James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Impulse spending

Friday, March 30, 2012

So it’s Friday, March 30, 2012 and that means many of you are gearing up for what could be a deciding weekend in either the penultimate round of your playoffs, the first week of a two-week finale or perhaps a finale itself. (Note: there are a lot of leagues – even just head to head alone – so I’m trying not to generalize like some brute.)


With that in mind, you might be weighing some possible last-minute additions to try to get that extra “edge” in your league. While there’s a part of me that thinks excessive end-of-the-season campaigns kind of corrupts the process – aside from injury adjustments, shouldn’t you “dance with the girl who got you there”? – but I’ve also been guilty of doing the same thing thanks to the guilt-ridden seductress known as victory. (To be fair, it was done in self-defense. The other fellow made what seemed like 20 moves in the last month of the season and no, I’m totally not exaggerating* to assuage my guilt for betraying my arbitrary fantasy sports principles.)


So the first reason I explore short-term additions is because I’ve been guilty of doing them before. Even beyond that, there’s a really funny sensation to the add/drop. While I’ve had my moments of joy from spending money (usually the cognitive dissonance that comes with feeling like you got a great deal), but shopping isn’t exactly my bag. (Shocking for a guy who writes about fantasy hockey, I know.) So for people like me, that potentially lucrative move isn’t the biggest reason to make it – even if that’s ultimately the best potential benefit.


Nope, it’s that buzz you get from an impulse buy. It’s Woot.com for hockey. So with that preamble in mind, here are a few additions to consider in the stretch run.


Just try your best to avoid buyer’s remorse.


* - I might be exaggerating because I honestly only vaguely recall what happened. In a rare moment, however, I’m not sure that I’m exaggerating, so that’s a bit better right? Right? Is this thing on?



Josh Bailey carries the scent of a failed prospect, but like other New York Islanders, it’s not unthinkable to believe that he might turn it around. If nothing else, he’s enjoyed a baby-Sam Gagner-type resurgence lately. It’s fun size because he hasn’t had the bombastic single game performance that, you know, ties him with some of Bryan Trottier or Denis Potvin’s records like Gagner did.


(Although maybe Bailey has approached a few more subtle Islanders records that just aren’t as obvious.)


Either way, Bailey is on the ride of his NHL career, especially in two spiteful regulation victories against the Pittsburgh Penguins in this week’s home-and-home series. He factored into all five Islanders goals in Thursday’s 5-3 win, collecting two tallies and three assists on Thursday. That gave him a lofty eight points in those two contests against Pittsburgh, extending his scoring streak to six games (four goals, 10 assists for 14 points) and making him an awfully interesting addition for owners.


Of course, the bummer is that you can’t get a single point from that streak and small samples have burned fantasy owners many times before, so don’t get mad if he flops. In fact, my guess is that he will.


Still, the beauty of hot streaks – whether it’s Bailey, Brian Boucher’s modern record for shutouts in his Coyotes days or any number of other guys who caught lightning in a bottle – is that they can be sustained over a short period of time. A little more than a week is just about the definition of a small sample size, so if you’re hurting for O, why not give Bailey a chance?



In one period, Ryan Malone scored a hat trick against Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.


Malone doesn't seemingly have the same ceiling as Bailey - right now, at least - but he's more reliable and also covers some peripheral bases. He's peaked at 103 penalty minutes in 2007-08 and has 68 PIM in 63 games this season. The risk/reward factor with Malone isn't as extreme as Bailey's.


Ideally, you wouldn't need to gamble on either guys, but if needed, they could work out as depth talent.



For the uninitiated, Niklas Backstrom and Nicklas Backstrom are tough to differentiate because of how similar their names are. Sure, they play wildly different positions and come from rival hockey countries, but those similar names (especially from a near-homonym standpoint) have been pumped up by the fact that both have been on the injured list.


That changed on Thursday, as Niklas (minus the c, also for center) returned in net for the Minnesota Wild, who defeated the Florida Panthers in OT. He’s obviously owned in a larger portion of leagues, but if an owner got tired of him, feel free to scoop him up.



Tomas Vokoun finally returned to the Washington Capitals lineup last night – and he almost made it through the entire first period. He seemingly tweaked his groin again and then Michal Neuvirth swooped in to save the day. So should you add Neuvy?


I guess. He hasn’t been putting up great numbers this season, but if Dale Hunter knows what he’s doing, he’ll lean on his experienced backup over Braden Holtby. Even so, I doubt Neuvirth is going to be great.



The Maple Leafs were so bad last night that Toronto fans cheered for the Blue Jays during the Philadelphia Flyers’ 7-1 drubbing. Hopefully you got a taste of that blowout, because the Buds only have two more might-even-be-worse at home games left. Let's just say that you might want to start your borderline and star Buffalo Sabres during a Maple Leafs home game on Saturday and the same with Tampa Bay Lightning players on Thursday, April 5 ... Daniel Sedin is likely ready for the playoffs, which probably doesn’t mean much to most fantasy owners unless you’re planning a postseason pool … Congrats to Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s first (and perhaps only) 100-point scorer.



Jason Chimera might be in for a suspension after a questionable hit on Adam McQuaidDennis Seidenberg could be sidelined for a bit with an infected lacerated leg. Yikes … Jonathan Toews is “getting close” to returning, whatever that means … Jonas Gustavsson got injured during Maple Leafs warm-ups. Good grief … Seems like Mikael Samuelsson is banged up again. No shocker. (Click here for the full injury list.)

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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