Monday, October 30, 2006

Week Four Newsletter

Just when I thought there couldn't be much more for points pushed through a week, a Sunday morning dump of snow-like amount of points dropped down on the pool. In Week Three, we topped out at 57 points... which I didn't think was too shabby. Week Four, however, turned in a top week of 73 points. There were six teams to crack the 70-point barrier, which leads me to believe that there maybe even a little more room to improve on those numbers.

There has been a great blend of offensive spectacles and goaltending performances, which has made the season (and the pool) all that much more entertaining this year... even more so than last season, I would say.

A couple teams moved out of the top 10 to let a couple more in going into Week Five. A few trades here and a few there will ensure that there will be a few more position moves through the pool, whether or not they are in the money spots, that remains to be seen.

The pool leader, Dale C., hasn't gained too much ground on second place... depending on who's in that position at the time. He has used three of his five trades now this year, so with still five months to go in the season, his gambles are not guaranteed to pay off just yet.

Let's see what happened in Week Four...

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None of the candidates really stepped up to be that guy that took charge of Week Four. Rather, an old favourite, a consistent performer, Martin Brodeur took the title after a shutout on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That paired up well with the shutout he posted against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Brodeur ranks very well in Box 18, but is still behind the young Atlanta goaltender, who is still two points up. The Devils don't play again until Thursday when they are at home to the Islanders... then they will be able to keep Marty's shutout streak alive.

It actually turned out to be a closer race than what was expected on Friday, but in the end, it was Derek W. that took the title for the week. He didn't quite have the biggest point total in the week (only 70 compared to Brydon's 73), but he firmly moved out of the bottom and is closing in on the top 20. Derek's big players this week were Jason Spezza (7 points), Dany Heatley & Petr Sykora (6 points) and Joe Thornton (5 points). All but three players for Derek got at least one point this week and that's another big reason for the big move.

There was a big push from Dieter, who moved up 10 spots in the pool this week and also Brydon who had the big total of the week... but in the end, the big mover was Derek.

Our Mover & Shaker moved from the 30's up to the 20's, while our Basement Dweller of the Week, Gerald, fell from the 20's into the 30's. Hey... you gotta make room somehow. A couple injuries, coupled with a few old players would really give you an idea why Gerald dropped nine places into 32nd. Gerald's four best players during the week were Roberto Luongo (6 points), Henrik Sedin (5 points) and Joe Sakic & Cam Ward (4 points). He had six players without a point this past week and many of the players he did have scoring... only registered a single point. It's something tough to avoid and most teams are going to run into that. Let's just hope some of our leaders run into that sort of problem.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
There were quite a few trades for Week Five, but no player (as of the start as of Hockey Night In Canada) has been dropped twice. Two teams, Fred and Ryan, have both used up their trades for the entire year, in hopes that they can make some ground up on the rest of the pack. Fred, lying dead last in the pool, will need a big push from guys like Alexander Semin and Shea Weber to make some ground up. Ryan, down in the 30's, will climb on the Ilya Kovalchuk and Chris Drury bandwagons.

Just so everyone is aware, our pool leader, Dale, moved a couple players to be a little bit more unique and quite possibly pull away a little further. He is the first team to drop the lacklustre Miikka Kiprusoff for Manny Fernandez and dropped defenseman Dan Hamhuis for Kurtis Foster.

As for major injuries this week, the pool seemed to be free and clear of any of the major stuff. It was all day-to-day injuries with quite a few players coming back from injuries. So player news might be a tad scarce.

Hockey Hearsay on Sportsnet is reporting that there is a potential goaltending controversy brewing in Florida... but for all the wrong reasons. Now, this doesn't sound too substantial... just a media blow-up, by the sounds of things... but Alex Auld had slipped on some water that was on the floor after Ed Belfour had dropped a bottle in a Miami bar. It all does sound a little blown out of proportion, citing Belfour's run with alcohol in the past and eyewitness accounts that he was being beligerant in another bar... but it all seems a little too fantastic to be true. I'm sure if Belfour was really drunk, he would have smashed the bottle over his head and it would be more a tragedy than controversy.

There is no word, other than a few stitches, as to any such injury to the Panthers goaltender's condition.

Week Five's Hockey Night In Canada should be a good show... in both halves of the show. The offensive juggernaut in Buffalo will host the Maple Leafs in the first game. The Sabres will show the Leafs how to score goals... not like they don't really know. This game should produce a ton of points for those who have Sabres... and those few who have Leafs. In the second half, the Canucks will make their first appearance on HNIC, taking on their division rival, Colorado, in Denver.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Heading Into the Weekend of Week Four

Well, it's that time again... the weekend... the best time for points in the pool. Only four games tonight, 13 on Saturday and two on Sunday. Let's see who's in line for the weekly honours...

Player of the Week Candidates...
There are three Oilers in line this week... Jarret Stoll leads the three with six points, while Ales Hemsky and Petr Sykora each have five points a piece. The Oilers will host the road-weary Capitals in the second-half of the doubleheader on CBC, so an Oiler has a good shot at the award.
Ilya Kovalchuk looks to be back in form, now a month into the season. He has six points this week and will have a tough task against the Sabres on Saturday. Good thing he has Slava Kozlov (with four points) to help him out a bit.
The last line of defense against those Thrashers, Ryan Miller, also has six points this week and a win would bring him up to eight... good standing for the award. An unlikely shutout would almost guarantee that honour.
Finally, the last great hopes come from the capital... Jason Spezza (six points), Joe Corvo (six points) and Dany Heatley (five points) will all have a shot at the title. After the performance they put on against Toronto this week, it finally looks like all systems are go for the Sens. You almost feel sorry for the Bruins, their opponent on Saturday.

The Mover and Shaker candidates
It would have to take a landslide for Derek Wyllie to not fall from this high distinction this week. Finally, with Ottawa making waves in the pool, Derek has jumped into the Top 20. If all seven Senators he has on his team keep up this new torrid pace, he'll have a good shot at some big money down the stretch. His current move is sitting at 16 spots... second, Dieter has moved only 8 spots up.

Basement Dweller candidates
Two teams, Rob and Caterina have dropped eight spots in the standings this week, while Mike Windsor and Gerald have both dropped seven spots. Nobody really wants to have this distinction on this page, especially Caterina... it'll clash with her M&S award she's already picked up this year. If there is a tie for the biggest drop, the lowest point total in the week will clinch it.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pool Corrections

I know there is a lot of you who don't look at this webpage, but I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that there was some adjustments done in the Standings today. The NHL does change statistics from day-to-day... assists are taken away and given to other players. This being said, there was a small glitch in the pool program, which gave everyone a few points from Dion Phaneuf, Martin Straka, Milan Michalek and Evgeni Malkin.

Just for the record, all stats are taken from and it is constantly updated on a daily basis. So, if you saw you had 12 to 14 points more yesterday... you did. But they weren't from your players.

Just a heads up all!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Week Three Newsletter

We're quickly finding out what the good weeks and what the bad weeks are looking like in the pool. If you're reaching the 50-point plateau, you're having a good week... granted, there were a couple 60-point teams in Week Two, but none this time around. A 40-point or less kind of week will probably drop you a little bit in the pool, unless you're already at the bottom.

With a lot of the trades already happening here in the first month of the season, there is a lot of hope that some of the basement dwelling teams can get those 60-point weeks, granted their teams don't find themselves on the injury list for the rest of the year.

We didn't have a change in leader this week... Dale was actually pulling away a little bit this past week, but was reeled in a tad. A lead of 7 points on Jeff, who had himself a decent week as well. Let's see if we can reel in these two guys, eh?

Let's see what happened in Week Three...

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In Box 15, it could have been one of the toughest calls on the pool sheet. The first line right-winger in the East was dominated by that Russian kid in Washington or the Czech veteran in the Big Apple. Well, Maxim Afinogenov, wasn't taken at all and is making you think that maybe... just maybe... you'll drop your other superstar and picking up the high scoring Sabre.

Afinogenov's scoring touch this week were a big reason why the Sabres continued winning. He was credited with 3 goals and 7 assists for a whopping 10 points. There were 3 Sabres that cleared 8 points this week, but Afinogenov had to take it. Remember, if you want this scoring machine to get you to climb the Standings, you gotta e-mail me before puck drop on Monday night. Week Four's line-up will be set by then.

This week's Mover & Shaker moved up 10 places in the Standings after a big 56-point week. Sean made his move out of the lower levels of the pool to climb into the middle of the pack. Sean rode on the backs of Alexei Yashin and Marc-Andre Fleury to shake his way up to 22nd in the pool. These are the kind of "unique" picks that make the biggest difference in climbing over your opponents. Sure, there are a few picks on his team that are relatively the same as everyone else... but Yashin and Fleury, who had 13 points this week between the two of them were the ones who made the difference. All he needs is another few big weeks from these two and he'll be amongst the elite in the pool.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. The 14 place drop in Week Three took Chris Marta out of the Top 10 and places him in 23rd. It was a pretty quiet week for a lot of Chris's players, some not having many games during the week. Some of the players that Chris has that had good weeks... those were the same players that a lot of other people picked on their selection sheet. You know you want to see your more "unique" players playing well. This wasn't the case for Chris. The panic button was pushed though... he used trades number two and number three this past weekend to upgrade his goaltenders. He is now down to only two trades left for the entire year.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
Defenseman Bryan Berard underwent back surgery this week and won't be in the Jackets' line-up until January. Berard, who was taken once, will more than likely need to be dropped in the next day (or week), because Box 4 is a highly competitive box of number one defensemen in the West and you're gonna need those points to compete.

This past weekend, high-scoring forward Martin Havlat sprained his ankle and it this injury will sideline him for a few weeks. This was always the knock on Havlat and will miss quite a few games before he's all better. Does this make him trade worthy?? For Box 3 players... a few weeks means big points. It might be an idea to upgrade to a more durable winger... as three weeks could add up to 12 games.

But then... just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... it does. Michal Handzus has now been lost to the Hawks for the entire season. No one has him, but if you did... this would be what you'd save your trade for. Since no one has him... I won't make a big deal about it.

Somebody does however has Nikolai Khabibulin... who broke a finger on his catching hand, which will keep him out of the line-up for at least a couple weeks. Just a heads up.

The curse of Box 22 continued this past week... Brad Stuart broke his finger on Saturday night. Stuart, taken five times, will miss some time, although it is still unclear how much time. I would assume you would be looking at 15 to 20 games to be missed by Stuart. Since Box 22 is Injury Row, the need to drop him may not be so severe. Who else is gonna get anyone points in the coming month if they are all injured.

Pavel Kubina's knee injury will keep him out of the Leafs line-up for up to six weeks. Kubina was picked up once during Week 2 in a trade... but fears may lead to him being dropped a few more times. If you are a player in Box 22... your number could be up soon.

Another defenseman also fell this week. Jay McKee, who was out for the bulk of the start so far with a knee injury. His first game back this week... he broke his hand. No, McKee isn't in Box 22... but you kind of think he might have been. This Box 10 defenseman, who was the league leader in blocked shots last year will not be blocking anything for another month or so.

TSN will have a doubleheader on Wednesday night and some of our popular players will feature in these games. Joe Thornton and Jonathon Cheechoo will go into Detroit in the first half of the doubleheader to face Nicklas Lidstrom and the Red Wings. Just between those three players, there is 45 selections. It should be a popular game to watch. In the second half, Joffrey Lupul and Chris Pronger will face their former clubs for the first time this season. This game has quite a few unique players and both teams will change the face of the pool every time they step on the ice.

The Hockey Night In Canada doubleheader will have an old rivalry and a look at a new superstar. The Leafs and Habs will renew their acquaintances for the first half of the doubleheader. Darcy Tucker's big run so far this year is going to be met by the less-popular Canadiens. David Aebischer may have won the number one job in Montreal and will more likely be in net when the Leafs come to town. In the second half of the bill, Alexander Ovechkin will come to Edmonton for the first time in his career to face Dwayne Roloson and the Western Conference champs. The Capitals will have faced the Canucks the previous night, so it could be a slow night for the new Russian Rocket. Just a heads up.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

News Going Into The Weekend

We all know how badly the Flames are playing at the moment... but the silver lining is that they're not the Philadelphia Flyers. A team that is mired with performance issues, injury problems, management meddling... it's no wonder that the Flyers are in last of their division. For all you poolies out there who usually think the Flyers are a lock for some serious scoring, myself included... fear more... 'cuz it doesn't look like it's going to get better.

Last night, the Flyers lost Peter Forsberg to a wrist injury in the game against Tampa Bay. X-rays were negative, but it was diagnosed as a sprain. Forsberg's status will probably be updated this afternoon. Forsberg was only taken once in the pool, however... so the impact of his loss, may not be so great. The Flyers aren't scoring anyways, so the forecast for secondary scoring is about the same as before the injury.

Did you drop him? Did ya? It's kind of a stupid question from me... 'cuz I know who did and who didn't. I know he did and... he did. Evgeni Malkin looks like the real deal and it wouldn't really surprise me to see a drop of a lower quality centre in Box 20 to be replaced by the young Russian centre. I know Chris Drury is also a favourite now in the box, but Malkin is doing the job in Pittsburgh. 3 points in 2 games isn't a bad start.

Let's face it, the big news so far in the NHL season is the slumping giants this year. The Senators are another prime example. Even with the return of off-season acquisition Joe Corvo, they could only muster one goal against the Avalanche at home in the loss. There are a lot of health concerns floating around Jason Spezza at the moment. The big speculation around the media and such is that his back isn't even close to 100%. It was surgically repaired over the summer, but fears and doubts are a plenty. Here's hoping he kept his receipt for warranty purposes.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Malkin Mended??

Well, you either have him still or you've dropped him hesistantly if you're reading this article. The news out of Pittsburgh says that Malkin will now be ready to go on Wednesday as the Penguins take on the Devils. Malkin, the blue-chip prospect, left the first pre-season game after falling over teammate John LeClair. If this is the case, then Malkin will be way ahead of the original schedule that the Penguins had out for him. There was a lot of concern that Malkin wouldn't see any action until November, but as the days wore on, his condition was improving at a radical pace.

The Hockey News rated Malkin at an 80+ point player... there is a chance that he could do a point a game. He won't see 82 games, rather closer to 75... so 80 points is still possible. Did you keep him? Do you want to pick him up now?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Week Two Newsletter

Marty Turco outlasted J-S Giguere and the Ducks to win the only game on Sunday in a shootout and that was the end of Week Two. We've got ourselves a new leader, we're watchin' some pretty good hockey, people are making trades and for the most part, people are enjoyin' the pool. That's what I'm getting anyways.

Let's see what happened in Week 2...

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An overtime win on Saturday night brought Kari Lehtonen's weekly total up to 8 points. Wild goaltender, Manny Fernandez, also had 8 points, but no one took Fernandez, so he won't win the Player of the Week award. Lehtonen has been taken twice and is showing why he should be taken. A shutout against Tampa on Monday and another win against Boston on Wednesday accounted for Lehtonen's wins this week.

Lehtonen still leads all players in the pool with 12 points, but there are some other players nipping at his heels. Marty Turco has banked 11 points, Fernandez has 10 points, Jaromir Jagr has 10 and so does Martin Havlat. Lehtonen will probably lose his lead this week as the Thrashers only play twice next week... the first game not until Thursday.

The most points during the week meant a pool-high jump in the Standings. The pool-high 64 points meant a 19 place jump since last Sunday. Suzanne was a middle of the pack 26th before the big week. Riding the backs of Jaromir Jagr, Olli Jokinen, Brendan Shanahan and a whole bunch of 4 point players... Suzanne almost got herself into the money places. Scoring is definitely not down and as long as teams are playing games 7-6 or 5-4, everyone will have a shot at this illustrious pool award.

Well, the first full week had ended... we have a another week to base our comparisions from. After Week Two, some teams may want to consider looking at who's hot (the ones not on their team) and drop the one's who are not hot (how do you think they got down there?). Mike Rioux is still waiting for the big break out of the Flames and some injury concerns to be rectified... but until that happens... it doesn't look too rosy beyond another 25 point week. When teams are now breaking the 60+ point barrier during the week, you gotta know that there are players in every box picking up points. It's only a matter of time.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
The injured Carolina Hurricanes, Frank Kaberle and Cory Stillman are still being unloaded here in the pool going into Week Three. Both Derek Bell & Don unloaded Hurricanes during the week to pick up some more healthy bodies. The Hurricanes have been struggling to find form and it would lead to some ideas to maybe even unload some of the healthy bodies, especially since none of them are scoring at the moment. But it's still early!

The first healthy trade was made going into Week Three. Benson unloaded Vincent Lecavalier for a recent hat-trick scorer, Chris Drury. The Sabres have been scoring at an unbelievable pace, while the Lightning... are not.

Tonight, the Oilers will face-off against the Canucks on Sportsnet West, starting at 8pm. Division rivals and big pool teams will get it on in Vancouver. What a treat it will be to see this one, I reckon. If that wasn't enough... they'll do it all again tomorrow night, again on Sportsnet West, here in Calgary, for the end of a home & home set. Roberto Luongo versus Dwayne Roloson... Luongo taken four times... Roloson... none.

On Wednesday, the Avalanche head into Toronto to face the Maple Leafs. This game will be on TSN, puck drop at 5:30pm. Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle will host Joe Sakic and Jose Theodore on national television.

Thursday night hockey will have the Flyers taking on the Lightning in Tampa. TSN will also cover this game nationally, again with the puck drop at 5:30pm. Vincent Lecavalier will try and do it all for his 11 picks (11 of 17 combined Lightning picks) against the much less preferred Flyers (only a total of 13 picks). This is considered a no-nothing game to most poolies this year, I guess.

Hockey Night In Canada's double-bill will have the Jaromir Jagr and his high flying Rangers in Toronto to face Andrew Raycroft and the Leafs. This should be a big game for a lot of you poolies. The second game will have the Red Wings and their awoken power play in the Chuck to face Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky and the rest of the Oiler crew for a much-anticipated second half of the doubleheader. These two games are part of a 13-game slate on Saturday.

That's what you have to look forward to... if you don't have NHL Centre Ice on your satellite service.

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