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The Amazing Fantasy Hockey League

First place Phantoms looking legit;

Warriors lack focus to beat Firestorm

October 31st, 2011

One month into the 2011-12 regular season and it almost doesn’t even matter that Sidney Crosby is still out of their lineup… the Buffalo Phantoms have been worth the price of admission even without their superstar forward.

The Phantoms haven’t been in first place since the end of the 2009 season. After winning their first three matchups of the regular season, including last week’s 9-1 victory over the defending champs, they now sit atop the league standings with a 23-8-5 record.

“I think you got a little glimpse,” said Phantoms GM Daryn Beckman after the victory over Washington, “of what we’re going to be doing all year.”

Marian Hossa currently leads the team in scoring with 15 points. Joe Pavelski ranks second in team scoring with 11 points and Milan Michalek is third with 11 points.

“It’s exciting,” said Hossa. “Our offense is already clicking one month into the season. I think this team has great speed and that speed allows us to use our counter game so the guys with the hands and the speed to make plays.”

There’s no ignoring that the win came against a team still nursing a Stanley Cup hangover, so the coaching staff is telling the players to keep their jubilation in check.

Still, it’s refreshing to hear that they shouldn’t get too excited about how good they look after being told to keep their spirits up about about bad they looked without Sidney Crosby last year.

“It’s one month into the season and we have to keep an even keel in this room,” said forward Patrick Marleau. “That being said, this is a big win over the defending champs and we need to acknowledge what we did.”

* * *

“Done and done! See ya in the playoffs!” Hamilton Firestorm GM Gates Imbeau said to North Bay Warriors GM Mike Brunetta shortly before the final buzzer of their Week 3 matchup.

After a tough loss to GM Carbone’s squad, Imbeau said beating Brunetta’s Warriors by a score of 8-3 was the perfect way to turn things around.

Plekanec, Whitney, Briere, Selanne, and Fleury are the stars in Hamilton this week,” said Imbeau in a phone interview on Sunday night. “We hope that this gives a vote of confidence to our top line who have been struggling of late.”

Firestorm goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said the Warriors looked a little scrambly in their Week 3 matchup and probably at times tried to force things and make things happen that were not there.

“Their inability to focus for the entire matchup was pretty obvious,” Fleury said. “When you have more stars in your lineup than the other team and you let the other team take the play to you, it certainly shows a lack of focus.”

Focus may have in fact been the problem for the Warriors. Not long after the Firestorm got their first big lead in the matchup, Brandon Dubinsky and Jarome Iginla got tied up in the neutral zone, jawing and clearly interested in a scrap, but the linesmen got involved quickly. The two would continue to escalate their verbal engagement from within the boxes, and as soon as both were released from the box they would tussle again, this time receiving a “delay of game” minor apiece.

Two minutes later, with neither side able to capitalize on the second consecutive 4-on-4 sequence, the time for foreplay had come to an end. Dropping the gloves and doffing their helmets as each left the box, Dubinsky would attempt to taunt Iginla into the first move, but ended up taking the first swing (and nearly overbalancing himself flat onto his face) before Dubinsky engaged, and the two ended up trading blows for almost four full minutes.

“The result was our team making their team look old, tired, and slow,” said Firestorm forward Brandon Dubinsky. “Their break-outs took forever, and even getting the puck out of the defensive zone couldn’t always be considered a success.”

Warriors GM Mike Brunetta was unavailable for comment after the matchup, but Warriors forward Eric Staal said they will be better next time the two teams meet.

“We had our chances,’’ said Staal, who whiffed on three breakaways in the matchup. “You can give credit them. But we take responsibility for bearing down and we’ll be better in our next matchup.’’

* * *


– Going into Week 4, these four teams remain undefeated: the Lakehead Thunderwolves, Buffalo Phantoms, Pittsburgh Heroes, and the Detroit Icemen.

– The Stanley Cup winning Washington Power have lost their first three matchups of the regular season and now look for their first win in Week 4 against the Twin City Vikings.

Victoria Vipers‘ forward Phil Kessel still leads the league in scoring with 18 points.

Categories : afhl


  1. Buffalo GM Daryn Beckman says:

    Another amazing article man thanks for the recognition! THis league kicks ass

  2. xmen7177 says:

    “Quick Hits…….. did the Power make too many moves in the off season??? one has to wonder….. great article Anthony

  3. Shorts says:

    Great article. Glad to see the Mustang’s slow start hasn’t made news yet.

  4. Hamilton GM Gates Imbeau says:

    Hamilton hope they get to play the Warriors in the playoffs. Same teams, same results!

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The Amazing Fantasy Hockey League (AFHL) is a lifetime keeper fantasy hockey league that consists of 20 franchised teams, of which 10 are located in Canada, and 10 are located in the United States. The AFHL is in no way shape or form affiliated with the NHL or the NHLPA and all teams logos and players names are their property.