For the last several months, I've been playing in a simulation fantasy hockey league at WebSimHockey.com, where 24 people can form a league, draft and sign players to their respective teams, and manage their lineups and game strategies, while the simulation engine determines the outcomes of their games, including full boxscores, injuries, team spending and income, and so on. The league I'm playing in is the EIHL. The team I took over is called the Calgary Panthers, and they were a complete mess when I became their General Manager.
I've spent the last several months trying to get my team on the right financial path, but we're still going to lose over $10 million this year. Hopefully I've got things set up a bit better for the next few years so we can start making a profit, allowing us to sign better players and spend closer to the salary cap again.
But this season isn't over yet! We have one game left to play, and it's a huge one. I thought I'd share the article I wrote for my sim league's newspaper section to set the stage for the game, which will take place tomorrow night, Wednesday, August 15, at 6 PM PST.
One Game Left: Win or Go Home
The Calgary Panthers watched nervously last night as the Detroit Horsepower played the 82nd game of their regular season schedule. They were hoping the Horsepower would falter and make their path into the playoffs a little easier, but it wasn't destined to go that way: Detroit pulled off a smooth 3-1 victory over the Long Island Skulls to go up two points over Calgary in the Gretzky Conference standings.
That leaves Calgary in a difficult position. They have to win their final game, against the San Francisco Spiders, to make the playoffs. If they manage to do so, they will be tied in points with Detroit but will have an advantage in the overall Wins column, which should earn them the tiebreaker victory and earn them a playoff berth, pitting them against the Colorado Icehawks.
"Our fate is in our own hands," says General Manager Tim Sevenhuysen. "We wouldn't have it any other way."
Despite the confident words, however, it's clear the team would have preferred to see Detroit lose rather than go into their last game with quite so much pressure on their shoulders. Better yet, Calgary would have liked to win against Minnesota on the 15th instead of being humiliated 6-0.
Regardless, it's a minor miracle that the Panthers have any chance at all to make the playoffs, when considering their lacklustre 33-41-7 record on the season so far. A relatively strong second half to the season has allowed them to hang around and stay in the playoff picture. The Panthers seem to be taking that in a positive light and using it as encouragement to put their best effort on the ice this Wednesday.
That best effort may exclude one of their top-4 defenseman. Radek Martinek is questionable for Wednesday's game, with a lower body injury.
I'll update Wednesday night after the game has been simulated to let everyone know whether we made it into the playoffs or not. Wish us luck!
Edit: Noooo!! My team lost the last game 5-4, with the other team's winning goal coming late in the third period. So close! We'll get 'em next year.