I finally did it! No I did not go skydiving or eat green vegetables. I participated in my first fantasy draft last Thursday! The draft was at 7pm and as the time approached, I started to get nervous. I wasn’t prepared. I read you could rank players prior to the draft, but how could I possibly go through that entire list of players before it started? I tweeted my fears and got advice mainly consisting of “wing it” and know who was injured. So I googled that and may have printed out a multipage injury report which I crosschecked against additional sources and made notes on. No I never had a chance to actually use it, but I felt a little better after being reminded that Jason Arnott had just had cataract surgery and half of the league would be hanging out in the press box in their Sunday finest serving out suspensions. I’m a researcher.
I got to the draft site early, tested my system and logged in. My main fear, aside from not knowing what the heck I was supposed to do, was that I would have no pre-ranked players, get locked out of the draft due to technical issues and would end up with an auto-draft full of Buffalo Sabres, Daniel Carcillo and Chris Pronger. The thought was downright paralyzing. I came up with a strategy based on some guidance from my commish: Pay attention to goalies. If figured there were less of those and they were going to get scooped up right away.
When I saw the main screen after logging in I noticed that I had a “1” beside my team name. That meant I had first pick! I know that is a fantastic thing but for me it was nerve-wracking! What if I did something wrong or just plain STUPID? The countdown clock until draft time was ticking, audibly. I had to go through my internal struggle of which goalie to pick. I debated. “Should I take Tim Thomas? Can he recapture the magic of last season?” My gut said to pick Pekka Rinne, and my gut had been gurgling all day, so I went with it. (Note: The gurgling may have just been intestinal distress due to the announcement of the return of Chris Pronger to the Flyer’s lineup.) The next person picked and the goalies started flying off the shelves like it was double-coupon day for keepers. I guess I did the right thing.
I started to get the hang of it after, oh say a few 10 rounds. I finally stopped being so worried that my turn was coming up and noticed that my lineup was building in the upper right hand corner. (I catch on fast.) I needed a couple more defensemen and some wingers. I realized I needed another goaltender as well and had somehow let Corey Crawford slip through my fingers so I went with James Reimer from the Leafs. I sound calm and cool now, but in reality all my picks went like this:
I need another goalie I need another goalie oh crap SOMEONE TOOK COREY CRAWFORD who am I going to pick for a goalie? Goalies? Where are you? Reimer? Reimer? WHERE ARE YOU JAMES REIMIER?! Select>click Draft.
Unfortunately I was unable to complete my bromance pairing of Danny Briere and Claude Giroux. I had been all polite and ladylike throughout the draft but having Danny without Claude was making me testy, and I started talking smack in the chat. The player I really wanted and didn’t get was Anze Kopitar and I may have blessed out the person that took him and the Devin Setoguchi stealer by telling them they sucked.
I was self-conscious throughout the process about making “homer” picks so I ended up passing on Eric Staal. I did however scoop up brother Jordan and wunderkind Jeff Skinner. I didn’t touch Sidney Crosby and his traumatic brain injury with a 10-foot pole. I expect him to come back and have a record-setting season for this reason. I ended up picking some players that I am just fond of such as Brian “Soupy” Campbell, formerly of the Blackhawks, now of the Florida Panthers. (Have you ever seen his interviews with Joey the Junior Reporter? Watch and you will love “Soupy” too.)
The most entertaining part of the draft was watching all of the Buffalo players just sitting there for the taking round after round. Since Steve Montador defected to the Blackhawks I was able to scoop him up with no Sabre guilt.
We were almost at the end and someone made a comment about making that dark horse pick that you take a chance on. I took a hit off the fantasy crack pipe and picked…I don’t even want to admit it…Jaromir Jagr. If he starts getting cranky and pouty in the middle of the season I am NOT going to be pleased.
In case you are wondering, I did face logistical difficulties during the draft but they had more to do with the fact that I ate tacos right before it started and got sour cream all over my keyboard and touchpad. I kept losing my mouse pointer. The draft went so fast and was a blur. But I have my lineup in place (until trades begin and I panic all over again). Let the season begin!
Tags: Anze Kopitar Brian Campbell Buffalo Sabres Chicago Blackhawks Chris Pronger Claude Giroux Corey Crawford Daniel Carcillo Danny Briere Devin Setoguchi Eric Staal Fantasy Draft Fantasy Draft Strategy Florida Panthers James Reimer Jaromir Jagr Jeff Skinner Joey The Junior Reporter Jordan Staal Pekka Rinne Sidney Crosby Soupy Steve Montador The Gooch Tim Thomas