Get your vote in for the top multi-category fantasy player. Round 3 is here!



Welcome back to my first Cage Match tournament, where we’re now down to just eight in our quest to crown the NHL’s best multi-cat player (i.e., Hits, Blocked Shots, PIMs, and Shots). Once again I’ll list the latest results and give my postmortem analysis below, plus set up the four week three battles.

As with the past weeks, actual voting will take place within the Black Aces area of the Forums, and once again for each match I’ve included a link to vote - just click on “VOTE HERE” to be taken to the voting area for that particular match. Round three voting closes at 11:59PM on Sunday December 22nd to give me time to tally the results before next week’s column.

After the brackets I’ve included yet another bonus “real life” Cage Match, where instead of comparing two hockey players I’ll tackle a different side-by-side debate. This week it’s driving versus flying in a battle to decide which is worse when enduring travel delays/problems.


Bracket #1 – The Young Guns (all 25 years old or younger)

#1 Evander Kane (32 Votes) DEFEATED #5 Milan Lucic (26 Votes)

#3 P.K. Subban (39 Votes) DEFEATED #2 Radko Gudas (12 Votes)


It was likely going in that Subban would take out Gudas, given their respective performances in round one. But I still think this should’ve been closer, since as Subban’s scoring prowess has emerged his multi-cat skills have eroded. In fact, this year he’s at about 1 PIM, 2.75 Shots, 1.33 Hits, and 1.5 Blocked Shots per game. Compare that to Gudas’ otherworldly numbers (3PIMs, 1.5 Shots, 4 Hits, 2 Blocked Shots) and this should’ve been a tighter match. But hey – that’s what’s great about democracy!

And not only did Kane barely squeak by Lucic, but his margin of victory was the smallest of any of the round two battles, including the various #2 vs. #3 seeds. I think this has a lot to do with Kane’s struggles and questionable attitude, plus Lucic’s rebound season. This sets up a very interesting final round match for this bracket:


#1 Evander Kane vs. #3 P.K. SubbanVOTE HERE


Bracket #2 – The Old Guard (all at least 30 years old)

#1 Steve Ott (45 Votes) DEFEATED #5 Stephane Robidas (2 Votes)

#2 Zdeno Chara (35 Votes) DEFEATED #3 Dennis Seidenberg (9 Votes)


Last week I openly wondered if Ott might be vulnerable to an upset, what with his round one opponent having received more votes than any other #8 seed. But fast forward to now, and Ott’s second round opponent received even fewer votes than his foe from last week. Go figure!

Maybe Ott is gaining momentum as we go along? We’ll know more after this week’s contest, where he’ll face off against Zdeno Chara in a battle that I think could be among the closest of this round.


#1 Steve Ott vs. #2 Zdeno CharaVOTE HERE


Bracket #3 – Best of the Rest Part A (Defensemen ages 26-29)

#1 Dustin Byfuglien (36 Votes) DEFEATED #5 Dion Phaneuf (11 Votes)

#2 Shea Weber (36 Votes) DEFEATED #3 Brent Seabrook (5 Votes)


After his trouncing of Dan Girardi last week, it appeared that Phaneuf might have what it takes to give Big Buff a run for his money, if not even pull off an upset. Guess not – Big Buff showed that he’s deserving of his #1 seed in defeating Phaneuf by a margin of more than three to one. His reward for round three is Weber, who quietly has dominated through the first two rounds. In fact, Weber’s first two opponents have received a combined total of only nine votes. But we’ll have to see if that will give him enough momentum to prevail over Byfuglien, who’s looked pretty unstoppable so far.


#1 Dustin Byfuglien vs. #2 Shea WeberVOTE HERE


Bracket #4 – Best of the Rest Part B (Forwards ages 26-29)

#1 David Backes (45 Votes) DEFEATED #5 Brandon Dubinsky (8 Votes)

#2 Ryan Callahan (30 Votes) DEFEATED #3 Dustin Brown (21 Votes)


Like Weber, Backes has quietly trounced his first two opponents, including upstart Dubinsky in this round. His reward in round three is Callahan, who beat Dustin Brown by in a match that I thought would’ve been a lot closer. One thing is for sure – the winner of this bracket will have earned his place in the final four, and might be one of the favorites to win the whole tourney.


#1 David Backes vs. #2 Ryan CallahanVOTE HERE

General Thoughts and Takeaways

Despite these being battles of closer seeds, the margins of victory weren’t much narrower for the most part. In fact, only two matches seemed at all in doubt after day one of the voting. And other than Subban, only first and second seeds prevailed. Will this be the round that a #1 seed finally falls? I’ll refrain from specific predictions so as to not influence the voting outcome, other than to say there’s a very good chance that each match will end up within ten votes, since there’s not a single weak link left among the competitors. We’re truly in the elite eight. Just remember to vote, since otherwise you’ll kick yourself if the guy you wanted to win ends up losing by just a single vote – this is democracy at work!

One other quick note – the match-ups for the next round will see the highest vote getter face off against the lowest (with second vs. third in the other), so every vote definitely will matter here!


Recent Cage Matches

Tournament - Best Multi-Category Player Round 2 
Tournament - Best Multi-Category Player Round 1 
Kevin Shattenkirk vs. Ryan McDonagh 
Matt Duchene vs. Kyle Turris 

Bonus Real Life Cage Match

Last week saw strep throat battle the stomach flu to see which one was the worse winter ailment (with the stomach flu winning). Staying on a similar “which is worse” theme, let’s tackle another debate that hits home with a lot of people between Thanksgiving and Christmas – is it worse to suffer through problems and delays when traveling by car or by plane?

First and foremost, even if everything goes right when you fly, in this day and age you still have to endure security screening, not to mention taking off your shoes and dealing with packing restrictions. Then again, at least with flying you can literally rest easy once you’re in the air, while if you’re driving you have to pay attention to the road at all times if you’re the one behind the wheel. And when you fly, you also don’t need to worry about getting lost, while although ubiquitous GPS and navigation devices have made that less likely to occur in cars these days, it still can and does happen. So overall, neither mode of travel is a total picnic even when everything goes according to plan. But what about when the proverbial fit hits the shan?

Airport delays can affect you in one or more of several ways, from getting stuck in an airport terminal waiting to board, to once you’re actually on the plane sitting at the gate, to waiting on the tarmac to take off. To make matters worse, airlines are often far too ambitious with their estimates of wait time, with 30 minutes routinely turning into an hour or more. But in a similar vein, there can be several reasons for traffic jams, from normal rush hour or holiday traffic, to an accident, to bad weather delays. And if several of these happen at once, you can be looking at delays just as long as you’ll see in the airport and with arguably as little an idea of when things will resolve.

When you’re stuck waiting at an airport or on a plane, often you can at least read, listen to music, play games, use your smartphone or device, and sometimes even eat or drink. There’s also a bathroom within short walking distance either in the plane or the terminal. But you’re also in the midst of many other people in the same predicament as you, and thus have to put up with their annoyances and frustrations (as well as – hearkening back to last week’s column – their germs). When you’re stuck in a car, you’re really stuck there, with far fewer options for passing the time and a lot less flexibility in what you can or cannot do; but at least there aren’t as many people invading your personal space.

Delays – whether by car or airplane – can often be made up while you’re traveling. But if you do end up arriving late, then there’s usually more negative consequences associated with airline travel, since you might miss connecting flights or otherwise wreak havoc on a tightly scheduled itinerary.

But if you have to endure a cancelled or severely delayed flight, at least you sometimes can get the airline to issue you compensation or future discounts, while if car delays occur you won’t get anything in return for the inconvenience. Also, when airline-related delays happen it generally won’t have any effect of the safety of your trip, while if there’s a lot of traffic or weather issues while driving you do have a significantly increased (albeit still remote) risk of getting in an accident.

Like last week, this boils down to choosing the lesser of two evils, and in the end airline delays are worse, since they’re built on top of the stresses that plague air travel even when everything goes according to plan. Plus, many of the negatives associated with driving affect only (or mostly) the driver, whereas all passengers are generally equally inconvenienced by airline travel-related issues. Plus, if traffic is really bad while driving, you can always exit the road and get a bite to eat, or do some shopping, or otherwise pass the time while waiting for the traffic to subside, while in an airport you’re stuck waiting with pretty much nothing under your direct control and unable to leave the airport or airplane while you wait. Best wishes for safe (and delay-free) holiday travels everyone!


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