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Ice Chips: Time is Running Out

March 27, 2009 | By Steven Ovadia | comment on this post
martin_gerber
Has Martin Gerber’s suspension left you short in the goaltender department this week?

The playoffs are within our sight. They’re not in the sight of a lot of NHL teams, but that’s not really our problem.

The next week or so represents our last chance to save our fantasy seasons. It’s our last chance to break out into the league lead. And for some, I’m told, it’s the last chance to avoid the humiliation of finishing last.

Make no mistakes about it — this is a huge time of year for many of us.

For instance, a lot of people desperate for goaltending went after Toronto’s Martin Gerber, who many predicted would end the NHL season playing in Europe. But Gerber has been decent in Toronto, with a 2.89 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Gerber was a nice pick-up. Until he shoved a goalie and earned himself a three-game suspension, that is. So now, in the twilight of our season, Gerber isn’t available.

One goalie who is flying a bit under the radar that could help you now, however, is Brian Elliot of the Senators. While his club rookie record eight-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday, Elliot still looked extremely sharp in that game, saving 28 of 30 shots directed at him. In a season that has been an unmitigated disaster in Ottawa, Elliot’s emergence has been a bright spot.

This time of year is like the final 15 minutes before last call. You’re going to grab what’s available and not ask too many questions. That’s why I suspect a lot of people who despise Sean Avery have claimed him for their teams. In 11 games for the Rangers, Avery’s put up four goals and four assists. He’s even a +1 for New York. They’re decent numbers. Decent enough that you can’t really afford to take a moral stand. Sloppy seconds it is!

And truthfully, I’m always surprised to see who’s available in certain leagues. Alex Tanguay is still on the wire in a lot of leagues. And he’s been hot lately, with three goals and five assists in his last four games. And really, isn’t it nice to see something going well in Montreal? Because this time next week, the Habs might not even be in the playoffs.

And how is Kris Versteeg still available anywhere? He’s in an awful five-game pointless streak, but he still has 49 points on the season. And the longer he goes pointless, the more you have to figure he’s due.

If you’re really desperate, I kind of like Tuomo Ruutu. He’s got 50 points on the season and while his reputation is more grit than finesse, he still manages to put up some numbers. And the numbers might be better than existing forwards on your roster.

The Week Ahead

  • Saturday, Buffalo takes on Montreal. While a Buffalo win isn’t enough to propel the Sabres into the playoffs, it would certainly help their last-second push.
  • Sunday, Vancouver plays Chicago. The winner of that game will probably still end up playing the loser in the first round of the playoffs. There’s a certain serenity to being the four/five seed.
  • Monday, the Sharks play the Flames. It’s just a tune-up for the playoffs where I’m guessing both teams will go deep.

The Hockey Blog

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