User Interview: bigbuzz

Q&A with noted SimLeague Hockey user bigbuzz

We recently contacted noted SimLeague Hockey user bigbuzz to discuss the latest engine release, drafting balance, mix tapes, Wendel Clark, winning the Wifs Hockey Championship, and Dawson Creek.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

bigbuzz

Thanks for having me.

WIS

Who is bigbuzz?

bigbuzz

I am Brent R., residing in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Happily married with three boys. A plumber by trade, I was born in Unity, Saskatchewan and moved here when I was a teenager.

WIS

What is the significance of your User ID?

bigbuzz

In my youth I would make mix tapes when I was bored and I always named them Brents Big Buzz I, II, etc. I just liked the name and when I discovered this site I decided to try it for my user ID.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

TSN.ca I just clicked on the ORR, HULL, GRETZKY advertisement and the rest is history.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

The 1983-84 Oilers. When I was a ten year old kid, I was supposed to be in bed, but the Oilers were playing the Islanders and dominating this time. I snuck downstairs and sat on the stairs and watched it from afar as my Dad was watching the cup winning game in his chair with his back towards me. When they won the cup I cheered. I never got in trouble for it, my Dad was too happy. I loved the 92-93 Leafs and feel they would've won the cup, if only - (Leaf fans can fill in this blank with any choice of colorful words.)

WIS

Did you play much hockey growing up?

bigbuzz

I played hockey constantly. When no one else would play hockey I played Fantasy hockey of my own design. I played baseball as well. And, I played a little rugby in high school. But mostly I played hockey; it consumed me.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

bigbuzz

Wendel Clark switched my passion for the Oilers into, a now, lifelong love of the Leafs. He was surly, could score and was made of glass.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

bigbuzz

The one I mentioned above about the Oilers & the Leafs. More recently the Oilers beating the Red Wings in game 6 first round this year. That was a third period for the ages.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

I love to read trashy paperbacks. I listen to all varieties of music and play with my kids.

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

bigbuzz

Winning my third cup against Styckman. It took forever to get it and I was up 3 games to none. The bugger almost came all the way back. I also remember the day that a bunch of us aligned to get a league (Roarin' 20's) changed when an unnamed owner totally ruined a league for us, thanks to our efforts (gollum will remember this day) a lot of the way the sim is set up now changed. A lot of the friends I have made on here were made that day as well. Winning the Wifs Hockey Championship was pretty damned good. Although I must say that I got hot at the right time. But it was a year long hard fought process. The entire thing was well organized and unbelievably difficult to keep going.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

I loved Pat Burns, even in Montreal. He is no-nonsense, play or I will sit you kind of a coach. Pat Quinn is one of my favorites as well, but I am not sure if he is as much a coach as a motivator. I also like any of the Sutters as a coach. They get the best out of some bad teams year after year.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

A win is a win and a loss is a loss. Simple. No more points. If you lose in OT or a shootout you lose. No points for losses. I would also start giving out suspensions to multiple divers. They watch the tapes and know who dives.

WIS

Build your all-time dream hockey team:

bigbuzz

G - Grant Fuhr - always making the most important save.

D - Scott Stevens - he just plain frightened the opposition.

D - Kevin Lowe - he would have died to win.

C - Doug Gilmour - skinny and relentless and the best single season Leaf ever.

Wing - Ryan Smyth - takes a beating every game, heart and soul.

Wing - Wendel Clark - obviously.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

I want to see a Leafs game, any Leafs game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Preferably the playoffs, but that is more of a longshot. If you foot the bill for me to get there, I will buy the beer!

WIS

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

bigbuzz

Chris P, Mike B, Paul D, Bill B & Scott K (you know who you are. I would include others, but you only gave me 5. These are all WifS personalities that I have been lucky enough to be associated with.

WIS

Obviously, you have been successful, but what is your opinion of the latest SimLeague Hockey engine release?

bigbuzz

I love it. There are so many ways to win now. I have created teams that would not stand a chance in either of the earlier versions and have won cups. I have created teams that would have been unstoppable in Version 2 and have fallen flat on their face.

WIS

You have been integral in helping us design the new SimLeague Hockey draft center. What from this update are you most interested in seeing/utilizing?

bigbuzz

I guess I am lucky enough to have used it for quite a while now. I would say the searchable fields, the ability to narrow down with certainty a particular field. It makes it a lot easier for the users in some of the more difficult theme leagues. I still think it needs some work as I would like to see players who have been traded mid season get combined stats. If the league can combine them, why can't WhatIfSports?

WIS

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

bigbuzz

Don't get discouraged. Rarely does anyone figure this out right away. Just have fun. Draft players you like and when you realize they all suck, try and figure out why. Like I said earlier there are now multiple ways to win so don't give up.

WIS

What is your general strategy for building teams?

bigbuzz

I play almost exclusively in theme leagues, so I build the best possible team to fit the rules. I don't have any real strategy. I just know what works for me sometimes. I try and spend no more than 10% on goaltending and 15-20% on Defense, because scoring goals is what it is all about.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

For me it is balance. With V3, I also watch my forward D ratings a lot closer than I did in V2.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

There are a few. I find myself drafting Dennis Maruk, Luc Robitaille and Dave Fortier now. I guess Mario makes a lot of my teams too.

WIS

Are there any players that you feel consistently underachieve?

bigbuzz

For me Mike Bossy and Guy Lafleur are chronic underachievers.

WIS

How do you go about setting your lines?

bigbuzz

I have no real strategy here either. It totally depends on the type of league and the type of players I have. I like to put one high scoring guy with a high D guy and a playmaker if I can, but it rarely works out that I could draft that way.

WIS

How much emphasis do you put on scouting future opponents?

bigbuzz

None at all. I often don't even know who I am playing until the playoffs. I used to get caught in the trap of wondering how to prepare for certain owners and it made me a terrible owner. I now barely even notice in the playoffs unless I consider the person a big time opponent.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

I love to trade and promote. A lot of the leagues I am in do not allow, or limit the use of the waiver wire. I have been very successful rebuilding a struggling team on the fly via a shakeup trade.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

Win.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

The list is WAY to long - cpetsche, booman35, gollum, bb_icetime, kobo, ntbaer, lightbrigade, lounpink, modo, wectina19, ntbaer, dairn, logain, aginor, yogsloth, SAKABAKBRG (thought I forgot you eh?), slatz, schmed30, ldj_1, lenihan, kettlevalley, sharx91, smeric, julz55, zlionsfan, xpoemtl, yzermanzz, Mercedes, duguaydr, pitnickd, kitkat, daynus, noose4, godboy, elvisgump, tjeman, jcarver, jayden - the list could go on forever and is forever growing. The hockey community is great.

WIS

What is your current favorite aspect of SimLeague hockey?

bigbuzz

It is there every day, just to let me have a break from real life.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of SimLeague hockey? If you could change one thing about the game that will not be changed with the draft center update?

bigbuzz

My least favorite aspect is explaining to my wife the cost of playing, thankfully I haven't had to pay in a while. At the start of every NHL season I would do what they did for the No Lockout Challenge, but play the league exactly at the same rate of speed as the real NHL. I really liked the No Lockout Leagues. It allowed you to get a real feel for your team, do advanced scouting and matching. The amount that I play I just don't have time to do much more than fiddle with the lines and change goalies.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

If one thing is not working, do not be afraid to try things that you think would not work. You may be surprised. Don't forget to have fun.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

I don't often seek help. I guess I feel like old hat at this, not many hockey users have been here as long or been as permanent as I have. I don't get asked for advice often, but am more than willing to help.

WIS

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

bigbuzz

I would be a goalie, a real flash in the pan, one decent season that everyone overlooks, like Frank McCool, I would be worth about 2.5 million units.

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