Fantasy season comes to end as players go on strike


During the NHL lockout, The Gazette provided a fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employed EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. The fantasy Habs were slated to play the Florida Panthers Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, but that game won’t be played and the fantasy season is officially over. Here is Hickey’s final fantasy story, explaining how the season ended:


Will a strike cost yet another Montreal franchise a shot at a championship?

That’s the question Montreal fans are asking themselves after the National Hockey League fantasy season came to an abrupt halt Tuesday when the players went on strike.

“It’s obvious that negotiations were going nowhere and the players had no choice but to walk out,”  said Don Fehr, the head of the National Hockey League Players Association. “We agreed to play while we were negotiating, but the league continued to reject our proposals. The last straw was when the teams insisted on limiting the peanuts on team charters to one bag per player.”

Said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly: “That was a hill we were prepared to die on. It may seem like an insignificant matter, but when you add it up it’s not, well, it’s not peanuts.”

Said Fehr: “We feel sorry for the fans who have supported us, but I think that anyone who flies has sympathy for our stand.”

For fans in Montreal, the collapse of the negotiations evoked painful memories of  1994, when Fehr led a strike by  Major League  Baseball players. The walkout resulted in the cancellation of the World Series and deprived the Expos of a chance to prove they were the best team in baseball.

The walkout occurred hours before the Canadiens were scheduled to play the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.

Several thousand fans who were unaware of the cancellation showed up at the arena. As a goodwill gesture, Canadiens management invited them into the building and offered them free beer and wine while they were treated to a 30-minute presentation on the advantages of living in the new Tour des Canadiens.


  1. malmn says:

    So what was their final record?
    Who were the points leaders?

    GO HABS GO!!!

  2. tippytoes says:

    Fitting Ending to Fantasy league…too funny

  3. J Haul says:

    So what was their final record? That’s the one thing that seemed to almost always be missing from the reports and one of the few things that I was actually curious about; the Canadiens record on the season.

  4. Les-Habitants says:

    Just out of curiosity, how were the Fantasy Habs doing this season?

  5. Ron says:

    We would all like to see alot of the rookies in Hamilton be at our Habs training camp but in all reality not many will beable to be there. If one looks at the possibility that Habs camp opens Sunday Jan 13th ( which is not likely) or Monday Jan 14th the Dogs schedule has to be taken into consideration. They are on the road to Rochester Jan 11 and then hit the West swing to Abbotsford for two games on Jan 15 and 16th. That brings into account travel time will need to be accounted for. When they return East they play the Marlies on the 19th, the supposed NHL start up game.

    I can’t see them going on the road with a talentless squad for that period. So in effect I believe there will be a small number invited to partake in the short Habs camp.

    • TomNickle says:

      Gallagher, Leblanc and Dumont are the only Bulldogs with any business at Habs camp.

      And the only reason that I say that is because the team will probably need a 4th line centreman for a couple of weeks or longer with Nokelainen out and it also has a glaring need for scoring on the 2nd or 3rd line.

      Edit: Forgot to mention Joonas Nattinen. He’s been very impressive in my opinion. In fairness I’ve only seen a half dozen or so Bulldogs games though.

      • Ron says:

        On D I would think Commodore might be kept behind to attend. They may want to get a better look at him around the regular Habs defensive line up.

        • TomNickle says:

          Commodore is going to camp. I just don’t agree with the decision to invite him as anything more than a body to have there.

          If somebody goes down due to injury this probably isn’t the time to get a look at Commodore. Nash or Beaulieu would be much better choices. That’s also assuming that the team doesn’t have the 8 defensemen it does right now.

          • Ron says:

            Nash was reassigned to Florida Panthers for some reason so I don’t expect him back.

          • TomNickle says:

            Brendon Nash reassigned to Florida?

            He’s under contract with the Habs.

          • Cal says:

            Nash has been moved to Fla minor league affiliate.

          • Ron says:

            Nash went to the Panthers and Jason DeSantis was reassigned to the Dogs from Florida. If there is a trade there it would have to be after the NHL contract has been ratified. Hence the reassigment of both players.

  6. punkster says:

    I was kind of betwixt and between here about something. My head tells me to go with my optimistic, unicorn and rainbows, gut feelings of how this season will go for the Habs and it’s clearly in opposition to what most seem to believe.

    So without benefit of rational thought, empirical evidence, undeniable stats or any sense of reality based reasoning I say the Habs make the playoffs and take a surprisingly good run at the Cup.

    I base this on nothing more than a) what I want to believe, and, b) what the majority of experts believe…because the experts seem to be wrong far more than they are right.

    Call me delusional, call me naive…just don’t call me late for last call.

    Something else that has me flummoxed…being categorized as a bastard, lumped in with all the other bastards nuna labelled this morning…because I’m fairly sure my Mom and Dad were married…I mean, I’ve actually seen the marriage license, the wedding photos, talked to my grandparents, aunts, uncles and others who attended the ceremony…so I guess it’s just another case of me going contrary to the standards of the day…it appears I’m not a bastard and the rest of you are…and if you’re comfortable with that well then who am I to judge?

    Of course, I could be wrong about all this.

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  7. Bripro says:

    AK has been invited to the Florida Panthers’ camp.

  8. Hobie Hansen says:

    In my opinion, I think Plekanec was just fed up last season and wasn’t 100% interested because off all the crap that was going on. So him not gelling with Bourque or his lack of production should be overlooked. The fact that Gionta was injured also messed that 2nd line up.

    Fresh start in my opinion and forget about last season.

    • TomNickle says:

      Which would explain why he slept in one afternoon and was late getting to the arena for a game.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        exactly, was a bummer to head to the rink last year.

      • Bill says:

        I give Plekanec a pass on the sleeping-in thing since he was a new parent of a young baby, and we all know how that goes. Made me late for work once or twenty times. I believe he also had a bad cold at the time.

        Oh, and FTR, I wasn’t being sarcastic about the “asterisk” season. I agree it’s not the same as winning the Cup after a full season. If you look at where the Leafs were a year ago, they were 20-15-5 and talking about making a run for the Cup, haha. A full season straightened out THAT anomaly.

        And no, I wouldn’t say a Cup win is “tainted” either. If you win the Cup after four rounds, you win the Cup, period. I just can’t get as excited for a half-season because I like to follow the stats and players’ accomplishments, and not as much will happen. No one is going to score 50 goals. No one is going to get 100pts. I was looking forward to seeing Price hit 150 wins at the age of just 25 … not gonna happen.

        Full Breezer 4 Life

        • TomNickle says:

          Yeah I don’t think it makes Plekanec a poison or anything. I’m not really sure that he’s as big of a “Team Guy” as some like to say but I’m not biased. By that I mean that I have no idea if Carey Price, Andrei Markov or Travis Moen are “team guys”.

          I know Erik Cole is because he flew Louis Leblanc’s parents out to his first game and I know Josh Gorges and Brandon Prust are because of the way they play the game.

          • Bripro says:

            I would like to think that Markov is.
            He never tested the open market when he had the chance.
            And I also remember him giving Price a peace of his mind regarding his laxidasical attitude in his rookie season, telling him to get his a** back on the ice during a practice which Price tried to duck out of.

          • TomNickle says:

            You sure you aren’t confusing your Price/Markov story with Price/Sergei Kostitsyn?

            Sincere question, because the exact same scenario happened with Price and Sergei a couple of years ago.

          • TomNickle says:

            I believe this is the story you’re thinking of….


          • Bripro says:

            That one I didn’t hear of Tom.
            But Renaud Lavoie from RDS was at the Bell practice facility reporting that Markov went chasing after Price at the time.
            I guess Markie took it upon himself to be the new sheriff.

          • TomNickle says:

            You definitely have it confused with Price/Sergei.

            Exact same scenario. Sergei went off the ice early after the morning skate when the healthy scratches were supposed to get extra work in and Halak was the starter. Price chased after Sergei and they had words.

            Not trying to call you out or anything but I’m 99% certain this is what you’re thinking of.

          • GrimJim says:

            EDit – I’m probably too late with this but Tom is right – I never heard about Markov chasing Price at a practice but Price admitted Markov and he had a disagreement after that Blues loss and it was water under the bridge a week later ( and then Price and SKost getting into it during the 2010 playoffs was pretty common knowledge

    • derfab says:

      Bourque also had off season abdominal sugery. He is a very decent hockey player who was struggling. Maybe the gut problem explains his apparent lack of said last year. I think he’ll be OK, but may be better suited to 3rd line duty in the end.

  9. HabinBurlington says:

    Lots of rumour on Toronto Sports radio that Kovalchuk is considering staying in Russia.

    • Bripro says:

      That should save Lamorello’s job.
      The Devils won’t have to apply for bankruptcy protection.

      • Timo says:

        I think it was mentioned at the time that Lou was not the force behind getting Kovalchuk to Jersey… the owner (whatever his/her name is) was.

        • Bripro says:

          Vander…..whatever his name is?
          I believe he’s always given Lou carte blanche in those negotiations.
          But I’m not there, so who knows.
          Either way, it’s a ludicrous contract… of the many reasons the NHL were crying poor.

    • Bill says:

      He’s one of the guys who will be affected the most by salary rollbacks, and he’s always flirted with the KHL. This is just an easy rumour for someone in the Russian media to invent.

      No way Kovalchuk stays in the KHL.

      Full Breezer 4 Life

      • Bripro says:

        He’s been tweeting that until the CBA is officially ratified, “why not stay here (in Russia)”?

        • Bill says:

          Haha, well until it is ratified, why NOT stay in Russia?

          EDIT: Markov saying pretty much the same thing in his interview with Stubbs.

          Full Breezer 4 Life

          • Bripro says:

            Calmer heads….
            Some like to make a great deal out of nothing.
            I’ve linked an article from Stubbs above, proving our point.

  10. bwoar says:

    Great ending!

  11. mark-ID says:

    I really hope this article doesn’t bring the Price bashers out….but take a look at these goalie rankings. Personally, i think it is a terrible list. What do you all thinK? Guess where CP31 ends up……

    “I think I may have found a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds, and we really won’t have to give up much” -Costanza

    • TomNickle says:

      Who’s Chris Nichols?

      Kiprusoff, Price and Miller ranked #16, #17, and #18 among NHL goaltenders.

      That’s grounds for termination.

      The guy wouldn’t know hockey if it pokechecked him in ministick.

    • shiram says:

      Might be too soon to have Rask and Schneider that high, but it’s a fantasy type list, so it’s based off wins and not just a goalie’s skill, the team in front of him willhave a major effect on the stats, the writer is basically saying they are good goalies with good teams, you can expect alot of wins.

      • TomNickle says:

        If it’s a fantasy list somebody oughta tell that guy Bryzgalov plays for the Flyers, not the Blue Jackets

        • shiram says:

          It is a fantasy thing, like a hockey pool, and it lists Bryz as a Flyers when I looked.

          • TomNickle says:

            I understand what it is, and that Bryzgalov is listed with the Flyers. Might point being that if Jimmy Howard is going to be ranked that high due to fantasy numbers, the writier should probably keep in mind that wins will be as significant for Bryzgalov as they are for Howard, and because of that his ranking system is terribly flawed even from a fantasy perspective.

            Also funny is the Schneider ranking. If the Canucks aren’t able to trade Luongo it isn’t as if Schneider’s going to be starting 45 games for the Nucks. Chances are pretty good that it will be close to a 50/50 split.

    • I would take Carey over Luongo, Kipper, Elliot, Halak, MAF and Niemi ( a few more on that list) easily so the article means nothing, just another sports opinion.

      They Call Me Shane
      “They never asked to be Canadiens, they were Chosen.”
      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      Custom Sports Figures

    • Timo says:

      Halak is not being listed as #1 says everything you need to know about credibility of this ranking.

    • K-hab25 says:

      This is just fantasy hockey rankings. It’s based more on how good your team is, than the player is, ecspecially for goaltenders.

  12. shiram says:

    That’s one thing I hope they take from the virtual season, give some help to Pleks! Or at least play Bourque on his correct side…

    • 24 Cups says:

      That puts Cole on his least productive side. As well, whether we like it or not, it appears that Gomez will be here for the entire year. With that in mind, it would make the most sense to team him up with Gionta.

      I could see Therrien going with the DD line, Galchenyuk with Gomez/Gionta and Bourque with Eller and Armstrong/Leblanc. That leaves Moen and Prust with White/Noke (if healthy) in the middle.

      EDIT: Damn it, I forgot Pleks. That’s why I hate posting these line combos. What the hell, throw Pleks in between Moen and Prust:-)

      • shiram says:

        Something like this?
        DD line like last year.
        Bourque and Eller centered by Pleks.

        edit : no Pleks 24Cups?

        • TomNickle says:

          Bourque and Plekanec were an absolute nightmare together last season.

          I think Plekanec and Eller is where Galchenyuk should come in. If he doesn’t, I’d be going with Plekanec, Gomez and Gionta and Eller, Bourque and Moen.

          • Cal says:

            They were ok on the PK, but that’s about it. Seriously, Bourque needs to play RW. If there’s no room for him, trade him for a left winger.

          • TomNickle says:

            I wouldn’t make it a habit of tying up $8.3 million annually in a penalty killing tandem if I were a GM.


            I know what you’re sayin.

          • shiram says:

            Yea those 2 were not gelling, but I would not be opposed to trying Bourque with DD, seems like a role he would be better suited for.

            As for the PK thing, they had Pleks and Cammy for PK before..

          • Bripro says:

            And now they’ll have Prust on the PK.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      I think it will look something like this for about 9 games:


      * or White

      Gomez – I’m hoping for a trade.

  13. Sportfan says:

    I realize I have just posted this in a another spot, but for those who haven’t seen it here’s my recent post its about the Expos and I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know there are a few of you who feel the same as I do when it comes to Nos Amours. Check it out like/comment/share your opinion heck talk about your Expos memories those are always fun to hear 🙂

  14. Propwash says:

    Holy s***, I had to read the title twice.

    “Access Forbidden” gettin’ ya down?
    Hold down Shift while clicking refresh.

  15. Cal says:

    Hickey skates too close to the truth in fantasy season. HIO agog.

  16. Ron says:

    Repost from previous thread:

    If anyone interested, the Bulldogs play the Marlies tonight. Game start 7:30 et on TVAS. It might be worth while to see who is in either line up or lacking from the line up pending the upcoming NHL camps. The Dogs have signed Joey Tenute (Hamilton native) to a PTO contract and made some call ups.
    Call ups: Def. Stejskal Ford. Leveille

    • thorandresson says:

      I’m guessing they call up St Denis and Tinordi on D and Leblanc, Dumont, Blunden and Gallagher on Offense

      Add to that the 22 players already on the roster and Galy (excluding Nokelainen) and you have the 25-30 players MB mentioned would be at camp

      • TomNickle says:

        I’d bet my last penny that Beaulieu gets a call up before Tinordi.

      • veryhabby says:

        Commodore has been called up for camp as per rds.

        MB mentioned that it’s important for the kids to get camp experience. so I will guess Tin and Beaulieu do get to see camp too. But it’s more for the experience and to see what we have when injury call ups happen. There are already 7 NHL signed Dman with the habs, there is no room for another at this point. I think at the most GAl and maybe one AHL prospect ends up still with the habs at start of season, but it’s only temp if all are healthy.

  17. habstrinifan says:

    I finally read an entire ‘fantasy artcle’ by Stu Cowan. Maybe I should have paid more attention. Least in that league, Subban was signed.

  18. B says:

    TSN’s preview article on the Canadiens says that Gorges at 28 is “the elder statesman among Montreal’s blueliners”. The only problem with that is that they have 3 Dmen who are older than Gorges. I smiled seeing they had Gomez 5th among centres in the depth chart, behind Nokalainen.

    –Go Habs Go!–

  19. Ron says:

    Dave Stubbs: Emelin left his KHL team Sunday and will be in Montreal Friday

  20. commandant says:

    Will the Florida Panthers have the most enigmatic camp in history? Kovalev, AK46, and Marek Svatos?

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  21. Ron says:

    Hahahaha.. good one Hick, players go on strike. Excellant reversal of the real thing. In all, sorry Pat, glad its over.

  22. Kooch7800 says:

    Sadly people are happy about this strike!

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

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