With the fantasy hockey playoffs now under way, we thought it would be a great idea to provide you a notebook of all things occurring with key players around the league injury wise and how you should approach these situations moving forward.
Concussions have taken out many star players this year, including Daniel Sedin
Ben Bishop, goaltender, Ottawa Senators - Bishop is a goaltender we have talked highly of in this space; he is someone we thought could make a difference moving forward. Bishop was just starting to find his way in the Ottawa net prior to getting hurt with what is reported to be a lower body injury, which is not good news for Bishop's fantasy owners. With Alex Auld ready to return to the net for the Senators, it's even worse news for Bishop's fantasy value. If you are a Bishop owner, we suggest looking in a different direction at this point, as the Ottawa goal crease has become very crowded.
Kris Letang, defenseman, Pittsburgh Penguins - What a miserable year it has been for the Penguins defenseman. Finally healthy and back on the ice, Letang took a nasty cross check from Nashville forward Martin Erat and is now listed as day to day. If you are a Letang owner, your patience has to be wearing thin at this point and with good reason. The problem is, when he is in the lineup, he has the ability to put up good numbers. Keep him on your bench and hope this is a short-term issue, and that he will be back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Jimmy Howard, goaltender, Detroit Red Wings - Speaking of players that fantasy owners have to be losing patience with, Howard has to be near the top of that list. Howard spent most of the season at or near the top of all fantasy leagues in goaltender statistics. Now at crunch time, he can't seem to get on the ice for the teams that he kept at the top of their fantasy leagues all year long. Howard is hoping to return to the ice Friday when the Red Wings take on the Nashville Predators. If you are a Howard owner, you have to keep him on your bench and hope he can stay healthy and quickly return to the level of play that carried your fantasy team all season long.
Daniel Sedin, left wing, Vancouver Canucks - So much has been made this season about concussions and how they have played a role in the National Hockey League. Unfortunately, Sedin is the latest victim. Sedin, who suffered the injury last week as a result of a Duncan Keith elbow to the head, is out indefinitely with the injury. One thing we have learned this year is just how unpredictable concussions (and, more importantly, returns from concussions) can be. If you are a Sedin owner, you would be wise to put him on IR, look elsewhere to attempt to replace his offense and hope that he returns to the Vancouver lineup soon.
Nicklas Backstrom, center, Washington Capitals - Backstrom, who is also suffering from concussion symptoms, was cleared to return to practice this week, which is great news for his fantasy owners. Although he still has a long way to go to get back to game action, and there is no guarantee once he gets there, Backstrom appears to be a player that can still have an impact if he can get back on the ice in the very near future. Keep him on your roster and monitor his status moving forward, as he will be entering a good situation in Washington, which is a team fighting for their playoff lives, if he can get on the ice.
Taylor Hall, center, Edmonton Oilers - The Edmonton forward is also dealing with post-concussion symptoms; and, as we have mentioned numerous times already, there really is no time table as to when a player can return from that type of injury. The good news in Hall's case is that he was skating last week, so he is probably further along than some of the previous players we discussed in this column. The bad news is that he was held out of practice last Friday as a result of the injury. While it was not officially called a setback, it was something that raised eyebrows. Keep him on your bench and monitor his status moving forward, as he could still potentially have some value for your rosters in the playoffs if he can return.
That will do it for this today, make sure you check back later this week as we take another run through the waiver wire to keep you informed on some of the players getting hot at the right time of the fantasy hockey playoffs!
About Mike Corcoran
Mike Corcoran joined KFFL in 2011 as their senior fantasy hockey writer. The Tarrytown, New York, native hosts a hockey radio show on ESPN Radio in Tampa, and covers the Tampa Bay Lightning professionally.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeCorcoranNHL