Upon the horizon and around the corner, under the surface and out of thin air, they're coming in waves and I don't know from where. A backup here, an emergency recall there, you just simply can't prepare for when a fantasy sleeper will appear. The key is to remember that anything is possible when the stars are aligned and a goalie quickly gets comfortable.
All rhyming aside, last week's action included many different scenarios in which a lesser-owned goalie played well enough to raise a manager's eyebrows. Whether it was Craig Anderson getting a surprise start last Friday, Ondrej Pavelec and Tuukka Rask pitching shutouts or the Devils giving Mike McKenna a start in his hometown, the surprises were aplenty.
FANTASY MAILBAG – NOVEMBER 22
As of today, we know who has already successfully established a strong fantasy presence. Determined by their consistency, high comfort level and the ability to win despite giving up a few weak goals, it screams Michal Neuvirth, Tim Thomas and Jonas Hiller. At the same time, a few goalies that have logged too many minutes in Martin Brodeur, Ryan Miller and J-S Giguere were stricken with injuries last week. This has stirred the proverbial pot and forced fantasy managers to reconsider their strategies.
Brodeur's right elbow has once again been mangled to the point he was told to rest it for ten days. In my opinion, without any scientific knowledge of his injury, this might be a recurring theme all season long if he tries to come back too early again. Extra padding on the chest protector helps, but I don't think that should be used as an excuse to come back a game or two sooner.
The extent of Miller's injury is a little foggier, so I got an update from Sabres reporter Bill Hoppe. He told me that Miller's practice today went well, but will proceed cautiously. Because Patrick Lalime coughed up a point on Saturday against Tampa Bay, his 0-4 record puts even more pressure on Miller to return as quickly as possible. Hoppe also mentioned that Miller's recent groin issue sprung up in the third period of Friday's game.
Finally, Giguere's groin pull may have been a result of dehydration issues last Tuesday against the Predators. It happened late in the game, thus prompting Jonas Gustavsson to come into the game and make six sparkling saves to preserve the win. The comfort level that Gustavsson experienced instantly led to his confident play and successful outing as the week continued.