Last weekend, we announced an exciting new partnership between Yahoo! Sports and the NHLPA where Zach Parise(notes) of the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal(notes) would participate in a fantasy hockey league with several Y! writers and some readers.
Scott Pianowski of the Y! Roto Arcade blog ran a caption contest to help select the reader participants from this Staal photo.
Over 1500 entries were received and six winners were chosen including "Stop Being a Duchene" GM Tony Pak with "Geez. Why score a hatty if the Ice Girls aren't gonna clean up my mess???"; "Your Face Getzlaf" owner Drew Kupski with "Well, I still don'tt hink that there are enough hats here to fully cover Pitkanen's melon"; and Mitch Lewicki, who's team name "2 Girls 1 Kopitar" pleased Pianow enough to get him in.
The draft was held on Tuesday with Zach in New Jersey and Eric selecting his team while in Finland for the NHL Premiere. The two stars had fun interacting with the readers during the draft and even tossing out some minor trash talk all in good fun.
Now that Parise was off the board, the big question remaining was where Staal would land and everyone was curious if the Hurricanes star would be in the position to draft himself. As we reached the middle of the second round, Staal was still available and was the highest ranked player available until Y! hockey editor Sam McCaig chose him. Had he survived through McCaig's pick, Staal would have had to make the decision as to whether or not he would draft himself. He settled on Drew Doughty(notes).
You can follow along with all season by viewing the league here. It's 14-team, head-to-head league with weekly roster selections -- not daily -- as to accommodate our very busy VIP's and their schedules. Categories are G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG, W, GAA, SV%, and SHO.
• One thing that was evident during the draft was that Staal and Parise really preferred taking current and former teammates. Joe Corvo(notes) on his blueline and Erik Cole(notes) and rookie Jeff Skinner(notes) up front means that the Hurricanes captain might have to get on these guys a bit in the locker room if his fantasy team is being affected.
• If there's one weakness for Team Staal, it's in goal. Kari Lehtonen(notes) has injury question marks all around him and who knows how the Ottawa goaltending situation will shake out as the season goes on. Pascal Leclaire(notes) and Brian Elliott(notes) might end up splitting starts and without a goaltender, Staal's team might take a hit in those categories.
• Staal has confidence in the young kids telling those of us in the draft that Skinner is going to be a star (and he's had an impressive two games so far) and taking Taylor Hall(notes) off the board in Round 8.
• As we said, they really liked taking current and former teammates. Travis Zajac(notes), Brian Gionta(notes), Brian Rafalski(notes), and Andy Greene(notes) make up the Devils contingent for Team Parise. Zajac and Drew Stafford(notes) also have ties to Parise when they played at the University of North Dakota.
• Parise's drafting of Zajac prompted him to say, "maybe I'll become a passer this year". Wyshynski's heart just skipped a beat.
• Parise's snagging of Vezina Trophy finalist Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) in Round 3 after Roberto Luongo(notes), Henrik Lundqvist(notes), Martin Brodeur(notes), Jimmy Howard(notes), Tuukka Rask(notes), and Ryan Miller(notes) were chosen could definitely be considered a steal if he can repeat his outer-worldly performance from a season ago.
Video of the two selecting their teams taking my PA representatives was delayed, so we'll have that for you next week.
In the meantime, thoughts on the NHLers' teams?