First off, my apologies to those regular and irregular readers for the weeks delay in updating AR – my holiday to Fairmont with the GF was the reason, and it was of course, excellent.
10 ED Moments of Note:
10. The ride from Fairmont to Calgary with the Great White’s GM. Time flies fast when you have a good friend to talk to, and when that friend is willing to drive three hours alone to do the pick-up, that’s better than solid gold.
9. The endless speculation about who the Dogs GM would pick first overall. Kudos to the Shadowmen GM who had Gonchar pegged at least a month back. Also worth noting that I had the top 7 (slightly out of order) nailed, including the availability of Mark Recchi for the Severed Heads at pick 7. (cue Evil Laugh)
8. The team logos produced by the Highlanders GM. It was enough to bring tears of jealous rage to fantasy pool geeks everywhere outside the FUNHL. They ROCK.
7. The grotesque pleading of the Severed Heads GM for someone, anyone, to throw a bone to Bobby Ryan and Robbie Schremp and draft them in the prospect draft.
6. Receiving a ‘I’ll be right back’ message in the 4th rnd from the Barbarians GM who were drafting on-line, only to have that turn out to be the last communication we received from him on the day. It’s in circumstances like these that you see the real character of our GMs as the primary concern expressed by all was to how to conduct the rest of the draft on his behalf as fairly as possible. Big Thanks to the Bladerunners and Edge Gms for how they conducted the rest of the Barbarian draft. Someone named Mike owes you boys a beer or two - and perhaps even a case should he win the Predator this year.
5. Winning back both my own and the Shadowmen’s stake in poker on Sunday night. My distaste for poker as a game is fading fast.
4. The Ramapithicines GM arriving EARLY. The Rapture must be near.
3. Watching Spezza and Heatley toy with the opposition in pre-season highlights. Oh yes, the Cup will be mine. It - Will - Be - Mine.
2. The marvelous spread and hospitality of the Edge GM and asst GM who once again hosted the event with élan, style, and the best bargain on great food anywhere. Special notice for the decorated cake that was desert. It was a hall of fame worthy dish and event by our hosts.
1. Getting a chance to be in the same room as 9 other FUNHL guys, and on-line with 2 others for the day. You are my people, and MY PEOPLE RULE.
Five Most Jaw Dropping Picks
5. Brandon Bochenski in the free agent rounds. Given that all the pedigree Bochenski has is a season potting gimmes on Spezza’s wing in the AHL and a handful of pre-season games lining up with Spaz and Heatley, the Shadowmen’s GM could have waited until the RFA rounds before worrying about tabbing him for a roster spot.
4. Teemu Selanne in the free agents rounds. That the broken down Selanne, fresh of full lower torso replacement was picked ahead of Kovalev and others was shocking to many.
3. The Dogs single-minded drafting on defense. There is drafting for position, and then there is drafting for ONE position. By the RFA rounds it became obvious that the Dogs had invested heavily in D. By the end of the draft it was obvious that this focus was to the detriment of everywhere else. The Dogs will have the leagues best defense out of the gate – no question, they will also have by far the worst collection of forwards in the league.
Vegas has the Dogs as early favourites for the Herbivore.
2. The Edge GM’s attempted poach of Zdlicky at the top of the 2nd rnd, and as the first defenseman drafted after all-star Gonchar. Though it was unsuccessful, it was still a good two rounds and several D-men earlier than anyone had predicted for the one-hit wonder defender.
1. The Personal Vendetta’s selection of Steve Reinprecht in the prospect draft (and the Edge's selection of Halpern - but that is another topic). There seems to be no logic to this pick. Even if Reinprecht has a career year, he’s still looking at a max of 60-65 points – which would make him a solid 4th liner. So as an injury call-up he’d be of questionable value at best. When there are solid prospects who in 5 years should be much more productive than 65 points, it should make more sense to groom one of them than to invest in a one-off who will turfed at the next draft.
My five favourite picks of the Draft
5. Andrew Ladd-L Car (P1). He’s a power forward with hands. He plays for the Hitmen. He gets compared to Rick Nash. What’s not to love? Oh yeah, he’s owned by Carolina. Nobody’s perfect.
4. Roman Hamrlik-D Cgy. A legit #1 D-man, and he plays in Calgary. That the Calgary fans in attendance were non-plussed with Hamrlik still perplexes me given that Hammer-Lick will be feeding Iginla two-line bombs all year (as we just saw in the highlights from Cgy-Min).
3. Paul Kariya-L Nsh. I was sweating bullets that he would make it to me in the 2nd rnd. A huge sigh of relief was let go when I called his name out.
2. Chris Bourque-L Wsh (P1). The pint sized scoring machine is Ray Bourque’s kid(!), how could I pass a set of genes like that up?
1. Mark Recchi-R Pit. Keeps me in the hottest game in town, and gives the Heads an unrivaled base of power at right wing with Jagr and Heatley. (cue another Evil Laugh)
Allright, expect my analysis of each team this weekend - things are too busy for me to get to it till then.