The Goonies, Happy Gilmore, and Groin Injuries: Fantasy Hockey Center Pickups

Grant Correspondent IMarch 25, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 11:  Joey MacDonald #35 of the New York Islanders defends his net against Daniel Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers on November 11, 2008 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

March 8th has been a rather significant date in history. 

On this particular day Mahatma Ghandi first employed his version of civil disobediance in India.  Smokin' Joe Frazier won a decision over a previously undefeated Muhammed Ali.  Three time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl Kathy Ireland was born.

On a more personal level, March 8 of this year was the day that I finally lost faith in and dropped Philadelphia Flyer Daniel Briere from my main fantasy hockey team.

For four months I rostered the injured center hoping he would return to the ice with the brilliance he had displayed over the past two years.

News of possible comebacks peppered the winter months but never came to fruition.  Rehabilitating free skates always seemed to end back in the trainer's room.

But at the end of February a concrete date for a return to action was finally set for Briere.

However, after learning on March 5th that Danny had once again tweaked his ever persistent groin injury, I became Goonie Chunk's impression of Popeye, right before he broke the water cooler in the Fratelli's basement: I had taken all I could stands, and I couldn't stands no more.

At the time I thought the move made sense.  The Flyers are a team with two 70 point playmakers in Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.  Furthermore, the center position is always the deepest in the free agent pool and I was quickly losing ground in the goalie stat categories.  So I dropped Briere for Buffalo netminder Patrick Lalime.

I will pause here for you to chuckle.

Not since Virginia Venit scored from mid-rink in the movie Happy Gilmore has there been a bigger all time backfire on ice. 

In the past three games Briere has scored three goals, notched two assists and spent six minutes in the sin bin.  He has taken 10 shots on goal and has three power play points to boot.

If you happen to be in a league where Briere remains on the waiver wire, pick him up immediately.  He is now part of the red hot first power play unit for the Flyers.

If not, here are some other centers to help you down the home stretch.

Sam Gagner

This second year skater has been one of the hottest players in the NHL over the past week.  The young Oiler has six points, four goals and two assists during that span.  Expect him to maintain this level of intensity as Edmonton desperately holds on to one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Steven Stamkos

Finally Stamkos is playing like the phenom he has been touted to be.  Stamkos has 11 points in his last 10 March games, netting four goals in his last three.  Equally impressive, three of those goals have come on the power play.  Currently skating alongside Vaclav Prospal and Martin St. Louis on Tampa Bay's first line, consider riding the Lightning rookie while he's on fire.

Maxim Lapierre

In the constant shakeup that is the Canadien lineup, Maxim Lapierre has recently found himself centering the top line.  Montreal is in danger of missing the playoffs in the centennial anniversary of their organization, so they are rolling with the hot hand.  Those in deeper leagues should follow suit. 

Over the past week the universally unowned Lapierre has three goals and one assist with a plus six rating.

Jaime Lundmark

In his last 14 games Jaime Lundmark has six goals and five assists.  If you participate in a league deep enough to start Calgary's Lundmark, drop me a line because next season I want in.

Rod Brind'Amour

Brind'Amour has suddenly returned to his Sega Genesis NHL Live point per game form.  Helping the Hurricanes to a four game win streak, the 39 year old center has five goals and eight assists in his last 10 games.  Roll with this dinosaur before he again becomes extinct.