Walter A. Donaldson

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  1. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to Csizi96 in S9 Buzzer national teams   
    Buzzed by Paul's idea in Cage, I started to put together some small nations' national team squads. I did in 14 F, 8 D, 3 G format, tried to split the 14 into 5 C + 9 F, but where centers were clearly better than the last few forwards there I went with them. Just to be clear, I only looked at overall (what I try to avoid when building my team tho), so it's rather the best team than the right one  Any questions, requests, advice and comments are welcome as well  I also used a bit more colors in the player traits, according to the order of traits in the help files
    Let's start with the Italy roster here too:
    Interesting to see they have a lot of free agents, almost no depth in wingers, and their best goalie is down in the Czech league. 
    Ones to watch: Pablo Zambrotta, the 87 ovr center and Samuele Perico, the 84 ovr defender, both with plenty of GHL experience, and Cristian Diego Alves, the recent BHL draftee who can grow into an important player for this team.
    As you can see, their D-line is getting old, but they try to compensate it with size and toughness

  2. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Part IV

    The next game is away against top 5 West team Flying Legends. A 6-4 win, with 1G 3A from Weichert and 9 points from the “God” line is a noticeable improvement from the previous games. Two more wins follow, then five, and soon the Black Devils’ are streaking at 11 games, and the team is 1st in the East standings. Depth arrives via trades, but this time Rasputin keeps his valuable 1st round pick. Rotating in on Weichert’s wing is playmaker Bruun, who will finish the season leading the team with 33 goals. The good form continues into the final stretch, with the Black Devils, Kingsmen, and Castaways chasing the division-leading Timberwolves.
    With just over 20 games to go and only 4 points between Vermilion and West Chicago, there is a home and away series with the Riders to navigate. Vermilion took the previous game 5-1, and there should be nothing to worry about. But the Devils come out flat, not clinical, and end the day with a 5-3 loss despite doubling up the Riders with shots. This is a precursor of things to come. Vermilion G Moller has a poor game, never feeling comfortable - but he will have another chance in two days. The team files off the ice 7 points back, but with plenty of track still to go. 
    The next morning, troubling reports arrive. Moller is nowhere to be found, absent from morning practice and MIA. Players report seeing him dazed the previous night, the look of a man whose mind is far away. Rasputin quickly organizes a search party and brings in team doctors. Did Moller get a concussion the previous game? The medical team answers in the negative. But who knows, concussions are easy to miss and affect everyone differently. 
    Players and professionals scour the city for their missing teammate. His cellphone is off. Bure raises troubling concerns of organized crime activity by competitors. He points out the questionable nature of Warman GM Wick Schozen, known for his elaborate and barely-legal antics to derail other teams, and matching Rasputin for foul language and drinking volume. Rasputin flies to meet Wick alone with two bottles of rum. Warman media reports the two carousing around the edge of the town, causing thousands of dollars in property damage and leaving equivalent sums of cash behind. Three hours later Rasputin returns satisfied of Wick's innocence in the matter. But the clock is ticking, and going shot for shot with other GMs to find out the truth is not an effective solution. 
    Pulling on his military experience, Stezhensky and team experts psychologically profile Moller, identify his frequented places, and investigate all of them. As time ticks and evening falls, the team comes across an isolated, old farmhouse in the prairies outside Vermilion. Inside, huddled in a blanket and in a near-catatonic state, is the Vermilion starting goaltender. Turning his blank gaze onto his captain, he whispers “I should have had that shot”.
    The next game is tomorrow, and Rasputin has Bure make a mental health announcement to the team and brings in a team psychologist. In a closed-door session with Rasputin and Moller, the psychologist recommends the goaltender sits for 3-4 games to regain his mental equilibrium. But Moller wants to play. Rasputin knows what it’s like to not have an opportunity to redeem yourself in front of your teammates, so he stands behind his player. Moller will start the crucial 2nd half of the home-and-away against Welsford Riders. 
  3. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Part III

    Again, the town of Vermilion comes to the rescue. The next morning, the players get a phone call. They are expected at the academy arena, Solar Stars Park, in 60 minutes, full gear. As the squad arrives, they see Bure and Rasputin, geared up in white and gold, already on the ice, in front of 25 equally suited up academy prospects. A massive pile of body, arm, and leg weights lies at centre ice. Silently, Alexander points at the weights with his stick. 
    “The series is best-of-5. Full games, 15 minute break in between. Get your s*** on, decorate yourselves with the weights like a goddamn Xmas tree, and form your lines. You are coaching yourselves today.” 
    20 extra kilos of weight is manageable for the kind of athletes playing for the Black Devils, and the team easily takes the first game from the academy, 5-1. The pace is frenetic, and as the game winds down, the players are tired but in good spirits. Moskalev is throwing good-natured insults toward the academy squad, and the players feel comfortable. If this is their punishment, so be it. But Rasputin smirks and changes his lines, and 15 minutes later the fresher, faster academy graduates have the professional squad pinned in their zone, absorbing check after check, shot after shot. The team responds well - the skill level of the Vermilion top 6 is elite, and even at half speed, they are deadly. Peloso and Weichert lead the charge, and the professional squad takes the 2nd match 3-2. This time the break goes by faster, the jokes are fewer, and the Black Devils concede breakaway after breakaway in the first period of the third game. Bure is tireless, cutting through the defence again and again, testing the resolve of his players. Rasputin is no amateur himself, breaking in down the wing and smashing shot after shot at the net. The two motivate the prospect team, and they win a close game 3-1. The tide turns.
    Skating on Bure’s line for Game 4 is 16 year old Austrian teenager Sandro Koch, here on a tryout with a handful of other prospects eligible for next year’s GHL draft. After the Black Devils score first, he sets up 3 out of the next 6 goals, and the prospect squad takes the fourth game 6-3. Rasputin and Koch exchange a couple of words after the game, then Rasputin and Bure. There is frustrated yelling from the Black Devils locker room. Rasputin smiles and waits. Vermilion comes out enraged, but noticeably adapts their game to their opponents, playing with more finesse, less physicality, and exploiting the inexperience in the prospect squad. It’s tight, but the Black Devils take the final game 6-4, and with it, a 3-2 series win. The exhausted players file off the ice as Bure salutes the prospects. Rasputin is pleased.
     
  4. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Part II

    The new arrivals mesh comfortably with the “veteran” core of the team, as Ostrout, Bogolyubov, Moskalev, Venalainen, and Sanford are still in the squad, along with the WPD line. The mood is optimistic, Vermilion Park is now near capacity, and the town boasts hotels, chains, and a modern experience for casual and serious fans. The season opens with a massive hard rock performance by Shinedown officially premiering “Devil” as the official Vermilion club anthem. Rasputin is lukewarm on Shinedown - they are no Behemoth - but the song is heavy enough for the general public. As the theme blares and he watches from the press box in his customary aviators and leather coat, the opening lines are announced to thousands of screaming fans:
    Peloso - Weichert - Danielsson
    Bruun - Adams - Waldenstrom
    Aboussafy - Moser - Venediktov
    Sanford - Levet - Ostrout
    Miville-Deschenes - Stezhensky
    Hellstrom - Yakovlev
    Arnaud - Malepart
    Moller
    Antonsson
    After a strong start, the opponent on Game 11 is Nipawin, a team Black Devils fans will get used to seeing. Vermilion comes out with the usual swagger and lethality, and quickly gains a 2-1 lead, Peloso scoring twice, one a rocket from the Ovi spot, and cleaning up a rebound in front. The fans are losing their minds, and The Chasm is rocking.

    But the momentum shifts quickly. Unlike the lower leagues, the teams in the SHL know what the prize is, and even wounded boxers can hit back quickly. Nipawin gets a goal back immediately, and its constant pressure takes a toll on the Vermilion offence. Centerman Adams misplaces a breakout pass, which is intercepted - and Vermilion defenceman Hellstrom is forced to bring down a Thunderhawks forward on a clear breakaway. The referees rule a penalty shot, and after the ensuing goal, Hellstrom is ejected from the game for making throat cutting gestures at the officials. A suspension is almost certain, and the crowd raises the roof with boos and profanity. The Thunderhawks score on the ensuing powerplay and ice the game in the final minute to win 5-2. Despite a dominant 3rd period, the Devils can’t rise to the occasion and Peloso smashes his stick into the glass as Stezhensky, ever the calm presence, critically watches the players file off the ice. 
    Hellstrom sits for 10 games, and Vermilion drops the next two with performances that are good, but not quite good enough to take the W. The team is clearly unsettled, and this time, Rasputin isn’t getting a response from asking his players to channel their anger into goals. If anything, the team seems fragile and too emotional, collapsing under the pressure of needing to win. Bure coldly watches as another lead slips away, but Rasputin stubbornly refuses to change the lines or the team’s approach. Black Devils lose 4-1 to rival Groundbirch and are now on a 0-3 streak and losing ground in the title race in their first, critical, SHL season.
  5. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from AlexanderRasputin in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    Ramblers to Honor #1 For Long Time Goalie Brady Daigneau
    For the first home game of the Coming Season, the Ramblers will Honor Goalie Brady Daigneau's Career as a Rambler, by honoring his number 1. Malte Stalberg is currently wearing Number one, however, whoever wears the number one sweater, will be presented by Daigneau with a sweater to symbolize the passing of the torch from one great to another. Daigneau was hired as a scout by the Ramblers.
    "It is an honor to be remembered, while I did have some struggles, I look back fondly on my career in New Haven. I sometimes wish I could start up again, but I like the idea of scouting the young goalies coming up."
     
    Coach Donaldson and GM Werner are out of New Haven on a large scouting trip and were not available for comment.
  6. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from AlexanderRasputin in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    Ramblers Scouting Team, GM, and Coach travelling all over North America
    It's been noted that the Ramblers GM Don Werner, Coach Walter Donaldson, and Chief Scout Josh Vezeau, have been going to various Junior teams, and scouting players. This may signify that the Ramblers are looking for youth. The Ramblers are an Older club, while younger players like Mazurek, Laitinen Bellini, and Nurminen are beginning to hit their stride, this trip could mean that the Ramblers are preparing for a big draft in the near future. More on this as the Story Unfolds.
  7. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Part II

    Weichert, a 21-year old German superstar with elite playmaking and faceoff skills, trains in the Alps, at altitude. After signing a lucrative deal with Vermilion, he quips that Rasputin himself paradropped onto a ski slope and negotiated the signing during a ski race. “If I beat him, I would have owned the club, and he would have centered the 1st line”, he says, laughing. The signing of Weichert, something that took over a week to complete, involved competing with offers from various BHL and SHL teams, and was the first true test of the Black Devils reputation.

    “I wanted to come here because of the playstyle first, as “defence” is not a word in my vocabulary - but also because I wanted to be a part of history”, continues Weichert. “Ultimately, I was convinced that someone with as much drive as Alex was going to bring this team to the GHL.”

    Canadian powerforward Hasan Peloso needs no such convincing. “I knew about Alex’s project. I have family in Alberta and they couldn’t shut up about this insane new team with the witchcraft and the arena, and the Moscow money, and the feeling of lifting a trophy every single season. I saw the games, the interviews. The balls with which they played and Alex’s message of ‘we’re coming for you’...” He chuckles. “They didn’t need to ask me twice.” 
    Rasputin describes a similar mutual admiration. “We have this tradition here. Every practice, the first player in the locker room begins to do pushups, and continues until all the other players have come into the room. I have...had...the record - 165, probably out of respect”, he grins. “When Hasan came in, first practice, he started the set, and the boys lined up right outside the door, to, you know, f*** with the new guy. Well, we must have waited for a good 10 minutes and that f***** was still going. At that point, we had no choice. What a monster.”

    With two of the three top targets locked down, Rasputin sets out to approach Herschel, with whom Danielsson had recently signed, for a deal to obtain his rights. A Swedish junior star, the 20-year old sniper is viewed by the scouts as the ultimate fast, energetic trigger-man with elite shooting ability, who would form a telepathic partnership with Weichert and be a predator on the rush, with Peloso providing the hits and net-front presence to enable the other two to have their way with the enemy defence. But the negotiations drag on. Despite Vermilion offering a more and more lucrative package to a team already stacked with top young talent, Herschel management stubbornly refuses to pull the trigger on a deal.

    The beginning of the season draws close, and Rasputin finally resorts to something he hadn’t yet done - trading away the Vermilion 1st round pick. In a package with previous 1st rounder Sloboda and promising centre Oehrl, the BHL 1st is finally enough to green-light the trade, and Danielsson, “a fast-food Mogilny”, according to Bure, takes the first plane to Alberta to link up with his new club. 
     
  8. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    SEASON 4:

    BHL
    The Fourth Circle
    (59-2-4-15, 1st place)
    Part I 
    The now well-oiled Vermilion machine has won 3 straight league titles and countless hearts. The player Instagram accounts are flooding with fans and their pockets with cash. For the first time, the Black Devils are a profitable business. The Chasm, as Vermilion Park is now commonly known far and wide in Alberta, is a busy place. Hundreds of businesses have opened their doors within the arena and the Vermilion area, with the town quadrupling their population and infrastructure just barely catching up with the expansion. 
    Alexander Rasputin buys a tiger sanctuary and fills it with bears. Every morning he wrestles them to remind himself that life is precious, and that danger and uncertainty can be bent to man’s will. Rasputin is a man on a mission - and for the BHL, that mission is to get better players. The Vermilion staff understand that at the BHL and then the SHL level, they are entering elite territory, and the core of the team that will be able to compete in these leagues needs to be built now. 
    A new top-tier scouting team is formed, with focus on using advanced analytics on picking up the best players for the now well-known Black Devils style of play - fast, furious, and incredibly offensive, both in approach, and in the amount of Russian profanity accompanying every rush. Coach Pavel Bure, now with a 183-13-10-37 record behind the bench, continues to go out on the ice and destroy his defence at practices, but they can now stop him about half the time, rather than not at all. There is clear progress. 
    The Black Devils have drafted well, picking up gifted defensive defenceman Dmitry Yakovlev at 114th after shipping perimeter squad players to mediocre teams in the offseason for their draft picks. Yakovlev will immediately slot in on the team’s first pairing, and is one of the pieces that will form the team’s core for at least the next two seasons. The team has also signed flashy Canadian C Laith Sanford, who scored a record 57 goals the previous CHL season, playing for rival Wolverines. Goalie Dannie Dutil, known for his near-perfect positioning but not much else, has been slotted in as a starter to replace retired Zach Callan. Rasputin and his staff aren’t concerned - the goaltender isn’t going to be winning the team many points with the kind of offence the Black Devils are used to running. 
    After being blessed by the horned Orthodox-looking, incense-carrying priest, and under the watchful eye of Fedor, the scouting team locks themselves inside The Chasm’s offices for 13 days. Arena employees report chanting, flickering flames, and strange, inhuman sounds from behind the doors.

    On the 14th day, as the scouts file out, their sunken eyes filled with incomprehensible, eldritch truths, their leader hands Rasputin a torn scrap of paper. On it are three names:
    C Frank Weichert
    F Hasan Peloso
    F Ricky Danielsson



  9. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Part III
    The season begins with even more fanfare and more on-ice success, as the team, knowing Rasputin’s expectations, set out to tear down opponent after opponent in truly demonic fashion. Halfway through the season, the Black Devils are 9 points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference. The 1st line of Weichert, Peloso, Danielsson, dubbed the “Weapon of Pass Destruction” line by the press, is cosmic. Midway through the season, Weichert is leading the league with 1.85 PPG, with 30 goals and 55 assists in 46 games putting him on a record 150-point pace. An injury to Danielsson slows him down, but it is Peloso who is leading the charge in the goalscoring department, Ovechkin-esque in battering through opponents on his way to highlight-reel goals. The mainstream Canadian media has picked up on the hype around Vermilion, and public figures and ex-pros can now be seen at Black Devils games. Rasputin and Bure are more than happy to give interviews, creating a constant aura around the club. Will they, again, capture the title as easily as before?
    Fate strikes this charge down in game 46, against Estuary Flame, a Western conference rival. In a now routine, surgical three-move breakout, Weichert and Peloso skate away, 2 on 1 against an Estuary defenceman. In desperation, he dives to the ground, waving his stick like a white flag at Weichert’s legs, and tripping him awkwardly as the two players slide in a pile to the boards. Weichert doesn’t get up and the crowd holds their collective breaths. Moving slowly, the Black Devils star is escorted to the locker room, holding his head, as Peloso repeatedly smashes the offending Estuary player into what remains of his face.

    Post-game, a grim Rasputin spits out “Done for the season” before disappearing into a closed-door meeting with the players. 
    Feeding on Rasputin’s earlier message of channeling anger on the ice, it is Hasan “Turkish” Peloso who steps up for the team. Paired with Danish veteran playmaker Clemens Eriksen, picked up via waivers, the two continue the Vermilion domination of the BHL. Peloso finishes with a record 50G/56A/106P in 73 games, Eriksen contributes a respectable 68 points in 48 games in his short time with Vermilion, with Weichert finishing 3rd in league scoring despite missing 34 games.

    The Black Devils take the title with 4 games to spare, missing out on another 60-win season by 1 game. The team celebrates around Peloso, receiving the top goalscorer, point scorer, and overall MVP award, his name etched into Black Devils lore. A banner is lowered from the rafters and a fourth flame is lit in a ceremony by the injured Weichert.
     
  10. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    SEASON 5:

    SHL
    The Fifth Circle
     
    Part I
    The offseason before the team’s SHL challenge is noticeably muted. The pressure is palpable. Despite Vermilion’s domination the previous 4 seasons, there is still an era of disbelief seeping through Rasputin’s seemingly undefeatable organization. So close to the first Five-Year-Plan goal, everything is magnified. Alexander locks himself in with the players often to speak in team-only sessions.

    The level of turnover that was effective in previous seasons is no longer viable. A team with chemistry, willing to face battle for one another, is the only way to pass the SHL gauntlet, full of GHL-ready players from narrowly relegated teams, and young talent from around the world. Scouting the opposition, Vermilion staff is shocked at the quality their rivals possess. Western rival Blenheim Fighting Bobcats are backed by a world-class Russian goaltender, Juris Alenin, an eccentric with undeniable GHL-level talent who is well-known in Russian sport as a wild man and a crazy naturalist, disappearing for weeks into the Russian tundra during the off-season and found swimming in icy lakes more than inside human settlements. Warman Fighters are constructed from A-tier prospects playing together for years, an effective and cohesive unit that has had a chance to develop chemistry and hone their approach for some time. In the East, Timberwolves field a strong, offensive squad, while Becancour Kingsmen and Welsford Riders are all aiming for promotion. There is a feeling around the Black Devils club that this season is different from the rest. 
    Rasputin focuses on strong goaltending. With the talent available to other teams, winning through sheer offensive firepower is no longer guaranteed. The team will still fire at will, as usual - but the support at the other end needs to be strong. He splashes cash on the best available FA on the market - Danish goalkeeper Paul Moller. Moller has GHL pedigree and a stellar career record. The scout report warns of his lack of positioning fundamentals, but at every level, Moller has been able to mask that deficiency with some truly unreal ability in every other area. “He doesn’t even know where or what the net is”, complains Bure. But Muller flops around comfortably in pre-season, pitching 2 shutouts in 3 games.

    Next, Alexander signs tough-as-a-bear veteran Russian defenceman Igor Stezhensky. Ex-military with a shady past, Stezhensky and Bure eye each other steely until the new signing puts out his hand, and thanks Bure for bringing him onto the team. When offered, Stezhensky does not accept the co-captain's armband until the current captain, Peloso, will take part in a traditional Spetsnaz exercise of two men sitting across from each other on a bench and trading punches until one taps out. The bout is televised. The two men hammer each other with blows for 15 minutes, but both are still up, bleeding and swearing profusely. Rasputin steps in and calls the match, offering the two a peace-shot of Stolichnaya. The two captains, Canadian and Russian, nod as they stagger up, having earned the respect of the team and each other. They will take the armband and provide the steel and instruction to Vermilion’s young core of offensively gifted players.

    Finally, with Weichert still recovering, the Black Devils are first to the signature of talented Danish playmaker Ejnar Bruun, to split the creative load. Swedish veteran two-way forward Amandus Waldenstrom joins him on the Vermilion 2nd line. The team has a strong European lean, but with enough steel and strength to be feared. At the end of the FA period, Vermilion picks up Loke Hellstrom in a trade, a Swedish dman with an uncanny shooting ability and a cool name - as well as Isaac Miville Deschenes, a Canadian offensive d-man. These two will run the Vermilion powerplay. The squad looks tough-as-nails, a good mix of experience and youth, and equipped to play the high-octane hockey Black Devils fans are used to seeing. But the yet another round of turnover means the players have very little on-ice chemistry.

    This will prove to be a problem.
     
  11. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from AlexanderRasputin in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    The New Haven Ramblers have yet again moved up the GHL, Setting Club Record highs in Wins, Points, Penalty Kill percentage, and Home Wins. They also set record lows for Losses and Home losses. The Future is unsure, they are a tough team that is a Mix of promising Youth and Old Grizzled Vets. Al Laitinen, Jim Nurminen, Dan McAnally, Artie Lipponen, Howie Mazurek, Ellis Wulff, Desi Cottard, and Marc Godbois all show particular promise. Mazurek, Laitinen, and Nurminen all have previous GHL experience with varying success. Mazurek and Nurminen caught fire quite well in their previous GHL experience, while neither of their point totals are staggering, they performed quite well. However, Laitinen while played well enough, he did not produce and just did not look good enough.
    The big questions that are being asked are about the Three Main Veterans on the Club, Stanger, Guerrier and Jorgenson. Will they retire during the off season, Stanger is regressing slowly, but defensively he is solid, but he is certainly slowing down and could be looking at the AAHL this coming season. Jorgenson is regressing slowly too, however Defensively he is better then ever, and Guerrier is still tough as ever and still defensively strong. Guerrier, Jorgenson, and Stanger are stalwart Penalty Killers, three of the best ever. The questions are whether they will be able to stick in GHL, they are really slowing down, luckily they tend to be paired with younger speedier players that compensate for their veteran counterparts. Coach Donaldson said; "I'm really unsure about this coming year, old Stanger is a hard guy to replace, a great Leader and one of my best defensive players. Guerrier is still a tough customer and a top defensive player and Jorgenson is a solid little guy who plays excellent defensive hockey and is great on the Penalty killer. Come training camp, they will each get their chance. Should none of these guys retire."
    New Haven's Goaltending still looks solid, with Dylan Deraspe and Malte Stalberg were solid during the Past season, while Stalberg has 7 games under his belt and did not do so well. Deraspe has 47 games under his belt and was quite good and solid in relief. Both are veterans, it is likely that the Ramblers will acquire someone to help with the load. The Ramblers have a good young prospect in Marc Godbois. Godbois has a promising future but needs some seasoning.
    The Ramblers are going to be interesting this season, will they be able to build to stick this year in the GHL? With proper signings, some hard work, and solid coaching,  they could turn the corner and stick in the GHL. It will take some luck too, as long as the team stays healthy as well. This off-season will likely decide how the season will proceed. The Management will have to be smart, not being too loyal, but also not be reactionaries. They likely will not make the play offs the first year, you cannot always hit home runs, sometimes you have to make first base. In this case the Ramblers are trying to make first base, if they strike out it could be farewell to Coach Donaldson and General Manager Werner.
  12. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Part II
    The season begins slow.

    Almost immediately, disaster strikes. In game 2, star forward Bogolyubov breaks in one on one against an opposing defenceman, pulls the puck through his legs and aggressively drives the net, colliding heavily with the post while attempting to stuff the puck behind the goaltender, who rushes out to meet him. The impact is heard around the arena. Bogolyubov skates back to the faceoff circle and attempts to continue play, but his leg buckles under. He goes straight to the locker room.

    “He come at me a little bit with stick, hit against skate, get me off balance. Is not illegal, of course - but he is still son of a bitch”, responds Bogolyubov with typical Russian black humour. The news is not good. He is sidelined for most of the year due to a torn ACL, putting into question the team’s ability to complete The Plan. 
    Bogolyubov’s absence and the lack of Ellingsen’s leadership hits the team hard. They drop 4 out of the next 5 games and drop out of the auto-promotion spots. At a Thursday practice, Rasputin calls it early and brings the team on a trip around Vermilion. “These are the people that have houses, families, lives here because of you,” he says assertively, “...because of what we set out to do. If we fall at this hurdle, all of this goes away.”

    Some players are distracted, laughing it off. At the next practice, Rasputin tells them to go on the ice without gear or padding. “Right now, you are faster, lighter than the others, because your duty isn’t weighing you down” he yells as they complete skating drills well ahead of the rest of the team. “You have no duty to this city, to this team, to ME? Then you have no protection!” he bellows, as the players with no equipment are laid out onto the ice again and again by their fully geared teammates in checking and scrimmage drills. “What now?” he yells in their faces. 
    Before the next game, Rasputin addresses the players again. “Play for victory, play for glory - play with anger, play for yourselves - I don’t care unless you win. But play also for these people who owe their livelihood to you. It’s a big responsibility, an unusual burden. But we are an unusual team.” He grins. “The winds of Veles are with you. Go win some fucking hockey games.”
    It works. Vermilion goes 34-3-1-7 the rest of the season. Taking Bogolyubov’s role on the first line is another Russian star prospect, 18 year old Dinijar Moskalev, acquired from division rival Paladins for draft picks and prospects. Moskalev is the fastest player in the league - a physical specimen, but also a student of defensive hockey with a burning passion for the game. Rotating on the 1st line with another new acquisition, Czech sniper Sava Ustak, the duo provide a capable replacement for Bogolyubov.

    Ustak paces the Black Devils with 80 points, Ostrout has another strong season with 36 goals, and the Black Devils take a third straight league title with a 56-win season - securing promotion to the BHL and lighting a third flame in front of Vermilion Park. 
     
  13. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    SEASON 3:

    CHL
    The Third Circle
    (56-6-3-15, 1st place)

    Part I
    After two seasons of blistering success, albeit in the lower leagues, the Black Devils are beginning to be noticed by other clubs and the North American hockey scene. The vision of an enigmatic Russian bringing the club to an historic, meteoric rise is ⅖ complete. Vermilion as a town has grown dramatically over the past two years, with businesses finding a home in the shadow of Vermilion Park, and ticket sales surging. The stadium is still half-empty, but if the team keeps winning as is, filling it is a realistic proposition at the SHL level. And the Devils are not just winning, they are winning in style. Maxim Bogolyubov, in particular, has become a massive fan favourite, showing off all the predicted Russian silkiness and patterning his style of play after that of his coach, Bure. The “BOH” line (a play on the Russian word “bog” meaning “god”) of Bogolyubov, Ostrout, and Hachey has been remarkable so far, and the three players are indeed enjoying demigod status in Vermilion. 
    As is Rasputin. He, however, knows what is coming. CHL is no longer a sandbox league. There is some real structure and financial muscle behind the clubs here, and the Black Devil squad has to be rebuilt again, because the objective is nothing but victory. Nothing but 1st place. Rasputin dips once more into the Russian lower leagues to bring out veteran offensive defenceman Sergei Zhurov, shutdown defenceman Semyon Lobkov, and powerforward Anton Kopeykin, famous in Russian junior YouTube compilations for breaking stadium glass with his hits almost at will. In a long season against stronger teams, depth will be crucial. He also signs legendary CHL goalie Zach Callan, hoping the added veteran leadership in net will play a part.

    The solid beginning of the off-season is marred by conflict with IHL top defenceman and team captain Ove Ellingsen, who demands nearly double his salary in a contract extension and refuses to report to training until this is done. He makes disparaging comments to the media about his star status deserving compensation. Alexander and Pavel call a press conference. The message is clear. 
    “This ship is moving,” says Rasputin coldly. “You get on board, or we leave you behind. Victory is bigger than all of us.”

    The next day, Ellingsen is shipped off to North Haven for a depth player and a prospect. Ellingsen is a popular figure and some players are clearly unsettled by the manner of his exit. There are rumours of a shouting match between Rasputin and Ellingsen’s defensive partner Sampo Venalainen. “I don’t like fucking losing!” is heard through the office walls. Alexander pounds his fists on the table. “Do you?”

    The team uses the extra salary to add Canadian offensive defenceman Dereck Semple and signs their 1st round draft pick, two-way Slovakian forward Andrej Sloboda to play in the bottom six. Training has increased in intensity, and American football-style dummies on sledges with Ellingsen's jersey are hit hard every practice. It's a crude tactic, but reinforces the message - you are either with us, or against us. Rasputin knows that to succeed yet again, this is the only way forward.

    The siege of CHL is under way.
  14. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to Paul T in Injuries   
    It doesn't get much more even than that, so that is not the issue.  I've seen teams play 40% line 1 and 50% first pair D with no problems.  My splits are very similar to yours.  When players get tired I'll usually adjust special teams as needed.
  15. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from Deadwing in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    The Ramblers Honor the Number of Retired Forward Mackenzie "Mac" Wagers before the game against the Becancour Kingsmen, Howie Mazurek was presented with the Number 8 sweater by Mac Wagers, to show the significance of the Number to be worn. Mac Wagers was touched by the gesture and gave a speech:
    "I gave a lot of my Career for the Ramblers organization, I retired after last season. I'm honored to give my number to Howie Mazurek, a future star with the Ramblers and hopefully for many years to come will carry my number as a Rambler for many years."
    Wagers played 265 games in GHL, While scoring 39 goals and adding 53 Assists, while those numbers aren't spectacular his defensive ability and spirit won him the Admiration of Teammates, Coaches, and Fans alike. In the SHL he Played 240 games, scoring 51 goals and adding 69 assists. He was a staple on the Ramblers Penalty Kill, while adding great corner work and grit to the team. Coach Donaldson said of Wagers,
    "Mac was an important part of the team while he only topped off at 21 goals in a season, he brought a lot more to the team in terms of Defensive ability, fighting spirit, and toughness. Mac now is coaching the New Haven Pegasus, but he will never be as good as I was during the past 3 seasons, because he won't be able to look down his bench and shout, 'Mac get out there!' I'll miss his penalty killing ability. Howie better wear his number with humility because he is wearing the Number of one of the finest players I've ever coached and he better live up to it!"
    Mazurek was given number 8 in training camp by Wagers, this ceremony was a public showing of it, and putting Wagers' number in the Rafters. The Ramblers have made it a practice not to retire numbers except in the case of career Ending Injuries. The Ramblers won the game 4-1, veteran Goalie Dylan Deraspe Stopped 25 out of 26 shots, to lead the Ramblers to Victory.
  16. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from Paul T in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    The New Haven Ramblers are a storied team, however this team returned under Don Werner, bringing along his old Pal Walter Donaldson as coach. The Town of New Haven has had teams since 1926. The team moved From Dalmeny where they were known as the Bad Apples to New Haven where they started out as the Whalers at the end of Season 3. Season 4 was an extremely successful year the Signings of New Captain Veteran Defenseman Assem Stanger, strong play from new defenseman Karel Rognon Fine work from veteran Center-turned-Right Winger Mackenzie Wagers, and the strong push by veteran goalie Dylan Deraspe, led to a second place finish and a promotion to the GHL. The Ramblers had a rough year in the GHL though they put up a good fight for twelfth but fell short, though it brought new regular faces, Defensemen Christian "Chris" Jorgenson and Yanick "Johnny" Guerrier, and Center Jayden-Dubois Quentin known to his teammate's as Jay. They finished 3rd the next year in the SHL, and won the playoffs on Deraspe's excellent goaltending, earning a second chance at the GHL. That second year started out well, with the Ramblers at 7th then top Scorer Houston "Howie" Mazurek went down with a severe injury knocking him off for 35 games, the team's offense sagged and they dropped to thirteenth place, they fought hard to get to twelfth, but they were a few points out. They had many Salary Problems, the Old reliables had aged, particularly Captain Assem Stanger, Jay Quentin, John Guerrier, and Chris Jorgenson. Though the team is aging in some parts, a new addition of Youth came into the Roster, namely Alpo "Al" Laitenen, Howie Mazurek, Urmas "Jim" Nurminen, Danick "Dan" McNally, Marcus "Marc" Godbois, and Aukusti "Artie" Lipponen seemed to be coming into their own. The future is uncertain for the Ramblers, they are an old team, with the Cracks starting to show but the Youngsters show great promise, and there are new Veterans starting to take shape in Roscoe Hartshorn, Matteo "Matt" Bellini, and Nathenial "Nate" Grieco. GM Werner Feel that the team needs to grow and let their youth take flight, with a promising future, The Era of Season 4-8 will be well remembered in Ramblers' fans memories.
  17. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from MarkZ in Injuries   
    I suggest instead of benching players for being in the blue, perhaps re-adjust their Ice-Time, such as moving a player on the PK First line down to the Second if they are not necessary. I tend to go with an 20 Man Roster. I highly recommend tailoring the Training to Goaltenders, if you have a Workhorse, take it easy on him, and his back up push him hard to stay in shape. With Defense I recommend going all Hard Defensive Training, to keep your Older guys sharp on the Defensive end of their game. Forwards you have to make the Distinction for yourself.
    Well I hope that helps.
  18. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to Paul T in Injuries   
    I'm afraid your situation can't be easily explained.  Think it's a bit of randomness and bad luck at a bad time in the season.  I noticed some of the skaters that were injured had low-ish endurance, but nothing out of the ordinary for your league level - and you definitely aren't overplaying them.  Your goalies also seem to have a nice rotation.  If you or your opponent were playing Hard or Dirty it might explain things a little more, but I have no insight into that.
    As far as what leads to players getting injured more frequently in the game, there are numerous factors.
    - Injury proneness of the specific player
    - Player fatigure... players being exhausted are more at risk of suffering an injury.  There's a few things that impact player fatigue... too much ice time, low endurance, training intensity.
    - You or your opponent playing Hard or Dirty
     
  19. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in Injuries   
    No pattern or explanation that I've noticed aside from perhaps a Hard fairplay tactic or low physical ratings on your players.
  20. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from AlexanderRasputin in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    The Ramblers Honor the Number of Retired Forward Mackenzie "Mac" Wagers before the game against the Becancour Kingsmen, Howie Mazurek was presented with the Number 8 sweater by Mac Wagers, to show the significance of the Number to be worn. Mac Wagers was touched by the gesture and gave a speech:
    "I gave a lot of my Career for the Ramblers organization, I retired after last season. I'm honored to give my number to Howie Mazurek, a future star with the Ramblers and hopefully for many years to come will carry my number as a Rambler for many years."
    Wagers played 265 games in GHL, While scoring 39 goals and adding 53 Assists, while those numbers aren't spectacular his defensive ability and spirit won him the Admiration of Teammates, Coaches, and Fans alike. In the SHL he Played 240 games, scoring 51 goals and adding 69 assists. He was a staple on the Ramblers Penalty Kill, while adding great corner work and grit to the team. Coach Donaldson said of Wagers,
    "Mac was an important part of the team while he only topped off at 21 goals in a season, he brought a lot more to the team in terms of Defensive ability, fighting spirit, and toughness. Mac now is coaching the New Haven Pegasus, but he will never be as good as I was during the past 3 seasons, because he won't be able to look down his bench and shout, 'Mac get out there!' I'll miss his penalty killing ability. Howie better wear his number with humility because he is wearing the Number of one of the finest players I've ever coached and he better live up to it!"
    Mazurek was given number 8 in training camp by Wagers, this ceremony was a public showing of it, and putting Wagers' number in the Rafters. The Ramblers have made it a practice not to retire numbers except in the case of career Ending Injuries. The Ramblers won the game 4-1, veteran Goalie Dylan Deraspe Stopped 25 out of 26 shots, to lead the Ramblers to Victory.
  21. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    SEASON 1: 
     
    LIHL
    The First Circle
    (60-6-3-11, 1st place)
     
     
    Rasputin brings in two Russians to fill key roles on the team - angry powerforward Viktor Sabitov and goaltender Dennis Sabantsev. Sabitov will play on the 1st line with Bergland and German veteran C Akram Janjic, who joins the squad through a Twitter job posting. Sabantsev will start in net. Bure runs the first weeks of practices behind closed doors, with players sleeping and eating at the arena. Occasionally, the players run out of the building in a line carrying what looks like bodybags over their shoulders, and head into the old clay mine where they are seen swinging pickaxes and chopping wood on the surrounding countryside. Rock music blares out of the arena, and bonfires and strange chants cover the perimeter as a vaguely Orthodox-looking priest does laps around the building with an incense burner.
     
    When the public is finally allowed in, they see a different team. The Black Devils are fast and aggressive, and hit hard. Inter-squad scrimmages devolve into adrenaline-fueled shoving matches. The players are focused. Where they lack natural skill, they are physically prepared to play a fast, aggressive game. Bure routinely steps onto the ice to show them mere grains of his talent, still exponentially better than anything they can offer, but for now, it is enough. 
    The drastic change in cohesiveness causes the unbelievers in the local media to put out a hit story on the team. “Local team’s miraculous transformation powered by ‘Russian gas’” whines the headline. In a calculated PR move, Rasputin invites WADA experts in to test his players. They follow them into bathrooms and crawl up to their beds to take blood samples during sleep. At one point, the WADA team bursts on the ice in the middle of a practice and demands urine tests on the spot. The players call the WADA rep “Gollum” for the way he always creeps behind them, muttering to himself, just out of sight. But the results are negative.
    Opening night has an audience of 750. Someone throws a sack of potatoes on the ice and boos. The players pick them up - no sense to waste good food. 
    The first season goes by quickly, powered by excitement, adrenaline, and the novelty of professional hockey. The still mostly-empty stadium is slowly attracting fans, but the team is a financial black hole. Rasputin streams games on social media, inviting YouTubers and amateur sportscasters to call the games and build up a younger fanbase. He holds NHL tournaments in the arena, giving out cash prizes and season tickets left and right. #BlackDevilHockey and #RussianSpies is trending on Twitter.
     
    True to their namesake, the Black Devils rip through the competition, finishing with a 60-6-3-11 record and a +195 goal differential. Bergland and Sabitov finish with 81 and 72 points, Sabitov with over 200 hits, and the team’s 2nd D-pair of Jesse Betiol and Aadam Richer-Louveteau, local boys, are +94 and +93 respectively. Calgarian Cedric Lepage is the team’s top goal-scorer with 39.

    A championship banner is lifted at The Chasm, and one flame is lit under the demon statue in front of the stadium. The Five-Year Plan is underway.
     
  22. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    Houston Mazurek - great player! I remember trying to sign him in FA back when I was in the SHL, but you beat me to it. Solid writeup.
  23. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to Deadwing in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    Let me just say that I like Ramblers jersey a lot. 
  24. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson got a reaction from Deadwing in Ramblin' around New Haven   
    The New Haven Ramblers are a storied team, however this team returned under Don Werner, bringing along his old Pal Walter Donaldson as coach. The Town of New Haven has had teams since 1926. The team moved From Dalmeny where they were known as the Bad Apples to New Haven where they started out as the Whalers at the end of Season 3. Season 4 was an extremely successful year the Signings of New Captain Veteran Defenseman Assem Stanger, strong play from new defenseman Karel Rognon Fine work from veteran Center-turned-Right Winger Mackenzie Wagers, and the strong push by veteran goalie Dylan Deraspe, led to a second place finish and a promotion to the GHL. The Ramblers had a rough year in the GHL though they put up a good fight for twelfth but fell short, though it brought new regular faces, Defensemen Christian "Chris" Jorgenson and Yanick "Johnny" Guerrier, and Center Jayden-Dubois Quentin known to his teammate's as Jay. They finished 3rd the next year in the SHL, and won the playoffs on Deraspe's excellent goaltending, earning a second chance at the GHL. That second year started out well, with the Ramblers at 7th then top Scorer Houston "Howie" Mazurek went down with a severe injury knocking him off for 35 games, the team's offense sagged and they dropped to thirteenth place, they fought hard to get to twelfth, but they were a few points out. They had many Salary Problems, the Old reliables had aged, particularly Captain Assem Stanger, Jay Quentin, John Guerrier, and Chris Jorgenson. Though the team is aging in some parts, a new addition of Youth came into the Roster, namely Alpo "Al" Laitenen, Howie Mazurek, Urmas "Jim" Nurminen, Danick "Dan" McNally, Marcus "Marc" Godbois, and Aukusti "Artie" Lipponen seemed to be coming into their own. The future is uncertain for the Ramblers, they are an old team, with the Cracks starting to show but the Youngsters show great promise, and there are new Veterans starting to take shape in Roscoe Hartshorn, Matteo "Matt" Bellini, and Nathenial "Nate" Grieco. GM Werner Feel that the team needs to grow and let their youth take flight, with a promising future, The Era of Season 4-8 will be well remembered in Ramblers' fans memories.
  25. Like
    Walter A. Donaldson reacted to AlexanderRasputin in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    Excellent! Will be posting additions every few days.