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FHL Gazette: Ktown's Corner

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-05-01 05:56:44

FHL Announcement: *Playoffs and line multipliers*

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-13 12:15:50 (updated by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-14 00:17:18)

Greetings all FHL GMs.

We plan to make two significant additions to the FHL in the future, though the timeline of implementation is as of yet not definite. I will present the two features separately:

Playoffs: The objective is to create more incentive for everyone to improve, and make things interesting for every team throughout the season, regardless of where you are in the standings.

The playoffs will work somewhat likethe yahoo pool playoffs. Since we cannot use the NHL playoffs as our stat base (since a lot of NHL players don't participate, and we did not assemble our teams with this in mind) we will divide the NHL regular season into an FHL regular season and an FHL playoff campaign.

The FHL regular season will last from the NHL season's beginning until there is between four and five full weeks left of the NHL season. (Which will be sometime after the trade deadline, however it may be only a few days from the deadline to the FHL playoffs begin). We will clearly state when the FHL regular season ends before every season, as it will depend a bit on the NHL schedule. 

The FHL playoffs will be in a head-to-head format. The top ranked team will face off against the sixteenth ranked team, the second ranked versus the fifteenth ranked and so on. The matchups will last a full week of NHL action (Monday to Sunday). The team that scores the most points in the individual matchups will proceed to the next round. There will be four rounds (1st round of 16 teams, 2nd round of 8 teams, 3rd round of 4 teams, and a Norack Cup Final of two teams). The first three rounds will be exactly one week of action. The Norack Cup final will have at least a full week plus any additional NHL games in the final week of NHL action from which to decide our playoffs. The FHL playoff final will thus be at least 8 days of action, at most 14 (if the NHL regular season happens to end on a Sunday).

We realize that a week of action may be a short time, but we cannot devote two full weeks of action for each round (as it would eat up our regular season). Still, we can confidently say that the nerve, small margin for error, injuries, and streaks that play a part of the NHL playoffs will factor into our playoff regime with equal intensity. There should be room for upset, but the best teams of the regular season are the best for a reason. Whatever the case, a playoff feature will deepen the motivation for our pool and make it as realistic as possible. At only 23 teams, there is ample opportunity to get into the top 16!


Line Multipliers:I surveyed the possibility of launching this feature and it was generally met with a positive response. It is something I strongly believe will deepen the pool without adding unnecessary complexity nor require more time to use. It should add a touch of skill and require some (possibly) difficult decisions, however, as life is in the NHL.

Line multipliers will work like this: Instead of only choosing whether or not a player is active/benched for the game roster, a GM is required to select which line a player is skating on during a particular week. (1st through 4th line for forwards, 1st through 3rd pair for defensemen, starter/backup for goalies, and additional extras).

First liners will score a bonus of 12,5%, second liners 10%, third liners 5%, while fourth liners will not score any bonus (thus they score at a 1:1 ratio). First pairing defensemen will score a 12,5% bonus, second pair defensemen 10%, and the third pairing scores 5% extra. Additional extra skaters (to fill out the 23 man roster) get no bonus. The starting goaltender gets 12,5% and the backup 5%. For example, Steven Stamkos pots 10 FHLpts during a week while on the first line. The team is credited with 11,25 pts.

This will mean, over the course of a season, that a GM can get something extra out of his best players. The bonus system reflects coaching decisions and viritual 'ice time' for players by giving priority to some players over others. If you believe Steve Ott will have a particularly good week, you may bump him up a line. It will be your call.

Some have noted that they believe this will add much work to their management, but I expect that it will be equally good to just let your best players play the entire season as first liners (as you would leave them 'active' during a season now), instead of tinkering a lot to 'catch' streaks for lower liners. For example, if I believe Marian Hossa's cold streak will continue and that Daniel Paille will continue to put up points I may decide to move Paille to the first (or second) line to squeeze more out of him, but may then lose whatever bonus Hossa could have gotten if he suddenly starts scoring again. For those who don't want to add extra 'work', simply leave the best players on the first line all year and make sure you at least catch all their peaks (and valleys). It's that easy.

Line multipliers will, however, become quite important once the FHL playoffs begin. Those extra bonus points can be vital over a week-long matchup. Catching a particular set of hot streaks on your 1st line can potentially knock out a superior opponent. Maybe the low ranked teams will be inclined to gamble more when setting their lines against top ranked FHL teams? Maybe you can find your "Pisani" and have him drive your team deep into the post-season?


Best regards,

The FHL team (Master Racki, and NorwegianOiler)









NOTE: See below for the recently added team profiles of the Bulldogs and Chiefs.

FHL Gazette: Team Profiles: Bulldogs & Chiefs

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-13 10:44:51 (updated by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-13 11:00:00)

Team Profile: Bulldogs

After a brief dispute over the rights to the name "Bulldogs", gr8one prevailed over current Mustangs owner dawgtoy, and entered the FHL prior to its inaugural season. The team's core consists of players like Ryan Getzlaf, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, Jason Spezza, Kris Letang, Mike Green, and Jaroslav Halak. Though their first season began and ended poorly due to underperformance, injury, and lack of secondary scoring, the Bulldogs have leapt into the very elite of the FHL in a remarkable fashion.

Gr8one shows care for the long term considerations of team building. He has identified a core with which he believes he can win, but while he often makes changes to the supplementary players, he is highly reluctant to move key pieces. A number of fringe and secondary players have been added and subsequently traded away if found not to fit with the organisation - examples include Gonchar, Jokinen, Prospal, Stastny, Adam, and Briere. All are solid players, but were eventually rejected by the core pack of alpha Bulldogs. It may be viewed as impatience, but gr8one has not lost highly valuable players in these processes. If you are in, you are in. Nazem Kadri is arguably the only core player from the inaugural draft to leave the Bulldogs. During a frenzy of action in February, the Gladiators and Bulldogs formed a strong bond through a duet of massive trades. While white hot Kadri was lost, the kennel was boosted with the likes of Simmonds, Voracek, and Green. Overall, the Bulldogs must consider this a victory as it has given the beast more teeth with which to bite.

Jason Spezza's early success was followed by a season ending injury that might have been the deciding factor in the Bulldogs' fate, but regardless of the loss, gr8one's team has taken a serious step toward the goal of a Norack Cup. The roster is blessed with a plethora of offensive players that contribute top tier levels of goals and assists. The Bulldogs also possess a defensively sound lineup, where a top three blueline corps protect a solid goaltending tandem in Bryzgalov and Halak. Young NHLers Couturier, B. Schenn, Conacher, and Bickell already produce valuable points for the team. The franchise must still be considered heavy in current players and somewhat lacking in future talent. Gr8one's ability to spot prospects could remedy that, much like he did when adding Calder candidate Cory Conacher before his breakout season.

The Bulldogs are a supremely balanced team that feeds off a strong all-round roster of skilled players. Their success this season came largely on the strength of their Flyers, all of whom contributed significantly to the Bulldogs rise to the top of the standings during some very productive weeks in February and March. Things have cooled off after the Bulldogs held the FHL lead by 23 points to the Vikings on March 6th. This day marks a full month of being fourth overall in the league. It appears that the title hopes are lost, but the Bulldogs have firmly marked their new territory this season. The reek clearly states that the Bulldogs must be considered title challengers next season.


Team Profile: Chiefs

After some initial reservation (pun chiefly - alert: second level pun -  for the American audience, though another is kept in reserve for the Canadians. Zing. Straight out of the genes of Mr. Principun) and tentativeness of the complexity of the FHL, Zack finally entered the league as the second to last confirmed GM of the league's original 23 teams. His dedication and resolve has since been unquestionable. The franchise began by selecting Flyer star Claude Giroux with their first ever draft pick. Zack spent the inaugural draft securing size, grit and spiced his roster with some top end talent such as Patrick Marleau, Dustin Brown, Dan Girardi and unsong hero Marty Reasoner. Not all survived the purges that followed a poor first FHL year, though.

The Chiefs started their first ever FHL campaign in style and commanded a fourth overall place after the first month of action. It is the highest recorded position the team has held, however, and they woke up in a lacklustre 18th overall at season's end. Unrelenting GM Zack has made a number of moves to improve on this and is currently 12th in the FHL. That improvement is nonetheless a meagre diet for a hungry franchise.

Zack is a dynamic GM with a remorseless hockey mind and a rapid trigger finger. During season one, top selections Marleau, Brown saddled up and was led to the edge of the reserve, whilst players like Magnus Pääjärvi and Dougie Hamilton were accepted into the tribe. Though those trades were arguably a step down in immediate quality, it is Zack's later ability to procure elite talent that has defined his tenure as head of the Chiefs. In a span of four February days, his persuasive negotiation methods saw him add James Neal and David Backes without sacrificing significant roster talent. Moreover, the Chiefs' scouting department has shown quality, demonstrated by the early inclusion of then non-NHL'ers like Taylor Beck, Justin Schultz, Dougie Hamilton, Gabriel Landeskog, and Viktor Fasth. The Chiefs bolstered the roster with free agents like Kevin Bieksa and Alexander Radulov, and though he could not drum up enough offense to make a difference in year one, waiver claim Alexander "Bongo" Semin was another successful addition without losing assets. Still, the obvious discrepancy between the quality of the roster and the team's results in the leauge inevitably means the label 'underachiever' fits the Chiefs.

Prior to the arrival of Backes and Neal, the Chiefs forwards let an otherwise quality team down, partly through injury, but mainly from a distinct lack of first line talent. The Chiefs were second to last in forward points, but have begun a slow climb in that category. The lingering effects of the poor start means this season is buried. The roster now includes talented skaters like Backes, Neal, Giroux, Semin, Landeskog and a decently skilled supporting cast, but is yet unable to produce anything better than average offense. The Chiefs already have a top tier defense in place, led by Girardi and Carlsson. If Zack can enlist a replacement for aging netminder Martin Brodeur to play alongside Viktor Fasth, and shed some salary to get under the reduced cap roof, the rest of the FHL should take note and send out their advanced scouts. An ambush wouldn't be surprising.



FHL Gazette: Ktown's Corner

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-12 10:34:22

Bad Voodoo could be Good Motivation

Oggi Pogopoulous, Ktown Sports Beat

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Kelowna, BC – There’s new artwork hanging on a wall in the Heatwave dressing room this week.

It’s easy to miss if you’re just another beat reporter trying to get a decent sound bite from one of the players - but the fact that there is something new hanging in the locker room is something that can’t be overlooked.

The art is a picture - a grainy, black and white photo that’s been pulled from a newspaper clipping or printed off of some blog in the hockeyverse.

On its own, it’s fairly innocuous. Hardly something one would give attention. But here, in the home of the FHL leading Heatwave, it may be a bit more meaningful. And in one of the league’s most bitter rivalries, it may represent yet another chapter in a very long book.

Whether done in jest, or one of those things that was never meant to see the light of day, the picture shows players from the arch-rival Rhinos congregating in their team locker room, poking pins into a little stuffed figure – a makeshift voodoo doll.

The victim in this toybox horror is not anonymous. It just happens to be covered in Heatwave logos and colors. And that’s where the bad voodoo begins.

Now, to be perfectly clear, it’s likely that both of the above are true. This little scene was probably some playful gamesmanship from the Rhinos, and it’s impossible to think that they would have ever wanted these pictures to show up in the media.

Unfortunately, none of that matters now, as the damage is done, and the Heatwave have a new piece of bulletin board material to motivate them as they hit the stretch drive of this 2nd FHL season, once again in possession of the league lead.

Or do they?

“As a group, I don’t think anybody in here really cares that much,” stated leading scorer, Steven Stamkos. “We’ve got a lot of hockey left to play, and we’re just trying to close the season out strong.”

So how does Stamkos explain the photo – posted in a very conspicuous spot in the dressing room? In a spot where each player has a clear line of sight?

“What picture?” laughed Stamkos as he ended our interview and walked away.

Team Captain, Jarome Iginla had similar remarks, never quite acknowledging the existence of the image. “What goes on in another team’s dressing room is none of our business. We need to concentrate on what’s happening in here, and right now, we have 23 guys all working on playing good hockey. We don’t have time to comment on what another team did or didn’t do.”

In fact, when questioned, none of the Heatwave players seemed to recall having seen the clipping. It was as if the voodoo image had taken on some black magic of its own; like it had vanished from reality, simply disappeared from perception.

But make no mistake, the picture is here. It’s visible. And each and every one of these players can see it every day as they work to close out a second consecutive championship season. And while their lead over the second place Rhinos is not as great as it had been a season ago, it would seem the motivation to maintain that lead has been posted on a wall for all to see.

A little black magic, a smidge of bad mojo, and a lot of good motivation…

FHL Gazette: Team Profiles: Serpents, Militia & Ice Dogs

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-07 04:55:05 (updated by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-10 02:14:16)

Team Profile: Serpents

The Serpents organisation is part of the Foil Hockey League's original 23, and has unorthodox hockey mind MG10 at the helm. Under his management, the Serpents picked Swedish center Nicklas Bäckström with their first ever selection, 12th overall. He continued to assemble a young, skillful roster, but has yet to produce significant results in the FHL. The Serpents finished 17th in the league's inaugural year and currently hold the same position some three weeks before the second season concludes. The Serpents maintain a close rivalry with the Milita and Ice Dogs, through MG10's close relationship with native Edmontonians Jfrizzio and rhbdken. Though Jfrizzio77's Milita finished 11th last year and put up a very strong start this season, it is presently the Serpents that hold, however underwhelmingly, the best position of the three.  

MG10 specializes in, and often favours, Scandinavian born skaters. The assembly of prospects, including Mikkel Boedker, Sebastian Collberg, Carl Klingberg, Jakob Silfverberg, and Mattias Tedenby, testaments to a keen interest in Nordic players. The Serpents are led by another pair of skillful Europeans, Marian Gaborik (from whence the name "MG10" originates) and Nicklas Bäckström. MG10's calculated and patient leadership has produced a mere three trades in almost two seasons. He brought in veteran leader Shane Doan, Rich Peverley and offensive defenseman Kris Russell from the Vikings in exchange for scoring winger Patric Hörnqvist, Brandon Sutter and gritty blueliner Carl Gunnarsson. In addition, he brought in a first rounder, David Legwand and Roman Hamrlik in a trade that saw his personal favourite Saku Koivu leave to the Bombers. If the Serpents can keep bringing in useful multi-tool players to supplement their emerging prospects, their fans may stop rattling in discontent.

Though the team has been partially let down by the lack of NHL ready players, their relatively strong showing in the assist and plus/minus columns (#12 and #5, respectively) proves that there is also current talent on the roster. Whether or not the European heritage of many of the players play any part, the Serpents are physically unimpressive. They rank bottom five in both blocks and hits, though its defense consists of several quality young players. The core of Erik Johnson, Duncan Keith, Nick Leddy, and Ryan McDonagh patrol the blueline, whilst prospects like Morgan Reilly and Michael Stone fill out an overall solid group of defensemen. Nevertheless, the lack of physicality has let the Serpents down, and the defense must take its share of the blame. MG10's forwards are slightly better at 16th overall, but there is need to add both edge and depth to truly compete for a top position in the FHL. In net, the Serpents are led by quality netminder Carey Price, whose backups Gustavsson and Peters, however, leave something to be desired.

Tout ensemble, the Serpents are a young, skillful side that lacks a strong backbone of competitiveness. Once their young players grow into full-time NHLers, the Serpents should be able to slither up the standings, but that also requires a proper amount of offensive venom that might not be currently present in the roster.





Team Profile: Militia

The Sasquatch Milita was established as part of the FHL's original 23 by Jfrizzio77. Through the inaugural draft, he compiled a roster of considerable top tier talent, boasting some absolute superstars like Rick Nash, Jonathan Toews and Erik Karlsson. The Milita since also secured the services of Evgeni Malkin through trade from rival Ice Dogs. Jfrizzio77's roster was arguably built with three main purposes, adding top talent, securing the future through youth, and snatching some Blue Jacket players. All three objectives have been met relatively successfully. Still, the team has not performed entirely as its leader had hoped.

The Militia's first FHL campaign began poorly, and as late as February 1st 2012 the team was 17th in the standings. A solid stretch run, however, saw the franchise finish a respectable 11th. The current season has taken the opposite trajectory. Inspired by fine performances by veteran Teemu Selänne and rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, the Milita enjoyed a top five position during the first weeks of the season. Recession began once the fierce hot streaks cooled off, and Jfrizzio77's adaptability shone through as he took to reshaping the roster for the coming seasons. Departing from a win-now focus, he offloaded iconic Teemu Selänne for Marcus Johansson and salary dump Adrian Aucoin. With the team currently sitting in a disheartening 18th place, some fans have questioned Jfrizzio's lack of clear direction for the team. Several Militia trades have been lateral moves, fetching a combination of youth and veterans for a similar return. The divided strategy might be the reason why the team has failed to bring in sufficient depth players.

Despite the flaws, there are features on the Milita roster that suggests a bright future. The elite talent has, at least to some degree, performed. The team sits 7th in goals scored, 13th in assists, and 10th in plus/minus. Last season, it was said that the Milita were equipped like marines but fought like boy scouts. This is still the case. Jfrizzio has been betrayed by a clear lack of physicality, as the Militia are bottom five in both hits and blocks. Though offensively skilled players like Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson and Teemu Selänne have been moved, the Militia remain a top heavy organisation that lacks defensive depth and goaltending. Jfrizzio keenly await the NHL breakthrough of skaters like Baertschi, Schroeder, Niederreiter, Tatar, Tinordi, Siemens, Murphy, and not least the return of injured star Erik Karlsson. If these players can develop into NHL quality to be coupled with a few more dilligent moves like the pickup of Patrick Wiercioch, the Militia should grow into a more potent challenger for the title.




Team Profile: Ice Dogs

The Skipton Ice Dogs entered the Foil Hockey League prior to the inaugural season, as part of the aforementioned triad of rivals. The reign of GM rhbdken began by the recruitment of superstar Evgeni Malkin and emerging scoring winger Jordan Eberle, as well as the Nordic troika of Eriksson, Enström, and Bäckström. Yet rhbdken proved to be a capricious and merciless regent, and of the top five inaugural draft picks, only defenseman Tobias Enström remains. It takes a strong leader to change direction, but a stronger one to stay the course.The Ice Dogs' management is purely dynamic.

During its first campaign, the Ice Dogs temporarily added Alexander Ovechkin at the expense of the 2012 first overall pick, but later opted to move him in favour of Canuck duo Kesler and Schneider. The Scottish heritage of the "Red Haired Bulldog" that is rhbdken has manifested with increasing clarity throughout the near two seasons of Foil Hockey. The latest exclamation point to his managerial fearlessness was the deadline deals that brought sweeping changes to the Ice Dogs' roster. In a series of moves that will surely be monumental to the franchise's future, rhbdken gave up on a number of young talents such as Jordan Eberle, Cam Fowler and Cody Hodgson. Moreover, he sent out starting netminder Cory Schneider to the Vikings. In return, the Ice Dogs stacked up on top tier NHL players, inter alia Phil Kessel, Cory Perry, Alexandre Burrows, and Roberto Luongo.

Rhbdken's Ice Dogs finished season one in 12th place, but currently lay decimated and second to last in the FHL. The change in direction at the deadline suggests that monarch Ken does not tolerate failure, and the franchise may come back stronger next season. Injuries have beyond question also been a significant reason why the Ice Dogs have plummeted. Nonetheless, in addition to having captured some present core talent, the Ice Dogs have a parallel rebuild ongoing on the strength of nine (!) selections in the upcoming entry draft - all of which are in the top 46 range!  

The present Skipton Ice Dogs is an overall poorly equipped organisation. It lacks all-round quality in all positions, but if the Ice Dogs spend their draft picks well in 2013, the team may well become a true contender in the coming seasons. Should they fail to meet expectations, rhbdken's severe management will likely see to further changes.


FHL Gazette: Trade deadline!

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-03 10:10:59 (updated by NorwegianOiler on 2013-04-03 13:09:11)

FHL Gazette Trade Deadline "Show".

* Update: FHL trade window closed *



Trade deadline:It is rumoured that hockey insider guru Bob MacKenzie has nothing to say about the FHL deadline, but there are signs that there will be some activity before the deadline in just a few hours. Throughout the one and a half seasons that has passed in the Foil Hockey League, most GMs have shown tremendous willingness to move players and picks.


While a gap has opened between the leading Heatwave and the chasing pack at number two and three, there is still some time to mount a challenge for the title. Might one of the top teams swing a deal to secure some help down the short stretch run? Are the bottom dwellers thinking about the draft already? The Ice Dogs and others have openly stated that their players are available for the right price. As teams scramble to improve their present, and future, the millions of fans following the FHL crack open a Rickard's or an Alexander Keith's as they anticipate their favourite team's next move.


Breaking trade news:

* Ice Dogs and Lakers trade Eberle, Hodgson, Fowler for Perry, Kessel, R. Murray, 1st, 2nd, and 2nd round picks!

* Vikings and Ice Dogs swap Burrows, Luongo, 1st for Schneider, Bennett.

* Gladiators and Rhinos swap D. Ellis for Redmond, 2nd

* Rumours that Cam Fowler (Ice Dogs) is in play, part of a big package.


The last few days, the Vikings and Rebels swapped Hossa, Shattenkirk, Zubrus, Rozsival for Hedman, Moulson, 2nd. The Spartans moved Jagr, Jeff Schultz to the Rhinos for Redden, Tangradi and a 1st. Before that, Vikings had traded Seabrook to the Lakers for Duchene.