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New Year Thoughts

The Winter Classic is two days away and Canada's already winning games by the score of 16-0 in the World Juniors. This is hockey's time to shine. What's going on with your fantasy teams?

My biggest fantasy gripe is the way Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak are splitting time. This isn't like the NFL where handcuffs see 100 percent of the action when the starter goes down. No, starter Carey Price hasn't even started in over a week while I've had Halak and his monster week sitting prettily on my bench in one league. Of course, I activated Halak for Week 13 and after his mediocre game Monday night he probably won't play again for who knows how long.

What about maintenance days? NHL staffs are becoming more cryptic than Al Davis and Bill Belichick at a poker game. When does maintenance mean maintenance and when does it mean out for 2-4 weeks?

You know what really makes me mad? Losing to a team that is still starting Nikita Filatov. The guy's been in Russia since October! I barely knocked off a squad that had Joe Corvo starting a couple weeks ago, even though he's been out since November.

My biggest keeper flops include Ville Leino, Johnny Oduya and Sam Gagner (whom I gave a 2-year raise) over the likes of Craig Anderson, Christian Erhoff and Steve Sullivan. $1 pickups like Tyler Myers and James Neal have softened those blows, however.

Are the Red Wings going to make the playoffs? Can they make a run when everyone gets healthy? I've snagged Jimmy Howard, who after a rough start, has put up some nice numbers for a goalie coming off my league's waiver wire. Scott Gomez – does six points in three games signal a turnaround (I just scooped him off of waivers in an expert league) ? Can Michael Cammalleri stay healthy, he's putting up nice numbers in Montreal? What if Evgeni Nabokov got hurt? I think that could single-handedly turn fantasy leagues upside down. Is Evgeni Malkin going to get red-hot at some point, or does he maintain an earthly pace this season?

The Olympic rosters are nearly out. Does Canada regret playing it old last time, keeping Sidney Crosby off the team? Will Roberto Luongo start in the Olympic host city, Vancouver, where he plays on a nightly basis or does Martin Brodeur get the nod? Russia looks strong all around. Off topic, does Alexander Ovechkin get the "C" in Washington or does a vet like Mike Knuble deserve it?

Here's to hoping that this season's Winter Classic is half as good as the last couple. It's got to be better than yet another meaningless bowl game.