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Sorry, But Fantasy Hockey is Better Than Ever

Sep 9, 2008 – 1:13 AM
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Kevin Schultz

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So, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against About.com's Jamie Fitzpatrick. I'm sure he's a nice guy and has a smart hockey mind, but when I read his article entitled 'Whatever Happened to Fantasy Hockey for Regular Folks?', I get a bit confused.

When the hockey pool first gained popularity, back in the 1980s, it was considered a good excuse for drinking beer and talking trash.

Those days are long gone. For starters, it's not called a hockey pool anymore. It's a fantasy hockey league.

And it's not about drinking beer. Fantasy hockey is serious business, an all-consuming, number-crunching hobby for fans who don't get out much.

Wow. Really? I'm not even going to touch on the beer thing. There are already enough excuses to drink in today's world that fantasy hockey does not need to be one of them.

Anyway. So Jamie, you're telling me that all of a sudden fantasy hockey has become too analytical and people are obsessing over it way too much. Not fantasy football. Not fantasy baseball. No, for those leagues people just close their eyes and pick whichever player their finger lands on. For hockey, of all sports, people are going too crazy over it. Right.

And he continues:

So be warned. If you join one of these outfits, you're going up against guys who spent the summer cross-referencing power play line combos and ranking prospects in the Latvian midget league. Good luck.

The Latvian Midget League? Good one. Where have I heard these kinds of disses before? Oh that's right, every time a traditional baseball fan rails against the well-meaning sabermetrics people. And that line before about "fans who don't get out much?" That sounds like it was taken right out of the How the MSM Defends Itself Against Bloggers Playbook. It's an archaic and outdated read, if you ever get a chance.

But what amazes me the most is how Fitzpatrick's description of the current state of fantasy hockey affairs is actually a more accurate description of how fantasy hockey, er, I mean hockey pools, used to be. You had to be the All-Consuming, Number Crunching Fan Who Didn't Get Out Much because you had to sit at home and play your pool through snail mail. Yes, the post office would carry the Hockey News to you, and advertised in it would be hockey pools. You would send them money, they would send you back all the info on your pool and so on and so forth.

Imagine how fun that must have been. Sitting next to your mailbox all day drinking beer. Now that fantasy hockey has gone mainstream, you just pop open your web browser and check your team, add/release players all at the cost of... Wait... Actually, now a days it doesn't cost anything! And on top of that you don't have to sit by the mailbox, or in some cases phone, all day drinking. You can, you know, get out and do other things like drink bottled water as all the liberal hippies do these days.

But hey, if you disagree with me, you can always join Fitzpatrick's pool.

If a hockey pool sounds like fun, but you don't want to spend your weekend running spreadsheets on plus/minus rankings among third-line centermen, we have a solution. Here's our format for a dirt-simple fantasy hockey league. It's ideal for casual fans, lazy fans, and office pools where half the gang wouldn't know Vernon Fiddler from the Fiddler on the Roof.

It's a good idea, I can't believe no one has thought of it yet. I mean, how often is it that you get to play casually against fans who aren't uber competitive? Oh, wait. Actually when you register a team in a Yahoo! Public League, the second question you get asked is if you want to play in a casual league or a competitive league. You can even have your team drafted for you. The internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
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