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FANTASY HOCKEY TIPS

     In June,2003 I was asked by Florida Today to submit five tips for fantasy hockey managers. They were published in the sports section as part of an article that also provided tips for fantasy football, basketball and baseball managers.
     Following are the fantasy hockey tips I provided for the article:

1. Know the rules.
Drafting based on points is relatively easy but most fantasy hockey leagues have many other categories: plus-minus, penalty minutes, shorthanded goals, etc. Do your homework and find out what players would help you in the categories besides points.

2. Make sure they are healthy and signed.
Check preseason injury lists, rosters and game recaps to make sure the players you pick are not seriously injured or are contract holdouts.

3. Don't put too much stock into last year's playoffs or the preseason.
Almost every year a lesser-known player emerges as an offensive star in the playoffs. Erik Cole and Alyn McCauley are two players whose 2002-2003 regular seasons did not live up to their 2001-2002 playoff performances.

4. Avoid rookies.
The days of the 132-point rookie season (Teemu Selanne in 1992-93) are long gone. Now, an outstanding rookie forward might get you 60 points. A good one will get you 40. Better to pick a reliable veteran instead. (Note that this article was written in 2003- before the emergence of new super-rookies like Ovechkin and Crosby.)

5. Draft with your head.
Don't pick a player just because he's on your favorite team when better picks are available. Don't avoid picking a player (when he's the best choice available) because you dislike him.

-Randy Steinman

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