December 10, 2007

The Return of HITME

HITME. Hockey In The Modern Era. It's back.

HITME is a retro simulation league run by Joe Cronin of simsportleagues.com. I'm running hockey's LA Kings, and we are entering the 1973-74 season.

We began in the 1972-73 season. It was a tough year, as everyone learned a new sim engine and dealt with some questionable player ratings and questionable results. It was quite frustrating, to the point of where I questioned if I would return.

Things look a lot more smoothed out now, and hopefully the '73-74 season will be a little more realistic. Last season I didn't make the playoffs, and I'm not sure I will this year either.

Last season I gutted my roster and prepared for a rebuild. The Kings of '72-73 were a terrible team in the pre-Marcel Dionne era. I'm rebuilding through free agency and the draft. However I'm taking a run at the 1974-75 season, so this season could be another campaign of ups and downs.

My LA Kings look a lot different than the actual '73-74 Kings. Rogie Vachon is there, my highest paid player. Butch Goring, Juha Widing, Terry Harper and Gilles Marotte are still around.

My top line is a trio of WHAers stars, featuring Serge Bernier as my top offensive center. I'm counting on Claude St. Sauveur and Kevin Morrison to mesh well with the one-time King.

Last season I traded Don Kozak away for Jean Pronovost, who I then traded for Don Luce. I now resigned Pronovost as a UFA. Pronovost was a real bust last season for me, but I'm really gambling (huge contract for 5 years) on a return to normalcy for the high scoring Penguin. Make no mistake, my season depends on Jean Pronovost.

Pronovost is currently penciled in to play with playmaking center Juha Widing and LW Paul Henderson.

Butch Goring is slated to center the third line and anchor my PK. WHAer Don Herriman and veteran Bobby Rousseau are drawing in on the third line. I'm not sure if I like that line's chemistry, but we'll see how that turns out.

I have three youngsters on my 4th line. In the real 1970s, Don Luce and Craig Ramsay combined with Danny Gare to form one of the great second lines in NHL history. I've acquired Luce and Ramsay, and am placing Reggie Leach on this line. All three are a year away from blossoming, but I'm hoping for some pop-gun offense out of my fourth line this year.

My D is pretty non-descript, which was a problem last year. After failing to sign some of the bigger name UFAs, I landed Mike McMahon as a solid offensive threat from the blue line. Add in Harper, Marotte, Barry Long, last season's top blueliner Ron Plumb and rookie Ian Turnbull, and I'm hoping for some over achieving on my blue line.

With Rogie Vachon in goal, I'm pretty confident he'll be able to cover up some exposed weaknesses. I'm not sure if I'll give Gary Edwards or Gump Worsley the back up role yet.

My real strength lies in my depth. The following guys are in my farm system, which is perhaps the strongest in the league: Jim Lorentz, Rick Dudley, Terry Crisp, Murray Wilson, Norm Ferguson, John Wensink, Dave Hutchison, Bob Gassoff, Brad Selwood, Dennis Kearns and John Garrett.

I'll be another interesting year in HITME. I'm looking for a superstar down the middle and on defense, just like most teams in real life or sim league play. I'll keep you updated from time to time on how the season goes.

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