Frozen Fantasy: Stop the Disrespect

Frozen Fantasy: Stop the Disrespect

This article is part of our Frozen Fantasy series.

There was lots going on in hockey this week. But every day, I came back to one topic. Respect. And lack thereof. 

I'm talking to you, Vancouver. 

Bruce Boudreau was fired on Sunday and Rick Tocchet named as his replacement. And the way things went, it should've come much earlier. It was disrespectful to trot out Boudreau to face the media in front of a backdrop supporting mental health awareness and was salt on an open wound. For him. For the media. For the fans. 

For everyone watching, including the players themselves. 

Boudreau was good enough to turn that team around last season, almost making the playoffs after being a bottom dweller. Now he's not. Vancouver is clearly going in a different direction, so there was no need to drag him around. 

Reports that security confiscated fan signs on Friday night were appalling. Saturday night was likely his last home game as coach. Some "We stand with Bruce" signs got in. And supporters serenaded him during the game and after with chants of "Bruce, there it is."

It was gut wrenching. 

I've never really been a Canucks fan. Honestly, most of Canada isn't – the country didn't really even cheer for them when they faced the Bruins for the Cup in 2011. I wonder how many of their own fans feel the same way now. 

It's all a bit too much. 

Now let's take a look at who caught my eye this week. 

Matt Grzelcyk, D, Boston (8 percent

There was lots going on in hockey this week. But every day, I came back to one topic. Respect. And lack thereof. 

I'm talking to you, Vancouver. 

Bruce Boudreau was fired on Sunday and Rick Tocchet named as his replacement. And the way things went, it should've come much earlier. It was disrespectful to trot out Boudreau to face the media in front of a backdrop supporting mental health awareness and was salt on an open wound. For him. For the media. For the fans. 

For everyone watching, including the players themselves. 

Boudreau was good enough to turn that team around last season, almost making the playoffs after being a bottom dweller. Now he's not. Vancouver is clearly going in a different direction, so there was no need to drag him around. 

Reports that security confiscated fan signs on Friday night were appalling. Saturday night was likely his last home game as coach. Some "We stand with Bruce" signs got in. And supporters serenaded him during the game and after with chants of "Bruce, there it is."

It was gut wrenching. 

I've never really been a Canucks fan. Honestly, most of Canada isn't – the country didn't really even cheer for them when they faced the Bruins for the Cup in 2011. I wonder how many of their own fans feel the same way now. 

It's all a bit too much. 

Now let's take a look at who caught my eye this week. 

Matt Grzelcyk, D, Boston (8 percent Yahoo!) – Grezlcyk turned a page on this season when the calendar turned over. Since the start of 2023, the defender has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 10 games. Before that? Grizz had nine points in his first 32. Sure, his power-play tickle trunk is bare, but at least he sees some time there. And it's the Bruins, so his plus-minus will be a boost. Grezlcyk won't score at his current pace, but shouldn't shrink back to his pre-New Year's production either. Check him out if your squad has seen some injuries.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, Buffalo (25 percent Yahoo!) – You've been on a roller coaster if you've had UPL this season. He allows a lot of goals – cripes, his save percentage for the season starts with an eight (.896). But the Sabres are letting him roll right now, ostensibly to see what they have in him for coming years. And Luukkonen is rising to the challenge. He's still allowing goals, but he's backstopped the Sabres to six wins in his last eight starts starting New Year's Eve. And his save percentage over that span has improved (.907). I'm not sold just yet, but I'd certainly snap him up over Sergei Bobrovsky

Anton Lundell, C, Florida (22 percent Yahoo!) – The sophomore slump has been real for Lundell this season – he has a paltry 20 points in 39 games this season after putting up 44 in 65 last year. But a move to the wing on the kitties' top line seems to be waking up his game. He's on a four-game, five-point roll heading into Monday and his streak includes three goals (one SHG), a PPA and 12 shots. Lundell is a steal if he sticks with Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart – get him before other managers realize he's in that role.  

Sam Montembeault, G, Montreal (16 percent Yahoo!) – This is the last time I mention Montembeault because I know it feels like harping. But he's delivered the most fantasy points for a goalie over the last 14 days (ending Sunday morning). More than Jake Oettinger (99 percent Yahoo!) and more than double – yes, DOUBLE – Connor Hellebuyck and Igor Shesterkin (98 and 100 percent Yahoo!, respectively). And he's the ninth most-valuable netminder over the last 30 days. Montreal is struggling, but they may have something in Montembeault. You could, too. 

Rem Pitlick, LW/RW, Montreal (0 percent Yahoo!) – Pitlick stepped into the land of opportunity when the Habs announced Saturday that Cole Caufield needed season-ending shoulder surgery. He was scoring at better than a point-per-game in the AHL before his call-up this week, so it looks like he has first dibs to fill Caufield's spot on the first line. It was Pitlick's hard work that made Josh Anderson's second-period goal possible and he then notched his first-ever OT winner with a rip over Ilya Samsonov's blocker shoulder. He isn't a great option in formats that still use plus-minus, but he's worth a look in other leagues. 

Taylor Raddysh, LW/RW, Chicago (2 percent Yahoo!) – Raddysh? Really? Hear me out. He had a four-game, six-point (two goal, four assists) streak snapped Saturday night. But you're right – he wouldn't be a second-line winger in most cities and certainly wouldn't be on PP1, let alone PP2, in any city. Still, Raddysh has been given those opportunities in the Windy City and right now, he's full-on carpe diem. He's clearly a product of his surroundings – his center is Jonathan Toews and he's lining up with Toews and Patrick Kane on the power play. But who cares? Production is production. Both Toews and Kane are likely to be shipped out soon, so the Pride of Caledon (Ontario) qualifies a short-term recommendation. 

Tyler Seguin, RW/C, Dallas (60 percent Yahoo!) – This one is a long-shot – fantasy managers are adding him in droves this week, but he might still be sitting out there. Go check. Seguin had eight points, including five goals, in six games heading into Saturday. It was a bit disappointing to see him held off the scoresheet against lowly Arizona on Saturday, but he was old-school dominant Thursday against the Kings. He's only 30, but most fantasy managers wrote him off after he missed all of 2020-21 and looked slow and old upon his return. But he's neither. Seguin lost almost all muscle mass after knee and hip surgeries following the 2020 playoffs. That imbalance takes a long time to rebuild – I know from personal experience. Seguin is starting to look a bit like the Seguin of old, and his physical recovery will only get better. He's a sneaky pickup.

Teuvo Teravainen, LW/RW, Carolina (50 percent Yahoo!) – Teravainen has had an awful year. His 21 points in 36 games is his worst offensive pace since his first couple years in the league. I'm not exactly sure what gives – he's injury prone, but he's supposed to be healthy. And Max Pacioretty isn't. It was painful to see Wolverine go down Friday night with yet another Achilles tear. Teravainen stepped into Pacioretty's spot on the top line Saturday and there's no better time (or opportunity) than now for him to put some juice in his game. And he did, to the tune of two helpers. Just don't hold on too long if Teravainen fails to keep producing. At minimum, grab him and dangle him to the person who just lost Pacioretty. 

Pavel Zacha, LW/RW/C, Boston (18 percent Yahoo!) – Zacha might be the fantasy steal of the second half. Strip away what you think about his slow development and consider what you'd do with a second-line winger on PP2 with the best team in hockey. One who's on a 55-point pace and a three-game, five-point streak heading into play Sunday. And one who seems to have real chemistry with fellow Czech and 2C linemate, David Krejci. Managers are noticing Zacha since Boston inked him to a deal worth almost $5 million AAV on Saturday – he jumped from six percent rostered to 18 in about a day. Check your wire. You might find a gem. 

Back to Bruce. And respect.

Boudreau's coaching record is 617-342-128. He's a hoot in an interview and loves his players and the game. 

But it's clear from the clips above that he's wondering if he'll ever coach again. 

I could go on about the fantasy impacts of the decision. They're real. But I'm not going to talk about them. The human part of this is far more important. 

There was a better way to handle this situation. Boudreau has taken the high road every step of the way. He has shown the leadership and professionalism that we expect. 

I'll leave it to you to assess the team's approach. I'm pretty sure you know where I stand. 

Godspeed, Gabby – your legacy as a coach is untarnished. Your legacy as a person? Better than it has ever been. 

Until next week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janet Eagleson
Janet Eagleson is a seven-time Finalist and four-time winner of the Hockey Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. She is a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan, loved the OHL London Knights when they were bad and cheers loudly for the Blackhawks, too. But her top passion? The World Junior Hockey Championships each and every year.
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