And so it begins. We've kicked off the last bit of off-season dust, and have begun the journey toward awarding the 2011 Stanley Cup. Maybe you're new to this fanatical experience of the NHL. Perhaps you're a long-time fan with records of every Gordie Howe Hat Trick ever made. And possibly, you think a “hat trick” is probably something the goalie does involving taking off his protective head gear.
But what you all may have in common? Fantasy Hockey.
Personally, I've grown up watching hockey as far back as I can remember. I love it. So did most of the people I grew up around. But then I moved to the middle of Illinois. Now I find myself surrounded by basketball, football, and even a few baseball fans, many of whom have never watched a full NHL game, unless you count Chicago's win last season.
So what do I do? I trick as many local guys as I can to put their ego's to the test in the realm of Fantasy Hockey. Sure, sometimes I do alright. But overall, my “win” comes in the form of having a group of guys I can talk hockey with...both online, and in person.
And what a season it's already turning out to be.
In the West, the 2010 Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks are fighting to make a statement. What statement? “Even though we lost some great players due to salary cap issues, we are still as much a team to be reckoned with.” Watch for Marian Hossa to continue gaining productivity as the season moves forward. He may have finally won a Stanley Cup after an emotional chase, but now he's tasted victory and has more time on the ice than last season.
But that's not all the West has to offer. This week saw the match up between the “Old” and “New” regimes of hockey, and it was VERY close. The Detroit Redwings took on the Colorado Avelanche in Detroit. The team captains age at 40 and 39, respectively, but only one truly represents the age of the men behind him. Nicklas Lidstrom, backed by a Detroit team aged mainly 25-40, and isn't available in your fantasy league for a reason. He's solid.
Adam Foote on the other hand, is surrounded by so many young whipper snappers starting at age 19, you wonder if Colorado will keep him around for another season? Yet even with much less experience, the Colorado Kids gave Detroit a pummeling on Tuesday night, tallying 38 shots to the Wings total of 28.
Any team that can give a performance like that in Hockeytown USA, is worth checking into. You might take a chance on David Jones if you've got a deeper league, with an open RW position. Ousted by an injury mid-season last year, it's hard to know what he would have accomplished. But the 20 minutes a game he's playing right now says Colorado has confidence in his ability to produce, and they were rewarded for that confidence Tuesday night.
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