Friday, October 17, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: IT'S ALL PART OF MY HOCKEY FANTASY

New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26), of the Czech Republic, takes a shot as Atlanta Thrashers forward Marty Reasoner (19) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008, in Atlanta. New Jersey won 1-0.<br />(AP Photo/John Amis)It's weird what you find yourself rooting for when you have a fantasy team, especially a fantasy hockey team. It was late in Monday night's game and the Rangers were already up 3-1 on the Devils with Marty pulled, so I was rooting for Gomez to score an empty net goal, or an empty net assist, or something! During garbage time in the Wild/Thrashers game (I just stopped to think: man, those are awful team names--sounds like a bar band that plays only 80s hair metal covers--THE WILD THRASHERS!), I actually cursed at GABBO! for missing an empty net. At least offensive-minded defenseman Ron Hainsey got a few SOG for me, while Zeppelinberg was busy hurting his groin in a back alley somewhere in Detroit. Dammit, Kronwell, get that plus/minus up!

Among the things I will NOT have to root for: anyone in a Philthy Lyers or Maple Leaves sweater, or guys like Todd Bertuzzi or Sean Gayvery (because I kicked them off my draft list). So here's my fantasy team, about whom nobody cares about but me. (Not sure if that's the name I'm sticking with.)






Zelepukin Slappers
1. (6) Martin Brodeur
2. (7) Henrik Zetterberg
3. (18) Martin St. Louis
4. (19) Marian Gaborik
5. (30) Eric Staal
6. (31) Thomas Vanek
7. (42) Brenden Morrow
8. (43) Dan Boyle
9. (54) Niklas Backstrom
10. (55) Nicklas Backstrom
11. (66) Marc Savard
12. (67) Lubomir Visnovsky
13. (78) Niklas Kronwall
14. (79) Dustin Byfuglien
15. (90) Zach Parise
16. (91) Henrik Sedin
17. (102) Ron Hainsey
18. (103) Mathieu Garon

Yes, I got Niklas Backstrom and Nicklas Backstrom. I thought about dropping one of them because I was just going to get confused . . . but which one?

Strangely, the three (two) people who blog here each autodrafted their respective team's goalie: I got Marty with the 6th pick, Kris decided the 6th round was Ryan Miller Time, and Rob ended up with King Henrik.

* It's 2008, and interference is the new obstruction! This happens at the beginning of every year, where the officials pick one penalty and call it incessantly. Yes, I understand they want to "set a tone" and hope the players follow their lead, but these games are being called ridiculously tight. There's no doubt they want to increase scoring by calling more infractions (and judging by the scoreboard, littered with 6-2, 7-4 and 5-4 finals, scoring is up), but how in God's name did the Islanders get NINE POWER PLAYS last night? And there were two monumentally horrendous calls last night against the Devils, one of them was called "interference" when Colin White was merely finishing a check, the other was a tripping call made after a player tripped over the blue line. This will probably taper off in the second half of the season, but power plays and the resulting goals are a little off the charts right now (except for the Devils, who always stink with the extra man).

* Last night, there were maybe 5,000 people attending the Devils 1-0 win over the Thrashers in Atlanta (don't believe the claim of "11,293"--there aren't even that many hockey fans in all of Georgia). Even Chico "Eats" Resch commented on it stating that it was one of the lowest turnouts he's ever seen, and he was a Devils goalie when they were only winning 17 games a season. It was pretty depressing. Apparently, to offset low ticket sales Thrashers management is trying to lure customers by making some seats "all you can eat". No, don't give people discounts, just give them unlimited shitty nachos. What fatty could refuse that? Well done, guys!

So where were all the fans in Hotlanta last night? It's not like there was a Braves playoff game last night--oh wait, they don't attend those either. Can we just admit that the Southern Fried Hockey experiment didn't work? Of course not, because the NHL will never admit defeat, they'll just raise ticket prices and add teams in places like Kansas City and Barcelona. Okay, you got the Stanley Cup all the way down to Carolina and Tampa--congratulations Bettman, you shitface! I hope you're happy, and made a plaque commemorating that incredible accomplishment. Now can we get this league back to actual HOCKEY, featuring teams in (Canadian) cities where people give a shit and attend whether the team is good or bad?

* My free NHL CENTER ICE preview ended PROMPTLY at midnight on the 15th. In fact, there was still a game going on when it cut out. Thanks, Comcast Cablevision Cocksuckers! I didn't matter much anyway, as those channels were nearly unwatchable in standard definition, and there are exactly ZERO HD channels allotted for this package on CV. One other note: because of DirecTV pricing based on potential "viewing occupancy", the CI package would be $749 for the season if purchased at a bar (1-100 people). That's ridiculous. And I was all ready to chip in $50, but that won't even make a dent. NHL, don't you want ANYONE to see your sport?

* The Battle of New York was won by . . . the Sabres on Wednesday night. Their 3-1 win in MSG prevented the Rangers from going 6-0, which would have been their best start ever. Speaking of, I will be attending a hockey game in the Most Famous Arena On Planet Earth for the first time in a long time. It will remind me how depressingly lame it is to have your home team's rink in Newark.

* GOAL OF THE WEEK

Martin Havlat vs. the Coyotes (4-1 Blackhawks, 10/15/08).



Egads, that's a wicked backhand.

Here's my blognostications for the playoff teams this season:

Wales (Eastern): Pittsburgh, Washington, Montreal, NY Rangers, New Jersey, Carolina, Buffalo, Ottawa.
Campbell (Western): San Jose, Detroit, Minnesota, Vancouver, Chicago, Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis.

* As you might know, Marty Brodeur has the chance to set two career goalie records this season: wins and shutouts. I'm just glad I've been around to watch most of these--holy back bacon, he's got nearly 100 shutouts (not counting the postseason)? Yikes. Anyway, I'm proud to introduce: Marty Watch.

MARTY WATCH

Wins = 541 (11 more to pass Patrick Roy, 551)


Shutouts = 97 (7 more to pass
Terry Sawchuk, 103)