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 A Review of the New Years’ Day Classic Allow Anonymous Users Reply to This Topic...
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Posted - 01/07/2008 :  16:44:27  Show Profile
By Fantasy Fanatics
Blake Genraich, Fantasy Hockey Expert

First of all, I want to thank the editors of Fantasy Fanatics for not sending me to Ralph Wilson Stadium to watch the New Year's day tilt between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. As much as I loved the concept and the rare attention that (OMG) multiple TV networks gave this game, sitting in the nosebleeds watching two teams I basically hate play in a snowstorm was not my idea of a good time, especially compared with putting my feet up, cracking open a beer (insert Canadian joke here) and watching the game in the 70 degree heat of my house.

From a fantasy perspective, I knew the game was going to be a waste of time. I remember what it's like to play hockey in the cold. especially since I'm a pretty bad skater to begin with. That said, I used to play a ton of road hockey as a kid and I can remember with fondness that when it was cold, the goalies had less work. Here are a few points to further illustrate what I'm getting at.

1) "It" hurts. What does “it” mean? “It” refers to the ice. Anybody who made contact with you, the puck, or even the wind dealt with some pain. It meant that every player yesterday shied away from body-checking, fights, blocking shots, hitting the boards, etc.

2) Scoring was down. Well, that was a shocker. The snow was piling up on the ice, which wasn't great to begin with. Forechecking was rare, and so were the odd man rushes. It shouldn't stun anyone that the score was 1-1 heading into the shootout. I was surprised to see any goals. Thereby, two goals in regulation equals my over/under prediction. What really makes that last statement sad? These two teams are easily two of the fastest, youngest, and most offensively gifted teams in hockey. If the game had been at HSBC or Mellon Arena the score easily would have been 5-4.

3) I lied, it was a fantasy goldmine, if you owned goalies Ryan Miller or Ty Conklin.

The fantasy humbug points aside, the game was also a huge victory for hockey. For once the game made the news in the right sort of way. 71,000 fans showed up while TV ratings were the highest for a single hockey game in the US since Wayne Gretzky's retirement game back in 1996. It even beat out a New Year's Day Bowl game! Hopefully the momentum that this publicity stirred will help turn casual fans back to the game and start drumming up more interest in fantasy hockey. It's a lot of fun folks, and besides, you’ve got 4 months to kill now until the NFL draft, so you might as well give it a shot!

Happy New Year to all Fantasy Fanatics Readers and we look forward to providing you with the very best in fantasy hockey coverage in the coming months.

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