I’m really beginning to hate concussions.  They are fantasy poison because the players eventual return is always a huge mystery.  And believe you me, it’s not going to get any better.  We’re in the early years of the concussion era in hockey.  The science of the brain (and brain injuries) has caught up and they are easy to diagnose now.  Plus players, coaches, trainers and medical staff are way more aware of the symptoms than they’ve ever been.  Bottom line, there will be alot more games missed due to concussions in the future.  Sidney Crosby is obviously the catalyst for this post, seeing as how his return is indefinite thanks to recurring concussion symptoms.  Claude Giroux just went down also, although this is his 1st time so maybe he’s back in 2 weeks like certain other players.  Or maybe he comes back a year from now?  That’s the problem with these brain battering injuries and why they are the greatest plague ever unleashed on fantasy hockey.

Richard Bachman – G (Dal):  I talked about the potential First Lady-Man of Michelle Bachman a couple days ago when he beat the Kings.  Well yesterday he got his 1st career Shutout against the Rangers and since taking over for Raycroft in the 3rd Period on December 8, Bachman has stopped 72 of 73 Shots.  As long as he’s the starter in Dallas you (us) Goalie starved teams need to try and make room for this Dick.

Tuuka Rask – G (Bos):  Last night’s Shutout is no surprise and there’s no point in getting analytical here, we all know Tuuka is a baad ass.  But we also know he’s on the same team as Tim Thomas, meaning 1 start (or less) per week is what you should expect…  I know I know, I’m sticking needles in my Tim Thomas voodoo doll too…

Jason Pominville – RW (Buf):  I’ve been waiting patiently for this guy to start slumping, but it just hasn’t happened yet.  It’s time to start considering the possibility that this could be his career year, meaning better numbers than his 2007-2008 season:  27G/53A/+16/232SOG.. As Al Bundy would say, “Hooter’s Hooter’s, Yum Yum Yum…”

Milan Michalek – LW/RW (Ott):  Goal #19 puts Michalek ALONE atop the NHL leaderboard, but it’ll be short lived.  He left the game with a UBI which could knock him out for a while. If this guy wins the Rocket Richard trophy (that’s Ree-shard, not Richard) I will run naked through the streets of Ottawa…

Tim Connolly – C (Tor):  2 Goals gives TC 6 on the year and he’s clearly a strong candidate for Waiver Wire All Star.  That’s if he can stay healthy enough to play 70+ games..  Ah who am I kidding of course he’ll get hurt..  Just be  prepared to drop him ASAP when he does.

James Reimer – G (Tor):  Make no mistake about it, the Toronto brain trust wants James Reimer to be THE MAN in net going forward.  Gustavsson is a backup and Burke knows it.  The only problem is I don’t think Reimer is ready this year.  Sure he’ll have games like yesterday (a W on just 1 Goal allowed) but those will be sprinkled in between a stretch of 11 Goals in 3 games (which he did in the 3 games prior to yesterday).

Lubomir Visnovsky – D (Ana):  There is a good chance Visnovsky returns tonight against the Coyotes so I thought I’d give ya’ll a heads up if you own him and he’s still on your IR.. And if you don’t own him go check your waiver wire and see if he was dropped.  Just 82% Yahoo ownership tells me you could get lucky.  It’s not every day last year’s top scoring Defensman is sitting there for free..

Danny Cleary – RW (Det):  “I can see Cleary now the rain is gone.  I can see all obstacles in my way…”  Naaaahhhh that song’s lame, I apologize.  Anyway Cleary is currently on a hot streak, which means at some point in the near future he’ll be colder than this guy

James Van Riemsdyk – LW (Phi):  Gets back on the board with 2 Assists after a 4 game goose-egg.  With the loss of Giroux (for who the hell knows how long) JVR could see a boost in production.

Steve Mason – G (CBJ):  Despite the menstrual cramps in the 3rd Period Mason looked amazing against a great Vancouver offense.  You know what else would be amazing though?  If you didn’t regret picking this guy up.  So, uh, don’t..

James Wisniewski – D (CBJ):  Is having a good year.

P.A. Parenteau – RW (NYI):  Is hot right now and was hot at the beginning of the season,  but bad Parent-eau went 15 games in the middle of the season where he had just 6 Points.  He’ll have another one of those stretches before April rolls around.

Niklas Backstrom – G (Min):  Has looked good since returning from injury and as long as he can stay on his skates, he will start the majority of Minny’s games.  I could see a huge 2nd half for this finny-fin.

Dan Boyle – D (SJ):  2 Goals last night and is really…. oh wait it was his 2nd Goal of the season?  Yeah I had low expectations for Boyle heading into this year and so far it’s justified.  If  you’re still treating him like a #1 Defenseman you need to upgrade your D.

  1. ringo says:
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    Nature of the sport I guess. Pretty much all North American sports are based on lesser forms of violence, also on winning/losing (no ties allowed). I would be interested if concussions are a problem for a sport like rugby though… Obviously philosophical changes in both the game and the way its policed could be huge (which they have been trying to do lately), but given how the NHL is the only league where fighting is permitted I don’t see that happening. The fact that all this science is coming out and they still permit 2 players the act of fighting each other is backwards. (Yet Bettman was going to suspend Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe for fighting each other, in a barn no less)…The only other alternative I can think of is an equipment change. I have heard science about how NFL and MLB helmets don’t provide enough protection, and that most players prefer to look good than play safe. Oh the vanity of athletes… I can only assume hockey players are the same.

  2. Navi says:
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    i don’t understand all the focus on fighting. although there have been concussions from people being knocked out in a fight, it rarely happens. most concussions are a product of questionable hits. i feel the speed of the game is another culprit. when you see two players collide at top speed the force i’m sure is alot more than a sport like football. that sport is played on solid ground so it limits how fast these players move. bottom line is that hockey is a brutal sport. put back the red lines and alter the equipment. the helmets appear useless.

  3. Z says:
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    On the concussion topic…I just made a trade to ACQUIRE a recently concussed player. I was already iffy about pulling the trigger and now Im more so, but I had to get Drew Doughty off my team. I traded away Doughty to get Mike Richards. I know its risky, but I just hate the way Doughty is playing right now. Either hes still a bit tentative after his concussion issues, or hes just happy collecting his huge paychecks. I have tried to trade him 5 or 6 times this year, and this one finally stuck. My league uses BLOCKS as a category (and PIMs), so I decided I can get the D stats I need from a tough guy / shot blocker type Dman off the waiver wire.

    Doughty for Richards. Thoughts?

  4. Navi says:
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    i just made a deal that saw (my) R. Miller and Burrows for D. Sedin and (G) N. Backstrom. couldnt pass up an elite stud like Sedin. Backstrom looks like he may have gained back some of that skill that made him a beast a few years back and Minny looks real solid. turns out it was a huge move seeing as how i just lost Giroux. =( Giroux and D. Sedin as my top 2 wingers. i was ready to make my move. hopefully Giroux comes back soon.

    i was questioned for making that deal but felt i was quietly fleecing my trade partner. any thoughts?

  5. Jethro says:
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    I love the Johnny Nash reference for Cleary……..The video is a classic!!!!!!!!!!!!……..Afro and bell-buttoms, a sweet look……….For Bachman, you said he took over for Enroth on Dec.8th…..Huh????

  6. Z says:
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    @ Navi Good trade. Miller and Backstrom may be about even going forward. Sedin and Burrows will not. Good trade.

  7. Mal says:
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    @Navi

    I think the focus on fighting is largely based on the in-depth article the NYT did on Boogaard. The fact that he had a degenerative brain disease at 28 (sadly only able to be detected after someone is deceased) was most likely caused by countless hours of fighting throughout his career. The focus on fighting in the AHL and lower leagues is being looked into, and a lot of people are wondering if it’s worth it.

    As far as concussions on regular hits, yes, they happen. But as you say, they can make improvements to helmets and other gear (and rules). Mark Messier has led a campaign to change helmet design. (http://themessierproject.com/) Getting players to start wearing them, though, is going to be about as effective as herding cats..

  8. DC

    DC says:
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    @ringo: Yeah but there will never be any safety equipment that can prevent the head from getting whipped back after two 200+ pound men hit each other going 15-20MPH.

    @Navi: Fighting is a part of hockey and will never go away plain and simple. It’s a vocal minority who keep the “get fighting out of hockey” meme going.

    @Z: I like the trade Doughty has completely lost my support. But like you said, trading for concussed players is as risky as it gets.

    @Navi: That’s a total fleecing nice work. Like I said I think Backstrom could have a huge 2nd half.

    @Jethro: Enroth, Raycroft… Is there really any difference? (I fixed it thanks for the heads up)

    @Mal: The perfect helmet will still only marginally help w/ concussions. At some point we have to just acknowledge the fact that playing professional hockey is a hazardous job and the atheltes involved are fairly compensated for it. End of story.

  9. Z says:
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    Thanx. I feel crappy about it, but my league has 3 IR spots…at least I can stash Richards. Ugh, I just watched 2 kings games in the last week and I was disgusted.

  10. GoPuck says:
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    Look at all the recent concussions, show me one that was caused from a fist during a fight?? Boogaard (may he rest in piece) was a great fighter and rarely even got hit in the head with a solid punch, his head trauma was caused by his aggressive playing style, mixed with his below average skating ability, and huge frame, so he not only missed alot of checks and go full speed into the glass, but he would stop himself by going back first into the glass all the time, whiplashing his head into the glass in the process, causing back,neck, and head trauma that left him in constant pain which led to his substance abuse issue, the real cause of his death.

    Little example:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT9OaLvxseg

  11. DC

    DC says:
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    @Z: Chin up you’ll be fine.

    @GoPuck: It’s a non-issue IMO, fighting ain’t going anywhere…

  12. Navi says:
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    @Z i made a deal for doughty last year but it almost seems as though his skills are deteriorating. that or he is done playing for LA. perhaps he doesn’t like sharing the spotlight with JJ? the deal last year paid off as he came on when i needed him but getting richards for him was not a bad deal at all. high risk, high reward. and sometimes that’s how you win championships.

    shame that richards got the concussion. it looked as though he was finally getting used to playing over there and putting up stats more in line with his name. hope he comes back big for you.

  13. ringo says:
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    @DC: Doesn’t it seem strange typing that? (It’s a non-issue IMO, fighting ain’t going anywhere…) I mean just reading that makes me think of Cavemen wielding clubs at each other over a dead carcas. (I know Marty McSorley would enjoy both) Possible origins of the NHL?

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