Welcome to the inaugral philly.com “Beat The Experts” free NHL challenge. With the smashing success that was and currently is our weekly NFL contest, we’ve expanded into the winter sports: hockey and basketball. Matt Mullin has been doing the NBA contest for a couple of weeks now. (Shameless plug: Challenge him, win cash!)
This is the first week of the NHL contest. I’m quite excited about it, and confident I cannot lose. Stranger things have happened, though, which is where you come in.
The rules are simple: Pick a team of two left wingers, two right wingers, two centers, two defensemen and one goalie, fitting all nine players under a $55,000 salary cap. You can switch players in and out up until the first game on Saturday, which is a 1 p.m. start.
For the first week, as a gift to you, it's free to join. You risk nothing by playing, and you can win the world (or at least $100 worth of it). First place nets $50, second place $30 and third place $20.
As an added bonus, if you finish higher than the resident expert, you will have $5 deposited into your FanDuel account. For example, if I finish in 20th, those who finish first through 19th get $5 deposited into their account. The top three obviously win the big prizes as well.
Let me repeat that, with just the keywords: Free. $100. $50. $30. $20. $5. You’ve got nothing to lose, and cash money to gain.
I’ll be listing some guys I like and dislike from each of Saturday’s games. You can also get a peek at my roster, because that's just the kind of guy I am: ultra-confident and mighty generous. You'll thank me later.
So, without further ado, my Saturday recommendations:
FLYERS VS. DEVILS
Guys I like: Danny Briere ($7,500); Claude Giroux ($6,200); Dainius Zubrus ($4,800)
Guys I dislike: Johan Hedberg ($7,300); Mike Richards ($7,200)
AVALANCHE VS. ISLANDERS
Guys I like: Matt Duchene ($6,600); Tomas Fleischmann ($6,100); Pierre Parenteau ($6,100)
Guys I dislike: Matt Moulson ($5,900); Trent Hunter ($5,300)
PENGUINS VS. WILD
Guys I like: Evgeni Malkin ($8,500); Kris Letang ($6,700); Cal Clutterbuck ($5,200)
Guys I dislike: Chris Kunitz ($6,600); Martin Havlat ($6,400)
SENATORS VS. LIGHTNING
Guys I like: Martin St. Louis ($8,000); Mike Fisher ($5,900)
Guys I dislike: Vincent Lecavalier ($7,100); Ryan Malone ($6,800)
CANADIENS VS. BRUINS
Guys I like: Carey Price ($7,900); Milan Lucic ($6,100)
Guys I dislike: Zdeno Chara ($6,300); Patrice Bergeron ($6,300); Andre Kostitsyn ($6,000)
CAPITALS VS. PANTHERS
Guys I like: Alex Ovechkin ($9,500); Brooks Laich ($6,400); Corey Stillman ($5,600)
Guys I dislike: Tomas Vokoun ($8,800) ; Mike Green ($7,300)
BLUES VS. RANGERS
Guys I like: Henrik Lunqvist ($8,600); Brandon Dubinsky ($6,700); David Backes ($6,900); Alex Pietrangelo ($4,400)
Guys I dislike: Marian Gaborik ($7,600); Alexander Steen ($6,900)
COYOTES VS. SABRES
Guys I like: Ilya Bryzgalov ($8,500); Ray Whitney ($6,400); Tyler Ennis ($5,100)
Guys I dislike: Tim Connolly ($6,400); Lee Stempniak ($5,600)
SHARKS VS. PREDATORS
Guys I like: Joe Pavelski ($6,900); Dan Boyle ($6,600); Shea Weber ($6,400); Martin Erat ($6,100)
Guys I dislike: Patrick Marleau ($7,100); Patric Hornqvist ($6,500)
CANUCKS VS. RED WINGS
Guys I like: Daniel Sedin ($8,900); Henrik Zetterberg ($8,200); Todd Bertuzzi ($5,700)
Guys I dislike: Roberto Luongo ($8,800); Chris Osgood ($5,200)
KINGS VS. BLUE JACKETS
Guys I like: Anze Kopitar ($8,000); Ryan Smyth ($6,900); R.J. Umberger ($6,200)
Guys I dislike: Steve Mason ($7,300); Drew Doughty ($6,400)
So there you have it. You can either take my picks to heart or completely ignore them. I won’t know the difference anyway, except if you do not sign up. So do it.
As for my team:
So I’ve laid it all out on the table. It’s your turn to pick your team. This week, it’s as free as the air you breathe.