Severed Heads Move Into Second; Knights Templar Simply Positive

E.Malkin and S.Gonchar helped the Severed Heads slip past the Shadowmen into second place in the Predator Cup race. They also now have a 2pt lead in their Challenge Cup game against each other this week.

We finally have something "positive" to report from the Omnivore race and that is, ironically, from the last-placed Knights Templar. The Knights are the only team in the Omnivore to have a "+", which makes for interesting pressures for the players. If the coach and managment are better than their peers, what does it say about the players out on the ice?

Happy Halloween everyone.

Who is pulling all the Scourge groins?

Currently half the scourge lineup is out with groin injuries and now newly aquired Spezza has joined the ranks. Bob Mckenzie blames many late nights at questionable establishments for the ailing groins of the Scourge players. More to follow on this late breaking development.

The sexy 70s

Although my knowledge of the 70s is fairly limited and basically just what Corey tells me i thought this article on DIGG today was great.


30 Games in 30 Days

This guy is living my dream.

Except, in my dream there are also 60 women, a million dollars in cash, and I'm 20 lbs lighter.

Week 5 Begins, Omnivore Rankings Return

Week 5 got underway last night and the Bladerunners have escaped, if only temporarily, from the FunHL basement. The new occupants of the cellar are the Knights Templar, however as they had no one playing last night it is probably unfair to be too critical of the now Spezza-less ones. Ironically the other half of the first "huge" trade of the year, the Scourge, are only a point ahead of the Knights in the standings so the implications of "The Trade" will be felt for a while yet.

In the Challenge Cup schedule, the game of the week is probably the one between the Shadowmen and the Severed Heads. The season is early but both teams are essentially tied for second in the Predator Cup standings and a big win for either team could create some separation between the teams in both races.

This post also marks the return of the Omnivore standings. I'll admit that these are very preliminary as the biggest factor (I have found) comes from posting unlikely TG assignments. At the moment my standings are only based on TG players that teams have chosen to dress so if you haven't dressed a higher PIM player from your baseline, you may actually be doing worse than shown. Still, I think it is probably a pretty good gauge. The early leader would be the Knights Templar. Sure they suck but they are sucking as efficiently as possible :-).

FYI, Dan and I are slowly walking through the Pool Expert site and my stats. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

The "How do we afford Phaneuf?" Poll!

Which Flame(s) should be traded so they can afford to sign Dion Phaneuf?
Daymond Langkow
Kristian Huselius
Alex Tanguay
Robin Regehr
Adrian Aucoin
pollcode.com free polls


Bondra - HOF?

Is Peter Bondra (503 goals, 389 assists, 892 pts) a Hall of Famer?
pollcode.com free polls

Forsberg Update

He's doing a tune-up stint with the Swedish National Team.

Speculation is that he'll be back for mid-November.

Week 4 Closes with 8 Teams Vying for 2nd

The Highlanders didn't add to their lead on Sunday as they were shutout but they continue to hold a 10pt lead on the Shadowmen with a week-best 43+ pts. The gap between 2nd and 9th is less than 10 pts while the three teams at the bottom of the table are within a point some 8 pts further back. This is a log-jam and bodes well for a long and competative season. The Wolves had the league's worst week with 23.55pts.

The Challenge Cup games are also concluded for the week with the Highlanders and Bladerunners continuing to keep their different "perfect" streaks alive. No ties this week though the Severed Heads and Scourge flirted with one. In the end the two teams were not within a point of each other - the Severed Heads win by exactly a point.

I'll do a preview of Week 5 Games, if time allows, tomorrow.

Week 5 Line ups

Highlanders post their line up... and break out with a lead

Lost Boys post their line up... and do better in the standings than they did at all last season

Bladerunners post their line up... and it's a work in progress: but will improve!

Coincidence? I think not! Post your line up, improve your standing today!


Highlanders Gain Ground On The Pack

The Highlanders had a 15pt night on Saturday to create some breathing room between themselves and the rest of a very, very closely bunched chase group. While Dan and I weren't able to hook up to confer on the discrepencies between my stats package and the pool expert site - both agree that the race is very even early on. If you are tracking your own stats (and you should) and you notice any differences with the stats that I have posted for you - let me know.


Tight Five-way Fight for First

Not a lot of time this morning but the race for first is just getting tighter. Less than 5 points separated 1st from 5th. With tonight's pivotal games likely to determine who leads the pool going into week 5. In the Challenge Cup, the Shadowmen look to end the Highlander's perfect streak while the Bladerunners show no sign of ending their streak of futility.


Tavares watch

Tom Benjamin adds his voice to the fray.

Here's my take;

- For Tavares to sign with the Marlies, he has to first get the AHL to change it's rules about signing 18 year olds, as they currently have the exact same cut-off for signing a contract as the NHL

- Assuming he clears that hurdle, he could sign a three year deal with the Marlies for big $s, and develop his game against a higher level of competition. Then, his rights from the drafting team (say Phoenix) would expire, and he would be returned back into the draft - where a team (say Phoenix, but lets assume someone other than Toronto) would hold his rights.

- Then, assuming Tavares is deeply interested in avoiding the rookie cap and or doesn't want to play for the teams that have held his rights, he could sign another deal in the AHL, go to Europe for two more years, etc. After this he would finally be an unrestricted free agent. He would also be at least 21 or 22 years old.

Does pursuing this make any sense?

- It does for the Leafs for two reasons; one, they crave a superstar talent like Tavares the way I crave oxygen, and two: they desperately need to inject a ray of hope into the franchise as the team is currently old; slow and expensive - meaning the players aren't performing, can't get better, and can't be traded.

- I'm not sure it does for Tavares. It's essentially holding out for four years to circumvent the rookie salary cap with the added bonus that he gets to play in a minor league without media exposure, or in a foreign league without media exposure. Awesome. Consider that Crosby's financial windfalls were not from his pay-check, but rather from his endorsements. Tavares has an opportunity to make similar coin by playing the game at its highest level, and getting the Tavares brand some much needed exposure and corporate sponsorship. After that, he can expect max contracts so long as he continues to be a terrific goal scorer.

Picture of the Day

Proof that LA hockey can be saved - Anze Kopitar graffiti!

From the Kings fanblog 'Let's Go Kings'

The Case for Trading Kipprusoff

The Battle of Alberta has a terrific analysis of who the best dance-partners are for a Kipper deal.

The basic facts are that with Iggy getting big money, Phaneuf needing big money, and guys like Tanguay, Regehr, and Langkow making well above average cash, the chances of being able to sign Kipper to the near max deal he deserves is going to be difficult/impossible.

Something is going to have to give.

However, when you see the analysis that BOA have done, you realize that the chances of a deal are very, very low.

If I were Sutter?

Trade Langkow and/or Huselius and/or Tanguay for young punks/picks to free up the needed cash for Kipper and Phaneuf. All of the above have had decent ppg seasons, and still have clearly got decent trade value. None of the three are elite players (though Tanguay is the closest), and the returns on these in trades would be more likely to be substantial.

The bad-side is that these three are exactly the depth players the Flames have needed to become an elite team.

But looking for talent to pad out the 2nd lines is a heck of a lot easier than looking for an elite goaltender who can win you games.

Shadowmen Emerge

Great night for the Shadowmen who are now knocking on the door of the first place Highlanders in the Predator Cup race and are in the lead in their Challenge Cup game against those same Highlanders. Other big mover (at least on my sheets) are the Ramapithicines who, owing to an error on my sheets, are now including their points for this week in their overall totals. Thanks for the heads up on that Corey - seriously buddy, why no e-mail asking where your points were? What?! You are not obsessing over this blog several times a day?

Have a great weekend everyone. Dan and I are hoping to hookup in cyberspace and double check my stats and the Pool Expert site. Stay tuned.

Scourge Cupboards not bare - Go Tlusty

PITTSBURGH - During a confusing season in which neither the Maple Leafs nor the Penguins know what they will get from night to night, Jiri Tlusty gave Toronto far more than possibly could be expected in his first NHL game.
Tlusty, called up the day before, scored two goals 35 seconds apart during a four-goal flurry in the third period and the Maple Leafs shook off an early season slump for a 5-2 victory Thursday night that ended Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak.


Quote of the Day

"News today has Joni Pitkanen on the shelf for at least the next two weeks and the result leaves the Oilers defense corps less experienced than Richard Simmons at a cunnilingus contest."

- Dennis at mc79hockey


Week 4 Games In Progress

As we hit the midpoint of week 4, a quick look in at the games in progress and a look at the "unofficial" stats to this point.

Tavares watch

James Mirtle caught the following report in the Globe and Mail on a possible end-run by the Leafs to sign Tavares to an AHL contract;

John Ferguson has made a bold move with an eye to capturing the next big thing in hockey — he offered up-and-coming superstar John Tavares a contract to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs' farm team.
By offering a deal for at least three years or longer, the source said Ferguson hopes to convince Tavares to remain Leaf property and opt out of the NHL draft. Tavares is eligible for the 2009 entry draft.
(note: emphasis in the above is mine. CH).

First the Islanders sign DiPietro to a million year contract (actually 15) in order to keep their cap hit down. Then Lamouriello trades players and picks to San Jose as a way of getting his team cap relief. Kevin Lowe signs RFA Vanek to a monstrous deal based on one good season (matched), and then signs RFA Penner to a less monstrous deal- for which he then pays out three high draft picks.

And now Ferguson is trying to tamper with the draft so he can land the next superstar.

A lot of creative juices seem to be flowing from the GMs now that they can't just buy their way out of a problem!


Kane sure, but don't forget this guy!

FunHL Challenge Cup Schedule Released

In response to Chris's comment on the post below, I've bumped this nugget from July 13th up to today. Don't say that I've never done anything for you Chris :-).

The Challenge Cup Champion Highlanders will begin their defence of the Cup with a week one neutral site game against the Lost Boys. It is one of six games kicking off the 2007-2008 FunHL Challenge Cup schedule beginning Saturday September 29th. The first week of the season begins a few days earlier than the normal October 3rd start to accomodate the NHL's neutral site games in London England (imitation is the highest form of flattery) and will conclude on Sunday October 7th.

Weekly games will continue every Monday thru Sunday throughout the season. Every team will play a home and away against 9 of 11 other teams and one neutral site game (weeks 1 and 13) against each of the two remaining teams to make out a twenty game schedule. The FunHL will take a break from the Challenge Cup during the week of January 21st (week 17) where the first four days of NHL action will provide the fun for the FunHL's 2nd All-Star Game. The format will follow last season where players representing franchises in the Out of Calgary Conference (Highlanders, Severed Heads, Shadowmen, Lost Boys, Wolves and - new to the OCC - Knights Templar) will play representatives of the Calgary Conference.

The Challenge Cup playoffs begin February 25th with two best of three series, the winners going on to fight for the Cup in the final which will end no later than April 6th. Last season's finalists, the Highlanders and the Bladerunners, have their first meeting in week 3 when the Champs host the Bladerunners. Other games of note include week 11's game with the Shadowmen hosting the Personal Vendetta - the Vendetta sport a 6-0 record against the Shadowmen on thier ice. The Vendetta have an even more impressive 7-0 streak going aginst the Edge, again on their opponent's ice. That game won't be until the last game of the season, week 21. The Shadowmen also have a losing streak against the Bladerunners, sorry to keep picking on you Bob, with the Bladerunners holding a 7-0 record on home ice. That game won't be unti week 20.

If anyone wants a copy of the schedule, in excel format, or a copy of the cummulative Challenge Cup regular season records from 1998-2007, also in excel format, just let me know and I can e-mail it to you.

The season kicks off in only 11 more weeks...

Forsberg Update

The Ottawa Sun is reporting that the Senators are still a prime candidate for Foppa.

Also in consideration are; Detroit, Colorado, and Vancouver.

Return of "Unofficial" Stats

Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland...

In a move completely unrelated to the fact that the defending champs find themselves atop both the Predator Cup and Challenge Cup standings - I am back posting the "unofficial" stats. The Highlanders had a 15pt night last evening to wrest the top rung out from under the Ramapithicines, who were also passed by the Severed Heads. The Highlanders are also the only perfect team in the Challenge Cup. The Bladerunners, last season's runner-up, find themselves looking up from the bottom and are the only pointless team in the Challenge Cup. The introduction of ties into the Challenge Cup results would appear to already be altering the standings. Half the league has been involved in a tie game. Without the tie, the Edge would be 3-0, while the Ramapithicines would be 0-3.

In doing up the stats I did find some significant deviations from the stats on the Pool Expert site. Dan and I will try and find some time together to parse through them systematically but for now bear with us. Basically, if the difference is under a point - I think my stats are the correct ones (as we knew ahead of time that the Pool Expert site would not be perfect in its calculation of goalie stats).

If the difference is greater than one point I still think that my stats are the correct ones having double and triple checked everyone's line-ups (thanks again Brian for your help there) but please double check your past line-ups on Pool Expert to see if they have you playing everyone accurately (to add to the confusion you will note that our Week 1 includes Week 1&2 on Pool Expert; our Week 2 is Week 3; etc). Checking my own Pool Expert line-ups I noticed that on one week Pool Expert appeared to have me dressing 7 defensemen, for example, so I'm more confident in the stats posted here but I have been mistaken on numerous occaisions in the past (see Jagr trade for historical reference) so let me know where you think I have it wrong.

With that in mind, both the Predator Cup and Challenge Cup standings may change from what I have posted here. Using a microfiche reader you can parse out the three games played thus far in the Challenge Cup (which also allows you to pull out weekly totals). I'll post the current game in another post.

Nice to see my nemisis from last season floundering in the cellar but that is really only a reminder of how ficle fate can be and a warning that I better not get too smug. Nobody wins this thing in October, still I much prefer the view from up here.


Kane and Able

4 point night for the newest Knight Templar gives the early lead to Mike in the trade of the year (thus far).


Week 4 Line ups

The reason the Lost Boys standing improves week after week is because they post their line-ups here. Make your team stronger! Post your line-up to the blog!

GM Lost Boys


The Truth about the Sabres

Now that Rob has cable access to the blog, I'm posting more video embeds, rather than just links. IF this causes any problems, let me know.


Norris candidate?

Maybe, not so much.

Quote of the Day

On the question of why the Islanders will beat the Capitals in their game;

"The Caps are paying Jagr to play for the Rangers; the Isles are paying Yashin to play for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Clear win for the Isles." - Islanders Outsider

Lifted from the excellent Capitals Blog 'Japers' Rink'


Good-bye Hartley in Atlanta

The Shadow is smiling...

GM Waddell of Thrashers is the new interim coach in Atlanta after firing Coach Bob Hartley [finally] as he had clearly lost the room to start the 2007-2008 season, 0-6-0.

Goodbye Mr. Hartley...you are the 1st coach to be fired!


Another great Dallas Stars ad...

Awesome - Dallas should give their PR firm a raise.

Cheerfully lifted from ex-goalie Darryl Reaugh's blog.


FuNHL Standings after Week Two

(Subject to more precise figures from Doug...)

The FuNHL after Week 2

Week 2 points
Overall Points
Severed Heads
Great Whites
Personal Vendetta
Knights Templar
Lost Boys

The FuNHL after Week 1

Diff. 1st
1Severed Heads 3814173154537.238.21.01137.238.2 0

2Ramapithicines 3515183330137.537.51.07137.537.5 0.7

3Wolves 4211213222131.235.20.84931.235.2 3.0

4Edge 407233034529.531.50.793.029.531.5 6.7

5Personal Vendetta 3812172927526.029.00.76026.029.0 9.2

6Shadowmen 346121843527.728.70.841.327.728.7 9.5

7Scourge 318132122328.028.00.90028.028.0 10.2

8Bladerunners 338152320326.426.40.80026.426.4 11.9

9Great Whites 37991825423.524.50.66023.524.5 13.7

10Highlanders 383192242320.924.40.64020.924.4 13.8

11Lost Boys 335121737021.421.40.65-0.821.421.4 16.8

12Knights Templar 405141922216.718.70.47316.718.7 19.5

36.68.615.824.431. 9.6

Tavares watch

James Myrtle has done the projections based on Tavares season so far with the Generals;

8 games, 13 goals, 9 assists, 22pts.

If he plays 67 games (ala Crosby as a 17 year old);

67 games, 109 goals, 75 assists, 184 pts.

Sweet. :-)


Week 3 Line ups

Be cool like the Lost Boys, and add yours as a reply! Get a real permanent record!

(The Lemmings want blood!)

Lost Boys Trade Bait:

Looking to improve Rs, and Ds.
Huselius, Brindamour, and possibly Koivu the elder, must go before WD. Send in your offer!



Drew Stafford Kicked out of NHL

Well he should be....

Ilya Kovalchuk dropped the gloves in the 6-0 loss to Buffalo on Thursday.
While fantasy owners appreciate the extra five PIMs, the last thing anyone wants is a gifted scorer getting hurt in a fight. However, he acquitted himself well and was only in danger of cracking his knuckles on the top of Drew Stafford's head. With Atlanta winless after four games, frustrations are bubbling over. The sharpshooter has one goal and two points in four games, but will break out soon.



ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Fans chanted "one more year!" at Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne when they joined the rest of the Anaheim Ducks in unveiling the team's Stanley Cup championship banner Wednesday night.
Even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman chimed in, telling Niedermayer, "We, of course, would love to see you back" during the first period intermission of the Ducks' home opener against Boston.
Niedermayer and Selanne have yet to announce whether they intend to play this season or retire.
Both players definitely heard the fans' pleas of another season, and witnessed the standing ovations.



Hey Richard

Tell your mascot not to stress out OR party too much just yet - still early in the season.

your friendly neighborhood Bladerunners

Forsberg Update

" If Peter Forsberg returns to play in the NHL this season, which is looking increasingly likely with every passing day, the thinking is that Colorado would be his first choice. Forsberg wants to play in a comfortable environment and have a chance to win again. The Avs would provide him with that opportunity (he played their most of his career), as would Philadelphia (last year's club), Detroit (with its heavy concentration of Swedes) and Vancouver (see Detroit). Forsberg is skating again back home with MoDo, his former team in the Elitserien." - Erik Duhatschek


Week 2 Lineups

Attach your line ups here.

(The Lemmings demand blood!)


Omnivore pool stats

Hi all,

More stats to geek out over - in addition to the FuNHL pool stats on poolexpert.com, you should now be able to log in to another pool - Name: Omnivore, Password: predator.

If I have it configured correctly, it will track the omnivore baseline for all teams (with the exception of the TG stats - not sure how to include this aside from manually selecting the optimal TG on the roster periodically). In any event, it gives a rough idea whose baseline is doing best...


Quote of the Day

"Why mess around? Let's just say it like it is.

Oiler fans are just killing time until The Rapture and only then, when Kevin is high in the sky floating up to heaven like a stray helium balloon, will we decide whether or not Lowe spits or swallows as a GM."

'RiversQ' posting at-Irreverent Oiler Fans


Challenge Cup Week One

Well in answer to Richard's question from the previous post, the Lost Boys and the defending Challenge Cup Champion Highlanders are squaring off in an extended week one of the new head-to-head season.
All games this week are at a neutral site, which is not to suggest that Lost Boy fans haven't gathered in the Conrad Black Memorial Arena to watch the big game on the big screen and to be fleeced like the poor lemmings that they are by inflated concession stand prices.
This week's match ups are as follows:
Highlanders vs Lost Boys
Bladerunners vs Scourge
Great Whites vs Edge
Ramapithicines vs Severed Heads
Personal Vendetta vs Knights Templar
Shadowmen vs Wolves
Remember, any regular season game this year where the difference is less than one point will be counted as a tie.

First Real Night of Play

("Saaakuuu.... Saaaakuuuu..." that was the chant all night at the Conrad Black Memorial Arena. Who are we playing in the Challenge cup this week?)

Gah... I... played... Brind'amour... and... benched Walker... Gah! Gah! Gah!

Oh well. Any other notable flops like that? Or is it just me who could have had 4 more points?

GM Lost Boys.


FUNHL Preview

The Highlanders

Strengths: Nobody has a better top 2 pivots than Crosby-Thornton. The defense corps with Pronger, Visnovsky, Jovo-cop and Souray is outstanding as well, and to top it off, they have a god in Kipper to man the pipes. They are built to win.

Weaknesses: The team isn't horrible at either wing, but neither is overpowering. A lot of pressure is going to land on Williams-R Car to be a top line producer, and there isn't great depth for them to draw from.

WTF?: The decision by the GM to fill out his pivots with Tim Connolly had many GMs high-fiving each other. The oft concussed Connolly barely played at all last year, and while he has skill to burn his career high is a mere 55pts.

The Farm: With Crosby now permanently off the farm, nobody is poised to win a starting job.

Verdict: Still the gold standard.

The Bladerunners

Strengths: Right wing is the bomb with two franchise players, but goal is where they really rock as they have two top 5 goalies in Giguere and Miller, with a serviceable backup in Roloson.

Weaknesses: Defense corps is weak bordering on bad. Team depth is thin once you get past the starters at each position. An injury to any of the big guns would be impossible to deal with from within. How good is it having two of your best players in net when you can only play one?

WTF?: Zhitnik is the Bladerunners top D-man. This should make the GM very nervous. Very. Nervous.

The Farm: Miller and Staal are excellent threats to dress or valuable as high-octane trade-bait. All in all, had a fantastic prospect draft nailing five picks; Gagner-C Edm, Stamkos-C OHL, Giroux-R Pha, Voracek-R Clb, and Kindl-D Det that are all foundation players the team can build around.

The Verdict: Not a serious contender - yet. The GM has lots of assets to make some moves that will turn things around.

The Great Whites

Strengths: World's best goalie, a solid top 4 D-men, and a strong trio of pivots.

Weaknesses: It's hard to love Vyborny as your #2 RW, especially with a question mark next to Cheechoo as the top starboard gunner.

WTF?: The Cheechoo pick raised some eyebrows based on last years performance and the fact he is line-dependent to someone else's FP, but otherwise the GM was his typical steady methodical conservative drafter at the Entry Draft.

The Farm: Miettinen and Jokinen are both highly questionable prospects to keep around as neither looks to have a future on an NHL top line. Otherwise, the GM landed a player he can safely project as the replacement for Brodeur in Carey Price. The young franchise netminder even plays for the Habs.

The Verdict: Contender. The GWs are constructed in a very similar fashion to last years champions the Highlanders, as they are deep down the middle (C/D/G) with the biggest question marks on the wings.

The Ramapithicines

Strengths: Franchise netminder Turco has been a pillar of strength for the knuckledraggers, and the top end of the D is multipurpose with Chara and McCabe being double threats.

Weaknesses: Other than Alfredsson they don't have a forward who is a lock for the top 20 in scoring. A lot of pressure will be on Gomez to be a first liner.

WTF?: The guys backing up Alfie at RW are Erat and Ouellet. Buckle up.

The Farm: Three wicked awesome defenders are going to knock at the door in the near future; Johnson, Johnson and Russell. A hot start by any of them will spell doom for one of the bottom four currently playing.

The Verdict: Not enough offense to knock off a contender without making some big trades.

The Edge

Strengths: They have the most exciting goalscorer in the league, a solid top three defensemen with good depth, and a pair of top line pivots.

Weaknesses: Goaltending is below average at best, and a complete horror show if things go wrong.

WTF?: Mike Knuble as a free agent winger on the 2nd line. The good news is he was able to land Tucker later in the draft as an RFA, a player whose goon ability will allow him to easily supplant the injury prone and line-dependent Knuble.

The Farm: Lehtonen could rise phoenix like to claim the starting job as Edge netminder, and a group of solid contributors appears to be maturing nicely including the gritty skill winger Corey Perry and overage offensive defenseman and Rafalski-clone, Corey Murphy.

The Verdict: Barring a bad trade or health disaster (both of which seem to plague the Edge in years past) this team is definitely a contender.

The Lost Boys

Strengths: Arguably the best left wing in the league - so good they have a ppg player in Huselius on the bench. Centre is also a logjam of talent with more talent than lines to play it on.

Weaknesses: The defense corps suffered with all the attention paid to the forward units as not a single free agent was signed to bolster the rearguards. The right wing is also thin, but serviceable with Murray needing a rebound year to justify the 2nd line ice-time he'll be getting. Is Brunette really a 1st liner? Really? Seriously?

WTF?: Why bid on Huselius if you clearly don't need him? Looks like a revenge poach gone awry. That much depth can only mean one thing - trade bait.

The Farm: Some solid role players are growing on the vine, but aside from Koivu-the-younger there isn't anybody knocking at the door just yet.

The Verdict: The GM has an eye for skill, but it's not clear they grasp fully how to build a winner. Call them a pretender with upside. If the GM flashes some trade skills to patch the obvious holes upgrade them to being a real threat.

The Personal Vendetta

Strengths: They are silly deep in Red Wings (Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Samuellsson)- which shouldn't be a bad thing.

Weaknesses: The goaltending strategy (one they practically pioneered) of waiting till late to grab their goalie can sometimes backfire with a lack of quality and depth at the position. Which it just did. The D is decent but top heavy, and the team lacks quality toughness to go at in the trenches without their perennial pick of Brendan Morrow in the fold. With the teams best pivot, defenseman and left winger all from the same team, any prolonged offensive slump by the Wings could bury them.

WTF?: The Predators felt strong enough about Chris Mason that they let Tomas Vokoun go. The PV felt strong enough about drafting Vokoun that they drafted Chris Mason to back him up.

The Farm: Expect Michalek to make an appearance at LW, but the team may want to clear some room for him with a trade first. In the long run Kyle Turris could be a special player.

The Verdict: Contenders. That said, once upon a time GMs would collectively crap themselves after reviewing the draft that the PV put together, and this is just not the linen-soiler for me that previous PV drafts were.

The Knights Templar

Strengths: Centre is solid with Spezza/Sedin/Roy (though Roy went much too early for my tastes), and left wing is rock solid with Vanek and Radulov being long term Knights joining Demitra to give them loads of scoring power on the portside. Even the D is pretty good with Weber being the anchor, and a solid three ahead of him in killer B's; Bouwemeester, Blake and Beauchemin.

Weaknesses: Goaltending. Fleury will see a lot of rubber for a team that will prefer to simply outscore opponents rather than play defense. Marc Denis has all but run out of chances to be an NHL starter.

WTF?: The indecision regarding O'Sullivan as a cut prior to the prospect draft was literally mesmerizing for the league. Time stopped as Gms scrambled to put O'Sullivan on their lists in anticipation of his potential availablity. Still, compared to the Knights WTF? moments from the past, this is so minor as to barely be worth noticing.

The Farm: The KT have a history of strong farm teams, and this year is no different. Weber, Radulov and Vanek are all current contributors, and there are lots of potential contributors coming down the pipe including dancing giants like Latendresse, Cherepanov, and Hanzal, and solid offensive defensemen like Shattenkirk.

The Verdict: Long a doormat of the league, if they can fix (or even slightly upgrade) their goaltending the Knights are a very solid contender.

The Wolves

Strengths: Deep at centre, awesome in net, and thick with above average defenders.

Weaknesses: Left wing is a potential disaster, and right wing is at best average.

WTF?: The first WTF came with the selection of Avery as the teams top LW in the first round. Somewhat defensible, but the second, and killer WTF came when the Wolves picked Shanahan to be the teams top RW. Nothing the Wolves did after that came close to those two moments for sheer mind-blowing incredulity.

The Farm: In a word, Awesome. Phaneuf leads the D, Stastny and Kopitar are locks two slots at centre, and Jonathon Toewes is ripening on the vine. Even Calder could get a crack at the teams brutal LW given the camp he had.

The Verdict: The Wolves were a pre-season favourite because of their depth, but the GM made some perplexing decisions at the draft table. Still they are a clear Contender - but they aren't the dominant force they could have been.

The Scourge

Strengths: They've got some nice top end pieces especially on defense (which could be awesome if Niedermayer comes back) and right wing where Havlat as a wicked #2 behind the gunner Gaborik.

Weaknesses: The replacement of an FP cost them some depth in terms of where they were picking and the results show at all the three and four spots. Worst of all though, they got bulldozed at the centre position and will be relying heavily on Keith 'the buffet' Tkachuk to carry the load as the teams top pivot.

WTF?: They don't have a gap at centre, they have a black hole - it's so brutal, no light escapes.

The Farm: I thought Barker would be a regular by now, but he's still struggling to make the Hawks full time. I suspect he'll eventually get it together and he could advance. Biron is unofficially the teams backup to Backstrom and he could take over if things get rocky in net. Both Kane and Tlusty were solid (if not outright excellent) picks who should contribute, just not this year.

The Verdict: Without a solid #1 (or even a #2) at the highest scoring position other than goaltender, they are best described as a pretender.

The Shadowmen

Strengths: Goaltending should be solid with new FP Lundqvist between the pipes, and the D also looks good with new FP Whitney heading a crew that includes guys like Pitkanen and Corvo.

Weaknesses: Just about everywhere else. The wings are at best 'ok' and in both cases it could be that a TG will be the top liner - which speaks volumes. FP reject Sundin is the teams top pivot. I guess what I'm saying is that it's a good thing Bob routinely laps the field in terms of his trading ability.

WTF?: Less than anything he drafted was the outrageously bold statement that he was tired of drafting new FPs every year and that he would settle down and keep the two youngsters he picked up this year, treating them like, you know, franchise players. Riiiiiiiiight.

The Farm: Overhauled the entire system by making eight new picks. Re-selected Schremp in one of the more interesting moves, but the gem might well be Jonathon Bernier-G LA who has made the team and is fighting to be a starter.

The Verdict: Pretender. At least till X-mas, by which time he will probably have an entirely new team of players for us to rate.

The Severed Heads:

Strengths: The top six forwards are excellent, the goaltending is aging but excellent, and the D has a top end that is well above average.

Weaknesses: The entire third line is average or worse, and the depth on D is thin after the top three. Hasek is nearing 56 and is playing on groin muscles the consistency of wet shredded wheat.

WTF?: Picked reclamation project Todd Bertuzzi ahead of Afinogenov, but the bigger error might be letting steady offensive defenseman Joel Corvo-Ott go so they could take Kris Letang - now in the minors.

The Farm: Malkin leads the teams pivots, and Backstrom could push for a roster spot given the weakness at the third line. Bobby Ryan has an outside shot of displacing Bernier at the RW.

The Verdict: The team addressed their historic weaknesses at defense, nabbed a pair of above average goaltenders late, and are once again Contenders.

McKeen's Predicts Vendetta Win!

The Predator Cup will be going to GM Darrell Mann and the Personal Vendetta according to the predictions set out in McKeen's magazine. The magazine, one of the "Big 3" predictive guides that most FunHL GMs refer to when preparing their own lists (if only to scoff), is known for its the bare-bones newsprint-style pages that lend a certain credibility to the predictions and, along with the clever use of dots to rank prospects, makes it a favorite among many league GMs.

According to McKeen's, the Personal Vendetta will have a solid 29 win over the second place Great Whites. The prediction process has its flaws. McKeen's, for example, does not provide FunHL point predictions for goaltenders (one reason why the otherwise high-ranked Great Whites were not at the top of the table) nor are TG's included, of concern for the Wolves. Also, because all guides went to print unsure of the ultimate status of Selanne and Niedermayer their predicted totals were not included in the calculations. Injured players, like D.Boyle, however were included as the injury is not expected to be too long.

McKeen's rankings were as follows: 1-Personal Vendetta, 2-Great Whites, 3-Severed Heads, 4-Bladerunners, 5-Edge, 6-Highlanders, 7-Wolves, 8-Knights Templar and Lost Boys, 10-Ramapithicines, 11-Scourge, 12-Shadowmen.

The other guides were a little different. The Score Sports Forcaster gives the Highlanders a narrow repeat win, within 2pts, over the Great Whites. Their ranking was as follows: 1-Highlanders, 2-Great Whites, 3-Personal Vendetta, 4-Wolves, 5-Severed Heads, 6-Knights Templar, 7-Ramapithicines, 8-Bladerunners, 9-Lost Boys, 10-Edge, 11-Scourge, 12-Shadowmen. The Hockey News Ultimate Pool Guide also gave the win to the Highlanders, though this time it was by a greater margin, 16pts, and it was over the Edge. Their ranking was as follows: 1-Highlanders, 2-Edge, 3-Great Whites and Ramapithicines, 5-Personal Vendetta, 6-Severed Heads, 7-Knights Templar, 8-Bladerunners, 9-Lost Boys, 10-Wolves, 11-Scourge, 12-Shadowmen.

One other shortcoming for predictions of this sort is the fact that trades are not included, which is why you should never presume that the Shadowmen will actually finish last. They never do. Don't give too much weight to these predictions, Cam certainly doesn't and besides ... your mileage may vary.

Game on, drop the puck!


FUNHL Waiver Wire

Available for bid on your Week 2 lineups:

Hlavac-L TBay RFA
Malone-L Pit RFA
Stoll-C Edm RFA
Lombardi-Cgy RFA
Gratton-TBay RFA
Hannan-Col RFA
Kubina-TBay RFA
Colaiacovo-Tor RFA

Players will be awarded based on Week 1 standings, and available to be played for Week 3.
Multiple bids are allowed, but must include players to be dropped (as per Covenant)

Please submit bids either:
a) By comment to this post (which will be time stamped and subject to Monday 6 pm cutoff), or
b) By e-mail with your weekly lineup

Waiver Wire - For Bids Week 2

Hi all,

Waiver Wire - Players available to be bid upon with your Week 2 lineup. Players will be awarded based on standings at the end of Week 1, and will be available to be played (if selected) in your Week 3 lineup. Remember you can submit multiple bids, but you must indicate who is to be dropped in each instance - see Covenant for details...

All are RFAs (and will retain that status only if they are picked up off the waiver wire - if unpicked, they lose their status)

LW - Hlavac TB, Malone Pit

C - Stoll Edm, Lombardi Cgy, Gratton TB

RW - (none)

D - Hannan SJ, Kubina Tor, Coliacovo Tor


PRESS: Lost Boys Introduce Brute Squad

TORONTO—GM and owner of the Lost Boys, Richard Birt introduced this year’s line-up to legions of cheering fans at the Conrad Black Memorial Arena. The Lost Boys were particularly proud of having no less than four players who posted more than 95 penalty minutes in the 2006-07 season. (Fans may dismally remember that previously the Lost Boys had resorted to playing Saku Koivu as TG, shortly before he went on to win the 'Humanitarian of the Year' and “Lady Byng” awards.)

“You not touch Richards.” One new Lost Boy was quoted as saying on this happy occasion.

“Duh... hey... how many teef you got?” remarked another smiling Lost Boy to his team-mate.

Local media noticed how dashing star forward and second-round draft pick and potential TG Mark Savard looked in the Skull and Crossbones. “Heh heh heh… me like scoring” said the erudite Mr. Savard.

When asked for their opinions on Mr. Savard, one of his fellow Lost Boys was quick to state to the press “I said: you not touch Richards!”

With strong forwards, thuggish defensemen, and a top 5 goalie GM Birt was quick to clarify that it won’t all be shut-outs, beatings and scorings on this year’s road to the Predator Cup. “Our players are also engaged in a top-rate educational program to increase their strategical thinking. I can’t really say more than it’s based around a thinking man’s Bridge. You can ask the players for more details”

“Duh... you got any fives?” Said one defenseman.

“BRAARGH!! ALLEN SAY: YOU NOT TOUCH RICHARDS!!!” Another Lost Boy claimed shortly before he was escorted away due to unspecified security concerns.

Fans are looking to another thrilling season for the Lost Boys, this year’s intellectual powerhouse on the FUNHL circuit.


FUNHL Trade Tracker

---> Knights Templar: Kubina-D TOR (RFA), Bladerunners 3rd PrD 08 + Highlanders 3rd PrD-08
---> Bladerunners: Kronwall-D DET (RFA)

--->Severed Heads: van Riemysdyk-L PHA (P1)
---> Lost Boys: Lee-D OTT (P2), Severed Heads 2nd PrD-08

--->Severed Heads: Scourge 3rd PrD-07 (pick was used to select Sanguinetti-D NYR P1)
---> Scourge: Couture-C SJ (P2)

--->Bladerunners: Ribeiro-C DAL (RFA), Bladerunners 1st PrD-07
---> Wolves: Stoll-C EDM (RFA), Eriksson-R DAL (P2), Bladerunners 1st PrD-08

--->Great Whites: Wolves 4th PrD-07
--->Shadowmen: Great Whites 4th PrD-07

--->Knights Templar: Edge 2nd PrD-07
--->Edge: Knights Templar 1st PrD-08

--->Edge: Comrie-C NYI (RFA)
--->Wolves: Lombardi-C CGY (RFA), Edge 3rd PrD-08


Trades before prospect draft (NOT part of baseline)

* Severed Heads get Scourge 3rd PrD pick this year
* Scourge get Couture-C SJ (P2)

* Bladerunners get Ribeiro-C DAL (RFA) and their own 1st PrD pick back this year
* Wolves get Stoll-C EDM (RFA), Eriksson-R DAL (P2) and Bladerunners 1st PrD pick next year

* Great Whites get Wolves 4th PrD pick this year
* Shadowmen get Great Whites 4th PrD pick next year

* Knights Templar get Edge 2nd PrD pick this year
* Edge get Knights Templar 1st PrD pick next year

* Edge get Comrie-C NYI (RFA)
* Wolves get Lombardi-C CGY (RFA) and Edge 3rd PrD pick next year

Trades after prospect draft (ARE part of baseline)

* Knights Templar get Kubina-D TOR (RFA), Bladerunners 3rd PrD next year + Highlanders 3rd PrD next year
* Bladerunners get Kronwall-D DET (RFA)

* Severed Heads get vanRiemysdyk-L PHI (P1)
* Lost Boys get Lee-D OTT (P2) and Severed Heads 2nd PrD pick next year

2007-08 Entry Draft

Just wanted to extend my thanks to;

Dan for hosting

Celina's mom for the excellent catering

Bob for the wicked awesome FUNHL headgear

Darrell for his many years of outstanding service as our statistician

Doug and Dan for agreeing to take on the stats duties

And of course, to all the GMs for making it such an all round fun occasion