Welcome to the first FHS Random Notes of the 2011-2012 season. Look for this feature every other Sunday throughout the year. No rules here, but I'll do my best to keep things entertaining with some left-field commentary and an emphasis on the tech and media aspects of the fantasy hockey universe. After the jump, the latest on iPhone apps, Sean Avery, BizNasty, Gretzky, MacKinnon, Jesus and much much more.
On the subject of iPhone apps, I just downloaded the Leftwinglock.com app. There are a few great starting goalie sites out there - Goaliepost, FantasyHockey911, even Chris Nichols - but as far as I can tell, Leftwinglock is the only one with an iPhone app that delivers team-specific PUSH NOTIFICATIONS when a starter is confirmed. So awesome. $2.99 well spent.
Everyone talks about Roberto Luongo and his failings in the finals, but come on, Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin were both badly broken, as was all D chemistry after Dan Hamhuis came down with an unfortunate case of Lucic Pinwheel Syndrome. No, the finals weren't Luongo's problem - his problem was the Chicago series, which he single-handedly stretched to 7 games and won on a coin toss. The guy just doesn't know how to screw up a little bit. Top 5 fantasy goalie for you this year though? Yep. But playoffs next year? Expect more drama from The Lu, who despite his obvious athletic gifts may still be more suited to a daytime soap, dramatic lead type of role. Susan Luuuuuucci.
So Tim Connolly is on IR for the season opener. Wow. You don't say. Remember when Fergie Jr. tried to build a team with battered has-beens like Lindros, Allison and Belfour? Just sayin' is all. But petulant ol' Burkey's gotta be better than that. right? Um, right???
Interesting projected top six line combos for the Blues. Andy McDonald - David Backes -Jamie Langenbrunner and T.J. Oshie - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart. Classic offense by committee, so PP1 is what you want to watch here. Coach Payne has been trying Oshie on the point with Alex Pietrangelo, and if last year is any indication, McDonald, Berglund and Stewart will fill out PP1. I wouldn't be surprised to see those last three play together a lot at ES too, considering the awesome chemistry they had late last year.
In an unholy alliance, my favorite nightly live fantasy blogger, Chris Nichols, has joined forces with Dobberhockey. Nichols will contribute the Ramblings (TM) on Sundays and provide advice in a bi-weekly mailbag feature. Nichols has been around forever on ESPN, Canoe.ca, and now Sportsnet and Dobber. You and I breathe fantasy hockey. Fantasy hockey breathes Chris Nichols.
Daniel Alfredsson is the sixth-oldest player in the NHL. That is the sixth-best reason I've heard to run screaming from adding him to your fantasy team. That's right - screaming. (EDIT: Alfie 2 goals! Screw you Jsuites!)
Exciting times for anyone in keeper leagues with prospect systems. RNH, David Rundblad, Mark Scheifele, Gabriel Landeskog, Mika Zibanejad, Brett Connolly, and Jake Gardiner are some of the nice blue chippers who will get a look at the bigs. Matt Read and Craig Smith are surprise starters too...now those are two guys absolutely primed to shatter your dreams.
Remember back in the 80s (I'm dating myself here) when Gretzky was EXCLUDED from pools to ensure a level playing field? Well, we'll never see that again, even if Nathan MacKinnon is the second coming of Christ, who I suspect was kind of light in the hits and PIM departments.
Wow, BizNasty's contract is a fatty. I suspect he is familiar with fatties. And I don't mean large people.
So I joined the FHS Beta League - my first exposure to auction drafts. Excellent format. With a $250 budget, my strategy was to pay large early for a couple of studs, then wait it out until prices dropped. So I grabbed Daniel Sedin ($45) and Martin St. Louis ($37) early on, then took a long (red wine) break and returned to nab Cam Ward ($21), Christian Ehrhoff ($16), Chris Stewart ($16), Kari Lehtonen ($17), Scott Hartnell ($11), Patrice Bergeron ($4, dumb), Dion Phaneuf ($13), Alex Pietrangelo ($11), Logan Couture ($20), James Wisniewski ($11), Mikhail Grabovski ($6), Marek Zidlicky ($3), and Tomas Plekanec ($5). We were 2 hrs 40 mins into the draft when I had to leave for a non-fantasy ball hockey game, but Yahoo's auto-pick robots performed admirably in my absence: Erik Johnson ($3), Jakub Voracek ($2), Cory Schneider ($3), David Booth ($1) and Teddy Purcell ($1) will all be nice insurance or breakout options. Now if only my first opponent didn't have SIX MALKIN GAMES in the first H2H "week", which is actually ten days. Oh well, at least Crosby is on his IR, or I'd surely be done for. No offense to the best player in the game, who we all hope will return very soon.
Meet Sean Avery: Connecticut Whale and Cantankerous Fail. Hey Sean, you and Hartford have something in common: NO MORE NHL. Sucks though - Avery has always been a rock star trapped in an NHLers body. He pushed the envelope, and I enjoyed it while it lasted.
Martin Havlat spent the last week of pre-season meeting with his shoulder surgeon. Nice to see Havhurt making some time for his dear old doctor friend. Nothing ominous to see here, carry on....
Interesting to see Michal Neuvirth and Al Montoya as opening night starters. These are two guys I think can take the ball and run with it, a la Tuukka Rask a couple of years back. Nice to see performance triumph over pedigree - for now at least.
On the subject of Al Montoya, I'd like to introduce all FHS readers to the first (and I'm sure, only) Montoya Cup! The Montoya Cup was born in the comments section of my "Bold and Foolish Predictions" column a while back. The rules are pretty simple, but more importantly, no matter who takes the Montoya home, FHS readers are guaranteed to be entertained come April.
Basically, Cam thinks A-Mo sucks and I don't, and whoever is (the most) right wins the newly minted Montoya Cup.
We start with Cam's Montoya predictions vs. mine:
Cam: 10GP, 3 wins, 3.19 gaa & .899 sv%.
Luke: 60GP, 30 wins, 2.39 gaa & .921 sv%
Average: 35GP, 16.5 wins, 2.79 gaa, .910 sv%
Simple scoring system: in each of the four categories, each GM (haha) gets one point if he finishes on his side of the average. In the event of a tie, Al Montoya himself will make the final decision (commish rule, because he'll choose me).
If Cam loses, he will have to purchase a piece of Montoya merchandise - could be anything, but it has to be Al Montoya-branded. Cam will then pose with said piece of merchandise for a series of not less than ten photos. The resulting photos will be posted on FHS. Cam will then incur all shipping costs to send his Montoya memorabilia to Luke.
If Luke loses, he will have to purchase a piece of Montoya merchandise, and destroy it by a method of Cam's choosing. Cam's chosen method can't cost more than the shipping costs he would have incurred if Luke had won. The Montoya memorabilia destruction will be documented by Luke - on a video of reasonable quality not less than 2 minutes in length - and the resulting footage will be posted on FHS.
Clearly, this is insanity, but hey, we're here to inform AND entertain.
Please post your thoughts, insults and general heckling in the comments section. We like to hear from you. See you in two weeks.