Over the summer McSwarley came to me and said "Half, what if we create a fantasy hockey league where the goal is not to be the winner... but rather to be the loser. You would assemble a team of the most awful full-time NHL players and try to get the least amount of points over the course of a season." I looked McSwarley right back in the eye and said "Only if we can name it after Brian Willsie, one of the 10 worst Los Angeles Kings of all time." We then shook hands, took a shot of whiskey and headed back to our respective parents' basements. And with that moment… The Brian Willsie Invitational was created.
This truly is the search for the Biggest Loser.
The goal is simple. When the season ends in April, you want your fantasy team to be in last place. The entire NHL roster will be available to you to create a team, but be careful whom you select... for in this league you aren't rewarded for goals and assists and wins… no, you are punished.
For forwards and defensemen, you gain points in all the scoring categories. For penalty minutes and faceoffs lost, you gain negative points. In The Brian Willsie Invitational… you want lots of negative points. For goaltenders, you get punished for saves, wins and shutouts. But you get rewarded for giving up goals and earning the loss. A great loser team is built from the net out... you must draft a goalie who starts often and gives up a lot of goals and never wins a game. Too bad Dan Cloutier isn't still available.
Wow, they must of struggled to find actual game jerseys that Cloutier wore for the Kings.
So we put the word out over the internets and received a veritable who's who of people that wanted to join the league. There were professional bloggers, Fantasy Hockey Gurus, incredibly successful television producers, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddies, dedicated Kings fans, some guy from Indiana who doesn't really know anything about hockey and even a Sharks fan. A Sharks fan? How the fuck did they get in this league?!? Put them all together and you've got… a bunch of losers.
An artists' rendition of the league members.
So how does the 1st round of a Loser League Fantasy Draft look? Something like this:
And the best part about it… Konopka was a great choice to go 1st overall. A 4th line center that plays regularly, gets a bunch of penalties and loses multiple faceoffs. Not surprisingly, Jay from Fantasy Hockey Scouts came out of the draft with an incredibly strong, sucky team.
Los Angeles Kings Blogger Overlord, RudyKelly, took a much different approach... not showing up to the live draft and ending up with a team that would rival any NHL All-Star team.
Yeah, not sure this team is in the spirit of the loser league.
And Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy went out of his way to draft players that had no chance of getting any positive points this season… mainly because there was no chance of them playing.
I'm not even sure Calgary fans know who Henrik Karlsson is.
In fantasy drafts, everyone likes to know who is the last player chosen overall. But in the Loser League, the last player chosen means he's actually the best, worst player. And for this season, that player is Pascal Leclaire. Okay, Leclaire is actually pretty bad overall... so let's go with Olli Jokinen, who I consider was drafted as the Mr. Non-Irrelevant of The Brian Willsie Invitational at 192nd out of 196 drafted players.
"At least somebody likes me... kind of."
Draft talk is cheap, so let's get to the numbers. The standings as of Friday, October 15th.
Well, Jay at Fantasy Hockey Scouts is living up to his reputation as he has assembled the worst NHL team after the first week of play. Right behind him is yours truly, an expert in all things loser. (I am a lifelong Los Angeles Kings fan, after all!) In 3rd place is Pirnes Envy who is also in the lead for greatest team name. Rounding out the
top bottom 5 are Daneyko's Darlings and the Malibu Buseys. And bringing up the rear? Of course....
An actual billboard in the great state of Indiana.
While he might excel at Photoshop, Indiana Matt is struggling with picking bad hockey players. I mean, he can't even find a way to be worse than the dude that has Crosby, Stamkos, Kovalchuk and Doughty in his starting lineup.
The Brian Willsie Invitational is off and running. But remember, it's a loser marathon, not a loser sprint.