The weeks of Xmas and New Year’s in most fantasy hockey leagues coincides with the halfway point of the season. The holiday weeks bring fantasy hockey players some interesting hurdles to think about as we set our lineups this holiday season. Below are some thoughts to keep in mind this upcoming week as we ring in the New Year.
Xmas Hiatus Hangover:
So you might not have been the only one to eat too much food the last couple days. NHL players are human too and as such partake in holiday traditions with their families. And I can almost guarantee some of those traditions include a little too much eggnog. Although the NHL Xmas shutdown is a much needed mental and physical break for NHL players, the resulting food coma could definitely cause some problems for your fantasy team. Goalies in particular are prone to poor performances after a break in play but some players show tendencies of slow rebounds from breaks as well. It’s hard to predict who will stumble in their return to NHL action after the Xmas shutdown so I’ll just say you should be prepared for some less than stellar appearances this coming week.
This is my favourite game of the NHL regular season. Nothing like bringing hockey back to its roots. However some teams and players tend to underwhelm while others overwhelm when put into the elements and spotlights of America’s outdoor sports venues. Neither the Washington Capitals nor Chicago Blackhawks have proven to be viable outdoor teams when compared to teams like the New York Rangers that have won all their 3 outdoor game appearances. The Capitals are unproven as they only have had one outdoor game appearance, but on a positive note they did win it. The Blackhawks have proven only to be inconsistent in the great outdoors, having lost by letting in 6 goals in 2009 and winning by scoring 5 times in last year’s stadium series matchup against the Penguins. So will the atmosphere of this year’s Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. effect the play of Hawks and Caps players? It’s yet again hard to predict but I recommend checking the weather before the game. If the weather seems extreme, it’s more likely that the game and the players will perform less predictably.
A New Beginning:
The Winter Classic will help hockey fans nationwide ring in the New Year. The New Year coincides with the beginning of the second half of most fantasy hockey seasons. It’s the perfect opportunity to make some drastic changes in strategy for those that find themselves outside of a playoff position. Although there seems to be tons of time left in the fantasy season, there are so many points available in most fantasy hockey leagues each week that if you are out of the playoff picture at this point it can be comparable to climbing a mountain. Teams on the outside looking in must play with a level of desperation as it will be hard to clinch those low seeded playoffs spots that may still be in reach. How I see it, if you’re on the outside looking in its time for drastic measures, but not time to call the season a wash.
Also key to success in the second half of the fantasy hockey season is the act of holding your players more accountable. At this point in the season the tendencies of players are well known and it’s hard to continue to stick behind the whole “I think he will turn it around” comments. Sure Mike Smith might finally catch his stride come March but if you keep him on your roster till then you won’t have any need for him as you will be sure to be missing the playoffs in your league. So in other words; if something isn’t right on your fantasy hockey team, don’t wait for it to fix itself. Stay vigilante with holding players accountable and add/drop accordingly and you could hold onto or move into playoff contention.
Cover Photo by: www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk