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Ask Illegal Curve

Ask Illegal Curve

Today marks the second installment of Ask Illegal Curve, where we have three questions sent in by readers. Remember to send in your questions during the week so the IC staff can answer them in this space.

From Reader Banana Boat: My question for the fantasty is this I have Brodeur, Huet, Ward – Are they and their teams going to be strong enough for the season. We play 2 goalies every night – so consider the top 16 goalies taken – are there any sleepers I should be looking at.

Thanks for your question Banana Boat. I think all three of your goalies are sound, though the questions are still swirling around Huet in Chicago. Odds are the team is strong enough to carry him, but stranger things have happened. Brodeur and Ward are guys you really don’t need to worry about, as they will get their fare share of wins.  As for sleepers, you may have to dig a little deeper to find a good one. Antti Niemi is a good option in Chicago, as he may play his way into a starting role. Other guys like Jon Quick in LA or Craig Anderson in Colorado might be good options, as its unlikely too many people took them in the initial draft. If both teams continue to play well, they might be viable options.

Reader Davey Boy asks:

LW’s are thin in general but even more so on my fantasy squad.

We start 2 LW and I have Kunitz & Smyth.

I just picked up James Neal…Thoughts?

It’s early but he looks like he’s for real this season.

I really think Neal is the real deal. He is big, strong and seems to always be around the puck. Crawford is the right coach for this kid, so expect him to get a lot of ice time in Dallas and the points should follow. I would be pretty comfortable rolling with those LW’s, as Smyth seems to have re-discovered his game in LA.

Reader Bob Roberts asks:

If you take follow-up questions, here’s one for next week:

Would you change/modify your delayed penalty question answer if your team had had your opponent hemmed in their own end for the first 30 to 50 seconds of the initial PP and had had the pressure on?

And a completely new one:

I see and hear what seems to me to be a ridiculous amount of anti-Leaf verbage (garbage?). It appears to me to be much greater than what I would expect to see directed at a hugely successful franchise, let alone one which hasn’t had a Cup since 1967 and has been, let’s call a spade a spade, very poor overall for quite a long spell. Can’t figure out why anyone would bash away at them in particular.

(I’m not a Leaf fan per se, and never have been; but I’ve become interested in following them, largely because of Brian Burke (but that’s another story), and since I’ve been doing that I am becoming more and more amazed at the sheer volume — literally and figuratively — of Leaf bashing.)

So, to put it into the current vernacular (at least I think it’s current): what’s with that?

Good questions both, Bob. For your first, I wouldn’t change my answer. Despite the fact that your team has been able to hem in the defenders, I would still take the 5-3 advantage as soon as possible. If you can keep the puck deep 5-4, you can do it 5-3 and have more room to operate. With the importance of special teams goals these days, I would give my team the best chance possible to get a tally.

As for your Leafs question, I don’t really know the exact reason why other fans seem to pick on the boys (and girls) in blue. Speaking specifically from a Canadian point of view, it seems that it could be a backlash from the Toronto-centric sports media we have in Canada. Perhaps other hockey lovers just got sick of waiting through highlights of Leafs’ practice on TSN before hearing any news on the Flames or Canucks?

An alternative explanation is that Leafs’ fans might just be obnoxious enough to rub other people the wrong way. There seems to be a trend amongst the faithful to over value any player associated with the Leafs and to perpetually start planning a parade any time a new addition (see, The Monster) is brought into the fold.