While reeling fans in Washington and Russia are willing Alex Ovechkin to get healthy soon and produce like crazy, a novice hockey fan is also doing so strictly for personal reasons.
Come on Ovie, help me out. Get healthy, play well and get lots of points. It’ll help the family phone calls go a lot smoother.
For the first time in a lifetime, my sister came to me last October with the proposal she wanted to enter a hockey pool that requires a live in-person drafting of players.
She’s a person who’s always prepared in her quest for excellence. She needed to be completely prepared for this draft – her very first hockey pool draft.
My sister is also a person who didn’t remotely like hockey. She was the one person in Canada who didn’t watch the 2010 gold medal game between her country and the U.S. Just didn’t care. Before the draft, she couldn’t name more than two or three players in the entire NHL.
There’s was no point in a short debriefing. I had to prepare a lengthy detailed list of who to pick and when.
She selected 18 players. The first couple were easy to pronounce – Kane and Hall. Then she got tested. I can only imagine how Mikhail Grabovski and Valtteri Filppula came off her tongue. The early standings didn’t look good. After the second week, I got an email bemoaning the fact it’s not a good year for hockey pools.
But her team got healthy and started to surge. Much to my surprise, the pool ended Dec. 31. Just a few days before the end, she moved into first place and managed to hang on for the win. She was thrilled.
Then the draft for the second half of the pool approached. My master list was refined with all the latest insights and developments. She made Alex Ovechkin the fourth overall pick and all looked good. Then the injuries came. Parenteau, Kane, Franzen, Yakupov. She was in last place out of the hopper.
Then Ovie went down and she shuddered when I told her the news over the phone. It’s minor I said. It’s only going to be for a game or two, I reasoned with her. And the other guys are getting healthy now, too.
She’s still in last place.
So I need you Ovie. Don’t rush things, but come back soon with your golden touch and make me look good.
There’s a misconception out there that because I work for The Hockey News, I have insider information that surely enables me or my family to win every hockey pool.
But I’m just a guy who follows hockey closely and fancies himself a student of the game. I lose a lot more pools that I win.
If my sister can rally again in the next two months, the thrill of victory would be sweet. If not, the journey will be exciting.
And at the very least, there’s another hockey fan in the world.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN