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NHL Fantasy Hockey: Sidney Crosby, Least Valuable Player for Week 6

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Let us pour one out for Devan Dubnyk, the much maligned Oilers goaltender and near constant presence in our weekly least-valuable players’ column. He certainly appears there again this week but his reign of terror may finally be over as there is a new sheriff in town, Ilya Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov signed with the Oilers this past week and figures to steal enough starts from Dubnyk to shut him out of the LVP rankings entirely. Of course, if you think this is a net loss (no pun intended) then you have clearly forgotten the absolute train wreck that is Bryzgalov. Rest assured he will be terrible between the pipes, which means he will be equally hilarious during post-game interviews. I literally cannot wait to see what he comes up with next. He may single-handedly change the course of this column over the next several weeks. I could not be more excited.

The shenanigans are on hold as Bryzgalov will begin his run with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City but once he shakes off the rust, you know he’s getting the call.

Until then you’ll have plenty of time to complain about how Bryzgalov has not been added to the Yahoo database and argue with your league-mates about your waiver process, as you try to align yourself for his services, if only for the way he could alter the shape of your team name this season.

Rest assured, you don’t actually want to have him play games for you this season. After all, you can’t be as desperate for goaltending as the Oilers are, right? If you are, I am so (SO!) sorry. But when the reward for winning your waiver claim is a cornucopia of branding options to run with, you have to at least take a run at him. While we all wait for Yahoo to get its butt in gear here are the Week Six MVPs and LVPs.

The MVP

Robin Lehner – 28% Owned

With all due respect to that old fart Martin Brodeur, who made two starts this week and let in zero goals, Robin Lehner was the goalie I was most impressed with this week. Brodeur only had to make 37 saves across both of his games, which is pretty much the average Lehner start. Lehner has been pummelled with pucks all season and has looked magnificent stopping them.

These two actually offer a great contrast of situation beyond just degree of difficulty. Brodeur is the veteran incumbent being pushed out in New Jersey with the more talented Cory Schneider vying to take his job. Lehner is the more talented young goaltender in Ottawa trying to push out the incumbent Craig Anderson.

I’ve no idea whether Lehner will be successful with his takeover just as I’ve no idea if Brodeur can sustain his defense of his crease. What I do know is Lehner deserves to start more and Brodeur should probably start less and if given the choice I’d take the 28% owned Lehner over the 60% owned Brodeur any day of the week.

The Runners-Up

Dustin Penner – LW – 24% Owned

Penner tore himself away from the maple syrup bottle just long enough to be one of the week’s top producers. Let’s not kid ourselves, he totally rode the coattails of Ryan Getzlaf’s hat-trick against the Buffalo Sabres to get here. By rights, Getzlaf and Corey Perry who also had six-point weeks belong here ahead of Penner but since you guys hate to see stars in this spot, you have to settle for the third wheel instead.

Since we are here, how about a fun Penner stat? He current leads the NHL with a plus-18 rating and apparently if he finishes plus-110 something amazing will happen:

Obviously, we all need to start rooting for the Ducks more often because I really need to find out what is better than an ice cream party.

Philip Larsen – D – 0% Owned

Another breakout Danish star! Next Dane to get called up, I’m just grabbing him without a second thought.

And look, he’s 0% owned, meaning you have a legitimate chance of scooping him up!

Larsen has been up for just five games so far but four came in the past week and he scored five points in those games. Larsen is skating big minutes on the Oilers top power play unit, which is the one thing that isn’t in complete shambles in Edmonton. Definitely worth a look in your league.

Tyler Toffoli – C/RW – 7% Owned

There were several others who scored more than Toffoli’s four points this week but Toffoli had just two games to work with so he gets degree-of-difficulty bonus points. He’s also a rookie, who just got called up recently and given his ownership status, may actually be available to help you.

There is a chance that Toffoli gets sent back down when Jeff Carter returns from injury – because NHL teams are evil and love to send deserving prospects back to the minors for no reason – but Toffoli has scored in every game since he has been up and is making a case to stick permanently.

If those sound to you like the pleas of someone who drafted Toffoli in a pool where you can’t make changes throughout the year then you are correct! But it doesn’t mean I am wrong. All Toffoli does is score. It could help me, it could help the Kings, Toffoli’s family and friends would love it, it could help me… See, everybody wins.

Honorable Mentions: Patrick Sharp, Frederik Andersen, Bryan Little, Martin Brodeur, Grant Clitsome, Alex Ovechkin, Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Ladd, Mike Richards, Ryan McDonagh, Corey Perry, Tomas Hertl, Carl Hagelin, Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle, Tuukka Rask, Henrik Zetterberg, John Tavares, Bobby Ryan, Brad Richards, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Fowler, Corey Crawford

LVPPPPP

The LVP (Least Valuable Player)

Claude Giroux... Wait, you are saying Giroux scored? That’s not the Claude I know. Please just wait while I confirm this… And yes, you are correct. It’s just too bad my trophy guy doesn’t offer the same strikethrough font Microsoft Word does.

So if not Claude, then who?

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Sidney Crosby – C – 100% Owned

In Crosby’s defense, he only played two games this week, but the last time Crosby went scoreless in two straight was against Boston. He did not play Boston this week so he has no excuses.

Crosby is now merely tied for the league lead in scoring with 23 points. That’s complete horse poop. How is he going to hold his lead when he inevitably goes down for 30% of the season if he can’t even build a commanding lead a little over a month into the season?

Did you know that he is now on pace for just 111 points? Like he’s some regular superstar or something? What happened to videogame Crosby? The guy who made fantasy leagues completely unfair? That’s the guy I advocated be drafted first overall in every pool. This human Crosby can go take a hike.

Not Last but Certainly Least

Antti Niemi – G – 100% Owned

The Buffalo Sabres have won three games and scored 31 goals this year. One of those wins and four of those goals came against Niemi this week.

Before Malcolm Gladwell could get started on an extra chapter for his latest book Niemi threw up a couple more stinkers to prove he’s no Goliath after all. Instead, just a regular old goalie in the midst of a terrible week, in which he allowed four goals in each of his three starts. Going back a little further, Niemi has allowed four goals in four of his past five starts and has lost all five of those contests (albeit four in overtime or shootout). Still, Niemi and the Sharks are showing chinks in their giant armor.

Shea Weber – D – 98% Owned

It’s generally okay when Weber takes a week off from scoring. He’s a defenseman after all and only the truly elite defensemen score in anything more than half of the games. So it’s completely acceptable for him not to score. What’s unacceptable is the minus-seven Weber drowned his owners with.

Dressing Weber this week was like wearing a concrete swimsuit to a triathlon. He truly re-defined the term “anchoring the blue-line.”

Henrik Sedin – C – 100% Owned

Speaking of anchors, Hank (and to a lesser extent Dank) was deadweight for fantasy owners this week. Yes, Sedin managed one point, but was also minus-five across four games. It certainly won’t do that Sedin’s drop-off came while the Canucks have been stacking their top line with Ryan Kesler playing on the Sedins’ right wing. If that line isn’t scoring there isn’t much depth behind them to contribute – although Niemi might disagree.

Dis-Honorable Mentions: Alex Edler, Alex Pietrangelo, Evgeni Nabokov, Seth Jones, Martin St. Louis, Carter Hutton, Ryan Miller, Devan Dubnyk, James van Riemsdyk, Dion Phaneuf, Dustin Brown, Jimmy Howard, Daniel Sedin, Sam Gagner, Kyle Okposo

Steve Laidlaw is an Associate Editor at DobberHockey. You can follow him on Twitter @Steve Laidlaw.

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