Thursday is a lukewarm busy day, with nine games on the schedule. However, some intriguing matchups are on the menu, including a meeting of the top two draft picks last season, and several well-known players who will be facing their former teams for the first time since being traded during the summer.
Much more importantly, Happy Remembrance Day to my Canadian readers, and Happy Veterans Day to those in the United States of America. On Friday, as well as every time you hear the national anthem before a game, take a moment to think about those who sacrificed their lives so that you could enjoy a life of freedom… and hockey.
Speaking of the palindrome date of 11-11-11, will we also remember the day for the return of one Sidney Crosby? We’ll have to wait and see.
Taylor Hall, LW, EDM – start
Despite an ankle injury that ended his season prematurely, Hall was the clear winner of Season 1 of the Taylor/Tyler battle (22 goals in 65 games). So far, his numbers are on pace to where they should be (nine points in 13 games), but only three of those points happen to be goals. Still, expect Taylor to put on a show in the second-ever NHL meeting between the first two picks in the 2010 draft.
Tyler Seguin, C, BOS – start
If Taylor was the winner of Season 1, then Tyler currently holds the lead in Season 2. After numerous healthy scratches last season, Seguin leads the Bruins with eight goals, 15 points, and a +11 – clearly the MVP for a team suffering from Stanley Cup hangover. Seguin is currently showing that he is the real deal and that he should be in all fantasy lineups right now.
Brent Burns, D, SJ – start
The Sharks and Wild enjoyed making deals over the summer, as Burns, Martin Havlat, Dany Heatley, and Devin Setoguchi all switched jerseys. All will be playing their first game against their former team on Thursday, but perhaps Burns will be the most fired up of the bunch. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Burns would be just fine with his former team losing every game (I love his ex-girlfriend analogy, by the way). Unfortunately, Burns hasn’t forced that will on other opponents, at least not offensively (five points and zero penalty minutes in 13 games).
Corey Crawford, G, CHI – start
Crawford hasn’t appeared to be well recently, having lost three of his past five games with a save percentage of .886, including six goals allowed to the hated Canucks on Sunday. But no matchup is better medicine for an ailing goalie than a date with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who Crawford faces on Thursday. The Jackets are currently dead last in the NHL with the league’s 26th-ranked offense. Get him in there.
Dustin Penner, LW, LA – bench
It’s probably zero surprise to you that the much-maligned Penner is mentioned as a player to bench. In case he was on your sleeper list, Penner has no goals and just three assists in 13 games this season. At least he has contributed 25 penalty minutes if you’ve had him on your roster all this time. As well, two of his three assists were in his last game against Nashville. But that’s about all there is to like here.
Jonas Gustavsson/Ben Scrivens, G, TOR – bench
If James Reimer is out much longer, the impatient Leafs’ fan base may be calling for Brian Burke to sign Marty Turco… or trade for Evgeni Nabokov… or talk Allan Bester out of retirement. At any rate, Leafs’ goaltenders have been great for fantasy teams with Bruins and Panthers players recently, yielding 12 goals over the past two games. Coach Ron Wilson will probably announce his starting goaltender after the morning skate as per usual, but you shouldn’t be waiting around to see how it would affect your fantasy team. The Leafs face a hungry Blues team on Thursday playing its second game under Ken Hitchcock.