Monday, December 22, 2014

Week Eleven Newsletter

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Well, look who is back in a big way.  It was a desperately slow start for Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar this season, as he came into the week with only 13 points in 28 games, but exploded for a 9-point week, nearly doubling his output for the year, in the three games in Week Eleven.  Kopitar was the clear winner of the Player of the Week nod and for good reason.

The Kings, as a whole, went 2-1-0 in the week, but Kopitar did manage to pick up at least a point in each game.  On Tuesday, it was an assist in a 5-2 loss to the Blues, Thursday was his big day, a goal and 4 assists in the second half of the home-and-home against St. Louis, winning 6-4, and then on Saturday, another 3 assists in a 4-2 win over Arizona.

This brings Kopitar's numbers up to 22 points in 31 games this season for the Kings, which still isn't where some of us would have had him projected, pace-wise, but with another couple big games, he may be able to find his way back to where he should be.

At the end of the week, the Slovenian olympian finished 98th overall in pool scoring, still well down from the draft position, 27th overall in the 2nd round, by Brenda & Seward.  Kopitar will still need another 9 quick points to be where his draft position would suggest him being at.

This nod for Brenda & Seward makes for back-to-back Player of the Weeks, which leads more into the next section, more than anything.

PhotobucketOf course, having the Player of the Week certainly helps your team's chances at heading up the Mover & Shaker on the Newsletter and it certainly did for Brenda & Seward, who also took full advantage of the Waiver Draft, a couple of weeks ago as well.

At the Waiver Draft, the pool's second duo had the 2nd overall pick, meaning they started Week Nine in 22nd place.  Thanks a couple of decent weeks and now one great week, they have already shot up the standings, finishing Week Eleven in 15th spot.  Without a doubt, they have taken the moving and the shaking to heart in the last few weeks.

It was a solid 32-point effort in Week Eleven for Brenda & Seward, which was led by Kopitar, of course, but followed by Henrik Lundqvist, who had 5 points.  Maple Leafs forwards Joffrey Lupul and James Van Riemsdyk each kicked in with 3 points each, while five other players had a couple of points each.  Three players finished with donuts in their active lineup, which goes to show you how much scoring they were able to spread out in the week.

With finishing the week in 15th, the duo become the lowest team to come away with the Mover & Shaker, but I don't think that really does them any justice, as they have been the quickest team up the ladder over the last couple of weeks, especially with two Player of the Week nods already.  How high can they possibly go?

PhotobucketAsk anyone in this pool... I don't think anyone would believe it to be wise to base your team on the current and past roster of the Calgary Flames.  Well, that was what Leo had done and the current lineup of the Flames and Leo's side are running similar courses through the season and I don't think that is by coincidence.

Leo's team got off to a pretty good start, hanging in the top 10 for a couple of weeks early on, but slowly, the team started to fade away and since both of his goaltenders are also current Calgary players, they've stopped winning and now the drop is on.

In Week Eleven, Leo's team finished with only 14 points and 1 goal, taking the Basement Dweller on the tie-breaker against Dale B., who managed 4 goals, dropping his side down to 19th place in the pool, being 14th back in Week Nine.  It's a pretty tough tailspin to pull out of.

If you're looking for a positive, one of his non-Flames alums did do well for him this week, as Brent Seabrook picked up 5 points in Chicago, but that's where the good news kind of stops.

TROPHY TALK

It was kind of nice not talking about any of the money teams in the first few sections of the Newsletter, it was quite refreshing.  Of course, there is an entire section devoted to the money teams and the trophies, but that's okay too.

The top three didn't change any in the week, finishing the same way as it did at the end of Week Ten.  Kristy & Don's lead at the top grew slightly to 26 points over Grant S., who dropped 7 points to Tony, who is still sitting in 3rd place.  Stacey M. jumped up to 4th place in the week, while Dale C. and Clayton each dropped back a bit, but stayed somewhat close.  We're still going to have a race for 3rd place, it would seem.

It should come as no surprise that Brenda & Seward now hold the lead in the second segment, now up to 66 points through the first two weeks of the year, 9 points up on Kristy & Don and 10 points up on Wilton, who is quietly doing well to start the middle frame.

For the Olli, Benson continues to dominate the race, opening up a 19-point difference between himself and 22nd place.  He has had absolutely no luck at all and only picked up 18 points in Week Eleven.

Benson also has a firm grip on the Jordan, only bettering a couple of teams in the games played department by one, so he really isn't making up much ground there either.  Wyllie is the closest to him right now, 24 games away and Wyllie has had players playing.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

What a poor week we just had!  Week Eleven stunk, which meant that there were not quite as many points to be had.

The NHL schedule had two more games in Week Eleven than it did in Week Ten, but the pool collected less points.  This past week, the pool, as a whole, didn't collect 500 or more points, which meant that we were collecting less than 10.5 points per game.

Average numbers of skater games and goalie minutes were down, as injuries started to escalate a little bit and there were a number of backup goalie starts that no one had picked up in the Waiver Draft, namely Cam Talbot of the Rangers or Antti Raanta of the Blackhawks, each picking up shutouts on Sunday.

Thanks to the Christmas week, the NHL schedule will drop down to 32 games and I think there will be another drop off in scoring, as teams possibly rest a couple of weary bodies and some players also start thinking about going home to their families for the week.  Although, I don't really have a basis for that argument, especially looking at the numbers from last year, as scoring did go up in the Christmas week... maybe the goaltenders are the players to blame, as they think about going home to their families, more than keeping pucks out of their net.

An interesting statistic that I keep track of inadvertently and remains somewhat interesting is the number of players that take to the ice for NHL action in a season.  In the 2014 season, 982 players/goalies took to the ice for at least one appearance last season... not even to the halfway point of the 2015 season, we've already seen 838 players/goalies.  With the number of injuries and illnesses already this season, I am curious to see if that number goes up this year.

WINNING EVERY WEEK

And then there were five in the survivor pool (which I'd like to remind everyone, doesn't pay anything).  Scott failed to pick up a win from either Ben Bishop (injury) or Alex Stalock (backup), which means he's out of the race.

Allan had 2 wins last week, Brenda & Seward had 2 wins, Clayton had 3 wins, Grant S. had 3 wins, as did Kristy & Don, which gives us our five teams still in.  None of which struggled to make it out of the week without a win, which means this could be a strong finish to the season here.

NEWS AND NOTES

One note that was missed on Sunday's large post was Nashville forward James Neal, missing out on the game against the Wild with an illness.  The Predators were quick to dispel any ideas that Neal may have been dealing with the mumps, which is important these days.  He is listed as day-to-day and questionable for Monday night's game against the Blue Jackets.

Grant S. has had quite a bit of good luck this season and if Neal has avoided the mumps, I would count that into the good luck column.

An undisclosed upper-body injury kept Chicago forward Brad Richards out of the line-up on Sunday, as his team took on Toronto to finish off the week.  The team is saying that Richards is day-to-day for now and they won't play again until Tuesday, so we'll likely find out more around then.

It wasn't a very good week for Clayton, who saw quite a few of his players hit the injury page in the week.  His spot in the money race is counting on healthy bodies.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 21)

One note out of the Buffalo/Colorado game last night, as Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers left the game early with a lower-body injury and is now thought to be questionable for Sunday's game in Boston.  The Sabres are now running into a plethora of injuries and illnesses, but most of the players that are getting affected, except for Myers, were either dropped or never picked in the pool.  Maybe now a string of losses for the Sabres won't be considered tanking.

Myers hasn't been nearly as productive as some may have hoped, only picking up 8 points in 32 games, scoring a point every four games.  The former rookie of the year belongs to Mike in the pool this year.

There was also a healthy scratch in the Buffalo/Colorado game, as the Avalanche sat defenseman Nick Holden for the first time this season.  The young defenseman had quietly found a place in the Avs lineup last season and has managed to find a few points this season, but the healthy scratch is a good indicator that he hasn't quite found the same stride as he did the year before, which could be one of the reasons why Colorado hasn't been nearly as good in the standings.

Grant S. hasn't exactly needed Holden to be outstanding to keep his 2nd place standing this year, but he arguably could have used a better start to the year, if he wanted to be closer to the chase for 1st place.

The Philadelphia Flyers amazingly found enough offense to make up for an injured player on Saturday night, giving the Maple Leafs a 7-spot on the scoreboard at home, which has to sit poorly on the home side.  The Flyers got the win, despite not having their number one goalie, Steve Mason in net.  Mason was hurt in practice at the end of the week, taking an upper-body injury of some sort, which has forced him to stay home, while the team is on this current road trip.  The updates have been few and far between, but that's what we know so far.

This would be considered a missed start for Allan, who has Mason in this year's edition of the pool.  Mason has been less than okay this year, 6 wins, 1 shutout and 2 assists for 16 points, picking up less than a point for every 60 minutes on the ice.

The Montreal Canadiens received a bit of good news before playing against Ottawa last night, as Lars Eller returned from his upper-body injury and Max Pacioretty was deemed good to go after leaving the ice the game before against the Ducks on Thursday.  The nature of Pacioretty's injury was never disclosed, but it wasn't considered major, to which his return to the ice confirmed.

This was good news for Stacey M., who has both players on her roster and her team is climbing up the standings in Week Eleven.  Her side went into Saturday as the Mover & Shaker of the week through Friday night and by the look of things, it all continued the right way for her team.

It was a trip up to the press box for Florida's Jimmy Hayes on Saturday night, as the Panthers took on the Penguins in Pittsburgh.  Hayes got off to a decent start to the year, but with the Panthers slowing down on offense and winning games, Hayes has certainly gone with that trend.  Hayes has 13 points in 23 games this season, but could certainly do a little bit better.

Hayes was a Waiver Draft pick-up for Wilton this season and has only seen 1 goal in five games since his pick-up.  Wilton isn't very far back in the standings at this point, but could certainly use some help moving forward.

A couple of key defensemen were put on the Injured Reserve for the Penguins before their game against the Panthers on Saturday, as Christian Ehrhoff was put on with a lower-body injury and an undisclosed injury put Paul Martin on the list as well.  Both players will miss three games, including the game against Florida, before they are eligible to return.  The details for both players have been sketchy, at best, so it is hard to say whether or not they will be ready to return when they're eligible.

These are injuries to two teams that are in the bottom half of the pool, so there isn't a great deal of threat to the money race at this point in the season.  Brian has Ehrhoff and Stacey C. has Martin this year and they'll need to get back into the top half of the standings before they make a big mark.

The New York Rangers welcomed back Derick Brassard back to their line-up on Saturday night, as they took on the Hurricanes, which meant that someone had to come out of their lineup and that someone ended up being Lee Stempniak, who had been a healthy scratch from time to time earlier in the year.  The Rangers seem to want to stay fast in their lineup, so they certainly added some better skating by taking some of their aged legs out of the lineup.

Brassard going back in was good for Scott, while Stempniak coming out was bad for Leo, in terms of pool transactions.  This is another pair of teams that haven't fared all that well in the season, also sitting in the bottom half of the pool standings.  Both teams could work their way back up, but they'll definitely need more skater games to do so.

A couple of big returns in the Chicago lineup on Saturday night, as their number one goalie Corey Crawford returned to the crease and their number one defenseman Duncan Keith returned to the blueline, but neither helped the team earn a W, as they dropped a shootout decision to the Blue Jackets.  Crawford had missed the last few weeks with a lower-body injury and Keith missed one game with an unspecified illness.

Returns are good, even if they don't get points right away, at least they'll be on the ice to get points going forward.  Dale C. and Clayton each had a player come back in this post and they'll need them, as they are both on the outside looking in on the money, having been leapfrogged earlier in the week.

The stomach virus that took out Darcy Kuemper of the Wild may have jumped over to Mikael Granlund, as he was a late scratch for Minnesota last night for their game against the Nashville Predators.  Granlund missed out on a bit of a shooting match with the Preds, as the Wild dropped a 6-5 overtime game, a game where there were many points to be had and Granlund is the type of player that could have lifted Minnesota to a win.  He's day-to-day with the bug.

It hasn't been a great week for Stuart, who saw his fourth player be added to the injury list with this post.  This doesn't look like it will be a major problem, but Stuart is in the thick of the top 10 race, just sitting on the outside, thanks to some tie-breakers.

One more scratch of note, as the Maple Leafs sat defenseman Jake Gardiner for the loss against the Flyers.  The 7-4 loss seemed to prove that some of the struggles that the Leafs may have been happening were not Gardiner's fault, as they key cog to the blueline disappeared and so did the rest of the defense.  I would have to think that the coaching staff will be looking at that move closely for their next game, tonight in Chicago.

If I was Mike, I would be hoping that Gardiner gets traded for a fresh start somewhere else, since Toronto hasn't been too kind to him or his potential.  Gardiner would fetch a lot and would likely put up some numbers elsewhere, which would definitely improve Mike's 13th place standing.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jackets Lose Jenner Again

It was supposed to be a season where Boone Jenner was going to make a name for himself with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the 21-year old forward has seen more than his fair share of bad luck and that string of unfortunate events continued with a stress fracture in his back and he'll now be expected to miss 1-to-2 months.

Jenner had already missed some time this season with a broken hand, which gave him a late start to the regular season and now a stress fracture in his back will really limit his time with the big club this season.

There wasn't much word on how the injury or the diagnosis came about, it almost seemed to pop up out of nowhere on Saturday morning.  A very unexpected turn of events.

In 20 games played this season, Jenner has 6 goals and 6 assists and he worked his way up to 263rd in pool scoring, at the time of this injury post.

At the original draft in September, Tony took the Jackets up-and-comer in the 10th round, only to drop him in the Preseason Waiver Draft, when word came down that he had broken his hand.  Tony then came back around to Jenner at the Week Nine Waiver Draft, re-acquiring him to boost his line-up, picking up 3 points in five games in the process.  Unfortunately, that's where the fun will stop in this second segment, but the timing may be right for a third segment return.

Tony goes into Saturday's action in Week Eleven in 3rd place, 25 points back of 2nd, 7 points up on 4th.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Severson Out to a Fractured Ankle

An unlucky set of circumstances has halted a very good rookie season for New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson, as his top flight freshman year has been hindered by a fractured ankle.

It is believed that the injury will cost the 20-year old about 4-to-5 weeks on the shelf, which will have its blow softened a bit, by a somewhat lighter schedule through the holidays, but no one wants to be spending the holidays in a walking boot.

Of course, this is another one of those shot-blocking injuries, where players are making some great sacrifices for their side to win, but they do end up being very costly as well.  Since the injury is in the ankle, instead of the foot, there are some definite structural concerns, more so than if he was suffering from a hairline fracture in his foot.

Severson got off to a really good start to the season, but just before the Waiver Draft, he did start to cool down a bit and after the player swap, he really hadn't shown much in the way of offense.

In 33 games this season, Severson has 4 goals and 8 assists, but Grant K. activated him in Week Ten, where since the draft, he had only picked up 2 assists in five games.

Currently, Severson ranks 47th among pool defensemen in scoring and he's certainly getting his name out there as a player to watch in the near future.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 20)

A couple of notes from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday morning... first, defenseman Hampus Lindholm was forced to sit out against the Ottawa Senators, due to a lower-body injury.  Lindholm was reportedly hurt in Montreal the night before, unable to finish that game, but all signs are pointing to a minor injury, considered a day-to-day thing.  His status for Monday night may still be considered to be questionable.

The second note of the night was that forward Devante Smith-Pelly was a healthy scratch for the team, which is saying a lot for this team, since they need their best healthy offensive forwards to be just that, at their best.  Smith-Pelly has only picked up 4 goals this season and I would imagine that the team is looking for more, especially with Corey Perry still out.

Lindholm belongs to Stuart and Smith-Pelly is on Ryan's side and it has been the tale of two teams here, as Stuart is still in the thick of the mix, 20 points back of the money in 9th place, while Ryan is trying to open up some space between his side and last place, now 17 points clear in 21st.  Both teams want their players back for different motives in the standings.

It's no secret that the Calgary Flames are starting to slump a bit and it has been pointed out that a lot of their struggles had started with the return of some injured bodies from their opening night line-up.  The first being Matt Stajan, who has since been a healthy scratch a couple of times, including last night against Dallas, Scratching Stajan didn't exactly help, dropping a 2-1 decision to the visiting Stars, but it does look like Stajan's stock is dropping rather quickly.

Arguably, Stajan should have been one of the players that Leo had dropped in the Waiver Draft a couple of weeks ago, as the offensive production wasn't there, plus he was injured at the time.  Sure, Leo was hopeful that Stajan could return to some red lights, but that hasn't happened... all Stajan has seen is press box popcorn.

Precautionary measures are being taken for Detroit starting goalie Jimmy Howard, as he was pulled on Thursday night on Long Island, after playing the entire 1st period and then not coming out to play in the 2nd, thanks to a lower-body injury.  Howard is now expected to miss Sunday afternoon's game, at home to Colorado and there is plenty of speculation that he'll likely miss all of Week Twelve, which has the Christmas Break in it.  Howard will be listed as out day-to-day until further notice.

Dale B. has seen some ups and some downs this season, as his side hovers around the middle of the pack all year.  His side currently stands in 15th place, but is in line for its third Basement Dweller nod of the season and without his top player, it seems all but likely now.

It sounds a lot like the stomach flu is trying to move into mumps territory these days, as a number of players have been bitten by that bug of late.  The latest being Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson, who was forced to sit out of the game between the Bolts and the Devils in New Jersey, a game which his side lost, 3-2 in the shootout.  You have to believe that the stomach flu won't keep Johnson out much longer, but since the team is still on the road, playing on Long Island on Saturday evening, there is a fine chance that he'll sit another.  We'll call him questionable, at best, tonight.

Johnson has been one of the better bargains in the draft this season, taken 181st by Brian in the 8th round, he has been playing at a 1st round clip, picking up 33 points in 33 games for the Lightning and he currently ranks 19th overall in pool scoring.  It's no wonder why Tampa is doing so well in the standings, while Brian's luck may have started and stopped with Johnson, as he sits 17th in the pool standings.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 19)

The St. Louis Blues will be without forward Jaden Schwartz for an indefinite period of time, as he is dealing with a broken foot. Schwartz blocked a shot from the Kings' Drew Doughty on Tuesday night, which forced him from the game and he was unable to return.  Schwartz will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, but the expectation has to be at least a few weeks on the shelf, possibly more.

This is not good news for Clayton, as one of his defenders took out one of his forwards in action.  Schwartz has been Clayton's best forward, taken in the 6th round of the draft, 131st overall.  At the time of the injury, the Blues forward was ranked 48th overall in scoring with 26 points.

Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens left Thursday night's game against the Anaheim Ducks with an upper-body injury after taking a pretty big hit from Clayton Stoner.  The early indications are that the scoring forward is not going to miss too much time with the injury and that he is on the injured list as out day-to-day.  He didn't take to the ice for practice on Friday and will probably be questionable for Saturday night's game, home to the Senators.

The injury will be a bump in the road for our weekly leader in the points, Stacey M., who has shot up the standings to only be 4 points out of 3rd place.  Pacioretty has been good for Stacey this season, picking up 25 points in 33 games and has 3 points this week alone.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 18)

The illnesses of every shape and variety have landed in the NHL this season and have affected a good number of players in the hockey pool.  On Wednesday, it was a stomach bug that had the Minnesota goaltending in a tizzy, as Darcy Kuemper sat and missed a start and the Wild called up John Curry to back up Niklas Backstrom.  Kuemper is considered day-to-day for the time being.

Sounds like this was a missed start for Kuemper, which means a missed start for Stacey M. and that had possibly kept her team from the lead in the weekly scoring race.  Nevertheless, her team is right back in the mix, only 11 points back of the money.

A lower-body injury forced New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson from the line-up on Wednesday night, as the Devils took on the Senators at home.  Severson has reportedly been dealing with the injury for a little while now and it finally got the best of him on Wednesday, keeping him out of action.  There is no official word as to how long he'll be out for, but he is listed as day-to-day for right now.

Grant K. picked up Severson at the Waiver Draft and has seen a couple points in five games from the rookie blueliner, which isn't too bad.  Grant is still in the thick of the money race, 19 points back of 3rd, so an expedited return would likely be appreciated.

There were some reports on Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Penguins were testing a number of players for the mumps, one of those being Marc-Andre Fleury.  Of course, panic ensued and there was a lot of speculation suggesting that he would be unable to go against the Colorado Avalanche, but on Thursday morning, the Penguins announced that Fleury's tests came back negative for the mumps and that he would be good to go.

This is good news for Clayton, who has seen a pretty big chunk taken out of his team in the last week.  Clayton is chasing down Tony for 3rd place in the standings today and he'll need all the help he can get, including this goalie start.

An updated list of injuries can be found here.