to give, Martin Brodeur had another shutout in Montreal on Thursday, stopping 30 shots in a 3-0 win … In his best performance so far as a Blackhawk, Marty Turco made 36 saves in regulation in Chicago’s 2-1 shootout win over Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Blackhawks … Cam Ward was back in Stanley Cup form as he made 42 saves in Carolina’s 5-2 victory in San Jose on Tuesday. (CB)

7. One last thing……

The player to keep an eye out on all year will be Chris Stewart of the Colorado Avalanche. He was already good last year but this year he has started out great. I fully expect this player to exceed last year’s 60+ point campaign for the Avs and may challenge Paul Stastny for the team lead in scoring.

So for every up….there has to be some down…..right?

It just seems for some reason that there always has to be a “Debbie Downer” for all this good fantasy news…right?

Well sadly it is very true.

Alexei Kovalev still has no goals and even fires blanks for shots now. Guys like Henrik Sedin have not even scored yet. It truly has to be something wrong or rotten in Denmark.

1. Jamie And The Devils

Basically a captain needs to lead and well score every so often.  In nine games, Langenbrunner has no goals and has missed several wide open chances that even a caveman could convert. There was a couple chances last night that a captain needed to bury and again it did not happen.

Surely the captain is pressing and basically at this point, issues of the “C” are coming up from every angle. The team is 2-6-1 and sorry Kovalchuk bashers, at least Kovalchuk has netted a GWG and a little better +/- than most Devil players right now. Captain Grumpy is a -6 and who knows what will cure that ailment.

Other players that we are still looking for are Patrik Elias, Andy Greene (who does not mean wins anymore), and well there are those injured players like Brian Rolston who were pretty well fantasy irrelevant anyway.

Maybe a trip to the West Coast will help but then again who knows. One guy that is playing better of late is Brodeur who has only given up two GA in his last two starts.

2. AO is human after all….

After having eight points in Week 1 for fantasy owners, Ovechkin forgot that whole points thing in Week 2. Do we really expect this to continue? Of course not. This is Alexander Ovechkin after all who really has only had one prolonged slump in his career and a home and home with Boston can be tough on any premiere scorer.  Expect him to bounce back and relatively soon.

3. Say no to Pierre

We have heard that Pierre-Marc Bouchard is well on his way back after a myriad of injuries. PMB is skating in drills now and could be back soon enough for Minnesota. We say “just say no” to PMB.

So are we down on PMB?  Yes, as in down in a bad way. Surely he has some upside but he is more injury prone than Marian Gaborik ever was and talent-wise, it is not even close. New Wire Trolls will be coming in the next few weeks so keep an eye out.

4. Those Vancouver Canucks……

You may want to actually stay away from this week. Vancouver only plays once in the fantasy week and that is tomorrow night against Colorado before taking nearly a week off. So if guys like Luongo and the Sedin twins have an off night, you will not get much from them. It could be that week to give them a well deserved rest as their schedule does condense some in November and that is a good thing for fantasy hockey owners.

Look Ahead To Week 3

We are always asked what to expect for a week and there is no real scientific guess but there is always some intrigue when a slumping team goes West like the Devils . Wednesday is going to be a very strange litmus test as the San Jose Sharks are nto exactly worldbeaters this early in the campaign right now. It shapes up to be a very interesting matchup and is our fantasy tilt of the week.

Will Brodeur play well again?  Will Joe Thornton and company wake up?  Will Langenbrunner score a goal?

There are many questions in this one with few foreseeable answers. Our suggestion is to watch and enjoy but if you have any of these players…how this game goes may determine hit or miss for the week.

HIT OR MISS

We give you ten players and bluntly tell you hit or miss for Week 3.

  • 1. Jamie Langenbrunner — Miss
  • 2. Henrik Sedin — Miss
  • 3. Roberto Luongo — Miss
  • 4. Craig Anderson — Hit
  • 5. Ilya Kovalchuk — Hit
  • 6. Henrik Lundqvist — Hit
  • 7. Alex Ovechkin — Hit
  • 8. Clarke MacArthur — Miss
  • 9. Paul Martin — Miss
  • 10. Freight line in Boston — Hit

Yes it is a fun way to cap this crazy look back and look ahead.  Next week we will do this a bit different with our Fireballs and Icicles version of players of the month. Stay tuned and good luck with your fantasy weeks. Expect more FH101 and 201 as always.

A special note for everyone out there, we will be holding a special Hockey Fights Cancer themed show to the end the month of Sunday, October 31st at 8pm ET on The Program. We hope everyone can at least get in on this exciting show for a great cause. The list of guests keeps on growing and the number to dial in with your stories and more is 1-347-826-7358. Thanks so much.

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