Monday, October 24, 2016

Evening Player Notes in the Draft (Oct 24)

The New York Rangers were without forward Chris Kreider on Sunday, reportedly due to some neck strain.  Unfortunately, that was the only real details we were afforded, when trying to put together this update, but he is considered day-to-day.  The Rangers don't play again until Wednesday, so his status will be thought of as questionable for that one, home to Boston.

For Brenda & Seward, this is a tough loss, if it extends for any long periods of time.  Already 18 points back of the lead, starting Monday night, this is one guy they can ill afford to lose.  7 points in five games is a scoring rate that's hard to miss.

Good news for the Colorado Avalanche, forward Mikko Rantanen appears to be ready to go in this 2017 season and he was recalled from a stint in the minors, trying to get his legs back from an off-season injury.  Rantanen, still a rookie in the NHL, saw some limited time in the NHL last year, but lit up the AHL for some good numbers in his first pro season and the Avalanche hope that it translates, starting right away, with the big club.

Wilton is thinking much of the same, which made him a draft pick in the 13th round, a late round gamble.  On the plus side, Rantanen will get the better part of the week to work with the club before game action, because the Avalanche don't play again until Friday night, hosting the Jets.

Goalie Announcements (Oct 24)

We're back at it in Week Three, but this week, we're down to 16 teams in the goalie survivor pool and all of those who have survived Week Two, are back down to zero again and all looking for their qualifying win for Week Four.

The only goalie of note today is Steve Mason, belonging to Brenda & Seward.  Mason will go for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight against the Montreal Canadiens and will have the unenviable task of taking on Carey Price, who belongs to the 1st place team of Benson's.  It's probably not an impossible task to win this one, but who would you put your money on?

In Chicago tonight, it will be two already-eliminated goalies in Brian Elliott against Corey Crawford, as the Flames will visit the Blackhawks at the United Center.  Derek B. versus Marcin, 16th versus 13th, respectively, in the standings.  If Elliott could spring a win here, it would at the very least, bring Derek's team level with Marcin, as it is only a 2-point gap between the two sides in those three spots in the standings.

Week Two Newsletter

Well, this just won't do.  Sure, we are only two weeks into the season, but we can't have two Greenleys at the top of the standings, so we'll have to kick them out.  They were only supposed to be donations into the prize pool... they can't winning the damn thing!

I'm not sure I am mentally prepared for how this season is turning out.  Two Greenleys at the top of the standings and back-to-back weeks where there is an Edmonton Oilers player as the Player of the Week?  This is a lot to process and we've only had two calendar weeks this season.

Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot was the Week Two Player of the Week, thanks in large part to his shutout at the Heritage Classic on Sunday afternoon, it capped off a week, where he went 3-0-0, including that goose egg and he was the only player in the pool to finish with 8 points.  This one didn't even need a tie-breaker.

Wins against Carolina, St. Louis and Winnipeg chalked up his points and it gave him the overall lead in pool scoring, now 5-1-0 with a shutout for 12 points.  This is big news for one of our newcomer's this season, Marcie, who has drafted quite well to start the season, owning two of the top three pool scorers this year.

Speaking of the Greenleys, the louder of the two, Stuart, ended up with a monster week in the hockey pool, finishing with an early season high of 36 points, jumping up from 16th place to 2nd, thanks to the early season clumping of teams just getting off the ground.  Still, it wasn't quite enough to reach his brother, Benson, for top spot in the pool, but he finished the week only 3 points back.

It might be a little too early to tell for sure, but Jakub Voracek is playing with a little bit of fire in his belly, as he is among the league leaders in both scoring and in penalty minutes, helping Stuart to being 2nd in both the overall scoring and the penalty minutes pool.  Voracek led Stuart's team this week with 6 points and the Flyers are seemingly following suit.

Also having a good week for our Mover & Shaker were Zach Parise, John Tavares, Radim Vrbata, Brian Campbell and Cory Schneider, all picking up 4 points in the week.  All of a sudden, that list of players doesn't look so bad, especially when they are actually scoring.

In preparation for some possible new mini-games this season, some new statistics were prepped for the weekly audit and in there was a team's plus/minus stat, just for shits and giggles.  In this case, Stuart's team currently ranks 5th in the pool, with a combined plus/minus of a +6 rating, while the entire pool is a combined -58.

Stuart's team remains fairly healthy, which is a huge plus, especially early on, and his team is among the pool leaders in games this coming week, projected for 46 games.  That gives him a pretty good chance to repeat... which is even scarier, if you ask me!

It hasn't been a great start to the season for Tony, who has seen more than his fair share of bad luck already this season.  A couple of significant injuries are the leading factor for a Week Two Basement Dweller nod, as his team only finished with 12 points and it dropped him down to 22nd spot from 8th place.

On the plus side, it is still far too early to panic, since it is only 18 points to climb back into 3rd place in the pool and that's an excellent week away.  Sure, he would need to get healthy again, but his team could tread enough water for a few weeks and then slam back into action and get back into the race.  It's possible.

Tony's best players in the week all finished with 2 points each and there were five of them, spreading out the scoring through his lineup, but sadly, none of those guys were in his goaltending tandem, something we'l'l tackle here shortly as well.  Jordan Eberle, Johnny Gaudreau, Evgeni Malkin, Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Ellis were the players who potted deuces in the week, all of which could be much better for Tony on a weekly basis, I'm sure.

This week's non-mini-game statistic of the week, plus/minus, didn't favour Tony either in Week Two, as his team is a combined -15 through two weeks, ranking 23rd in the pool, although he was only tied for 17th in the week, at -5.

So, the landscape of the top three positions has changed, as our previous week's leader, Cam, dropped down to 9th place, leaving Benson to come up from 3rd place to take it over in Week Two.  Dale B. went from 2nd place last week to 5th this week and we all know that Stuart took that over with his big week.  Then, jumping up from 11th place to 3rd place, was Marcie, who took the Player of the Week nod and ran with it.

It's still a pretty tight race, where 10 points can drop anyone from 3rd place down to 13th, but those teams below 13th, should hope that their teams get into gear.

The PIM pool is relying heavily on regular pool worthy players going off the deep end and picking up those key minutes to start the season, before those teams down in the basement opt for the goons and then race to the top of the mini-game.  Marcie currently holds the lead in this pool, thanks to Jarome Iginla and Sam Bennett, as they have now combined for 39 minutes, which is better than 15 teams in the pool, to date.  Marcie's team shot straight up past Stuart in this race, with her team holding a 70-56 PIM advantage through two weeks.  Marcie's team had 56 minutes in Week Two alone, which would have given her a share of the lead, if her team was a bunch of angels in Week One.

Dale B. currently holds the title for the Lady Byng, which doesn't actually hold any significance towards the money, which might be a mini-game in itself next year, or at least it'll be on the wheel.  His team has only picked up 14 minutes, so far, and is falling behind quickly, if this was the route he wanted to take at the Waiver Draft.

Three teams were eliminated from the goalie survivor pool in Week Two, taking our remaining teams down to 16 of 25.  Tony and Wes couldn't manage wins on Sunday to stay alive, as they both had a shot at it, while Brian was eliminated after not picking up a win from Frederik Andersen on Saturday night in Chicago.

Now these three teams will be charged with having their goalies play spoilers in the weeks ahead and they could opt for a different mini-game at the Waiver Draft, if they so chose.

The outdoor games mini-game got off to a slow start with the Heritage Classic yesterday, but a post yesterday and the current standings are now up on the website, so you can have at that at any time now.  I can confirm, that Marcie leads this pool as well, thanks to her Player of the Week, Cam Talbot, but we have three more games and we're all keeping our fingers crossed that they are much better than that dull one in Winnipeg yesterday.


The excitement of the new season has already subsided a little bit, as the number of active days in the week went up, the NHL games during the week went up, but the scoring numbers went down a touch.  Int the 48-game week, the pool registered 592 points in total, which averaged out at only 12.3 points per game, down from 13.4 in Week One.  The participation levels were about the same and the PIM per NHL game were also relatively even, which is good.  We're keeping bodies in the lineup and in the penalty box, keeping the pool exciting to watch to start the year.


The Arizona Coyotes offered up a quick, yet unsurprising update on goaltender Mike Smith, as he is already on the Injured Reserve and the team expects him to be on there for a while. The official word is week-to-week, likely reevaluated once a week until he is good to go and it doesn't sound like any surgery is necessary, which is a good thing.

This injury will make the goalie survivor pool a little more difficult for Marcie, as her team is now down to one keeper, but her team has roots in the big money and the penalty minutes, so she won't be short of interest this season.

It sounds like Sidney Crosby is back at practice in full contact gear, which means his return is getting really close.  Crosby has yet to dress in a regular season game after suffering a concussion in practice, just before the season got started, and the Penguins have rolled on without him.  His return will certainly mean big things for the Penguins, who should be close to getting Matt Murray back in their crease as well, kicking up dust on all sorts of lineup questions moving forward.  Week Three in Pittsburgh could be an interesting one.

Crosby's return will be good for Brenda & Seward, who will start the week in 18th place, 18 points back of 1st.  It might be a few good weeks for Crosby to make up that total, but it might not be long for him to close that gap by himself.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Quick Heritage Classic Review

Well, if that was the Heritage Classic... I don't suppose we could get our money back, can we?

The delay for sunshine was a bit of a pain, something that maybe should have been taken into consideration for a start time, way back when the schedule makers did their thing, but I don't think it was the biggest problem.  The ice looked very poor... pucks bouncing and players falling, it wasn't exactly a showcase of the best circumstances the NHL could offer.

With all of those technical issues, I think it had a big effect on the game, as the players were ready to go; their feet were chugging, the looks for passes were definitely there, but only one team was able to get any traction and it all happened in the 2nd period, where the Oilers scored all three of their goals and that was that.  It was a 3-0 final score, the Edmonton Oilers getting the best of the host Winnipeg Jets on Sunday afternoon/early evening and we're all ho-humming about it afterwards.

Cam Talbot was the star of the show, undoubtedly, as he was tested early on and he stood tall, stopping all 31 shots that came his way for the shutout and picked up all 4 points.  That gave Marcie the outright lead in the outdoor games mini-game and there was only two other teams that had any other scoring, as Stacey C. had a point each from Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jeremy had a single point from Benoit Pouliot.  That's it.  Three teams... 7 points.

With all that being said, the standings for the mini-game are right here, there's not much to see.  Hopefully, the three other games bring a little more offense.

Goalie Announcements (Oct 23)

That was a busy night, when all 12 games are going after 5pm MT... it sure makes for a long data entry session, indeed.  Thankfully, the weekly audit is only a day away and I can catch-up on all those little tweaks.

In that busy night, three of the six teams in need of wins got them, which extends our Week Three participation level up to 16 teams and we still have one more day left to go, which includes our first outdoor game of the season.

Brian, Tony & Wes are still in need of wins today... and it looks like two out of the three have a chance at starts, as Brian finds himself without the possibility of a start today, ending his run early in the survivor pool.

The Heritage Classic becomes a huge start for Tony, not only in the outdoor games pool, but in the survivor pool as well.  Connor Hellebuyck has been tabbed as the host goalie this afternoon and he'll get a tough task against an Oilers team that is just buzzing at the moment.  At the other side, Cam Talbot will be looking to build on a great start for Marcie in the pool, as her team sits in 2nd place, thanks to the tie-breakers, but still sits 8 points back of 1st.

In Brooklyn this evening, we're expecting Darcy Kuemper in the Minnesota net and Jaroslav Halak should be in the Long Island net, as the Wild and Islanders get together for one of their two games this season.  Troy will be the only one in the pool getting a start here, as he holds Halak on his team and he could use a little bit of a boost, opening the day in 20th place.

In the 5pm MT game, it's our second survivor pool game, as Wes needs a huge game from the Arizona Coyotes, since his goalie, Louis Domingue gets another start for the dogs on this long road trip.  Domingue hasn't had a lot of help, since the Mike Smith injury and Wes hasn't had much help his week from his number one keeper, so it's his last chance today.  In between Wes and Week Three in the survivor pool, should be Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers, who are starting to find their stride, much to the delight of Grant.

In Anaheim tonight, the Canucks will continue their California trip on back-to-back nights with a game against the Ducks.  Ryan Miller will make his return to the net for Brenda & Seward, who qualified last night, likely taking on John Gibson, who will play for Dale B., who is only concerned about the big money now this year.  The two pool teams are 10 spots away from each other, Dale having the better team, but it is only a 7-point difference.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Oct 23)

Maybe the worst-kept secret in Boston is that goaltender Tuukka Rask is not 100%.  On Saturday night, the Finnish number one sat out for the Bruins, as they were visited by the Montreal Canadiens, citing general body soreness as the reason for his absence.  Rask was scratched completely from the lineup and the Bruins called up Zane McIntyre to back-up Anton Khudobin, so something is definitely not right there.  It will be interesting to see if Rask misses any more time with this soreness or whether or not the Bruins actually divulge the real issue.

This is big news for Troy, because Rask is pegged to be one of those guys that will keep his team competitive and will hopefully dig him out of this 21-point hole in 20th place.  Rask has been Troy's best player to date and can ill-afford not to have him after this start to the season.

It is also no secret that the Calgary Flames have lacked jump in their first handful of games this season, but it did seem a tad strange to see rookie forward Matthew Tkachuk among the scratches on Saturday night, with the Blues in town, because has been one of the few players that has actually had a step to his game and provided some energy at times. He hasn't been the most productive, but you can say the same for many on the team.

Derek B. has had himself a pretty good Week Two, finishing Saturday with 25 points in the week and his team has moved up to 16th in the standings, 17 points out of 1st place.  It's hard to say what kind of effect Tkachuk's scratch will do, moving forward, or does it mean there's a chance he can go back to junior yet?

It's being called a lower-body injury for Justin Abdelkader, which kept him out of Saturday's contest against the San Jose Sharks, but it wasn't like they needed him or anything.  The Red Wings only shut out the Sharks, 3-0.  Details were pretty well non-existent for the injury status of the rugged forward.  He's considered to be day-to-day for right now and that's all that could be confirmed on Sunday morning.

Another body down for Derek B., which will certainly hurt your trend line for moving up in the standings.  Nevertheless, his team still leads the pool in skater games played, with 64, and that was with missing both Tkachuk and Abdelkader's presence last night.  Staying healthy is certainly key in these long seasons.

After taking a stick to the face earlier in the week, Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen was in need of some extra dental work this weekend and it had cost him Saturday night's game against the Avalanche.  The reports are suggesting that Jokinen was able to practice in the last couple of days, but wasn't quite ready for game action, he's considered day-to-day for right now and they don't play again until Tuesday night, giving him an extra day or two to help heal up.

Cam's team has been off to a great start, thanks in large part to his goaltending, but it has been a bit of a quiet week, dropping down to 6th place.  It is so tight at the top of the standings, 1 point could get him into 4th and 2 points could get him into 2nd today, assuming that the teams around him didn't get anything.

The word out of Nashville yesterday was that a bad case of food poisoning ran rampant through the Predators' dressing room and it hit a good number of players. The Predators had to make five call-ups, including an emergency goalie, and put Cody Bass on the Injured Reserve, just to make it all work for them.  Pool players Pekka Rinne and Craig Smith were among the scratches on Saturday night, both cited for the food poisoning issue.  It was hard to say whether or not Rinne would have played anyways, since they had played the night before.

Stacey M. and Marcin were the two teams affected by this small outbreak, both missing out on a 5-1 Nashville win over Pittsburgh, despite the issue at hand.  Both teams came out of the busy Saturday night, hovering in the middle of the standings, 12th & 13th, respectively.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Oct 22)

Is it time to panic yet? Yeah, it could very well be, since we are now sitting on the cusp of the end of the week, one of the biggest days on the weekly schedule and we still have six teams still in need of qualification into Week Three. Sure we lost six teams in Week One, but these first 19 teams are true survivors, right? They want to make it to next week! It's their purpose in this pool... you know, besides the big money at the end of the season.

Who is in need of wins, you ask?  Brenda & Seward, Brian, Ryan, Scott, Tony and Wes.  Those are your six... let's see if they are going to get any help today, especially since there are only limited amounts of chances on Sunday.

We'll start working our way down the list of teams in need of wins to start, since that's the theme of this post. Brenda & Seward will get a start out of Steve Mason, with the Philadelphia Flyers playing host to the Carolina Hurricanes, a team they can't be taking lightly.  The Hurricanes will counter with Eddie Lack, Stacey C.'s goalie, who may have earned himself the number one job in these first couple of weeks of the season.

That's bad news for Brian, also in need of a win, as Cam Ward will be the on-looker from the bench tonight.  Tony's only possible goalie to play was Michal Neuvirth, which makes all four goalies in this game a story, but anything can happen, right?  You know, if you're one of those people that wish injuries upon some players... shame on you!

More injury problems for the Los Angeles Kings in their net, as Jeff Zatkoff left the ice at the morning skate with an undisclosed injury, leaving the starters net to Peter Budaj tonight, getting the 4-0-0 Vancouver Canucks.  At the other end, Jacob Markstrom gets the call for the Canucks, likely leaving Ryan Miller to the Ducks on Sunday and pushing Brenda & Seward's chances of a win in the survivor pool to the last day, if needed.

Brian should be getting the start from the Maple Leafs tonight, as they go into the United Center to take on the Blackhawks tonight.  Frederik Andersen was seen warming up in the starter's net at the morning skate, which is usually a strong sign, more often than not.  The Blackhawks are going to be on back-to-back nights, so we are expecting to see Scott Darling in net for Chicago, which immediate gives Scott a start and makes this game a headliner in the mini-game!  Oh boy!

For Scott, that's his only chance tonight for a win, as he is still waiting for his real number one goalie to come back from injury.

Ryan will get his wish for a start tonight, his only one, when the Tampa Bay Lightning head to Ottawa to take on the Senators. Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod for the Bolts on a scheduled start, which is great news for Ryan's team, as his other goalie has not seen a sniff of ice as the back-up in Buffalo.  It'll be a stiff test for the Russian keeper, as Craig Anderson will be at the other end for the Senators, giving Wilton another start, trying to get his season on track from the 23rd spot in the standings.

In the last of the meaningful survivor pool games, the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings will go at the Joe tonight, a 6pm MT start, and it will be Martin Jones getting the call for Wes, trying to keep him in the race, taking on Jimmy Howard, who is trying to keep Benson at the top of the standings for the week.  Wes has had a couple cracks at a win already this week, but is now getting desperate, while Benson was eliminated in Week One, but still getting the last laugh, opening tonight's schedule in 1st place.

The match-up is set in Boston, as it will be Carey Price, another start for Benson, taking on Anton Khudobin, a non-pool goalie, in a key Eastern Conference clash tonight.  It sounds like something is wrong with Tuukka Rask and Zane McIntyre has been called up for the back-up role tonight for the Bruins, we're trying to figure that out and will probably have something on the blog tomorrow morning for it.

A battle of two teams going in the right direction in Florida tonight, with the Avalanche and Panthers going head-to-head. Two already-qualified teams will see their keepers go, as Semyon Varlamov goes for Kristy & Don, while Roberto Luongo goes for Cam tonight.  These two teams are only separated by 3 points in the standings, Cam's being the better of the two in 5th place this afternoon.

It's a superstar goalie match-up in Washington, DC tonight, with the New York Rangers in town to face the Capitals. Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby are your headliners tonight, both already having offered Grant and Jeremy wins to stay in the pool this week.  Grant's team sits in 3rd place, 2 points out, while Jeremy's is a little further back and in need of a quick boost tonight.

Likely to the chagrin of Brian Elliott, a Derek B. goalie, he won't get the call to face his former club tonight, as his play hasn't exactly been stellar to start the season for the Flames and Calgary was in need of a big win tonight. Instead, Chad Johnson will get the call in net, facing Jake Allen, the Blues' number one goalie.  In terms of the hockey pool, this will be a John versus Mike outing, 13th versus 8th, only separated by 1 point in the standings.  This game could make for some movement, eh?

We knew early on, Cory Schneider would be making yet another start for the New Jersey Devils, really taking the ball and running with it in the swamp, giving Stuart another start this week.  It took a little while, but it was confirmed early on in the afternoon that he would match-up against Devan Dubnyk, giving John another start and what I believe is a big game in the side bet community.  Both teams are already moving on to next week, so there isn't any intrigue in that fashion here.

The Dallas Stars confirmed nice and early that it will be Kari Lehtonen in their net again tonight, getting the start over Antti Niemi for the third straight game.  Lehtonen, Dale C.'s 4th round pick has been chosen over Wilton's 1st round pick in the early days of the Dallas season, which is a bit concerning for someone.  The Blue Jackets played the night before in Chicago and trying not to spread their number one too thin, they send Curtis McElhinney to the net for his first start of the season, a non-pool goalie.

The Nashville Predators are back home tonight after playing on Friday night in Detroit, which means that it is back-to-back nights and Marek Mazanec should be getting his first start of the season here too, trying not to stretch their number one too far either.  At the other end, it was confirmed that Marc-Andre Fleury will be making another start, giving Cam another 60 minutes in the Penguins' crease, something that might be coming to a quick end here soon, with Matt Murray on the mend.