I was away all weekend playing in a Scrabble tournament, so I didn't get to watch either of the back-to-back games. I'm glad I missed Friday's embarrassing 7-4 home loss to the Canadiens, and I'm sad that I missed Saturday's 8-3 romp over the Islanders. I can never remember. Is Dr. Jekyll the evil one? No. It's Hyde, isn't it. At any rate, they were Hyde one night, and Jekyll the other.
All I've seen were the highlights. I didn't take time to set the DVR before I left. My mind was elsewhere.
Rod Brind'Amour had a hat trick on Saturday (plus an assist) and a goal on Friday. After the five point-in-two-games explosion, Brind'Amour has 18 (6/12) through 12 games, and has a nine game point streak and a three game goal streak. He's on pace for 123 points this season. He won't reach that mark, but it's great to see him playing so well.
Eric Staal is also on fire. He has a three game goal streak, which included a successful penalty shot on Friday. At 15 (9/6) points, he's on pace to reach 102 points. He's way more likely to maintain that pace than Brind'Amour.
Justin Williams is also on fire. He netted two goals on Saturday, and has a three game point streak. He's sitting on 16 (5/11) points, and is on pace for 109.
Matt Cullen, Ray Whitney and Cory Stillman each have 12 points Jeff Hamilton has 11 (4/7). Erik Cole, who missed five games with a hurt foot, is also playing at a point per game pace.
Cole returned from injury on Saturday, and all he did was pick up three assists and finish with a +4 rating.
Since I can't rehash the hockey games, I'll give a brief rehash of the Scrabble tournament.
At this tournament, there were three skill divisions based on your rating with the National Scrabble Association. I was slated to be the #1 seed in the low division, but they had some cancellations and needed me to move up to even that division out. At first, I was upset. I wanted to stay in the low division for a guarantee that I would win money. Staying low, though, wouldn't help my rating at all.
So I played up, with the idea that I play slightly better than projected, and I wouldn't win money but my rating would improve.
The format was pretty standard. Three games Friday night, then eight on Saturday, then four on Sunday. Tournament Scrabble is played using timers like chess players use. 25 minutes total per player. And it's always one-on-one. Tournaments are not elimination-style. Everyone plays every game.
Friday's games are round-robin style. By the midway point of Saturday, they use a variation of swiss pairings, which means that players are reseeded after each game, and you only play other players who are doing as well or as poorly as you. It's a power-power thing. Nobody gets a cupcake schedule, and nobody will have to play way over their head. By Sunday, they switch over to a king-of-the-hill, which is slightly different from swiss-style in that you play against folks who are directly above or below you in the standings. 1 against 2, 3 against 4, and so on. The final round can sometimes be tricky because of Gibsonization, but that's not anything that anyone here wants to hear about.
I started slow Friday, winning my first game, but losing the last two. I thought I might be in trouble, but most of the players in that division were players I've played (and beaten) before, so I wasn't that concerned.
On Saturday, I lost the first game, then won two in a row, then lost two in a row, then won two in a row, then lost a squeaker in my last game.
I was 5-6, in sixth place. The first place player had only lost two games (one to me), and she had pretty much run away with it already. The next closest had four losses, then a couple of fives, and a couple of sixes. This meant that I had a chance. A slim chance, but a chance. I needed to win out, and hope for some help.
I did what I needed to do. I steamrolled through my first three games this morning, climbing my way up to third place. In the final game, the first place player was Gibsonized. Nobody could catch her, no matter what. I knew that if I beat my opponent by more than 151 points, I would take over second. Any win would guarantee third place. Elsewise, I would need some outside help.
I won my last game by 90 points, so I walked out with third prize.
Two things that were good. Okay, three.
One was that my rating will go up by a significant amount. They use a complicated matrix to project how many games you should win, then your rating adjustment is done based on how well you do against that model. I was projected to win 5.6 games. I did much better than that.
Two was that I went in thinking that I wasn't going to win any money, but I did anyway. It was just $75, but it's nice. My career earnings are now at a whopping $165. I can't quit my day job yet.
Third was that I did well in the side tournaments. Friday night, there was a trivia contest, which I took second place out of about 30 players. Saturday, there was a Texas Hold'em tournament, in which I finished second out of ten. No money there. Just funsies. Had I won first prize in all three tournaments, my hotel room would have been paid for. Close, but no cigar.
Oh. The fourth good thing. This is the first time that I've ended a tournament on a roll. I have always lost the final game, usually the final two. In one tournament, I lost three of four on the final day, dropping all the way from first place to third. Although I won money, I was disappointed to have played my way out of first place. Like the Mets. This time, I played my way into the money.
Oh. The fifth thing. One of my arch-rivals was in my division. As is often the case in a tournament of this size, you often meet the same opponent two or more times over the course of the tournament. I faced this formidable opponent three times this weekend, and defeated her twice. In my career, I've now faced her six times, and I've gone 4-2 against her. With the exception of one game today when I beat her by 76, and one game in the past when she beat me by about 125, they're usually very hard fought games.
This blog will resume its normal hockey focus tomorrow.
I'm sure I'll write a full-on dorky review of the Scrabble tournament at my other blog, but I doubt if anyone cares.
5 years ago