Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Research 101

It's approaching the middle of the offseason and before you know it, the puck will be dropping on the 2012-13 NHL season (fingers crossed). Perhaps one of our favourite things to do over the summer months is research the upcoming season. The schedule is released, the Draft is over, and the bulk of free agents have already found homes. It's a great time of year considering there is no actual hockey to watch, just make sure to ignore all that CBA talk because it could get downright depressing.

Here are some of the things you can start researching to get prepared for the upcoming season:

Hockey Pools

After losing out on all the money pools last year, I'll be gunning for those that took my money this upcoming season. I'll admit, I was a little rushed picking my guys last season and was always making last minute picks for my weekend pick 'em pools. Not this year however. I'm going to unleash a whole new arsenal on my buddies by making the effort to check out more online resources. Finding some reliable expert picks, reading sportsbook reviews to discover the best sites, and learning more about advanced statistics are all tools that can help throughout the season. There's a lot of different pools out there so research the different types and some of the strategies for each one while you have free time. It's always good to have an edge over your friends because it's not only money on the line, but bragging rights.

Roster Spots

What recent draftees have a chance to make their NHL team this year? What AHLers might be making the jump to the show this year after earning a spot in the NHL? There's been a lot of shakeups this offseason so you can expect to see some fresh faces around the league. It's always fun to have actually heard of a player you're watching rather than feel out of the loop when their name is mentioned. Playing lots of NHL 12 can help you learn players names too and get accustomed to offseason transactions - that's quality research. Another fun thing to do during the summer is to try and guess line combinations for your team.

Fantasy Hockey

Despite what your girlfriend or wife says, it's never too early to prepare for the fantasy hockey season. Whether you're trying to repeat your championship or comeback after a disappointing finish, it's good to be prepared. Who's going to be your sleeper this year? Who are the first round locks? The fantasy landscape changed this offseason with big names moving that affected not only their new teammates, but their old ones as well. Get a head start on your competition by scouting now. Here's a tip: find out what players are training with Gary Roberts this summer as they might have big seasons.


Every team has it and you might be surprised by what you find. Learn your favourite team's franchise history or even just some general league history. Knowing the game from the 1990s onwards is great and all, but you'll have more of an appreciation for the game of hockey if you read up on the Original Six era. Instead of only knowing that Howie Morenz, Ted Lindsay, Syl Apps, Andy Bathgate, and Johnny Bucyk were great hockey players, find out why. There's a bunch of online resources you can check out to learn more history, so use them. You won't regret this the next time your friend makes a stupid comment about the past and you get to correct them on it.

Plan The Road Trip

You're favourite team hits the Sunshine State over Spring Break? Rent an RV and get down there for it. There is so much talent in the NHL these days that you won't be disappointed by any NHL game you see (maybe Columbus). Find out what arenas are the best to watch an NHL game at and make the trip because the atmosphere there will put your team's barn to shame. Every NHL city has something good to offer so make a big event of it by hitting up famous eateries and pubs while you're there and don't be afraid to engage rival fans in the parking lot for some road hockey.


  1. Montreal road trip is always a good time. Even if the Leafs aren't playing.

  2. Reading hockey books at the cottage is on my list this summer.

  3. I always start my fantasy hockey draft prep in August. I look at the past few seasons in my fantasy league to find what the winning formula has been and try to draft along those lines. It takes a fair amount of work so I start early and then I do my own rankings to get ready for the mock drafts. Once all the expert stuff comes out in September I read and review that and make any changes to my rankings that I see fit.

    It's a lot of work, but considering I won $3000 in prize money last year and bragging rights among my friends its well worth it.


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