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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/12/2019 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Matmenzinger

    Small Fish Big Pond [1/2]

    This is the Prague Post reporting in from Philadelphia Pennsylvania, and we're here today with one Mat Tocco. Tocco is the newest member of the Philadelphia based VHLM hockey team The Philadelphia Reapers. He also happens to be a Prague native so it goes without saying that he's a long way from home. Today we'll be taking an in depth look at every detail of Tocco's new life in America and how he's adjusted. Mat begins by greeting us outside of the three story apartment building in which he resides. He's already smiling by the time we reach the door and he's sure to let us know more than once about how excited he is to finally be able to talk to someone in his first language. He leads us into the building, up the to the second floor, and into his modest one bedroom apartment. He offers me and my camera man each a bottle of Pilsner Urquell "I know I shouldn't be drinking this, too many calories, but it makes me a bit less homesick." he says. Nothing is adorned on the bare white walls of his apartment, and as far as furniture goes it's at a minimum. He gestures us to a couch and he pulls up the lone chair from his kitchen and sits there. "I haven't had a chance to decorate if you couldn't tell" Tocco jokes. I continue to survey his living room and spot a picture of him and young woman sitting on his empty entertainment center. Noticing my line of sight Tocco stands up and hands me the picture. "That's Marika, my girlfriend. Leaving her back home hasn't been easy, but I've only been signed to a one year contract. I don't know where I'll be playing next year so it didn't make sense for her to come with." We continue to make small talk for the better part of 20 minutes and I decide to try to gear the conversation towards hockey. "So you've decided to sign with The Reapers, but I have to ask did you have any other offers from other VHLM teams?" Tocco bursts into a laugh. "Funny thing about that, I accepted the offer the second my agent told me about it. Never even gave another team a chance to make an offer. It seemed like a perfect fit so I went for it. I haven't actually given playing with another team any thought." Mat stands up abruptly and grabs three more beers handing us each one. After taking a swig he continues "We'll see where I'm at in my career come next year, but I'd love to continue playing here. I've been here for a very short time but our GM has been very welcoming, and I've actually made a friend in John Frostbeard. He's from Latvia so he knows what it's like to be so far from home." I try to stray from bring up the topic for as long as I can but it's hard not to notice that Philadelphia is in a slump at the moment. "With you guys being at the bottom of the standings, it must be a bit demoralizing considering how far you came from to play here." Tocco's face contorts into what may be anger, but as soon as it appears it's gone. "No, actually I don't think about it like that at all. It's an honor to be playing here. You have to take into account that we're a new team, we still have the rest of the season ahead of us and I don't think the league has even begun to see what we're capable of as a team." he says. "We have a really strong core, the bounces just haven't been going our way. Once everything starts to click, and I guarantee it will, the rest of the league better watch out.". At this point Tocco gets up and leads us out onto the balcony of his apartment. "Sorry I don't like being cramped inside this long". The view from the balcony is nothing much to look at but Tocco eyes seem to be taking in the city at a mile a minute. The constant chatter and sounds of the city may be second nature to most living here but it's a far cry from Tocco's beginnings. "I still haven't adjusted to just how many cars are here. I swear there are more cars than people." We let him take in the city for a few minutes before getting back to our conversation. "Currently you're projected to go 68th in the upcoming draft, do you see that number changing as the season goes on?" I ask. "Absolutely. The level of competition here is insane, and it's daunting, but I think I'm getting better every single day. This is my life, I haven't really planned anything else for myself, so that means that I need to be the best. No less. I'm learning a lot, and my teammates are at levels that don't exist in the juniors back home. That helps a lot." We continue to drink and before too long the sounds of city die down. Mat's face scrunches as if deep in thought, and after a few seconds he says "I'm nervous ya know? I haven't really been nervous before. I was the best on my team in juniors, I was the best back in school. But I just played my first game with the team and I felt lost on the ice for the first time ever. The game is so much faster here. Everyone is just as good as you or better. It's a challenge but one that I think I'm up for." Eventually the street lights come on and it's too dark for our camera so we bring the interview back inside. Something catches my eye that I didn't notice when we first entered the apartment. On the otherwise empty kitchen counter sits two lone hockey pucks. "What's the story behind those?" I inquire. "Oh, uhh yeah... that first one is from actually from the only other time that I've ever visited the states. It's one of the few things that made the trip here. Take a look, it's signed by one someone you might know." I do, it's someone anyone who follows hockey would. Scrawled across the puck is the signature of Jaromir Jagr. "I know it's cliche but watching him as a kid, was my sole inspiration for getting into the game. There was also a very regrettable stage in my life where my hair was inspired by him too." Tocco laughs. Even more interesting is his story about the second puck, this one unsigned and seemingly mundane. "This is the puck that gets me to wake up every day and do this. This is the puck from my very first goal in juniors. I've saved it since then, and hopefully one day I can sign that, give it to fan and actually have it mean something to them." We continue to talk about the league, where other teams are in the standings, and his thoughts on other prospects well into the night. Eventually it gets too late and we decide to wrap things up if we're going to catch our plane back home in the morning. Tocco leaves us with one last thought. "Keep an eye on us, I told you that I'm getting better every day... But that's just the beginning of it. Our team is getting better, and I promise you that come the end of the season we'll surprise everyone." Keep an eye out for more stories like these to come, and in Tocco's own words be sure to follow Philadelphia closely through their first season, they just may surprise us all. 1296 words. TPE for weeks ending 3/17 and 3/24.
  2. 3 points
    In part 1 of the tour of the newly sponsored Burns Crematorium Centre, Reaper defenseman Charlie Paddywagon gave us a tour of the outside and spectator areas of the arena. For part 2, Charlie joins us again to give a tour of the part of the arena he likes to call the “underbelly.” The underbelly is the backstage portion of the arena. It consists of the two team’s locker rooms along with various faculty facilities. Our tour starts in the Reaper locker room. It has all the fixings of a modern locker room, huge individual player lockers, plush couches, and big screen TVs. A large reaper logo covers the middle of the padded floor. Charlie explains that no one is allowed to step on the logo. The punishment for disrespecting the logo by stepping on it is that you must get dressed in the visitor’s locker room. Charlie takes me to his locker to giddily show off his new clothes from the sponsor he recently signed with, Ferda Apparel. Trying on a fancy sport coat, he exclaims “Check out how nice this is! I’ve never had clothing this nice in my life!” As we walk through the locker room, we pass the shower area, which has a clearly defined shower for the female members of the Reapers. “Kandee calls this shower her oasis,” Charlie informs us. He claims the shower is the best that money can buy. “It has, like, 30 showerheads and detachable shower wands that can be set to varying levels of intensity. Sometimes Kandee likes her showers so much, we can hear her screams of joy all the way on the ice.” As we continue past the showers, we reach the GMs office. Inside BladeMaiden and Bushito are feverishly working while 3 separate screens stream data from various VHL news agencies. BladeMaiden has two phones up to her face while Bushito is studying a whiteboard with possible lines for their upcoming game. Neither had time to field questions from this reporter. Our next stop is the weight room. Like everything else in this ultra-modern, ultra-expensive arena, the weight room is state of the art. On the wall is a motivational saying: “Reap what you sow”. It’s easy to tell that Charlie has always loved the weight room. His eyes lit up when we entered the room and he can go on and on about specific machines, what they do, how many reps he can do, how many reps others can do, how much weight he can lift, and how much weight others can lift. Charlie takes pride in his strength and hard work ethic. That pride bursts out of him in the weight room. As we’re walking down the hall, I notice that one room is blocked off with yellow hazard tape and there is a toxic chemical warning symbol on the door. Looking closely, it appears there were letters written on the door. Those letters have since been scraped off, but you can still see the outline of them enough to make out the words, “Clone Room”. I ask Charlie about this room. He stammers a little bit with his answer, “Well… I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to tell you about this. I mean, I think everything was cleared by the league, I don’t know.” After a little more pressing, Charlie provides the details. Before the beginning of the season, this room was used to attempt to create a clone of the VHL player, Elasmobranch Fish. As many know, the Reapers drafted Elasmobranch Fish with their first pick in their inaugural VHLM dispersal draft. It turns out Fish was no longer eligible to play in the VHLM. In an effort to keep their pick, the Reapers attempted to clone Elasmobranch Fish before he became ineligible for the VHLM. Their attempts to clone Elasmobranch Fish were unsuccessful. This room is where those failed experiments went down. Very creepy. Things get a little more cheery when we meet the Reapers equipment lady. Rita Davis, an 80 year old angel of a woman welcomes us into her equipment room. A banner hangs on the wall: “Reap what you sew”. “So many games they get the other team’s blood on them,” Rita says grinning as she scrubs Jet Jaguar’s jersey clean. “All the boys are so sweet to me. I wouldn’t believe you for one second if you told me their goal was to bring death to their opponents,” Rita says as she smiles and pinches Charlies cheek, who blushes in response. The entire exchange is so adorable you momentarily forget you’re in the “underbelly.” As we approach the visiting team’s locker room, Charlie gets very excited. “I can’t believe we were able to do this to their locker room,” he says as he opens the door. In all my time as a reporter, I have never seen anything even remotely close to what the Crematorium visiting locker room is like. The entire room is designed to look like the inside of a demon alien. The walls, floor, and seats are all colored a blueish/red hue and covered is a wet mucus substance that is warm and slimy. The odor is a combination of vomit and sulfur. It feels like the room is alive, because the walls and floor pulse in an almost heartbeat like pattern. It is repulsively disgusting. I’m not sure how any team could get ready to play a professional hockey game in this room. Charlie is more than happy to share all the details of this gruesome room. “We wanted this room to feel like the final level in the video game Contra,” Charlie says, referring to the classic NES game. The Reapers were able to contact Shigeharu Umezaki, the creator of the original Contra game, to help design this locker room. Charlie says, “Shigeharu did such a great job. He understood exactly what we wanted this room to be and executed our vision to perfection. I have no idea how he was able to take what was in the video game and make it happen in real life. He did tell me that he got an actual alien to live here and this is actually the alien’s stomach. I think he was joking though… I don’t know it’s tough to know when there’s a translator. I’m pretty sure that was a joke, I don’t think this is actually an alien…” Charlie says as his voice trails off. We decided this was a good time to end the tour. Artist rendering of The Crematorium visitors locker room. All in all, the Reapers new stadium, the Burns Crematorium is an amazing arena that combines classic gothic stylings with modern trappings. All of which sits on top of a terrifying underbelly, which itself sits on top of a historic graveyard. I think this is the perfect place for the Philadelphia Reapers. 1146 Words TPE for weeks ending 3/17 and 3/24
  3. 3 points
    gorlab

    pray 2 boubabi

    I am a disciple of the church of boubabi and hopefully I will honour his memory appropriately with my graphics
  4. 3 points
  5. 2 points
  6. 2 points
    TheLastOlympian07

    Gritty has retired!

    i cant believe you take gritty away from us. he is the greatest thing to come to the VHL since well ever
  7. 2 points
    ContinentalCup036

    Gritty has retired!

    @Trifecta your turn
  8. 2 points
    Quik

    Gritty has retired!

    Imagine retiring a player over 10 6 TPE
  9. 2 points
    monkeywrench15

    King of Helsinki

    @Romaris
  10. 2 points
    12 shots 10 hits for @DollarAndADream
  11. 2 points
  12. 2 points
    Matmenzinger

    Small Fish Big Pond [1/2]

    Haha well now I really feel like I have to live up to expectations. Seriously though thanks. Glad to be here.
  13. 2 points
    BladeMaiden

    Small Fish Big Pond [1/2]

    Mat Tacco @Matmenzinger was Truly a steal and a half of a late wavers signing. He hasn't been with us Reapers for long but he already feels like part of the team. He is starting to gel with the regular lines and honestly any GM that dosen't have this up and coming start on their to watch list for next season is making a huge mistake. We are glad to have you hear with us in Philly Mat!
  14. 1 point
    2nd Week VHLM Recap “What a week for Halifax!” First off, what an amazing week for Halifax 21st – they are in an amazing position leading VHLM with 32 points in 20 games played has a 6-point lead over last weeks champions Las Vegas Aces. With 32 goal differential we can clearly see that lately has been on fire and truly dominating. Halifax wins are coming not only by having the league’s best goaltender Chase, who after 20 games played is having 0.913 save percentage and only 2.34 Goals against but by having deep scoring coming from every line and having 5 players at least point-a-game surely helps. Secondly, the best defenseman in the VHLM? Denver Wolfe from Minnesota Storm is truly dominating as he is leading whole VHLM in points and having over 2 points per game. It is truly unbelievable. I don’t think anyway was excepting this to happen as I don’t remember anyone really talking about Wolfe’s skills. Drafted in S65 as 9th overall in VHL – Looking now at Vancouver Wolves, I guess we will see them on the top of the standing in S67 as well. Thirdly, we must talk about other outstanding players leading their teams in VHLM. Hunter Hearst Helmsley – does he need an introduction? Hunter is leading Yukon Rush in points and as of right now – leading VHLM in goals with 21 goals in 20 games played. That puts him on top of some truly fierce competitors like Jack Lynch from Ottawa Lynx, Kari Jurri from Houston Bulls, Anton Edvin from Halifax 21st and Shawnomir Jagr from Saskatoon Wild who all have 18 goals in 20 games played. All the guys on this list are going to be well known in VHL as true snipers. Coming back to Hunter – I guess we have to put some blame on Yukon’s management as with this generational talent they should not be out of a playoff spot. The +/- category in top 10 is lead by players from Minnesota Storm, Houston Bulls and Halifax 21st. Great chemistry between their lines, truly captivating teammates. Lastly, I would like to talk about Philadelphia Reapers – team that has amazing talent and still haven’t been able to find chemistry between their players. Players like Brian Strong, Mikko Aaltonen, Jet Jaguar, and Tyler Barabash Jr. are doing all they can to push their team to that playoff spot and even though we have had only 20 games played yet, Philadelphia can’t wait much longer to try to have a run for it. With the huge investment by their players into gaining TPE, we could see changed in team’s performance very soon, but will it be too late? There we go ladies and gentlemen, ECN Review of 2nd Week in VHLM is finished and we are here again at the end and this will be a small editorial comment – if any of you dear readers have a suggestion or any idea that I should think about – be sure to write a message here in forum and let’s make news here in VHLM better! People mentioned in this post: @caltroit_red_flames, @Beaviss @hockeyis66 @TheLastOlympian07 @Wheaties @GRZ @gorlab @Bushito @Chase Klein
  15. 1 point
    Good shutout for Chase to keep all 20 shots out of the net.Dimitri Volosenkov and Teagan Glover both had great games with 1 goal and 1 assist each. The first goal of the game was even on the penalty kill. Great team defensive game by Halifax all around.
  16. 1 point
    SlapshotDragon

    (S62) LW - Ryuu Crimson, TPE: 30

    This is where it all started...
  17. 1 point
    Devise

    Gritty has retired!

    There is that peak Boom meme game I know and love. Pappy Van Winkle would be proud lad.
  18. 1 point
    Great overtime win by Saskatoon with Rusty Shackleford getting a hattrick on 4 shots in the win. Lots of shots by both teams, so good on both Goalies for keeping it tight. Huston needs to stay out of the box.
  19. 1 point
    rjfryman

    GM 86: Ottawa Lynx vs. Minnesota Storm

    Jack Lynch with another outstanding performance even in the loss. Don Draper is another Ottawa player who is stringing together a good group of games. I think the tipping point is special teams. Minnesota scored 3 power play goals out of 8. Ottawa needs to stay out of the box.
  20. 1 point
    VisualDarkness

    First-Generation Bonus

    +10 Andreas Sundell
  21. 1 point
    BOOM™

    WKCPC

  22. 1 point
    flyersfan1453

    Gritty has retired!

    So I'm admittedly somewhat biased, but I can unbiasedly say it does sort of suck to not get the TPE. I had something extremely similar happen to me in the SBA a while back, where I had 2 bad players that never made it out of the minors. On my next player who I had planned on sticking with (but obviously didn't) I wasn't able to claim extra TPE since I had had a previous player. At the end of the day, it's only 10 TPE, but it's still kind of meh to be in this position.
  23. 1 point
    Sonnet

    Houston Bulls: All-Time Captains

    General Managers S65: Sonnet (Alexander Pepper) S66 - S70: FrostBeard (John Frostbeard) S71 - S??: Sonnet (Alexander Pepper) Captains Season 65 Captain: Viktor Kozlov @Kuch9 Assistant: Maximillian Kirbsson @Kirby Assistant: Callum MacElroy @GlowyGoat Season 66 Captain: Koda Adok Assistant: Zeno Mintini Assistant: Fylo Gibbles Season 67: Captain: Banko Mulleto Assistant: Edu Stava Assistant: Koda Adok Season 68: Captain: Edu Stava Assistant: Soren Jensen Assistant: Dagmar Havlova Season 69: Assistant: Jason Connors Assistant: Brodyn Capaldi Assistant: Jesus Christ Season 70: Captain: Erik Killinger Assistant: Hugh Jass Assistant: Kristopher McDagg Season 71 Captain: Gregg Stallion @SweatyBeaver Assistant: Riley Knight Gee @KnightRiley Assistant: Jer Lefebvre @Jer_Lefebvre
  24. 1 point
    RunnerBert11

    Gritty has retired!

    @eaglesfan036 Quite the loophole you're exploiting! If you're willing to sit out for half a year for 10 TPE all the more power to you.
  25. 1 point
    Sonnet

    Houston Bulls: Team Info

    Team: Houston Bulls General Manager: @Sonnet Assistant General Manager: Vacant Location: Houston, Texas, USA Population: 2,313,000 Arena: Toyota Center Seating Capacity: 18,300 Team Jerseys:
  26. 1 point
    RunnerBert11

    Gritty has retired!

    Seems pretty petty when you're not even capping on a weekly basis, but that just me. Plenty of TPE left on the table to be upset about 6/10 TPE. I'm newer to the league, but I think you're missing the point of the bonus in the first place, it seems like a bonus to encourage retention of new players who are likely to lose interest within the first couple of weeks before they even break 100. But like @Beketov said, the 10 TPE is pretty meaningless in the whole scope of things, when you're comparing how new inexperienced members use the 10 TPE opposed to how a veteran league member utilizes their points. Hang tough though, 10 juicy TPE waiting at the end of this 3 to 4 season holdout
  27. 1 point
    BOOM™

    pray 2 boubabi

    There is still time to be saved.
  28. 1 point
  29. 1 point
    Beketov

    Gritty has retired!

    I am so confused. I'm guessing you're just upset you missed out on playing for a Philly team?
  30. 1 point
    Appreciate you looking at the positives. That’s why you’re #1!!
  31. 1 point
    Nykonax

    Gritty has retired!

    @Beaviss lmao
  32. 1 point
    SparrowLTD

    Saskatoon Wild press conference

    1. How would you describe the locker room atmosphere after Saskatoon’s rough start, then compared to the atmosphere now after the Wild’s win streak? It's been a bit cyclical with a downward trend, hasn't it? Bad stretch, good stretch, bad stretch... But the second bad stretch won't end. The locker room is subdued, to say the least. 2. Saskatoon currently sits third overall in the standings, are you satisfied with that position after a terrible start? I was satisfied with it, but then we fell like a boulder in a lake. We need to get it back, and fast. 3. The top lines have been extremely productive, in fact Saskatoon’s offense is ranked first in the VHLM, so who would you say is the greatest offensive weapon for Saskatoon? I have to go with Jagr, purely because he has the most points of our top line, but that entire top line is a sight to behold. I hope to get to that productivity level shortly enough. 4. Defensively, however, the team is struggling. How would you change - if you could - defensive strategies to reduce Jaundice’s workload? Simplest solution would be to improve our defensemen, either by trading for better ones or whipping ours into shape. If nothing else, the forwards need to start working on getting back into our zone and doing a bit of defending ourselves. Juan can only do much when he's got shots hitting him left and right. 5. For a team that didn’t draft in the first or second rounds, is Saskatoon’s position in the standings surprising? Back when we were up in promising playoffs positions, maybe. Now that we've fallen back down, I think we're doing about as bad as expected, to be honest. Only way out is up, so we need to get to it. 6. What do you think of your management's effort in developing you as a prospect and an individual? As a prospect, my stat line is only above average, I'd say. That's not management's fault, though, unless better partners on my line can make me do better. As an individual, I feel like I'm making a ton of progress; maybe I can start being the second-line leader that the team needs soon. I'll need to try, for sure.
  33. 1 point
    ContinentalCup036

    Gritty has retired!

    See you all in 3 seasons so I can claim my first gen tpe
  34. 1 point
  35. 1 point
    Quik

    GM 96: Seattle Bears vs. Helsinki Titans

    Hoooo baby, bracket buster with that massive come back Amazing 3rd period by @Romaris and @AndrewWarren13 to carry us in this one!
  36. 1 point
    And here I was thinking that Slipher was gonna start carrying the team...great work by @Romaris and @AndrewWarren13
  37. 1 point
    Beketov

    Mobile Writing

    Ah BBCode. Back in the day it was our only option to make things look interesting before we had all these fancy forums.
  38. 1 point
    Beketov

    Mobile Writing

    I think we can choose what options show up depending on screen size. I’ll look into it. Also I moved this to suggestions.
  39. 1 point
  40. 1 point
    McWolf

    (S66) D - MORPHEUS DESTRUCTIOUS, TPE: 30

    Welcome in the league, Dil's buddy. Make sure to check the New Player Guide section, I'm revamping them at the moment. They should be full of resources to help you get started. If you need any help getting started, there's a channel dedicated to helping newer members in the VHL Discord where veterans can answer every question you have or help you in any way you need. You could also check the newest VHLM Newsletter they are full of useful resources. Or feel free to send me a DM with any question you got.  We are right at the start of season 65. VHLM GMs will come in here trying to claim you for their team, but you can take your time before making your decisions. Try to talk a couple of GMs before making your decision. I happen to be the GM of the Halifax 21st. I'd love to offer you a role on our 2nd or 3rd pairing, along with some special teams time, depending on your speciality
  41. 1 point
    Abaddon

    Dil’s Recruits

    Yes you did do the thing which you are saying you did
  42. 1 point
    1. If you could change our team colours what would you change them to? I probably wouldn't change them as I kind of like the blue/yellow/red kind of color scheme of the logo, but if I had to choose new colours, I'd go with a colorado avalanche esque burgundy/maroon, blue, and silver combo imo. 2. Who is the weirdest Player in our locker room? Probably Kandee the Hot Goalie. I have shared the shower with them and I'm still undecided on their gender. They also seem to love swearing, which isn't really weird, but it's not usual for sim league participants, who are generally happy go lucky smallies. He/She is weird, but cool. 3. Are you more of a forum LR member or a Discord LR member and why? I think I am a hybrid of both. Traditionally I have never really been a big discord LR guy, and just sticked to the forums, but the Philly Discord LR is quite active and enjoyable to participate in, so I'm going to have to lean towards calling myself a Discord LR guy at the moment. 4. How do you feel the team is gelling together? The Reapers are gelling together nicely imo. We have a good mixture of brand new members, current-era veterans, and past-era returning vets. Everyone is friendly, nobody bitches about lines, our discord is pretty welcoming. I have no complaints, one of the better minor league sim teams I've been apart of tbh. 5. Most useless VHL Brand and what you think they should be replaced with. As far as useless goes, they are all pretty useless and more or less rip offs from real world companies/brands. If I had to choose a least favourite, it would probably be Jolt Juice? I don't know, the name is not appealing, especially when you have HATERADE as the far superior sports drink. It reminds me of something a middle-aged mother of 3 would drink after pilates. 6. Teach me something, give me a random fact. Flamingos pee on their legs to cool themselves off, and the pee isn't actually just pee, but it's a mixture of feces and urine.
  43. 1 point
    Puffalump

    [S65] Player Store and Balances

    Player Name: Jakobe Puffalump VHL/VHLM Team: Las Vegas Aces Cash you have:$1,500,000 Purchase Name: The First Generation Cost of Purchase: $500,000 Cash left: $1,000,000
  44. 1 point
    Sonnet

    Kozlov Player Banner

    These banners hang in our team's stadium (and forum locker room) to represent each of the guys playing for our squad!
  45. 1 point
    Sonnet

    Kozlov Signature

    @Kuch9
  46. 1 point
    Who turns down a good Weiner? Crazy people that’s who!!
  47. 1 point
    hello darkness my old friend
  48. 1 point
    gregreg

    Still going

  49. 1 point
    Honestly I think we'll get back up to 10 first and then battle lines in the discussion will be drawn to see if people are willing to ave larger teams or if we just want more. I don't want to see expansion at an un-sustainable rate because contracting teams sucked and was a pain in the pass that I would like to avoid. However if the will of the league is to continue on our way as a 6-3-1 type of league than it doesn't make a lot of sense to force people into roles they don't want instead of just expanding further if we have the members. It's a future discussion but the point is that I wouldn't expect to see the league stay at 9 teams for long.
  50. 1 point
    Matt_O

    Season 20: Year in Review

    The VHL has had a storied history, with the league currently in it's 65th season. But let’s take a look at the past, and look at what made each season, starting with the earliest index we have available, season 20. Each week there will be another season reviewed, going all the way to the present day. I would get yourself settled before reading this, it’s a long one. Season 20 consisted of eight teams, seven of which are still in the league today. The Madrid Thunder were the lone team in this season that isn’t around today, and are one of the two defunct teams. The Standings consisted of two divisions; the North American division, with the New York Americans, Calgary Wranglers, Seattle Bears, and Toronto league, as well as the European division, with the Madrid Thunder, Helsinki Titans, HC Davos Dynamo, and Riga Reign. With the old playoff system, the top two teams in each division squared off, rather than the current format where the top five overall make it. The HC Davos Dynamo finished first place that year, with a strong 56-12-4 record, and finished the season off with 116 points, and on a five game winning streak. The Dynamo had league MVP Patrick Bergqvist on their squad, as he lead the team with 144 points, including 114 assists. He also received the Brett Slobodzian trophy for most outstanding player, the Sterling Labatte for top defenseman, and won the Alexander Beketov trophy for most assists. He still holds the record for most assists in a single season, and is one of six players to ever to have had over 100 assists in a season. Lets not forget about their goalie Daisuke Kanou, who had an incredible season as well, with a 2.12 GAA and a .922 Save Percentage. Their roster was stacked top to bottom, with an elite goalie, elite defenseman, and forwards such as Viottu Jannula, Marek Schultz, and Anton Brekker, who finished with 126,122 and 117 points respectively. In second place, there was the Toronto Legion. They finished with a record of 55-13-4, including just one loss in their last twenty games, and a fourteen game winning streak. They finished with 114 points, good enough to win the North American Division, thanks in part to their incredible defensive play. They had a league low 168 Goals Against, with their defense consisting of Frans Spelman and David Walcott, as well as James Bencharski as the three most notable names. They also had legendary goalie Aiden Shaw, who won the trophy for best goaltender, and this was his first of four best goaltending awards for his career. The trophy itself is in fact named after the legend Aiden Shaw himself. In case I have talked to much about their defense, let’s take a look at their offense. Lars Berger, Zlaten Zanetti, and Xavier Martinez headlined their offense, and the elite first line combined for a whopping 363 points. This Toronto squad was stacked, and was the start of an eventual championship winning team. In third place, we have the Riga Reign. Riga finished with 113 points, making this year a three headed race for the cup. They had a record of 55-14-3, just three points behind HC Davos, who they would play in the semi finals. This Riga team truly had an amazing offense, scoring 371, which is 47 more than Davos in second. This Riga offense was truly something spectacular. 371 goals in a single season is a record that will hold forever, barring major rule changes. Currently, the Seattle Bears have 73 goals in 17 games for Season 65, which is the most in the league so far. They are on pace for 62 less goals (309 in total) than Riga had in Season 20. They had the likes of JD Stormwall, who had 118 points. They had Mikka Virkkunen, who had 134 points, and Alex Stoyanovich, with 113 points. On top of those three, they had the likes of Tarik Saeijs, and Max Kroenenburg, who both had 157 points that year, good enough for third and fourth place all time. Those five are the entire top five in highest plus minus in a single season. The Season 20 Riga Reign takes up that entire top 5, with the only five players to ever have plus minus over 100 coming from this team. All this talk about their explosive offense, and I haven’t even mentioned their superb goalie, Ma’a Nonu. With a .922 Save Percentage and a 2.15 GAA, alongside six shutouts, made him the backstopper of this Riga Team. Now, lets take a look at the fourth and fifth placed teams, the Helsinki Titans and the Seattle Bears. They had 79 and 81 points respectively, and the Bears snuck their way into the playoffs, but it didn’t come without help. The third place team in the North American Division had a pathetic 37 points, while Helsinki had to deal with the juggernauts of Riga and HC Davos, making a playoff birth near impossible. The Seattle Bears benefited from having star power, as well as depth to back them up. Markus Strauss pulled off an epic carry job, with 137 points on the year, alongside Cam Fowler, with 108 points. They also had Gouldhawke (92 points), Terragani (92 points) and Phil Gerrard (85 points). The Titans had a similar situation to the Bears, but they had less star power. Michael Angelo led the team in points, with 119, and Syd Drayson had 110. They also traded for Pekka Jarmuth about a third of the way into the season, and he finished with 90 points for Helsinki. Now let's talk about the teams that finished in the basement that season. The Madrid Thunder, Calgary Wranglers, and New York Americans finished with 45, 37, and 23 (🤮) points respectively. However, while these teams won hardly any games, they had plenty of good players, especially Calgary. The Wranglers had Matthew Gunnarsson, with 145 points, as well as Jardy Bunclewirth (130 points) and Roman Andreev (111 points). The Thunder had Gordon Shore (99 points), and the Americans had Jukka Hakkinen (130 points) and Japinder Singh (113 points). The Americans also had goalie Wu Tang Fan, who had a putrid .840 save percentage, and 6.98 Goals Against. If you think that is bad, take a look at the Calgary netminder, Zach Henning. He had a cringe worthy 7.14 GAA, and a .835 save percentage. God these teams were pretty atrocious. Through this season, there were only a few trades, and the biggest one was when Zlatan Zanetti and a season 21 Calgary third rounder was dealt from the Calgary Wranglers to the Toronto Legion, in exchange for CJ Boyer, a season 22 second rounder and a third rounder for season 22. CJ Boyer was later traded for a third round pick, which Calgary passed on. So they basically traded Zanetti for Fernando Garcia Jr. Garcia was a career backup, while Zanetti finished the year with 96 points, and had 84 points in his 59 games in Toronto, and was a big part for their finals run, even though they eventually lost. Pekka Jarmuth was also traded from the Madrid Thunder to the Helsinki Titans for a second round pick (Yan Feng). Jarmuth finished with 90 points on the year, and was part of an overall successful season, even though they missed the playoffs. The top three teams in Toronto, Riga and Davos really stacked up on the awards this season. Patrick Bergqvist took home a number of awards as previously mentioned. Tarek Saeijs of the Riga Reign won the Kevin Brooks trophy (most goals), with 71 goals, the most in a single season since season 8. He also won the Mike Szatkowsi trophy (most points), with 157 points, alongside teammate Max Kroenenburg, who also had 157 points. The opening round of the playoffs consisted of the Victory cup winning HC Davos Dynamo facing off against the Riga Reign and their absolutely loaded offense, while the Toronto Legion and their strong defense took on Markus Strauss and the Seattle Bears. The Legion were simply to much for the Bears to handle, and they swept them en route to a finals appearence, with a comeback 2-1 win in game one, 5-2 win in game two, 4-1 win in game three, and a 4-3 overtime win in game four. Biggie Shakur and David Walcott were the heroes of the series, with six and seven points respectively, and Shakur scored the overtime winner that sent Toronto to the finals. On the European side of things, a dangerous Riga offense took on a well rounded Davos squad, who were primed for a playoff run. The Reign took game one 4-2, as Max Kroenenburg tallied three points in the win. But Davos bounced back, with a commanding 3-0 win in game two, with all three goals coming in the third period. Game three was taken by Davos again, this time in overtime, 3-2. Jannula had another two points, and the Dynamo shut down the high scorers of Riga. Game four went back to Riga, who tied the series 2-2. One common theme was that the depth was scoring, as the elite scorers of Patrick Bergqvist from Dynamo and Tarik Saeijs were held scoreless in multiple games. Game five swung back the Dynamos way, as they took a 3-2 series lead with a 4-2 win. But Riga still wouldn’t give up, and took game six 3-2 and forced game seven. There were 13 penalties in the game, and both teams went a combined 2 for 13 on the powerplay. In game seven, Davos played no games, and easily took it 6-1, and were off to the finals to face the Legion. Jordan Bergland and Geno Esposito had three points in the win for Davos. As the opening faceoff for game one was dropped in Davos, there seemed to be something off with the Dynamo. They fell 7-2 at home in game one, as Frans Spelman and Lars Berger both had five points in the winning effort. The Dynamo quickly changed the narrative around, delivering a hard fought 1-0 victory to even the series at 1. Anton Brekker scored on the power play five minutes into the third period, and that is all Davos needed, as Daisuke Kanou shut the door and stopped all 23 shots that came his way. Game three swung back Torontos way, as Lars Berger scored both Toronto goals and the Legion won 2-1. But once again, the Dynamo bounced back and avoided the 3-1 hole and won game four 4-2, as Geno Esposito had three points and Kanou stopped 25 of 27 shots. Heading back to Davos, the series was tied 2-2. But Toronto was determined, and took game five, by a score of 2-1. Another low scoring matchup, and this series was truly a great one. Frans Spelman picked up both Toronto goals, and Espositos goal with five minutes left was not early enough for the Dynamo, as Toronto went back to Canada with a 3-2 series lead. But the trend of the losing teams bouncing back continued, and Davos picked up an incredible 3-2 overtime win to force game seven. Kanou made 50 saves on 52 shots, and David Vidal scored in double overtime to send this series back to HC Davos for game seven. Game seven started out with an immediate goal from Patrick Bergqvist, and he gave the Dynamo the lead only 19 seconds into the game. There was no scoring for the remainder of the first, and Cedric Pollack scored 37 seconds into the second period to give Davos a 2-0 lead in game seven. It would not hold though, as Zlatan Zanetti scored on the power play late in the second to make it 2-1 headed to the third. With nine minutes left, Lars Berger continued his incredible run and scored to tie the game at two. Just three minutes later, Anton Brekker scored what proved to be the Cup winning goal on the PP. Kanou shut the door soon after and pushed the Dynamo to their third continental cup in franchise history. After this in depth review of season 20, we will be looking at season 21 next week, and a new season each week until we hit modern day. I know it was a long read, so thanks for sticking through it and getting to the end! If you have suggestions for other things to include for future installments, feel free to sound off in the comments. 👍
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