Scott Pianowski

Red-Light District: Odds and sods

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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I'm off to see The Who tonight (only three decades late on that one), and with that in mind, here's a quick one for the hockey peeps, a tribute to the band tied to a handful of hockey nuggets.

The Real Me: When a proven goal scorer gets off to a slow start, there's only one stat I look at: shots on goal. If that number is in a good place, I'm confident the goals will come; put another way, a sniper with a low shooting percentage (but plenty of shots) is not unlike the established baseball hitter with a low BABIP. So please come in off the ledge if you're worried about any of the Penguins stars, or Chris Drury, or Jonathan Toews. (Exception to this rule - some guys never get goals no matter how much they shoot, it's in their career resume. Call it the Scott Gomez principle. I'm sure you can tell the difference.)

The Seeker: The position-eligibility game is an important one for any fantasy owner to play, and I'm here to help. Head to your Yahoo! League page and then click these three things in succession: Players, NHL Roster Changes, Position Eligibility. Once there, you discover nifty things such as Johan Franzen's new right wing eligibility or Patrick Sharp adding the center tag.

Substitute: Starting goalies in trouble and backup goalies pushing them, that's arguably the most important thing to watch in fantasy hockey. The most buzz-worthy No. 2s of the moment are Antero Niittymaki, Alex Auld, Andrew Raycroft, Michael Leighton and whoever you view to be the backup in Boston (I'll keep betting on Tim Thomas until they make me stop). All of these netminders play on legitimate playoff contenders, and keep in mind this is a context position above all else.

Eminence Front: Todd Bertuzzi has those five pretty goals (and three markers on the power play), but there's no way I'm making a long-term investment on him. The crazy shooting percentage will eventually play itself down, and you know all about the volatility he brings, on the ice and off. It's easy to say "sell high" but I don't know what your market is. Maybe there's a diehard Calgary fan in your pool that wants to believe, but I know a put-on when I see it.

Join Together: The Blues won't be able to keep up their insane success on the power play, but I'm not surprised slick playmakers like Paul Kariya and Andy McDonald are making smart decisions, and we've always known Keith Tkachuk and Brad Boyes can finish a play. This is a far better club than advertised, and Manny Legace will go down as one of the biggest goaltending bargains of the year.

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