Sunday, December 17, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Dec 17)

It's Sunday fun day in the NHL and there are only four games on the schedule today.  Since the goalie survivor pool games ended before the weekend and it has been a lazy week for me, I thought I would give us all four games to look over, just to see if there was something worth some excitement today.

Enjoy the games tonight, we'll be back, hopefully in full steam tomorrow, with the weekly statistical audit, Newsletter and all that other good stuff!

Jake Allen (Cam) versus Connor Hellebuyck (Neil)
It's the 19th overall scoring goalie against the 28th overall in scoring goalie, as Jake Allen and the Blues visit Connor Hellebuyck and the Jets in an earlier start on Sunday.  This is the biggest of all four games, in terms of goalie match-ups and meaning in the NHL standings.  Between Cam and Neil, it's 27 points, Cam sitting right in the middle of the standings at 13th, while Neil is in 20th.

Alex Stalock (N/A) versus Corey Crawford (Jeremy)
Jeremy is eyeing up at least a share of 1st place in the pool standings tonight, as his keeper for the Blackhawks, Corey Crawford, is expected to get the start with their division rivals from Minnesota in town for a Sunday evening tilt.  The Wild are forced to go with their new number one for the time being, Alex Stalock, a goaltender that everyone was going to overlook with a workhorse in front of him on the depth chart.  It doesn't mean this is a cake walk for the Hawks, Stalock has been good for the Wild this season.

David Rittich (N/A) versus Jacob Markstrom (Wes)
A Pacific Division match-up for Rogers Hometown Hockey tonight on Sportsnet, as the Flames and the Canucks will go head-to-head in Vancouver, already finishing up their season series before the 2017 calendar year is out.  The Flames are on back-to-back nights, so they will go with their number two guy, Czech keeper David Rittich, while the Canucks will have some pool representation with Jacob Markstrom taking to the net once again.  Wes' 22nd place team could really use some points tonight, as the top 20 is only 5 points away.

James Reimer (Troy) versus Marc-Andre Fleury (Scott)
In Vegas on Sunday night, the Florida Panthers are in to take on the Golden Knights in their first of two meetings this season.  There's a bit of friction between these two, since the Panthers had unceremoniously let go of a number of current Golden Knights and it has been on the social media feeds, just how much this game would mean to the home side.  In the pool, it's 18th placed Troy and 25th place Scott having their teams represented, teams separated by 55 points today.  It's not a meaningful game in match-up, but I've been slacking all week on these posts, so here you go!

Afternoon Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 17)

On Sunday morning, the Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Nikita Zaitsev on the Injured Reserve, citing a lower-body injury as the reason.  There wasn't a whole lot of information about when the Russian defender was hurt or how long anyone expects him to be hurt, but it looks like he played the better part of the game on Friday night against Detroit, so one might ask if he was hurt in practice.  Regardless, the defenseman won't be in the lineup for a couple of early week match-ups, likely not eligible to return until Saturday night in New York.

Looks like it is a minimum of two games for Stacey C.'s team, stricken from the projected games next week.  Stacey's team made some strides in Week Eleven, already with 21 points before Sunday's action and his team has moved up to 19th in the process.  Positive strides with more than half the season to play is a good thing!

The Washington Capitals have an extra day off in between games, so they are going to take advantage of that with their waiver exempt players, sending pool forward Jakub Vrana and non-pool defenseman Madison Bowey down to the AHL on a paper transaction, saving an extra few bucks against the salary cap, possibly for future transactions this season.  This shouldn't be an extended period of time, rather both should be up and back on the active roster before Tuesday's game in Dallas.

The Washington rookie forward Vrana has been a fairly consistent contributor, pitching in 15 points in 33 games this season for the Caps, ranking him 225th overall in pool scoring.  Using the 341st overall pick to take him, Dale C. has found quite the bargain pick in him and has helped to keep Dale's team in the race, starting Sunday only 14 points out of the money.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 17)

On Friday, the New York Islanders returned forward Josh Ho-Sang to Bridgeport of the AHL, opting to give him some better minutes than what he was getting with the big club, in hopes that he can find that scoring form that they know he has.  In 22 games this season, the rookie forward only has 2 goals and 12 points and carries a -5 rating in the plus/minus department.

Grant's team remains on the cusp of being in the money conversation and he could have really used Ho-Sang to reach his potential this year, more so to the point where he doesn't take these trips to the minors.  Heading into Sunday's action, Grant's team sits in 9th, 25 points back of the money.

Also on Friday, the Vancouver Canucks announced that defenseman Chris Tanev will miss the next 2-to-3 weeks with a fairly significant groin strain.  Tanev was hurt on Wednesday night against the Predators and his name now gets added to the long list of significant injuries, adding to some serious woes that this team is having on the health front.  Tanev hasn't exactly been producing much offensively this year, only 6 points in 25 games, but he is a steady player on the Canucks blueline.

Unfortunately for Scott B., his defense has not been very good this year and Tanev's 6 points is 2nd on his pool team, to date.  He has yet to have a blueliner to his double-digits this season.  His team is starting to shrink the gap to 24th place, but it's a long, slow road, so far.

Friday, December 15, 2017

NHL100 Classic Preview

The outdoor game season is now upon us!

The celebration of the NHL's first game, 100 years (and a few days) later, between Montreal and Ottawa should be something to behold.  I would imagine that the pregame celebrations, ahead of the game, which will be one of the early games for Hockey Night in Canada, should be very good.  The game itself, probably could have a little bit more hype than it does, as both combatant teams are not exactly firing on all cylinders this season.

So, if this was a mini-game, this would a pretty good one to get it all started, as 13 teams in the hockey pool have active players preparing to play in this one, four of those teams having more than one player lining up as well.

Montreal Ottawa
Brenda & Seward Jeff Petry Erik Karlsson
Cam Paul Byron
Chris Thomas Chabot
Dale B. Mark Stone
Dale C. Brendan Gallagher Mike Hoffman
Carey Price
Derek B. Jonathan Drouin
Mike Philip Danault
Max Pacioretty
Neil Shea Weber Dion Phaneuf
Stacey C. Bobby Ryan
Stuart Alex Galchenyuk
Tony Craig Anderson
Troy Matt Duchene
Wes Derick Brassard

Last year, I liked the idea of the mini-game of the outdoor games and it did give a reason to watch them, other than the spectacle that the outdoor games are supposed to be (which they really aren't anymore).  Unfortunately, this is just going to be the motions this year, something I'll keep track of, just for the sake of, but it won't mean a whole lot.  One of these years, the outdoor games pool will hit again on the mini-games wheel and maybe you can use some of this as research.

Goalie Announcements (Dec 15)

The Toronto Maple Leafs were no help to Mike's cause last night, as they were shutout by the Minnesota Wild and their new (temporary) number one.  Mike's team is now heading into the weekend without a win and help is dwindling very quickly.

Curtis McElhinney (N/A) versus Jimmy Howard (Dale C.)
The two teams that Mike's goalies play on, Toronto and Detroit, are going head-to-head tonight, but neither of his goalies are getting the nod, as the Maple Leafs are on back-to-back nights and going with their backup, Curtis McElhinney, while the Red Wings will finish their week with Jimmy Howard in net.

And looking ahead in the schedule... this is the last game of the week for either team, so Mike will need a miracle tonight to make it through to next week in the goalie survivor pool.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 15)

An upper-body injury, suffered in Chicago's game against the Panthers on Tuesday, forced defenseman Jan Rutta out of action for Thursday night's game in Winnipeg.  The 27-year old free agent signing in the summer has been pretty good for the Blackhawks, as a cheap option on their blueline, playing in 31 games so far this year, scoring 3 goals and 13 points.  He's currently listed as out day-to-day for right now, but there hasn't been much in the way of updates since the injury.  We shall wait and see what the Blackhawks say for the weekend.

Grant jumped on Rutta's production in the Waiver Draft a couple of weeks ago and has only claimed 1 point, since he has been activated.  There is no indication that the injury is significant at all, so he should be back before too long, one would assume.  Grant's team opens up Friday night in 9th place, 17 points from the money.

Another injury from Tuesday night, bled into Thursday night's action and possibly beyond, as Taylor Hall of the Devils, suffered a knee contusion after a knee-on-knee collision against the Kings.  Hall wasn't able to skate on Wednesday and didn't dress for Thursday's game against the Canadiens and remains doubtful for tonight's game, at home against the Stars.  It appears that he's still listed as day-to-day and with the weekend off, it should give him some time to heal up, hoping that Monday's game would be his return.

Stuart's team is only 5 points out of the money and Hall has been good, so far this season, scoring 31 points in 30 games in New Jersey.  Of course, with that kind of production, if Hall does end up missing some significant time, Stuart's team is going to drop like a stone, especially with how competitive it is at the top.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Dec 14)

In the few days away from the blog, three out of the four surviving teams in the mini-game have already qualified for Week Twelve, not leaving a great deal to really look at on a busy Thursday schedule. Jeremy, Wilton and Grant have all had their teams pick up wins already, while Mike still searches for his win.

Out of the 12 games that are on the schedule, Mike will only have one crack at his win and that will come down in Minnesota tonight.

Frederik Andersen (Mike) versus Alex Stalock (N/A)
The Maple Leafs are into St. Paul tonight to take on the Wild, who are now reeling after the news that Devan Dubnyk will be out of the lineup on a week-to-week basis with a lower-body injury.  So, the Wild will send their non-pool backup, Alex Stalock, to the crease tonight, giving Mike's only goalie tonight, Frederik Andersen, a better shot for a win tonight.  Stalock has been okay in his appearances this year and the team in front of him will have to step up in Dubnyk's absence, so it could make for a pretty good game.

Wild Lose Dubnyk

The Minnesota Wild are currently holding on to the last wild card spot in the Western Conference playoff picture and now things are going to become increasingly difficult, as they have announced that their number one goalie and workhorse, Devan Dubnyk, has been sidelined with a lower-body injury and he is going to be out on a week-to-week basis, already ruled out for this weekend's action.

Dubnyk has already appeared in 23 of the team's 30 games played already this season, posting 12 wins, 3 shutouts and 2 assists for 32 points.  That is a good chunk of production, good enough for 33rd overall in pool scoring, 11th among all goaltenders.

The Wild will now have to lean on Alex Stalock for the time being, who is technically the top ranked goalie available in the next Waiver Draft, which is still seven weeks away.

Brenda took the Wild keeper with the 9th overall selection in this year's draft and he hasn't quite been playing up to those standards in the early third of the season, but nevertheless, it's still a very big loss to her pool team.  Brenda & Seward's team will go into Thursday night's action in 15th place, 33 points out of the money and now they're without their top pick in the draft.  This injury could indeed sink their team for good, if it is a long-term issue.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 14)

Colorado Avalanche rookie forward Alexander Kerfoot suffered a lower-body injury on Monday night, accidentally blocking a teammate's shot in the game against Pittsburgh, taking it right in the leg.  Kerfoot wasn't able to play in the second half of back-to-back games on Tuesday night, listing him as only day-to-day.  The Avalanche play again on Thursday night at home to the Panthers and they should have more of a comprehensive update, if one is needed, but if it isn't anything more serious than a deep bruise, he'll remain day-to-day.

Kerfoot was a Waiver Draft pickup for Stacey M. a couple of weeks ago and since his activation, he has been quite good, picking up 3 points in his first four games under her umbrella.  His return to the lineup remains questionable, but a day-to-day injury isn't much to worry about.

The Anaheim Ducks can't seem to catch a break, when it comes to their overall health, as they got Ryan Getzlaf back from his facial fracture injury on Monday night, but in that same game against the Hurricanes, they lost forward Corey Perry to a lower-body injury of his own.  Perry was taken to hospital after colliding with a couple of players on the ice and on Tuesday morning, the Ducks announced that the injury is fairly significant enough to keep him out week-to-week, not fully disclosing the nature of the injury, and he was placed on the Injured Reserve right away.

Usually, an injury like this would get its own post, but since we're playing catch-up after a rough couple of days.  The loss is a pretty big one for Neil's team, as he has been somewhat steady among his forwards with 22 points in 31 games and a loss of his scoring for a few weeks will certainly bring his 20th place team down even further.

On Tuesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks activated Ryan Hartman from being a healthy scratch for a couple of games and in turn, made Richard Panik into the healthy scratch, among the struggling Blackhawks.  In 30 games this season, Panik has picked up 5 goals and 14 points, but has struggled of late.

Dale B. saw his forward return to the Blackhawks lineup, while Tony saw his come out this week.  The Blackhawks are in Winnipeg on Thursday night and there hasn't been any indication about any lineup changes, as of yet.  One shouldn't think that Panik will be out of the lineup for too long, even with the win on Tuesday night against Florida.

In that game on Tuesday night between the Blackhawks and Panthers, the visiting team from Florida also made a healthy scratch of a hockey pool player, forward Radim Vrbata. Vrbata has struggled a bit this season, partly due to injury, but his scoring hasn't really found its way this year, only picking up 3 goals and 11 points in 25 games worthy of action. The Panthers are in Colorado tonight and it will be interesting to see if Vrbata returns to the lineup.

Wes' team doesn't need any more missed skater games, as his team has been hit hard by injuries in recent days and his team currently is in the race for the Basement Dweller at only 5 points this week and his team has the least amount of projected games for the rest of the week, thanks to those injuries.

The Ottawa Senators played on back-to-back nights, Tuesday and Wednesday night, but rookie defenseman Thomas Chabot only managed to dress in one of those games, the latter of the two. Chabot has been used somewhat sparingly, as his transition to a full-time defenseman has begun and is being done in a careful and measured manner.  In 11 games this season, Chabot has 1 goal and 6 points, but his production has been spotty, at best.

Chris' team is floating in the middle of the standings, in and out of the top 10, depending on the day, but he certainly isn't getting the production he was hoping for from all the hype surrounding this kid.  His team is only 23 points out of 1st place, so if Chabot can start to find his stride, he won't be far away from moving back into the money.

It has been a rough year for New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson, who has had troubles with injuries in his first season in the swamp.  Johansson suffered a significant ankle bruise on the weekend and he has already missed a couple of games.  The Devils don't expect him to be in the lineup before this weekend, so they placed him on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the 9th, but he will still miss tonight's game and tomorrow night's game, eligible to return for Monday night.

Scott's team is trying its best to work its way out of the pool's basement, slowly picking away at the gap between his team and Eric's team in 24th, which is still at 22 points, but he has shaved off 3 points, so far this week.  The loss of Johansson for the rest of the week won't help that effort at all.

It was another trip to the press box for Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, as Johnny Boychuk returned from injury on Wednesday night against the Stars.  Of course, this has been a regular occurrence for the Islanders, as the veteran rearguard has only appeared in 12 games, picking up 3 points.

Neil had a couple of bigger fish to fry at the Waiver Draft, so he didn't jump on the chance to move Seidenberg, so he's kind of stuck with the German for the next few weeks.  His team is suffering from other injuries, so it just isn't this player not making it into the lineup that has been causing him the most grief this season.

From Wednesday night's games, Dallas Stars forward Alexander Radulov left his game against the Islanders in the 3rd period with a lower-body injury, not to return.  Radulov appeared to take a bit of a spill and a turn on a backcheck and that was believed to have forced him from the game.  There was no update on his condition after the game, so we'll have to wait and see what the team says in the next day or two.

Radulov is Brenda & Seward's 2nd-best forward this season, playing on their 15th placed team in the standings after Wednesday night.  The Russian has 26 points in 32 games this season and any extended period of time away from the lineup will be costly.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Dec 11)

It's Monday, Week Eleven... time to get back to the goalie survivor pool, now that all four surviving teams have been reset to zero wins in the week.

Grant, Jeremy, Wilton and Mike are our remaining teams and it's going to be a busy week, if you didn't already see that in the Newsletter this morning.  We've got 51 games on the NHL schedule in Week Eleven and each team will have ample opportunity to get their win.

Grant, having both Washington goalies, has only four possible games to get that win, while the other three teams have upwards of six chances, which should be enough, you'd think.

Let's see how Monday figures to roll out.  Six games on the docket and only two have the possibility of a survival start.

Braden Holtby (Grant) versus Jaroslav Halak (Benson)
The Washington Capitals were the first team to earn a survivor win last week and there's a chance that they could do it again this week, with an early start on Monday against the New York Islanders.  The Capitals will play on back-to-back nights, so it will be up to the coaching staff to decide how they want to split the games, but between the Islanders tonight and the Avalanche tomorrow, it would make sense that Braden Holtby gets the start tonight.  The Islanders have seemingly given Jaroslav Halak the majority of the starts of late, so it would seem very likely that he gets the nod to play spoiler.

Kari Lehtonen (Mike) versus Ondrej Pavelec (N/A)
The Dallas Stars are scheduling a start for Mike's keeper, Kari Lehtonen, as they head through the state of New York this week.  This could be the first of a couple starts for the Finnish netminder, as it appears to be a busy 4-game set this week.  At the other end, the Rangers are going to give a rare start to their backup, with a healthy starter on the bench, as Ondrej Pavelec confirmed he was getting the nod early on in the day.  Battle of the backups on Broadway... who knew?!?