Monday, September 29, 2008

Open Ice Fantasy Hockey: Draft Results

Last Thursday, the 2nd Annual Open Ice Fantasy Hockey League held its livedraft. Of the nine teams participating, only two had to autodraft: ST and a friend of ours, Marcel. For whatever reason, autodraft gave ST a much better team than Marcel.

A brief summary:

screaming dobermans (walkinvisible): She has an...interesting team. Unfortunately, she got bitten by an awful design of Yahoo's livedraft client that has happened once for every livedraft I've seen. She dragged her players into the queue, but had another player "selected" still. When she hit the "draft" button, above the queue, it drafted her selected player (Jordan Staal) rather than the one on top of her queue (someone much better than Jordan Staal). However, she also has The Stempniak which ultimately means the rest of her team doesn't matter. That guy is a one-man wrecking ball of awesome. WI is also taking flyers on Dubinksky, Jochen "ch" Hecht, and our own Giordano (which according to Yahoo has an average draft order of "-", which seems to indicate she is the first person ever to draft him in Yahoo Fantasy Hockey -- great work!)

FB Craig Conroys (duncan): He got The Crosby, and some dynamic duos in Lecavalier & St. Louis and Bertuzzi & Cammalleri. He seems to have more faith in Ryan Miller (he looks funny) and Martin Biron than I do, as he's going to be flying with just those two in net. There's not really any gambles on this team aside from who is in net, other than arguably Bertuzzi and Shawn Horcoff (he looks funny). A lot of funny looking people on this team -- was Ricci not available?

Bancouber Pucks (Marcel): The autodraft punished Marcel for having perhaps the dumbest team name I've ever seen in fantasy hockey. This team is stacked with talents such as Sheldon Souray, Sergei Gonchar, Markus Naslund, Bryan McCabe, and Nikolai Zherdev. And in net he's got the trio of Jose Theodore, Dan Ellis, and Vesa Toskala -- I guess he's not gonna go for "wins".

Steel Thunder (Steal Thunder): Steal Thunder's team is named Steel Thunder. As someone in the draft asked (Duncan?), is his team name misspelled or is his blogging name misspelled? Will we ever know? ST also suffered the fate of having an autodraft, but the hockey gods have shined on him. Perhaps the only "questionable" pick was Osgood, but he may surprise yet again this year. This team has the likes of Spezza, Stastny (a personal favourite of mine), Iginla, Lidstrom, Briere, and H. Sedin. In net, he's got Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Osgood, and Tomas Vokoun (8 goals against, haha!).

Flaming C (The enigma that is Paul-Marc): Paul-Marc drafted a very solid team, perhaps strongest in net with Evgeni Nabokov, Henrik Lundqvist, and Ilya Bryzgalov. Other notable players include Mike Richards, Rick Nash, Brian Rolston, Jason Pominville, Brent Burns, Niklas Kronwall, and a very astute pick with Patrice Bergeron (a terrific sleeper). He also took a flyer on Matt Carle (the non-injured one) and Mikko Koivu. I think Paul-Marc wins the award of stealing most of Leanne's favourite usual fantasy studs.

RetiredWarreners (Kent -- or if you want to be shot, metrognome): Kent picked up Selanne, told us he'd be playing...and then rubbed it in when Selanne signed his 2-year contract and scored 2 goals. Nicely played, Kent. Notable players include Datsyuk, Toews, Tanguay (I love him too, Kent), Frolov, Hossa, Satan (the devil, not the player), and Niklas Backstrom. Oh, and Havlat, Huselius, Corvo, and Price. His backup goaltender is Leclaire. As you might have guessed from the long list of players, this will be a pretty competitive team. He took a flyer on apparent man-crush Antoine Vermette.

The Naughty Nilsons (Leanne): Leanne has an unhealthy obsession with Marcus Nilson. There must've been some kind of mistake, but she did not draft Nilson. She was even the first overall pick, so she has no excuse. Her team includes Captain Consistency and Integrity (Mike Ribeiro), Ovechkin, Parise, Kane, Phaneuf, Pronger, and J-S Giguere. Her other goaltenders are Cam Ward and Timothy Thomas, Jr. A decent team, anchored by Ovechkin and Phaneuf. But they're no Nilsons.

Wasilla Meth-heads (Adrian, my brother): This team is stacked with foreign policy experience -- they can see Russia from their rinks. A pretty stable team, not any notable risky picks and it should treat him well. Notable players include Getzlaf, Savard, Heatley, Perry, Campbell, Jovocop, Brad Richards, and an excellent 'tending trio of Roberto Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Martin Gerber. The riskiest players here are the geriatric Rob Blake and Edmonton's favourite player, Joffrey Lupul.

The Pantless Pirates (me): I had the luxury of drafting last, which I've never done before. The double-pick is nice but it's also a long, lonely wait between picks. Notable players for my team include Joe Thornton, Eric Staal, Thomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik, Andrei Markov, Wade Redden, and Anze Kopitar. In net I have Martin Brodeur, Christobal Huet, and Manny Legace. The goal was a well-balanced team, and I hope it is.

Thanks to all who were able to attend the draft, and thank you Marcel for letting autodraft screw you with several picks. It's almost showtime! Good luck to most of you, but not all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Open Ice Fantasy Hockey: Draft Reminder, Last Chance

There's still a few more days to join the Open Ice Fantasy Hockey league. We're bigger and better than ever, but we've open spaces still. Preferably at least one other adventurous soul would like to join, so we'd have an even number of teams.

To join, go to
Click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# and password below:
League ID#: 9849
Password: nilson

For the people already in the league, the draft is scheduled for Thursday Sep 25 8:30pm MDT (for the math challenged, that's 10:30pm EDT). It shouldn't take more than an hour, and will be done using the Yahoo live draft tool.

If you cannot make it, Yahoo will use your pre-ranked player list to auto-draft your team. If you don't modify the ranking, it'll default to Yahoo's master list. I'd recommend you look at the list if you're going to rely on that, because not a lot of people agree with it (Dan Carcillo is highly ranked, for instance...).

Good luck and see you there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Being tricked into getting up early (AKA: Training Camp)

So I showed up early at the Saddledome this morning to take a look at Group B, primarily the defensive studs, the third and fourth liners, and a load of prospects they're trying to evaluate.

My basic impressions:

They are taking a long hard look at Backlund right now. He was teamed up with Cammalleri (as well as Bourque, and Kyle Greentree at times) for much of the morning. He looks a lot less awkward than he did last year - some combination of not coming off injury this year, being better adapted to his arms and legs, and overall more maturity in his game. While still not great defensively, he's definitely made some strides in this area since last training camp. And offensively, he needs no help.

Speaking of Cammalleri, I like him. He'll be a good addition to the roster.

Nystrom looks like he's spent the summer working on his speed. He was much faster than all the other guys attired in white, though to be fair, Lombardi was sporting a red shirt today.

I liked Matt Pelech. He was paired with Vandermeer (Jim, not Pete) most of the morning, and looked decent. Pardy, on the other hand, was paired with Aucoin and didn't stand out from the crowd quite the way he did last year.

Prust was pretty meh.

Both Keeetley and Irving made some terrific stops all morning long. I'm particularly encouraged by Irving, though I doubt he'll stick with the big club this year.

After a summer off, I'm suddenly excited by hockey again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh. Hockey's back?

Yes, we really have been paying attention. Really. Really hard.

The folks over at Melt Your Face Off asked us about a week ago to chip in a season preview for the Flames in our usual inimitable style.

It's a bit on the short side, especially compared to some of the other previews, but I've been in a wait-and-see mode here. Haven't really passed judgement on anything that's happened in the last three months or so ago, and won't get around to it for a bit. So I looked at the exercise as an opportunity to sharpen my (quickly dwindling) wits for another season. And here goes...

Go enjoy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fantasy Update

I've created our league again in Yahoo with the same settings as last year. Invites have automatically gone out to the illustrious individuals who participated last year's, but there's still lots of space for others to join still.

To join, go to
Click the "Sign Up Now" or "Get Another Team" button and follow the links to "Join a Custom League". When prompted, enter the League ID# and password below:
League ID#: 9849
Password: nilson

We're doing a livedraft this year, and I'm thinking coordinating people might be an I'm picking a time and we'll play whack o' mole til we get something that truly works for everyone. If we can't find a time everyone's able to attend, then sadly some people will need to leverage the awesome "autodraft" feature where they would rank players at anytime before the draft, and Yahoo will draft for them with the best available as per their list (or without a custom list, Yahoo's ranked list of players).

The current scheduled live draft is Sat Sep 27 2:00pm EDT. Please let me know ASAP if that cannot work for you and we'll see what else we can set it to. Note that the sooner we set this, the better, there's only so many live draft slots open at any given time so we'll have fewer times to choose from later. If you're worried about the length, it'd probably last an hour or so (judging from my previous live drafts).