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Snow's Fantasy Blog

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo Sabres Manager of Hockey Information, Kevin Snow spends the majority of his time eyeballs deep in stats and media requests. For a break in the madness, Snow has decided to share his thoughts on the realm of fantasy hockey.

NOVEMBER 7, 2006

Without question, one of the most enjoyable aspects of fantasy sports are the trades. Everybody thinks they are a wannabe Darcy Regier. Sure, it's fun to prepare for the draft. And nothing beats seeing your team win in a given week. But there's something satisfying and strangely rewarding about making a trade with your fantasy team.

You know what I'm talking about. Who cares about productivity and job safety? Taking home a weekly pay check suddenly plays second fiddle to making that all-important move guaranteed to make your team a playoff contender. Of course, there's always the post-dinner conversation with your wife where you inform her of your good fortune. But even when she gives you the "I could care less what you're telling me" look, nothing will kill the buzz you've had all day.

However, there is someone that will get in the way of this unexplainable rush. Say hello to the owners in your league who feel the need to ruin your trading mood. While you want nothing more than to improve your struggling roster, they believe there's nothing wrong with standing pat or asking for the world.

That's right; I'm calling out fantasy owners around the world. You know exactly who you are. While the majority of us are in this for fun, you are the ones who make our lives difficult. Not sure who I'm referring to? Let's meet some of these fantasy offenders:

Mr. I'm Asking for the World: Outrageous offers are a polite way of describing what you'll get from this owner. While you want nothing more than a solid deal that will improve your squad, he will settle for nothing less than an all-out fleecing. Put forth a fairly respectable offer, and he fires back an email that says "NO WAY! HE'S GOING TO SCORE 200 POINTS ONE DAY. YOU'LL HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT." This is the same guy who thought that Chris Drury was legitimately on-pace for an 82-goal season.

Mr. No Response: It does take some time to come up with a sensible offer. Insult another owner and risk never making a deal with them again. But in my mind, there's nothing more annoying than an owner who ignores a trade offer. You may not like it, but at least acknowledge my supposed shortcomings. Within 24 hours would be a good start. By season's end, this is the same owner who's dumping his assets for draft picks so that he can start this vicious cycle all over again.

Mr. Counter-Offer Challenged: A first-cousin of Mr. No Response. You don't like my offer? Then how about sending something in return.

Mr. Analytical: It doesn't matter what you say, this guy will always attempt to spin the numbers in his favor. There's an owner in my league who's famous for using meaningless stats to support his arguments. Let's call him "TJ." More often than not, "TJ" will cut and paste stats and commentary from numerous roto sites to back-up his offers. "TJ" has an unhealthy obsession with Marek Svatos and Pavel Datsyuk, and he will go to great lengths to explain why you should give up your first born to have one of them on your team. In the end, his argument bores me to death and I move on to someone with a clue.

Two wins and a tie last week has "Strange Brew" in 3rd spot in my division with a record of 8-3-4 after five weeks. I solidified my defense by acquiring Ed Jovanovski and Joffrey Lupul in exchange for Joe Corvo and Wojtek Wolski. I preferred Jovanovski's experience over Corvo, who had five of his eight points in one game. Even though I had previously raved about the highly-touted rookie Wolski, I just couldn't pass up the chance to get a player like Lupul who has played almost 20 minutes a game over the last week.

With his assist on Daniel Briere's game-winning goal in Sunday's 4-3 OT win over the NY Rangers, Buffalo's Drew Stafford became just the second player in National Hockey League history to pick up his first NHL point in the overtime period of his NHL debut. Tim Sweeney first accomplished this feat with Calgary on October 4/90.

*Keep your eye on ... Paul Stastny. The 20-year-old son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny ranks third among NHL rookie scoring leaders in assists (9) and points (12). Stastny scored seven points (2+5) in a five-game point streak from Oct. 21-Nov. 1, and finished with 10 points in October -- the second-highest scoring total by an Avalanche rookie in the month of October since Marek Svatos had 11 last season.

*A big hello goes out to the Medaille College student who reworked his entire fantasy team around the sleeper picks I wrote about in my first column. Good luck, just don't come looking for me when your team goes in the tank in mid-season.

OCTOBER 11, 2006

We're only three games into the season, and Jason Pominville is already making me look like a genius. Okay, genius may be a little strong. But I can't help but brag after stealing the burgeoning Sabres sniper in the 8th (and final) round of my fantasy league draft. How he lasted that long was a shock to me, considering that Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong was taken an astounding 46 picks earlier.

Pominville has two goals on eight shots in Buffalo's first three games. Five of those shots came in Saturday's 4-3 win over Ottawa when he scored the game winner, and was second among Sabres forwards with 19:19 of ice time. Things should only get better for Pominville since he now finds himself riding shotgun with Daniel Briere. The 23-year-old Pominville scored a combined 37 goals in 75 games with Rochester and Buffalo last season, including a five-goal game prior to his promotion. The kid can flat out score, and should be a must-have in any fantasy league.

Here are some other players that may have been overlooked on draft day:

Alex Auld (Florida) -- If his 47 save performance on Monday in Toronto didn't open any eyes then nothing will. Even if Ed Belfour stays healthy, Auld should play a majority of the Panthers games this season.

Kyle Wellwood (Toronto) -- He won't score a lot, but his playmaking skills won't go unnoticed on Toronto's top line. Wellwood has six points in Toronto's first four games, including a four-assist performance last Thursday in Ottawa.

Wojtek Wolski (Colorado) -- Just one year removed from the OHL, Wolski started the season on the Avs second line. He's also seen limited power play duty, and has responded with a pair of goals. Look for big things from Wolski, as his ice time will only increase as the season goes on.

Matt Carle (San Jose) -- Carle won the Hobey Baker winner with the University of Denver last season, and is already being touted as a Calder Trophy candidate. In Monday's win over Calgary, he played more than 20 minutes and led all Sharks blueliners in power play ice time.

Duvie Westcott (Columbus) -- With Bryan Berard on the shelf, Westcott finds himself quarterbacking the league's number one power play unit in Columbus. Westcott has points in all three games so far, including one power play marker.

Alexander Semin (Washington) -- After two years in Russia, Semin has returned with a bang. Semin has four goals in three games including a hat trick in the opener. Playing with Ovechkin won't hurt, but jump on him early because he's never played more than 52 games in any single season.

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