Friday, September 29, 2006

The Last Weekend Before Puck-Drop

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAre you getting excited yet?

I know I am. On Tuesday, October 3rd, is the deadline the Opiated Sherpa Hockey Pool for the coming year. If you are returning because you were in the Sherpa's playoff pool, then drop me an e-mail to join in this year.

Fortunately, the Hockey Pool this season will resemble the one done for the playoffs, in which you'll choose from boxes of players to form your team, but with a few less restrictions than the Playoff Pool. Like I said though, drop me a line if you want the selection sheet and the rules for the coming year.

The Hockey Pool Domain will also be the Newsletter and up-to-date injury news in the pool but the statistics for the pool will be hosted on another webpage, which will be announced next week.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Draft Day - Cancelled

Due to lack of interest or timing... the big hockey pool draft will not take place. A pool, made up much like the Playoff Pool, will take place. It's more than likely that you have been contacted if you have been invited this time around.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

12 Days Until Draft Day

Training camps are opening up all around the league today and the news is starting to flood in about injuries and such. There are quite a few long-term injuries that may concern some who are beginning to look at their player lists already.

Don't expect to see Tim Connolly on many pool lists on draft day. His concussion symptoms are still lingering and the talented centre will be shelved until he gets clearance from doctors to start skating again. His indefinite status is a major turn-off, unless you're a huge gambler who will risk the first few weeks for a possible big remainder of the year.

The Hurricanes have already been bitten by the injury bug before their defense of the Cup has even started. Frank Kaberle will be out until January after shoulder surgery. Cory Stillman should be out until late November or early December, also after shoulder surgery. The load towards the Cup was much heavier on some shoulders and not on others, by the looks of things.

The Blackhawks will be missing a couple guys at the start of the season. Newly-acquired backup goaltender Patrick Lalime will miss the first couple months of the season. It was found that he will require back surgery soon and will miss all that time. Blue-chip prospect, Cam Barker, will miss at least a month after fracturing his ankle in camp already. Barker, a promising defenseman, will have to wait until November before he gets to show his stuff again with the big club.

All you Jordan Leopold fans will have to wait a month before you see him in Avalanche colours on the ice. Leopold underwent hernia surgery and will not be skating through camp and the first month of the season.

Potential backup goalie, Pekka Rinne, will not be backing up Tomas Vokoun or have the opportunity to try until December. Rinne, a player who has flown somewhat under the radar a bit, dislocated his shoulder and will sit for quite a while until it heals.

Jason Wiemer will be sitting out until February after knee surgery. But it's nothing that you would actually consider come draft day. Actually, if you read past "Jason Wiemer," you must have a deep pool to care.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Player Movements in the Last 8 Days

It hasn't been a big week for players moving from one team to another. It's been really known for big re-signings and players getting into camp. I know I'd be going to camp if I signed a 15-year deal this week.

The one player who did move to the island though this week was veteran centre, Viktor Kozlov. Kozlov doesn't really feature in many fantasy places, but he may find himself on the right wing to a certain Alexei Yashin, due to nationality and desire to play again. If he does find himself playing with Yashin, there is a strong argument for more of a 35 to 40 point season, way up from his 25 last year.

Well, I'm guessing that since Ryan Kesler will be making almost $2 million in Vancouver this season, it was the last shred of hope that Anson Carter would play with the twins again. Instead, he's packed his 30 goals up for the bright lights of Columbus and may feature beside the likes of Rick Nash or Gilbert Brule... especially if Nikolai Zherdev doesn't return. It's tough to imagine that Carter will see 30 goals again, but we don't know who he'll be playing with at all.

Finally, Keith Primeau announced his retirement from the game today. His concussion symptoms have caught up to him and he won't be able to return to captain the Flyers this season. With the salary load the Flyers are already carrying, it's tough to think that they'd miss him too much. They played most of the year without him already and have filled gaps down the middle as it were... so as much as Primeau's size and ability will be missed as a whole, the Flyers have already moved along.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sleeper Picks for the 2006/'07 Season

As much as he was part of the despised American Junior team, Phil Kessel remains a sleeper to make the Bruins squad and excel there. The Hockey News didn't rank him in their pool book, but if he can jump on the line with Bergeron and Boyes, Kessel could be a 70-point player. Watch him in camp.

It might be a recycling sort of year for the Detroit Red Wings as they boast a few names that have cycled around in the past, maybe not quite making big names for themselves, but you know their names. Danny Markov and Krystofer Kolanos both signed in Detroit in the off-season. Markov only had 11 points last year, but he has seen good years in season's past. If he can stay healthy on a Detroit power play, he'll be a good defenseman. Kolanos is a kid who has had quite a few chances, but has yet to produce with any of his NHL teams. He does find himself on a depleted Wings team, which might give him the opportunity and ice-time he might need to excel... if he can make it through camp.

Remember this name... Alexander Radulov. Radulov was an absolute phenom last year in the Quebec Major Junior league. How does a 50-game point streak float your boat? It would do me fine. The Hockey News says 54... I would be betting over 70.

Crosby... Malkin... not bad for the top two centres. You don't think their wingers won't cash in on this? An underrated Hockey News player, in my opinion, is Mark Recchi. They have him posted at 50 points, but let's face it... the wonderkids will increase production. Rocket science? Hardly.

If you're going to go by the list of players who played last season, here's a name you won't find on there: Alexander Semin. Semin played the last couple seasons in Europe, but will come back to a warmer climate in Washington as the ever-on-fire Ovechkin could be his linemate.

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Three Weeks 'Til Draft Day

Hey there Hockey Poolies...

The countdown to the draft has begun. September 27, 2006... Wednesday night... the Yardhouse in Kensington...

Now, there's a little concern about time. I should be there for about 5:30pm, if you can confirm whether you're able to come along and when you'd most likely be able to make it. There will be people from here and there and co-ordination should start nice and early.

Please e-mail me when you're able to confirm... the sooner is always better.

Registration: $50
Number of Players per Team: 14 (8 forwards, 4 defensemen & 2 goalies)
Estimated Time of Draft: 3 hours

If you need any lists of players, I can provide them for you to print out via Microsoft Excel.

The Russians Are Coming!

Let's face it, it was only a matter of time before Evgeni Malkin signed on with the Penguins. Thanks to the loophole in Russia, that you can give two weeks notice, despite being on a long-term contract, to leave... it's sooner rather than later and I'm sure there are quite a few gamblers that want to see Malkin on their pool team this fall. For good reason, too...

The Hockey News figures that Malkin will tally in the high 80's, which would make him in a deep draft, a first-rounder. Malkin is seen as still an unknown talent to the NHL, much like Ovechkin & Crosby last season, Malkin will have free range, especially since Crosby will be gathering a lot of focus from other teams first.

Crosby & Malkin will more than likely see a bit of powerplay time together as well... so you may think that either/or will be well suited to take the lead in your pool team.

The Flames finally added some Russian talent to their line-up as well yesterday. Andrei Taratukhin, a 2001 draft pick, was added to the Flames roster going into training camp. Taratukhin was quite the talent with Russia in the Kovalchuk days of the World Juniors, sharing a line with the dynamic forward. It's been years since I have seen much of him, but the memories of those trying years for Canada because of these guys are enough to spur some optimism for a positive season.

With the likes of Tanguay, Langkow, Yelle & Lombardi already listed in some places as the top 4 centres, the rumours that Tanguay will move to the wing for Iginla seem a little more plausible if Taratukhin fills another spot at centre. If Taratukhin is as much of an offensive threat as he could be, he might be one to move to the wing to play with Langkow and Amonte.

If he makes the squad this season, look for 50 points.

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