Whether it be run-of-the-mill gambling or fantasy sports, it’s strange how much a little added interest can both enhance and tarnish the watching experience.
For many, a lifelong allegiance to a specific team (or piece of laundry, as Jerry Seinfeld once eloquently pointed out) is enough to inspire devotion and rapt attention. Others might need to add a little spice in the form of personal competition.
(I imagine some of it has to do with getting to the age at which you question managerial decisions as often as you applaud them.)
In the interest of preserving your mood, let me give you a bit of advice: try not to live and die by every swing of success and failure, though.
The beauty of modern amenities like real-time sports tracking with Yahoo fantasy is that you can monitor how your team is doing, yet that’s also part of what makes it a threat to your night-to-night mood. Knowing that your goalie of the night or season was this close to a shutout burns much deeper than the positive sensation of opening a new tab to find out that your guy made 29-out-of-30 saves and got a nice win.
Look, I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s mid-January, so it might be a little bit more challenging to drum up interest in what might seem like a mundane game of 82.
Still, it might be a bit healthier to watch your favorite team - or a most intriguing matchup - and maybe just pump your fist if some sort of “game break” cuts in and shows one of your fringe players scoring a game-winning goal.
You know, like the old days of 2005.
RED WINGS 6, SABRES 4
-- For a period, it seemed like the Buffalo Sabres were a team that was strong enough to call off Mike Harrington's anti-tank brigade. Heck they (gasp) even out-shot the might puck hogs known as the Detroit Red Wings for that opening frame by a margin of 8-5 as they took a stunning 3-0 lead.
Then they only generated one shot on goal in the second period, six more in the third and 15 overall and reminded all of us that they're still the dreadful Sabres.
Hey, at least I have more company in the "Wondering if they're not just bad, but historically bad" category, though.
-- Petr Mrazek might be a good counterpoint to my "just read about it in the next morning's paper"-type philosophy, really, as seeing his statline might have made someone cough up their Cheerios. He allowed three goals on just seven shots before getting yanked in just 13:37 TOI.
His numbers are still quite solid overall: 8-3-1 (since he didn't get a decision either way, obviously) and a respectable .916 save percentage. Nights like these probably douse the questions regarding whether he might inch things closer from "Goalie of the Future" to "Goalie of the Present," however.
-- Danny DeKeyser collected two assists on Sunday, giving him 19 points in 44 games. Not really must-add material, but not half-bad for the 24-year-old.
-- Henrik Zetterberg's production has been a little streaky, but it really spiked with his hat trick plus assist (can we come up with a handy term for this beyond "four-point night")? Maybe he was due, too, as those three goals on five SOG bumped him to a 9.6 shooting percentage.
-- Chris Stewart inspired yet another round of trade rumors. Maybe we should just pass along word when his name isn't floating around?
-- Tyler Ennis was involved in all three Buffalo goals (two tallies, one assist), giving him 12 goals and 28 points on the season. Seems like he's in line for another 20-ish goal, 40-ish point season. As a side note, I'm glad Nathan Gerbe is in Carolina, as it was awkward when I used to think of him as "even shorter Ennis."
RANGERS 5, PENGUINS 2
-- Man, Rick Nash just seems like a man possessed, as his two goals gave him 28 on the season. He really must have been banged up in 2013-14, as he looks like a different man.
... In some ways, literally. I kind of miss "Chubby, borderline cherub-faced" Nash. My wife and I might be lonely on that account, though.
-- Derek Stepan scored two goals which were both assisted by Martin St. Louis and Chris Kreider, so if you grabbed that trio in FanDuel, you might be swimming in a mini-Scrooge McDuck pool of coins right now.
-- New York's relative dominance of the Metropolitan Division and Pittsburgh's struggles therein prompt a question: which team in the division has the best long-term prospects (in terms of 2014-15)? Honestly a pretty tough call right now.
-- Not a tough call: adding David Perron, who's only owned in 67 percent of leagues as of this writing.
-- My reaction to Marc Staal’s extension is similar to that of Dan Girardi’s pact: meh.
STARS 6, BLACKHAWKS 3
-- Wow, what a first period. Dallas took a 3-2 lead. The Blackhawks generated a 20-14 shot advantage and also a 36-20 disparity through the first two periods, but only managed a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes.
I'm not sure what was said entering the third period, but Dallas dominated scoring (3-0 to win 6-3) and also shots (14-5).
-- The biggest problem with Cody Eakin sustaining a three-point night: one goal came on the PP (not a bad thing) and one came shorthanded (not likely to happen often). Even his assist wasn't 5-on-5, as it came during an empty-netter.
-- John Klingberg's a nice find, though I'd still lean toward labeling him as an awesome daily fantasy find more than a reliable fantasy defenseman. He's getting there, though, especially with two goals and three assists in his last four games.
-- Brandon Saad update: 15 goals and 31 points in 45 games thanks to a hot run: six points (five goals) in his last four games. He's faced some high-scoring situations against Edmonton, Winnipeg and Dallas (plus Minnesota) lately so that is the kind of scenario that will juice up your numbers.
JETS 4, COYOTES 3 (SO)
As an aside, I wonder if Smith brags about his Olympic gold medal. It's basically like a third-string QB flaunting a championship ring who DIDN'T go to Ohio State.
-- The Dustin Byfuglien wrecking ball routine continues basically unabated. And what a stream of goodies from Sunday: one goal, six PIM, fie SOG and one hit.
-- With Mathieu Perreault sidelined thanks to the latest Daniel Carcillo hideous incident - with enforcers on the wane, can we do something about miscreants who genuinely bring very little to the table like Carcillo? - it looks like Evander Kane slides into his spot with Michael Frolik and Mark Scheifele. Kane's linemates grabbed a point, but he had a quiet game aside from five hits.
-- Shane Doan with an under-the-radar burst: two goals, four assists in his past four games.
-- As gruesome as Keith Yandle can be plus/minus wise (-19), he is on a three-game assist streak and fires the puck at the net nicely (137 SOG in 45 games). His 2.9 shooting percentage would be the lowest of his career, unless you count his goose egg in seven games back in 2006-07. A few pucks might go in for him in the next 30-plus games.
Not sure if he will score those goals for Arizona the whole way through the trade deadline, though.