A couple weeks ago, I experienced a poolie's worst nightmare. After setting my weekly line-up Sunday night, I awoke on Monday to the news that my starting goalie (Roberto Luongo) was out with an undisclosed injury – an upper body injury, no less (the worst kind!).
So, while my head-to-head nemesis coasted through the week with two healthy starters, I was behind the 8-ball from the get-go, hoping against hope that somehow my one goalie could keep pace with his tandem. As it turned out, Pekka Rinne came up huge for me and outgunned Henrik Lundqvist and Kari Lehtonen. But it could've turned out so much worse.
Which brings us to the question of daily vs. weekly line-up changes. If only my league had daily changes, I could've subbed in Nikolai Khabibulin for Lou and skated through the week much more comfortably. So, daily changes are obviously better, right? Not so fast.
Daily Changes: Pros and Cons
Allowing daily line-up changes brings a number of advantages. It gives the teams in your league greater flexibility to deal with situations that crop up on a day-to-day basis. Clearly, it would have helped me out in the circumstances cited above, as it would've minimized the impact of Luongo's injury on my team. (Though come to think of it, considering the shellacking his old buddies from Chicago laid on the Canucks that week, perhaps his injury was a blessing in disguise!)
Daily changes minimize regrets. With 13 healthy forwards in a league where we dress 9 each week, mistakes are inevitable. In a recent week, I chose to sit Joe Pavelski in favour of other skaters… only to watch in frustration as I missed out on his all-important shorthanded point. With daily changes, he'd have no doubt been in my line-up that night.
Daily changes also keep managers more engaged and interested. The ability to tinker with your line-up on a daily basis forces owners to pay more attention to what's going on with their team. Your roster will play more man games over the course of the week, making every night more entertaining and giving every team higher totals at week's end.
If the story ended here, it would be a no brainer – sign me up for daily changes. Unfortunately, there are also some significant drawbacks to consider.
Daily changes favour teams with depth and good health. I'm all for rewarding managers that are skilled enough to build up some depth on their bench and farm team, but the unpredictability of injuries can really skew things unfairly when daily shuffles are permitted.
Case in point: in a league where we start 9 forwards and 4 defencemen each week, my current opponent has exactly 9 healthy forwards and 4 healthy defencemen on his active roster. Everyone else is injured or suspended. Meanwhile, I'm sitting pretty with 13 healthy forwards and 5 d-men. As much as I'll happily take every advantage I can muster, I have to admit that daily changes would give me a huge, unfair advantag