Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Headfirst Into The Pool(s)

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in...for those of you checking in for this week's edition of Weird & Whacked Wednesday, my apologies but tonight was Hockey Pool night in Canada; today's/tonight's draft could have made the grade for a Wednesday entry. I am assuming that Playoff Hockey Pools aren't a big deal south of the border, especially in Red Sox Nation- but up here it turns relatively normal sports fans who turn into addled-minded, pseudo GMs who think the fate of the world rests with every pick.

Where are my manners? A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Back to the playoff pools - for those of you who have participated (I'm guessing Hazel has been, and likely still is in her fair share of playoff pools) you know the strategy you go in with can go out the window depending on where you pick. A bad draft position means that players you may have targetted going into the draft could be gone by the time your number comes up. My draft stategy has always been premised on the following rules:
  • All or nothing - pick two or three teams you think may get to the conference finals and load up on those guys. It's risky, but its all or nothing right? If your teams get through the first round, you are golden. If not, well take comfort in the fact that one of your friends is going to enjoy one hell of a bender with your donation.

  • Never, and I mean NEVER, pick players who are going to meet in the first round of the playoffs - why automatically doom yourself to lose players in the first round? Again, its risky, but be decisive and trust your judgement - plus, its only 20 bucks...Man up!

  • Don't be afraid to take the third line players who are on teams that will go deep into the playoffs - they are bound to pick up some points and are likely to have very good games given that they are normally matched up against the opponents weaker defence pairings.

  • Never pick too many players from a team who's goaltending is shaky - you are just dooming yourself. Teams like the Flyers, the SenaTards, the Hurricanes and the Predators are teams to avoid - yes they can all score, but come playoff time, they will over compensate for weak goaltending and try to pack it, they ripe for the picking in a seven game series. This goes out the window in the 9th and 10th rounds - you pick the best available guy.
Believe it or not, I've won my share of hockey pools with this method - certainly won more than I invested. So on to the night pool - my friends and I have done this one for years. Pick 12 players, the top 10 count towards your point total (this was invoked because between the 12 of us, we are all Maple Leafs, Habs and SenaTards fans - and with the exception of me, those cowards have always been too afraid to pick players from their favourite teams). Since I left my office pool picks at my desk - I'll go with the friends pool tonight. I loaded up on San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres - San Jose because I think they will win the Cup and Buffalo because I know they are going to spank the Flyers - and if they get lucky enough to get a 2nd round matchup against the Devils, they are going to the Conference Finals with a very good shot of meeting San Jose. My picks

Patrick Marleau (San Jose)
Nils Ekman (San Jose)
Tim Connolly (Buffalo)
Alex Kotalik (Buffalo)
Tomas Vanek (Buffalo)
Derek Roy (Buffalo)
Jere Lehtinen (Dallas)
Steve Bernier (San Jose)
Tom Preissing (San Jose)
Jaret Stoll (Edmonton)
Ray Whitney (Carolina)
Hazel Mae (NESN)

That's right - I used my number 12 pick to proudly select Hazel Mae. I chose Hazel for a number of reasons:
  1. its never a bad idea to have Hazel on your team, as a matter of fact - is a very good thing. Have I told you about Hazel Karma?

  2. I am very confident that my top 9 will get me deep enough into the playoffs to win the pool.

  3. Mike Ribeiro of the Habs was gone - I wanted to represent by picking up a Portuguese guy - but one of the stinking Habs' fans took him early.
So there you have it - I like my team. The weird thing tonight (and in the office pool this aft) was that there were a number of chumps loading up on teams that left me scratching my head, namely:

Detroit - yes they finished first overall, but 21 wins against the likes of Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus will help you pad those stats. Detroit is too old, not fast enough - and Legace can come unglued at the drop of a hat or a bad goal. I think Edmonton can upset Detroit.

SenaTards - yes they will probably sweep Tampa in the first round (God I hope not) - but they are going to be playing tight into Emery, to protect him. I don't see them filling the net, even against Tampa's suspect goalies. I certainly don't see them getting out of round 2...

Flyers - Even with Forsberg coming back, their D is big and pretty slow, Esche has been terrible of late (Nittymaki may start - but he isn't a world beater either), and they aren't really playing that well as a team. They are going down to Buffalo in 6 (maybe 7).

Carolina - a very risky proposition - Gerber is looking ordinary and they are looking pretty weak defensively. I see a 1st round upset to Montreal (I hate saying that almost as much as I hate predicting a SenaTards win).

Nashville - no Voukoun and I loaded up on San Jose - so they have to go down.

We'll see how it all shakes out in a month or so...I guess I'll be watching hockey for at least another week. I'll wear a black armband for the Maple Leafs.

Good luck to those of you participating in a pool this spring. That's about it for tonight - have a great one peeps!

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world - if things get screwy and San Jose and Buffalo get bounced in the 1st round, get ready to suit up...we'll try to get you a short term contract with one of the Elite Eight. I'm sure you have a wicked point shot.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - I only know the chorus...but its a really bad cheezy song from the 70's (those crazy drug induced 70's)

Do You Know The Way To San Jose - Dionne Warwick

Peesth Out!


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