There is an interesting interview I recently discovered that is starting to make some waves in the NHL. The interview has to do with referee Tim Peel and how he officiates games. Peel makes certain calls according to NHL mandates and sometimes his calls will change depending on the score and how much time is left. In other words, a penalty in the first period of a game may not be a penalty in the third period of a close contest. Now, I’m not going to dive into the legitimacy of the NHL officiating, but it did get me to think about Fantasy hockey and how your thinking should be changing as the season rolls along.
The NHL trade deadline is March 2, but the deadline in your Fantasy league could be much earlier. If you’re playing in a keeper or dynasty league then the time is now to figure out if you need to trade in or trade out. What I’m more interested in today, however, is what to do if you’re on the fence? What to do if you’re in the middle of the pack and not sure which way the wind is blowing? In this case, I tend to go down fighting. I’ll make a trade that might not seem that smart; but what do I have to lose? We are four plus months into the season; unless you have dealt with several injuries, those players that have underperformed since the beginning of the season are unlikely to figure it out now. It’s time to move on, even if they are a name player. Take some chances. What do you have to lose? At the very least, your situation may become a little less cloudy by the trade deadline and you may have a better idea where you stand. Every little bit helps. I don’t want to have any doubts that I did all I could to win, but in the end it may not be enough.
The situation in Winnipeg with Evander Kane has gone from curious to absolutely ridiculous. Kane has been a frequent visitor to the healthy scratch list over the years, as he has had a problem getting along with the coaching staff and management. Then came the drama from this past week. He was once again a healthy scratch for the game versus Vancouver on Tuesday, which raised everyone’s antenna. Was he about to be traded? No, apparently he showed up to the game in a track suit. Maybe he was trying to be funny. Maybe he was trying to make a statement. Either way, it didn’t go over well with head coach Paul Maurice or his fellow players. One of his teammates (Dustin Byfuglien?) apparently tossed the track suit into the shower. Kane was upset about this and left the team. For at least a year now, probably longer, it has been bandied about the NHL that Kane probably needs a change of scenery. He was once a top draft pick and is still just 23 years of age. He could bring back a decent haul as long as the team is willing to make the move. Further complicating matters, however, is that Kane will undergo surgery (shoulder) and miss the rest of the season. He’s not going to help Winnipeg or your Fantasy team this year, but if the Jets were to trade him in the offseason, his career could take an upswing once again. Just imagine Kane on a line with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh or Claude Giroux in Philadelphia.
The Rangers and Fantasy players will be without goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for what looks to be at least a month, as he deals with the after effects of being hit in the throat with a puck over the weekend. Lundqvist was able to finish the game and defeat the Panthers on Monday, but had to be scratched from the game Wednesday before we all heard the bad news Friday. What this mean for Fantasy owners? Well, if Cam Talbot is available on your waiver wire you should put in a claim for him immediately. The Rangers are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and play a strong defensive game. Talbot currently has a GAA of 2.14 and save percentage of .924. He should perform very well in Lundqvist’s absence, and since right now his backup is 20-year old Mackenzie Skapsi, who hasn’t played an NHL game, it’s safe to say that Talbot should get the majority of starts until the “King” (Lundqvist not Scott Engel), returns. One more thing, those who wonder whether Martin Brodeur would come out of retirement to be the backup to Talbot, I just don’t see it happening. That being said though, don’t be surprised to see the Rangers acquire a veteran backup shortly.
The Islanders also received bad news this week, as did Kyle Okposo Fantasy owners, when it was confirmed that a detached retina is what has placed Okposo on IR. The problem with this injury is that the timetable can vary depending on the severity of the injury. His vision may not come back quickly. The bottom line is this: if you’re currently holding Okposo on IR but need that spot for another player, it’s okay to release him.
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