The FUNHL

8/17/2015

Bible arrived today

One significant change now

Ovechkin is back on LW for Collin

So far have not found any significant position changes.

Coyle MIN now C
Gigarenko COL now LW
Perron Pit now LW
Boedker ARI now LW
Hudler Cal now LW
Ennis Buf now RW
Teravanen Chi now LW
Strome NYI now RW
Burrows VAN now RW
Linholm Car now RW
Schenn Phi now LW

not sure where Glenncross, R Smith and Conacher are now located


Have not checked  prospects below p4



7/28/2015

Entry Draft 2015 - Sat., Sept 26th in Calgary


So WE finally have a date for the Entry Draft and the rumour is that maybe 4 FPS will changed!

Time and Location TBA

Questions, concerns, problems, offers to host etc please post here or to my email blast which you all received.

The NHL season opens Wed Oct 7, 2015.

Our Entry Draft will be Saturday, Sept. 26th

Thanks!

bc for the DC


7/24/2015

So Now What With NHL Post-Expansion Realignment - Part One Maintaining the East-West Conferences

It has been pleasantly encouraging that my last post on this topic garnered so much traffic but "calling" Quebec and Vegas as the only two NHL expansion aspirants with both the deep pockets to stomach the $500M expansion fee and the only aspirants with actual, near-completion, arenas wasn't that impressive.  The NHL all but gave Las Vegas it's blessing when they sanctioned a season ticket sale to "test" the interest.  I remain somewhat skeptical that the long-term interest of local Vegas fans will be there for desert hockey once the initial euphoria wears down but I'm not putting up the money - they may well surprise and the Vegas Knights (apparently this is Mr. Foley's preferred team moniker) will at least be given the chance to lay down their bet when the NHL Governors meet again in September to rubber stamp their intention to cash those expansion fee checks.

There are still some rumblings by certain members of the media that the NHL might balk at going back to Quebec.  Gary Bettman did leave himself and the League an out when the process was announced and with the Canadian dollar under 75 cents and headed lower some owners may pause to consider if expansion to Quebec is as prudent a plan as it might have seemed a year ago.  Still, by almost every metric one could come up with, Quebec should outshine the far riskier move into Las Vegas and Quebecor is already a significant business partner with the NHL.  Everyone talks about the big money that Rogers shelled out for the Canadian National NHL rights.  The TVA French-language TV deal is a substantial sum of money in its own right. 

Garry Bettman is much maligned by hockey fans, particularly in Canada, who are upset about multiple work-stoppages and a perception that he's been too focused on non-traditional hockey markets but he has also shown himself to be very committed to those who have been good partners for the NHL - like Quebecor.  I also suspect that, as with Minnesota and Winnipeg, he has a personal stake in restoring the NHL to those cities who lost teams on his watch.  Les Nordiques, and their rabid fans, will be back in the NHL come the 2017-2018 season.  But where do they go?

Realignment Issues


If, as many commentators had thought prior to the NHL's July 20th deadline for expansion applications - and $2M non-refundable fees - the two finalists turned out to be Seattle and Las Vegas then the realignment issue would be no issue at all.  Seattle and Vegas would move into the Pacific division and a team or two shuffles between the Pacific and Central divisions to balance the numbers.  Voila, two equal 16 team conferences.  Familiar East-West structure and everyone goes on their way none the worse for wear.  Quebec, well, that complicates things.

Realignment is always a challenge, particularly for teams that find themselves drawing the short straw and having to sacrifice natural geographic or historical rivalries (and the $ those factors generate) for the need to satisfy the scheduling needs of their business partners - and competitors.  Time zones and travel distances aren't just issues for the players (who, frankly, with first-class hotel rooms and chartered flights, are far less impacted by the divisional and conference set-ups than ever before).  Time zone shifts impact local TV numbers, and your ability to build your fan base.  Similarly, teams are very mindful that travel costs are not chump change - airline fuel adds up.

Reality, however, is that you need to find a set-up that is minimally inconvenient and bears some semblance of rationality.  The history of NHL expansion and divisional alignments is not always driven by such considerations.  We all remember that the Jets were recently in the South East Division but what about the Habs and Kings both being in the Norris division from 74-81.

The most recent realignment, from 2014, was used to resolve the oddity of the Winnipeg Jets being in a South East division but it also afforded the NHL the chance to redress a long-standing complaint by both Detroit and Columbus that being in the Western Conference all of there divisional and conference games (save and except those against each other) were out of their time zone, sometimes 3 time-zones away.  A 7:00pm start time in LA is a 10:00pm puck-drop in Detroit.  How does one add two teams and not create the same problem all over again?  Maybe you can't.




Before offering some possible suggestions, here are some of the assumptions I am going to make.  The NHL (and NHLPA) will not want to increase or decrease the number of games played by teams.  For now we are going to assume an 82 game schedule.  Secondly, the policy of ensuring that everybody, regardless of division or conference, will play at least one home and one away game against every team - the Crosby/Ovechkin rule.  Where at all possible the goal would be to minimize additional games across multiple time-zones and to maintain existing geographic and historical rivalries.

It might be useful to review how the NHL sets up the schedule based on the current conference and divisional alignment.  If you haven't committed the schedule rules to memory, here they are as per the NHL's site.  See, clear as mud.  Suffice it to say that there is a general principle that you play your opponents within your division more than those within your conference more than those out of your conference.  Those schedules are NOT, however, balanced between teams in the same divisions let alone different conferences.

As we go through the options, lets look at a pair of example schedules from the current format to keep in mind as we compare the alternatives.  At the center of the Hockey Universe, we have the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Leafs schedule includes 54 games within Conference (all Eastern time zone) and 28 games with the Western Conference - 14 of which are at home so the Leafs only play 14 games out of their time zone: 6 in the Central; 4 in the Western; and 4 in the Pacific.  Pretty sweet.  The Western conference teams are more difficult to calculate but last year the Vancouver Canucks had a schedule that included 34 games out of the Pacific time zone: 16 games in the Eastern time zone; 9 games in the Central; and 9 more games in Western time zone.  There is a reason Vancouver hired a sleep specialist.  Still, that's what the league is doing now so keep this standard in mind as we examine alternate options.

Steady As She Goes

One option, that has the virtue of some simplicity, would be to maintain the existing 4 Divisions (Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan) and just tweak them a little.  Vegas is easy, just add it to the Pacific and now you have an 8 team division.  Done.  The time-zones line-up and you maintain the existing rivalries within the division with the prospect of generating new ones between Vegas and Arizona.  I live in Edmonton and yes, I could easily see grabbing some friends and a flight to Vegas centered around a Connor McDavid-led Oiler road-trip to Sin City.

Ok, now for the hard part.  We add Quebec to the 7 team Central division.  As with Detroit and Columbus before the last realignment, we are placing an Eastern time-zone team in the Western Conference.  Using the existing schedule template (with the Crosby/Ovechkin rule), Quebec would have a total of 26 games outside the Eastern time-zone.  They would have 12 road games against Pacific division teams (6-9 against Pacific time-zone teams and 3-6 against Western time-zone teams) and 14 road games against Central division teams (12 in the Central time-zone and 2 in the Western time-zone).  Yes, that would be against "historical" rival Colorado Avalanche.

The map would look something like this:


The playoff format looks like it does now.  Top three teams from every division seeded 1-3 and two wild-cards per conference.  Understand, however, that the possibility exists that with the existence of the wild-card, Quebec could potentially play a West coast team in the first round.  Last year Pacific champ Anaheim faced off against Winnipeg in the first round.  As the series was a sweep, and because the return of Winnipeg to the playoffs was such a great story, nobody mentioned that Anaheim's "reward" for being the top point-getter in the West was to open the playoffs with the longest road-trip of anyone.  Imagine if the series had gone seven, do you doubt that we might have heard something about the travel then?  Now replace Winnipeg with Quebec and one begins to see the problems with this option.

Back To The Future

The Red Wings fought tooth and nail over many years to finally escape the Western Conference.  To borrow a phrase: "Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in!"  Still, better the devil you know.  As we are working with a familiar problem perhaps the solution is to simply make an effort to return Detroit to the Central Division.  As we have noted, this jumps Detroit's number of road games outside the Eastern conference from 15 (remember we now have Vegas) to 26.  A jump of 11.  It does restore some traditional divisional rivalries in Chicago, St. Louis and Colorado but, as discussed, creates the potential, with the wild-card, to have Detroit opening the playoffs against a team from the West Coast.  Here is how that map would look:

A Jump To The Left

I think there will be considerable sympathy for Detroit (or Columbus) being asked to return to the Western conference based on the long history of trying to get into the East that the NHL might be open to more radical options, which we will discuss in Part Two, but one potential tweak that I have not seen before would be to put Detroit into the Metropolitan division and move Carolina into the Central.  At first blush this would seem as ridiculous as Quebec and more so because Carolina is struggling at the gate and wasn't just gifted an expansion franchise with the small-print advising the new owners to take what you are given and be happy about it.  The reason I think this shift might work is that Carolina doesn't have a natural rival with the current arrangement even though one is sitting just across the state-line in Tennessee.
Watching an out of market Predators game one night I noticed that the local broadcast rights holders, Fox Sports South, was advertising upcoming games.  Normal enough, except that in addition to the upcoming Predator games they were also advertising the upcoming Hurricane games.  I live in Edmonton and my Sportsnet package includes both Oilers and Flames games so on the surface this didn't seem strange to me until it hit me, about a second later, that these two teams with overlapping fan bases only play each other twice a year.  This should be a tailgate rivalry to threaten the barbeque pork surpluses of both states.  All of the out of market issues remain but maybe the prospect of an outdoor game in the deep south between two non-traditional markets is enough to get the ownership group in Carolina to look at the idea.  Here's how it would look:

Time To Break The Mold

Whether the NHL choses Quebec, Detroit, Columbus or even Carolina, somebody in the Eastern conference and, perhaps more importantly, the Eastern time-zone will be shifted out of their comfort zone.  Western GMs probably aren't too sympathetic to their Eastern colleagues complaints about time-zones given that that is just part of the reality for every Western conference team but it is a real consideration.  Couple that with the additional travel burden, especially at playoff time, and the issue becomes even more notable.
This is not an unusual problem for sports leagues in North America.  The bulk of the population, and hence sports teams, are in the Eastern time-zone.  Even relatively close teams in the West, Calgary and Edmonton or San Jose and Los Angeles, are much further apart than the NY area teams that are all within a commute ride from each other.
In the next Part I am going to reprise an option proposed in my April piece and throw out some variants on it with an aim to rethink how the NHL should look at realignment by borrowing from the most financially successful league in North American pro sports - the NFL.  Four team divisions.

6/26/2015

2015 DRAFT ORDER

1. Ramapithicines
2. Severed Heads
3. Shadowmen
4. Scourge
5. Knights Templar
6. Barbarians
7. Highlanders
8. Bladerunners
9. Great Whites
10. Personal Vendetta
11. Edge
12. Wolves

6/17/2015

Playoff Pool Final Results

And it is a tie!!!


RankTeam NameTTLPLN
1Dan's Lesserlights1450
1Doug's Lowlanders1450
3Rob's Wolfpups1270
4Bob's Shadyguys1260
5Brian's Bladewalkers700

6/08/2015

NHL Draft Mock-up



Hi guys!

With the Flames amazing playoff run at an end (and the Hawks and Bolts now in the final stages of their Cup quest) thoughts turn to the NHL draft.

I am hopeful that a trial I am scheduled to be conducting will be resolved well before June 26th and that I will be able to journey south and raise a glass to Corey and his Ramapithicines as 2015 Predator Cup Champions.  Well earned sir.

I understand the plan is to plunk ourselves in front of a big ass TV, consume alcoholic beverages, mock my Oilers and pine for Bob McKenzie's calming voice guiding us through the draft instead of the shrill duo of Damian Cox and Doug McLean - but while we wait for the day, I'd like to do a Mock Draft Pool/Contest.

Prize is pretty straight forward I'll buy the winner (or winners, if a tie) his first pint.  If I win, I'll happily accept a collection of small change from the other participants to by my first pint.

Scoring as follows.

1pt for every player correctly predicted to go in the first round.
1pt for every player correctly slotted in their draft position.
5pts for any pick correctly identified as traded (on draft day).
-1pt for any pick incorrectly identified as traded.

The gold standard tool is Bob McKenzie's list here.  That said, there are oodles of mock-drafts out there - many with nice little bios to go with them.


NHL Draft Order (as of today) is as follows:

1  EDM
2  BUF
3  ARI
4  TOR
5  CAR
6  NDJ
7  PHI
8  CLB
9  SJS
10 COL
11 FLA
12 DAL
13 LAK
14 BOS
15 CGY
16 EDM*(fr PIT in Perron trade)
17 WPG
18 OTT
19 DET
20 MIN
21 BUF*(fr NYI in Vanek trade)
22 WAS
23 VAN
24 TOR*(fr NSH in Franson trade)
25 WPG*(fr BUF in Kane trade, fr STL in Miller trade)
26 MTL
27 ANA
28 TBL*(fr NYR in St.Louis trade)
--- either ---
29 Cup Finalist [PHI*(fr TBL in Coburn trade)]
30 Cup Champion [ARI*(fr CHI in Vermette trade)]
--- or ---
29 Cup Finalist [ARI*(fr CHI in Vermette trade)]
30 Cup Champion [PHI*(fr TBL in Coburn trade)]

5/25/2015

Time for a musical interlude…


With another exciting FUNHL season now in the books (congratulations to Corey on the dramatic last day victory!!) and the NHL playoffs in full swing, I thought it might be a good time to compile a list of theme songs for our FUNHL franchises. So I delved in to my music collection and came up with the following tracks that I felt reflect each team. The songs were chosen based on lyrical content rather than musical merit, and most of it is heavy metal. So if that is not your cup of tea, my apologies. I hope all the hyperlinks work. Now without further ado and in no particular order…

Scourge:
“Plagues of Babylon” by Iced Earth     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
This “band” should really just be called the Jon Schaffer Project, as he writes all the music, calls all the shots and everyone else is just a rental player. The count of current and former band members now stands at 32, including 5 different singers, 7 guitarists, 9 bassists and 10 drummers since forming back in 1985. This is the title track from their latest album, and features Canadian Stu Block on vocals.
So if you're asking yourself, "Why?"
Your eyes are blind to the raging storm
Will they cleanse the earth of humanity?
Unleash the plagues of Babylon?

Severed Heads:
“Beheaded” by The Offspring     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
This song comes from the self-titled debut album by this SoCal punk band, long before they became famous with songs like “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” or “Why Don’t You Get A Job”. However, it still displays a lot of their trademark wit and is perfect for Cam’s team.
Mommy doesn't have her head anymore
Keep it underneath my bed on the floor
That's alright though
That's ok
She never really used her head anyway

Bladerunners:
“It All Ends Here” by Star One     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
Star One is just one of the myriad projects of Dutch musician/composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen. All of the Star One songs are based on his favorite science fiction movies and television series. This song, clocking in at almost 10 minutes, is of course based on Ridley Scott’s classic film, Bladerunner, and its source material, “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick.
Living a life with nothing left to gain
moments are lost, like tears in the rain
watching my dreams break down and decay
I can't give up, there must be a way
facing death with nothing to lose
no way out, no matter what we try to do
is this real or this is a lie?
will I dream, or will I just die?

Wolves:
“Of Wolf And Man” by Metallica     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
Technically, this song is about werewolves not wolves, but it is one of my all-time favorite Metallica songs so it gets the nod. It is taken from one of the best-selling albums in history. “The Black Album” is certified 16x platinum in the US, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and spent more than 282 weeks on the Billboard 200 list, making it the ninth longest charting album of all time. Canadian connection: the album was recorded at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver and produced by Bob Rock (of Payolas fame).
Off through the new day's mist I run
Out from the new day's mist I have come
I hunt
Therefore I am
Harvest the land
Taking of the fallen lamb

Knights Templar:
“The Accolade” by Symphony X     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
Honourable mention here to “Templars Of Steel” by Hammerfall, which also would have made a fine selection for Mike’s team, but I love this song by American progressive metal band Symphony X. Singer, Russell Allen, is one of my favorites and really gets around. You have already heard him performing with Star One on the Bladerunners track. He can also be found singing with Ayreon, Avantasia, Adrenaline Mob, Allen/Lande, Level 10 and more. Interesting fact: on any Arjen Anthony Lucassen project, he is always credited as Sir Russell Allen. This is not because he has been knighted by the queen, but rather because before Russell starting earning enough money to live as a professional singer, he worked as a jouster at Medieval Times restaurant.
Across the seas through sands of time
Knight of the Templar
A charging steed through lands unkind
A legend forever

A heart of gold pumps within his metal skin
A noble line he carries on

Shadowmen:
“War For Sale” by Shadow Gallery     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
It is quite convenient that both the song and the band name apply to Bob’s Shadowmen. The FUNHLs most prolific trader is no stranger to cutting deals and is usually more than willing to sacrifice the future for the war effort. Mmmm pie… get your fingers out of there. Mine!!
How long till we realize the truth?
The bottom line of defense and world security
The bankers and the ministry of arms
Just cut the deal and the war is on
The village burned, the desert set ablaze
Who are these men with their fingers in everybody's pie?
Big rockets and their profits all the rage
Their business plan calls for war for sale

Great Whites:
“Megalodon” by Mastodon     Lyrics     Cool Pic     YouTube     MP3
The Megalodon was a prehistoric species of shark that could grow to a size of 60 feet long, weigh 50 tons and have teeth over 7 inches long. How frighteningly awesome is that? Thankfully these monsters went extinct about 2.6 million years ago. It is also a good thing that Mastodon provides the lyrics for their songs, because with their harsh vocal style you would never be able to tell what they were singing without them.
Sensing the blood of prey
Swimming in fear for life
Rolling over
Falling into jaws
Teeth that chatter
It distracts them all
The Fiji mermaid
She will let it know
Time is coming to feed and gnaw

Ramapithicines:
“Quest For Fire” by Iron Maiden     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
When it comes to songs about cave men, the pickings are slim. In fact, this is all I could find, but it works nicely for Corey’s Ramapithicines. Every year we all embark on the same quest, seeking Predator Cup glory rather than fire. This song is based on the 1911 Belgian novel by J.-H. Rosny and its 1981 film adaption about early mankind’s struggle for control of fire.
So they ploughed through forest and swamps of danger
And they fought the cannibal tribes and beasts
In the search to find another fire
To regain the power of life and heat.

Barbarians:
“Stand Up And Fight” by Turisas     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
For Mike’s horde of unruly Barbarians I chose this song, primarily because the members of this Finnish band like to paint their faces and dress up like Viking warriors as part of their stage show. Also, they are possibly the only heavy metal band with an accordion player and are known to play most of their solos on electric violin, rather than guitar.
What a relief it would be to end this all,
 How easy to fly the white flag and give up,
 But would I run today just to die another day,
 Give up now and every fight has been in vain,
Stand Up and Fight

Edge:
“The Edge” by Blind Guardian     Lyrics   [Sadly the YouTube videos are blocked]   MP3
This was probably the toughest choice I had to make. My first thought was to pick “Livin’ On the Edge” by Aerosmith for Collin’s team, but everyone knows that song. So I instead opted for this lesser known track by German power metal band Blind Guardian. For you Lord of the Rings fans, I suggest you check out their 1998 album “Nightfall in Middle Earth”, which is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion”.
This is the edge now
It's all we're living for
Rain on me
Love you will rain on me

Highlanders:
“Princes of the Universe” by Queen     Lyrics     Meme     YouTube     MP3
Duh! Do I really need to provide an explanation for this choice? There can be only one. The only other possible option would have been to find some bagpipe music, which seems to be a bit lacking in my collection.
And here we are, We're the princes of the universe,
Here we belong, Fighting for survival,
We've come to be the rulers of you all

Personal Vendetta:
“Time Heals Nothing” by Danko Jones     Lyrics     YouTube     MP3
Many options to choose from here. I passed on good candidates like “Vendetta” by Slipknot, “The Grudge” by Tool, “Revenge” by Papa Roach, “Vengeance Is Mine” by Alice Cooper and “Justice In Murder” by Coheed & Cambria in favor of this track from Canadian rocker Danko Jones. These three lines seem to me the very epitome of vengeance.

I know I'm gonna live through this
And when the wound on my back heals
I'm coming to get you, I'm coming to get you