What’s the new dirty word in hockey? The c-word.
Given Sidney Crosby’s current state of affairs, the concussion is officially the injury that no one wants a part of. If a player was hit in the head and he leaves the game, everyone mentions the c-word. Perhaps the team won’t call it that, but if it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
A two-game break for precautionary reasons? I’m not buying it. After experiencing the feel-good story of the year, we’re back to where we were before. I don’t mean to sound negative, but the NHL needs its prime drawing card healthy. I just hope that the NHL’s current leading scorer, Claude Giroux, isn’t sidelined very long. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t watch a hockey game anymore and worry that one of my favorite players is going to get knocked in the head somehow.
It pains me to say that you need to bench Crosby and Giroux on Tuesday, so who should you start on a Tuesday in which 24 teams are in action?
Kyle Brodziak, C, MIN – add/start
One of the most difficult questions to answer this season is, why are the Minnesota Wild at the top of the standings? One reason is Brodziak, whose recent production is becoming harder to ignore. Brodziak – not Dany Heatley or Mikko Koivu – currently leads the Wild with ten goals. Brodziak has four goals and six points in five games this month. Add him? Sure, why not. Like his Wild team, don’t expect this to last all season.
Nick Foligno, RW, OTT – add/start
I jeered Foligno on Saturday after his hits on Cody Hodgson and Ryan Kesler, but now I’m looking at adding him! Such is life in fantasy hockey. The once-subdued Foligno racked up 17 PIM in that feisty affair with the Canucks, a team that snapped his three-game goal streak and six-game point streak. The Canucks aren’t the only team that Foligno has aggravated recently, as he has penalty minutes in eight of his last nine games. What does that mean? Count on the son of Mike Foligno to contribute something on Tuesday against dad’s former team, the Sabres.
Kurtis Foster, D, NJ – add/start
Foster never seemed to receive his opportunity with the Ducks as a healthy scratch numerous times. Now he has his opportunity in Jersey, with two regular blueliners sidelined (Matt Greene and Anton Volchenkov) and a power play that ranks 26th in the league. I know I was wrong about him earlier in the season, but leaguers with 5+ defensemen could do worse than adding the offensively-minded Foster.
Richard Bachman, G, DAL – add/start
Fresh off a 26-save 2-1 win in his NHL debut on Saturday, Bachman will hope to take care of business again in his second NHL game. The former lead singer of BTO, I mean, former Texas Star, will be in tough against an improved Rangers team, but he is certainly a more suitable option than Steve Mason if you are trolling the wire looking for a goalie on Tuesday. If Bachman shows us that we ain’t seen nothing yet, expect the Stars to give him plenty of work while Kari Lehtonen is still on IR.
Jaroslav Spacek, D, CAR – watch
Spacek was the other player in the Tomas Kaberle trade; a less polarizing player with less offensive upside yet more defensive ability. Spacek earned two assists in 19 minutes of icetime in his Hurricanes debut on Friday against Winnipeg. He has shown some offensive flair in the past (45 points in 2008-09), so it will be interesting to see if his arrival and the coaching change can help turn around a Canes’ season gone horribly wrong.
Drew Doughty, D, LA – start
The major hockey news (aside from the latest on Crosby) was the Kings’ firing of coach Terry Murray. Certainly the addition of John Stevens as coach should improve Doughty’s numbers; after all, could they be any worse? A player tabbed to be a top-5 blueliner this season, Doughty has just two goals, eight points, and a (-4) in 22 games. Number 8’s contract holdout put him behind the 8-ball to start the season, and he simply couldn’t recover. The Kings will find themselves and so will Doughty, but I’m starting to think he’s a tad overrated in fantasy leagues.