Monday, December 14, 2009

SportsJudge Fantasy Hockey Challenge 1st Half Update: Experts

The 2009-10 SportsJudge Fantasy Hockey Challenge has reached the midway point of the regular season. To no surprise, most of our experts are still bunched together tightly in the standings, while one has jumped out to a very impressive (albeit unconventional) early lead. This week we'll take a look at the guests of SportsJudge, how their teams have fared so far, and what the future may hold.

*To view each team, click on the small roster image to the right

Prince of Wales Conference:

#1. (Declan G) Declan is the founder of, a top-notch New York Rangers blog. His team leads the Prince of Wales Conference at 111 points. Declan had a great draft and got off to a hot start, winning his first five weeks handily, but injuries have caused him to slip up as of late. Fortunately, he jumped on Moulson and Erat just in time to fill the voids. Losing Emery for 6 weeks will hurt, but the strength of his centers will carry him to wins in most weeks.

Key Additions: Alex Goligoski, Matt Moulson, Martin Erat

#4. (Kevin Greenstein, Alex Linsky) Kevin and Alex are co-managing a team on behalf of Draft problems left their team a little weak at goaltender, but Alex decided to pull the trigger early and bring in Ryan Miller. It couldn't have worked out better as Miller is arguably the league's best at this point in the season. On top of that, James Neal was a great snag a few weeks into the season as he is still currently on pace to top 40 goals. If Malkin can get back to his Conn Smythe form, InsideHockey could be a very tough team to beat.

Key Additions: Lubo Visnovsky, James Neal, Dustin Penner

#5 (Timo Seppa) Timo writes a fantasy and sabermetric column for Puck Prospectus. He started the season with three big losses in the first four weeks, which likely prompted the short leash he's held on many of his roster spots. He made a flurry of 8 moves in a 5-day period in an attempt to stop the freefall, and was very successful in doing so. His team has stayed fairly healthy thus far, yet has been a victim of a tough division. His 89 points would put him almost in second place in the Campbell Conference. His most impressive move in my mind has been adding Tuuka Rask. Prior to the season, I quietly felt Rask would end up as the Boston starter by year's end, a development which could eventually lead Timo to a championship.

Key Additions: Rich Peverley, Tyler Myers, Tuuka Rask

Campbell Conference:

#1. (Brian Schrembs) Brian is a co-founder of the website I must say, he has put together one of the most impressive 10 weeks of fantasy hockey I have ever seen. Not only is he 18 points ahead of anyone in the entire league with 129 points, he's accomplished this by making ONE move. You're probably wondering who this single move could have been for a man so selective, right? How about a two-week add and then drop of Jamie Benn from Dallas. With a solid roster top to bottom, there's no way I can argue Schrembs isn't the favorite at the midpoint.

#3 (Bruce Hollingdrake) The Hockey Writers is a collaborative effort, bringing together over 30 skilled hockey writers from across the US and Canada. Bruce represents his website in our league and unfortunately has been crushed by injuries which never seem to end. Currently he has five players on Injured Reserve and even more with minor bumps and bruises. Yet surprisingly, after losing his first six weeks, Bruce has strung together 3 wins in his past 4 weeks and has gotten himself right back into contention. It's scary to think what he could do with talented players like Gionta, Markov, and Clarkson in the lineup right now.

Key Additions: Matt Carle, JS Giguere, Alex Burrows

#5 (Richard Pollack) Richard is the creator and editor of the website Illegal Curve. Asking him to feel sorry for Bruce and his injuries is hardly reasonable. Not only has he had countless injured players, they've been all elite offensive talents such as Kovalchuk, Savard, and Kronwall. I truly felt after the draft that Richard had one of the most talented teams in the league, and I'm sticking to my guns. When Backstrom, Backes, and Spezza awake from their early season slumbers, I think IllegalCurve makes a run to the finals.

Key Additions: Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Ondrej Pavelec

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