Who are the DobberHockey writers? You read their articles every day, now it is time to go behind the scenes. Throughout the summer, each writer will be put in the spot light. They will share a little bit about themselves, their columns and some upcoming predictions. Next up is Steve Laidlaw.
Name : Steve Laidlaw
Twitter : @stevelaidlaw
Column : Cage Match
Favorite sport (non-hockey) : Basketball but there aren’t many sports I don’t like.
First Fantasy League? Year? First round pick? My first league was in 2007-08 and I selected Crosby first overall. That didn’t work out for me so well but the rest of my team picked up the slack.
Last fantasy hockey championship? I won a couple of my leagues in the 2010-11 season but was shutout for the first time last year.
Favorite summer Olympic event?
I’m going to follow Men’s Basketball the most but I am one of those people who loves the history and tradition of the Olympics and romanticizes the idea of “all-around athletes”. For that reason I will say the Decathlon. I understand that the only way to push our athletic limits is for athletes to specialize in events such as sprinting, distance running, high jump, swimming, etc. which makes for the best competition. I also understand that the commercial value of having professionals from sports such as basketball and soccer help drive revenue up and make the Olympic Games that much more feasible but I just love the idea of putting forth the best overall athletes who compete in a number of events with the most well-rounded individual winning. The Decathlon (or for women Heptathlon) is the closest thing approaching that ideal.
I would also like to point out that race-walking is an Olympic sport. I don’t want to take anything away from the athleticism involved in this sport but I find it laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Favorite winter Olympic event (other than hockey)?
I would probably say curling. There are not a whole lot of events in the winter Olympics where opponents face-off head-to-head. Most of the sports are individual events where it’s more about the athlete against the course, which is fine and all but there is a lot less strategy involved in such competition. I love the strategy in curling. While it isn’t quite chess, it is definitely on that level of advanced thinking and it is just physical enough (albeit the stones are doing most of the work) to be exciting.
I am probably most intrigued by the sled events however. I mean, how does one get into skeleton or luge? In bobsled there is at least the obvious need to have powerful runners (who may or may not be able to feel the rhythm and feel the rhyme) to push the sled off the start but in skeleton and luge it seems like it’s just about finding someone crazy enough to hop on. It seems to me that we may only be scratching the surface of athleticism in these sports since they are such niche events. That is, unless there are scouts at my local toboggan hill that I don’t know about.
What is your earliest hockey memory? Best memory?
My earliest hockey memory is very faint but I remember being up late with a cold watching the Habs beat Gretzky’s Kings for the ’93 Cup.
My best memory is easily when the Oilers made the ’06 Stanley Cup Final. I am a lifelong Oilers fan but for that one year everyone I knew was on the bandwagon because Chris Pronger is a hometown hero here in Dryden. After the Oilers held on to win a bunch of my friends and I started an impromptu parade around town, honking our horns and waving our Oilers banners.
Obviously, Crosby’s Golden Goal is up there too but almost more because of historical relevance. Everyone in Canada knows exactly where they were and who they were with when Crosby scored and that’s special.
With over 11,500 posts on the Dobber Sports forum, what keeps you coming back? How does it separate itself from other “boards”?
I honestly don’t really post on other message boards so I can’t comment on what makes it different. I just know that it is a great place to go for hockey talk. Whether you want to get something off your chest, bounce around ideas, debate or simply get some advice the Dobber Sports forum are a tremendous venue. I have to say it is ultimately the people that keep me coming back. For the most part everyone is respectful of one another and there are not many grudges held. It’s weird to say but it’s a place you can build real friendships.
Word of advice to new members?
Honestly, I have none. If you are into fantasy sports enough to not only search out and find the Dobber Sports website but also sign up for the message boards, then you’re my kind of people. You have the zany passion necessary for being a positive contributor to the forum community? I have no doubt that you will make your voice heard, whether you post a little or a lot.
From the forum to the main page, what intrigued you to do kick start the Cage Match feature/series?
How often have you been stuck in a pickle trying to decide which player to draft or which player to keep or which player to pick off the waiver wire? So many of our decisions in fantasy sports come down to Player A vs. Player B so the Cage Match series hopefully makes some of those decisions easier. Moreover, even if the article doesn’t necessarily pertain to a particular decision you have to make my hope is that it is teaching readers some of the tools and thought processes necessary to making proper decisions when resolving their own specific “cage matches”.
Thus far, we have witnessed the Cage Match Royal Rumble tournament. Can we expect big plans for other types of match ups?
Well the inaugural tournament involved only NHL forwards in points only leagues so it was a very narrow scope. I think that at some point we will see a defenseman tournament and there definitely needs to be a goaltender tournament and maybe even a rotisserie-value tournament. Timing is going to be the key if I do go forward with any future Cage Match tournaments although I do hope to make the forwards tournament an annual affair given how successful it was on its first go around.
Hockey aside, if you could cage match any two celebrities or athletes against each other, who would you choose?
That’s a funny question but I actually think we see a ton of that stuff already in the media today. Going back to my basketball roots the whole Lebron vs. Kobe thing was something I felt got beaten to death and in the celebrity world I think the tabloids have that covered on a daily basis.
Thinking a little bit outside the box here, I’d be more interested in discussing the levels of suckitude of crappy movies from my childhood in blatantly subjective ways. For instance, Batman Forever vs. Batman & Robin, The Flintstones vs. Denis the Menace, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids vs. Honey I Blew Up the Kids (sorry Rick Moranis) or any of the THIRTEEN!!!! different Land Before Time movies vs. each other. And I am definitely in for a debate about which Shaq movie was worse; Steel or Kazaam.
When you first log on, what are your go-to sites? Reads?
I’m not too big of a net surfer. I’m mainly on the Dobber Sports site but do make ventures over to TSN and Grantland. I also make SlamOnline a daily read for my basketball news.
What is your favorite hobby / pastime away from the keyboard?
My life tends to revolve around sports so I’d have to say competing in general. I play in soccer and volleyball leagues during the summer and also coach volleyball and basketball during the fall and winter. Outside of sports I am something of a film/TV junkie. Right now I am getting caught up on the TV series Breaking Bad. I also tend to read a lot. I am currently reading Ken Dryden’s The Game.
You have a very interesting offseason employment, care to discuss?
During the summer’s I work as a forest firefighter, which can be really exciting work. I love the job because it is highly physical work but it also gets you outdoors. There is a real adrenaline kick when you first get deployed to a fire, which is great for a sports junkie like me. It is seasonal work so the downside is a very busy spring and summer which has caused me to miss the last two Stanley Cup Finals but it also allows for a good amount of downtime during the fall/winter so I soak up regular season play.
Firefighting has taken me on many trips and adventures across the country and has shown me the meaning of hard work, but I’ve had a great time doing it. Whether or not I stick with firefighting as a career, I consider it to have been a life-changer.
Finally, biggest disappointment in 2012-13? Team? Player?
I think the Detroit Red Wings could be a huge disappointment next season. It is hard to believe considering how good they have been for so long (21 straight playoff appearances) but they just lost the most absolute pillar of consistency in Nik Lidstrom. For two full decades Lidstrom made the Red Wings a contender. In his time with the team the Red Wings amassed a record of 952-442-118-84 with 13 division titles, six President’s trophies and four Stanley Cups. Taking him out of the Wings lineup is practically like taking the wheel off the jersey. The Wings must suffer from losing Lidstrom (along with Brad Stuart, Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler) to the point where they miss the playoffs entirely. I understand that the team still has superstars in place in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg but these guys are aging and I am not certain they can carry the team.
Add in the fact that the Central Division remains one of the league’s toughest with St. Louis and Chicago looking like forces to be reckoned with, Nashville always being well coached (and really only losing Suter) and Columbus being more improved than most would give them credit for.
Sticking with the Red Wings for my player disappointment, I vote for Jimmy Howard. It all comes back to Lidstrom leaving. Simply put all the smart decisions that Lidstrom made in his over 23 minutes per game are going to be made by someone inferior, which are going to lead to mistakes which means the puck is going to be headed in the wrong direction a heck of a lot more.
Next up is Tim Lucarelli.