Gionta

 
I admit I might have a problem.  I spend an awful lot of time on fantasy hockey pools. This year I am in five hockey pools, four of which are keepers. When does it cross the line from innocent hobby to outright obsession? I’ve come up with some telltale signs that might indicate if you too are a hockey pool junkie:

 


You don’t know if you should be happy when a goal is scored because in one pool or another, you own almost every player in the NHL. 

When watching the replay of a goal, instead of admiring the great pass or shot, you are trying to see who was on the ice and if it affected your plus/minus rating.

Two of your goalies are playing against each other and you’re praying for a scoreless tie.

You stay up half the night watching several sports channels tickers, over and over, just to see if anything has changed.   

Have you ever passed up an opportunity for sex while prepping for your draft(s)?

Have you ever called in sick with an “upper body injury?”

Your math skills are suspect, but you can pro-rate Marc-Andre Bergeron’s point totals with the Islanders over a full season in your head.

No problem recalling that four of Mike Richards ten goals last year were short-handed, but can’t remember that your wife’s birthday is on the fourth day of the tenth month.

You can spell Radivojevic, Bacashihua, Dubielewicz, Kostitsyn, Bryzgalov and Colaiacovo correctly without doing a double take.

Can properly pronounce Satan and know that he isn’t really as evil as the name suggests.

You take vacation time in order to work on your draft lists.

You treat your draft list as if it were a secret document and keep it in a locked briefcase until draft day. Do you shred all previous versions?

Instead of looking for the most comfortable place to sit at the draft, you prefer to sit where you can keep prying eyes away from your list.

If any of the above applies to you, congratulations you are a certified hockey pool junkie.

With many hockey drafts taking place this weekend, I couldn’t leave without including some last minute pre-season thoughts:

The Bruins lines to start the season should look something like this:  Schaefer-Savard-Murray; Kessel-Bergeron-Sturm; Axelsson-Krejci-Kobasew.  On paper, I really like those lines.  The third line should be able to pitch in with some scoring as well.  It’s the defense and goaltending that are the question marks heading into this year. Does Julien attempt to turn Boston into New Jersey Lite?

Montreal’s Crystal Ball Huet and Michael Ryder have added incentive this season.  They both become Unrestricted Free Agents at the end of the season.  I see them both gone before the trading deadline.  Plekanec appears to be building on a great second half from last year.  Has Mark Streit shown enough to merit consideration for top power play duty?

With the recent fisticuffs between the Isles and Rangers, it will be interesting to see their first regular season meeting (Oct 10th in Long Island).  It would certainly be fun if the Rangers start 6’5” goalie Stephen Valiquette in that game!  I don’t think DiPietro would be so eager to drop the gloves then.

Brian Gionta seems ready to prove that he wasn’t just a one-season wonder. Karel Rachunek and Andy Greene have all but locked up their spots on the top power play unit.  Paul Martin has zero points in three games. Jamie Langenbrunner had hernia surgery and is out 8-10 weeks.  Just take him off your list.

The Islanders aren’t going to be as bad this year as some people think.  There are more of coach Nolan’s types of players on this team than last year.  They will be a hard team to play against and will surprise (again).  What a great story if Bryan Berard can make the team.

Brad Richards is looking like a million bucks, oh wait, that’s probably an insult to a guy who makes $7.8 million a season.  The big question in Tampa is who will replace Boyle’s power play production.  The answer is no one player on the Lightning roster can replace Boyle. Of course he won’t be missed only on the power play, Boyle averaged over 27 minutes a night. Marc Denis has looked good during the pre-season.  Ryan Craig has a herniated disc in his back, scratch him off your draft lists.

Defenseman Mike Green has looked downright offensive in the preseason.  Look for him to start opposite Tom Poti on what should be a very lethal Caps power play.

Derek Roy’s three goal, three assist outburst against the Maple Leafs had to be a relief for anxious fans and fantasy owners alike. Speaking of fallen Leafs, cross Kyle Wellwood off your list, he’s out indefinitely after having another hernia operation.

Happy drafting!
 


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