Sunday, April 20, 2014

Seabrook Given Three Games

The NHL Department of Player Safety has come down swiftly on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, giving him a 3-game suspension on Sunday for his hit devastating hit on St. Louis Blues forward David Backes.

As you can see in the video below, Seabrook caught an unsuspecting Backes with a Earth-shattering collision, which forced Backes from Game Two with only five minutes to go in the game.  Play the video below for more details.

ImplicationsThe player counts have been done in the pool and Seabrook was taken eight times out of the 47 teams that have entered the pool.  Seabrook was listed in the second defenseman box of the Western Conference, Box 9.

Seabrook wasn't the favourite in that box, Slava Voynov was taken 10 times to lead the way there.

Brenda, who sits in 1st place after the Rangers/Flyers game on Sunday morning, doesn't have Seabrook, but 2nd place, Aaron, does.  Will Seabrook play again in these playoffs or will the Blues finish the job in Chicago, not allowing him to return?

Three Nights, One Post... Playoffs In Full Swing

It will be somewhat of an elongated playoff update, since I haven't been sitting at my computer very much over the last few days.  I might try to shorten everything up, but we'll see how it goes.

How about this start to the playoffs, eh?

Lots of scoring, lots of dirty pool and all kinds of intrigue surrounding these series.  Sure, there is going to be all kinds of disappointment without much Canadian team content, but I think the league is making up for it in other ways.  The divisional match-ups may be kind of dumb, but already, it was proven to be worth its weight in gold, when you look at how rough & tumble some of these match-ups are.

With scoring the way it is, there is very little room for error in how you may have chosen your teams to win this hockey pool.

Unfortunately, I am going to go all the way back to Thursday night, the start of the long weekend in my recap.  That means we'll be starting with Game One of the Rangers/Flyers series, which played well on television, making a good start to the Metropolitan Division series.

The Rangers fell to a 1-0 deficit early in the 1st period, but responded back with four unanswered goals, including two power play goals to make perfect use of a Philadelphia double-minor penalty.  The Rangers never looked back in that 3rd period and earned the Game One victory, 4-1.

Brad Richards led the way for the Rangers with 4 points and I know he was taken a few times in the pool (actual pick numbers will come down early in the week).  Martin St. Louis and Henrik Lundqvist also made for good picks in Game One, as they each had 2 points a piece as well.

The Rangers & Flyers go again on Sunday morning, 10:30am start, which may even be too early for this blog post, but hopefully not.

The Philadelphia Flyers are still without their number one goalie and their Box 24 representation, as Steve Mason was not able to dress for the first game of the series and he is not expected to dress for Game Two either. Mason is dealing with an undisclosed upper-body injury, which he suffered before the regular season ended and he hasn't been cleared to play. Game Three is still a possibility, but the Flyers will be playing this one close to the vest... surprise, surprise.

Nothing screams, "the playoffs" like a triple-overtime outing, wouldn't you say?

Game One between the Blues/Blackhawks in St. Louis did just that, keeping us all on the edge of our seats, as likely one of the more marquee match-ups in the first round got underway.

Both teams were going into the playoffs with the favourite label attached to them somewhere in their description and with the Blues getting back some key players from injury, they were ready to show that they could hang with the big boys, instead of being that team that was floudering into the playoffs, losing six straight beforehand.

With under two minutes to go in the 3rd period, down a goal, St. Louis tied up the game, sending the game into the extra frame and then eventually won, two periods and a touch more later.

Alex Steen and Ryan Miller were the only two Blues players to get multiple points in the game, each coming away with 2 points, while Brent Seabrook had a goal and an assist in the opening game for the Blackhawks.  I don't think Steen was all that popular, but Miller was taken a number of times, while Seabrook saw the odd selection or two as well.

Game Two of the series went on Saturday afternoon, so it'll be coming a little bit later on in the post.

St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie wasn't quite ready to go quite yet for St. Louis in the opening game of the series, but it wasn't like they missed him too much.  Oshie was dealing with an upper-body injury, likely a concussion, which he had suffered with a few weeks to go in the regular season.  He was definitely one of the players missed down the stretch, but he was deemed close to return and would be a game-time decision for Game Two.

The Central Division 1 vs. 4 match-up may not have been the sexiest match-up at face value, but the Minnesota Wild were not going to let the Colorado Avalanche walk all over them to open up their first round match-up on Thursday night.

The Wild were throwing punches on the scoresheet, going up 4-2 before the 3rd period, looking like they were ready for upsetting the Central Division winners, but the Avalanche were not going to roll over in front of their home fans.  A goal near the midway mark of the 3rd lifted their spirits and then the tying goal with only 14 seconds to go, gave this game overtime as well.

The Avs managed to claw their way back from being two goals down, got to the extra frame and did it in the first eight minutes.  The series was 1-0 to the series favourites and they wouldn't have to wait long to build on that momentum.

Paul Stastny opened up the series with a 4-point night in the pool, followed closely by Nathan MacKinnon who tallied 3 assists.  Ryan O'Reilly, Tyson Barrie and Semyon Varlamov all had a pair of points in the pool, giving plenty of Colorado options for scoring on the sheet.  For the Wild, only Zach Parise had 2 assists for the team. who had a disappointing finish.

The Colorado Avalanche were without Box 1 forward Matt Duchene, as he suffered a knee injury before the playoffs and he isn't expected to be ready to go until the second round of the playoffs, assuming that the Avalanche would be able to slip past the Wild.  I don't think anyone went ahead with Duchene on their sheet, so he may not have a direct impact on the hockey pool, but his return may give the Avs that boost they require to go deep.

Finally, the last game on Thursday night, saw the 2 vs. 3 game in the Pacific Division, as the San Jose Sharks hosted the Los Angeles Kings, in another series that has a couple of potential favourites going head-to-head early on in the schedule.

The first two periods of the game were dominated by the hosts, as the Sharks got off to 5-0 lead before the horn went off and it looked like it was going to be a walk in the park for the final frame.  The Kings did find a little bit of pride in their game, as they did manage to make it somewhat close, making 5-3 before the 14-minute mark.  The Sharks were able to close down the game with an empty-netter, giving the game a 6-3 finish and San Jose goes away with a 1-0 series lead.

Tomas Hertl, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Burns and Antti Niemi were the playoff pool heroes for the Sharks, each finishing with 2 points a piece, while there were no such players doing that for the Kings.

Going into the game, there was also no injuries to mention and the game wasn't exceptionally dirty to force anyone out.  Game Two will go on Sunday night, as the Sharks look to give a repeat performance to make good use of home-ice advantage.

The Montreal Canadiens were already looking at their trip down to Tampa Bay as a success, as they had already taken one game away from the host Lightning, as they went into Game Two on Saturday afternoon.

The Lightning, already down a game, were not getting much for good news, as Ben Bishop, their number one goalie, was not able to return to help defend against this Montreal speed.

There was some emotion and hard feelings between these two sides in Game Two, as there were some fisticuffs to make mention of, just after Montreal hit the scoreboard to make it 1-0 in the 2nd period.  The Canadiens fed off this emotion, going up 2-0 after two, then held off some Lightning pressure in the 3rd, before score another two goals to go up 4-0.  The Lightning did spoil the shutout for the Habs, but that was their only consolation.

Montreal heads home with a 2-0 series lead and their own brand of home-ice advantage, as they will go again on Sunday evening to take a stranglehold on the series.

In Game Two, it was only Carey Price and P.K. Subban making noise in the pool, each picking up a couple points each.

Scoring has now been a big issue for the Tampa Bay Lightning and in Game Two, they were without one of their more consistent scorers at the end of the regular season, as Ondrej Palat suffered an upper-body injury in Game One and was not able to go in Game Two.  As of Sunday morning, he is listed as a game-time decision for Game Three.  Palat was on the ice over the weekend, so it may be a good sign for him to go and give the Bolts a bit more of a chance on Sunday night.

There was very little argument around the water cooler about how much of a favourite Boston was going to be for another Cup Finals appearance, but there was also quite a bit of support for how much of a threat the veteran squad from Detroit would be to their success.

The series opened up on Saturday afternoon and this was the closest representation to some good ol' playoff hockey that we were expecting, as neither team was giving an inch and both goalies were not ready to be the goat.

The 1st period saw the shots at 11-9 Detroit and there was only one penalty to the Bruins, as it went by without a score.  The 2nd period was even tighter, 7-5 were the shots to the Bruins, who took a second penalty in the game in that frame.  The 3rd remained tight, as shots finished up at 9-8 for Boston, Detroit killed an early penalty and then were able to break through late, as Pavel Datsyuk sniped one past Tuukka Rask with three minutes to go.

Remarkably, that was it.  The Red Wings went into the TD Gardens and stole a tight one away from the Bruins.  Game Two goes on Sunday and I think it would be fair to expect more of the same.

No one was missed in Game One and I think everyone should be accounted for in Game Two, which is good news for both teams.

Game Two in Anaheim was a show from the big stars for the Ducks, as they managed to come away with a 3-2 win at home against Dallas Stars, coming away with a 2-0 series lead.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, helping out on Andrew Cogliano's game-winner in the 3rd period and in fine fashion as well.  Getzlaf has been a force in this series to start, already with 2 goals and 2 assists in the first two games of the series.  Getzlaf and Cogliano were the only two Ducks on the pool sheet to come away with points, as Fredrik Andersen continues to be the number one guy for Anaheim, taking the place of Jonas Hiller, much to the disappointment of some poolies.

The Stars haven't been too far away in this series, skating well, but some careless mistakes have cost them, especially when they are giving them up to the likes of Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

There were no changes to the line-ups on Saturday night, as far as the hockey pool was concerned, as the two players that missed out on Game One were not dressed for Game Two and they may not jump into their line-ups before the series ends.  I'm sure the Stars would really like to have Brenden Dillon back, but it doesn't sound like he'll be ready for Game Three on Monday night.

After Game Two of the series between St. Louis and Chicago, it is getting tougher and tougher to find what the biggest story of the series is. Is it the Blackhawks giving up late goals to send each of the two opening games into overtime, only to lose in the end or is the ugly/chippy play that has made this series into one full of hate?

Just when you thought everything couldn't get any uglier, Brent Seabrook laid waste to St. Louis captain David Backes in the 3rd period, which may cost some games for both players, both in suspension and in injury.  Seabrook is expected to get a phone call from the NHL Player Safety office, while Backes was hit into next week and likely suffered a concussion in the process.  His status for Game Three has to be considered doubtful.

Yes, it was a second overtime winner for the Blues, which gave them a 2-0 lead in the series, which will continue, under the cloud of emotion, on Monday in Chicago.

The second 4-3 result for the Blues was good for Kevin Shattenkirk, who finished the game with a goal and 2 assists for a 3-point night.  Vladimir Sobotka, Barret Jackman and Ryan Miller each had 2 points each for St. Louis in the win.  On the other side of the coin, Brandon Saad and Seabrook each had 2 points as well in a losing cause.

On a more positive note, as mentioned earlier in the blog post, Blues forward T.J. Oshie was going to be a game-time decision for the Blues for Game Two and did end up returning to the line-up. He had no immediate impact, going scoreless and a -1 in 25 minutes of ice-time, but I'm sure the team was just happy that they could get his energy back on the ice against a tough divisional opponent.

After watching bits and pieces of Game One between the Penguins and Blue Jackets, I had a pretty good feeling about what Columbus may be able to do in this series and on Saturday, they took advantage of possibly an over-confident Pittsburgh team.

The Penguins finished the opening frame with a 3-1 lead over the visiting Blue Jackets, but some sloppy play on the Pittsburgh special teams cost them in the end, as a shorthanded goal from Matt Calvert in the 2nd and a power play goal in the 3rd from Jack Johnson tied the game up and in double overtime, Calvert was the hero, potting the winner over a sprawled out Marc-Andre Fleury.  The series is now tied at one, heading back to Columbus for Game Three on Monday night.

In the pool, it was Ryan Johansen and Sergei Bobrovsky leading the way for the Jackets with 2 points each, while Sidney Crosby, Matt Niskanen and Paul Martin each had a pair for the Penguins in the loss.

The Blue Jackets were also able to welcome back forward R.J. Umberger to their line-up, as he missed the opening game with an upper-body injury. Umberger's line on his return wasn't too helpful, as he went with no points, a -1 rating, a penalty, a shot on goal and a blocked shot... nothing pool worthy.  Much the same as Oshie above, it is just good to get some experience in the line-up, as it goes a long way to playing a full 60-minute game.

Everyone loves a party. A lot of people really enjoy coming-out parties, which the series between the Avalanche and Wild is quickly becoming for rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon, the 1st overall pick in last Summer's NHL Entry Draft.

I'm not trying to take anything away from his teammates or in particular, his linemates, but MacKinnon is showing why he was the number one pick, at the time that you may not have expected it, but it is adding to the allure of the likely Calder Trophy winner.

In Game Two, it was a little bit of a late start for the Avalanche, who found themselves down a goal early on, but then MacKinnon jump started the offense with his 1st career playoff goal and that started the ball down the hill.  The Landeskog/MacKinnon/Stastny line added another couple goals in the 2nd period with amazing flair, before Paul Stastny added an empty-netter in the 3rd and we finished with a 4-2 win for the home team.

From a hockey pool standpoint, both MacKinnon and Stastny finished with 4-point nights, while Gabriel Landeskog had 3 points for his owners, while Semyon Varlamov got 2 points for the win.  I won't forget to mention, Mikko Koivu also had a couple of assists for the Wild, but I don't think that will count in too many places in the pool.

No changes were made to the line-ups, so we'll just make mention that this series goes back to St. Paul, Minnesota with the Wild down two games and the Avalanche are running with all kinds of confidence.

Game-Winning Goals
New Playoffs Game Winner ButtonLet's see how the bonus points were spread out in the last three days... Brad Richards of the Rangers potted one on Thursday, as did Alex Steen of the Blues in overtime.  Paul Stastny of the Avalanche scored his in the 1st overtime period on Thursday, while Raffi Torres of the Sharks stole a point away from the pool in the first San Jose win.

On Friday, the winners came from Rene Bourque of the Canadiens, Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Andrew Cogliano of the Ducks.

Barret Jackman of the Blues in overtime, Matt Calvert of the Blue Jackets in double overtime and Gabriel Landeskog for the Avalanche in regulation were our bonus point getters on Saturday.  Well, two out of three stayed in the pool and I know some were collected for sure.

Four teams in the hockey pool have been able to collect a couple of bonus points thus far, as Glen, Cindy, Rick and Sheldon have each taken a couple points, in varying degrees of success in the standings.

In the 2012 edition of the playoff pool, the best team in bonus points had 17, so we're already a long way from that total.  2011 saw the top team with 19 winners, just as a point of reference.

ImplicationsAfter the first four nights of the playoffs, we have an outright leader in Brenda F., who sits at 40 points through Saturday's action. We have a couple of teams chasing Brenda down in Grant S. and Aaron A., each with 38 points.

Just as a heads up to everyone, there are four more teams to be entered in the pool, which were hidden away in PDF form in my e-mail.  They were received well within the pool deadline of the end of day on Thursday, they were just missed.  I'll highlight them in tomorrow's post, just so we all know who they are.

I am also waiting for a couple of line-up corrections, which I will allow, if they come soon enough.  The corrections will be minor and likely won't have as much impact on the final results as one may not hope for.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Playoff Pool

We're here! The points have been entered for the first night of action in the 2014 NHL playoffs and it looks like we're set for a pretty good Spring Dance.

As of first thing Thursday morning, I have 32 teams entered and collecting their points in the pool, I have five more teams in hand, ready to go in and I am expecting a few more today.  Today being the deadline for entry in the pool.

Once the final tally of teams in the pool, I will have the prizes announced and I'll also have a good breakdown of who was picked and we'll see who the pool favourites are.

If Wednesday night's games were any indication, I think we're in for a doozy of a year.

Did anyone catch the Montreal/Tampa Bay opener last night?  If anything, this wasn't really playoff hockey.

Back and forth, turnover after turnover and plenty of scoring to go around.  Neither coach would be too happy with what they saw, but I'm sure some of us non-partisan fans thought it was an absolute riot to watch.  I know I did.

The Canadiens came away with a 5-4 overtime victory, taking a game away from home, gaining a certain advantage of the Lightning in the early stages of the series.

Neither starting goalie, Carey Price or Anders Lindback, looked all that sharp to start this series, but when we're dealing with a hockey pool, I don't think we necessarily want to see sharp goaltending, unless we have that goalie on our team.

Notable players in the pool from this game were Price and Alexsey Emelin from the Canadiens, each potting 2 points, while Steven Stamkos also had a pair of goals to be rather notable on the Tampa side.

Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk started the playoffs on the shelf, as he has been sidelined indefinitely by a lower-body injury.  The injury is believed to be around the knee area and he is not expected to play in this opening round of the playoffs against the Lightning.  I have seen his name pop up on a few teams, but no one will be collecting any points until the second round, assuming the Habs make it that far.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were hoping to have their number one goalie ready for opening night of the playoffs, but Ben Bishop, who is dealing with an upper-body injury of his own, wasn't deemed good to go on Wednesday night.  Lindback did help his team find overtime, but he didn't help his team to an opening night win.  There hasn't been anything concrete announced about Game Two, but it sounds more likely that Lindback will get that one as well.

There is also some real concern for rookie forward Ondrej Palat, who left the game with an undisclosed injury and his status for Game Two is now up in the air.  Palat, who was instrumental in their finish in the regular season (2nd in the Atlantic Division), had to have been an intriguing option in Box 18 on the sheet.

The Columbus Blue Jackets didn't look out of place, nor did they look too intimidated by the firepower that the Pittsburgh Penguins have, but the host Penguins were still able to pull through with an opening night win, 4-3.

From what I had gathered through the brief bits of bonus coverage on Hockey Night In Canada, the pace was quick, the Jackets were doing their best to keep the superstars in check and role players will play a huge part in this series.

There were plenty of notable players in this game, thanks to seven goals scored between the two teams.  Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Sutter, Matt Niskanen, Jack Johnson, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury all registered a couple of points each to start of the series and plenty of the teams that have been entered, so far, collected quite a few of those points.

Game Two of the series will go on Saturday evening in Pittsburgh and I like where this series is going.  It will be interesting to see if the Jackets have enough gumption to take a game away from home and head back to Columbus with a tied series.

The Columbus Blue Jackets opened up their series without Box 16 forward Nick Foligno and Box 17 forward R.J. Umberger, who are dealing with lower and upper-body injuries, respectively.  Both players have been listed as probable for Game Two on Saturday, which is great news for the Jackets, who were not far away from taking a Game One win away.  Adding some veteran presence like Foligno and Umberger could go a long way.

In Anaheim, the regular season Western Conference winners opened up their first round match-up against their former division rivals from Dallas, as the Ducks played host to the Stars.

This game closely resembled a CFL game, as the Ducks shot out to a 4-0 lead before the halfway mark of the hockey game and then allowed, what looked to be a safe lead, become a nail biter at the end.  The Stars scored a pair of late goals in the 2nd period, then added another goal in the 14th minute of the 3rd period to make things close.  With the goalie pulled, Dallas put on some pressure, but came up short and lost the game 4-3.

It turned into a wild finish, which made for some good television, but it did kind of show some weakness in the Anaheim game, which puts an element of intrigue in this series.

A couple of Ducks were the only ones to make any real noise on the Playoff Pool sheet, Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin each recording 2 points on the night.

There was no win recorded from this game, as Jonas Hiller was on the bench as Fredrik Andersen's back-up on Wednesday night. There is plenty of belief in the hockey world that Hiller has lost the confidence of the coaching staff in Anaheim and he may not see much time in these playoffs.  Of course, there won't be any confirmation of that from the organization, but the more Andersen plays, the worse off Hiller looks.  I wouldn't rule out an appearance and/or a run from Hiller, but right now, it doesn't look good.

In the press box for the Ducks, Box 11 defenseman Sami Vatanen, who I've seen chosen a few times in the pool.  I don't think he's too far removed from the line-up, but he'll have to wait patiently for his turn.

The Dallas Stars may have missed physical defenseman Brenden Dillon on Wednesday, as he is both strong in his own end and played well this year in the offensive end as well.  Dillon is listed as out day-to-day with a lower-body injury, which may be related to his feet, as the discussion has been about how comfortable he is with getting back on the ice.  He is unlikely to suit up for Game Two on Friday night.

Game-Winning Goals
New Playoffs Game Winner ButtonFinally, we'll have a quick look at the game-winning goal scorers, as I've considered them to be the bonus points of the pool, something we don't see in the regular season.  The only pool player to pick up a game-winner was Brandon Sutter of the Penguins, who potted his midway through the 3rd period against Columbus.

For Montreal, Dale Weise scored the winner in overtime, while it was Matt Beleskey, who scored for the Anaheim Ducks to put them up 4-0 in the 2nd period.  Both of these bonus points go into the abyss of hockey pool points, never to be seen again.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week Twenty-Six Newsletter, Year-End Edition

Newsletter Header

Another year in the books.  What a year it was, too.  A record number of teams in the pool, which meant a record number of players taken in the pool and that all translated into more competition.

The overall talent in the pool was spread out over some more teams, which also meant that the level of talent near the bottom of the draft was a bit thinner, making the importance of finding some good picks late, all the more paramount.

Just like the last time I had a year-end Newsletter, we'll go through all the usual weekly stuff, in a hurried manner and then we'll get to all the year-end goodness.

PhotobucketWell, how about that? The last week of the season made a new name and face into a Player of the Week and it was with some legitimate numbers as well.  Craig Smith of the Nashville Predators may not be going to the playoffs or be a viable pick in the upcoming playoff pool, but you may want to jot down his name for next year's regular season draft.

Smith played in four games in Week Twenty-Seven, registering at least a point in each of those games.  An assist on Tuesday in Dallas, a goal against the Coyotes at home, the Blackhawks fed him a goal and an assist and for his finale, he scored a pair and helped a pair in Minnesota.

4 goals, 4 assists in four games and here he is... Player of the Week.  The 8 points gave him 52 points on the year, ranking him 97th in overall scoring in the pool, making for a mighty fine year, despite not going to the playoffs.

PhotobucketIn the Mover & Shaker category, it was a second appearance for Dale B. in the position this year, but unfortunately, a couple of mentions didn't help him in the overall standings, as Dale finished in the 15th position.

Dale's team was the only team to eclipse the 30-point mark in the final week of the season, but he found himself in a little bit of a bubble, as he wasn't able to move out of 15h place, coming 3 points short of moving up to 14th.

Jason Pominville of the Wild and Kari Lehtonen of the Stars led the way for Dale with 6 points, followed by Logan Couture of the Sharks with 5 points, while Mikko Koivu of the Wild and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers chipped in with 4 points each.

PhotobucketNot quite the way that any team would want to finish their regular season, but Derek Wyllie finished with back-to-back Basement Dweller weeks, not to mention they were both only good for 10 points each.  This poor finish dropped his team down to 21st place in the standings, just a shade clear of 22nd.

Four of his players had a couple points each, while a couple players chipped in with singles in the week.  Injuries and scratches really hurt his team down the stretch, but there was very little he can do about it.

It was an absolute runaway in the MVP department, as Sidney Crosby came, saw and conquered the 2014 regular season, being the only player in the NHL to eclipse the 100-point barrier, being 15 points better than his nearest rival in hockey pool scoring (which, of course, includes the simple scoring for goaltenders).

In 80 games with the Penguins in the 2014 season, Crosby finished with 36 goals and 68 assists for 104 points, scoring at an even rate of 1.3 points-per-game.

He certainly gave full value to being the 1st overall pick, which Benson was unable to cash in for some year-end prizing, as Benson finished 11th.  Crosby made up 17.4% of his overall total of points.

Crosby scored more points than 16 teams worth of goaltending and eight teams worth of defense, all by himself.  Yes, he was a great player... but he was also one-third of the points from Benson's forwards.

The top defenseman was also a runaway, as Erik Karlsson of the Senators out-paced Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks, 74 points to 61.  In the goaltending department, it was a super-tight race, but it was Semyon Varlamov of the Avalanche, who came away the victor, ranking 2nd overall in pool scoring with 89 points.  All three of these players will get nice long looks in the early parts of the draft next season.

PhotobucketFinally!  Let's talk money, shall we?

It was probably the tightest race we have seen in the history of the Opiated Sherpa pools, mostly because we've mostly seen runaway winners from Week Eight on.  No, instead, this year went right down to the wire, right down to the pool audit, just in case.

Allan comes away with the win, just edging Scott, who chased him down to only a 2-point gap.  The difference of $250 came down to only 2 points... how exciting!  $500 went to Allan, while Scott collected a cool $250.  For the 3rd place prize of $110, Derek Wilton came away with another prize, edging out Stacey M., who will walk away with a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey (much to her chagrin, I'm sure).

As for the jersey prize for the third segement, it was Scott who held on to top spot, beating out both Allan and Dale C. by 6 points.

I will be contacting all the winners shortly.

Congratulations to all our winners and hit me up for a playoff pool entry!  We're only a couple days away from the start.