Right now, nobody in your league will touch an Ottawa player with a 10-foot pole. However, with the team’s inspired efforts in front of rookie goaltender Brian Elliott, now is the time for you to play the role of vulture and pick at this carcass to see if there’s any meat left.
Naturally, it’s not a goaltender’s job to score goals, but a team confident in front of its goaltender is a loose team. The difference is subtle, but the impact is not. A winger lingers for that extra half second in the offensive zone. A defenseman chips in at the blue line one or two more times per game. A centerman makes that daring pass he may have been afraid to do before. Add it all up and you have a team scoring an extra goal-and-a-half per game.
The Senators are the perfect opportunity for those of you with a fourth- or fifth-place team to make a “Hail Mary” play that could sink you to eighth or ninth or push you into contention.
Are the Senators really this bad? Thirteenth in the conference and 28th in the league? Of course not.
It’s likely the Sens are better than we thought and could make a post-All-Star Game push for the post-season. It’s also conceivable they could fall short of the playoffs, but what is inconceivable is this team could wind up with a legitimate shot at John Tavares and Victor Hedman at this summer’s entry draft.
Elliott is 3-1-1 and has allowed just 11 goals since getting the call from Binghamton earlier this month. He has impressed enough for the team to waive Martin Gerber. Ottawa will sink or swim with the youngster and so far it looks like they’re doing the backstroke. No team in the NHL has 38 games left to play except the Sens and it wouldn’t surprise me if Elliott started 34 of them. And with more games left on the schedule than anyone, there is more time to score goals.
Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson are no doubt on a team in your league, but their owners will absolutely be sour. Now is the time for you to come in with your pitch. At worst, any one member of the trio will continue to hover around the point-per-game mark. The upside is these are 100-point players and they will get back to that pace or greater.
Similarly, there is a good chance Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher are sitting on the waiver wire. Vermette has already found his touch, garnering 10 points in his last 10 games.
Unless you are winning or rebuilding, now is the time to roll the dice and get your team moving significantly. Play your hunch. I’ll be playing mine – the Ottawa Senators…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: With both Milan Lucic and Phil Kessel out of the Boston lineup, Blake Wheeler has been capitalizing. He has six points in the seven games Lucic has missed so far. Lucic will be back in the Bruins lineup Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see if it impacts Wheeler’s role or if the rookie will continue rolling until Kessel comes back…It is looking likely Kris Versteeg will be a no-go for Wednesday’s game. The Blackhawks recalled Pascal Pelletier and Versteeg has an injury to his pinky finger that may be broken. The good news for the Hawks, however, is that top defenseman Duncan Keith (possible concussion) likely will play…
Farm Report: Boston’s first rounder (16th overall) this past summer, Joe Colborne is having a big season with the University of Denver. Once highly touted undrafted prospect Tyler Bozak went down, the 6-foot-5 Colborne was thrust into the limelight and hasn’t disappointed. The 18-year-old has 20 points in 25 NCAA contests as a freshman. Another big season like this in 2009-10 and the Bruins will have him signed to play for them in 2010.
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