The first annual Bleacher Report Hockey League fantasy draft was held this past Saturday, and I must say that it was by far the best experience I have had in three years of participating in fantasy leagues.
Alan and Greg's NHL 2Day show provided the commentary during the draft, which really added a personal feel to the whole ordeal. All the GMs that were present were actively chatting amongst one another, while listening to Alan, Greg, and special guest Ken Armer break down almost every pick.
Probably the best sentence I have read on the internet this month is a quote from NHL Community Leader and fellow BRHL GM, Ken Armer. It's almost as if Ken reached into the black and gold recesses of my mind and pulled out this quote:
"I would rather lose with men i believe in than lose with players I can't stand."
You see, anyone who has ever spent any time in the NHL Community here at Bleacher Report knows, and has grown to respect, the vast array of personality types that make up our community. These guys aren't just passionate about hockey, they're passionate fans of their respective teams.
Of course, where there is passion, rivalry is soon to follow. I experienced this rivalry firsthand last season. Myself being a Penguins fan created an almost natural rivalry with fellow Atlantic Division writers, Greg Caggiano (Rangers) and Alan Bass (Flyers).
When I first came to Bleacher Report, I was as closed-minded about other teams as one could be. Not only did I hate the teams, I hated anything and everything to do with the team, including their writers.
During my near six months of writing for Bleacher Report, I still hate the Rangers, Flyers, and Devils as much as I did six months ago, but I have developed a sincere respect for these respective teams' writers.
I realized that these guys are just as passionate about their teams as I am about mine, and that no matter which team they root for, they deserve to be commended for their dedication.
Now, this isn't to say that I won't be slinging "Debby Briere" or "Brendan Old-man-a-han" jokes this season, but it is to say that these remarks will be solely based on satisfying my own personal sense of humor, while possibly providing a few laughs for some fellow Pens' fans along the way.
Alright, enough of the saga, let's get on to my team.
GM: Mario Lemieux
Head Coach: Michel Therrien
Assistant Coaches: Joe Mullen, Ron Francis (yes, I am virtually stealing him from the Hurricanes' organization), Larry Murphy, Gilles Meloche
Centers: Evgeni Malkin, Eric Staal, Robert Lang, Sam Gagner, Patrick Marleau
Left Wing: Marco Sturm, Dustin Penner, Tuomo Ruutu, Ryan Smyth, Janne Pesonen
Right Wing: Jason Pominville, Petr Sykora, Dustin Brown
Defense: Sergei Gonchar, Michal Rozsival, Kris Letang, Hal Gill, Tobias Enstrom
Goaltenders: Cristobal Huet, Martin Gerber
I received Dustin Penner in a trade with Greg Caggiano in exchange for Andrew Brunette.
I currently have two more trades in the works, and I'm looking to add some more depth on the right wing by dealing Marleau and/or Smyth.
As Alan pointed out during the NHL 2Day broadcast, I did select six Penguins—surprise, surprise.
Going back to Ken's quote, you will notice that I do not possesses a single Flyer or Devil on my roster. Drafting Michal Rozsival caused nightmares that I still have not yet fully recovered from.
In all seriousness though, I am looking forward to the beginning of the season with a great bunch of guys from Bleacher Report's best community—the NHL.
This is my 100th article on Bleacher Report. I'm not looking for praise, but it's just kind of a personal milestone. I hope I've entertained, informed, and influenced a few people during my time here because being a part of this Community has helped me to mature as both a sports writer and fan. Thanks to everyone who made that possible, and here's to another great season of hockey.