2012-13 Hockey Pool Predictions

As of November 6th, 2012, these predictions make perfect sense!

Player Goals Assists Points
Sidney Crosby 0 0 0
Claude Giroux 0 0 0
Steve Stamkos 0 0 0
Evgeni Malkin 0 0 0
Alex Ovechkin 0 0 0
Phil Kessel 0 0 0
John Tavares 0 0 0
Henrik Sedin 0 0 0
Erik Karlsson 0 0 0
Kris Letang 0 0 0

2012 Hockey Playoff Pool Picklists

Source: HockeyPoolExpert.com

Hockey pool fans, playoff season is just around the corner. ‘Tis the time of year to plot how to win our fantasy drafts!

Which teams will make it to the 3rd round? Which assist-machine defenseman will only play 5 games? Which unsung #3 LW will end up scoring 15 goals? Which so-so goalie will end up playing 25 games? Soon we will find out!

“It’s the most … wonderful tiiiiime, of the year!”

Yes – it’s nearly time for triple OT’s, 5-game upsets, undisclosed injuries, and a gut-check that only Lord Stanley can inspire!

And yes, it’s time for Sneezl’s 2012 pool picks…

Note – since this was written with 5-7 games left in the regular season, it includes players from the following teams:

East: Rangers, Bruins, Panthers, Penguins, Flyers, Devils, Senators, Capitals, Sabres, Jets, Lightning

West: Blues, Canucks, Sharks, Red Wings, Predators, Blackhawks, Stars, Coyotes, Kings, Avalanche, Flames

2012 Fantasy Hockey Top 5 Picks: Centers

  1. Sidney Crosby – #1 PPG center on a top cup favourite. Pure no-brainer pick.
  2. Evgeni Malkin – This season’s #1 center on a top cup favourite. Also a no-brainer.
  3. Pavel Datsyuk – Possibly his last run with Lidstrom feeding assists.
  4. Tyler Seguin – If Boston repeats, this kid will score a lot.
  5. Henrik Sedin – IF brother Daniel is healthy & the Canucks roll, he could end up with the most points of all.

On the bubble:

  • Steve Stamkos – Team’s depth (or just making the playoffs) is questionable.
  • Joe Thornton – Always a threat for #1 (but seldom actually #1.)
  • Jason Spezza – If Ottawa can win a couple of series, Spezza will rack up points.

Picking a player based on which team you think will advance furthest is a good strategy in playoff hockey. Often, it’s even more important than picking a player on their own merit.

Stanley Cup Fantasy Draft Top 10 Wingers

  1. Claude Giroux – Like the Flyers? Here’s your #1 pick.
  2. James Neal – Will he play with Crosby or Malkin? Either way, look out.
  3. Marian Hossa – Consistent point-per-game player on a contender.
  4. Henrik Zetterberg – Point-a-game over 4 series = 20 points, but only if Detroit makes another run.
  5. Alex Ovechkin – Heating up at the right time.
  6. Patrick Sharp – An ideal playoff player, he also knows how to score.
  7. Marian Gaborik – The Rangers plan to play many games. If they do, Gaborik is a great pick.
  8. Scott Hartnell – Proven playoff stud.
  9. Martin Erat – Nashville’s tricky winger.
  10. Patrik Elias – Ageless wonder putting in a great season.

On the bubble:

  • Daniel Sedin – How bad is the concussion? If healthy he’s a top overall pick on the wing.
  • Martin St. Louis – Will Tampa make the playoffs?
  • Evander Kane – Jets likely won’t make the playoffs, but Kane is built for playoff success.
  • Jarome Iginla – Flames might end up in 9th, but Iginla is as proven as they come.
  • David Backes – If the #1 Blues are for real, Backes will play a lot of games.

Fantasy Playoff Top 10 Defensemen

  1. Kris Letang – Scores like crazy & plays on a cup favourite that’s been blowing out the opposition. Perfect ingredients.
  2. Zdeno Chara – Big Z is again a top pick, especially if you like the Bruins’ chances.
  3. Alexander Edler – Vancouver’s #1 point man.
  4. Dan Boyle – Last year’s playoff D-man of the year BY FAR.
  5. Nick Lidstrom – His final year? Can the Wings play 20+ games again?
  6. Shea Weber – If you like Nashville, take Weber & Suter.
  7. Ryan Suter – If you like Nashville, take Weber & Suter.
  8. Duncan Keith – Like the Hawks’ chances? Then take Keith.
  9. Denis Wideman – Unlikely points leader on Washington’s blue line.
  10. Kimmo Timonen – Like the Flyers? Look no further.

On the bubble:

  • Alex Pietrangelo – #1 point-getter on #1 St. Louis Blues. Too bad the Blues stink.
  • Drew Doughty – The Kings look iffy, though anything is possible.
  • Eric Karlson – IF Ottawa goes anywhere, he’ll be a great pick. IF.
  • Keith Yandle – Phoenix’s top scoring defender.
  • Kevin Bieksa – If Daniel Sedin is healthy, Bieksa & Dan Hamhius become solid picks.

2012 Hockey Pools’ Top 10 Goalies

  1. Marc-Andre Fleury – Prime Conn Smythe Trophy candidate.
  2. Ilya Bryzgalov – Good goalie finally gets a good team.
  3. Jimmy Howard – Okay goalie, great team.
  4. Pekka Rinne – Premier goaltender is a Conn Smythe candidate already.
  5. Henrik Lundqvist – This could be the year King Henry reigns supreme.
  6. Tim Thomas – Dramatic player still knows how to steal games.
  7. Antti Niemi – Perennial question: can the Sharks win playoff games?
  8. Tomas Vokoun – Great goalie finally has a team to play with.
  9. Martin Brodeur – Team looks out of gas, but the all-time #1 is worth including just in case we’re wrong.
  10. Roberto Luongo – Question marks abound. Is Daniel Sedin healthy? How many games will Schneider play?

On the bubble:

  • Ryan Miller – Great goalie, mediocre team.
  • Craig Anderson – Fresh back from injury, will his team win a series?
  • Mikka Kiprusoff – GREAT goalie, so-so team.
  • Kari Lehtonen – Used to struggle with injuries, now is really reliable.
  • Jonathon Quick – Super season, but can his team score enough to win?

Whose team will win at least 3 series? That’s what we all wish we knew.

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Team Predictions

Out West, the concussion to Daniel Sedin is the biggest variable. If he’s healthy, Vancouver is in great shape to once again emerge as the last team standing. St. Louis doesn’t seem like a Cup champ and neither does San Jose, plus Detroit is struggling down the stretch. Chicago again seems to be the top alternative to the Canucks, assuming that there’s no Cinderella team lurking in the lower grouping. Of the Cinderella prospects, LA would have the best chances IF they can play to their potential.

In the East, this is an interesting season. With the return of Captain Crosby, the Penguins have been crushing every team they meet, making them the instant #1 favourite. Philadelphia still misses Pronger, but made key deadline acquisitions that (along with the improvement of Bryzgalov of late) also make them favourites. If that wasn’t enough, the Rangers are playing great hockey too. The defending champs Boston aren’t clicking on all cylinders, but still have the potential to emerge from the field as well. Plus, Dale Hunter’s Caps are 6-2-2 in their last 10, so they’re back in the mix too, but this year they have Vokoun instead of AHL prospects. In short, it’s a marquee logjam. The chances of a Cinderella winning the East are tinier than an ant’s rear end.

Sneezl is picking the Penguins to come out of the East, based purely on their complete and total thrashing of all opponents down the stretch. They are simply too good to not pick as the #1 favourite.

Sneezl is picking the West champion with a big asterisk… * IF Daniel Sedin bounces back from concussion quickly, THEN the Canucks get will emerge from the conference even though I can’t stand the way they play. They’ve had trouble scoring since the all-star break, but no-one is better at using other teams’ mistakes to eek out a 2-1 victory. They play ugly hockey, but they’re darn good at what they do.

However, IF Sedin is not able to play full-time, THEN Chicago is getting the Sneeze pick. Chicago is 7-3-1 in their last 10 plus their best player (Jon Toews) is better than any other team’s best player.

As for the Cup final, this gets easier to predict again. Sneezl is calling for a decisive Penguin’s victory over either Vancouver or Chicago.

There are plenty of caveats that could be added, but why make this post any longer? Enjoy your playoff pools and hopefully your picks are even better than these!

 

 


(Remember: have fun and don’t gamble!)

 

Montreal Court Custody Decision

A seven year old boy was the center of attention when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge awarded custody to his aunt. The boy confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone.

In an unprecedented court ruling, the judge dramatically allowed the boy to choose who should have custody of him. Custody was granted to the Montreal Canadiens hockey team this morning, as the boy firmly believes that they are not capable of beating anyone…

:)

Fantasy Hockey Draft Picklist 2011-2012

Once again it’s time for hockey pool fans to make their annual fantasy hockey draft preparations…

Given potential injuries to the game’s top player, who would you take if you get the #1 overall pick? Is an east-coast free agent acquisition this year’s #1 goalie? Can the 2011 playoff’s defensive scoring machine from San Jose keep up that pace over 82 games?

While no one can make a perfect hockey draft list, Sneezl will once again give it a try…

Fantasy Hockey’s 2011-2012 Top Goalie Picks

  1. Marc-Andre Fleury
  2. Roberto Luongo
  3. Tomas Vokoun
  4. Ilya Bryzgalov
  5. Ryan Miller
  6. Carey Price
  7. Jimmy Howard
  8. Jonas Hiller
  9. Henrik Lundqvist
  10. Corey Crawford

Other than Vancouver Canucks #1 Luongo, there is uncertainty up and down this list.  Will injuries hurt the Pens’ goal support?  Will Vokoun & the Caps fulfill expectations?  Will the Sabres match the play of their A+ goaltender?  And, of course, how many games will Tim Thomas play, or can he even get close to last year’s acrobatics?

Gone are the days of automatically picking Brodeur, Kiprusoff (still a great player, but the Flames may not win much this year…), or whoever dresses for the Red Wings!

Top 10 Fantasy Scoring Defensemen

  1. Kris Letang
  2. Lubomir Visnovsky
  3. Mike Green
  4. Alex Goligoski
  5. Dan Boyle
  6. Drew Doughty
  7. Keith Yandle
  8. Ryan Whitney
  9. P.K. Subban
  10. Christian Ehrhoff

Question marks also surround the #1 pivot, since Washington’s Mike Green could realistically produce 90 points or just 25. Oiler Ryan Whitney could rebound with a healthy season and improved forwards, also conceivably averaging an assist per game if all goes well. 

Real questions surrounding Markov, Gonchar, Streit, and Wisniewski will keep poolies guessing this year.  Don’t be surprised if John Carlson emerges as a premier blueline point producer this year either.

2011-12 Overall Top Fantasy Hockey Picks – Forwards

  1. Sidney Crosby
  2. Steven Stamkos
  3. Corey Perry
  4. Alex Ovechkin
  5. Henrik Sedin
  6. Daniel Sedin
  7. Joe Thornton
  8. Nicklas Backstrom
  9. Ryan Getzlaff
  10. Evgeni Malkin

Assuming Crosby picks up where he left off before injury (a big assumption, but why not be optimistic?), this is an automatic first overall choice.  But what about potential lingering injuries??

Corey Perry was red hot down the stretch last season, while Steve Stamkos started the year on fire.  If either of these players can sustain the heat through 82 games, they’re a safe alternative to the Crosby lottery.

Similarly, depending on whether the Caps of ’09 or ’10 show up, Ovi & Nic are either superb or so-so picks. It could go either way.

Pick a Sedin and you’re likely still going to get a top 5 scorer, regardless of what else happens in the league.

In short, this year’s top picks all come with a set of pro’s and and con’s.

2011’s Top Enforcers

  1. Zenon Konopka
  2. Theo Peckham
  3. Jared Boll
  4. Steve Ott
  5. Cody McLeod
  6. Sean Avery
  7. Steve Downie
  8. George Parros
  9. Scott Hartnell
  10. Derek Dorsett

Konopka is a near lock for the #1 PIM (penalties in minutes) ranking this year.  He was last year’s champ by a mile (307 PIM with 25 majors), plus is now a member of the rebuilding Ottawa Senators, who will be dressing young players and likely losing a lot of games. 

Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk will  be interesting to watch in Edmonton too with the loss of Stortini and heavyweight MacIntyre. Neither is a traditional 200 PIM guy, but someone on that team is going to rack up PIMs and these are both candidates.

2011-2012’s Top Rookie Prospects

  1. Brayden Schenn, F
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F
  3. Nino Niederreiter, F
  4. Ryan Johansen, F
  5. Ryan Ellis, D
  6. Gabriel Landeskog, F
  7. Erik Gudbrandson, D
  8. Jonathon Blum, D
  9. David Rundblad, D
  10. Eric Tangradi, F

Schenn is as close to a sure thing as a rookie ever is.  He’s not 18, is a scoring machine, and will play with top wingers in Philly.  Ryan Ellis is defensive scoring machine and also certain to quarterback the powerplay for years.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may not even make the team this year, so that’s a gamble if we’ve ever seen one.


Remember – pools are for fun, not gambling! Don’t be dumb!

Balsillie Rumours Restart

Rumours of a conversation between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Kitchener-Waterloo businessman Jim Balsillie just got interesting again.

According to reports, an NHL franchise in southern Ontario is an option for Balsillie if he plays according to NHL rules and doesn’t turn things into a media circus before a purchase and franchise move is made.

More realistically, the NHL is looking at its dead-end loser USA franchises like Phoenix (an almost guaranteed loss of $25 million for Arizona tax payers) and comparing them to Canadian markets like Winnipeg (which sold out season tickets before you can say, “Hockey is Canada’s game”) and thinking, “we’re going to be moving more franchises north before we know it, so we’d better start finding places for them to go, NOW.”

In the past, Balsillie has tried to get a team according to his rules.  The NHL didn’t like that, so blocked the attempts.  But times change.

Now that the NHL has less and less choice, they will be returning to their prime Canadian buyers and seeing what the options are.  A 2nd NHL franchise in southwestern Ontario is a big part of this, as is Balsillie.  It’s either move a franchise to southwestern Ontario or let a team lose millions in the desert.

Advantage Balsillie.

The only question marks around Balsillie getting a team in southwestern Ontario now are:

  1. Does Jim still want in?
  2. How large is the Toronto “home market” zone?  20 miles?  30? 50?  Is Oakville too close?  How about Hamilton?  Even better, how about Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph/London just off the 401/8 intersection, or just off the train tracks in Kitchener near King if you believe in the public transit craze hitting Ontario?
  3. How soon will the deal go down?

Regardless of how these three questions play out, the larger picture is clear: several US franchises are failing, Canadians are ravenously buying season tickets faster than they’re made available, and at some point the NHL will catch up with simple fact that 2-3 US franchises need to move to Canada if the NHL’s best interests are to be served.

The release of the recent rumour that Bettman has had conversations with Balsillie certainly does not give anyone a roadmap to the future, but it does corroborate the theory that hockey is moving back to Canada over the next few years one way or another.

If the NHL’s wishes come true, Balsillie will still be a willing buyer by the time the NHL figures out that hockey belongs in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph/London.