Fantasy hockey with a twist: Building the worst team possible in a 'losers league'

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Normally when you go into a fantasy hockey draft, you hope to simply put the best fake team together possible. Whether it’s getting the best goalies, forwards, defensemen or guys who can fill the widest variety of stat categories.

But in at least one fantasy hockey league, the object is to put together the most hapless group possible. Chris Kontos of The Royal Half invited me to draft a team in his inventive “Loser League” which includes this wacky group of stat categories where positive stats actually hurt your totals. (We used Yahoo for the league, if that helps.)

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(click to enlarge)

The only category that stays consistent with other leagues is that penalty minutes (PIM) are a good thing. One important thing to note, though, is that these players still need to actually earn playing time. Getting a bunch of minor leaguers won’t get the job done because you still those faceoff losses (my favorite category from a comic stand point), boneheaded penalties and minus ratings. You also need to find a starting goalie who will keep his job but play really poorly.

So it makes for an interesting conundrum. I won’t go through all of my picks, but here are some of the standout choices and the logic behind them.

Thumbnail image for konopkad.jpg1st overall pick – Zenon Konopka

Reasons: He lead the NHL in penalty minutes last season and losses some faceoffs too. Plus, he has a funny name. It’s not as much about him being a bad player as it that he has little to no offensive skills and throws a lot of knuckles.

2nd round pick – Dan Carcillo

Reasons: If he finally does something beyond taking bad penalties, this won’t be a good pick but he consistently tops the PIM leader lists.

Goalie picks: Nikolai Khabibulin, Rick DiPietro, Dwayne Roloson and Pascal Leclaire.

Reasons: Khabibulin is an aging goalie on a bad team, but he’s probably the best option in net. That means he’ll absorb a lot of goals and deal with plenty of odd man rushes. The Islanders are scrappy, but I still think they’re bad enough that it’s wise to get the Islanders tandem. Leclaire isn’t going to get a ton of starts, but he put up abysmal numbers last year.

A few other observations: There just aren’t a lot of really bad defensemen out there, at least ones who take a lot of penalties. It seems like the NHL has a very small group of great D, a tiny collection of profoundly horrible ones and a mass of mediocre types. Finding a workhorse goalie who should lose a lot of games is also a lot tougher than you might think.

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Anyway, thanks to Chris Kontos of the Royal Half for the invitation. It was a great time and I highly recommend that you try a loser league with your friends. Forget celebrating mediocrity, why not celebrate putridity?

If Wild want Yeo out, they’ll probably need to fire him

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP
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If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.

“I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.

The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.

https://twitter.com/ChadGraff/status/698629021232455680

Yikes.

Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.

(And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)

Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.

Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?

A Wild losing streak: Minnesota’s skid hits eight games with 4-2 loss to Bruins

Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) and Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, right, battle for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
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Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the Wild, they hit a new low.

Minnesota dropped an eighth straight decision in Saturday’s matinee against the Boston Bruins.

The Wild got behind the eight ball early.

Brad Marchand opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at the 6:18 mark of the first period.

Thomas Vanek ended a 10-game goal drought to tie the game at two in the second period.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, the Bruins answered with goals by David Krejci, Loui Eriksson and Zdeno Chara.

Minnesota drops to 0-4 since GM Cliff Fletcher announced that coach Mike Yeo and his staff were safe.

Even the captain acknowledged that today’s effort wasn’t good enough:

The numbers aren’t pretty:

If they were to lose next Sunday’s Stadium Series game against Chicago, they would establish a new franchise record with their ninth straight loss on ice.

As bad as the Wild have been, they’re still in the thick of the playoff race.

Minnesota is three points behind Nashville for the final Wild Card spot in the West.

Goalie nods: With Talbot sick, Oilers give Laurent Brossoit second career start

San Jose Sharks Bryan Lerg (42) scores a goal on Edmonton Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit (1) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 9, 2015, in Edmonton, Alberta. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)
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Laurent Brossoit will make his second career start in Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Brossoit will be between the pipes because starter Cam Talbot is ill and missed the morning skate.

The Oilers are hoping Brossoit isn’t as busy this time as he was in his first career start last year when he turned aside 49 shots in a 3-1 loss to San Jose.

“I’m a big believer in Brossoit,” said teammate Brandon Davidson, per the team’s website. “He’s done a great job. I played with him in the minors and he competes like no other. He’s tremendously athletic and he did a great job last year when he got the game too. He’s ready and I think he’ll show that tonight.”

The Jets will go with Ondrej Pavelec, who hasn’t played since Nov. 21 because of a knee injury.

Elsewhere…

–The Leafs have yet to announce their start. The Canucks haven’t named one either, but expect them to go with Ryan Miller.

Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Ottawa. The Blue Jackets will counter with Joonas Korpisalo.

–Like the Leafs and Canucks, the Islanders and Hurricanes have yet to announce their starting goaltenders. It could be Jaroslav Halak against Eddie Lack.

–Expect Pekka Rinne to get the start against the Panthers. Roberto Luongo, who was pulled on Friday, will be between the pipes for Florida.

Braden Holtby will put his five-game winning streak on the line when Washington takes on Dallas. Kari Lehtonen will look to extend his winning streak to three games.

–The Ducks have yet to announce their start. The ‘Hawks will turn to Vezina Trophy candidate Corey Crawford.

Louis Domingue will look to win his second straight game. Martin Jones will get the start for San Jose.

Gostisbehere sets new rookie record in OT loss to Devils

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Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.

With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.

Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.

Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:

Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.

It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.

The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.

To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.

Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:

standings