I joined my brother-in-law's hockey pool this season just to try my luck, and immediately predicted that all of my players would be cursed and go down in flames and I would end up in last place.
The first part is mostly true, but somehow I stormed ahead and led the pool by a sizable margin for much of the season thus far. I took the sentimental strategy drafting players like Nieuwendyk, Yzerman, Roberts, Lidstrom, and Niedermeyer. Age-old guys, but warriors in their own right, and they have done me well. (It didn't hurt that I added Pavel Datsyuk along the way.)
Numerous injuries over the past three weeks have decimated my team. I currently have six out of a total 18 players out of the lineup; that's a whole third of my team sitting on the sidelines. Last night, I was forced to make a trade to try to swing things back my way, and for lack of better things to talk about, including digging my car out of the snow this morning, my team - the Sputastic Spuds - have issued the following press release:
Spuds-Czechs Perform the Original 6 Tango
CYBERSPACE - The Sputastic Spuds and Finnish Czechs hammered out a shocking deal last night that sent franchise player and future hall-of-famer Steve Yzerman to Finnish in exchange for the versatile winger Mike Knuble.
"It was a tough decision," lamented Spuds GM the Sputastic SPU. "We're all sad to see Stevie go, but it was a decision that had to be made."
The all-star centreman was emotional during his departure. "My days with the Spuds have been the greatest of my life. No doubt. Detroit sucks compared to Sputastic."
The deal bringing in Knuble was a move in attempt to thwart the Spuds downward spiral. Sputastic has lost 13.5 points since the Festivus began, dropping from a record-high score and slipping to 3rd place. The Spuds are currently with six regulars out of the lineup. Numerous injuries and an overabundance of turkey and stuffing are to blame.
Fighting back tears, Yzerman conceded that he understood management's decision. "Langenbrunner has been out for a long time now. He had knee surgery in early December, but we decided to wait for him and welcome his return come Christmastime. Then he goes out and catches pneumonia. I guess he never listened to his mother when she told him to bundle up against the cold. Frankly, we feel betrayed by his lack of discipline, and for his lack of respect for his mother."
Yzerman departed claiming that he will always be a Spud at heart, and may even give a lack-lustre performance for Finnish just to prove it. "If I can't play for Sputastic, than it's not really worth putting in the effort."
Replacing Yzerman at centre, the Spuds have called up Mississauga-native Jason Spezza, who started the season with the Spuds but has spent the past month in the minors. "I really wasn't up to par back then, but I've worked hard to come back and show them my worth. I'm confident that I can go out there and give my 100%".
Asked if he was willing to give 110%, Spezza beat the ignorant reporter with Jeremy Roenick's blood-soaking and tooth-collecting towel and told him to feck off and take some math lessons.
"The injury bug does concern me, though," Spezza continued. "I mean, a lot of our guys have been going down lately. I'm confident, though, that I can go out there and get injured just like the rest of them. I don't want to be left out, or anything. Otherwise, people will start to compare me to Jonas Hoglund."
Spezza surmised he would be able to get injured faster than anyone else on the team, and even toyed with the idea of experimenting with new and innovative injuries. "I'm thinking of trying out an aneurysm, or chronic inner-ear imbalances."
- With files from spudles.com