The Canucks Fantasy Hockey season has begun. You'll be surprised to hear who's putting up big numbers...
And they're off!
The NHL season is now two games deep for the Vancouver Canucks with three contests on the horizon this week.
In terms of Canucks Fantasy Hockey, the opening games were a bit of a wash. Vancouver only found the back of the net three times even though they rained down shots on Miikka Kiprusoff and Craig Anderson to the tune of 42 and 35.
With that in mind, it's not overly shocking that defenceman Willie Mitchell was the biggest fantasy performer for the Canucks.
Wait - what? Big Willie Style? For real?
THE WEEK THAT WAS
The brute blueliner put up 35 fantasy points and he picked most of them up the hard way by sacrificing his body with hits and blocks. Mitchell leads all Canucks with seven hits so far and with three blocks, he's only one off Ryan Johnson's team-leading four.
Mitchell's impressive 35 points also includes an assist and three shots on goal, not to mention a fighting major. (Don't forget, last year penalty minutes were bad, this season minor penalties still are, but fighting majors are good.)
On offence, Vancouver's top threesome all put up decent numbers. Alex Burrows was the only other player over 30 points; he hit pay-dirt once had 10 shots on goal and sprinkled in a hit, block and game-star selection to his week.
Neither Daniel or Henrik found the back of the net, but they did enough to finish third and fourth, respectively, in fantasy stats. The whiz-bang twins each had an assist, yet other than that they accomplished their totals in different ways. Henrik hit 23 points thanks to 12 face-offs won and four shots on goal, Daniel finished one point shy and was fuelled by 12 shots on goal, a hit, block and face-off win.
WE HAVE A WINNER
Canucks Fantasy Hockey set a new record with 2,892 participants in game one of the season and amazingly one single player emerged to take top spot.
Against the Flames, dion5000 was king of the castle with 100 points, one better than ilovesoccer at 99.
In Vancouver's second game of the season, RJKParker and big fid finished tied atop the leaderboard at 56 points each.
The common thread between winning squads was that none of them iced Roberto Luongo, while each spent money on Willie Mitchell, Mason Raymond, Mikael Samuelsson and Sergei Shirokov.
RJKParker is currently the season leader with 170 points through two games.
Click here to check out the leaderboard, it's a jumble of 3,073 fantasy fanatics.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Vancouver plays three games in the next seven days, beginning with its home opener Monday night against Columbus.
This game is important for more than the fact that the Canucks are looking for their first win of the season, it's also the TELUS Game of the Week. The winner of this fantasy round will win a pair of tickets to an upcoming Canucks game courtesy of TELUS.
If you're suffering from a case of the Mondays and miss this tilt, no worries. Vancouver hosts Montreal on Wednesday before finishing the week on Sunday with Dallas in town.
-Kevin Bieksa, $4 million - He's rough and tumble so picking up points through body work shouldn't be hard, plus he had three goals and an assist to lead the Canucks in scoring against the Blue Jackets last season.
-Ryan Kesler, $5 million - If Kesler gets up to play one team in particular, it seems to be Columbus. That has to do with his enemy R.J. Umberger, who he's feuded with dating back to their days at Ohio State. Kesler only has six points in 15 career games against the Jackets, but he's got 22 PIMs, the fifth most against any team.
-Sami Salo, $3 million - For some reason, Salo enjoys lighting the lamp against Columbus. He's got six goals and 16 points in 22 career games vs. the Jackets, second only to his nine goals and 19 points against the Flames. Gut feeling says Salo nets a power play goal.
-Willie Mitchell, $3 million - Coming into this week Montreal had only allowed four goals in two games. If that trend continues, this tilt with be a defensive struggle. Count on Mitchell stepping his game up physically.
-Alex Burrows, $4 million - Win, lose or draw, Burrows shows up to play. In a 4-2 Canucks win over the Canadiens last season, he put up two assists and was a plus-2, but even in Vancouver's 3-0 loss a week later, Burr was still useful with 17 PIMs. Cha'ching!
-Kyle Wellwood, $1 million - Welly hasn't had any luck scoring on the power play so far this season, but he's bound to, that's just what he does. That and he's a flyer at $1 million, can you afford to not have him?
-Roberto Luongo, $5 million - The numbers don't lie: Luongo is 8-4-0-2 with two shutouts in his career against the Stars. Those totals include a pair of stellar performances last season when Luongo allowed only four goals on 63 shots through two games. Not too shabby.
-Darcy Hordichuk, $1 million - I stood up and cheered when Hordi ran over Marty Turco last season. The Stars didn't. There is bound to still be some bad blood there, enough to have Hordichuk in a good scrap or two. Hellloooo PIMs.
-Steve Bernier, $2 million - Big Bad Bernier had a goal and two assists in four games vs. Dallas last season. For some reason, maybe my lack of breakfast this morning, I foresee Bernier coming away with a multi-point game on Sunday.
RW Jannik Hansen (broken hand), RW Pavol Demitra (shoulder) and D Mathieu Schneider (shoulder) are on the injured reserve list.
While I claim to be the Canucks Fantasy Hockey swami, the man with all the answers and a crystal ball as clear as they come, this is very self-described. Most of my picks are backed by stats, while others come from the gut. Use with caution!