Apologies to those who were expecting fantasy hockey reports within the past week. I have been neglecting such reports due to personal reasons as well as fantasy football. BUT with fantasy football now over for me, I can now fully focus on fantasy hockey!
So let’s get crackin! December 23 will mark the last day of NHL hockey games before Christmas Day. There won’t be another game until Boxing Day in Canada (which would be the 26th of December). A total of THIRTEEN NHL hockey games will be played:
Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils
Atlanta Thrashers vs. New York Islanders
Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers
Ottawa Senators vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Los Angeles Kings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
St. Louis Blues vs. Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Dallas Stars vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Minnesota Wild
Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames
Phoenix Coyotes vs. Colorado Avalanche
Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks
And now, without further ado, let’s go through some players!
Sidney Crosby: For sure, you’re gonna have to play him against a weak Tampa Bay team. The only real concern you may have is that he had already played last night against Buffalo, but don’t be worried. He’ll get you lots of points against the Lightning.
Ryan Getzlaf: I’m about 60-40 in terms of starting Getzlaf, with the 60 indicating more of a lean to start him. Calgary may be a tough team to get past, but Getzlaf has been reliable to play even when the Ducks have their bad games. I would say start him, but don’t expect a hat trick out of him.
Blake Wheeler: Definitely a good sleeper add if you don’t have him on your team. With two goals in his last game, he’s starting to become a possible candidate for this year’s Calder Trophy. Against a New Jersey team, Boston may not do much, but if anybody can pull through for the Bruins, you can count on the Wheel man!
Alexander Semin: As much as I’m pissed off about Semin not being able to play on Saturday against the Flyers, I’m going to throw a chair out of my bedroom window when I hear that he’s not going to play today against the Rangers. Remember the last time those two teams played?
Okay enough of that. For those who own Semin, I cannot tell you how long he’ll be out. While he is listed as Day-to-Day, he might be out for another month for all we know!
Curtis Glencross: While he is still listed as Day-to-Day, he MAY return to the ice on Tuesday when the Flames take on the Ducks. Should you play him? If he is healthy and plays as if he never injured his leg, you should put him on your starting roster. However, it may be best to play the waiting game to see what comes of it. After all, the Ducks DO have a strong defense.
Tomas Holmstrom: Against a weak St. Louis team, you can expect even a weak Tomas Holmstrom to score against the Blues. I don’t know how many he’ll score today, but if you bench him, go ahead and leave your league in extreme embarrassment after today.
Evgeni Malkin: If I told you to start Sidney Crosby, what should you do with Evgeni Malkin? Hmm well one thing’s for sure: This certainly isn’t the hardest decision to make in all of fantasy sports.
David Backes: He had a 4-game goal-scoring streak snapped in his last game against the Boston Bruins, and he’ll most likely extend his no-goal-scoring streak to two games after today. Sure you can argue he’s a good player to start in a league that counts PIM, but do you want to risk your money on a team like the Detroit Red Wings? Best to save him for another game.
Vesa Toskala: He didn’t play yesterday against the Atlanta Thrashers, but he will be reevaluated today before the game against the Dallas Stars. Should you play him if he’s good to go? Sure. The Toronto Maple Leafs have scored a combined 13 goals in their last two games, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to play Toskala if you have a goalie slot free for the day.
Henrik Lundqvist: In his last game, he allowed three goals to the San Jose Sharks. Not that impressive, but if you take into account the fact that two of those goals were power play goals (one from a two-man advantage), you can safely count on him against the Washington Capitals. Will he win? Well without Semin, his odds have gotten MUCH better.
Martin St. Louis: Natural instincts would tell you to start him. However, go through the back door, and you’ll realize that it may not be the best idea to start him against a Pittsburgh team. If you do start him, grab an axe, break a window, and hope that nobody’s home (PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS IN REAL LIFE!!!).
Dion Phaneuf: Okay you can argue that Dion is a must-start in ANY game. But with a +/- rating of -9, do you want to make a bet that he scores a point given that he hasn’t scored a goal in who knows how long? I’m not saying that starting him isn’t a bad idea, but if you do start him, attempt to catch a falling tree while Phaneuf attempts to find the Anaheim net.