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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