Pick Six: Thursday December 15

12/15/2011 1:50 AM -  Ian Gooding

I have plenty of choices for the headline for this edition of the Pick Six.

The concussion epidemic? Already covered it, although you can add Milan Michalek, Jeff Skinner, and Joni Pitkanen to the growing list.

The first episode of 24/7? Haven’t watched it yet, although I’ve saved it on the PVR and plan to watch it ASAP.

The classy comment from Dave Bolland? Sure, I have an opinion. But I’ll probably sound like a Canucks homer if I share it here.

No, I’m going to save my headline for a good friend of mine, Steven Ives.

Do hockey writers check out the columns of other hockey writers? Absolutely. Steve, who I have worked with on the Weekly Slapshot Podcast in the past, writes his own article for Blog Dudes, which you can check out here. Steve is one of the funniest hockey writers around – someone who reminds me that it’s important to enjoy writing. If you can’t have fun when writing these articles – or reading them, for that matter – then you should be doing something else with your time.

So hopefully I enjoy writing the Pick Six for Thursday, and hopefully you enjoy reading it.

Erik Cole, RW, MON – start
I don’t know what kind of direction the Habs are taking right now with their collection of second-line forwards. So you’ll have to excuse me if I didn’t get overly excited over the Cole signing earlier this summer. However, Cole has goals in three consecutive games and will be counted on even more with the recent injury to Brian Gionta. Don’t be surprised if he reaches 25 goals and 50 points again.

Nikita Nikitin, D, CBJ – add/start
No one in fantasy leagues likely cared when Nikitin was shipped from the Blues to the Blue Jackets for Kris Russell earlier this season. But to the surprise of many, Nikitin has supplied exactly what the struggling Jackets needed at the time. All he has done since the trade is score 10 points in 15 games, along with some first-unit power play time. Although he didn’t score a point on Tuesday against Vancouver, he racked up 25 minutes of icetime – a strong indicator of where he stands in the Columbus system.

Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI – add/start
Who knew the player that could benefit most from Claude Giroux’s injury, incurred from an accidental collision with Simmonds, could be Simmonds himself. The power forward has goals in three consecutive games with five points in his last three games. There’s no way Simmonds will score at a Giroux-like pace, but Simmonds could provide an added element that Giroux doesn’t: penalty minutes.

Antti Miettinen, RW, WPG – watch
Miettinen appeared to be a better fit with the team that originally signed him, the Lightning, as he looked to fill in for the injured Martin St. Louis. As it stands, Mittens is a low second-line, high third-line option who is best suited for deeper leagues. Still, the Jets have an offense that is surprisingly in the top half of the league, which makes the former Star/Wild worth watching.

Steve Mason, G, CBJ – watch
In my last column, I hinted that Mason wouldn’t be such a strong play after his month-long sabbatical. But 30 saves and a shootout win later, he looks like the rising star who won the Calder Trophy in 2008-09. Granted, it’s only one start, so I’m not jumping back on the Mason bandwagon. Mason could start Thursday against a struggling Kings team, but there has been no definitive word as of the time of this writing. If his hot play extends beyond one game, however, he won’t last long on the waiver wire.

Teddy Purcell, RW, TB – bench
Purcell was a solid breakout forward last season with 51 points. However, he has only five goals this season, along with no points and a (-4) in last five games. Maybe he’s the guy who benefits from the Martin St. Louis injury. But this year’s numbers suggest that Purcell is hardly a candidate for fantasy rosters that aren’t anything but deep.

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