Commentary

The Vicky Files: Slow starters

Updated: October 22, 2007, 8:46 AM ET
By Victoria Matiash | Special to ESPN.com

The hottest trend to hit the catwalk this fall is a shoe from the fashion house of Yves Saint Laurent. It's called the "Tribute". As in, a tribute to hardworking Podiatrists and Chiropractors everywhere. This woman's pump sports a six-inch heel. That's half a foot. Using two chairs for balance, I tried to tip-toe high enough to break the six-inch barrier under my own heel, but failed. And outside of highly trained supermodels, there's no word of whether anyone, anywhere has actually managed to walk in these yet. I'll keep you posted.

Needless to say, the shoes look absolutely fabulous on their own. Outrageously sexy and dazzling, capable of turning even the stumpiest of calves into objects of beauty and desire. But what's the point if you can't get to the washroom to pee? There's a time where you have to ignore flashy appearances and choose more practical options. Like sneakers.

This little preamble brings us to the week's mailbag and Nik Antropov. I'm not exactly comparing the big Leaf forward to a useless stiletto, but his numbers are too flashy to carry any sustained usefulness & read on &

Is Nikolai Antropov for real? I'm looking for a power forward and he and Bertuzzi are both on waivers to start the season. Who would you pick?

Don from Santa Fe, NM

It doesn't matter if Nikolai Antropov is truly for real; pick him up off waivers anyway. I'm surprised he's still available. With 11 points in eight games and a team-leading plus/minus of plus-10, no one has been more shockingly impressive in the season's early stages. He's hot as heck right now, and that should be exploited. Unfortunately, Antropov also has a rich history of getting hurt. Since joining the NHL in 1999, he's never managed a full season without sustaining some type of injury. His knees are surgically re-built and one ankle is capable of buckling at any moment. He will crumple at some point, it's only a matter of when. So, here's the deal: Pick up Antropov, enjoy this uncharacteristic production for a while, then unload him to a fellow league-mate for someone more reliable. I would give him a month at most. You should be able to acquire a fairly solid player if his numbers remain close to what they are now.

I took chances with [Brian] Gionta and [Michael] Nylander and am curious whether it's too early to look to trade them while they still have some value, or should I hold onto them and ride out the slow start? Are there any LW/RW that are off to slow starts who I can acquire while their stock is low? Thanks, Vicky

Greg from Los Angeles, CA

Don't give up on Michael Nylander just yet. Never mind the measly four points; he's getting enough ice time and opportunities on the power play to justify a spot on any fantasy roster. His numbers will improve, regardless of who he skates with. He's too talented and consistent a player to bail on at this point. Besides, his pre-season value dropped significantly since it became clear he's not skating alongside Alexander Ovechkin. You won't get anyone worthwhile for him now anyway.

Slow start aside, Brian Gionta will register 60 points this year. But that's it. The 2005-06 explosion for 89 points was a dazzling anomaly. And the sniper-like Gionta misses ex-Devil Scott Gomez. Sharp shooters need playmakers and Gomez is one of best.

If you want to take a chance on an early season disappointment, have a gander at Miroslav Satan. Satan has produced abysmally so far, but he also got off to a slow start this past season and improved significantly in the second half. And most importantly, it's his contract year. I love taking advantage of players in these situations. It's remarkable how much a reasonably talented skater can raise his game when money's on the line. If nothing else, you can always bank on financial ambition.

Hi Vic, I am in a rotisserie league and my roster is filled with underachieving defenseman such as Whitney, Visnovsky and Bouwmeester. What is your take on these guys beginning of season? Thanks a bunch

Chris from Montreal, Canada

Hey Chris! What a difference a week makes, huh? I received your note a few days ago, when Lubomir Visnovsky was indeed struggling. But after stumbling out of the gates, he goes on to register five points in five games. How about that? This is a perfect example of why there's no need to panic in the first couple weeks of play. Visnovsky is a mainstay on the ice with the man advantage, and deserves a top defensive spot on any fantasy roster, roto or head-to-head. But you're probably already aware of that now.

Admittedly, Ryan Whitney isn't performing up to snuff yet, but outside of Sergei Gonchar, no one on Pittsburgh's defense is contributing much. The entire blue line is accountable for only 10 points so far. They will improve as a collective unit (quickly), as will Whitney, on his own. Don't worry, Gonchar can't do it all himself.

On the other hand, Jay Bouwmeester is completely expendable. As mentioned in Sean Allen's Grand Theft Roto this week, Bouwmeester is getting little to zero chance on Florida's power play. Cory Murphy owns the quarterback position as it stands. Feel free to trade Bouwmeester away to someone who's still enraptured with his former reputation

Victoria Matiash is a fantasy hockey analyst for ESPN.com. You can send her Email for potential use in "The Vicky Files" by clicking here.