Tuesday, January 6, 2004 Updated: January 13, 10:59 AM ET
Hard Hits: Scouring the waiver wire
By Chris Nichols
Another year has come and gone.
Thankfully, the first week of the year has been jammed with entertainment for us: A hot, drunken pop star's mistaken Las Vegas marriage that was annulled faster than a basketball player's ex-wife can deposit those alimony checks; a croc hunter who carried Take Your Child to Work Day a little too far; and finally, a woman claims she "lost" a lotto ticket that would have won her 162M. Yeah ... hey, I had a couple of Super Bowl tickets, but I lost them. Can someone comp me, please? I really had them - honest. They were at the 50-yard line ... about 10 rows from the field.
Anyway, hopefully the rest of the fantasy season can be as bountiful for you as this latest crop of entertaining headlines. If you pay your dues and scour the waiver wire, there could still be a few treats left to help you salvage your season.
PUCK STOPPERS NEEDED
Garth Snow has been one of the most added players over the past few weeks. His season stats (2.60 GAA & .905 SA %) are nothing special to look at, but he certainly had a December to remember. Young stud Rick DiPietro had been struggling and the veteran Snow took the reigns, compiling a 9-4-0 record with a 2.15 GAA & 9.21 SA%. Can his success last? It's hard to say, mostly because the Isles are as manic-depressive as a team can be these days. One thing to keep in mind with Snow as compared with any other "Treat of the Week" goalie is that last season, Snow had a tremendous second half that propelled many fantasy leaguers to victory in the stretch drive. After the 2003 All-Star break he had a so-so 11-9-4 record, but had a stellar 2.21 GAA & .928 SA%.
Miikka Kiprusoff had been taking many fantasy teams to glory with an 11-3-2 record since joining the Flames (1.49 GAA & .941 SA%). When it was announced last week that he was going to be sidelined indefinitely with a sprained MCL in his left knee, you could hear the collective "AAARRRGGHHH" from Kipper owners across the land. Jamie McLennan will get starts in the short-term (He collected his fourth shutout of the season Monday night against the Rangers), while Roman Turek's return from his knee injury is right around the corner. As an added dagger for Kipper owners, Kiprusoff was named Defensive Player of the Month for December. Easy come, easy go.
A few other goalies that could provide a stop-gap for your team include: Brian Boucher (Three straight shutouts and going for No. 4 against Washington Wednesday); Jussi Markkanen (Before getting bombed Monday against the Flames, He was 3-2-0 in his past five starts and had allowed only one goal in four of those five games); Curtis Joseph (Shutout Monday and 8-2-1 in his past 11GP) continues to get starts in place of Dominik Hasek and his ailing groin (When Dom will actually play is anyone's guess, as his return date is continually pushed back).
Finally in net, San Jose and Edmonton are both seeing their veteran goalies rise to the occasion. Evgeni Nabokov and Tommy Salo had both been struggling mightily before they got injured and Vesa Toskala and Ty Conklin stepped in to fill their shoes quite capably. However, both vets have been playing well lately and have taken back their starting roles: Nabokov is currently on a 6-2-2 run that has taken his team to the top of their division; Salo has been sharp lately (Only 2-3-1, but with only 12 goals against in that stretch. Be mindful that the Oilers are currently on a tough Eastern road trip, so recommending a start is tough to do).
DON'T GET SO DEFENSIVE!
On defense, it can be hard to find a guy that can give you a PIM boost without hurting your +/- and can still actually chip in a point or two. Enter Barret Jackman. Or at least, this is where Barret Jackman would have entered if he hadn't have gotten hurt yet again on Monday night. Jackman has missed a lot of time with a shoulder injury this season, but he had just returned to action on Saturday. If he's out for a long time with this latest injury, forget him. But if it's a short-term precautionary move by the Blues and Jackman will return before too long, keep him in mind for PIM's and a little something in each of the other categories.
Among other D-men that could be of some use to you for awhile: Greg DeVries is +14 with five points in his past 14GP. Dimitri Kalinin has been a nice surprise over the last month (Seven points in his past 13GP); Andrei Markov has a sore hip and is day-to-day, but he may finally be coming alive in the points department (Five points in 10GP); Niklas Havelid is worth grabbing in Anaheim with Sandis Ozolinsh on the shelf for several months; Bryan Berard returned to action after a lengthy layoff due to a groin injury; Marek Zidlicky went through a real dry stretch after his torrid start, but has returned to his point-scoring ways of late (Five points in his past 5GP);
SCORING PUNCH Peter Forsberg owners finally got their man back after the Christmas break and while he only had one point in his first three games, he's piled up five in his past two games. Teammate Paul Kariya is due back tonight against Columbus and his return should spell a nice second half for Teemu Selanne (11G, 13A, +11); get the Finnish Flash while you can at a discount, before his value goes up.
Some other forwards making headlines include: Scott Walker (He's been playing well for Nashville lately 5G, 7A in 10GP); Miroslav Satan (8G, 4A and +6 in 10GP, which is great news for Satan owners that were patient with his horrible start to the season); Mike Comrie (5 points in 5GP, but don't expect a point-per-game the rest of the way - sell high if you can); Bobby Holik (Tremendous rebound season with 11G, 16A, +15, 58 PIM's and 96 SOG in 39 GP); Petr Nedved (Nine points, 20 PIM's in his past 13GP); Alexei Zhamnov (Returned from injury and has points in all three games; but you'd better grab him and use him before he gets hurt again, like usual); Nik Antropov (Eight points in his past 9GP); Ronald Petrovicky (6G in his past 7GP, plus 28 PIM's); and finally Jozef Stumpel (His usual steady assist self, with 8A in his last 14GP with a +5 rating).
In addition to writing a column for us each week, Chris also pens a fantasy piece for Slam! Hockey every Friday and a daily advice column that runs during the week. His other job is with McKeenshockey.com, where he writes the daily NHL News & Notes section for the subscription-based service.