Diary of a Fantasy Player: Pregame

“Hey, Chris, uh, do you need me to announce the alumni fantasy game?”

“Nope, we’re covered. You can take that game off.”

With that, the wheels started turning.

Let me back up a bit, by way of introduction. I’m Wade. Some folks may know me (or my voice) as the surprise selection for the new public address announcer at PNC Arena (I was as surprised as anyone). My day job is as a technology executive/programmer/sysadmin for a local internet startup. But what’s relevant to this article is that I’m a Hurricanes fan. I started following hockey while in college at William & Mary, where my friends were almost universally both from Northern Virginia and Capitals fans. But I moved to Raleigh in February of 1999, just before the Canes left Greensboro for their new home.  After attending the first game at the then-ESA, I fell in love with the sport and the team. I’ve been a regular in Section 328 for quite a while.

first_game_ticket
Hipster Cred – I haz it.

I also picked up playing adult hockey about a decade or so ago. As I tend to physically match most of the stereotypes of computer nerds, I’m not the most athletic guy in the world. My last foray into any sort of competitive sport was a season of Babe Ruth baseball when I was 16. My career ended with one hit, one run scored, and I missed the only game our team won that year. Yeah. And growing up in the middle of nowhere in Southside Virginia, the only place you’d see a hockey jersey was when the one new kid who had lived in the city wanted to show off by wearing one. Hockey was that thing you might pass briefly by on ESPN, watch five minutes, get confused, and move on. But after seeing the Canes storm the crease like bumblebees for a few years, I got the itch. Even my wife (who grew up in the same town, and joined me in Raleigh saying “Hockey is stupid, why would I want to go to a hockey game?”) was hooked after seeing about three games in person. Continue reading Diary of a Fantasy Player: Pregame

Cheaters Never Win Podcast- The Wizarding Edition

This weekend, the Carolina Hurricanes celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Stanley Cup victory, and the boys get a little misty eyed talking about it. But fear not, as was the case in 2006, Ray Whitney, yes, the Wizard, is here to save the day. We also have the inaugural edition of #CheatMail, the STAALWARD watch makes an appearance, and Mike falls in love with a new beer from Prairie. Oh, and there’s a contest too! #CanadianRoadTrip. Thanks as always for listening! Please rate and subscribe.

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Season Predictions Revisited- Come Laugh At Us

Making season predictions is a time honored tradition in sports. Getting them laughably wrong is equally common. To see just how right or wrong we are to this point, I went back to the season preview episode of Cheaters Never Win and took notes of Mike’s and my predictions for the 2015-16 season.

As of today, some could still be right. Others… oh boy… others are way the hell off. We picked full order for the Metro division, and only picked division winners for other divisions.

2015 predictions

Continue reading Season Predictions Revisited- Come Laugh At Us

Canes Trade Odds – 2016 Edition

Winning teams buy. Losing teams sell. Those teams in the middle? A lot can be learned about their direction by watching their movement at the trade deadline. All too often in recent seasons, the Carolina Hurricanes under Polonius Rutherford operated under the principle of “neither a buyer nor a seller be”, seemingly afraid to sell off any good pieces of a team that almost maybe possibly was so so so close to the playoffs, but at the same time not willing to make the bigger move by mortgaging the future for that one player that might secure that playoff spot (or, realistically, not having the prospects to pull it off.)

Under Ron Francis last season, the team ripped off the Band-A adhesive bandage and went into full-blown seller mode, dealing off free agents to be Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty, and Tim Gleason for four draft picks, a good defensive prospect in Roland McKeown, and human being Jack Hillen. But those trades were simple – the Canes in mid February were closer to the #1 overall pick than they were to the playoffs. This season is different, for several reasons. Last season’s free agents to be were a good defenseman who spent a year and a half with the team, a popular third liner, and a reclamation project whose best days as a Cane were behind him. This season, it’s two guys who helped raise the Stanley Cup for the Hurricanes in 2006, and two of the biggest faces of the franchise – if not potentially the biggest. Add that to a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in six seasons and is going in the “right direction” – if the team continues to push for the playoffs the closer it gets to the trade deadline, it’s going to make it harder and harder to sell.

But you didn’t come for that. You came for wagering*. You want to know whether or not your favorite player is going to be around for Canes Casino Night (since it takes place after the trade deadline this year, meaning no drunken last goodbyes and inadvertent slips of potential trade destinations). You want to know whether or not you should invest in that $35 shirtsey. You need to know FACTS about ABSOLUTELY** what’s going to happen to your favorite players!

I can do that.

[*please, no wagering]
[**yeah, I’m totally guessing – like you know better.]
Continue reading Canes Trade Odds – 2016 Edition

Cheaters Never Win Podcast- Two-fer Edition

Nothing says a great edition of Cheaters Never Win like having two guests who know their stick and puck. We kick off the guests w/ former NHL’er Patrick O’Sullivan talking about a player’s view of the trade deadline and his thoughts on the Canes. Later, Mike Solarte from Time Warner Cable News joins us with an update on the Checkers and to talk about how great the Alumni game is. Mike and Derek are here too, but who cares, right? Thanks as always for listening!

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Defense First: The Surprising, Suppressing 2016 Hurricanes

You know every late-April or May when you miss the Canes, but have to watch playoff hockey because it’s, ya know, playoff hockey. You’ve got your bracket filled out and want to check in on hopeful bragging rights. You inevitably watch some Eastern match-up, maybe it’s the annual Rangers/Capitals seven game series, or maybe the latest Pittsburgh collapse. We all do. We all soak in these series that only get 3-5 goals a game and it’s thrilling, nerve-wracking, and intensly fun. Although Pittsburgh media often blames the death of exciting hockey on whoever knocks them out of the playoffs, they’re wrong. Playoff hockey is the best of all sports. We all know this. It is known.

The Canes have been floating around hockey .500 lately and compiling a winning record more oft than not. There are whisperings of the playoffs, of a chance to actually watch OUR team in them. Whether or not we make the playoffs, this season is a success that rests on the back of a wonderfully talented young defense with an uncanny ability to suppress the opponent’s shot attempts, shots on goal, and scoring chances. We’ve got a long road ahead, but for us in North Carolina, it’s late April now.

Super suppression bros.

What I’m getting at here is that the Hurricanes are quietly learning how to play playoff hockey. Limiting the opponent is the way to grinding out playoff series wins. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we’re ready. We need more finish, consistent goaltending, some luck, and some dynamic offensive talent wouldn’t hurt. But our guys have got the suppression thing down and it’s beautiful.

Continue reading Defense First: The Surprising, Suppressing 2016 Hurricanes

Future Hurricanes Sandwich Promotion Ideas

Hummus. This all started with hummus.

As both a food snob and an instant ramen aficionado, it can be a mixed bag as to whether or not my taste in food can be fully trusted.

But as has been mentioned in the podcast that carries this blog, the “Terry Italiano” is an abomination. Hummus as a sandwich spread I can look past – if creamy enough, it can be a decent enough replacement spread for something like mayonnaise, while being a hell of a lot healthier. That doesn’t mean it belongs on an “Italian” sandwich.

You know what also doesn’t belong on an “Italian” sandwich? Cheddar cheese. I’ve gone though the trouble of ranking all the cheeses that you can put on an Italian sandwich:

  1. Provolone

You’re welcome.

I get it. It’s hard for Harris Teeter to come up with these sandwich ideas, especially when pretty much every hockey player is going to tell you that their “favorite sandwich” is grilled chicken on whole wheat bread and no toppings except for maybe a protein shake to dip it in. So, I’ve gone though the trouble of making some recommendations (not that I’d eat all of them, as you’ll see) for future Canes/sandwich cross-promotions.

Justin Faulk: Cheese-stuffed fried hamburgers on a white sub roll, lettuce, tomato.

Whenever you watch one of those shows on the Travel Channel about “road eats” or whatever, they talk about the “Juicy Lucy”, where cheese is surrounded and sealed in by two beef patties and fried. The cheese melts inside and, well, it sounds damn wonderful. But then again, so is Justin Faulk. As much as Justin has his Minnesota pride, I’m sure he’d get behind this one. This one isn’t funny because when I looked it up I saw it and couldn’t get it out of my head and I kind of want this to happen no matter how unrealistic it is.

Brett PesceRoast turkey on a whole wheat sub roll, lettuce, tomato, and wasabi horseradish spread.

Much like Brett’s evil twin Randy Orton, this sandwich seems plain and flavorless, then the wasabi sneaks up and knocks you on your butt FROM OUT OF NOWHERE.

John-Michael Liles: Sliced Kobe beef on a white sub roll.

Ordered on its own, it’s a little plain and didn’t live up to the hype, especially for something SO expensive. But you take it home anyway, throw some toppings on it, maybe heat it up, add some cheese, and hey – this is actually a pretty good sandwich. If it were more reasonably priced, I might order that one again.

Noah FREAKIN’ Hanifin: Any Subway sandwich made in the presence of @WWESubway

It’s very easy to get excited when you watch Noah Hanifin play.

Brad MaloneCarolina-style (chili, onions, mustard, cole slaw) hot dogs on a three-cheese sub roll.

You know that feeling. You go to Cook Out, and you see “Cook Out Style”, and you’re like “damn, I haven’t had one of those in a while”, and you eat it and you’re like “DAMN I forgot how good that was”, but then you decide to get it the next day, and it’s still tasty but your stomach is starting to question your decisions. Three days in a row? You will pay dearly, as will everyone else around you.

Michal Jordan: Homer’s Sandwich from The Simpsons (“Selma’s Choice” – Season 4, Episode 13)

Sits in the corner, untouched, for says – weeks even – but no one has the heart to throw it away, and when someone does eat it, they get violently sick.

Canes talk, Cheaters Never Win podcast, beer

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