First off, apologies for a title that sounds like it was written by a 12 year old girl. But maybe that's how I feel. There comes a point in certain relationships when you just can't take it any more. You've been burned so many times that you've had enough, and it's time to break up and move on with your life.
And so it is with me and certain NHL players in the fantasy hockey world. You try and try. You give them chance after chance to redeem themselves. You want to believe they can change and be the player you once thought they were. But now, it's break up time.
Ages ago, before Yahoo discovered fantasy sports, I was a dedicated fan of Kevin Stevens, based on his consistent supply of goals and PIMS over many season. But alas, I held on too long. Even into the gloomy Ranger years, I continued to draft him, praying he could once again be the player he once was. Alas, I have been burned before and have learned when it is time to let go. Whether due to a pattern of untimely injuries, dry spells, or downright inconsistent play, some players are just not worth the risk any more.
And so, I'm publicly stating that I'm through with these guys, starting with #4:
For years, I believed the line that you were the Michael Jordan of hockey, but time and time again, you've crashed my hopes. And now, you've gone and broken your hand. Don't tell me it's not your fault. I've heard that one before. If it's not your hand, it will be some other excuse next time. I've finally come to terms with the fact that you're not the player everyone said you would be. I'm moving on.
We're through. After those first few seasons of showing so much promise in Ottawa, I told everyone how some day, you'd be a regular 40-goal scorer, and that you might even help that franchise win in the playoffs. But injury after injury, I lowered my expectations. Still, I drafted you late every year, hoping it would be your time to prove me right. I can't do this any longer. 1 goal in 16 games? Is that all you have to give? Goodbye, Mr. Havlat. My heart can't take any more.
Dear Mr. Franzen
You present the biggest challenge to my patience. When you're healthy, you're a beast. But like your twin Holmstrom, I can't count on you being there when I need you most. I'm not asking you to change who you are, otherwise, you probably wouldn't score at such an insane pace. But just imagine what you could do if you just came to visit a little more. 40 goals? 50 goals? I know it's possible, but I just can't take getting burned again. And, let's face it, you're not getting any younger. It pains me, but I'm giving up on you.
I'm sorry to confess this, but the truth is, I never really believed in you. I've been watching Penguins hockey for 20+ years and know enough to say that if you're wearing the black and gold, you may win games, but you'll never win a Vezina. For whatever reason, this summer, I had a glimmer of hope you might change things. You were hanging out with the right crowd on defense. I thought you could change. I was wrong. Now I know in the past week or so, you're doing better, but I think you're just putting on a show. It's too late. I'm done with you.
While I haven't given up entirely, there are a few others who are currently on Thin Ice.
After all the attention you had this summer, this is all you can do? No goals? Really? Consider yourself on probation.
It just doesn't seem logical. Is there something you're not telling me? You were so promising and productive down in Florida. Is it really that cold in Calgary? Are the Sutters too mean to you? At least write once in a while, so we know you're still playing.
I stuck by you through the injuries and was thrilled to see you shine to start the season. But what has happened now? I don't even know who you are any more.
And while I'm at it…
I try not to criticize too much, after all, a guy in your position can never please everyone. But Gary, I'm begging you. Let it go. NHL players belong in the Olympics. You're just coming off like a child holding that as a bargaining chip. And while we're on the topic, don't even think about hinting at another lockout. Otherwise, I may be writing this letter to the entire NHL in a few years.
As a fantasy hockey player, surely you've felt this way, too. So, who have you given up on?
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