Fantasy Hockey Lives In Hawaii

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - October 13, 2010
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Yes, Virginia, there is fantasy hockey in Hawaii.

It’s probably safe to say the number of leagues pale in comparison when measured against those created to follow the NFL, but the 16-member MeeHa league possesses a fair number of seemingly misplaced rollerbladers who somehow know Darcy Hordichuk got traded to the Panthers. The league, which has been mismanaged for years by Star-Advertiser copy editor Jerry “Makakilo Moons” Campany, boasts an interesting collection of trash talkers - which, of course, is the bedrock of any worthwhile fantasy league.

The draft went as expected. Alexander Ovechkin and Syndey Crosby were the first two picks - Ovechkin because he is the best in the game and Crosby because he would have whined if he didn’t. I kid the HK Pucksmashers because I care.

Crosby is coming off the best season of his career. The 23-year-old “Kid” added defense to his myriad offensive talents and has matured to the point where the “C” on his sweater has begun to fit. The Pens will need his more developed game if they are going to reclaim what they lost in the second round of the playoffs earlier this year. Pittsburgh, which finished third in the East with 101 points, was the second highest-scoring team to get taken out by the eight-seeded Canadiens, who earlier had taken down the aforementioned Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

Speaking of the No. 1 pick, no one feels worse about their playoff exits than do the Caps. Washington entered game five of the playoffs with a 3-1 lead only to tank and get knocked out by a team that produced 33 fewer points during the regular season. To make matters worse for Washington, they lost leaky goal-tender Jose Theodore, and are hoping Dany Sabourin and 22-year-old Semyon Varlamov can effectively man the pipes. With Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and high-scoring defense-man Mike Green, the Caps will finish atop of the Southeast Division but won’t hold on to the President’s Trophy. Which is really a blessing, because the award for the best record has a tendency to go to a tired team that loses early in the playoffs.

Though not as well-known as the first two picks in the draft, HatTricksHighSticks’ Steven Stamkos will be the key factor in helping Tampa Bay push Washington in the Southeast. The 20-year-old Stamkos is going to need some help from veteran Vincent Lecavalier, whose production sank a year ago after being taken off the line with Martin St. Louis. Still, the biggest factor in Tampa making a move out of the No. 8 playoff spot will be the play of goalies Dan Ellis and Mike Smith. Both have save percentages near .900 and that’s just not going to get it done. If you’re wondering how the good guys, aka the Franzen Four, have done, well, it remains to be seen.

The first round offered Henrik Lundqvist, who could turn out to be a major buy at No. 16 overall if the Rangers can find some scoring to help out the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist. The good news about picking last in the first round means getting the first pick in the second and with that came L.A. defenseman Drew Doughty. The Kings were smart to avoid the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes and commit to five-year veteran Anze Kopitar. A year ago Kopitar scored a career-high 81 points and saw for the first time his +/- rating go to the positive side of the ledger. The Kings are solid in net with Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier and should have no problem passing Phoenix for second place in the Pacific.

That’s the short of it.

Penalty minutes are a positive stat in this league, so get out there and hit someone.

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