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Breaking FHM: Matt Martin Gritz Edition

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FHM is a hockey simulator (full name Franchise Hockey Manager) from the guys who did Out Of The Park Baseball. I have the 2014 version, and while it’s somewhat disappointing, the ease of editing the database makes it fun to mess with. As Islander fans say goodbye to Matt Martin and his gritz, the question is who will protect John Tavares now?

If one player can protect JT, what would happen if a whole team did? So I went into FHM and changed the same six ratings on every Islander but JT:

The interesting thing is that the in game ratings only go up to 20. But the game let me set them to 40, which appeared in game as 21? I’m sure nothing can go wrong from this. Let’s see how the reborn Broad Street Bullies but the 2013 Islanders do. Fast forward the game to the end of October:

Somehow the Islanders have more team goals then the next two teams combined, AND have given up only 1 goal in a month. This is the fun side of FHM. I have no idea how this happened. To top it all off, the Islanders aren’t even getting a bunch of stupid penalties or fights. Why having a fighting rating if it doesn’t incline the players more towards fighting.

Maybe if I fast forward the game to January things will start to even out a bit…

Well this needs some explaining. In January the players vote on awards for players. Your winner of toughest player is Josh Bailey. I guess his workout with the chains finally paid off. But how is the team doing on January first?

The Islanders have as many goals as the next two teams combined, AND they have only given up 5 goals in almost half a season. I don’t know why this is working…

One of the reasons I don’t like FHM that much is because the AI is incredibly bad. The Islanders AI GM waived Hamonic because it had too many Right Sided Defensemen and called up Brian Strait to play on the Left Side. I don’t even.

At the end of the season, the results shouldn’t be too surprising:

This Islanders team is the greatest team in NHL history. They shattered just about every record you could think of:
Most points in a full season: 132 (76-77 Montreal)
Most wins in a full season: 62 (95-96 Detroit)
Fewest losses in a full season: 8 (76-77 Montreal)
Most goals in a full season: 446 (83-84 Edmonton)
Fewest goals against in a full season: 131 (Tie 2 teams)
Greatest goal differential: +216 (76-77 Montreal)

The Islanders also gave up no more then a single goal in any game, and only had one game in which the score was within 2 goals (Jake Allen stood on his head in a 3-1 game in which he faced 67 shots)

Indivually here’s how the Islanders looked (at least those that mattered)

And the goalies:

The only thing I can figure out is that checking and hitting are considered defensive stats. Considering Halak faced an average of 2 shots a game, I’m going to say that maxing out those two stats brought everyone’s defensive rating to an insane plateau. Teams probably couldn’t even get out of the neutral zone, and since the Islanders averaged about a shot a minute or better I’m going to argue that opposing teams couldn’t get out of their own end at all.

If you guys liked this, let me know and I’ll try to find new and fun ways to break FHM in the future.

I’ll Throw In A Brad Lukowich

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The Islanders draft in 1994 was an interesting one. They moved up to select Brett Lindros (trading away Uwe Krupp and the pick that was used on Wade Belak) with Don Maloney claiming he had selected the Better Lindros. Unfortunately he wasn’t and that was one of the many reasons Maloney was eventually replaced by Mike Milbury two years later.

Oddly enough that year the Islanders selected 3 different players from the Kamloops Blazers, Jason Holland (2nd round) Jason Strudwick (3rd Round) and Brad Lukowich (4th Round). Studwick and Lukowich would be the absolute standouts for the Islanders in the draft, both playing over 600 NHL games.

Unfortunately Mike Milbury decided to take the team in a different direction (and away from talented players). Jason Strudwick found himself traded straight up for Gino Odjick. But no one is here to hear about Jason Strudwick or Gino Odjick. Instead it’s the adventures of Brad Lukowich, and it’s a doozy.

Brad Lukowich would never play a game for the Islanders, and was probably traded because the Islanders couldn’t afford to sign him (he was 2 years from his draft and needed to have an ELC). Mike Milbury traded him for the Stars 3rd rounder in 1997. That 3rd rounder was used on Robert Schnabel, who never signed with the team and re-entered the 1998 draft. Milbury at his finest.

With the Stars, Lukowich would eventually become an everyday player. After getting promoted from the IHL, he would play 60-80-66 games with the Stars from 99-00 to 01-02. Lukowich’s time with the stars would be his longest time with a single NHL team. He would be traded 6 different times in the 00s, largely as what appears to be a throw in piece.

The Stars dealt him along with Manny Fernandez to the Minnesota Wild for a 3rd round pick in 2000 and a 4th round pick in 2002. The 3rd round pick in 2000 ended up being used on Joel Lundqvist, twin brother of Henrik (who would get picked 4 rounds later and have a somewhat better career).

The Stars apparently had a change of heart, and two weeks later traded back for Lukowich. He would be dealt from the Wild with a Round 3 pick in 2001 for Aaron Gavey, Pavel Patera and an 8th round pick in 2000 (used to select Eric Johansson).

Two years later though, Lukowich was traded by the Stars to the Lightning. He was dealt with a 7th round pick in 2003 for the Lightnings 2nd round pick in 2002 which the Stars used on Tobias Stephan. This was the 4th time the pick had been dealt, interestingly enough. The Lightning traded a choice of 2000, 2001 or 2002 second round picks and Rob Zamuner for Andreas Johnasson and the right to sign Rick Dudley as GM.

The Senators then packaged the pick in a trade with the Flyers, in which the Flyers moved down 4 spots in the first round and the Senators got a bunch of later picks. The Lightning ended up with the pick again when they traded their 2002 first round pick to the Flyers for this pick, another second round pick in the same draft AND Ruslan Fedotenko. Then the Lukowich trade happened.

After spending the 2005 lockout with the CHL Fort Worth Brahmas, Mike Milbury decided to sign him on August 11 2005. On March 9 2006, Milbury traded Lukowich to the Devils for a Round 3 pick in the 2006 draft. This trade means that Lukowich was traded twice by the same teams and same GMs in his career. The Islanders would end up trading this 3rd round pick for 2 4th round picks from the Coyotes, which they used on Doug Rogers and Tomas Marcinko.

The following season he played out the year for the Devils and was a Free Agent. He spent a year with the Tampa Bay Lightning before they traded him again. He was sent along with Dan Boyle to the Sharks for Matt Carle, Ty Wishart and a round 1 pick in the 09 draft and round 4 pick in the 10 draft.

The 09 round 1 pick would take quite a course around the league. The Lightning would trade it to the Senators largely for Andrej Meszaros. The Senators would trade it to the Islanders for Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli. The Islanders would use the pick again to trade down for a bunch of picks, which included picks used on Casey Cizikas, Anders Nilsson and Mat Clark (it gets really confusing here, just trust me). The Blue Jackets would swap picks with the Ducks who used this pick to take Kyle Palmeri while the Jackets took John Moore. In the end it didn’t matter cause now Palmeri and Moore are teammates on the Devils.

A year later saw Lukowich’s final NHL trade. The Sharks dealt Lukowich with Christian Ehrhoff to the Canucks for Daniel Rahimi and Patrick White.

By my final count, Brad Lukowich was traded by the same team twice, the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars. He was traded by the same Islanders GM, Mike Milbury, nearly 10 years apart. The Lightning also traded for him, let him become a UFA, get traded, signed him when he became a UFA and then traded him, all under Jay Feasters time as GM of the Lightning.

In the end his footnote in history seems to be as a throw in to some of the bigger trades of the last decade, being dealt as part of deals for both Christian Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle. But he lasted over 10 years in the NHL and 650 games, winning the Cup with both the Lightning and Stars.

Micah Curtis and the Worst Patreon Yet

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Patreon is a service that allows people to get monthly crowdfunding, usually to help support someone putting out videos on youtube. The most infamous of these being the sarkeesian effect, which ended up being terrible AND more expensive then a number of great movies. But Patreon does have a good side, allowing content producers to cut the cord from publishers who would have some creative control.

One of those people though is not Micah Curtis. He recently opened his own Patreon account, and the page is rather laughable. What is he offering subscribers to his Patreon?

If you give money to this Patreon, I am your employee. I will work directly for my audience. As I have for years, I will work ethically and fairly for the interest of gamers everywhere.

So literally the same thing he’s already doing? He even admits as much. Well then does he even offer any rewards for people that subscribe? Oh, there’s one level of subscribers, let’s see what he gives them.

Early Access to Videos. Each of my videos are usually scheduled out for a few days after completion, but you’ll get to witness them firsthand!

That costs five dollars a month. You get to see his videos early. That’s it. Maybe his intro video has a few more details that he just hasn’t added to the page. My personal highlights:

  • 34 Seconds “I have a lot of business experience”
  • 55 Seconds “Middle of last year I decided to go freelance (aka I was let go/fired)
  • 1 Min 24 Sec “I’m partnered with TGN, the second biggest gaming network on youtube (who?)”
  • 1 Min 42 Sec “Game Journalism is something I have to focus on on a daily basis”
  • 2 Min 35 Sec “Someday a website devoted to this sort of thing (game journalism, I believe)”
  • 3 Min 15 Sec to end of video “I have a rare gift” this whole section is comedy gold

Well surprisingly there wasn’t much substance in the video as to why you would actually want to subscribe to his Patreon. He just brings his “rare gift” and “lot of business experience” to video game journalism. Oh and let’s not forget about his journalistic “ethics“.

Maybe I’m just being mean though. Patreon also has Milestone Goals. These allow you to say that over a certain amount of money per month, you’ll do something special. Unfortunately for Micah’s fans, he only has two and these are set at 1,000 and 2,000 dollars a month. What do you get if you hit those goals? Let’s hear directly from the man himself:

1,000 Dollars

This goal means that I can take my day job and move it down to part-time hours. This means more time for video work, more content, etc. Any patrons would also get first dibs on suggesting video topics for future episodes of Reflections or The Mind of Micah C.

2,000 Dollars

It’s exactly what it sounds like. When I calculated cost of living for my area, if I were to make this much money per month I would be able to make content for a living, as opposed to just a hobby. I won’t lie. This goal is more than just money for life. This goal is the symbol of my biggest dream: to get to work for my audience for a living.

Words escape me. Let me try to sum it up then. If the content Micah was creating was any good, he would be able to make a living off of it via any other method. Micah painfully overrates his ability to entertain/inform via his videos. Don’t even get me started on the stupidity which is his writing.

I thought it would be interesting to compare his Patreon to another game related one. KalonZombie is a let’s player I enjoy watching. His Patreon can be found here, and you can immediately see the difference. First off he admits that what he’s doing is dumb. He’s not trying to make a living doing it, but instead is trying to raise money to improve what he already does.

His milestone goals aren’t also “I don’t want to work, pay me not to work” and are somewhat achievable (including one already being achieved). There’s also this crazy idea that people who are paying (3 dollars a month and up) can actually vote on what gets streamed.

It really doesn’t take that much effort to make a Patreon that doesn’t look like complete e-begging. But congrats Micah Curtis, your “business knowledge” led you to making what’s basically a joke of a Patreon. But I’m sure being part of TGN will help you rise to the top. Just like being a part of Blistered Thumbs and Techraptor has so far!

Well, even Micah realized how much of a bad idea this was (and the fact that he has 0 subscribers so far) and has changed his stance on the milestone goals:

Barclay’s To Implement “No Long Islanders Welcomed” Policy

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With almost half the season over, Barclay’s has decided to go in a new direction with the Islanders.

We have heard the fans, and it is time to fix things! Because to us, the fans are the most important people. That being said we have decided to take a few steps to improve the fan experience.

Those steps include banning of any zip codes east of Queens from buying tickets.

Fans yelling shot every two seconds will be banned from the building.

Cheers shall simply consist of “Puck Control” and “Zone Control”.

Limited View Seating shall be replaced by an eternal tire fire.

All seats will be given a pane of glass, from which they can watch the team warm up.

For next season Barclays will be repainted black and white to better represent Brooklyn.

Barclay’s will do it’s best to get the Islanders to turn their third jersey into their newest threads.

The new Islanders twitter will be located @BrooklynIslanders.

All current Islanders Banners will be replaced with banners that simply say “Fuck Long Island”

Barclays management will attempt to dig a trench between Queens and Long Island, fill it with water, then release sewer alligators into the moat.

All dissenting fans on facebook will be blocked.

A storefront will be given to New York Islanders Fan Central to inform fans what Cablevision/James Dolan has been doing to screw the Islanders.

All fans using racism and hate speech on the Brooklyn Islanders Facebook Page will be screenshotted and reported to their job and family members on facebook.

@BDGallof predicted all of this, but we didn’t listen.

Why The Force Awakens Will Disappoint

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Ever get the feeling of Deja Vu? I’ve been getting it lately with the new Star Wars movies. All the hype, all the merchandise everywhere, people waiting in line for who knows how long. When I went to see it a month later, I had already gotten all the warnings. Still, nothing prepared me for Jar Jar. I’m not the largest Star Wars fan, but it was annoying to see a great movie series fall so far.

The same thing kept happening though, we went to see each new Star Wars prequel in theaters. The wooden acting of Hayden Christensen and the “romance scenes”. People would come out and say “Well at least it was better then the last one” for each prequel. I guess we gave it a shot because we liked the originals so much that there had to be some of that magic left.

I won’t go over in detail everything that went wrong with the prequels. Red Letter Media did a great job going over a lot of the ways they went wrong. If you are a fan of the Star Wars movies, you should go give them a watch if you haven’t seen them yet.

That being said, I am prepared to be disappointed by the new Star Wars Sequels.

#1 Blaming Lucas

Look, I’m not going to make a saint out of George Lucas. But he tends to get an inordinate amount of the blame for the failure of the prequels. Some of it is probably deserved, but nowhere near the amount he gets for it today. Just the idea that the sequels are being done by anyone that’s not Lucas seems to be a rallying cry.

But is there really anything that gets you excited about JJ Abrams? He seems like one of the most overrated guys in Hollywood of the last few years. While I’m not a Star Trek fan, I’ve heard that basically the last two Star Trek films were big on being popcorn films and not exactly the best Star Trek Films.

For that matter, when you go further back in his film history, his only other experience as both writer and director, are Super 8 and Mission Impossible 3. MI:3 was just more of the same, a big popcorn flick which actually did a disappointing gross (it’s the lowest performing both in and outside of NA) for a MI Film.

I haven’t seen Super 8, and don’t know much about it. But it’s probably the most promising thing on his resume in regards to Star Wars.

There isn’t going to be anything great or mind blowing, at least from the directors chair. JJ Abrams got the job because he can do fluff popcorn flicks that don’t upset people.

#2 Four Billion Dollars

Of course one of the reasons that JJ Abrams was named director is because this is a Four Billion Dollar investment by Disney. That’s what they paid when they bought the rights. They aren’t about to give the film to someone whose going to experiment, push boundaries or try a new way of looking at an old film. This is all about return on investment.

One of the memes going around the internet is the Star Wars Oranges, and Star Wars Water for that matter. Disney is attempting to squeeze every dollar possible out of the film. Now you can’t blame them for that, but a huge heartless corporation isn’t going to have any of the spirit or elan to gamble.

Fox gambled on Star Wars, hell I’m amazed it made any money considering how little sense the original trailer for the film made. Lucas gambled on Star Wars too, making a movie based on his beloved serials from a past era which he grew up with.

There is no gambling here, The Force Awakens will make a shitload of money. Could it have made more if Disney gambled or took a chance? Probably not. It could have been a better film though. But that’s not what’s important, it’s preserving the Star Wars brand at all costs which is important.

#3 Thirty Eight Years

One of the major things missing from the prequels were the stars from the original trilogy (for obvious reasons). This was probably one of the first things that Disney made sure to lock down for the new sequel. But it’s been 38 years since the original Star Wars came out. Mark Hamil is 64, Carrie Fisher is 59, Harrison Ford is Seventy Freaking Three (and got hurt during filming).

I don’t want to see any of those three reprise their roles now, just as fan service for the hardcore fans of the series. That isn’t to say anything bad about any of the actors, but to me at least a 73 year old Harrison Ford just can’t strike the same dashing anti-authority figure today as Han Solo as he did almost 40 years ago.

It’s the most blatant fan-service of the film (at least so far, I haven’t seen it) and seeing the elderly trio just makes me sad. Maybe even 10 years ago they could have been a much better use to the film. But at least they are probably getting paid pretty well.

#4 We Already Did This

I’m not expecting much from this trilogy because I was around for the prequels. Let me remind you that Roger Ebert gave the film 3 1/2 stars out of 4 in his review. The hype and the marketing won over everyone to the point that no one would admit or outright say it was a bad film. Now when you can view the whole prequel trilogy as a whole and see that they were all pretty bad, you can see everything take a tumble from episode 1 on.

It’s not all the fault of Disney, Lucas, Harrison Ford or JJ Abrams. Star Wars is such a cultural touchstone today and was a combination of so many factors that are impossible to replicate today.

Then when you’ve spent months hyping and marketing everything, people who have bought into it don’t want to admit that maybe it’s not a good movie. The reviews for The Force Awakens will be largely posivitve, no matter how negative we’ll view them in another ten years. A handful of critics who do speak out will be shouted down anyway or told they just don’t get it.

Maybe, just maybe instead of making another Star Wars, it’s time for Hollywood to make a new Star Wars. Every year we get bombarded with more sequels, remakes, prequels, re-imaginings, etc, etc, etc… Since these films are usually sure money, they get made. But every time we get a new Star Wars movie it’s less money for other films to be made.

The Force Awakens is going to be a disappointment because it isn’t even about the film. The film is going to be a simple popcorn flick that keeps the greatest number of people happy. What it is about is the marketing, the rights to name Star Wars Oranges and Waters, it’s about Darth Vader in a car commercial. It’s everything but the film that’s going to matter for Disney, and that’s why in a few years we’ll have a new Mr Plinkett review of Episode Six and laugh together about how such mistakes were made.