Fantasy Hockey - 1994 vs Now

Justin K. Aller

Things have changed... just a little

EA Sports released NHL 14 a few weeks back and having ole Marty Brodeur on the cover wasn't the only retro element. Since it's the 20th anniversary of the the game, EA is throwing a bone to us old guys by including a "NHL 94 Anniversary Mode" in this year's NHL 14.  I must say, that it looks too legit & totally knarley.

To honour such a momentous occasion, let's compare how the fantasy hockey landscape looked back then compared to now. Recall that NHL 94 was based on the results of the 1992-93 season, so we'll compare that to last season when talking about stats.

Format

Now: We do the draft or auction online with other poolies scattered around the globe. Stats are accumulated automatically(!) on the interweb.  Trades, pickups, playoffs, everything is handled by your provider.

Then: You and a few buddies would gather over a few pops to pick some names out of the air. Stats were accumulated once a week after the Tuesday newspaper came out with the team stats, usually on a piece of paper or a new device called a PC.

Scoring Categories

Now: Most leagues include at least 10 scoring categories by adding cats like hits, blocks & FO%.

Then: Points.  The really cutting edge leagues included PIMs and maybe goalie wins.

Best Fantasy Team Names

Now: Streit Outta Compton, Don't Toews Me Bro, Shake That Budaj, Hejda's Gonna Hate, etc.

Then: Team Collingwood, Team McClymont, Team Hughes, and so on.  I suppose some leagues were more creative and may have come up with stuff like Puppa Smurf, Houda You Think You Are? and Rubbing is Racine... not us.

Top Pick

Now: Sidney Crosby with his 1.56 points per game but questionable concussion history.

Then: Mario Lemieux with his 2.67 points per game, no questions asked.  And you took him will full knowledge that he was playing with a bad back, never practiced and smoked a pack of Camels a day.

Top Goalie

Now: Henrik Lundqvist is usually the first goalie off the board and he's coming off a season with a .926 sv%.

Then: Eddie Belfour was the top tender and he was 3rd in the league with a .906 sv% in 92/93.

Top Rookie

Now: Last year's Calder winner, Jonathan Huberdeau, took the league by storm with 14+17=31 in 48 games.

Then: Some old guy named Teemu Selanne apparently was pretty good 20 years ago and had 76+56=132 in 84 games to take the Calder.

Top Goon

Now: The goons are going the way of the dinosaur but one of the dying old breed, Colton Orr, led the league in PIMs last year with 155 in 44 games (288 per 82 games).

Then: The goons were in their heyday, Marty McSorley led the way with 399 PIMs but 250 PIMs was a leisurely stroll for guys like Domi, Odjick, Peluso and, the reigning heavyweight champ, Bob Probert.

Worst Announcer

Then: NHL 94 had good ole Ron Barr at the EA SportsDesk spouting off inane babble that made little sense... but at least it was just text and you could skip him by hitting Start.

Now: We have Pierre McGuire... and as much as you want to, some things can't be erased from your memory.

Totally Righteous Player

Then: Jeremy Roenick. JR was dominant in the early EA versions of the game and even challenged the legends of the video game world such as Bo Jackson & Mike Tyson for the title of the greatest of all-time.

Now: No clear front-runner but I'd have to nominate Evander Kane... dude can do it all and is totally badass.  Let's hear your nominations in the comments.

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