Kukla's Korner

The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

Fantasy Hockey/Kukla’s Korner League Midterm Report

Let’s study the secrets of the success of… a third-place team.

Okay, so it’s not first place. But it is a 16-team league. And a team that has rattled off ten consecutive wins in head-to-head league competition, following three consecutive losses to start the season.

There is probably no better time than the All-Star break to assess the situation of your fantasy team. That is what I intend to do while I provide my midterm report for the fantasyhockey.com/Kukla’s Korner League midterm results.

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Pick Six: Tuesday January 24

A total of 26 teams are in action on Tuesday – all teams except Carolina, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Montreal. Detroit and Montreal are the only two teams playing on Wednesday, which is the last day before the All-Star break. Plan accordingly.

ESPN and Yahoo leagues are all operating under extended weeks, so there should be no worry about a three-day week in most formats. However, one CBS league I play in (and a money league at that) is operating on a three-day week, for some strange reason (hello Commissioner Jack?) Check your league settings to be sure.

Oh yeah, wasn’t there something about an Alex Ovechkin suspension that got lost in the Thomas-gate scandal? Don’t forget to bench Ovie for tomorrow’s game, although his three-game suspension won’t affect his status for the All-Star Game (would the NHL really do that?)

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Pick Six: Saturday January 21

Saturday shapes up to be one of the busiest nights of the week, with only Pittsburgh and Washington not in action that day. Those two teams return to action on Sunday, facing each other in NBC’s game of the week. Anaheim, Boston, Colorado, and Philadelphia also play on Sunday, meaning that those four teams are the only four that play both Saturday and Sunday.

As per usual, here are six players to take notice of in the world of fantasy hockey…

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  Tags: andrew+shaw, brandon+yip, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, joffrey+lupul, jonas+hiller, peter+mueller, pick+six, the+goods, viktor+stalberg

Pick Six: Thursday January 19

There will be no lengthy introduction for the Pick Six for Thursday, since I am feeling under the weather right now. A few people I know believe that my current condition was brought on by my attending the Canucks/Kings game last night – a game I enjoyed watching even though my Canucks lost in a shootout.

Speaking of sickness, this Pick Six includes two players from a team that is clearly not well right now – the Buffalo Sabres. It will be interesting to see if long-time coach Lindy Ruff makes it through the week, let alone the season.

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Pick Six: Tuesday January 17

Before I list the six picks for Tuesday, a day in which we see 11 games on the schedule, I’d like to congratulate a great friend in fantasy hockey on the five-year anniversary of his site.

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Pick Six: Saturday January 14

Thursday’s Mike Cammalleri/Rene Bourque trade is an interesting deal on many different levels, including from a numbers perspective. Calgary seemed to be the consensus winner of the deal, since the Flames will receive the player who is viewed as more talented. Or is he?

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Pick Six: Thursday January 12

There are 11 games on the schedule for Thursday, including a matchup that will perhaps make the Boston Bruins forget all about those evil Vancouver Canucks.

If you’re like me, then you’re probably growing weary of the hair-pulling and name calling that is still going on between Boston and Vancouver players, coaches, general managers, and media. I mean, this game took place last Saturday. It’s just Game 42 on the schedule. Let it go, okay? How has your fantasy team been doing in the meantime?

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Pick Six: Tuesday January 10

No team has been snakebitten more than the Pittsburgh Penguins when it comes to injuries this season.

As if the Sidney Crosby concussion watch wasn’t enough. Kris Letang has been dealing with his own concussion for several weeks. Then on Saturday, both Jordan Staal and James Neal suffered injuries that will keep them out of the lineup for several weeks. So when does it all end? Of course, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury will need to carry the Pens on their shoulders, although it would be another testament to the fine coaching of Dan Bylsma if they continued to play .500 hockey with all these injuries.

There’s at least one player who will log a ton of minutes with these injuries, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more. This player is on the Pick Six for Tuesday, a day in which all but four teams (Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Washington) are in action.

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Pick Six: Saturday January 7

Saturday will be an important day with many choices for fantasy owners, as the day features games involving all but four teams (Anaheim, Chicago, Florida, NY Rangers). Included on the schedule is the one and only Stanley Cup Final rematch of the season.

The game of the month happens to be on at 10 a.m. Vancouver time, so I am going to do something I have never done before:  go to my friend’s place to watch a hockey game that will be finished before we eat lunch. The reason for the early start time could be that the schedule is created prior to the Stanley Cup Final, or the reason could be that a game this important should not conflict with NFL Wild Card Weekend. Either way, the NHL is missing out on a glorious opportunity to promote a game featuring last year’s Stanley Cup finalists, who are two teams at or near the top of their respective conferences this season, and are two teams that have developed a strong dislike for each other.

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Pick Six: Thursday January 5

What were you doing when you found out that the score was 5-1 Russia at the World Junior semifinal on Tuesday? 6-1? I have to admit: I gave my son a bath, read him a story, and put him to bed.

When it seems like it’s over in Canada/Russia World Junior games, it ain’t over. Canada learned that lesson holding a 3-0 lead heading into the third period of the 2011 gold medal game, and we all remember the Mark Visentin collapse. As well, hockey fans from both sides of the border can remember the 2010 gold medal game, when both the Canadian and American starting goalies were pulled. No matter which goalie is in net during World Junior games, no lead is safe. Therefore, when it comes to medal round games, I’m picking all shooters and no goalies in my pool.

So sharing the spotlight with Russia and Sweden (and Canada/Finland for bronze) on Thursday will be 18 NHL teams. Which players deserve our attention?

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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.

A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.

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