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  1. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Wick Schozen in Warman Aussies (Buzzer)   
    Fighters-Danger even after two
    The Warman Fighters team bus is silent as it departs Culdesac on their way home to prepare for game three. The players isolated in their own preoccupations, some illuminated by a small flash light from above while they read or isolated with their headphones in the darkness of the bus. Only the barely decipherable cursing of Wick Schozen at the front of the bus disrupts the deafening silence. Scattered across his tray table that serves as a impromptu desk is the most recent game report, a litany of scouting profiles and a document that sits above all; a bill issued by the Culdesac Danger for repairs needed in the away team dressing room.
    After a dominating game one performance in which the Fighters at home skated away to a 5-1 victory and their confidence high, now leave Culdesac in a tied series with their heads sunken. If game one gave spectators the impression that this series would be wrapped up in short order, game two reminded everyone that Culdesac in fact had been waiting for their round two matchup before Warman had even punched their ticket to move on. Bested by the their castaway asset Charles Champagne who along with the victory took the games first star honors. The Fighters again confront the cutthroat realities of playoffs, that there is no time to relish in past success.
    Game two was a far more accurate depiction of how the next two to three games of round two will play out. Where in game one the Fighters imposed their stature on Culdesac, strongly outshooting them and goals more a product of abundance of offensive than precision. Game two saw the series tighten back up. The shots were more evenly spread, possession was near identical. The only differentiation between the two teams was who was able to make the most of their opportunities. Tonight that honor went to Culdesac. 

    If anyone can be an example of the quick adjustments required in the rapidly evolving nature of the playoffs, Wick Schozen is an ideal model. By the time we return to Warman and are back in the arena I am quick to discover that the broom closet in the underbelly of the arena that served as my office is no longer under my possession. I find my elementary school sized desk and a cardboard box of my possession discarded outside the door. Two Vietnamese women attempt to maneuver a massage table into place, it’s clearly too large to fit in the room. 
    I’m summoned into Schozen’s office and informed that the rent he’ll receive from the popup massage parlor is going to cover the charges to replace the cracked whiteboard, broken benches and plumbing repairs required for the away team locker room in Culdesac. It was either rent my office or don’t pay the salary of one of the scouts I’m told, and considering scouts tend to gossip among one another Schozen feels confident that a disgruntled scout will reach more ears than my publications. 
    Around the league, Wyoming has jumped out to a two game lead and pushed top seed Highland to the brink of elimination. Pinehurst and Harrow have split their opening two games in the East while Vermillion looks to be making easy work of Bellmore, up two games with a goal differential of 11-2. 
  2. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Wick Schozen in Warman Aussies (Buzzer)   
    Fighters Face Danger In the Second Round
    At the start of season 9 Wick Schozen caught wind on the phones that Culdesac GM Fred Longpre was in the market for a goaltender. The situation seemed a perfect match. Schozen had been juggling goaltenders with Guilmaine, Knuutila and Champagne in the fold. It was possibly one of the more straight forward and seamless deals Schozen has completed. A goaltender one way, a first round pick the other. Internal questioning indicates Warman felt pretty confident they had come out on the winning end of the arrangement. Looking at the deal now, I wish anyone good luck in their effort to get a response on the matter that doesn’t hold an air of campaign talk on Capitol Hill. 
    The repercussions of that deal and how it relates to Warman in the playoffs is the fact that Charles Champagne went on as the starter of the Culdesac Danger to have a top 3 season league wide in net. The Fighters meanwhile sit on a 23rd overall pick and a continued circus in the crease of the Warman Fighters. While the pick could still pay off with Schozen’s hand on the scouting trigger, at present moment it is still unknown who will be starting in net for Warman ahead of the first game of round 2 against Culdesac.
    Guilmaine’s first round performance against the Hazard Blizzard alone would have encouraged the conversation among the media of whether Knuutila could get the look. After the game four implosion of Guilmaine and the heroics of Knuutila in Warman’s comeback victory, that encouraged conversation has morphed into hostile doctrine calling for the chaining of Guilmaine’s ankles to the bench.  
    The only issue with the doctrine, like with all ideology, is there is more nuance in the details than the first to mind emotional appeal. Fact of the matter is Guilmaine played exceptional against Culdesac in the regular season, getting the Fighters two of their three wins against Culdesac this season. Knuutila on the other hand was liable for the Fighters only loss to the Danger on the season, with their other win credited to  *double checks notes* Juraj Jarabek, who was waived by the Fighters and spent the rest of the season in the SHL.
    So there is some uncertainty that persists in the Warman crease, it’s nothing new to the organization so expect them to prepare as usual. Though there is an added layer of complexity in assessing Warman entering the second round considering they saw more value in a first round pick than the goaltender that will be standing in the opposing crease. If Culdesac were to succeed past Warman it certainly wouldn’t be the first time GM Longpre has gotten the last laugh on Schozen.
    A temporary fallout between the two organizations over a disagreement during trade negotiations for then prospect Jean-Philippe Kilburn was able to be buried to get the Champagne deal done. In the end Schozen’s stance on Kilburn has been the equivalent of stepping in an ignited brown paperbag of dog shit on his front porch while the fruits of the eventual deal Longpre pursued has helped guide his team to this crossroads of the two organizations.
    In the Culdesac Danger the Fighters don’t face a team of veteran playoff experience like that of Hazard but instead confront a team of a hard forged style of play. Tighter defensively, less flashy offensively but hardly less effective. This is a unit less powered by its star presence in the lineup but instead a roster of everyone pulling the same direction without deviation. 
    For Warman success will hinge less on whether their depth is too much for Culdesac to overcome and more so on whether their goaltending will hold together long enough to avoid self sabotage. While Warman took out the regular season series 3-1, each game was a hard fought affair. 
    Exiting the first round the Fighters top two lines appear to be rolling hot. With six goals apiece for each line. This series looks to be an opportunity for Warman’s depth to come to the forefront. Every player registered at least a point against the Hazard Blizzard. While Culdesac moved past Oshawa in three games of more tightly fought games, it was their bottom 6 forward group who carried the weight offensively. Leading to the speculation that the top of their lineup is due for a rebound series. 
    Looking around the league. There were no upsets in the first round in the West with Highland coming out ahead of the season 8 GHL Champions Metairie and Wyoming making easy work of Medicine Hat. In the East Pinehurst pulled out an upset against Wintersville to move to the second round, they’ll face Harrow Hawks who seemed untested by Enigma. While Vermillion and their communist regime are to face off against Bellmore who will be waiving the flag of liberty for our sensible red, white and blue bleeding American viewers at home. 
  3. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Wick Schozen in Warman Aussies (Buzzer)   
    Blizzard Forecast in Playoff First Round
    The final matchup of the regular season for the Fighters was a heavyweight bout between two young, up and coming powerhouses in the West. The score was tied with Medicine Hat after every period, with Warman finally separating themselves in the shootout when Captain Ulrik Kristensen sealed the deal, scoring the second of the night and capping off a two goal - three point evening.
    Wick Schozen exchanged pleasantries with Medicine Hat GM Dave Pellerin in the tunnel after the game. The Fighters players bottlenecking into silence as the slipped by Schozen to get into the locker room. Kristensen being the last player off the ice is followed by Schozen who gives off a nod to Pellerin and slams the locker room door behind him.
    “All right shut the fuck up” The room was already silent. “It’s day 87, good job on the season, yada-yada-yada. Don’t crack too big of a smile in the showers yet. We’re bringing Jenssen, Moorehead and Espana with us from the minors for the duration of the playoffs. That means when you go out tonight their coming with you. KLAVINS! You’re responsible for making sure the kids make it out, Willman you’re responsible that they make it back. Either of you fail Pattenaude gets a jock slide, blue line to blue line. We’ve got Hazard first round, they’ve rolled us twice in the last three years from the playoffs. So go out tonight, take advantage of the 88 off day, skip any mixers in your drinks, it’s going to take a room full of men to get past the Blizzard. If I see another photo of Mellor drinking a cruiser I’ll waive you on the spot. Cribbs you’re on the trading block, so you better show up in the playoffs this year or else the only team that’ll want you is Nipawin.”
    Just as quick as he came in Schozen is gone, with the slam of the door confirming his departure. Though Schozen’s presence still hangs in the room, it’s one of his defining traits and he remains until Kristensen breaks the silence polling the room for where they’re going tonight. Ray’s Tavern is the decision. A country bar with a jukebox with an impressive 70s collection and a “cannot come back” list that includes a one Wick Schozen, bolded and underlined. 
    “Jenssen’s singing Stevie Nicks tonight!” Shrieks Kosir, who tonight just capped off a career year, 60 points in the 3C role.  
    The Hazard Blizzard aren’t mentioned again after Schozen announced the first round matchup though they can’t be far out of mind. Save for the fourth line and Derek Shipman, the team grey beard at 32, everyone on the Fighters has been eliminated from the playoffs by Hazard. A veteran team whose physical style ragged dolled the young Warman side in season 6 and 7.

    Those were childlike teams though compared to how Warman presents itself today. The Fighters are coming off their best GHL season yet. A 2nd place finish in the Western conference, 48 wins, their second season in a row topping 300 goals in a season while putting together their best defensive season yet ranked 7th best for goals against. 

    The bottom of their lineup now looks the part to go toe to toe with the heavy units that the Blizzard put over the boards. Their last playoff series saw the Blizzard outscore Warman 21 to 11 in a four game series. This time around looks to be a far closer affair. 

    But simply a beefing up of the bottom 6 and a few more years of experience won’t be enough for Warman to get over the hump. This is likely Hazard’s last true shot at a championship. GM Feynman knows this and his players, while they may not admit that their time is coming, have enough experience not to let this opportunity slip by them.

    Their speed seems to be the most glaring regression in the Hazard lineup. This is no where more obvious than down the middle where their veteran center depth would whale on Kristensen, Pattenaude and Kosir for their lunch like school yard bullies. The tides have turned now. Kristensen has developed into the captain he always looked to be and plays an imposing game as one of the leagues premier power forwards. Pattenaude just finished a career year himself tied for third league wide in goals. While Kosir is the Fighters quiet leader in the bottom six, a player that just goes about his business to surprisingly impressive results. 
    The Warman Fighters, now packed into the team bus that begins its journey out of Medicine Hat. Schozen, seated at the front of the bus is back operating the phones. A scouting meeting will be held tomorrow kicking off the teams final leg of the draft preparation. There Warman’s internal list of prospects will be narrowed down to single out those that will be invited for private interviews with the player development staff while the playoffs progress out of sight. The three rows of seats behind Schozen are empty save for the minor league call ups who sit isolated as the team roars and beer cans crack behind them. Day 87 will blur into 88 in what will be their last release as a team before playoffs begin. Their next opportunity won’t be until after the Fighters place in the playoff dance is over, which will either be accompanied by a new experience of triumph or the all too familiar taste of failure. 
  4. Thanks
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Paul T in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    Third of the season update:
    1) Rafael Bolduc - 89 OVR Forward ... most GHL goals.
    Bolduc has 13 goals and is currently 6 goals back of the leaders (Whitely and Breton, 19).  Probably not possible to catch them as they are playing lights out, but a Top 5 finish in goals for Bolduc would be a success.
    2) Kvido Zluky - 86 OVR Defenseman ... most GHL Points by a defenseman.
    Zluky currently has 17 points.  Leader has 24.  I expect a late season surge.  Although he will have to catch his own teammate first, Nickerson, who has 22.
    3a) Henri Pohl - 83 OVR Goalie ... I want this guy to win Vezina.  Given his low endurance and the fact that my team wins might be lower than usual, I don't think that is possible.  Instead, I am going to try and get him 50-55 starts with the goal of GHL's best save percentage.
    Abort!  Abort!  I folded on this one early and I'm not happy about it.  But Pohl shouldn't have been as bad as he was.  Oh well.  Time to move on.
    3b)  I will play the hot hand in goal and Pohl will be given a long leash to keep the starting job.  In the event George Mercredi earns the starting job from Pohl, the same goal applies.
    This guy has been a dud as well.  A couple of games ago he blew a 4-0 lead halfway through the second.  High expectations for a pair of Heroic veterans did not work out.
    4) Svend Clausen - 82 OVR Forward ... most GHL Points and/or Goals by a rookie.
    Another dud.  Clausen has 1 point in 10 games and has spent most of the season in the AAHL.  My goals for the less skilled players were a bit unreasonable.  Lesson learned.
    5)  Jeremie Cline - 97 OVR Center ... best GHL +/-.
    Cline is sitting at +18.  Leader is +24.  This can change in a blink.
    6)  Any single player on the Stealheads to record a Gordie Howe Hattrick.  If accomplished, that player will earn a $2M roster bonus.
    Not yet, but hopeful.
  5. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Wick Schozen in Warman Aussies (Buzzer)   
    Trade Deadline Calm and a New Defensive Identity

    Looming at the beginning of next week is circled day on the calendar in an otherwise ominous week of the season. Usually an anxious time for rostered players in the top league of Howitzer. The impending trade deadline appears not to have infiltrated the Warman locker room. 
    The majority of the moves by Wick Schozen appear to have already been made. The most noteworthy shakeup of the roster this season was the departure of former top 10 pick Jesper Berch. In an exchange of young forwards that saw Daren Tarpley assume ownership of Berch’s stall in the Warman locker room.

    That trade was the only one with an impact on Warman’s active roster in the GHL. All the moves beyond that have been transactions involving players that inhabited a role in the organizations farm team. Those moves have seen Schozen amass three additional GHL draft picks and a pair of SHL first rounders.

    The dawn of the season brought with it a decision on Warman’s goaltending depth chart. A decision had to be made as to who Warman would be committing to in net for the next couple of seasons. Despite a fragile grasp on the role, the starting job continued to be held by Robin Guilmaine. The start of a three year contract extension signified that Schozen was committed to giving Guilmaine an opportunity to assert himself into his prime years in the Warman crease. A decision that left young goaltenders Ahto Knuutila and Charles Champagne vying for the backup role. Which after testing the trade market, an offer of a 1st round pick for Champagne appeared incentive enough for Knuutila to default into the backup position. 

    Whether that decision has proved the right one is still up in the air. Champagne has gone on to assume the starting job in Culdesac and posting far superior numbers to both of Warman’s remaining net minders. The thriving game of Champagne outside of the Warman system appears to be the catalyst that prompted Schozen to look to his skaters as the cause of the Fighters defensive woes as opposed to his goaltenders lackluster play.

    While the team maintained a playoff position on the back of their high powered offense, the team was in disarray with a team save percentage of .885. Most wouldn’t have faulted Schozen to have placed the blame at the feet of Guilmaine and Knuutila, opting to bring in a veteran presence to patch the holes in the crease that opposing teams seemed all too aware of. Instead Warman fans awake to news of Berch no longer being a member of the Fighters, replaced Tarpley a player who’s style of play was glaringly absent on the roster.

    Following the addition Tarpley to add an element of defensive stability to the bottom six, that Schozen was able to acquire  any compensation for perennial sook Clovis Savariat should be deemed a success. Savariat was mere days away from opening the morning paper to find his name on the waiver wire. Schozen confirmed the story circulating that he never extends the courtesy of informing players they’ve been waived. Apparently opting for players that don’t keep up with the daily happenings of the league to find that their access key to the arena no longer grants entry. A security guard generally leads them to the dumpster that their equipment was thrown in. 
    Beyond the roster alterations, fans will likely notice a new defensive identity that the Fighters carry themselves with on the ice. Currently sitting tenth in the entire league in goals against, come the seasons end this year could be the first that the Fighters are able to keep their goals against average below 3.0. Something that would have been irrational to conceive around the 20 game mark.

    On the offensive side the Fighters are continuing to assert themselves as a powerhouse in the league. Before being sidelined for 9 games Jason Mellor was having a break out season, leading the league in points at the time of his injury. He and Pattenaude appear to have stuck a playmaker-sniper partnership that has always been envisioned of them. Pattenaude himself is on pace for a career year. He’s already eclipsed 30 goals before the 60 game mark and looks poised to best his career high of 36 that he set in his sophomore season. 
    Approval of the performance of Schozen has to be high in the Warman fanbase. Not only is the young roster coming together in a dominant fashion but the longterm outlook of the team is quickly taking direction. The seven prospects that will be selected in this draft complement an organization already holding a deep stable of prospects. Morten Jenssen, taken in the second round last season, got a taste of the big club filling in for Mellor while he was sidelined. His 5 points over 11 games while filling a role on the fourth line will go a long way to keep him in good standing with Schozen when he is forced to look down the pipeline to round out the roster in the coming years. 
    What remains to be seen is what Schozen envisions with his backend in the long run. It was leaked that upon signing an three year extension Emile Jomphe was informed by Schozen that he’d be listening to trade offers starting next season. It will be cut throat decisions like this which Schozen will have to make in order to keep the core of his team together for the long haul. Despite Jomphe’s cap friendly extension, it will be the roles in which players like Jomphe fill that Schozen will be forced to economize on the cap. 
  6. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Wick Schozen in Warman Aussies (Buzzer)   
    Media Ban in Warman Revoked
    It took some time for the players of the Warman Fighters to shed their almost instinctual nature to avert their gaze in the presence of a media member. That was to be expected from the players, the cogs of a team that functions behind an iron curtain held in place by their owner and general manager Wick Schozen. 
    The exclusive access Schozen granted us is the only media availability that has been allowed amongst the team since season 3. Back when the team was still operating as the Warman Aussies and still in its infancy, a description fitting for both the organization and its roster. 
    A lot has happened since the lockout of reporters from Warman went into place. Another fire sale season in the GHL in season 4 to accumulate more assets. While the team still had some press coverage that season, reporters had to buy their own ticket to the arena if they wanted to see the team live. Eventually the shunning was returned, as Warman descended back to the SHL many reporters likely hoped that’s where they would remain. 
    As a result Warman’s record setting season in the SHL in season 5 went mostly unnoticed. There was no press coverage of their 66 win season, a feat that no team has come within 10 wins of since. All the more impressive when you consider that there were only two players regularly in the lineup that weren’t on an entry level contract. Since season 6 Warman has been a mainstay in the GHL. Their rebuild, one where all the lottery luck seemingly fell into schozen lap, is now fully actualized. 
    What now represents the Warman Fighters is no longer a roster of baby faced prodigies. Despite the teams still relatively young age compared the the rest of the league, existing under the demanding grips of Schozen has weathered them. Lead by two first overall picks in captain Ulrik Kristensen and Ulric Pattenaude, Warman assaults the league with the most damning offense in the GHL. Season 8 saw them be the first team in Buzzer history to eclipse 300 goals in a GHL season. Though where their offense performs like hardened veterans their age still shows in their defensive game. It’s been the stumbling block of the Fighters that have held them back from post season success. Whether that is the case in Schozen’s mind, well he’s never one to follow a reporters lead…
    “Look I know you yuckamups have an angle you’re trying to sell and I know how it works, a little you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. You can write whatever you want, what publication are you guys from anyway?” I informed Wick of our online presence. “Are you f***s kidding? I told the league I wanted a netflix crew. At the very least give me what Alex has, not some forum.gmgames chimp with a macbook.” I informed Wick that we operate on the same platform as Vermillion’s ’soviet propaganda engine’ as Schozen likes to call it. “Yeah clearly not the same operators, maybe it’s just my age but a five year plan sounds a lot like the words of men who call vodka ‘the sweat of Stalin’”
    Schozen’s blunt. He certainly doesn’t mince words. Our sit down with him was brief and more than a few times we had to talk him out of revoking our press access. Sometimes you get a glimmer into the inner workings of the Warman organization. Old beat reporters from the Howitzer circuit tell me you have to catch him at the Ringside Lounge, the Fighters themed bar that has been a staple in both iterations of the Fighters, if you want to get any information from him.
    Still, one doesn’t need the explicit words from Schozen himself to know that a cap crunch of cataclysmic proportions is on the horizon for Warman. The core of the Fighters are now off their entry level deals and the first championship window has begun. How soon it will close depends on how Schozen can navigate the salary cap in the coming seasons. It remains to be seen if an old school GM such as Schozen has it in him to navigate that terrain. 
  7. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from jdonutken in Season 8 Chat   
    Good win. Unexpected, but that can be the beauty of it. Congrats on the championship!
  8. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Wick Schozen in From Hell: The rise of the Vermilion Black Devils   
    “Coming in there is like going through the arse-end of Satan” quips an unnamed SHL GM. “And they always pulled some stunt to make you feel on edge, like you didn’t belong. Like you had walked into a cult gathering or an orgy or something. It definitely affected gameplay.”
    Vermilion Park, colloquially, and after this season - officially, known as The Chasm, is indeed a unique hockey arena. To enter, crowds are led through a fractured valley of a long hall, decorated with various occult scenes and eye-bending architecture. Sound booms, then disappears in a myriad of strange reflections. Lighting is equally eccentric, red and uneven, and fog is occasionally launched at visitors like at some kind of carnival fair. Some - many, criticize this as tacky and playing for shock value, but the atmosphere undoubtedly makes itself known.

    “I think it’s cool as hell - literally”, says Rogath the Sad, a local Black Devils fan and black metal musician. “When I slither into The Chasm, I feel like I am entering an eldritch world of dark wonder and occult truths. It really helps distance myself from reality. I’ve even written a song about it, want to hear?” 

    This uniqueness is even more apparent during these playoffs. A formal complaint is lodged by the Welsford Riders to the league. The visitor entrance is long and twisting, and Welsford must walk the gauntlet of what Rasputin, tongue-in-cheek, calls the Halls of Reflection. A long domed corridor with walls and ceilings entirely covered by LCD screens, it can be used to advertise, display various information, or even project calming images of night skies and nature for a 360 degree experience. For the past two days, though, prior to the decisive Game 5, it rolls Vermilion’s every goal against the Riders, every Welsford mistake, on a continuous loop. For the entirety of this long walk, the opposing team must endure a morale-sapping assault on their spirit, set to demonic laughter. 
    The league rejects the complaint as trivial, warns Rasputin about unsportsmanlike behaviour, and Alexander gives a rare interview praising the opponent before the game. “They have the makeup of champions. They battered us all season. Welsford is our first true rival, and no matter what happens here today, that is forever part of our lore. Hats off to (Welsford GM) Nicolas Wiggins - if he keeps this up, they will have a bright future.”
    “But we are going to win this game”, he adds emphatically. 
    It is a cold autumn night in Vermilion. 13,000 people in the arena, as many in the streets, are holding their breath as the Canadian national anthem is performed and the puck drops for the final, nationally televised, game of the SHL playoffs. After an initial cautious 5 minutes, the game opens up with a monstrous hit by Stezhensky on a Riders forward entering the zone. The crowd salutes the Vermilion captain but the referees fairly sit him in the box for charging. As they have done throughout the series, the Riders capitalize on the ensuing powerplay. 1-0. But the hit has energized Vermilion, and they are laying opposing players out all over the ice. One more such hit, by Waldenstrom this time, frees a Welsford defenceman of the puck and Bruun picks it up, breaking away toward the goaltender. He fakes left, then right, running out of space, but the goaltender reads it well and gives him nothing. In a stroke of brilliance, Bruun accelerates past him and wraps the puck around from the other side, the surprised goalie failing to recover in time. The crowd roars and the Devils keep coming. Another massive hit by Hellstrom takes two Welsford players into the boards, Weichert recovers the puck and sends a blind backhand pass into the slot, where Danielsson is waiting with a simple tap-in. It is 2-1 Vermilion. 
    But to the credit of the Riders, they are prepared to go blow for blow with the Black Devils machine. A takeaway in the neutral zone, and three crisp passes later, a one-timer sits inside the Vermilion net. Then, after a period of sustained Devils pressure, the Riders quiet the home support when a casual dump-in handcuffs Moller, and the Welsford forechecker places the puck into the empty net. The score after 40 minutes is 3-2 Welsford. Rasputin quickly gathers his team as they file off the ice. His message is simple. There is nothing he can say that the players don’t already know. He has faith in them, and he trusts them to motivate themselves.

    Alexander and Bure stay on the bench as the Vermilion players go into the locker room. 
    The situation worsens in the third. Just 3 minutes in, another powerplay for Welsford. The Vermilion Achilles heel this season has been their PK, and it is no different this time, as a collapse of bodies near the net results in a heavy deflection of a Riders point-shot, and, as before, Moller is picking the puck out of his net. 4-2 Riders. Rasputin is grim, but he and Bure walk around the bench calmly, telling the players they have confidence in them. Stezhensky and Peloso do the same, as captains, and it is the former who channels it into reality, as, with 7 minutes left and Vermilion outshooting Welsford 40-33, he snipes a bullet through a defenceman’s legs and past the Riders goaltender. 4-3. 
    The Riders attempt to ice the game with another goal, but whatever happened in the Vermilion locker room in the 2nd intermission has calmed the team. They are playing surgical, precise hockey, defensively sound, all risk calculated - different from the passionate but disorganized start to this game. Again and again, the Devils intercept the puck in the middle of the ice, where the Riders have had success due to the lax Vermilion zone coverage. Retaining possession, Vermilion d-men patiently recycle the puck and wait for an opportunity, as the crowd performs the thunderclap chant, and frustration clearly begins to affect the Riders, alone in a hostile building. The moment comes with less than 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Hellstrom and Miville-Deschenes exchange cross-ice passes, after which the Swedish defenceman hits a streaking Weichert, who spins around a Riders player and sends the puck to the point, where the veteran Waldenstrom hammers it in off the crossbar. 4-4 with 1:57 remaining. The decibel level from the crowd is ludicrous as the Black Devils calmly skate to center ice, barely celebrating. They know their work is not yet done. 
    The last two minutes fail to result in a goal, and this game is going to overtime.

    Just as unnervingly, the Vermilion squad stays on the ice during the entire break, barely exchanging words, simply waiting for their opponents to get into position. Rasputin and Bure are likewise stone-faced, watching. The crowd also goes quiet, and the atmosphere is eerie. As the puck is dropped, the Riders throw everything they have at the Vermilion defence, trying to put away the game. And they almost do.

    A drop pass finds the Devils defenceman out of position, and the resulting rising slapshot just catches the edge of Moller’s blocker, deflecting off the outside of the bar and out. An audible sigh escapes 13,000 lips as the puck is recovered by Yakovlev behind the net 2:35 into the overtime period. Circling slowly, he leaves it for a streaking Weichert as the announcer leads the crowd into yet another thunderclap. Weichert, as he has done all season, picks up speed around the outside as Welsford changes lines. Nothing is heard in the arena except the powerful rhythmic claps, like the sound of one massive heartbeat of a giant living organism. A Riders forward forechecks, and Weichert drops the puck to a gaining Peloso, then moves into the slot as the Canadian forward powers behind the Welsford net, pushing aside his man. “HUU” echoes in the stadium.

    Peloso weaves into the corner, leaving the puck for Yakovlev, who has joined the play, evading a check from a Riders defenceman. The thunderclaps grow in intensity and speed. Yakovlev twists away from his checker, fakes a pass to the point to commit the oncoming defenceman, looks up, and throws the puck cross-ice to Weichert at the right circle. The rubber disc moves slowly, as if underwater. Receiving the puck in space, already moving, Weichert takes two strides forward, eye to eye with the readying goaltender, half a step ahead of the flailing stick of a Riders defenceman. The thunderclap is deafening. The German centre winds up, freezing the goaltender, maintaining eye contact - and sends a no-look cross-crease pass to the left. Throwing bodies aside, an off-the-rails freight train coming from the left point, Peloso reaches the puck and connects. 
    For a second, all is quiet - until a cinematic roar shakes the stadium and doesn’t stop, making even the goal siren inaudible. Releasing all the emotion they’ve held in check, the Vermilion players throw off their gear and pile on to one another, Rasputin shaking the hand of the Riders GM, and diving in on top of the gold and black pile. The Russian manager roars at the crowd and they respond, ecstatic. Stoic Stezhensky sheds tears, Weichert and Peloso are hitting each other on the back like they are choking, demonic laughter echoes in the stadium, and in the middle of the celebration, Bure and a few players disengage to console the dejected Riders. In overtime, after a blow-for-blow, evenly matched battle, the Black Devils exorcise their own demons and beat the Welsford Riders to win their SHL playoff series, 3 games to 2.
    Rasputin's impossible Five-Year Plan is a reality - 5 seasons, 5 promotions - and the Vermilion Black Devils, against all odds, are going to the GHL. 
  9. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Steve in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    18 year olds as rookies will also be significantly easier to track. When I pulled the stats last few seasons, you just go by the previous year's draft - usually there are only 5-6 rookies who would be in that conversation, so that's quite easy to track that way.
  10. Thanks
    AlexanderRasputin 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

  11. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Paul T in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    Looking through rosters to pick out players age 18-21 that have never played a GHL game before is not gonna happen.  To me, a rookie is an 18 year old... not a 19 or 20 year old that was too sh!tty to play a game yet 😀.  If needed, I can change my silly goal from "rookie" to "18 year old".  But for the purposes of this, only 18-year olds will apply.
    I like the second idea and something I had been thinking of myself last season.  Let's see if we remember or have time.
  12. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Steve in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    What about a 21 year old that hasn't played in GHL yet?  That seems like a rookie to me.  I wouldn't necessarily count say a 25 year old from RUHL.  OR instead/plus a Rookie of the Year, have a Young Gun award for best player on entry level contract?  Just some suggestions, sadly I don't think I will have time to do the research for any awards, so I will be happy with whatever that person determines.  It'd also be cool to start some 'award talk' about half way through the season (or sooner!) just to generate buzz and draw attention to players and story lines, etc.  Maybe it'll draw in more than us usual 6-8 managers to talk.
  13. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Steve in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    Looks like you and I are going to be competing in some of these, Paul. Looking forward to it. Also aiming quite high, but some of these have precedent. I invested heavily in Schuppan and Lux, who are both rookies, and Schuppan my starting G, so very interested to see what happens.

    Plus, with Putin and Stalin motivating my team to perform like only they can, there is no telling how far I can go. 
    1)   Elouan Scott - (94 F):                                                                      Ovechkin + Gretzky trophies (Goals, Points*), Most shots*                                   *current holder
    2)   Simon-Delorme - (92 D):                                                               Most Points by a Defenceman, Highest +/-
    3)   Henry Lux - (86 F (rookie)):                                                            Most Rookie Points
    4)  D Sharshin, D Nazarov, F Patrushev, C Stalin, C Putin        100 combined points by Russian players
                      4a)                                                                                          At least 1 goal scored + assisted by ONLY Russian players
    5)   Sagiv Schuppan - (87 G (rookie)):                                                  40 wins 
    6)   Roger Muller - (92 C):                                                                     FINALLY HIT GODDAMN 50 POINTS
    Team Objective:                                                                                   Score 300 goals, win 45 games
  14. Thanks
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Paul T in Season 5 GHL Power Rankings   
    Season 5 Power Rankings - updated as of Day 10.  Hopefully the excel/screenshot method is readable for everyone.


    Top 5 Offenses:
    1)  Slaughterville Red Tide
    2)  Sheshegwaning Dragons
    3)  Enigma Rage
    4)  Sault Ste Marie Battlin Bears
    5)  Big Delta Stealheads
    Top 5 Defenses:
    1)  Victoria Regals
    2)  Sheshegwaning Dragons
    3)  Ithaca Ricochet
    4)  Rome Trojans
    5)  Slaughterville Red Tide
    The formula: 
    Team OVR = (OFF + (DEF * 2) + (SG * 2)) / 26
    OFF = sum of 12 highest rated centers & forwards*
    DEF = sum of 6 highest rated defenders*
    SG = overall of starting goalie
    * unless managers provided their unique roster set-up
    Originally created by:
  15. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Paul T in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    For GPHM purposes, 18 years old.
  16. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Steve in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    What defines a "rookie"?  Are we going with simply someone with ZERO GHL games before?  Just curious and like that as a new end of year category, but pity the person trying to determine it.  
    Eldred Elite, as always, has very lofty goals this year!  Listed in order of importance:
    1. Win a playoff series, preferably against those bastards Prairie Stars/Regals!  
    2.  Assuming last year is no fluke and my goalie Glandon is truly entering his prime, have him lead the league in Shutouts.  He came close last year with 8.  
    3.  Have S1 first round draft pick (#24) William Obeng prove he belongs to be a starter this season.  He's getting a go as 3rd Line center to see if he can improve that line's role after a horrible S4.
    4.  Go deep into the playoffs as several players could be eyeing retirement homes after this season.  If this team can't replicate last year's success, look for the rebuild to start early!  
  17. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Steve in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    I will be behind this 100%. Pohl came super close last year - what a story that would be. Might even tell my players to shoot wide when we play each other  .
  18. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Paul T in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    Looks like you and I are going to be competing in some of these, Paul. Looking forward to it. Also aiming quite high, but some of these have precedent. I invested heavily in Schuppan and Lux, who are both rookies, and Schuppan my starting G, so very interested to see what happens.

    Plus, with Putin and Stalin motivating my team to perform like only they can, there is no telling how far I can go. 
    1)   Elouan Scott - (94 F):                                                                      Ovechkin + Gretzky trophies (Goals, Points*), Most shots*                                   *current holder
    2)   Simon-Delorme - (92 D):                                                               Most Points by a Defenceman, Highest +/-
    3)   Henry Lux - (86 F (rookie)):                                                            Most Rookie Points
    4)  D Sharshin, D Nazarov, F Patrushev, C Stalin, C Putin        100 combined points by Russian players
                      4a)                                                                                          At least 1 goal scored + assisted by ONLY Russian players
    5)   Sagiv Schuppan - (87 G (rookie)):                                                  40 wins 
    6)   Roger Muller - (92 C):                                                                     FINALLY HIT GODDAMN 50 POINTS
    Team Objective:                                                                                   Score 300 goals, win 45 games
  19. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Paul T in Season 5 Individual Goals   
    As many will see, the Big Delta Stealheads will be taking a few steps back in this season's power rankings and will be focusing on developing some younger players.  We plan on remaining competitive in the hunt for the prestigious Golden Cup, but want to have some fun this season with individual player incentives.  Below are a few I will be tracking this season.  Mostly far fetched goals that will be difficult to attain given the tough competition - and frankly, I will be surprised if they are accomplished.  Also important to note that I won't be doing anything out of the ordinary to try and force these goals other than my typical roster and tactical set up.  Feel free to add your own (not limited to GHL).
    1) Rafael Bolduc - 89 OVR Forward ... most GHL goals.
    2) Kvido Zluky - 86 OVR Defenseman ... most GHL Points by a defenseman.
    3a) Henri Pohl - 83 OVR Goalie ... I want this guy to win Vezina.  Given his low endurance and the fact that my team wins might be lower than usual, I don't think that is possible.  Instead, I am going to try and get him 50-55 starts with the goal of GHL's best save percentage.
    3b)  I will play the hot hand in goal and Pohl will be given a long leash to keep the starting job.  In the event George Mercredi earns the starting job from Pohl, the same goal applies.
    4) Svend Clausen - 82 OVR Forward ... most GHL Points and/or Goals by a rookie.
    5)  Jeremie Cline - 97 OVR Center ... best GHL +/-.
    6)  Any single player on the Stealheads to record a Gordie Howe Hattrick.  If accomplished, that player will earn a $2M roster bonus.
  20. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Paul T in National Team: Italy   
    This is an interesting idea - I may do this with Russia as well. Great work!
  21. Thanks
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to Paul T in National Team: Italy   
    Carrying over a tradition from game world Biscuit, I present the Cage Italian National Team for Season 5.  This was a bit time consuming, but enjoyable to pull together. 
    Led by 88 overall power forward, Oscar Bresciano, and 87 overall offensive defenseman, Vitaliy Leon - both of whom play for GHL's Eldred Elite.
    There are also a few youngsters to watch who will be stars for years to come.  18 year old forwards Leonardo Piatti and Matias Boudianski, who were GHL 1st round picks this past season - along with defenseman Michael Papa Waigo, who was a GHL 1st round pick the season prior.
    Captained by 23 year old, 80 overall defenseman, Luca Bonera.

  22. Hahaha
  23. Like
    AlexanderRasputin reacted to jdonutken in Season 8 Chat   
    I got my leading scorer back just in time for the last game of the GHL finals, after surviving without him for a 7 game injury.  Helped make the difference! 🏆

  24. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Walter A. Donaldson 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. 
  25. Like
    AlexanderRasputin got a reaction from Wick Schozen 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.