Lessons Learned: If Gretzky was a Hockey Poolie

Dobber Sports




Even after all these years, I still love Wayne Gretzky.  While I certainly have no complaints about today's stars, Gretz occupies a special spot in my hockey heart.  One of my favourite descriptions of Gretzky's hockey prowess was uttered by, of all people, a Russian. "He appears out of no where.  He passes to no one.  And a goal is scored."  We can thank urbane Soviet coach, Igor Dmitriev for that haunting, and accurate piece of hockey poetry.


Gretzky certainly had a lot going for him as a player, but one element that is sometimes overlooked was his love of learning.  Whether it was analyzing Russian hockey methods (instead of blustering about the "Canadian way"), or reflecting on the level of sacrifice required to win the Stanley Cup (after catching a glimpse of the battered occupants of the New York Islanders' dressing room in the spring of 1983), Wayne was never one to live the "unexamined life". Wayne was a thinker.  And if you want to be a Pro Star like Wayne, then you gotta be like Wayne.  You have to think about your game.


As we enjoy these last couple of weeks of the regular season, you're entering a critical time for your fantasy success.  No matter where you are in the standings of your pool, you've got work to do.  So before your season fades into playoff pool triflings, summer-time Coronas, and pimping your lawn, you've got to capture your lessons-learned.




What is a "lesson-learned", you ask?  Don't fret, it's not rocket science.  It's a term used by business execs and military leaders to describe proposed improvements to the way of doing things that follow from experience in a particular venture.


For example, if Alan Eagleson and the boys were serious about things back in '72, they might have come up with a few lessons-learned.  Holy crap, these guys are in shape…next time we really shouldn't be drinking beer in the dressing room before the game.


Simple enough, right?  But there's a catch.  A lesson-learned needs to be captured while events are still fresh – time has a way of erasing the pivotal details of important insights.


Ah, those Commies weren't so bad, right?  We beat 'em in the end.  Hey Phil, pass me another Labatt 50.


While the agonies and ecstasies of your season are still raw, you need to grab them and hang on.


In case your life is as busy as mine, I'll get you started.  Here are some common errors that we poolies commit year in and year out:


  1. 1. Over-committing to one team


Fantasy hockey allows us to indulge our desires of playing General Manager, but in our enthusiasm some of us over-select from our favourite team.  Sometimes this happens unconsciously simply because we know that team's players best, and they can seem larger than life in local media.  Rose coloured glasses are a great way to get our butts kicked in fantasy hockey (especially if you're a Leaf fan).


Conversely, some of us will do the opposite.  We will select players from teams that we secretly fear; players from teams that knocked our beloved squads out of the playoffs the previous spring be