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Fantasy Pool Look: Playoff poolies – start your engines!

If you picked up last week's edition of The Hockey News, you already have a nice little playoff pool primer.

It details anyone worth drafting on each team, as well as general, high-level tips to keep in mind when drafting.

My own website has information supplemental to that.

If you did pick up last week's issue, I have an article in magazine that essentially states rookies are a no-no, generally speaking. Draft them with caution, if at all.

That being said, the regular season is now behind us, and from Wednesday through Sunday poolies around the world will be gathered around the living room or local watering hole (or computer, in this day and age) to take another stab at that elusive playoff hockey pool title.

I will not be reiterating the tips given in the aforementioned pool primer here. What I will do, however, is try and fill your head with as much ‘extra' knowledge as I can get for you. All I ask? A measly 10 per cent.

Seriously, though, keep the following in mind at the draft table:

1)Ottawa scratched Tyler Arnason last game. He didn't even get a chance to play with Havlat (which would be money in the bank for points) to show what he is truly capable of offensively. The word is that Arnason may not even play at the start of the playoffs! If you are in a pool with a group of people that are a little lax in their general hockey knowledge, then let them pick him up – he'll likely be overrated. He is worth a late flyer though, if you can sneak him in one of the later rounds.

2)If you find yourself with a few Colorado players, than pick up Wojtek Wolski in one of your last two or three rounds. He will be joining the team for the playoffs, as his Ontario Hockey League team, the Brampton Battalion, was just eliminated by the Barrie Colts.

3)Some people have thrown around Cristobal Huet's name as the most likely candidate to be the next Mikka Kiprusoff. An unproven goalie who picks up the team partway through the season, carries them into the playoffs and all the way to the final. A more likely candidate in my books is Nashville's Chris Mason. Mason is playing very well, having won five in a row, and posting a GAA of under 1.00. Huet, on the other hand, has had a bit of a challenge to his status as the starter for Montreal. David Aebischer, the supposed backup, has won four of his last five.

4)Move Bill Guerin up your draft list. He had seven points in seven games heading into the Olympic break, and 11 in 15 prior to an eye injury that kept him out of 11 games. Guerin is not a 40-point player, he is a 60-point player at this stage in his career. He is now healthy, and has four points in his last four starts. Treat him on your list as if he had 60 points in 80 games this year. Since he actually garnered 40 points on the season, he'll be a steal in the middle rounds if you like Dallas.

5)With all the Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Thornton hype in San Jose, Nils Ekman has gone unnoticed. If you like the Sharks to go a couple of rounds, Ekman would be a nice middle round pick up. He finished with 57 points this season, but what some poolies may not know is that he began the year with seven points in 29 games. That's 50 points in 48 games. What Thornton touches turns to gold, and right now his passes are touching Ekman's stick, as well as Cheechoo's.

6)Anaheim's Chris Kunitz has been benefiting from playing on a line with Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald. He has 15 points in his last 14 games. Another steal.

Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Steve Konowalchuk may be available for the second round, if Colorado gets there. The 33-year-old missed the better part of the season with a wrist injury, and would put up about a point every two gamesÂ…Erik Cole could rejoin Carolina by the third round (again, if they get there)Â…Marek Zidlicky is in danger of missing the entire first round for Nashville. His shoulder is healing very slowlyÂ…Steve Sullivan's groin is also healing quite slowly. He may begin the first round playing hurt for Nashville, if he plays at allÂ…Buffalo's Jochen Hecht tried to practice recently, but his knee had not yet recovered. He'll likely miss three or four games for the Sabres before he can get back into the lineup.

Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Hockey Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Also, get the top 250 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN's Fantasy section.

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