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Experts wade into the fantasy pool Add to ...

Duhatschek: I’m constantly surprised by how some – not all, but some – of the players we cover like to talk about pools. Most of them played fantasy hockey themselves growing up. A lot of them will tell you at, say playoff time, their friends drafted them, or didn’t draft them. I once told Jarome Iginla that I had him on my fantasy team and he immediately apologized and promised to do better. Pierre, I think there’s a rule in your pool, isn’t there, that you are obliged to draft Claude Giroux, who like you, hails from Hearst, Ont.?

LeBrun: Mr. Giroux is one of my keepers this season. I expect a bounce-back season from my fellow Hearst native. It is funny to tell players that you own them on your media fantasy team and see their reaction. I once had a player who, when told it was a rotisserie-type format with salaries, was disappointed with how cheaply I got him. He felt he was worth way more. And I admit that once I’ve completed my actual work duties in terms of interviewing coaches, GMs or players, there might be the odd time I’ll try to glean a bit of fantasy info from them during idle chit chat at the end of conversations.

It’s what makes our fantasy league so unique: every member of the pool has access to NHL players, coaches, etc. It’s the main reason I formed this media-only fantasy league. Everyone has the same competitive advantage. One thing about being in a pool with non-media guys is if you won the pool, they would say it was because you had special access to NHL sources, and if you didn’t do well in the pool, they’d chastise you for not doing well despite being an “expert.” You couldn’t win either way. In this format, we’re all people covering the game. It’s fantastic from that perspective.

Shoalts: A few years ago, Pierre and I were in the San Jose Sharks dressing room. In the weeks prior, I traded Joe Thornton as part of a multiplayer deal. Pierre and Thornton have a good relationship and they were joking around. The subject of fantasy leagues was raised. Thornton said he hoped Pierre had him in the pool and Pierre said, no, Shoalts got him first. I looked at Thornton deadpan and said: “Yeah, but I traded your sorry ass.” Since Thornton is a kibitzer, he laughed and said he hoped I got someone good. To which my only possible response was: “Are you kidding?”

Friedman: I once had seats at a Toronto Blue Jays game right next to the visiting bullpen (at Exhibition Stadium). Yankees pitcher Ed Whitson, who does not fondly remember his time in New York, was on my team. He was warming up and I yelled to him how he was on my fantasy team and needed him to do better. I was about 14. Looking back on it now, I must have sounded like the biggest idiot ever. So I never bring it up.

Duhatschek: Elliotte and I have had a history of trades. Two years ago, I really needed a goaltender and Elliotte kindly offered me Tim Thomas, who at the time was playing great for the Bruins and was coming off a Stanley Cup win. But he wanted some of my good young talent and I consented to give him three players, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was on his way to the rookie-of-the-year award (and would have won, except he got hurt). Soon after the trade, Thomas refused to join the Bruins at the White House; got involved in that whole wrangle, and basically couldn’t stop the puck for a month. I finished just out of the money.

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