James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Don't wait to swipe Mike Smith

Thursday, November 03, 2011


After his silver medal performance in the 2010 Olympics, Ryan Miller’s about as bullet-proof as a highly paid goalie can get. He doesn’t seem to have a vest for whatever the Philadelphia Flyers shoot at him, though, as he’s been pulled in his last two games against the Broadstreet Bullies.


After shutting out the Florida Panthers, Miller lost 4 games in a row, culminating in getting pulled less than 7 minutes into Wednesday’s game. It’s obvious that now is not the time to panic with Miller; in fact, don’t be shocked if he comes back with a vengeance. Just keep an eye on when exactly that will happen, though. It wouldn’t be shocking if Jhonas Enroth gets a start or two after his perfect relief stint against Philly.



It’s easy for Phil Kessel to get all the attention for Toronto’s torrid run. After all, the oft-criticized sniper leads the NHL with 20 points.


While he’s a few strides behind his frequent linemate, Joffrey Lupul’s hat trick should gain some attention for his surprisingly strong start too. The frequently traded winger improved his 2011-12 totals to 8 goals and 14 points in 12 games.


Oh yeah, and if you want a different free agent risk, try Tim Connolly. He played about 17 minutes and earned 2 assists last night, so it might be enjoyable to give him a shot before he inevitably breaks apart again.



Scott Hartnell is a true fantasy hockey treasure – and not just because of jokes regarding his Brillo-like hair. He’s a regular threat for 20-30 goals along with about 150 PIM.


The penalties haven’t been there yet (14 PIM so far), but that’s because he’s too busy dominating with the Flyers’ top line of Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr. The super pest is enjoying what might be the best stretch of his solid career, with 5 goals and 10 points in his last 5 games.


Even if he eventually gets demoted, Hartnell will likely produce in one category or another, but feel free to root for him to stick with that talented duo for as long as possible.



Martin Brodeur made his return to action on Wednesday and did little to squash the claims that Johan Hedberg is the team’s “real” starter. (Brodeur did make a nifty save, though). He allowed 5 goals on just 23 shots as the New Jersey Devils were bludgeoned by those streaking Leafs.


Brodeur seemed like a really intriguing “Buy low” candidate in fantasy drafts considering his tremendous reputation, lower round availability and the Devils’ larger body of work as contenders aside from 2010-11. You’re not even totally off base for claiming him if he’s an unlikely free agent right now for the sheer possibility of a killer bargain.


For anyone who actually drafted him, this is a troubling situation, though. Hopefully Brodeur is just rusty, but the Devils don’t really have a large margin of error to work with here. At worst, Hebderg should at least be the Devils' 1B if logic trumps nostalgia.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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