Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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2014-15 Hockey Pool – Team Has-To-Be-Reasonably-Attractive-Or-At-Least-A-Nice-Guy

The start of the NHL season this week means one thing – it’s fantasy hockey pool time! As you know, I’m usually pretty terrible at this hockey pool thing, which I like to blame on a variety of excuses, including “I was too busy with MBA school to pay attention to my picks” and “I’m testing important scientific theories, such as the correlation between level of attractiveness and hockey skill”1.

  • Three years ago I used Team Hottie, where every player on my team had to be a hottie. My terrible finish in the pool that year disproved the hypothesis that level of attractiveness is correlated with hockey skill (p < 0.05)2.
  • Two years ago there was Team Uggoe – since my hypothesis that attractiveness does not correlate with scoring all the points, I decided to try the opposite and hypothesized that higher levels of ugliness correlate with scoring all the points. I again did terribly in the pool and this hypothesis was also shot down3.
  • Last year there was Team Hockey P0rn, where players had to have a dirty sounding name to be on the team (Notable members include Grant Clitsome, David Legwand, Victor Hedman, and Jiří Tlustý). And again – terrible finish in the pool4.

So this year, I’ve decided I’m going to try to be more diligent about updating my picks each week and I’m going to give myself a little more leeway on who I can pick by choosing Team Has-To-Be-Reasonably-Attractive-Or-At-Least-A-Nice-Guy – the latter part of which will allow me to choose a Sedin or two once in a while5.

For the record, here’s my week 1 team:

Hockey Picks - Week 1

I have no idea why I starred St. Louis instead of Crosby. (You get to “star” one forward, one defenceman, and one goalie and you get double that person’s points for the week). I actually thought I’d starred Crosby until I looked at my standing later in the week.

Now, I know it’s early days and we only have 4 people in our pool so far (I expect more to join soon), but I have to record for posterity that, at this moment, I’m tied for first:

Hockey Pool - 12 Oct standings

Now I’m going to make my picks for next week. Wish me luck!

  1. It definitely has nothing to do with the fact that I rarely pay attention to hockey beyond the Canucks and thus have no idea who to pick in a pool. Nothing whatsoever to do with that. []
  2. The scientist in me had a really hard time writing that sentence - we don't attempt to *prove* or *disprove* things in science! But the comedian in me said that "My terrible finish in the pool provided evidence against the hypothesis that level of attractiveness is correlated with hockey skill but the sample size of n=1 means that the study was unpowered to detect an effect. More research is needed." just wouldn't have the same comedic effect. []
  3. I accepted the null hypothesis. But again, this study was underpowered. []
  4. I think that not changing my picks the entire season (this is a pool where you can change picks each and every week, which means that you can clear out injured players and stack the team with players who have the most number of games on any given week) probably had something to do with this. []
  5. Daniel and Henrik are fugly, but I’ve heard that they are really nice guys. []


Team Hockey P0rn – Your Suggestions Needed!

Last year, I never really got into the NHL hockey season. With the lockout being so long, by the time the season started, I’d moved on with my life and just couldn’t figure out how to fit hockey watching in. But the thing is, I really *like* watching hockey. And when you add to that the fact that the light at the end of the MBA tunnel is fast approaching, I really will need something to do to fill all the free time I’m going to have come the end of December! All that to say, I’m very excited that the new season starts this week.

And with the new season starting this week, so too does the annual VWXYPool! Hockey pool! The pool is open to regular readers of my friend Cath’s blog, VWXYNot?, which means it’s full of nerdy scientists who love to watch hockey and trash talk one another. So it’s loads of fun!

Now, as you know, I like to have a theme for how I pick the players for my hockey team. In 2011-12, I took the term “fantasy hockey pool” literally and formed Team Hottie, for which I could only chose attractive players. And I did terribly in the pool. So then in 2012-13, I decided to go the opposite way and formed Team Uggoe, for which I could only choose the hideously ugly. And I again did terrible in the pool. So I’m starting to think that choosing hockey players based on appearance may not be the best way to form a hockey pool team. I think it’s time for a new strategy.

And my new strategy is thus: I’m taking a suggestion that Cath made last year in a comment on my Team Uggoe posting – I’m forming Team Hockey P0rn, which means I can only put someone on my team if they have a name that sounds in some way dirty. The obvious members of the team, as Cath pointed out in that comment, are:

  • Grant Clitsome
  • David Legwand
  • Alex Burrows

A quick look at the list of available players has given me the following additions:

  • Victor Hedman
  • Jonathan Quick
  • Patrick Kane
  • Evander Kane
  • and someone I’ve never heard of before, but who is perfect for this team: Jiří Tlustý

This is a good start, but clearly I need more players. So I thought I’d ask you, gentle reader: do you know of any NHL players with dirty sounding names?


Hockey Pool, Week 8 – Half-Way!

Due to the shortened NHL season this year, week 8 marks the halfway point1. I’ve continued to be a delinquent, in that I have yet to change my picks this year (eep!) and it’s really showing in the results. Speaking of which, here they are. First up, the points for the week:

hockey pool 2013 - week 8 points

Some people got lots of points. Others (such as me), not so much.

Next, the time trend analysis:

hockey pool 2013 - week 8

To me, this continues to look like a pile of spaghetti, though you can see that Sugar Scientist and Mod Scientist continue to battle for top spot, with Lava and Raj not far behind. Of course, there’s still half a season to go, so really, this could still be anyone’s game!

  1. Props to chall for bringing this milestone to my attention in her update posting last week []


Hockey pool, week 3

Hey, remember that time I joined this year’s hockey pool? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t – looking at the pictures of my team of uggoes is something that I imagine most people would try to shut out from their memory. *shudder*

Anyway, as I’m sure you remember, I’m generally pretty delinquent when it comes to the hockey pool. I make my picks at the start of the season and rather than switching my picks each week based on player’s performances and other relevant data, I tend to just let my picks ride. This year I’ve been even more delinquent than usual – in fact, despite week 3 of the hockey season having just ended, I am just now watching a Canucks game for the first time all season1! So, basically, I’m watching the game as I write this – so please excuse the typos that will likely result from my attempt at multi-tasking!

First up, here’s a shiny bar chart of everyone’s points this week:

Hockey Pool Points

Clearly, having “Scientist” as your last name was a good strategic this week, with Mod Scientist and Sugar Scientist leading the pack in week 3, with Lavaland close behind. My personal strategy of doing nothing seems to be working out OK for me, as I’ve been consistently moving up – I was 9th in the first week, 8th in week 2 and came in a respectable 4th for points in week 3. Last week’s winner, Gerty-Z, had quite a fall from grace, dropping to second-from-last in points for this week. Just goes to show that anything can happen from week to week!

Turning now to the overall points, the graph, at this point, looks like a pile of spaghetti:

Hockey Pool Points


Though we do see that Sugar Scientist has held onto top spot for overall points since week 1 and there appears to be a group of 2 (Bam294 and Gen Repair) breaking away at the bottom in the race for the title of “most efficient” (i.e., the most efficient player is the one who gets by on the least amount of points).

Looking forward to see how things go in week 4!

  1. The hockey pool is full of bloggers and we each take turns doing the weekly update on our blogs. I signed up for doing this week’s hockey pool and as I was thinking, “I should probably write my blog posting,” I then immediately thought, “Oh yeah, hockey! It’s Saturday night. Don’t they usually play hockey games on this night? A hockey night, if you will? I should turn on the TV and check that out!” We are at Devon’s parents’ place on the Island and they, unlike us, have cable, so I actually can watch the game. []


Team Uggoe

So, it appears that millionaires and the billionaires have decided how to split up their gazillions of dollars and so we have an (albeit shortened) NHL hockey season upon us. This can only mean one thing: Cath is running the VWXPool! hockey pool again!

As I procrastinated on actually sitting down to make my picks1, I contemplated how to approach the pool. As you know, last year, as in previous hockey pools I’ve been in, I decided to go with a team of hockey hotties. And we all know how that turned out2. I asked The Twitter for its opinion:

hockey pool tweet

but the only response I got was from Cath, who is surely not an objective advisor on the matter3:

hockey pool twitter reply

And then the answer hit me – if my team of hockey hotties does terribly, I need to do the opposite and pick a team of only ugly players4 It’s so obvious, really. I don’t know how I didn’t see this before!

And with that, I give you my picks for this week – a.k.a., Team Uggoe. Be warned: this isn’t pretty.
Evengi Malkin (centreman, Pittsburgh Penguins):

Henrik Sedin5 (centre, Vancouver Canucks. He’s the one on the right.):

Phil Kessel6 (right wing, Toronto Maple Leafs):

Cal Clutterbuck ((He looks like an evil villain, don’t you think?)) (right wing, Minnesota Wild):

Drew Miller7 (left wing , Detroit Red Wings).

Michal Handzus (centreman, San Jose):

Zdeno Chara (defenceman, Boston Bruins):

Dustin Byfuglien (defenceman, Winnipeg Jets):

Mark Streit (defenceman, NY Islanders):

Kimmo Timonen (defenceman, NY Islanders):

Marc Andre Fleury (goalie, Pittsburgh Penguins):

Antti Niemi (goalie, San Jose Sharks):


The guy I really wanted for Team Uggoe, but who is listed as injured, so I didn’t pick him was Brent Burns a.k.a. Chewbacca (defenceman, San Jose Sharks):

Props to Cath for bringing the above Chewbaaca picture to my attention, which lead me to the following:

So there you have Team Uggoe. Let’s hope that they can bring me more points than my hotties ever did!

  1. Though I did get them done last night – with more than 12 hours to spare before the deadline! []
  2. i.e., not very good for me. []
  3. Given her vested interest in wanting to win the pool herself. []
  4. Don’t worry about the hotties though. I’m sure we can find other, um, uses for them. []
  5. I originally tried to get both Sedins and put this picture into my posting, but then I realized that I couldn’t afford both Sedins within the salary cap, but I’m too lazy to find another picture. Also, including a photo with both of them allows for extra uggoe-ness. []
  6. My dad *really* wanted me to put Kessel on my team last year, but I wouldn’t because only hotties were allowed on the team. I wish my dad could see that I’ve finally granted his request. []
  7. Admittedly, he’s not the ugliest person ever, but I needed to find a player that only cost me 1 point, as that was all I could afford within the salary cap and I was getting bored of looking at photos to find the ugliest guys. He’s like Ugly Lite. []


Apparently, I Peak Early

Remember that time I was in a hockey pool and did terribly? Well, there’s a new pool for the playoffs and guess who is leading the pack?

playoff pool - Sat morning standings
These are the standings as of this morning

OK, so I know that it’s early days and that I’m only 3 points ahead of Cath, who is in second place and who jumped from last to 2nd in one day (!)…

Playoff hockey pool

… which clearly shows that position in the pool is pretty meaningless this early on. But I’m still posting this, because I know (based on my past pool performance) that I’ll probably never been in this position again, so I have to brag while I still can! I’m in first! Hooray for me!

I’m also in a bracket pool and doing super craptacularly bad at that:

bracket pool

And we aren’t even going to talk about the Canucks right now! Not only are they down 2 games to none, having dropped two games at home, despite being the President’s Trophy winners playing the 8th place team – but they’ve also ruined my bracket prediction that they’d beat LA in 5 games! Argh!


Hockey Pool Update – Weeks 23 and 24

So apparently, just like I did with having a blog, I have been completely ignoring the fact that I’m in a hockey pool.1 So let’s see how were are doing with that, shall we? (Note that since no one did a week 23 update, I’m doing a double update for weeks 23 *and* 24! And I’m only 6 days late with it! w00t!)

hockey pool weeks 23 and 24

We can clearly see that there are two distinct groups in this pool, as has been mentioning in previous postings by my fellow poolmates (which, of course, I can’t seem to find the links to2). Cath is in the lead of the top group, followed by Modscientist and Richardipus (pretty much tied in second place), followed closely by Lavaland.

Group 2 is being led by Gery, then Scientist Mother and Chall. Myself and Mr. E-Man are threatening to break off as a third group, and Bob is holding tightly the prize for most efficient (i.e., the one who can get through the pool on the smallest number of points).

And then, just because the data for all the previous weeks of the pool was sitting there in a handy little spreadsheet when I went to write this posting, I couldn’t resist making a graph from the beginning:

hockey pool all week

  1. I’m something of a gong show lately, what with school and death and travelling and moving and whatnot lately. Do you like how I just threw “death” in there with that other stuff all nonchalant-like? Gong. Show. I’m hoping that life will start to become manageable in April, when I get an extra weekend off – and a long weekend to boot! []
  2. Did I mention that I’m a gong show lately? []


Hockey Pool, Week 9

So it’s my week to do the update on the hockey pool that I’m in. I really wished that I’d volunteered to do the Week 7 update, where I reigned supreme! Instead, I’m doing the update on this past week, so I get to report on how sucktastic I am. But since it’s not all about me, let’s look at the graphs, shall we?

Hockey Pool - Week 9Figure 1: Week 9 points

As seen in Figure 1,  Cath and Bob did some butt kicking this week, followed closely by dreamsandhope, Lava, and Modscientist, and then Gerty. Me, Richardipus, and Scientist Mother did significantly worse than the others, with the notable exception of arkmennis, who is sadly, sadly at the end of the graph there.

Hockey Pool - Week 9 - Line graph

Figure 2: Change in point totals from week 8 to week 9.

Looking at the overall standings, Dreamsandhope, Richardipus, and Lava are in a three-way1 tie for first overall (287 points), followed closely by Modscientist (285 points). Cath is in fifth place (281 points), followed by Gerty & ScientistMother (272 points each), and then Bob (268 points). As you can see from the graph, arkmennis (248 points) and I (254 points) are breaking away from the pack in a race for the bottom. He and I are clearly able to get by on much fewer points than everyone else, so I think it’s pretty obvious that we are just much more efficient that our competitors.

It appears that my strategy of forgetting to update my team each week is not doing me much good2 – so I actually tweaked my lineup for week 10. Here’s hoping!

  1. Three-way. Tee hee. []
  2. With the exception of week 7 where I changed nothing and won the week, but I was in Montreal at the time, and Montreal is a hockey mecca, so I think that’s why the hockey gods smiled upon me. []


Hockey Pool, Week 1

So the hockey pool has started! And since “week 1” only constituted two days1, Cath decided that she’d start doing the weekly updates next week. Well, bollocks to that I say! I’m doing well and need to brag, because you never know how long you’ll be on top! I could be in last place by the time next Saturday rolls around! And with that, I give you this shiny line graph of the hockey pool’s standings as of the end of Week 1:

VWXY Hockey Pool - Week 1
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that, as of this writing, I am currently #1 in the pool, with a cool 26 points after last night’s games. Take that, everyone!

  1. Thursday and Friday, since the CBC hockey pool that we are using starts it’s “weeks” on Saturdays. []


Hockey Hotties 2011/12- Your Suggestions Needed!

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again. Time to pick hotties for my fantasy hockey team! This year I’m joining Cath’s Hockey Pool where, apparently, I have to pick a fresh batch of hotties every week. Which I’ve only just realized is a lot more work than just picking a pile of hotties and then ignoring my team for the rest of the season, as I usually do in hockey pools. It also means that I need to select a large roster of hotties from which to choose each week, based on which teams are playing who, and which hotties are injured or on a hot streak (in the hockey-playing sense) in any given week.

As in the past, I’m going to start with my previous lists of hockey hotties (see herehereherehere, here and here), but will do my due diligence to look up their most recent stats as well as search for other potential hotties. And this, my friends, is where you come in. Please provide your suggestions for potential hotties in the comments section. I do, of course, reserve the right to be the arbiter of hotness for my team, but all suggestions are welcome and I will judge them accordingly.

In the meantime, let’s all ogle Scottie Upshall: