I thought this was FUNHL blog worthy - seeing as this man was a huge part of winning the Flames the Stanley Cup. His play vs Vancouver in game 7 of their series that year saved us and I think I had multiple heart attacks in that game.

Not a guy with the best reputation off the ice or even sometimes amongt his team-mates, but he was definitely a great goalie. For those who think he is/was kind of a jerk, well - put him next to Patrick Roy and he kind of pales by comparison in that department.


Press: Lost Boys GM admits to needing advice

Toronto--Stunning the pundits, Lost Boys GM Richard Birt announced he needed some advice before the upcoming waiver draft.

First: I have a center I want to promote in Koivu the younger. A centre doing much better than my two prospective waives, the equally impressive Richards and Conroy. So in the interest of having the best possible team, is this the best way to do the following:

1) Waive either Richards or Conroy for the WD;
2) Draft a nominal centre as my 8th Pick;
3) Promote Koivu immediately afterwards?

Now, this doesn't give me access to the points Koivu might rack up in the interim, but it does give me insight as to whether or not Richards will benefit from a purported Philly turn-around.

Is there a better way than to go ahead as planned?

(Please note, all this discussion is theoretical, I'm very open to a TRADE involving one, or both of these two centres for someone much better, in exchange FOR say Schneider or JOVANOVSKI. Someone like MATS SUNDIN, would fit the bill admirably.)

Second: Once again, members of this league are scuttling my plans to be an arch-conservative before I turn 30. I need to learn how to use Messenger before the 9th.

Could someone drop me some useful info, like their ID and when they're likely to be available so I can practice this whole "chatting" thing, and know I'm linking up with the right people before the WD, so we can avoid tech delays. In exchange I might even draft you in the 8th round.


GM Lost Boys.


Press: Lost Boys GM to participate in WD

Toronto--Shocking many observers, Lost Boys GM Richard Birt actually emerged from behind his giant computer/lawnmower 'Lazarus' with surgical mask and chainsaw in hand to offer waiting reporters a prognosis.

"Our best surgeons have decided that Lazarus had suffering from 3 stooges syndrome, which finally got out of hand. Though Lazarus can be saved, unfortunately it means we'll be unable to use the lawnmower or sound-effect-of-a-landing-jet capacity in the near future. This is a true loss for our team. But, the Lost Boys are considering use of Lazarus as our 3rd string goalie.

"I'd also like to use the press-conference announce our ambition to emerge from the wilderness and get a sixth place finish this year.

"At the prompting of the Severed Heads GM, I'm letting everyone know that my plans this Saturday and Sunday involve actually preparing for the WD next weekend, and I am open to any and all trade offers you might send me.

"Finally I'd like to offer my personal congratulations to the Severed Heads Management on their planned restaffing at head-office. We at the Lost Boys feel that toddlers are excellent talent scouts."


The 600 Club

SI has a photo gallery of the NHL's 15 all time best lamp-lighters.

The name that sticks out like a sore thumb?

Mike Gartner

Dino Ciccarelli (also in the club) was once traded for Gartner (in a deal that paid dividends for both teams) and I've always considered them to be relatively equivalent talent wise. But Gartner has a full 100 more goals than Dino.

The biggest difference between them? Dino was a garbage man, while Gartner was a speed winger. Otherwise, both were excellent triggermen who while never elite, managed through longevity to put up ridiculous numbers.

Would they have been Franchise players?


Blood in the water, Great Whites Attack!

On the strength of a fantastic and league best 51+pt performance on the week, I have the Great Whites moving into first place in the Predator Cup race.

While Darrell still has to release the official stats, and last time I did this I was off a point here or there, I have the Great Whites vaulting two positions in the standings to take first place. Led by 7pts from newly acquired FP Patrick Marleau and 7.65 pts from long-time FP Martin Brodeur the rout was on. With Nylander and Sutton each chipping in 6pts and 6.25pts respectively the defeat of their Challenge Cup opponents for the week, alas - the Highlanders, was never in much doubt.

The worst week was a sub-19pt performance by the Edge who now are within striking distance of the Scourge who are dealing with some serious injury troubles and may not be able to capitalize on thier opportunity to get out of the cellar.

With Darrell still to confirm, I have the standings as follows:

1 - Great Whites 51.15pt week, 240.95pt total

2 - Bladerunners 38.13, 238.1

3 - Shadowmen 48.12, 237.92

4 - Personal Vendetta 32.76, 209.08

5 - Highlanders 33.25, 209.08

6 - Ramapithicines 36.98, 203.93

7 - Severed Heads 41.04, 197.77

8 - Wolves 37.44, 189.14

9 - Knights Templar 23.35, 178.25

10- Lost Boys 33.41, 176.04

11- Edge 18.20, 161.83

12- Scourge 29.87, 158.64

FUNHL News and Notes

* Evgeny Malkin

Malkin's arrival in the NHL has been everything advertised, including a jaw-dropping 'fear-my-wingspan' goal against of all people, Martin Brodeur, that has to be seen to be believed. The only drawback may be the lawsuit being filed in New York that could see a preliminary injunction against Malkin plying his trade until the suit over his status is settled. I for one am crossing my fingers that he will be sent back to Russia in leg irons.

* Daniel Sedin.

At the draft there was a moment of 'WTF?' that deserves to be looked at again. After Kiprusoff was taken (to nobodies surprise), Mike G rattled off a list of the top RFA's; Spezza, Zetterberg, Cheechoo, etc. forcing matches on all the top players he could. Then in what seemed like a total seizure of his frontal lobe, at second overall he picked
Daniel Sedin. The pick was remarkable because Sedin was very likely to still be available at the end of the 2nd rnd, as there were at least a half dozen LW on most GM lists ahead of him. Nevertheless, the last laugh is Mike's - Sedin has been little short of awesome to start the season (despite just two points in his last 5, he still projects to 27-46-73), and has lived up to his early pick status, while other LW selections (including Zetterberg, Havlat and several others) have not fared nearly as well.

* The standings:

Well, we are now a full 6 weeks into the season, and we've had almost that many different teams sit atop the leader board. In short, it's been a wild first quarter to the season, with lots of volatility. Frankly, I much prefer this to a state of 'wire-to-wire' victory laps by ultra-dominant squads (unless of course it is the Severed Heads going wire to wire for a victory - we like blow-outs just fine so long as its us doing the blowing out).

* Hossa-Kovalchuk

Currently riding atop the scoring standings is this tandem from Atlanta. Says here, it won't last. Both players should end up in the top 10, with either one capable of being in the top 5. I just don't see them leading the league at the end of the year though.

*Joe Thornton

Jumbo-Joe, where have you gone? Sitting at just over a ppg, it's a tad perplexing that Thornton hasn't resumed his terrorizing of the stat sheet. He has all the elements he needs to win another Art Ross; a Richard calibre winger, depth behind him on the roster, elite powerplay linemates, etc. So why the dip in his totals? My guess, motivation. Last year he had something to prove when he landed in SJ, and his surge statistically is well noted. This year? It's all about the playoffs, and Thornton will probably try to save himself for the second season so he can get that playoff monkey off his back.

* The Senators

Something tells me they probably wish they hadn't ditched Hasek for Gerber, and Chara for Redden. Hasek has a sub 2.0 GAA for the RedWings, and Chara is a Mr. Everything for Boston's D. Gerber has been the Swiss Miss we all remember from his previous stops, and Redden has spent most of the season hurt or playing hurt. Can they recover? Sure, but a trade for a goaltender is probably in the cards.

* Back in the USSR

It seems Mr. Kaigodorov didn't much like the idea of playing in the AHL and has returned to Russia. Senators fans yet to notice as the overage rookie was all but invisible when on the ice, and lacked anything like the skillset he was supposed to have (speed, playmaking). Add the search for a 2nd line centre to the Senators wish lists .

* Reports of my death have been greatly exagerrated.

Last year the Flames got off to a horrible start until they reached November and suddenly rediscovered the defense that is a hall-mark of Sutter coached squads. They then rattled off 11 straight wins. Flash forward to this season and we see a similar pattern (with the notable exception that a trimmed down Iginla has been terrific from the word go this year), with the Flames winning their first three games of the 11th month, as they try to make up the lost ground that October represents. One reason for the slow starts may be that Kipper needs to play himself into a groove for the first month before he goes supernovae. If last year is any indication, he could still challenge for the Vezina and Hart. I can only hope so.

* The unbeatable Buffaslugs

Will Buffalo be a powerhouse all year long? Says here - 'No'. Briere will get hurt, he always does, and once the straw that stirs the offensive martini in Buffalo is snapped in half the rest will slowly degrade. Miller's loss for any serious length of time could be crippling too.

* Flyers circling the bowl

Forsberg is a $1.00 cab-ride from taking his own life, as his good ship Philly Flyer has its stern fully below the waterline (goaltending is atrocious) has its lower compartments filling with ice and water (the defense is old, slow, and ravaged by injuries), and relies on a decent first line and a pair of sophmores up front to hold the fort (for those counting, that was a full three mixed metaphors in one sentence - your welcome). With Forsberg sucking up a huge amount of cap-space, and so much needed to be done to right the ship and start the process of bilge pumping, he will be traded to a better playoff team. However, because of his age, and injuries (his right ankle is still not good, and he is struggling to find a skate that will fight properly), the return on a Forsberg trade will be more in the area of cap-space saved than in returning assets. Expect a young player and a high pick to be the asking price. If you are a Flames fan, you are praying daily for Sutter to pick up the phone and call Paul Holmgren (personally, I'd offer Lombardi and a 1st for Foppa, but that isn't likely in the ball-park).

* Simon Gagne

He has all but lost his status as a future FP. With Forsberg likely on the move, and without significant offensive support coming from either Richards or Carter (especially with Carter out with an injury) Gagne's ice-time could rise, but a decrease in stats is very likely. If the Flyers seek to blow it up and start over, Gagne could be packaged elsewhere.

* Alexei Yashin, Jason Blake and the Islanders offense

It's been great guns to start, but it is all a mirage. By early 2007 both of these players will have returned to below ppg stats, and the Islanders will be officially out of the playoffs. Nothing to see here, move along.

* Robert Nilsson

One of the decisions made by the new regime was to put Nilsson back in the AHL to hone his game. His lack of defensive acumen is profound and without a more two-way purpose to his game he could be a bubble player for a while. Still, it was the smart decision to make, as Nilsson will be a contributor someday, and has a high ceiling of talent. Reminds me a lot of Petr Nedved.

* Paul Statsny

Is there a better P1 in the league right now? He's seized the reigns of the 2nd line centre job from Tyler Arnason, and is drawing Wojtek Wolski and Milan Hejduk as his wingers. A strong ROY candidate, but only realistically a winner if Malkin is hurt or barred from playing.

* The Penguins

The bloom is starting to come off the rose in Pittsburgh as a weak defense corps is now getting exploited routinely, while the high octane offense is now only coming in spurts. They are still a pair of defensemen (one two-way, one stay-at-home) and a power-forward scoring winger from being a significant playoff threat.

* Nik Zherdev

Is the next Alexei Kovalev. All the talent in the world, but somehow still less than the sum of his parts. One day he'll put it all together and have a ppg+ season, but like Kovalev it could take him reaching his late 20's before that happens. Before then, Doug Maclean will be long gone (note: Gerard Gallant just got axed in Columbus)

* Alexander Ovechkin

Some nice totals so far, but he seems a step back from the one-man unstoppable force he was last year. Is he suffering from a groin injury?

* Craig Conroy

If I'm Calgary this is NOT the guy I would target for aquisition. Sure he had some great chemistry with Iginla a few years back, but that was when Conroy still had the wheels to be a front-line player. No more. The lost step makes him a decent #2, or a reliable #3 centre. No way he should be on any teams top-line now.

* Patrick Marleau, Brad Richards

Both of the Shadowmen FP selections have proven to be adept choices. This being the Shadowmen, both have been traded away already, with Richards having returned to the squad in a follow up trade. Next year Spezza and at least one other player will be made into FP's.

* Bertuzzi v Luongo

Bertuzzi's back surgery makes the deal between Vancouver and Florida way lopsided in Vancouver's favour. Out 6-8 weeks while he repairs his spine, Bertuzzi is a non-factor while Luongo has been everything advertised so far, with only one bad game to his name this season. Up to that point, Luongo hadn't let a bad goal in ALL SEASON, making every save that a goalie could possibly make, and several that were impossible. A trade by Vcr for another defenseman to help out the blue-line would be desirable, but more important than that would be a deal for some secondary scoring behind the 'Swedish Touch' line of Sedin2-Naslund.

* Dion Phaneuf

Your Norris trophy is on order. Despite Calgary's offensive woes to start the year, he is still projecting to score 15-36-51 and 159 PIM (or in FUNHL terms a healthy 90+ pts)- a modest increase on his scoring pace over the rest of the season (very, very likely) and Phaneuf will be the best all-round defenseman to win the award since Ray Bourque, and the hardest hitting D-man to win it since Rod Langway.

* Michael Nylander

Currently leads the league in scoring. Yeah, I thought that was pretty funny too.

* The Scourge + The Lost Boys

The former look to be in similar shape to the Philly Flyers. They aren't doing well at any position, their captain and best player (Sundin) is hurt, the defense corps has been a letdown, and they are struggling to stay out of the cellar. Expect FP changes over the course of the year (Tanguay hasn't been doing much till just this last week) or at the draft. A purge of higher value players for futures is probably also in the cards. The Lost Boys are doing better, in part because they have an elite winger in Kovalchuk they can count on as well as the rock-steady Chris Pronger to run their blue-line, but overall they are still not threatening to make a move on the leader board so much as they are trying to hold off the Scourge, Wolves and Edge.

So here's the question, are these teams cursed?

Here's my advice to them, for what it's worth;

- Don't trade your 1st rnd prd picks - they will be worth their weight in gold if you can land a stud (see: the Bladerunners with Malkin + Staal, and the Highlanders with Crosby).

- Take a good hard look at your FP situations. Other than Kovalchuk, none of them are elite players at their positions that you couldn't find better value from a replacement at the ED.

- Don't make the mistake of doing quantity for quality trades (sorry Chris, but I guess this advice comes too late to avoid the Hemsky deal). Waiver drafts will help you build depth, so it is much harder to come by talent than it is healthy bodies to pad out the roster. Hoard that talent as much as possible.

- Once it is clear that you can't win, start to build for next year. Collect prospect picks and high grade prospects - these are the building blocks of your franchise. '

- Try to avoid trading your best players until their is a market for them. Just prior to WD's and the trade-deadline are excellent times to put together large package deals.

- Don't draft Alexei Zhamnov. I can't say this enough.


Back to Back?

The Bladerunners, who moved into first place last week, are continuing in their bid to repeat as Predator Cup Champions. Sparked by solid Week 5 performances Steve Sullivan (6pts) and Simon Gagne (4pts) on Left Wing, FP Right Winger Marion Hossa (4pts) and an impressive +3 (for 6pts) from Defenseman Jaroslav Modry the defending Champions made ground on eight of the teams chasing them.

Best week goes to the turnstile masters, the Shadowmen, with 41.02 pts on the week - vaulting them into second place. The Edge have the worst week with only 22.80pts, while the Wolves, on the strength of the week's second highest total, move up out of the bottom three.

The Bladerunners, in my unofficial calculation of stats, continue to lead in the Predator Cup race and, by defeating the Great Whites in their Challenge Cup match up, remain the only undefeated team with an impressive 5-0 record.

With Darrell still to confirm, I have the Week 5 stats as follows:

1 Bladerunners 37.25 for 199.98
2 Shadowmen 41.02 for 190.82
3 Great Whites 32.27 for 182.74
4 Per.Vendetta 31.08 for 176.91
5 Highlanders 29.70 for 175.77
6 Ramapithicines 38.52 for 166.47
7 Severed Heads 29.42 for 155.97
8 Knights Templar 32.45 for 154.85
9 Wolves 40.97 for 152.20
10 Lost Boys 30.53 for 142.66
11 Edge 22.80 for 142.60
12 Scourge 34.55 for 128.82