(Ed. Note: "I Hate My [expletive deleted] Fantasy Team!" is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vicariously live through two Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey GMs as they provide snarky advice and tales of woe. This week's author is Hextall454 of Melt Your Face Off. Enjoy.)
The trailing words of a fantasy column echoed through the worn corridors of the Old El Paso Coliseum, haunting the general manager of the Red Bank Salsa Sharks:
And yet, I'm in last place, some 30 points outside of the last playoff spot. You want an underdog story to root for the last five weeks of the regular season? You've got it.
With what masterful leadership could I even attempt such a miraculous comeback? The halls were quiet then; I had sent my team home after a great night; one on which both Ty Conklin and Miikka Kiprusoff tossed shutouts. I got on the phone and made some calls.
By the next morning, the virtual lockers of Mike Knuble, Christian Ehrhoff, Dustin Byfuglien had been deleted and Salsa Shark jerseys had been stitched for newcomers Petr Sykora, Steve Montador and the newly-healed Sergei Gonchar. Throw in a couple cups of coffee for Alex Burrows and Matt Lombardi (who in no way will be able to replace my reservedly-injured Vanek and Rene Bourque, but our scouting tells us they are great e-locker room guys.) And just like that, I have my team.
I've never been one for speeches. In the 10th grade I did an oral report on the Soviet Sputnik launch and changed all the Russian scientists names to NHL players (who knew Igor Kravchuk had a Ph.D in astrophysics?) But I've seen my share of sports movies, and I know that the only thing that can enable a second-half run of glory is a stirring speech by a coach to his players. And it went something a little something like this:
"Sons of your parents! I am Hextall454.
Sidney Crosby: Hextall454 is seven feet tall!
Aye, I've heard. Waives defensemen by the hundreds. And if he were here, he'd melt the ACL Tear with fireballs from eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.
(laughter from players, except for Crosby, who inexplicably dives to the locker room floor and grimaces)
I AM Hextall454. And I see a whole team of my players, here in defiance of mediocrity. You've come to skate as playoff contenders...and contenders you are. What will you do with those postseason aspirations? Will you play?
Crosby: Play? Against ACL Tear? No! We will run. And we will live.
Aye, play and you may lose. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And standing on the golf course, less than a month from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the holes, from one to eighteen, for one chance, JUST ONE CHANCE, to come back here and tell our adversaries that they may take our playoff spot, but they'll never take... OUR CINNABONS!!!
Patrick Marleau: Coach, did you say Cinnabons?
Aye, I did, Paddy. I figured if the whole Braveheart get-up didn't stir you in your skates, I could bribe you with the most delicious of mall food court delicacies. What say you, men? Will you play for free Cinnabons?"
Week 19 Final Score: Red Bank Salsa Sharks 7, ACL Tear 4
Ok, so this was all well and good, as it snapped a disastrous 10-week losing streak and got us one the right track. However, this Disney-movie-in-the-making has a script problem. You see, the teams directly in front of me - the very teams that need to play subpar hockey in order for me to leapfrog them and get into the playoffs? Last week, they played out of their freaking minds. DC Russians United pwned the top-ranked DVDs on Ice 10-3, and Icing with Sprinkles handled the playoff-bound Outlaws 8-3. Damn it.
Maybe I should have gone with Belushi from Animal House.