Originally posted on The Hockey Program  |  Last updated 12/8/11

Are you thirsty for a ton of fantasy hockey action then you have come to the right place?  Ian Gooding brings you six players to choose from PLUS a little more commentary as always...




Just as Crosby owners (he will sit out the next two games) thought they had struck gold when Crosby returned, they have to wonder if Crosby is really right at this time - or if he will ever be right. As the old Goalie Post used to say, “Nothing is ever 100 percent.” So these six picks for Thursday aren’t lead pipe locks by any stretch of the imagination, but the name of the game is only to fare better than your opponent(s).

Kevin Bieksa, D, VAN - start
It’s not often that defensemen are on six-game point streaks, but we currently have one on the surging Canucks. The man with one of Don Cherry’s favorite names to mispronounce currently has seven points over that span, taking on an offensive role with top-pairing partner Dan Hamhuis (6 points in last 8 games).

Jamie Benn, LW, DAL – start
Once a contender for the NHL scoring lead, Benn has fallen on hard times with only one goal in his last 11 games and points in just two of his last 11 games. Benn still has 23 points in 26 games this season, with nine points in 13 career games against the Sharks. Don’t worry so much about the slump.

John Tavares, C, NYI - start
Tavares has found his game recently with seven points in his last three games, following just five points in 13 games during November.  A little more bad news for Tavares owners: he has only two goals since the end of October. Tavares is worth starting just about every time he plays, but his owners will want to keep an eye on the lack of goal production.

Zack Smith, C, OTT – add/start
My deep league recommendation of the day, Smith has two 2-goal games in his last five games, five goals in his last six games, and eight goals and 16 points this season. The icetime isn’t quite there (12:50 on Wednesday), but the Sens’ 2008 third-round pick is worth a roll of the dice if you play in one of those leagues where scoring is hard to find. Also keep in mind that Martin Brodeur is no longer the Brodeur of old.

Mike Ribeiro, C, DAL – start/bench
Ribs has a Scott Gomez-like two goals and 15 assists in 26 games this season. An assist or two on Thursday is a possibility, but remember that he’s not your guy if you need goals this week. Ribeiro has only 19 goals in each of his previous two seasons, so fantasy owners should know what he’s all about by now.

Corey Crawford, G, CHI - bench
Crawford posted a bad 3.27 GAA last month and is the proud owner of an even worse 4.88 GAA this month. A trip to Long Island may help, but Crawford allowed four goals in his last meeting with the Islanders. (Note: Ray Emery is scheduled to start Thursday, as per Chicago Blackhawks. As if you needed another reason to bench Crawford.)



Thursday, December 8, 2011 TeamsNotes Florida at Boston 7:00 PM | Gameday
Ottawa at New Jersey 7:00 PM | Gameday
Chicago at NY Islanders 7:00 PM | Gameday
Tampa Bay at NY Rangers 7:00 PM | Gameday
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia 7:00 PM | Gameday
Nashville at Columbus 7:00 PM | Gameday
Vancouver at Montreal 7:30 PM | Gameday
Phoenix at Detroit 7:30 PM | Gameday
Anaheim at St. Louis 8:00 PM | Gameday
Colorado at Calgary 9:00 PM | Gameday
Minnesota at Los Angeles 10:30 PM | Gameday
Dallas at San Jose 10:30 PM | Gameday

It is just a huge expanse of games tonight as it almost feels like a Saturday night in the NHL.  In a rare occurrence, the three tri-state teams (NJD, NYR, and NYI) are all at home starting at the same time.  This looks like something out of the 1980's.  Maybe we should have seen this radical realignment coming then perhaps.  Then there was this.....




Martin St. Louis, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Tampa Bay forward took a puck to the eye and face in practice and will be out tonight against the New York Rangers.  Please adjust your fantasy rosters accordingly.  Any injury like this is one to be taken very seriously and do keep a close eye on this.  Hopefully it is nothing but one never knows with anything like this.

Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins -- Obviously Crosby is out for the next two games but did have slight headaches yesterday as the knee issue is really more about the head at this juncture.  This is not to create hysteria but it is something again just to be vigilant about as far as your lineup.  It is better to be prepared than not to be especially with how this situation has played out with Pittsburgh in the past.




Vancouver Vs. Montreal tonight -- While Vancouver has found its way a bit, despite injuries, Montreal is still meandering around so to speak.  It will be interesting how Montreal gets up for a superior opponent and the Sedin Twins of course.  Carey Price has been "all world" again for the Habs this year but even only he can do so much.  Montreal has to score consistently which is something they just are not doing.  Can they tonight?  Something tells me coach Jacques Martin tries to find a way to keep the score down again.  The goalies both should have good nights in this one.

Does Dallas know the way to beat San Jose? -- While Dallas does not have everyone back yet, at least they get back two very important cogs in Brendan Morrow and Alex Goligoski.  Just like that grit and scoring return in a big way to the lineup and Dallas needs every bit of it while still playing without goaltender, Kari Lehtonen.  Dallas has to start fast against San Jose as the Sharks have a tendency to sometimes play a little lackadasical in the first 40.  One thing is for sure, see how these two players play a night maybe before fully plugging them into your lineup.  My best bet out of the two would be Goligoski honestly.  He offers the most upside at this stage of the game.


Well that is it for now.  As always we will be live tweeting tonight.  Again, no question is too big or too small so bring the fantasy heat!


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