Kukla's Korner

The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

The Wings Fly Away Early, Other West Powers Next?

Even though the majority of experts picked Nashville to defeat Detroit, the Red Wings were easily the sexier team when it came to playoff pools. On paper, the Predators don’t possess the equivalent of the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, or even Johan Franzen. In addition, it’s difficult to pass up on Nicklas Lidstrom in any playoff pool, for all that he has accomplished in his career. But will be strange not seeing the Red Wings in their usual spot in the second round of the playoffs.

On that note, did anyone else (other than Gary Bettman) pick Nashville, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Los Angeles to be the Western Conference teams to advance to the second round? It’s fair to say that I liked the talent and experience of Detroit, San Jose, Chicago, and Vancouver, so my two playoff pool entries are paying the price for my glaring lack of foresight. That being said, recent playoff history suggests that 3-1 series deficits are not insurmountable, while even more recent playoff history has suggested that the 3-0 series deficit recently held by the Canucks is very difficult – but not impossible – to overcome.

Datsyuk and Zetterberg performed reasonably in their brief playoff stints (3 points each), but Z will be more remembered for being on the receiving end of a Shea Weber headshot that unfortunately didn’t result in a suspension. If this is Lidstrom’s last postseason, he won’t go out on top with either a championship or on the scoresheet, failing to record a point in five games. But in fairness, Brad Stuart was the Wings’ d-man that struggled the most this series, as he was tagged with a (-5) for the series while being on the ice for more than his share of key goals.

However, full marks are in order for the Preds and their second playoff series victory, particularly the out-of-this-world play of goalie Pekka Rinne (1.81 GAA, .940 SV%). Shutting down the Red Wings is never an easy accomplishment, even if the Wings are on a slow decline. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are both must-owns in playoff pools that require defensemen, despite only two points combined in the series (both from Weber). Alexander Radulov and David Legwand are must-adds in playoff pools that allow transactions (such as this one over at Fantasy Postseason), while the very young and very unknown Gabriel Bourque (3 goals) is in the early running for the Chris Kontos/John Druce award for top out-of-nowhere playoff performer.

By the way, does anyone else want the Flyers/Penguins series to go seven games? It’s difficult not to like the video game-ish stats that the scorers on those teams have accumulated, although owning any of the goalies will no doubt erase many of your scoring gains.

For more of my thoughts on the playoffs (including the lengthy Torres suspension), you can follow me on Twitter.

Filed in: fantasy hockey, Ian Gooding, | The Goods on Fantasy Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, fantasy+hockey, nashville+predators, playoff+pools

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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.