The Vicky Files: It's not over 'til it's over
Some close calls are a little more serious than others. Declared brain dead, and about to lose his vital organs to donation, a 21-year-old Texas man managed to move his foot and hand just as family members were paying their last respects. Talk about timing. Four months later, Zach Dunlop is now out of the hospital and says he feels "pretty good."
Dunlop was seriously injured in an ATV accident in November and his family approved having his organs harvested for transplant after there were no signs of brain activity. The young man doesn't remember the crash itself, but does recollect hearing the doctors pronounce him dead. And you thought losing your favorite D-list celebrity on "Dancing With The Stars" was frustrating.
So, to quote a particular Mr. Kravitz, this tale reminds us that "it ain't over 'til it's over" still rings true. With one final week of regular season games on the schedule, you never know what could happen. Unless you're not in a head-to-head playoff series, or you're not within immediate striking distance in your roto league. Because in those cases, um, it is over. Sorry.
I've enjoyed your columns all season and you've been very helpful, but I have one last-minute, quick question. I need help at leftwing in my final H2H series. Todd Fedoruk, Curtis Glencross and Jiri Tlusty are available on the wire--who would be your choice ?
Geoff from Rochester, N.Y.
Considering he's recently only averaged a point every three games, and Edmonton has just two left, Glencross isn't your best option. Tlusty, however, could snag you some points in Toronto's final three matchups. Firmly entrenched outside the playoff picture, the Leafs are enjoying the luxury of giving their youngsters some extra ice-time. Tlusty is taking full advantage of these opportunities and has four points in his last two games. And he's getting the chance to skate with Mats Sundin a bit, which is never a bad thing.
But if you need someone rough and ready, Fedoruk is your man. Feeling fairly feisty these days, he has 25 penalty minutes (and two goals) in his past five games. Plus, Minnesota plays Calgary one last time before the season is done. The Wild and Flames do not like each other. There will be many fights and Fedoruk will likely be an enthusiastic participant. At least if he has anything to say about it.
Which top fantasy players do you stay away from in the postseason? As in, which big names do I avoid in my pools?
Bryan from Vancouver, B.C.
This would be easier to address with a clearer playoff scenario, but I'll do my best under present circumstances. Please don't touch any skater in Ottawa, regardless of where the team ends up in the standings. Let others help themselves to the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza -- you don't want anything to do with them. With one of the worst records in the NHL since the new year, that organization is in complete disorder. Lousy goaltending, dressed up as Martin Gerber, is one problem, but there are serious attitude issues at play as well. Don't expect success, regardless of who the Senators face in the first round, assuming they still make the playoffs (not a guarantee at the point of this writing). The opposition will chew 'em up and spew 'em out in short order. It doesn't matter how good Alfredsson, Heatley and Spezza are individually, they won't have enough chances in the postseason to make any impact whatsoever.
Over in the West, I would avoid any and all players on whichever team faces San Jose in the first round. It's Colorado at the moment, but that could change. Those Sharks are playing some unbelievable hockey and appear virtually unstoppable. They haven't lost in regulation since Feb. 20. Scary.
Vicky, I don't know if you're answering questions about next year or not, but here goes: With this season pretty much over, who is your No. 1 pick for next season?
Ron from Los Angeles
I picked him first this year in two leagues (4th and 5th overall), and if possible, I'll grab him on the onset again next season. There isn't anyone as consistently good as Martin Brodeur in all of the NHL. To hammer on a well-used cliché, the guy is "money," year in and year out.
There are differing philosophies, and many disagree with me, but in and amongst the Ovechkins, Iginlas and Malkins, I prefer to take care of goaltending first. Brodeur has single-handedly won weeks for me this year in both aforementioned head-to-head leagues. There are plenty of hotshot offensive players who will surprise and come out of the woodwork as a season progresses, but there's only so many decent goalies to go around. It's a matter of numbers. Not having at least one premiere option between the pipes makes for an agonizingly long and frustrating season. Just ask the guy in my league stuck with Olaf Kolzig, Johan Holmqvist and Peter Budaj for most of this season. Despite a high-powered and productive offense, he never had a fighting chance.
That's it and that's all for "The Vicky Files" this season. A sincere thanks to everyone who wrote in with questions or comments; nice or nasty, they were all appreciated. And here's to an entertaining and drama-filled post-season. Cheers.
Victoria Matiash is a fantasy hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can send her e-mail for potential use in "The Vicky Files" by clicking here.