Taking A Stab At Season 2
October 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
Stilettos On Ice has returned for another turbulent year of fantasy hockey! Draft Day was on Wednesday, and since this year my mother is in the league, we had a little Draft Central at my house: me, Pete, and Mom. Dan, Andrew, Kayty, Courtney, and Jill are the other participants.
The time is 6:29 PM. I sit on the edge of my chair, poised in front of my computer, ready to make the first selection. But am I ready? I hesitate, rapidly Alt-Tab’ing from my draft page to my Excel spreadsheet of players. Am I sure I’m making the best call? Have I correctly interpreted the copious amounts of data I’ve ingested from NHL.com over the past few days? It’s nice having the first pick, but in our snake draft set-up, this means I have to wait another 14 turns before I can then pick twice. No matter. The clock is counting down and I’ve done all I can. From the recliner across the room, I catch Pete watching my screen and give a screech of indignation. Screenwatchers are despised. We do not tolerate such low forms of competition in our draft. 6:30! The Draft begins! I experience a brief moment of sheer panic and then sternly set it aside. I know what I must do.
Evgeni Malkin is my first pick. Malks had a beast of a preseason, with points in every game. He knows that, with Crosby out, he has to step up his game from last year. He’s healthy and hungry. I click DRAFT and have no regrets. My mother scowls at her own screen. She’d wanted Malkin. The chat box at the bottom of the draft page explodes with comments. I’ve angered some, made others chuckle. Time will tell who’s right.
The rounds continue at a brisk clip. I fidget in my seat, unable to contain my nerves as the players disappear one-by-one from the available list. I’ve already made my decision to take a goaltender with my second choice. A few seconds later, I’m very glad I did because my mother drafts Tomas Vokoun and that sets off a wave of netminders. Courtney takes Henrik Lundqvist. Pete seizes upon Roberto Luongo (I raise my eyebrows and make a few scathing comments in the chat box). Then I draft Pekka Rinne. Immediately, I have to draft again and Zach Parise is my choice. The Devils have shown their high expectations for his season by naming him captain earlier that day.
Relax for a minute. Breathe. There are 14 turns before I need to go again. In the corner, my mother cries out in frustration. She types an angry message in the chat box, but seeing as she’s not wearing her glasses, it gets a bit garbled in translation. Apparently Dan has just drafted Carey Price, the other goalie she wanted. I want to ask her why she’d pick goalies two rounds in a row, but then decide to keep my counsel to myself. She’s a rookie, you know. Jill distracts me by stealing Kris Letang right out from under my nose and I hit the chat box with multiple asterisks and exclamation points. I had been deliberating between him and Shea Weber. Now my choice has been made for me. Ryan Getzlaf is still available when my time comes again and I draft him, remembering his center position on that dominant line between Perry and Ryan. For the opening of round 5, defense is my agenda and I snatch up Shea Weber. Rounds 5 and 6 see a run on defensemen, as Lubomir Visnovsky, Drew Doughty, Chris Pronger, and P.K. Subban are all taken. At the tail end of 6, I make a hasty decision to take my backup goalie: Jonas Hiller. Hiller had an amazing 2010-11 season until strange cases of ‘vertigo’ derailed it. Will he stay healthy this year? Can he put up the same kind of numbers? I don’t know, all I know is I really loved his suit and glasses at the All Star Game last year. So I draft him.
Round 7 begins with me taking a chance on the dynamo known as Jeff Skinner. He was the youngest player to ever participate in the NHL All Star game last year. I’m hoping he can avoid that dreaded sophomore slump. Kayty grabs Jordan Staal a few picks later and I wince. For round 8, I’m heading back to defense and Brent Burns. I lead off Round 9 with a bang, stealing Alexandre Burrows, and wait impatiently for Round 10, becasue for some odd reason, I really want to draft Mike Cammelleri. I just have this feeling. You know that feeling? Round 11 sees me draft Nathan Horton, and Pete takes Jamie Benn right after me. I glare at him over my shoulder; he must’ve read the same article I did about Benn being an excellent sleeper pick. He smirks at me. He may be young but he knows the drill. He’s played fantasy football three years running now. Round 12, I exercise my own stab in the dark knowledge and choose John Carlson of the Capitals. I fill out my right wing contingent with Chris Stewart and then tease my newbie mom by muttering “Interesting…. Veryyyy interesting” when she drafts Tyler Ennis. She promptly starts second-guessing herself. I steal Logan Couture at the end of the 14th round and shore up my defense with Jack Johnson in Round 15. Everone’s chirping in the chat room now, with only one round left; insults, bitterness, and taunts fly freely. In the bottom of the 16th round, I end it all by making another gut move in James Van Reimsdyk. I’m hoping he’ll carry over his playoff surge into this season.
And that’s how the Draft ends. With excitement, anticipation, and a whole lot of backtalk. Rivalries are formed, trades lurk on the horizon. Fantasy hockey has arrived for another season.