Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fantasy Hockey: Week 2

I'm still dead last in the IPB Superleague, but I'm slowly gaining ground in the HLOG Fantasy  League.

IPB Super League Fantasy League
Team Name: Kill Jack Kill
Week 1 Opponent: Elias Sports Bureau
Result: 7-7

Thank you Ilya Kovalchuk for getting yourself benched one game and only recording 1 lousy goal last week.  I hope you had fun bathing in your millions of gold coins while watching your teammates get trounced by Buffalo.  And Kimmo  Right now he's pretty much a liability on my team, but at least this league counts SOG because he's getting a ton of shots on net.  I thought about dropping him, but I think it's too early to give up on him.  One or two more weeks of this shit and he's  gone.  At least Victor Hedman got 5 assists!

Deal of the week: One of the managers must have read my blog because I was offered a trade last week!  JS Giguere for John Tavares.  I was dying to unload Jonas Gustavsson so I figured it was a decent trade.  As soon as the trade cleared I dropped the deadweight and picked up Mark Letestu at the end of the week to fill the extra center position.   Never heard of the guy but he had the best stats at the time and I'm a sucker for short term potential.

HLOG Fantasy League
Team Name: Me Want Food
Opponent: Bethany's Bitches
Result: 8-0!  I cleaned up this week.

Two words: Steve Stamkos.  The only thing he didn't do last week was get a short handed point.

I'm really looking forward to going to the LA/Tampa Bay game Nov. 4th.  I also got really lucky that Antti "Oh-No" Niemi had horrendous statistics last week.  Right now Chicago is looking pretty good for walking away from him.

Transaction of the week: I dropped Nikita Filatov.  He just wasn't doing it for me.  I picked up Tomas Kopecky, who promptly got injured so he did jack squat last week.  But as the Blackhawks figure things out I think Kopecky's stats will be better over the long run compared to Filatov who doesn't have much to work with in Columbus.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Second Loss of the Season

I missed the game tonight thanks to an awesome required work function where I got to hear regular folks tell me I'm doing my job wrong.  But apparently this work thing did me a favor as it prevented me from watching the Kings play horribly.  I suppose you can't really blame them for being off their game because I bet the boys were still in mourning over Doughty's injury.  But whatever, they lost to Phoenix, so it actually doesn't count since hardly anyone saw the game, right?

Just as I was about to call it a night I saw a new tweet or twit or twitter or....update from @BizNasty2point0

I've always wondered what players thought when they play in front of an embarrassingly small home crowd.  So while I got to hear people say "you're doing it wrong", apparently the citizens of Phoenix were telling the NHL "you're doing it wrong" by not showing up to the game.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Too Early in the Season

Puck Daddy linked to the "Jonathan Quick of the Kings leads the Vezina Watch" article from The Hockey News and my first instinct was "Are you kidding me?  The Kings have played 4 games!"  I think it's a little early to start talking about the Vezina.  

In defense of Quick, he has been pretty awesome in his three starts.  And to quote my hermano: 

Quick is seriously the best goalie we've had since Kelly Hrudey.

He's improved so much since last year and now that Bernier is backing him up he won't have to worry about playing 90% of the games this season.  It's been a long time since the Kings have had solid goaltending and it is still really early in the season, which may be why I still freeze every time an opponent gets a shot on net and why I cringe when I hear people talk about how amazing Quick has looked so far.  It's like I'm worried all this praise is going to somehow jinx Quick and the Kings.  

Four games in and the Kings do look good, except for maybe their power play.  The top line has points, secondary scoring is there, the penalty kill is killing it, goaltending looks pretty solid, but let's be's only been 4 games.  Let's just see how the first month of hockey goes before we start talking about possible trophy winners and then how about we wait till December or January before we start discussing the playoffs.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fantasy Hockey: Week 1

I'm playing in two fantasy hockey leagues this year.  One is the Annual HLOG Fantasy League made up of fabulous female managers and the other is the Annual IPB Superleague, in which each manager can only draft players who play in the conference opposite his or her favorite team's conference.  Both leagues had an auto-draft and I've made very few transactions since the draft due to the limited selection of available players.  Since only my pride is at stake in both leagues my goal this year is to just keep up with the leagues and not completely give up or forget that I'm still playing fantasy hockey in February.

IPB Super League Fantasy League
Team Name: Kill Jack Kill
Week 1 Opponent: China Doll Cheeks
Result: 0-13

I got absolutely destroyed this week!!! WTF!  I knew I was in trouble immediately after the auto-draft when I discovered that my two goaltenders are the incredibly good looking Carey 'not the solution' Price and Jonas Gustavsson, whom I'm not even convinced is the starting goaltender for the Leafs.  My opponent has Timmy Thomas, who so far has done a good job of trying to secure the number one spot.

Most of the categories were pretty close so I'm hopeful that I'll have success in the coming weeks.  The two categories that I was far behind in were shots on goal and penalties in minutes.  I guess my team is made up of a bunch of gentlemen because 8 players didn't record a single PIM.

The only change I would like to make is in goal.  However, I don't have many options right now so I may have to hope for a temporary minor injury to J.S. Giguere so that Gustavsson can get some playing time.  There are a couple Eastern Conference goaltenders that I could pick up who have played more games than Gustavsson and worth a spot on my "Watch List": Brent Johnson (PIT), Pretty Ricky (NYI), Brian Boucher (PHI) and Mike Smith (TB).  I'll keep a close eye on these guys this week to see if it's worth adding one to my team.

Check out my awesome goaltenders
HLOG Fantasy League
Team Name: Me Want Food
Opponent: Screaming Heathens
Result: 2-9

Like in my other league I'm helpless in goal.  I picked up Khabibulin before the start of the season because I had to unload Michael Leighton who is already injured.  Semyon Varlamov was also injured, but at the time I didn't see any other worthy goaltenders so I just stuck him on IR.  The Flower is sucking pretty hard, but I don't want to give up on him.  But after looking at the available goaltenders I decided to shake up my lineup!! Out are Khabibulin and Varlamov and in is J.S. maybe I don't want him to get injured.

I'm pretty embarrassed that my team finished '-9' this week, but I don't expect Rick Nash and Teemu Selanne to each finish '-3' in a typical week.  I'm a little upset that I didn't win the PIM category because all my players pitched in to collect 40 PIM this week.  But, there's not a whole lot you can do when Corey Perry decides to be a total dick and get 27 PIM in one week.  What an asshat.  I'm really glad he's an Anaheim Duck because it gives me even more reason to hate that team.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

King in the Castle

The Kings Home Opener had an interesting light show.  I didn't quite understand why someone decided to use green lights instead of something like, oh, I don't know....purple.

(Photo by Robert Meggers/Getty Images)
I'm in the Matrix!

It was definitely unexpected, a little off-putting, kinda cool, somewhat interesting.  Yeah, I still don't know what I think of it.  I wonder if it will be used at every game or if it was just for the home opener.  I was sad they didn't use the on-ice projector for highlights, but hopefully it's because they want to show highlights from the current season and there just haven't been too many yet. 

The display of the player introductions on the HD jumbotron got kinda screwed up.  Jake Muzzin's name was never shown, Rob Scuderi's was shown twice and I think Ryan Smyth was briefly shown twice before they fixed it and showed the correct person.  But the weirdest thing was the castle that the players walked out of.  

 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
But where's the moat?  

It looked so juvenile and all I could think of every time they showed the players walking out of it was:

King in the Castle, King in the Castle!!

When You Least Expect It...

Jarrot Stoll shoots the puck on net and it actually goes in!!!

You can imagine how shocked I was when that happened.

And considering I thought Ryan Smyth had a pretty terrible game, I can't believe he had 2 goals and 1 assist.  But....whatever.  A goal is a goal.  Just keep them coming.

But someone needs to tell Jack to get his head out of his ass because he's playing like crap. That "closing your hand on the puck" nonsense should never happen.  Some of the fans around me didn't agree with the call, but I thought it was the right one.  When I see him grab the puck and I can think to myself, "is he going to let it go?", then yeah, he's holding onto the puck for too long.  I have not been impressed with him at all so far.

The win against Atlanta has me excited about the season again.  Simmonds was a beast in that game.  Andrei Loktionov did pretty well on the top line with Brown and Kopitar.  Quick was solid except for some long scary rebounds.  John Stevens has the penalty kill working.  And seeing the Kings produce a ton of scoring chances and net 3 goals is a huge relief.  Friday's game against Vancouver will be a good test to see if the Kings can build on this win and continue applying a lot offensive pressure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Purchase Ever.

I've written about some truly awful Kings apparel and accessories that is or has been sold in stores or online. The pink jerseys and shirts are an abomination and any serious female hockey fan should be ashamed of herself for even thinking that purchasing one might be acceptable.  Then there's the craptastic, tacky and unbelievably expensive license plate purse.  But for every piece of junk that the NHL, and probably all sports, tries to sell, you gotta give companies credit for creating the awesome pieces that can only be described as genius.

I arrived super early at Staples Center for the Kings home opener and spent some time browsing the Team LA store.  I wasn't planning on buying anything since most of the womens apparel is hideous and over priced, but the husband wanted to buy a hat.  It warmed my heart that he was willing to pay money to buy a Kings hat!  We walked all around the store looking at every single hat on display and we finally found one hat that was on a dummy that he really liked and I admitted was acceptable.  He's a big fan of the third jersey logo, whereas  I think it's kinda stupid, but I think this hat is pretty nice.  I would include a stock photo, but I can't find it online anywhere and am way too lazy to take a picture of it and then load it onto my computer....sooooo, you can use your imagination.

While we were waiting in the ridiculously long line that snaked all around the store, I picked up a reversible Kings beanie: black one side, white with black horizontal stripes on the other side.  A Kings logo patch is on both sides.  I picked it up and put it back several times, but ultimately kept it since I've been wanting one for several years.  Then when we were paying for our items, I noticed a key chain bottle opener displayed at the checkout counter.  I've been considering replacing my current key chain bottle opener because it's gotten so much use over the past 10 years that it barely works.  I turned over the package and was totally sold on the product when I found out it was only $5!!  I was expecting it to be priced well over $10 so of course I bought it for $5!

As we walked out of the store I felt a little goofy and embarrassed for making such an impulse, buy but I could not get over how cheap it was....then I started to worry that maybe it's so cheap because it's a crappy piece of plastic that's going to break the first time I use it.  But no worries, folks.  It's a sturdy piece of something and it looks mighty fine hanging next to my keys.  And if you want one for yourself, or to give to all your drinking buddies, then try browsing the Team LA Store at Staples Center.  I didn't see it on the online Team LA Store, but I did see it on the manufacturer's website, but it's currently sold out.  Thank you NHL and Forever Collectibles for assisting me during my future drinking endeavors.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bam Bam Down!

I had no idea that Raitis 'Bam Bam' Ivanans had signed with the Calgary Flames until Jim and Bob announced the scratches prior to the Kings/Flames game on Sunday night.  For some reason I thought either he was still an unsigned free agent or that he had moved onto the KHL, since some shunned ex-NHLers thinks it's the fashionable thing to do.  I was a little disappointed that he was out of the lineup with a "head injury" because I bet he would have wanted to duke it out with the new Kings enforcer, Kevin Westgarth, or rather I wanted to see if Westgarth could throw down with Bam Bam. I did wonder for a second how he could have already gotten injured so early in the season.

Then this morning I got an email from a former coworker with a link to this video clip of Bam Bam's first fight of the season and after watching it I found out why he was out with a head injury.

Poor guy, he was doing pretty well till he took one right in the kisser (at about the 30 second mark).  I don't think I've ever seen Ivanans get dropped like this before.  Hopefully, Flames fans know that while Ivanans can be a liability out there since he doesn't provide much offensively, he is very capable of holding his own in scraps....this was just one of those unlucky moments.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Kings Goal is to Score More Goals

Two games in and I'm already freaking out about the lack of offense.  I know it's way too early to start damning the Hockey Gods that things didn't work out with Kovalchuk* in the off season, but holy mackaroly, the Kings look like they're going to win the award for 'least goals for' this season.  I'm amazed they were able to put 22 shots on goal against Calgary tonight because the offense looked terrible.

(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
Craig Conroy seems like the nicest guy ever.

And by the way, how the heck can any hockey fan take a player named 'TJ Brodie' seriously? I bet he skateboards around town when he's not cruising in his Range Rover.  Where did this kid come from?  The X-Games?

*  I wouldn't have been able to root for that greedy sack of crap anyway so I am truly glad that he didn't sign with the Kings...but I'm still sad the Kings don't have an awesome sniper.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

2010-2011 Kings Season Begins and My Work Life Goes to Sh*t

I've ignored the Kings since the Canucks bounced them out of the playoffs last season.  But it's hockey season now and it's time for me to stop stressing out about work and start paying more attention to my beloved Kings.

Oh hockey and the Kings, how I've missed you.  I tried to keep my cool throughout the game, to see how long I could go without feeling like I'm going to have a heart attack.  I made it to the third period before I began to panic when I realized that the Kings needed to start getting some quality scoring chances and then I began wondering about the NHL record for number of games a team went without scoring their first goal.  Why did I get so negative?  It's only the first game!

But I forgot how frustrating it can be to watch Stoll; how is it possible for him to miss the net that many times??    I gasped every time the Canucks had a shot on goal, cursed at the token Russian for taking another penalty and tried to come to terms that Brad Richardson is on the second line.  Second, people, second!

I made it to overtime before I started being the coach, yelling at Murray for putting Stoll on the 4-on-3 power play instead of Jack Johnson, who has a much better shot, destroyed the Canucks with Doughty on the power play during the playoffs last year and can at least shoot the puck on net!  I almost broke my coffee table I was in such a fit of rage over Stoll's ineffectiveness on that crucial man advantage.

But thank goodness Kopitar was available for the shootout despite getting sliced in the face by a stick in the second period and getting stitched up to look like the joker.  The Kings had a 10-8 record in the shootout last season so hopefully this SO win is a sign of good things to come.

I expect a lot from the Kings this season after they finally got into the post season last year.   You'd think I wouldn't be able to get enough Kings news with the potentially awesome season they could have, but I've been so apathetic the past several months telling myself that I'm too tired after work or too busy during work or lunch to think or read about the Kings.  I don't like the feeling of not knowing who some of these players are and not knowing how their competition looks.   But now that the season has started, "there just isn't enough time" is not an excuse I'm willing to allow myself to use.  I've been the obsessed with the Kings for so long and this season is definitely not the time for me to start caring any less.  I just need to figure out how to balance my work life and my Kings life.

Now it's time for me to figure out who the heck Jake Muzzin is.