Originally written on We Talk Fantasy Sports  |  Last updated 10/19/14
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Our new friend Chewy, from Landshark Hockey has a Fantasy Hockey 101 lesson for all of us trying to cram in as much NHL knowledge as quickly as possible.  If you're like most and haven't given much thought to fantasy hockey over the past 8 months (either out of self-defense, spite, or indifference), you may need a little help getting grounded before piecing together your fantasy squad this week.  So, here's a quick primer to get your mind back on important matters:2011-12 RECAPLast season was largely about the dominance of the Penguins (at least in the regular season).  Malkin and Neal were unstoppable.  Crosby was dominant as ever in half a season of action.  Jordan Staal played his way out of town with a career season.  Kris Letang would have been in the running for the Norris, had he stayed healthy.Steven Stamkos ran away with the goal scoring title, pounding in another 60 talliesClaude Giroux continued to show he deserves a spot among the elite, with a 93 point effortJason Spezza returned to star status, finishing 4th in scoringErik Karlsson was in a class by himself on defense, amassing 78 points and 19 goalsIN THE CREASEAfter several years of being overlooked, Lundqvist finally earned a VezinaJonathan Quick made his case for top goalie, piling up 10 shutoutsMike Smith emerged as a top tier goalie in Phoenix with a .930 save percentage and 8 shutouts of his ownBrian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak formed the best 1-2 punch in the league, combining for 13 shutoutsTim Thomas likely played out his final campaign, opening the door for Tuukka Rask to emerge this yearRoberto Luongo slowly slid back in favor of Cory Schneider, opening the door for a likely trade this season Ilya Bryzgalov mostly crashed and burned in his Philly debutSURPRISESPatrik Elias and Ray Whitney showed they still had something to give, piling up 78 and 77 points, respectivelyScott Hartnell became a serious fantasy factor.  Paired with Giroux, he put up 37 goals on top of 136 PIMsRadim Vrbata was among the league leaders in goals through the first 3/4 of the season, before fading…Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel brought fantasy relevance back to TorontoAlex Ovechkin and the Caps disappeared.Marian Gaborik played 82 gamesTHE (LONG AND PAINFUL) OFF SEASONJordan Staal joined big brother and looks to get a more prominent top line center roleThe Minnesota Wild claimed the big double-whammy, signing Parise and SuterRick Nash finally found his way out of Columbus and into New YorkTomas Vokoun was brought into Pittsburgh to spur Fleury on to post-season successAnders Lindback became the man in the Tampa netThe decline in Detroit is eminent.  Lidstrom has finally hung 'em up.  With Stuart gone, too, look for the playoff streak to end.Lubomir Visnovsky was dealt to the Isles, against his wishes, went to Russia, and may never come backAlex Semin will try to reignite his scoring touch, moving to divisional rival CarolinaINJURY NEWS Ryan Kesler remains on the shelf in Vancouver with no timeline for return from wrist and should woesMarian Hossa appears to be recovered from the concussion that ended his playoffsAnze Kopitar injured his knee last week and may need a month to recoverRick Nash injured his groin in December, but should be ready to make his Rangers debut on timeBe sure to check outour free player rankings by position. You can drag and drop / customize your own fantasy rankings from thereas well.  Welcome back, NHL.
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