User Interview: Booman35

Q&A with noted SimLeague Hockey user Booman35

"Though the calendar and the change in weather would lead us to believe otherwise, hockey season has yet to start due to the current NHL lockout. We at WhatIfSports remedy that situation with our SimLeague Hockey and No Lockout Challenge as well as our support of NHL.com's Quest for the Best all-time tournament."

That was the introduction we originally wrote for Gollum's interview. The weather and calendar may have changed again, but much remains the same with the NHL. Still, the games play on and are better than ever at WhatIfSports.com. We recently contacted No Lockout Challenge champion and noted SimLeague Hockey user Booman35 to discuss setting lines, drafting, the new penalty system, Paul Coffey, Earl Weaver, Fred Couples, Terry Pratchett and the Animaniacs (Dot is cute and Yakko yaks).

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

WIS

Who is booman35?

Booman35

Booman is Paul D. of Oshawa Ontario. I was born in Oshawa and I have lived in the same area pretty much all of my life, a life which has now lasted 36 years. I am University-educated but I have a blue-collar factory job. I love to golf, play softball, read books of all sorts, and I have recently developed an appreciation for fine red wines.

WIS

What is the significance of your userID?

Booman35

When I first entered the online community on a local BBS, I chose the name ChickenBoo (a character from Animaniacs). Over the years, that name has mutated into Booman. I don't know how significant the name is, but I like it.

WIS

How did you learn about WhatIfSports.com and our SimLeagues?

Booman35

I think I discovered the baseball sim through the TSN.ca website. One of my favourite computer games ever is Earl Weaver Baseball and WifS' baseball sim appears to be a pretty good extension of the program.

WIS

Which are some of your favorite teams of all-time?

Booman35

When I was fairly young, I was a Bruins fan. Over the years, I have also been a fan of the Oilers and the Penguins. Right now, however, I'm just a hockey fan. In baseball, I'm a fan of the Blue Jays and the White Sox. I used to be an Expos fan before they moved.

WIS

Did you play much hockey (or other sports) growing up?

Booman35

I probably haven't played hockey on an ice rink for close to thirty years. However, I did play plenty of road-hockey as a child. I've played organized softball since I was six years old and I took up golf about nine years ago.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

Booman35

Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Doug Gilmour, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey... to name just a few.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

Booman35

Without a doubt, the Blue Jays winning back-to-back World Series Championships is my favourite sports moment. Joe Carter's home run in 1993 was awesome. However, a close second was the opportunity to personally witness George Brett hit for the cycle at Toronto's SkyDome.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

Booman35

As I mentioned above, I'm an avid golfer and softball player. I also read a lot. Then there's music, fine wine, nice food, good company...

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

Booman35

This is an easy one - winning the Stanley Cup in the No Lockout Challenge after taking over a Florida Panthers team that was 2-18-0-1. I managed to grab the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference on the final day of the season after closing the season with a 12-3-1 run (including winning the last five games of the season). After beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime of game seven, my team then lost only twice more in the playoffs. Actually, a lot of the fun of the No Lockout Challenge was the storyline that was developed between Gollum (the Ottawa Senators' GM) and myself. The story took on a life of its own and drew in a lot of other WifS personalities, including the beautiful DragonflyDeb, the scandalous Brent Reschny, the mysterious Beeb Throat, the nefarious Dr. Petsche, and the curiously named Little Davy Jones.

WIS

Which coaches, past or present, do you draw on for inspiration?

Booman35

Well, as someone mentioned in the NLC, I could change my name to Scotty Booman, but I don't think that any particular real-life coach inspires me. The hockey sim just doesn't appear to lend itself to traditional coaching ideas and theories.

WIS

As a fan of hockey, what do you think of the current lockout situation in the NHL?

Booman35

Well, as of this moment, it sounds like the lockout may be close to being over. However, I'll be very upset if we've missed an entire season only to discover that the league and the game are still in bad shape...there has to be a reason that we as hockey fans have been subjected to this.

WIS

If you had the power to replace Gary Bettman as commissioner, what is the first thing you would try to change?

Booman35

I truly believe that the NHL would be healthier with fewer teams. I don't know that I would have the power to change that if I was commissioner, but I would try.

WIS

Build your all-time dream hockey team:

Booman35

Goalie - Roberto Luongo (this guy will probably be considered one of the greats when his career is over)
Defense - Bobby Orr (he changed the way the game was played and was robbed of maybe 10 more years by his bad knees)
Defense - Paul Coffey (he benefited from the Oilers' style of play, but he was one of the fastest skaters ever)
Centre - Wayne Gretzky (what more needs to be said?)
Right Wing - Mike Bossy (one of the greatest pure goal-scorers of all time)
Left Wing - Bobby Hull (a great marksman with one of the hardest shots ever)

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

Booman35

I would love to be able to become a better golfer and possible play in a sanctioned tournament someday... or at least play in a pro-am with Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, or Jack Nicklaus.

WIS

Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?

Booman35

Hmmm...tough one. Two of my favourite authors are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett... I'd love for them to be there. My favourite golfer of all time is Ben Hogan, so he's there. I think that Ricky Gervaise (The Office) is a comedic genius, so he's the fourth. And the fifth person would be my dad.

WIS

You have been integral in improving our SimLeague hockey engine. What are you looking forward to most in the new engine?

Booman35

Another easy question...I'm really looking forward to the old-time players (i.e. pre-1967) becoming useful.

WIS

Which idea do you think will be most successful?

Booman35

I really think that we will be successful in improving the old-timers. There has already been a lot of discussion around them and how to improve them. It will just be a matter of finding the best way to do it.

WIS

What is your opinion on the new penalty system?

Booman35

I definitely think that it is better than the old system. The introduction of fighting and suspensions has already made the sim more realistic. Maybe it could use some more tweaking, but only time will tell.

WIS

What can you tell users who may be unfamiliar with the game about the merits of SimLeague hockey?

Booman35

I just think that the WifS Hockey Community is the best on the site. There is a great group of regular users and a lot of them are great people as well as great owners. We always seem willing to help out the new owners. A lot of us also seem to show up in the same theme leagues as well. This is also a good time for me to give a shout-out to the rest of the Saphead Seven - gollum, cpetsche, bigbuzz, bb-icetime, sakabakbrg, and dairn.

WIS

In the newest full-version (2.0), what is your general strategy for building teams?

Booman35

I'm sure I won't be giving away too many secrets (and, judging by my recent record, maybe my drafting secrets don't need to be kept secret). Obviously, a lot depends on the salary cap and the type of league. I play almost 100% Theme Leagues, so following the rules is important. Essentially, however, I try to stick to drafting three offensively-strong forward lines and one line that is primarily defensive. I also draft four defensemen with high defensive ratings and two d-men with lots of assists. My goalie usually has 65-75 games played and has a save percentage over 92.5%.

WIS

What is the most important thing to keep in mind while drafting?

Booman35

Shooting percentage for forwards, defensive rating for defensemen, and save percentage for goalies... it's as simple as that.

WIS

Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your team?

Booman35

Luc Robitaille, Dennis Kearns, Charlie Simmer, Roberto Luongo, Kari Eloranta, Lanny McDonald, Kent Nilsson, Hakan Loob, Rick Middleton, and Michel Larocque appear on more than a few of my teams.

WIS

Are there any players that you feel consistently underachieve?

Booman35

Obviously, I feel that the old-timers underachieve. However, a few recent players who tend to underachieve are Guy Lafleur, Jaromir Jagr, Phil Esposito, and Teemu Selanne. I also feel that some of the offensive-minded defensemen such as Paul Coffey, Bobby Orr, and Phil Housley tend to disappoint in the sim.

WIS

How do you go about setting your lines?

Booman35

My top three forward lines are usually offensively-based. My fourth line is generally stronger defensively (I'll match them up with the top forward line of the other team late in the game). My top two defense pairings usually feature one high assist guy with a defensive-minded player. My third pairing features two defensive defensemen. On the power play, I'll play forwards at the point with my high assist d-men. I generally don't worry too much about matching lines during the regular season. I'll change line configurations if I'm in a losing streak. However, after the drafting process and the initial setting of lines, I'm pretty much a hands-off coach until the playoffs.

WIS

How much emphasis do you put on scouting future opponents and double-teaming?

Booman35

I usually look at the opponent's team and I try to key on their top goal-scorer... I'm not sure how much it works, but I do it anyway.

WIS

Do you make transactions (call-ups/demotions, trades, etc.) during the season? Why or why not?

Booman35

Most of the theme leagues I'm in don't allow trades or waiver wire acquisitions because of the nature of the theme and/or because it can be difficult to police. However, some leagues don't allow waiver wire acquisitions because of one bad experience with one owner (who shall remain nameless) who tried to sabotage a league. In the end, however, his actions only served to strengthen the WifS Hockey Community.

WIS

What do you do during the season to try and separate yourself from other teams?

Booman35

Ultimately, I'm just trying to make the playoffs during the regular season. Once I do that, then I concentrate a lot more on my opponents.

WIS

Who are the users you respect and who challenge you the most?

Booman35

cpetsche and I have always had a healthy rivalry (sorry about beating you way back when Chris). I definitely admire gollum's tenacity and sense of humour. bigbuzz comes up with some of the hardest themes imaginable. I also admire and respect the rest of the "regulars" of the WifS Hockey Community... there are too many names to mention, but we have a lot of fun and that seems to be more important than winning to most of us. And, last but not least, I admire any owner who has more cups than me, especially those who play more theme leagues than open leagues...

WIS

Currently, what is your favorite aspect of SimLeague hockey?

Booman35

As I've alluded to many times, I would have to say that the WifS Hockey Community is what keeps me coming back. There are a lot of great people here. I've met a number of them in person and I'm privileged to know them.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of SimLeague hockey? If you could change one thing about the game that will not be changed for 3.0, what would it be?

Booman35

Currently, my least favourite aspect is the relative ineffectiveness of the old-timers. One thing that I would like to see changed for Version 3.0 is the Draft Center... it would making (change to "make") drafting for theme leagues a lot easier if we could use more parameters. I'd also like to see the Minor League players improved, especially in Dynasty Leagues. Admittedly, they used to be too good, but now they're essentially useless - I'd like to see them hit a middle ground. Right now, however, any 165K scrub is better than an (change to "any") ML player.

WIS

What advice can you give to new SimLeague Hockey users who want to succeed?

Booman35

Read the forums... there's a lot of great info there. And don't be afraid to ask questions... a lot of us are here to help.

WIS

How has the site changed for the good over the last two-plus years?

Booman35

I love the fact that Mike Welch and the rest of the developers are willing to change the product for the better. And I'm very impressed how much they listen to the WifS community.

WIS

Do you seek help in the forums/sitemail from other users? Do other users seek help from you via the forums or sitemail?

Booman35

I definitely read the forums on a regular basis. On more than one occasion, I have used a tip from the forums to make my teams better. And I communicate regularly with a number of other owners via sitemail to get some help with my teams. I have been sitemailed on many occasions for advice and tips. Not so much anymore - it used to be a lot more when I was one of the top-ranked owners on the site. I fondly remember receiving a sitemail from a WifS neophyte named gollum...I hope that I helped him back then. I like to think that I did...

WIS

If you were in one of our games, which sport would you play? At which position? And, how much would you be worth?

Booman35

I think that I would be either be a stay-at-home defenseman like Al Arbour in hockey or a singles-hitting first baseman like John Olerud in baseball... in both cases, I'd probably be worth about 2 million.

User Profile

LoginID:Booman35
Name:Paul D.
Age: 36
Location:Oshawa Ontario
Occupation:Factory Worker
Favorite Sport(s):Golf, Softball, Hockey, Baseball
Favorite Team(s):Blue Jays, White Sox, all hockey
Favorite Sports Memories: 1992 and 1993 World Series victories for Blue Jays
Member Since:2/2003
Greatest WIS Moment(s):Winning the NLC Championship
Worst WIS Moment(s):Boston Bruins' 20-game winless streak at the end of the season to drop out of the division lead and, ultimately, out of the playoffs
Motto:Where there's a will, there's a way.

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