James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Sidney's sensational start

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



SEMIN OUT

 

It’s almost as if Alexander Semin decided that he needed to disenfranchise the last group of people who loved his game this season: fantasy hockey owners. Sure, his injury-prone nature makes him an annual headache, but his solid PIMs and elite scoring make him a great find at the wing position.

 

Well, they made him a great find. He’s been a real slouch this year, though, and those PIMs are haunting him too. Bruce Boudreau benched him on Monday night and the Washington Capitals found a way to win a close game. (That’s not good.)

 

His trade value is likely at an all-time low, but maybe this embarrassing moment will motivate him in ways that a contract year apparently cannot.


PROSPAL PROSPERS

 

If you eliminate trades (thus taking guys like Brian Campbell and Versteeg out of the picture), then Vinny Prospal has a serious case for “best pickup of the summer.” At least if you factor in the element of surprise.

 

He’s currently the Columbus Blue Jackets’ top point producer with a stunning 18 points in 20 games and Prospal is available in a healthy number of fantasy leagues. He’s listed at center/left-wing in at least one pool, so even if his success is surprising, he’s easily worth a test run.


SANFORD AND CARTER: NOW GOOD FOR MORE THAN JUST SITCOM PUNS

 

Curtis Sanford has been the Blue Jackets’ starter for three consecutive games and they’ve gone 2-0-1 as a result. It’s a really interesting situation in Columbus, because the smart money is that this is the definition of a “flash in the pan” scenario, but it feels like he has at least a shot of maintaining this for a little while.

 

I say that because, frankly, Steve Mason has been terrible (and could be struggling with some kind of “head” injury) and Mark Dekanich is also injured again. So if nothing else, he’ll get some reps, although it’s reasonable to be skeptical about his chances of maintaining this pace. Still, I hear that the Blue Jackets sound guy plays the theme song for “Sanford and Son” when he makes big saves. If that’s not good for team morale and his overall chances, then I don’t want to be right.

 

(In a nutshell: keep him on your watch list, at the minimum.)

 

The best news for owners of Blue Jackets players might have been Jeff Carter’s night, though, as he scored two goals against the Calgary Flames. Perhaps Crosby isn’t the only high-end pick who is starting to pay off after struggling with health problems, eh?


WARD SHOWING SOME LIFE?

 

Speaking of struggling teams who’ve won two games in a row and reside in cities that start with the letter “C,”* the Carolina Hurricanes are getting a little scrappy too.

 

The most promising sign is the improved work from Cam Ward, who has allowed just four goals during a two-game winning streak. He put up good numbers in each contest, so maybe the franchise goalie will start doing more for fantasy owners? It seems like most have been patient with him this season, but Carolina’s defense makes me think that his ceiling is still at the “medium” level.

 

* - That went a little far, didn’t it?


QUICK HITS

 

The Dallas Stars ended their losing streak with goals for Michael Ryder and Steve Ott - two guys who are OK depth options. (As I’ve said and Corey Abbott said, Ott is a great pickup because of the variety of stats he fills up.) … The Edmonton Oilers continue to slip back to reality, but don’t blame Nikolai Khabibulin. He played well in the last two games, but maybe teams are finally exposing a defense that is bad on paper.


INJURY SNIPES

 

Tyler Myers’ wrist injury could keep him out through New Year’s. Ouch … Al Montoya’s dealing with a hamstring problem, which means the Islanders are down to Nilsson and Rick DiPietro. Ouch times 10 … Braydon Coburn is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. I assume it’s not related to putting his John Hancock on that big, new contract. (Click here for the full injury list.)

 

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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.
Email :James O'Brien



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