On February 22nd, 1980 my life changed forever. That day my father and I jumped up and down and held our breath for the last ten minutes of what came to be known as “the miracle on ice”. That was the exact moment, I knew that I wanted to play hockey for the rest of my life.
Fast forward 22 years later, I was working for NBC at the Olympics in SLC, Utah in 2002 covering all the hockey games in a broadcast operations capacity. On an off day I did work for Columbia sportswear in the VIP hotel downtown. That day I ran into Jim Craig, legendary goalie for the 1980 USA team that won Gold in Lake Placid. He was doing a meet and greet but was alone because everyone had left to go to the games. I said hello and he asked me to sit down and we had lunch for a half hour and I told him the story of that day and what it meant to me in my life.
It just goes to show you that any day can be the first day of the rest of your life. Playing DraftKings is the same way. If you stick to what your plans, learn from the best, and keep reaching for your goals, someday it could pay off big. Here are my picks for today’s spate of late games.
G: S. Varlamov, Colorado – $7,900
I am going with the Avalanche in the Outdoor Stadium game tonight at Coors Field. These games are usually low scoring affairs, as the ice is usually awful because of all the wear and tear and temperature fluctuations. Varlamov is averaging 4.5 Fantasy Points per Game (FPPG) and boasting a 0.915 save percentage while surrendering 2.70 Goals Against per game. I think the Avalanche will be motivated and come out flying tonight in Colorado.
D: K. Letang, Pittsburgh – $6,900
Letang is worth every penny because he is all over the ice, averaging 24 minutes a game. At home in the afternoon against a suspect Winnipeg team that lost Ladd to Chicago (as if they needed him — can you say Dynasty?) Pittsburgh will see a ton of quality scoring chances and power play chances as Winnipeg ranks 25th in Goals Allowed and 28th in Penalty Kill percentage in the league. Plus, Letang has been very successful playing at home during the afternoons for some reason.
D: T. Barrie, Colorado – $6,900
I am on the fence on whether or not this game will produce goals or not. The ice is always subpar and not at the normal NHL level, regardless of how hard they try, making finesse and passing plays harder. The way to counter this is shoot the puck…a lot. Barrie has 129 shots this year to go along with an impressive 10 goals and 31 helpers. Barrie seems as amped for the game as I have seen and I want him in. Expect scoring from the defense on either side as shots from the point will reign supreme tonight.
W: E. Kane, Buffalo – $6,400
With O’Reilly on the disabled list, Evander Kane must carry a bulk of the scoring weight for the Sabres. Buffalo plays a lot better on the road and played strong against a good San Jose team last night. Keeping up the momentum and not having to travel far, Kane will look to the power play as the Sabres get on the Kings tonight.
W: M. Stone, Ottawa – $5,500
Stone plays alongside one of the best in Hoffman as he himself has quietly become one of the elite players in the league. Twenty goals on the year already, Stone averages 20 minutes of ice and has 121 shots on net. Against a Calgary team allowing goals by the bunches, exposure through the first line is a strong play tonight.
W: J.Gaudreau, Calgary – $7,100
Johnny Gaudreau plays much better at the Saddledome than on the road. Tonight at home, he faces a Ottawa team that has defensive issues but can score. Vegas thinks will be a shootout as do I, so exposure to this game is a must. Playing on the first line, which is also the number one power play unit, Gaudreau is my man for this game.
C: D. Brassard, Rangers- $5,500
I am not sure if the Rangers found their game again, but tonight will be a good test. Dallas can give up alot of goals, the question is, can New York keep up the scoring? Brassard has a nice balanced 22 goals and 23 assists this year with 139 shots. I want some exposure to this game can go either way in total goals. I’d definitely bet the “over” this afternoon.
C: N. Kadri, Toronto – $5,500
This game will see some scoring but I am not sure how much, as both teams rank low in team total scoring. Kadri offers a good value as he shoots the puck a ton, with 206 shots this year. On the power play or even strength, Kadri should hit the board.
Utility: B. Gallagher, Montreal – $6,100
As I said, this game will see scoring and I love the way Gallagher plays. Almost 20 goals and averaging 4.4 FPPG, exposure with him through the first line and first power play is a solid value. It’s also a possible unlimited ceiling, as Toronto has been known to give up a few goals (to say the least) from time to time.