#1 Give 'em a Look
The pressure of wearing the ‘C’ for the Montreal Canadiens seemed to affect Brian Gionta to start the season as he began the year in a terrible slump with only one goal and three points in his first 13 games. But then he was moved off a line with the no-longer-effective Scott Gomez and onto the top line with Plekanec & Cammalleri and his troubles have vanished as he’s had 4+4=8 during a five game point streak. We always tell you to follow the shots if you’re searching for goals and Gionta is on pace for over 300 shots this year after averaging less than 250 over the last three years.
Others worth a look: Dan Cleary (Det – W), Brad Boyes (StL - RW), Ray Whitney (Phx – LW) and Anton Babchuk (Cgy – D)#2 Give 'em the Boot
Josh Bailey started the year strong as he had 3+3=6 in his first five games as the Islanders looked rejuvenated going 4-1-2 over their first seven games of the season. Well since then the Islanders have lost 11 in a row, fired their coach and Bailey is pointless with a minus-8 in his last 11. We don’t think a coaching change is going to fix what is a real mess on the Island and we expect that they’re going to struggle to score this year so finding alternatives to pretty much all your Islanders is a fantastic idea.
Others worth a boot: Tomas Kopecky (Chi – W), Kris Russell (Clb – D), Matt Taormina (NJ – D) and Brent Johnson (Pit – G)#3 Injury Concerns
A few key players have been hit with the injury bug lately... Andrei Markov suffered a knee injury on the weekend and is likely out for a few months, Vinny Lecavalier broke his hand but should be back in 4-5 weeks and Dustin Byfuglien left Wednesday’s game early with a leg injury but it doesn’t sound serious, so he shouldn’t be out too long.#4 Crease Conflicts
The goaltending situation in Atlanta has really split the fantasy community in two. There are those that believed that a veteran like Chris Mason and his solid .913 career sv% would come in and give the Thrashers the steady #1 goalie that they’ve been missing, for like, forever. And there were others that believe in the vast potential that the 23-year-old Ondrej Pavelec has displayed. Well so far this year its been Pavelec who’s been the steady one as he sports a stellar .928 sv% (although he can’t buy a win with a 1-4-2 record) and Mason has looked rattled giving up four our more goals in seven of his 13 appearances. But you don’t want to be relying on either of these guys if you don’t have to as Atlanta is, once again, a brutal defensive team giving up an average of 36.1 shots per game, the worst in the league.#5 Hit the Links
This week we’ll direct you to Darryl Dobbs’ latest fantasy hockey article over at The Hockey News as he tackles what is always the biggest question for fantasy GMs at the beginning of every season... “Can [insert surprisingly hot player’s name] keep it up?”... or “What’s wrong with [insert struggling star’s name]?”
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