My Journey to the 2019 NHL FHWC
Hello friends I always enjoyed reading these myself and figured I would do a write up. I will be writing about my qualifier, the decisions on how I made my line up, the daily events of what all I did in Washington, the people I met, my whole experience at the 2019 FHWC live event.
Well lets go back to November 13 the day I qualified it was one of those days where I registered and unregistered 5 times during that day for the $1000 qualifier I was extremely nervous for the entirety of the slate https://twitter.com/calnaughtonjr9/status/1062595137518354434.
I decided to play the chalk of EDM1 I didn’t mind eating it because I knew what my Habs could do on the west coast. The moneymaker for me that night was my NJ1 stack. I figured many people would sleep on NJ1 with the way they have been playing the last couple of weeks. With doing some extra research I noticed some trends that stood out to me. NJ1 was still putting up great numbers at home, Hynes was heavily using them in spot to succeed to wins game and in recent games against Pits they didn’t look out of place, some might say they were the better team when they played.
The night started the best it ever could 28 seconds in Zajac scores on a feed from Hall I still remember being on my couch at home seeing it happen and being like “ok ok that is a good start. The ownership is low, but it is still too early”
Second period stars NJ1 is still buzzing at this point where Halls sets up Severson with a gorgeous feed for nice 2 points. Then the worst thing happens Butcher send Bratt on a breakaway and the silky swede scores woo another 2 points I’m thinking. Nope there is a review on the play and it is determined to be dead because of a stupid fight in the back.
In the 3rd period the Pens are buzzing looking to take the lead on any given shift. Then with about 12 minutes left in the 3rd a little luck happens, Palmeri dishes a feed up to Zajac at the blue line with two pens on him some how gets the puck over to a streaking Hall for the breakways and the reigning MVP gets the goal. “A full NJ1 c goal thank you”. Then with 30 seconds left Noesen makes a terrific block to give Hall a chance to bury the ENG and he does. Not a bad night for my contrarian stack putting up a healthy 24 points.
The Edmonton game starts and lets just say am I ever happy I ate the chalk. The Habs look awful I finish the night with 53.4 points. I even get a message on twitter from the legendary ycmmat with the watching eyes emoji. I pretend to not see it and try my best to sweat out this last game between SJ and NSH in my house lights off while all my roommates are asleep.
I currently have a 12 point lead against Awesemo who has Vlasic left to play. Pretty much a lock right, but for this kind of qualifier I’m still not sure if anything is ever a lock especially after reading so many stories about bad beats. Last game of the night starts off hot SJ puts up 3 I keep refreshing TheScore app because I can’t stomach watching the game and seeing Vlasic put up a career night. Thankfully after refreshing the score app a billion time a high scoring affair between NSH and SJ ends with Vlasic putting up 1 point confirming my ticket to the FHWC.
I call my friend its around 2am in the morning he is working a night shift and knows I hate phone calls so he knows something is up.
Phone calls pretty much goes like this
“Hey man, uhhh guess what yaaaa I did it”
“noo nooo noo way! are you serious?!?”
“Yeah man were heading to DC tell your wife haha”
Buzzing all night I finally get to bed around 4am.
My first thoughts with this slate months before was ok Ottawa is awful its probably going to be a BOS1 stack Krug plus TB3 to save cash. Then the Pasta news hit your lovable Czech is out with a thumb injury from slipping on some ice. Thanks Pasta now I got to rethink everything.
Going into the slate there were the big 3 that stood out to me BOS1 TB1 DAL1 so I spent the next couple of weeks dissecting stats recent games and other fun stuff. I landed on TB1 so I suspected other players would be on this as so I thought on an event like this how could I differentiate from those other players. A line helped me stick with TB1 while watching a Many Lora stream awhile back is he mentioned at a live event is take players you can actually can cheer for and trust. That really settled me on TB1.
So I watched some recent games for TB and there games against Det and I noticed Stammer is the trigger man in general for the TB team notaby lately! If he can go off while the Point line does there usual dominance that edge can put me over the top of the chalky line up. Instead of traditionally going with a player like Hedman in that stack who in blow outs can somehow not show up on the scoreboard.
So I got my chalk stack lined up that’s the easy part now to find my line that will make me my money on the slate.
So I break down how much salary I have left to work with since I’m taking 4 of the pricier players on the stack with a goalie who will probably be 8200.
I write down my list of possibilities I have generally 9.3k or lower to find my combos
8.2 Bos Krejci w Stephniak/Nordstrom
8.7 Nuge Kassian
7.8 Pageau w Duclair
8.4 Benn Dickinson/Comeau
6 Spezza Janmark but can also afford Klingberg *
7.5 Smith Jarnkrok
8.1 Richardson Grabner
7.9 Keller Dvorak
8.1 Strome Kreider
These are the combos I narrow it down to.
I’ve talked the Kenneth Lee another really nice guy in the DFS industry the night before and he helped me and makes sure I’m not forgetting any combos.
So I slowly narrow down every combo crossing each one off
No way I’m playing Spezza when he will play 12 minutes even if Klingberg is juicy.
Nuge Kassian are nice but it’s a day game you can’t trust those game are going the way you want it to.
Krejci has been unreal but playing one of those other players sounds dreadful.
Carolina has such great numbers even if they are on a b2b I don’t trust NSH.
Pageau has been eating a ton of minutes Duclair does shoot the puck a lot but Boston should still keep the game low scoring.
I can’t stand Strome as much as I love Kreider probably one of my last cuts I really started to second-guess here.
Dallas should muck Chicago but numbers show Chicago has been playing better defensively lately.
So I’m down to my last two Richardson Grabner vs Keller Dvorak
I’m going through recent games first for the star player in Keller and Dvorak
Dvorak finally getting back to playing hockey for the Coyotes numbers fluctuate getting some nights 14-15 minutes other 11-13 same things show with Keller 14, 15, 18 on any given night Tochett plays the hot line oh fun what if ARZ gets no PP and I look like a dope chasing PPG for guys who plays low minutes
So I start digging in Grabner and Richardson numbers. Man Tochett loves these guys and best yet they love to shoot the puck and they been getting the minutes with a empty net. Richardson a lock to play 17+ minutes its very contrarian hoping Richardson Grabner feeds on LA awful D and depth lines when they get a chance out there if the game is tight.
So comes down to taking cheap D im not too worried I just take guys (Pelech, Trotman) who will hopefully playing tons of minutes and get 1-2 points with how top heavy my line ups are built.
The last decision I have is do is decide to go with Domingue or Kuemper and it was funny at the live final I was asked why Domingue over Kuemper and I never answered it best back to the person who asked.
I look at both games I wasn’t entirely sure if LA would shoot the puck enough for Kuemper to get value. I knew with DET vs TB that is was going to be a higher pace and great chance for Domingue to get the win based on all the stats I looked at the day. So that settled Domingue despite me really wanting Vasilevskiy to be starting for me on that slate. Now it was just about waiting until lock.
Feel free to skip the next bit its mostly just what happened on the daily.
So it all starts on Thursday morning 4am in Ottawa I am excited as a kid on Christmas morning my friend Jesse give me a text at 4am “I’m awake are you?” I give him a text back “Already showered and ready to go!”
So we start our trek from Ottawa Ontario Canada making our way to the border. Ottawa weather has been pretty awful lately so we can’t wait to get somewhere above positive temperature. The ride is decently long but not too bad mostly just worried about other drivers on the road especially when we finally make it to Washington. Pedestrians are crossing ignoring cars, Cars are switching lanes on a dime without signals, vehicles are stopping in the middle of traffic putting on there 4 ways and leaving it in the intersection just crazy stuff. We finally make it to the Kimpton Monoco it’s a very nice hotel just a block away from the arena.
We get check into our room there is a nice welcome package from DK despite my awful photo skills. https://twitter.com/calnaughtonjr9/status/1103808649489727489
Contains 2 shirts, a hoodie, coffee mug, beer cozy, a UnderArmour workout bag. We get settled in and head to the local liquor store to get some mandatory supplies.
We head to a place for a nice dinner with some of the other players and end the night with Jesse, Yogolegacy, his wife and I having some casual drinks at the Iron Horse bar.
So Jesse and I are feeling a bit rough the morning after, the effects of the long drive from Ottawa so I let Jesse sleep in a bit longer. I go meet up with the ycmmat in the hotel lobby and we head to classic diner called Lincoln Waffle a great crowded spot. What can I say about Mike one of the nicest guy you can meet very friendly and polite. We head back to hotel lobby seeing JoeHolka and Sabah(Q80MinOuma) there. Sabah mentions of the Capitals open practice and eagerly I say I’m in. Jesse Mike and I head in a Uber to Medstar Capitals Iceplex. The practice facility is located on top of a parking garage and after a few tries we finally get up there.
Its nice watching a Caps morning skate compared to what we get to watch here in Ottawa so many talented players. We get to see line rushes and PP1 and PP2 take 2 turns each time and I gotta say this I feel so bad for Copley taking the brunt of that deadly Capitals PP1. Practice goes on and my friend Jesse notices Oshie has switched sticks with a Hagelin and is taking his turns with a lefty stick. TJ doesn’t miss a beat being able to deke, wrist shot heck even take a half decent one timer with the opposite hand stick. He even starts laughing at other players trying to use the opposite hand stick. TJ seems like such a talented fun player to watch must be a great character to have in the locker room.
We head back after our Uber driver finally finds us to head to the DK brunch they put on for us at Dirty Habit inside the hotel we are staying at.
It’s a nice brunch getting to meet a bunch of players and DK staff theres even a shooting net outside Joe and Q80 are having a friendly competition who can hit the targets in the least amount of shots Joes take the early lead Q80 comes back and takes the lead in the end I think both players tied after a couple friendly rounds.
We go back inside the bar and try my best to mingle and meet everyone, I hear a couple of the qualifiers are heading to the casino I’ll pass on that we want to do some sight seeing as a tourists.
Jesse and I start walking the streets of Washington it’s a cold rainy miserable day but we don’t mind, its not snowing like it is in Canada. We head to the Washington monument then past towards to the Lincolns memorial such great historical stuff here in DC and amazing architecture.
We head back after getting drench to get ready for the Caps game. We head to Arena fairly to get there to see that pregame skate and lock down some nice seats in the suite. Entering the suite all I can say is well done DK/Capitals it is on another level compared to Ottawa. Its 3 boxes wide food everywhere, fridges loaded with beer(Michelobs Ultras my fav) just everything is surreal. The arena itself is full of energy already fans circled around the pregame warmup excited to watch there home town Caps team take on the Devils. DK has been nice enough to make a showdown slate for the game for our degenerate gambling needs so just a perfect game to watch and relax with some casual beers.
Game itself is great with Holtby putting on goaltending clinic as my showdown line up heads right to the basement (hopefully not a trend for tomorrow) as the Caps win 3-0. I try my best to mingle with the rest of players meeting some really nice people along the process.
The game ends and a bunch of the qualifiers head out for some extra drinks at the Iron Horse bar that we were fortunate enough to be at the night before. This time to our discovery there is a downstairs in the bar (colour me shocked not noticing that the first night).
We head downstairs and get to mingle with some of the other players including YCMMAT, Nevs, Q80, LSUTOM123, Joe and some other nice guys I’m sure I am forgetting. As the night goes on people start to pass early out so its Jesse, Joe, Sabah and I left at the bar. We of course get into a friendly chirping battle Canada vs USA shuffleboard lets go!
Game starts with Joe and I on one side while Sabah and Jesse on the other. What Jesse and I don’t know is Sabah that crafty guy has his own table at home. He just starts making shots with ease. While Jesse tries his best to carry the team on his back Sabah comes with the hammer and stops any big points swings from ever happening. All While on Joe and I are complete non-factors in the game at all. Ok USA up 1-0 worst lead to have ever right. We take our place to the next bar and get into a game on table hockey. USA take the first game we got to have best of 3. Then controversy happens Canada leads as final buzzard goes but puck is live USA ties it and of course we know what happens USA wins in OT. We call it night knowing we all have to study hard for the real contest tomorrow.
So it is finally Saturday the big day. Jesse and I go for a nice breky. I do some early studying again on the slate again to see if any changes stand out. We then decide to get some air and enjoy DC doing some of the classic tourist stuff. We are losers so we rent scooters and are just buzzing around on these things like little kids and head towards Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. So after exploring a bit we head back to the room for the last couple hours of fun studying of the NHL slate.
With my final studying beginning I see Domingue is playing it irks me but I stick with it with me thinking the pace of TB game will be higher than the ARZ game. We decided to head to proper 21 for 6:50pm to get there for any last minutes changes to be able to change (PS for the record if I could I would show up after lock best to be in a quieter spot incase Chytil stuff happens again).
I open my laptop at Proper 21 and get on the Wifi and refresh twitter like every 30 seconds making sure any last second news I’ve be able to swap out. It finally hits 7:01 and everyone discovers the ownerships. TB1 and BOS1 look spilt at around 20% so it seems for sure unless something crazy happens DAL1 will be the chalk of the night. That’s fine by me I think as the night starts.
The night starts off slow for everyone with TB is dominating the play that’s not bad TB3 strikes first with Mcdonagh getting the goal. That’s fine you just know there is going to be more goals in that game with Bernier in net for the Wings. Then Kucherov strikes YESSSS you can hear the crowd who has TB1 loving that. I see my name propelled up the leaderboard to 12 place. “Ok ok that’s pretty nice”. Games goes on and TB getting golden chances but just can’t finish I’m dying watching Stamkos keeps missing the net and I start to second guess myself. The games goes onto the third period where Stamkos scores “woooo finally I’ll take the 3.5” oh wait the player is under review and yup its definitely offside ugh. Kuch goes on to score his 2nd of the night so not everything is lost. Detroit pulls there goalie and wow Kuch has a shot for the empty net hat trick and he misses ugh that would have been nice. Domingue even feeling his luck goes shoots for the empty net for misses by 3 feet damn imagine a goalie scoring a goal to win someone the fhwc. The game ends I’m a bit tilted by Stamkos getting a zero in a prime spot with TB going 0/3 on the PP. Im bottom of the pack with my stacks plus D getting me 19.9 not exactly a winning line up stack score.
While TB game is ending NYR creates the ultimate 2-0 comeback on the NJD to energize the once Q80 who thought his line up was dead. Giving players who saved salary with NYR a huge bump in the standings. Everyone at the top of the standings is feeling energize and you can feel it in the room.
At least I still have ARZ left I check ownership to see I am the only one with Richardson and Grabner. Ok that’s good if I finish in the top 20 I think that’s a great spot for a 1st timer. 9 minutes in Grabner gets on a shorthanded rush with Richardson, Grabner holds onto the puck and scores the goal I’ll take it! My players stay a bit quiet as Dvorak makes me regret not trusting him puts one on the board and then get a 2nd one “Of course”. Grabner not wanting to be out done picks up a play at the blue and scores his second of the night last in the third. LAK pulls their goalie and there is my boy on the ice Grabner trying to seal it but unfortunately misses de ja vu all over again. Its fine I finish 27 good enough to cash on the night. Crazy what could have happened if a couple more bounces went my way eg: Stamkos goal counts, Kuch scores the hatty, Grabner scores the hatty. All in all I happy with my line up construction if anything I wish I took ARZ1 I think I overthought trying to be contrarian.
Leaderboard watching I see the nicest guy I ever met LSUtom123 sticking at the top of the leaderboard tied with Driverseati, and there is a bit of a controversy happening. Hintz appear to assisted a goal but hasn’t gotten credit for it which would put Tom in 1st place. After a long delay the FHWC ends in a tie. Not a bad night for Tom who couldn’t stop smiling all night and being happy to shake everyone hands.
Can’t say enough good things about LSUTOM123. There was a reason everyone was taking to twitter to get NHL to give Hintz that assist. Tom is a friendly and honest person. He reminded me a bunch of the small town vibe I grew up in where he would be the first person to give you his shirt off his back and always being there when you needed a lift. I still remember the first night I met Tom he was asking me how I picked my name and we chatted hockey asked my guests name and I. He is just a very professional nice guy. Even days later he didn’t forget both of our names (A talent I severely lack).
Sabah the legendary Q80MinOuma. An intelligent DFS player a semi good beer pong player and an amazing chirper. He was a great person who answered any questions about Washington all weekend. Giving tips of places to go, and places to see, him and his friend Shawn even tried to keep up with Jesse and I at the Caps game. Thanks for hospitality all weekend it was great time.
A super nice hockey guy, I wish I went along with trying to rent the ice in Washington because it would have been a heck of a time getting everyone out there to see his and everyone’s hockey skills.
A friendly big Canadian lovable guy. It was cool trading stories hearing how he was in Ottawa for a few years seeing how small of a world it really is. This guy has passion for DFS you could tell at the live event when his players were going off how muched he loved the game of Hockey.
Mike the grinder I aspire to be like one day. He doesn’t take a day off and started at the quarter arcades and made it all the way up here. He is having a heck of a year and he deserves it. I’d be worried about him when he starts taking down MLB this year. He is too smart of a guy not to win.
Everyone was extremely nice the whole time I’m sorry if I didn’t meet you or mention you in this article. Every single player deserved to be here. Hopefully I’ll qualify to event another time and get to meet more amazing people. Feel free to message me anytime on twitter also up for chatting NHL or any sports at all.
I understand its hard but here are some things I would hope for next year
-Better organization mostly to do with tvs at the event
-TVs having the same game with audio being wrong at many times of the night
-Advertising the live final better I have friends and family who aren’t tech savvy struggled to even get to see what was happening in the standings at the live event. – Hiring someone to do a live blog during the event informing the public the ownerships the movement in the standings on every goal would be great.
-Have the FHWC is a warm climate, Washington is beautiful but I hate winter. – Having it at a bar where TVS are on a huge wall so its easier for everyone to see, like Reals Sports bar for an example would be less cluttered and fun https://realsports.ca/BarAndGrill/Toronto/Gallery/
Other than this I say DK did a great job overall answering any questions when needed immediately.
Thanks for taking the time to read till next time!
Cal Naughton Jr