The NHL All-Star Break is a spectacle to watch. The best-of-the-best (except Crosby, who always has an excuse, and then all the players that got snubbed of course… I mean really, sometimes it seems as political as the academy awards) play each other for what tends to be an action packed game with tons of scoring and some more humorous parts as well. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for those of us with goalies playing in the NHL All-Star Game, stats from this game don’t count for most fantasy hockey leagues. So think of the NHL All-Star Break as a Fantasy Hockey Break. So what should you do with your fantasy hockey team during the week of the NHL All-Star Break? Below are some things to keep in mind during this anomaly in your fantasy hockey schedule.
The Long Week:
In most fantasy hockey leagues, the week before and after the NHL All-Star Break are combined into one long matchup in head-to-head leagues. Weeks that are long or short require slight modifications in strategy to be truly successful. I addressed techniques that can help you be successful in these situations in an article during a past anomaly week, the short Thanksgiving week found here.
Goalie Hangover Part 2:
Just like during the NHL Xmas Shutdown, the NHL All-Star Break tends to screw with goalies rhythms. More often than not goalies have a little rust the first game or two after any break (such as after the xmas break explained here) and the NHL All-Star Break is not different. Even if you happen to have a goalie that is playing in the NHL All-Star Game it is slightly more likely than normal that he will have a bad first game once the NHL season resumes. This is largely due to a break in routine of their training and the more lackadaisical play during the NHL All-Star Game. That is not to say players don’t try during the NHL All-Star Game, there are just many more errors in play as all the players are being put into new coaching systems and have little time to practice with the new systems or their new teammates. So when it comes to choosing your starting goalies in fantasy hockey after the NHL All-Star Break, look and see how your goalies have done historically after breaks before you chose your lineup for the day.
The Winning Deal:
For those of us still in the playoff race in our respective fantasy hockey leagues, the NHL All-Star Break is a great time to stop and take inventory of your roster, as there are no daily roster lineups changes to distract you, and figure out what you still need to not only make the playoffs but to bring home the championship. The pause in fantasy hockey play caused by the NHL All-Star Break should allow you optimal time to try and persuade your fellow GMs into a trade deal that will make this year your championship to lose.
And for those of us that all hope seems lost on this fantasy hockey season, the NHL All-Star Break signals that point of no return. If you don’t find yourself in a playoff spot at this point, in most fantasy hockey leagues you will either find yourself limping into the playoffs after a hard fought race for the final seed just to be obliterated in the first round or all your further attempts to make the playoffs will be futile and you won’t make it anyway. So perhaps it is time to just except it for what it is and plan for next year (if you are in a dynasty league). If you are not in a dynasty league you might as well just try something new and see if it works. For those in dynasty leagues it is time to partake in the age old cleaning house tradition of all losing GMs. Retain only the best most reliable players for next year in keeper leagues, and the rest try and sell to the highest bidder. The more high draft picks you can receive the better your chances of a quick turnaround in following seasons will be. But don’t just dump all your players to any bidder, you have to be strategic or else you may be helping somebody be able to crush you in subsequent seasons. Try and trade to people in other divisions if you play in a divisional format as this won’t make your closest opponents (divisional rivals) have a leg up on you for next season. Or trade to other GMs that will probably not claim the dealt player as a keeper next season that way you could potentially get the player back during the draft if they are still a decent player. Every team needs something for the future and it’s up to you to initiate that path you think is best for your team’s future success.
Cover Photo by: bluejackets.nhl.com