I've never ever done a hockey pool. But what I do try my hand at is simulation coaching.
Regular readers will know I've been participating in a retro simulation hockey tournament called HITME - Hockey In The Modern Era. I'm happy to claim a Campbell Conference regular season championship and the league's 4th best record.
We've just completed the re-enacted 1973-74, the second season of the league's existence. I operate the Los Angeles Kings. There's been lots of turnover in the league, but real Kings Rogie Vachon, Butch Goring, Juha Widing, and Terry Harper play big roles on my team.
So does Serge Bernier. He was a King that didn't reign until he joined the WHA, but in HITME he is my leading scorer.
Up front I've added a definite Buffalo flavor, relying on the likes of youngsters Don Luce, Craig Ramsay, Jim Lorentz and Rick Dudley. WHA stars Claude St. Sauveur and Kevin Morrison join Bernier on the top line. Jean Pronovost, Paul Henderson and Bobby Rousseau add a combination of scoring punch and leadership.
My blue line is deep though still lacking definite #1. But I can't complain too much. Mike McMahon, Barry Long, Gilles Marotte, Ian Turnbull and Ron Plumb are the most mobile and offensive group in the league.
And good ol' Gump Worsley backs up Rogie in the nets.
In season one I inherited a terribly weak pre-Marcel Dionne era Kings team. He'd definitely fill my top line center position nicely, now wouldn't he! I spent most of the season making trades for the future, missing the playoffs in the mean time with woeful offense and an average defense.
When I was building I was specifically looking at the 1974-75 season. I expected solid improvement this season, hoping to finish in the top 4 of my playoff bracket. But a conference title is awesome.
My defensive numbers and penalty kills have slipped as the season progressed, and those who know me know that bugs me. Both are still in the upper echelon of the league, but they were both once rated 3rd best in the league.
Interestingly, those numbers slipped a touch at the same time my offense really took off. My PP is the second best in the league. Bernier and Pronovost both scored over 100 points, with St. Sauveur, Goring and surprising mid-season call up Lorentz leading the way. But let's not forget the significant production from the blue line.
I open the HITME playoffs against the St. Louis Blues. I hope I to go deep in the playoffs, but I'm not looking any further ahead than the series with the Blues. The heavy favorite for the title is the Boston Bruins though, as they lost only 7 games all season.