That special time of the year has arrived for Fantasy Hockey players...the Playoffs. Hopefully, you've made wise decisions all season long and find yourself in the hotly contested tournament to grab all the glory.
Here's something I've noticed in all my years playing head to head Fantasy Hockey: You must have a different mindset than you had in the regular season in order to win. There are no more games against negligent owners who fail to field a proper lineup for the week or incompetent ones who don't know Johan Franzen from Johan Sebastian Bach. You are now playing against the creme de la creme of your league....and you need the edge to beat them.
I am your Edge.
Here are three things that you must do in order to fortify your squad for the next 2-3 weeks in order to win.
1. Find the Hot Hand- Fantasy Hockey, like Life, is all about timing and, as a wise man once said, "Timing is everything." Your roster may have gotten you this far, but there's no guarantee they will keep performing over the next few weeks. You have to tweak the lineup if you want to win by searching your league's waiver wire and identifying the players who are currently riding that hot streak. Scott Walker, for instance, has 9 points in his last 8 games, including two game winning goals. Grab him and others like him now and watch them perform for you...or let someone else snatch them up and enjoy your first round exit.
2. Find your Role Players- Every year at the NHL's Trade Deadline, some contending team overpays for a gritty forward or power play quarterback to shore up their weaknesses. You need to do it too. All season long, you've been looking for the best possible players, well rounded in all areas. Now, you have to look for "Specialists", a guy whose game is disproportionately strong in one area. If you're lacking in PIM, you'll likely find Adam Burish or Jared Boll on the wire because all they provide is major penalties. Go get them. The Shorthanded Points column is often the hardest to attain points in. However, there's a good chance that a gentleman named Eric Perrin (and his 8 SHP) is probably available to you in your league. Assess your team's strengths and dilute them slightly in order to gain overall balance.
3. Make sure they'll play- A very important and often overlooked factor in the Fantasy Hockey playoffs: How many NHL games does your roster have scheduled over the next two weeks? Pittsburgh, Columbus and Dallas all are playing just two games each this week. Their players can't score for you if they're not on the ice, can they? You need to sit down, look at the team schedules and figure out if you're going to be holding the short end of the stick. If so, now is the time to act.
Follow these three tenets and you'll have an excellent chance of being crowned your league's winner. Best of luck...unless you play me.