- Cage Match
- Written by Rick Roos
The tournament is down to the final two players - fantasy hockey's most frustrating owns...
Well folks – this is it. We’ve gone from 32 entirely worthy candidates for the title of fantasy hockey’s most frustrating player, to THE FINAL TWO! After all your votes in the first three rounds, this week we’ll decide who truly is the most gray hair inducing, stomach-churning, makes you want to put your fist through your monitor player in all of fantasy hockey!
I’ll go through a discussion of the two semi-final matches, giving my take on the results, and then set up this week’s final match-up.
Surprise surprise - we had what we could call our first major upset of the tournament! After all, the first and second place finishers in round one (including Letang) ended up in the exact same spots for round two, so I figured the vote trends would just continue into the semi-finals and beyond. And with that, Letang would carry what seemed like unstoppable momentum not only through the semi-finals but also into the finals before emerging as the overall tournament winner.
But that was not to be, as Letang (who received the most total votes of any player in any of the four brackets in both round one and round two) fell to Green (who had the fewest round two votes of all the semi-finalists). And not only did Letang finish on the losing end; he actually had the fewest votes of any of the remaining four players this round! Go figure!
So what exactly happened? How did Letang go from first overall in each previous week to worst this past week? From where I sit, it could’ve been a combination of several things.
For starters, Letang was the only defenseman in the Band-Aid Boy bracket; and I think that helped separate him from the pack in weeks one and two. Also, as I mentioned in the week one column, Green legitimately could’ve qualified for inclusion in both the What Have You Done For Me Lately bracket and the Band-Aid Boy bracket, whereas although Letang only played 88 of a possible 164 games over the past two full seasons he still managed to post 64 points in those 88 games, so it wasn’t at all a question of What Have You Done For Me Lately like it has been for Green.
There’s also the reality that so many people acquired Green in keeper leagues after he posted back-to-back seasons of better than point per game output, and have since been left to suffer the frustration of subsequent injuries and markedly decreased production. But with that comes the question of how Green went from getting the fewest votes in week two among what became the final four candidates, to wiping the floor with Letang this week?
Part of the answer may lie in Green’s week two opponent being Rick Nash, who, despite not seeing his vote total increase from week one to week two, clearly had strong support and was a venerable challenger. Letang only had to face Joffrey Lupul in week two; and Lupul....let’s face it…is no Rick Nash.
In the end, it sounds simple but I think it was a case of Green, by comparison, simply seeming more frustrating to his owners than Letang. And for those of you shocked and/or saddened to see Letang out of the running – did you remember to vote? If not, then maybe Letang didn’t actually frustrate you quite as much as you might’ve initially thought…..
I figured this might be the closer of the two matches (although for what it’s worth I would’ve predicted Letang would drub Green in the other, not vice versa). But I also wondered in the back of my mind whether one of these guys would somehow win in a rout.
After all, you never know what might happen when you have an apples versus oranges match-up of a goalie against a forward. Plus, both players had factors that might’ve lessened their potential frustration compared to the other. For Ward, it’s that some leagues don’t even include goalies, while others skate only one or two, in which case maybe Ward isn’t even drafted these days. And with Gaborik, his stellar showing after the 2014 trade deadline and into the playoffs might’ve helped more than a few owners forget – at least for the time being – their previously longstanding frustrations with him.
In the end, the match was very close, with Gaborik actually ahead in the early going and Ward slowly chipping away at the lead before pulling ahead to stay.
One last point about this match - if you didn’t go through the comments posted in the Ward/Gaborik poll thread, you should make the time to do so, as in addition to the verbalizing (often hilariously) of some frustrations these two have caused, there’s a lot of interesting insight into what frustration amounts to and how to judge whether one player in indeed more frustrating than another.
This Week’s FINAL MATCH
So here we have it – Mike Green vs. Can Ward in the final battle. I’m hesitant to predict a winner since although Green once finished fourth overall in votes whereas Ward never finished lower than second overall, we saw with Letang that a player can go from the penthouse to the outhouse in the blink of an eye. Plus, I still think that Ward is hurt by some voters being in non-goalie leagues. Meanwhile, despite the fact that Green seems to have the momentum right now, we need to remember that he actually lost votes going from week one to week two in his WHYDFML bracket while Ward gained nearly 50% from week one to week two.
This could be a battle that’s decided by just a handful of votes (or fewer), so be sure to cast yours. Plus, only if you place your vote can you truly lay claim to being part of history in the making!
Voting Link and Deadline
Voting will close on Monday August 4th, so be sure to vote by then!
Bonus Content Coming Next Week
In addition to talking about the outcome of the final match and wrapping up the tournament, I’m going to give my list – with a stick tap to my fellow columnist Tom Collins – of the top ten LEAST frustrating players to own in fantasy hockey, so be sure to come back next week for that.
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