THN Ultimate Fantasy Guide- 2002-2003

I am sure many hockey fans bought THN’s (The Hockey News) 2002-2003 Ultimate Fantasy Guide. It looks interesting, the cover looks cool, and there are all kinds of interesting things on the cover. I did learn to never judge a book by its cover, and boy does that phrase sound right!
One thing that HTR members on this site dislike is when people post predictions. Predictions of how many points these players will score, who would win the Cup, and who makes the playoffs, and the standings. I don’t have a problem with that, as long as the writer who makes the predictions gives some good explanations as to why he made them. I am going to go through this magazine, page by page pointing out what seriously bothers me.

On page 15, “On the Up and UP” and in the “Ready for Takeoff” table, I have some problems with that. They have Alyn McCauley as the number one player who will have the big point increase. Ok, well it makes sense that his point totals should increase with more ice time, but what makes these people think that he will score 33 more points than last season? I am quite interested as to why they think that, and so I read what they have to say. ”Who knew? McCauley was a playoff revelation, as a fill-in for Mats Sundin on Toronto’s top line. If the Leafs are smart, they’ll give him more opportunities to contribute offensively.” Wow, I am ecstatic. I mean, I think that Mr. Townsend (the writer of that article) is willing to be smart by telling the Leafs that if they gave their 2nd line center more opportunities, then he might actually contribute offensively. How does the explain anything? There was no explanation to his magical prediction of +33 points for McCauley. I think McCauley can score 33 more points that last season’s total because he is the team’s 2nd line center who will also get power play time, and he could play with Mogilny. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Once again, he (Townsend) ranks Vinny Lecavalier high in points increase, not to mention he was ranked number one by Townsend last season. This guy is dying to be right with Lecavalier. I actually agree that Lecavalier could score near 60 points this season. Why? Because he is the first line center and his wingers are better, with the addition of Fedotenko. The only thing that will stop him from scoring 60 points is Head Coach John Tortarella and his pathetic strategy. I am not going to say it’s a great explanation, but it explains why I am making that prediction. Townsend said “Enough silliness.” His article is all but silliness. There are no explanations to Townsend’s predictions, so he must have one shining crystal ball telling him all this.

In the “Big Dippers” table, I like how Townsend rants on Kim Johnsson. Sure the guy had a pathetic 2 points in the last 24 games, but does that mean he will have a downfall this season? Ohhh….watch out Flyers fans. This guy knows exactly what he is talking about. Yep. Flyers main offensive defenseman who has skills and talents will have a bad season because he only had two points in 24 games. Maybe we should all send Hallmark cards to Mr. Johnsson and tell him to not feel bad if he has a 15 points decline.

THE BIG E. THE BIG I.Q.. So, this was interesting…if you love math. After reading a full page, written by Rudy Mezzetta on page 17, and then doing the math by multiplying a player’s goals by three and adding his amended penalty minutes…you really get absolutely nothing out of it. So….ok, that was really interesting…(example of sarcasm).

Also, many thanks to Mr. Townsend for caring about us hockey fans who play the hockey pools. I will gladly read his weekly tips on THN’s site. Ok, “enough silliness”! Let’s move on….

Projected Standings

This is the best part, page 22. Eastern Conference: 1) Flyers. 2) Capitals. 3) Maple Leafs. 4) Devils. 5) Senators. 6) Islanders. 7) Hurricanes. 8) Rangers. 9) Bruins. 10) Penguins. 11) Canadiens. 12) Lightning 13) Panthers. 14) Sabres. 15) Thrashers. Now, this is my response to those predictions: 1) Why? 2) Why? 3) Why? 4) Why? 5) Why? 6) Why? 7) Why? 8) Why? 9) Why? 10) Why? 11) Why? 12) Why? 13) Why? 14) Why? 15) Why? Same goes for the Western Conference. I mean, come on…if a HTR member posted those standings, he/she would get too many disagreements and criticism in return, especially when there are NO explanations. So, let me get this straight. The Bruins will be out of the playoffs. The Capitals will be awesome. The Penguins will be better than the Canadiens. In the West, the Coyotes don’t make the playoffs…for no apparent reason, and the Predators will be last. Why? I hope I got the right magazine here because this is seriously trash.

The team pages with the depth charts and miniature articles are also pretty bad. Is there anything such as a team review? No, there is just a paragraph about something on the team. Then, there are the “Make sure you have…”, and the “Stay away from…”. Now, I am not going to go over every team. I will just go over with my team, the Rangers, and then see what I have to say about it. It is a complete joke. Number one, fix the damn mistakes. Samuelsson is not a LW’er, he is a RW’er, as is Roman Lyashenko. I appreciate them making the Rangers look great on that page, but give me a break…the Rangers best LW’er as of now is Petr Nedved. Then, the goalie depth chart is also wrong. Vitali Yeremeyev is no longer in the Rangers system, and he is back in Russia. Anyway, man o man do the Rangers seem to be a kick ass team or what? Tom Poti predicted to have 42 points, being ranked 19th in the top 20 defensemen. Nedved will climb 14 points from last season’s 49 points. Dvorak will increase 11 points more. Hell, everyone will increase! Even Leetch is rated 2nd amongst all defensemen in scoring. To me, this looks like a kick ass team by THN, yet they rank them 8th in the Eastern Conference. Hehe…what the hell are they thinking! To me, by what THN is showing me, this team should be ranked at least 5th.
So, I am dying to buy THN’s next issue, which is the 2002-2003 yearbook. Looking at the cover of this magazine will make you think that it is awesome and that these so called “experts” will make you win hockey pools. If they are right, give credit to their crystal balls.

Thank you,

Micki Peroni