Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

I'm using the 'Murray system' to pick my fantasy NHL team

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After months of seemingly unbearable agony, we, as a nation, are poised to engage in an act of healing, an act that will fill the gaping hole in our collective hearts.

Now that the boardroom battles are over and the dark winter of our souls has drawn to an end, we can join hands from sea to shining sea, hold our heads high and do the one thing Canadians were meant to do at this bitterly cold time of year.

As you have already deduced, I'm saying the time has finally come to sit down with our closest friends and colleagues, hoist a few cold ones, then, with open minds and pure hearts, bravely pick the players for our office hockey pool teams.

I think I speak for every right-minded employee sitting in their lonely office cubicle when I issue the following heartfelt statement of raw Canadian emotion: "Yeah!"

Not having hockey is one thing, but imagine what would happen to our national economy if Canadian workers were denied their God-given right to spend all their time and mental energy pretending to be the general managers of fantasy hockey teams, despite the fact they have absolutely no understanding of the rules governing the salary cap.

To say the least, the impact would be devastating. With nothing to focus on but their jobs, Canadians would be forced to actually do their jobs, causing our national productivity to soar to the point where, within weeks, we would pass China and the U.S. as global superpowers.

Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about that, now that the NHL's players and owners are best friends once again. What we do have to worry about is drafting an office hockey pool team whose statistical performance on the ice will be sufficient to humiliate the pitiful squads selected by our friends and co-workers.

That is what makes us Canadian. Well, that along with being polite and thinking William Shatner is a fine actor. The point I'm trying to make is that, to be a success in your hockey pool, you have to have a system. For example, if you happen to be an idiot, your system might consist of drafting only players from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Or you can pore over all those hockey magazines you bought months ago before the lockout began, scanning reams and reams of statistics until your eyeballs pop out of their sockets, thereby causing the rest of the "owners" in your hockey pool to throw up when it's their turn to choose a player.

When it comes to selecting a winning team, I personally rely on the "Murray system." Under this system, instead of attending the hockey-pool draft, I just email my buddy Murray, a key member of our business section, and beg him to pick my team for me.

I employed this system last year and came within one (very bad word) point of walking away with the title and the cash at the end of the regular season. The thing is, Murray is not only the nicest guy you could ever meet, but he also has an encyclopedic knowledge of players and statistics, whereas I am easily distracted by shiny objects.

So let the healing begin, Canada. Hockey is back and it's time to put the anger and the finger-pointing behind us and draft the players we think will score buckets of points this season.

If it makes you happy, you have my blessing to pick all the Maple Leafs you want.

Just keep your greasy mitts off my buddy Murray.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2013 A2

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