FLEURY OF POOR ACTIVITY
In the broadest terms, the 2-2 tie between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins is probably a huge eyebrow-raiser for many. (Some of us hockey nerds wondered aloud if the Isles might just give the Penguins trouble; personally, I picked Pittsburgh in six.)
Still, in a shortened season, streaks are that much more relevant and the Islanders ended 2013 with as much momentum as one could ask for. While the Penguins were outstanding despite all the turmoil, those injury issues certainly opened the floor for questioning.
Oh yeah, there was also the concern that Marc-Andre Fleury might have some ugly flashbacks to the 2012 meltdown (er, series) against the Philadelphia Flyers.
That certainly seems to be the case as Fleury’s confidence has slipped so badly that Tomas Vokoun will be Game 5’s starter on Thursday. One might argue that this is the exact situation that Penguins GM Ray Shero invested $2 million per year into a backup for, but most honest Penguins execs would likely admit that this isn’t an ideal scenario.
It’s resoundingly positive for Vokoun owners, though, clearly.
I’d like to create an imaginary award called the “Danny Briere Playoff Performer” trophy. It’s awarded to the guy who’s had a “surprisingly” strong postseason output that really shouldn’t have been THAT surprising to begin with.
So far, the Briere goes to David Krejci, who leads the league with 10 points scored in the first four games of the Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs series. That includes a game-breaking hat trick from Wednesday, which included the OT winner that gave Boston a 3-1 series lead.
The Bruins haven’t looked perfect, yet one of their strengths is that more than one player can be called upon to step up. At this moment, the B’s appear to be a good time to invest in, although it’s early.
Note: I reserve the right to disregard the Briere trophy if it isn’t interesting enough to discuss again this postseason.
A 3-2 series lead is far from a lock to move on and a 3-1 margin isn’t totally impregnable, but if you’re looking at postseason free agent pools, teams up in series/already advanced are the most reasonable place to make investments.
Still, if you have a quality member of the Red Wings and Blues, it’s likely too hasty to dump a top guy from that still-could-be-in-it team for a fringe fellow from a contender. Not going to lie, though; it’s difficult to totally badmouth those who are jumping ship on teams down 3-1: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild.
ROTOWORLD LEAGUE UPDATE
(Check out Fantasy Postseason to run your own playoff leagues in various sports.)
1. Brian Rosenbaum - 217.60 points
2. Ryan Dadoun - 199.10
3. Steve Lampert - 181.20
4. Michael Finewax - 175.40
5. Kevin Brown - 164.60
6. Corey Abbott - 163.10
7. Marty York - 161.20
8. Jimmy Hascup - 160.10
9. Corey Griffin - 159.50
10. My terrible team - 137.10
Well, the postseason is going almost as poorly as possible for my merry band of misfits. I can’t say I’m shocked that my Minnesota Wild value gamble failed, but I am surprised by how completely Chicago has neutralized the team’s top trio (Zach Parise has one goal, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter lack a single point).
While my top investment team (Los Angeles Kings) could very well advance, every game against the Blues has been a low-scoring “battle of inches.” I also made a big investment in Carey Price (ouch) and a smaller one in Vancouver (sheesh), while none of my backup goalie gambles seem to be panning out.
Despite the floptastic results, I still think that strong playoff pool teams depend upon investing in specific, value-friendly teams. The format also puts a ton of emphasis on goaltending, but you probably already knew that.
(Delve deeper into the draft in the first Weekly Dose of 2013.)
Looking at the top three teams, Rosenbaum’s great start can be attributed to strong Bruins (Krejci, Nathan Horton), top Sharks (Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski) and Jonathan Quick. If I had to pick one deciding factor driving Dadoun’s team, it’s the strong work of the Islanders so far (see, gambling on lower seeds can work). Finally, Lampert’s biggest success seems to be Antti Niemi, who will safely play in round two.
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