As this is my last Ramblings before the end of the regular season, I want to touch a little on championship matches, NHL playoff races, and playoff pools. Best of luck to those of you who still have matches to be decided, and also thank you to all you readers who read, interacted, and bought the Dobber products, you make everything we do here worthwhile. Cheers!
On my end, three of my five head-to-head leagues are still running, and I'm in tight championship matches in two (in the consolation finals in another). I finished on the podium in the other two as well (first in one and second in the other), so overall it was a very successful year for me.
The best part is still to come though. I have three favourite parts of the hockey season: opening night, the World Juniors, and the first round of the playoffs. The first round might just be the peak of it all in my opinion as we have excellent teams butting heads over and over, they aren't exhausted from at least a dozen games of grinding, every game means so much, and there is always a game on in the evenings.
To add an extra layer to it for us, we all love getting into a playoff pool or two, and as unpredictable as the playoffs can be there are a few constants when it comes to how to navigate playoff pools. The strategy in playoff pools is really quite simple: pick the best players on the best teams. Got it? Great. Well so does everyone else. That's why we're here to give you a little edge. The biggest asset you have is Dobber's playoff draft kit which will walk you through all the steps to get you set up for your draft.
On top of the draft kits though, picking the right teams is a bit of an art. The regular season records can almost get thrown out the window, and you do want to take a lot of other factors into account. Some key things I consider include: who has the better special teams, is there a goalie that can steal a game or two (or the opposite), how the styles matchup between the two teams, and what the most recent games showed (not just wins/losses, but cold streaks, effort levels, injuries, etc).
Sometimes you also just get a feeling. I picked Columbus in all of my brackets and pools when they were up against Tampa in the first round after Tampa's incredible 126-point regular season. I also had a good feeling about the eight-seed LA Kings in 2012, and they ended up taking home the Cup. Don't ignore the gut feelings this time of year.
The couple of guidelines that I try to follow when drafting for a playoff pool include not selecting players from more than four teams (two from each conference), and ensuring that I have enough players on those teams that I won't be beat out at the end by someone who is looking at those same teams. That means you have to keep track your friends as the draft goes on, and if you are taking Avalanche players, then you want to at least match value with the other GM trying hardest for Avalanche players. Balance that in the fi