[ Register ] or [ Login ]

Front Page News

FHL Gazette: League rolling on!

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-12-19 08:34:52


FHL GAZETTE: It's December 19th and the FHL is nearing the half-way point of its third season in existence. The standings are settled, but far from resolved, as teams scramble to be included in the top 16 that secures playoff berths on March 9th. The regular season will carry on as usual, but the FHL playoffs will run parallel to the regular season. By the end of the NHL regular season, we shall be able to crown a regular season and playoff winner of the FHL.

So far, the revamped Mustangs, now led by dawgtoy, and heavily reconstructed Gladiators under Quinstone's regime are the teams at the forefront of the FHL. Their campaings have been aided by monstrous performances from players like Alex Steen (MUS), Sidney Crosby (MUS), Corey Perry (GLA) and the Sedins (GLA). Moreover, the Bulldogs have sprung to life, having pushed into 3rd place recently. Reigning FHL champions Heatwave are an ever present danger, whilst goaltending juggernaught Burninators still hang on to a solid top 5 spot.

The Serpents have made progress from previous years, still collecting most of their points from their excellent playmakers. Near the playoff cutoff the underachieving Tigers and Bombers fight for the final playoff spot, whilst teams like the Thunder, Rattleheads, Dragons, Devils and Spartans still are within striking distance of a post-season campaign with much time to spare. The Lugers continue their rebuilding process, having already wielded the axe on a large number of players deemed unworthy.

Merry festivus,


FHL Gazette: Tigers & Megasus

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-08-27 13:26:11 (updated by NorwegianOiler on 2013-08-28 10:01:22)

Team Profile: Tigers

The Tigers of Oslo have under the stoic leadership of Saevel taken consecutive and impressive, if relatively unheralded, fifth places in the Foil Hockey League. Far from solitary creatures, the Tigers are rather an exclusive club reminiscent of a secret society. If you are in, you are in. Saevel has retained some nineteen of twenty-three original draft selections, including all his top five picks. These include FHL stars like Pavel Datsyuk, Drew Doughty, Ryan Callahan, Jamie Benn, and not least Swedish party king Henrik Lundqvist. Among the small contingent of excommunicated cats are low tier talent like Milan Jurcina and Dustin Jeffrey. The only notable Tiger to leave the pride is netminder Semyon Varlamov, but that trade also secured Saevel the services of highly touted goalie Jakob Markström.

The Tigers franchise is decidedly well rounded and produce results from all over the ice. A particular strength of the two seasons past has been the netminding given by the tandem of Lundqvist and Varlamov. Now that the latter has been replaced by a younger, possibly less stabile goalie, the Tigers may have to rely more upon their third option, erratic Calder trophy winner Steve Mason, who may yet become a significant asset. At forward, Saevel commands an impressive lineup of star talent ranging from Russian superstar Datysuk to young dynamic players like Callahan and Benn. What appears to have kept the Tigers from reaching the very top of the league has been an underwhelming defensive output. Despite possessing Drew Doughnuty, Zach Bogosian, Joni Pitcännon, and Luca Sbisa, the Tigers have not been able to get sufficient production from the blueline to compete with the dynastic Heatwave so far. Should Saevel manage to add some backend punch, it would add to an already offensive, pugnacious roster, making him one of the favourites to retain a top 5 position in the FHL. A major obstacle to such an operation would be the lowered cap, which seems to be inciting some claustrophobia for the previously cap comfortable Tigers.

A general manager apart from the rest, Saevel builds on stability and long term investment. Whether or not the Tigers will be able to leap into the top four remains to be seen. What he lacks in loquaciousness, he has yet made up for in results. Some fans are, however, worrying over the lack of affirmative action from the general manager, as other teams appear to ransack the league for opportunity to gain an edge.



Team Profile: Megasus

The Megasus is among the rebranded franchises of the FHL, having entered the league in 2011 as the Wildcats, at the time led by Oilfan Splat. Its history begins with Splat's curious choice to take defenseman Keith Yandle 4th overall in the inaugural FHL draft and progressed with a varied selection of players, a sample of which is Ilya Kovalchuk, Eric Staal, Brayden Holtby and Chris Pronger. Clearly, not all have turned out positively for the franchise, but despite finishing 20th overall in 2012, the (then) Wildcats were actually the ninth best producing overall roster in the FHL. Be it managerial difficulty or a lack of commitment, Oilfan Splat vacated his position as GM following the first campaign. After an interim period of de facto management by the league general assembly, the franchise was rebranded the Megasus and its reigns were handed over to current general manager choudu. There was initial speculation that the team was to be named Clam Diggers, but the concept was allegedly scrapped after league pressure. Chucker's former Elbows High will sympathise.

Choudu faced a serious challenge in taking the Megasus away from the bottom of the league and finished the second year in an improved, yet unsatisfying fifteenth place. Behind the disappointing position lies some interesting positives, however, intermittently among vestigial problems from earlier days. Clearly, choudu is still trying to shape the Megasus' roster into his own. A great step toward that objective was taken in January of this year, when he concluded a blockbuster trade with Mlab90's Rebels. Choudu swapped Eric Staal, Braden Holtby and pieces for Patrick Sharp and David Krejci. In light of the Megasus' surplus of goalies, the early conclusion is that choudu got a fair deal for a couple of quality forwards. Still, issues remain with the fate of superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, who not only left the NHL Devils bewildered, but perhaps more notably, created a 100 FHL point gap in the Megasus' plans. The apt and unsung summer pickup of Blackhawk forward Brandon Pirri could soothe some of the pain this season.

At a glance, choudu's team is heavy on the back end, but lightweight up front. The Megasus are now seemingly set in goal, with a trio of Cam Ward, Brian Elliott and - pending a NHL contract - Tim Thomas to select from. Solid talent like Keith Yandle, Lubomir Visnovsky, Braydon Coburn and Sheldon Souray provide some authority at the back - though at a cost. Rumours have it that choudu is pursuing trade options to bolster his scoring up front, the lack of which was the main reason for the team's weak propulsion last season. With Kovalchuk gone, it is up to the likes of Krejci, Sharp, Erat, Clarkson, and Tanguay to lead the way with cheap youngsters Granlund, Saad, Pirri, and Pouliot picking up secondary scoring. Though not a poor lineup on paper, the results of 2013 did not inspire confidence. Either way, the Megasus look poised to climb further up the FHL standings if choudu can find a way to circumvent cap- and injury problems. Sitting on an accumulated 96.8 million dollar bombshell for his 35 man roster, puzzling together a competitive 23 man group could require serious mathematics.


FHL Gazette: Team Profiles: Burninators & Thunder

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-06-21 11:54:05 (updated by NorwegianOiler on 2013-06-21 14:30:13)

Team Profile: Burninators

The Burninators' general manager Trogdor comes from the inner circles of the Foil Hockey League and should thus be considered both an insider and a development contributor. Nonetheless, his persona is elusive, almost mythical, and given that the closed fist is rarely used for punishment or trading, one is left to wonder what it might otherwise be occupied doing. What cannot be doubted, however, is Trogdor's commitment to a long term plan. The Burninators roster has experienced precious little turnover since the inaugural draft, but with mixed results. Unflappable throughout, Trogdor remains loyal to a group of players that has brought him a deflating season on the heels of a tremendous one.

Trogdor's managerial career began by selecting players like Jeff Carter, Marc-Andre Fleury, Logan Couture, Milan Lucic, TJ Oshie, and Joe Pavelski, all of whom remain dedicated Burninators. The draft success did not stop short at the safe money picks as Trogdor followed up with some late round steals including 502nd overall Joffrey Lupul and 548th overall David Clarkson. According to the highly reliable and esteemed "uncyclopedia", the 'Trogdor þæm Bærnettamber' poem was lost for centuries before it was found again. History did not mimic its (dubious) art, for the Burninators were very much present at the top of the FHL. They may not have burninated peasants, but they scorched the opponents with strong overall performances from an array of players. Consistency was the word that best described the Burninators. With that roster, Trogdor led the Burninators to a marvellous 3rd place in the FHL's first season.

What transpired in the shortened second campagin can be summarized by injury and defensive collapse. In 2011-12, the Burninators had the second best offensive unit in the FHL, second only to the eventual winner the Heatwave. Their defense, while not impressive, held their own at a league average. This season, however, they fell off the map and never truly competed. With a total of 135 points, they were league worst. Combined with a sub-par goaltending tandem of Fleury and Harding/Poulin, the Burninators were extinguished. The picture is thus quite clear. Trogdor reigns over a roster that is well suited offensively, but that is inversely naked on the back end. His conservative trade approach may have to change in order to balance out the roster. Still, history suggests that he might just shuffle his cards and deal again from the same deck. Expect more from the Burninators next season!



Team Profile: Thunder

Samson's Thunder saw first light prior to the inaugural season of the Foil Hockey League. The team's name prompts both biblical and norse connotations and a discrete connection to an obscure Berlin hockey team whose logo they have adopted. Samson is an active, relentless general manager with no hesitation to make trades or signings. That fact might have disrupted the chemistry of the roster, but it is not likely that any amount of alchemical wizardry could have salvaged the wreckage that was the Thunder's 2012-13 season. The Thunder finished their first campaign in a moderately successful ninth place, but Samson appears to have met his Delilah during this season when the team picked up a dismal 627 points and 22nd place.

Through the inaugural draft, Samson assembled a varied roster, spearheaded by the likes of Taylor Hall, Henrik Zetterberg, Joe Thornton, Tyler Myers, and Miikka Kiprusoff. Despite the presence of some elite offensive talent, the first season Thunder never materialized into an offensive power. Rather, it was the defensive core of Myers, Robidas, Brewer, Boychuk and others that drove them to a top ten finish. Half way through year one, in tenth place, Samson was still some way short of slaying an entire army, or even man-handling a lion, but the Thunder had made inspiring progress by jumping five spots in the rankings. Their 206 points were good enough for seventh best in January, a result built chiefly on the team's strong defensive performances. The FHL second best 61 blueline points were nicely complemented by a strong 34 point service from his netminders. The team suffered from a lack of offense, and when the defensive side faltered as well during the second season, the fate of the Thunder was sealed. The lightning was faint and crack was barely audible.

Having won the 2013 draft lottery, Samson the merchant continued his rebuilding process by trading down for the 2nd overall plus a handful of lesser picks. It appears clear Samson realized much earlier that a roster overhaul would be necessary. He moved key pieces like Joe Thornton and Eric Brewer less than a month into the second season. The accumulation of draft picks, not just in 2013 but also in later drafts, should provide the Thunder with a solid base from which to construct a new team. Armed with two first rounders and two second rounders, Samson is likely keeping a keen eye on the draft lists. It's a key summer for bad weather to form yet again.


FHL Gazette: Team Profiles: Lakers & Rattleheads

Created by NorwegianOiler on 2013-06-18 12:07:03

Team Profile: Lakers

Under the guidance of wily general manager Haboiler, the Lakers trod from the abyss of a bottom three place in the inaugural FHL season into the light of a top twelve finish in season two. The Lakers' first year was blemished by some uncomely performances. For example, though several other teams had poor months in January, they were all eclipsed by the Lakers. The team spent little time achieving terminal velocity and fell through the month and finally landed 9 spots below their December position, finishing at an ugly 15th place. The Lakers' 130 points was only a fraction better than the worst-ever month suffered by the Tanners (now Dragons), who picked up a scarce 127 points back in October 2011. Haboiler then went through a process of rebuilding. He sent away several players to shed salary and open roster space. What seemed a promising start had been completely undone. The turnaround is not complete, however it has been remarkable. Some prudent deals since boosted the Lakers' ability to compete.

The Lakers are a combatitive team, they show up well in the goal department, though assists were hard to come by. They are restrictive in dealing punishment through hits, but continuously absorb pain via shot blocking. Haboiler's clever summer pickup of Russian Evgeni Nabokov provided a solid goaltending platform during season two. 

The Lakerssecond season campaign was driven by a powerhouse offensive unit of Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Matt Duchene, and Thomas Vanek. Undauntable Haboiler, by his shrouded wisdom and aggressive trade market approach, currently only has Thomas Vanek left of that foursome. Arriving through the Laker gates are talent like Brent Seabrook, Jordan Eberle, and Cam Fowler. In an undoubtedly venturesome sequence of events, Haboiler turned his roster upside down. Some established stars fell out and some young, cheap talent were soaked up. Cap concerns were probably partly what motivated the grandoise deadline deal with the Ice Dogs. Haboiler's aims appears to tilt towards the present, especially considering the fact that he gave up his 2013 first rounder at the trade deadline, but what comes of the Lakers' third season remains to be seen.





Team Profile: Rattleheads

The Rattleheads, like the Lakers, were part of the original 23 of the Foil Hockey League. The Rattleheads are under the command of blue collar stats-wizard Crott. After producing a 14th place finish in the inaugural season, Crott has yet to turn his proficient hockey knowledge into satisfying results. He surely cannot be anything but disappointed in his team's follow up season that ended in a meager 18th place. Crott began his managerial career by selecting Daniel Sedin second overall in 2011, but the Swede was later moved as a piece in a trade that landed Patrick Marleau. The trade beacons an otherwise dim trade history under Crott's conservative reign as GM.

The Rattleheads quickly established themselves as defensive juggernauts in the FHL as their blueliners finished second only to the Norack Cup winners in year one. After a decent start, however, Crott's plan derailed. He quickly assessed the chances of significant improvement in the standings as slim. Crott's sober mid-season evaluation hit the skull on the chin with a distinct rattling effect. Few of his players, forwards or defensemen, managed to follow their solid 2011 December months with similar outputs in January. Henceforth it has been mediocrity for the Rattleheads. Forward Derek Roy was explicitly made available for trade, but has yet to move out of the Rattleheads' quarters. The inaugural campaign was not a disaster, but the one that would follow fell far short of success on the grounds of injury, underachievement and general inertia. 

In the shortened second season, the corps of blueliners such as Zdeno Chara, Dimitry Kulikov, Slava Voynov, and Niklas Kronwall were unable to produce similarly outstanding results to the previous year, but as a unit still ended at a steady ninth overall. At forward, Crott lacks top talent options, but has an array of solid depth players at his disposal. Predictably, however, Cleary, Glencross, Kulemin, and a stellar PA Parenteau were not enough to keep Crott's side from sinking into the lower sediments of the FHL. Though the forwards were underwhelming, it was the near complete lack of goaltending that truly let the Rattleheads down in their second campaign. Cam Ward's early injury and the lack of production from Garon conspired against Crott with the result of the second worst goaltending scores in the league.

It is likely that the Rattleheads' fortunes will be made through the draft, where Crott's eye for future talent can best be put to use. At sixth overall in the 2013 draft, he should be able to secure a good player to boost his team in the coming years, but it might be necessary to target cheap up and coming free agents aggressively too, in order to reshape the Rattleheads into something with more bite.


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.