Monday, November 27, 2006

Long-term Injury Updates

Of course it isn't until after I finish the newsletter that I find that there are a couple key injuries. First, Alexei Yashin is now listed as out for 4 weeks after a knee-on-knee collision on Saturday. Yashin, taken three times in the pool, is enjoying a fairly productive year thus far... 28 points, ranked fourth in Box 14, only 3 points behind first. The month missed could be fairly devastating, especially in the high-scoring box he's in.

The favourite pick in Box 12, also a favourite pick on the trade market, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, has been listed as out indefinitely with a broken finger. TSN is reporting that the injury isn't quite that bad and he could be back rather quickly, but if it is a broken finger, you can expect Giguere will miss at least three weeks. Anaheim, who is missing Ilya Bryzgalov as well, will be using a couple rookie keepers in the absence of their two top goalies.

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Week Eight Newsletter

The cold wintery blast of Monday morning does nothing to dampen the spirits of the Week Eight Newsletter. That's mostly because it was started during the wintery blast of Sunday afternoon. But who's counting? Scoring was down ever-so-slightly in Week Eight, but there was still a lot of movement within the pool. Some new faces to the Top 10 this week, but we're still sitting with the same leader, who seems to have pulled away a little bit more this past week.

Is anyone willing to catch him??

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

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Martin St. Louis had zero points in Week Seven. So that made it no surprise that no one took him in the pool. Oh, but wait... don't you feel foolish now?? Some of you teams can have him too... if you want. All you would have to do is sacrifice your Ovechkin, Jagr or Heatley. C'mon... heh heh heh.

Okay, in all seriousness though... he did end up with 9 points this week in 4 games. On Monday, he scored Tampa's only two goals in a 7-2 loss to Buffalo. Wednesday, 3 assists in a 6-4 win against Florida. A goal and an assist against Atlanta in a 3-2 win. Finally, Sunday's goal and an assist versus Ottawa brought his total up to 9 points. How's that for convincing? Too bad no one really cashed in on his big gain.

We now have our first repeat recipient of the Mover & Shaker award for best move in the pool. Derek W. has moved himself into the top 10 and in striking distance of the money after a 68-point week, which moved him up 6 spots, from 15th to 9th. The combination of Ducks and Senators proved again to be very important in the pool this week, as they were in Week Four, when Derek last won this prestigous distinction. Teemu Selanne's big night against the Flames last night was the centerpiece of Derek's week, as that lifted him over top of his nearest rivals for the award.

Injuries, demotions and scoring slumps... the formula for any Basement Dweller in any given week. Josh has had a run of all those factors in the past few weeks and now it's really added up. With nine players with zero points in Week Eight, he didn't get the production a team needs to stay up in the top part of the Standings. Josh was stationed up in a money position in the first few weeks, but it all started to add up when other teams were making trades to upgrade their situation, whilst Josh is still holding steady with all five of his trades remaining. In the end, Josh's 44 points dropped him a grand total of 8 spots in the pool, which solidifies his place in Week Eight history.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
Only one team making trades this week (this at the time of writing). Suzanne made a couple of moves for the first time this season. Firstly, she drops Mathieu Garon, who beat Calgary on Saturday night, for the number one guy in Anaheim, J-S Giguere. Then she drops Wade Redden for Ontario-rival Bryan McCabe. These trades are designed to keep Suzanne in the race and back into the money.

Long-term injuries are the name of the game this past week for the Predators. The Preds lost both their starting goaltender, Tomas Vokoun and number two centre, Jason Arnott for six weeks. Vokoun will miss time because of a torn ligament in his catching hand. He had surgery this week to repair the ligament in his thumb before this past weekend. Arnott on the other hand, will miss his six weeks because of a knee injury. This bodes well for rookie Alexander Radulov, who has been called up and has produced three points this week.

Hockey Night In Canada this week...

The Maple Leafs and Canadiens will renew their HNIC rivalry this week... the return of Mats Sundin will play a role against the revolving door in net for the Habs with and Cristobel Huet and David Aebischer. Are you tired of the Avalanche and Canuck rivalry yet? Just like Week Eight, Week Nine will have the third installment of the Avs and Canucks division battle, this time in Vancouver. The Avalanche will ride the hot hand of Jose Theodore against Roberto Luongo, who hasn't beat the Avs in his career.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Week Seven Newsletter

We didn't have much a big scoring week in the pool... the leader in points came nowhere near what happened in Week Six. With a few more trades done in the pool, maybe it will get a little bit more interesting. We'll have to see.

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

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In what was only believed to be a two-horse race for the Player of the Week honour, Teemu Selanne came out of nowhere to register 5 assists on Sunday night against the Coyotes to pick the honour out of the hands of Alexander Frolov and Rod Brind'Amour.

All three players had eight points, but Selanne did his in three games, which makes the feat a little more impressive than the other two doing it in four games. Selanne's benefactors... all eight of them... are all rubbing their hands together in glee as Selanne took the Box 3 lead in scoring, leading Iginla and Frolov by three points.

This week's Mover & Shaker race was quite close... so close, it was really hard to call in the end. The top four teams in the week, all cleared 70 points and they all moved up better than three spots. In the end, thanks to back-to-back good weeks and a constant climb through the first seven weeks of the season, Marcus is the man who receives the award.

70 points and a +5 in the Standings was really moving and shaking this past week. Led by Miikka Kiprusoff and his six points, Marcus also received good production from Chris Pronger and Erik Cole who each had five points. This is one of the few times that the M&S doesn't have the Player of the Week... but fortunately for Marcus, every one of his active players got him at least one point last week.

Well, you can't say I'm not rigging it. I had a pretty crappy week... so much so, that I, Clayton, the administrator of the pool, was Week Seven's Basement Dweller. This may be one of the few times I'll be able to write one of these paragraphs in the first-person, but here it goes. My team had been decimated by injury... a reason, more than an excuse (to some)... Marian Gaborik, Brad Stuart (just returned), Jeff Carter, Toni Lydman... and then a couple more in the minors... Josh Gorges and Hannu Toivonen... yeah, it's was bound to happen that I would drop six places in the Standings.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
As of Sunday morning, there is still 17 pool teams who haven't made a trade yet this season. There's an argument for "are they paying attention to the pool" or "are they more patient than the rest of the pool?" Lots of questions... not many answers.

More trades going on for Week Eight... Clayton makes a couple moves, while Caterina and Derek & Nicole make one as well.

Pierre Turgeon's status has been downgraded from day-to-day to out until the beginning of December (at the earliest). Turgeon underwent surgery to repair his rotator cuff before the season started and hasn't seen any action yet. Jordan Leopold on the other hand, should be making his season debut for the Avalanche this week, as he will be on the road trip that the Avs set out on early this week.

Hockey Night In Canada in Week Eight will feature another Leafs game... and the Leafs will be facing Boston... again. The Leafs and Bruins have already played each other twice in November... so why not again? There are a few Bruin picks in the pool, so this match-up does make for a good watchin' game. In the second half, the Canucks will visit the Avalanche again on HNIC, which also happened once this month as well. There's enough teams involved in that game as well

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Week Six Newsletter

Welcome to the Tuesday Edition of the Newsletter... a little late due to working capacity.

Well, it was a record-breaking week for one team in the pool... and it's given him a fair-sized lead in the pool. Okay, after Monday night, it is only at four points, but it sure looked good when the move was made to take the lead. It was almost out of nowhere.

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

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How do you like big weeks? Slava Kozlov likes 'em just fine. In four games this week, Kozlov recorded five goals and six assists for 11 points. It made the three teams who picked him up so far this season look pretty darn good... not to mention the other eight teams that had him to start the season. He was, by far, the best player on the ice this past week.

Just when you thought teams were maxing out at over 70 points a week... BAM! Dieter gets 92 points last week to crush all of his oncomers below him. He had just about everyone firing... and boy, oh boy... did he ever make a lead for himself.

I think it would be easier to name all the players who didn't have a good week in the pool for him, as there would be a lot less players to name. Even a guy like Joe Thornton, who's supposed to be a wrecking ball in the points department... he only had one point for Dieter, yet he still powered forward. An incredible run... which could be done by any number of teams in the pool. All you need is the right combination of players on any given week.

The runner-up to the M&S Award this week was Marcus. He moved up a whopping 8 positions in the pool to move into the Top 20.

Having not a terrible total in the points department, Tim Locke couldn't quite keep up with his fellow Standings-mates, as he dropped nine positions in the pool, despite his 54 points. Even with Patrick Marleau's seven points and Martin Brodeur's six points, Tim just couldn't quite keep himself in the Top 20, but it isn't like he's too far away. He is sort of being held back by players like Sandis Ozolinsh and Phil Kessel, but they could also be in that combination of players that will give you a M&S Award, much like Dieter had this week. You just never know.

The runner-up for the Booby Prize this week was Mike Windsor. The poor guy got punished with a pool-low, 34 points, but only moved down three spots, as the competition is a little (okay, a lot) less fierce down around the 40's.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
Only five trades were made heading into Week Seven. Caterina made a couple moves to try and elevate her position, back from the 20's, into the Top 10 where she was residing in the first couple weeks of the season. She led the pool in moves with the two.

Taken once, forward Shane Doan will be missing out of the Phoenix line-up for about 3 weeks. Doan, a key part of the Coyotes team, despite the team's struggles will sorely be missed by his club and by the pool team that took him. It's a back injury that is keeping him out and hopefully it isn't one of those lingering injuries that reocurr through the season and/or his career.

Picked twice, Mats Sundin will be missed twice as much as Shane Doan will be... not to mention all the points the teams will miss out on in comparison between the Leaf and the Coyote. At the time of his injury, Sundin and his Leafs were really rolling... the team has continued without their captain, but will continue to do so for up to a month after a small tear in an elbow ligament was found after their game against Philadelphia. A major injury, indeed...

If things couldn't go much worse for Philly these days, just think how they felt when they lost forward Jeff Carter to an ankle injury, that will keep him out of the line-up for up to six weeks. He notably drop worthy.

Finally, Maxim Afinogenov went down this past week. He'll be missed, only by the Sabres (as no one took him in the pool... yet) for about three weeks with a shoulder injury. Since no one took him, there isn't really a point in writing a sob story for him.

This weekend, we'll get our first view of Martin Brodeur and his Devils on HNIC against the Leafs, while Nicklas Lidstrom and the Red Wings go into Edmonton to face the streaking Petr Sykora and his Oilers.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Heading Into the Weekend of Week Six

In Week Six, the teams are really separating themselves into smaller packs, including the leaders. It's not to say they can't be caught... but the unique players are the players that are pulling some teams away and keeping other teams back.

Up until Thursday night this week, there was a sense of poetic justice in the pool. On Tuesday night, Miikka Kiprusoff beat Marty Turco at the Saddledome and I'm sure if there were any people paying attention to the player trades in the last couple weeks... there would have been some small chuckles. Turco was picked four times after teams dumped Kipper.

Thursday, however, Marty Turco made 13 saves and shut out Phoenix for a big four point night. Thus negating the poetic justice... until Calgary faces off against a road-weary Anaheim tonight.

Tonight, the big game in the league for the pool is...

Yup, you guessed it. Between the two teams, there are 97 selections. Easily, two of the most popular teams in the pool. The Senators have 61 picks and the Penguins 36 picks. Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin headline the game and for good reason. Spezza and Heatley has struggled in the Senators five-game losing streak, while Crosby and Malkin are really doing well in Pittsburgh. If you don't have players from these two teams, which is unlikely, then don't wonder why you've dropped a little farther in the standings.

Saturday night's marquee game is...

How's this for obvious? The Flames have 104 picks... 104... c'mon. That's more than tonight's game alone. We don't even need the Canucks' 36 picks to make this a marquee game. The game will pit the Northwest Division rivals against each other until the bitter end. The Canucks a little bit better than the Flames in the standings, but you wouldn't think so after the Canucks got slammed by Anaheim last night.

And well... Sunday only has three games. Nothing major... Anaheim plays... again, but no one really cares.

Player of the Week Candidates
With seven points, Slava Kozlov leads the pack in Week Six. His big games this week made him a great pick up in the last few weeks. His teammate, Marian Hossa, has six points and is also in the running for the prestigous award. Let's not forget Ilya Kovalchuk... he's got five points this week. Not too far off.
Jean-Sebastian Giguere is also in the running... the shutout against the Canucks and a win earlier in the week has given J-S six points also this week. He'll get at least one more start before the week is out, a chance to up his point total to 10... maybe.
Lastly, we're swimming with one of the deadliest Sharks in the water. Patrick Marleau had a hat-trick against Los Angeles last night to push his point total. It's music to the ears of the 19 teams that picked him.

Mover & Shaker candidates
Going into Friday night, Dieter has the most points in the week. It has moved him up to 2nd place, but is that enough places or enough incentive to win the award? Marcus has moved up 7 places and into the Top 20... that could be reason enough to move into the award. The next closest in the move department is Stuart... he's moved up four spots from 13th to 9th.

Basement Dweller candidates
Do you wanna know how bad it can get? There are three teams under 20 points thus far in the week... Greg (15), Kate (18) and Mike Rioux (19). Greg has dropped 4 places in the pool, down to 38th... which is very basement worthy. In the mix though, Caterina has dropped 5 places, which is the biggest drop in the Standings this week.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Week Five Newsletter

An early vacation from the pool for your administrator leaves the newsletter being published a little later than usual and the Standings not updated from Friday to this morning. Just to let you all know, that this coming Saturday night's update may be a bit delayed as well as I will be away at a Christmas Party and I don't know how up to snuff I'll be on Sunday morning.

As you may have noticed from the Standings, we have ourselves a new leader. This is explored a little further in the newsletter, so I won't ruin the surprise of what happens next.

It was a quiet week in my inbox as well... not a lot of trading was going on either... but I won't ruin that surprise, as it's also quoted a bit down below.

It seems to me that there is a lot more games this week in the league, so expect a lot of points and just as much movement from people in the Standings.

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

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With three goals and five assists in two games this week, Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins was Week Five's Player of the Week.

The former Atlanta Thrasher was tied for the best week with two others at eight points (Mats Sundin and Vincent Lecavalier), but Savard did it in two games, whereas the other two did it in three. For those who thought Savard only put up those astronomical numbers last season because of his high-scoring teammates, he's deciding to prove you wrong.

Savard, taken six times in the pool, made Box 20 an important choice to make, rather than "just the second Eastern Conference centreman." Boston, I think, should be playing three times this week, so if Savard keeps his pace during the sixth week of the pool, then he'll put up some big numbers for those six teams.

This week's Mover & Shaker took the pool lead this week... 71 points, a move from fifth to first, Jeff gave himself a two-point lead heading into Week Six.

Jeff's top players in Week Five were the current PotW, Marc Savard, Ray Whitney (7 points), Alex Ovechkin & Tomas Kaberle (6 points) and Jarome Iginla (5 points).

Jeff has been in the Top 10 since Week Two and this is now his peak position, as you can't go any higher in the pool than first. Jeff does find himself with only one trade left in the year, so his gamble will be that a maximum of one player will be hurt long-term on his team. It's a risk being run by a few teams already in the pool, but since he's in first at the moment, it doesn't look too bad.

This week's Basement Dweller is Russell. Russell has had a Top 10 team twice so far this season, but after Week Five, he has fallen to his lowest position, 23rd. His only saving grace this past week was Brendan Shanahan, who had a very good six points, but nine of his players didn't show up to produce for him at all.

Much unlike our new leader, Russell has not made any trades so far this season. He only has one player that hasn't given him a point this season (Peter Schaefer), but has lasted fairly well up until now. With still over 20 weeks to go in the season, there's still lots of time to recover, only being 28 points back of any money.

Long-term Injuries and Pool Trades
At the time of publishing, there were only five trades made in the pool for Week Six. Only four teams chose to upgrade their teams for the coming week; Chris, Dieter, Don and Larry (made 2 trades). Three of the four teams are in the Top 10 already and are using up their trades early to ensure that they stay up top. It still remains to be seen if this tactic will make a big difference or whether their luck will run out with injuries later on down the road. Can they stay on top and/or make a big enough lead for when the worst happens?

For the few of you Sabre-holders, you'll be keen to know that the Week Three PotW, Maxim Afinogenov, will be sidelined for at least a couple weeks with a shoulder injury. This leads to the question: will this effect the Sabres short-term performance, both in the standings and in terms of pool points. Afinogenov was a staple on Daniel Briere's line and did see time with the likes of Chris Drury and Thomas Vanek. With Afinogenov doing a lot of the goal scoring, the other players were benefitting from his production with production of their own. Could this mean a dip in points for those who dropped players for Drury or Vanek? Something to watch, indeed...

Just in case you had any sort of inkling at all to drop Joe Thornton for Mike Comrie... you may want to hold off for about a month. Comrie has been listed with a broken foot and well... it's a long-term injury, so I thought I would put it on here... you know... just as a heads up.

Predators top prospect, Alexander Radulov, doesn't seem to have the moxie to stay up with the big club so far this season. Radulov, today, was sent down to the minors for more practice down there. The blue-chip rookie only potted two goals for the big club and didn't seem to fit into the system there in Nashville. This decision only effects one team now in the pool, as he has been dropped a few times from other teams.

Hockey Night In Canada will play host to four Canadian teams on Saturday... two excellent rivalries will be shown. First of all, Sheldon Souray and the Canadiens will go into the ACC to face Mats Sundin and the Maple Leafs. Souray, is tied for the points lead in Montreal, while Sundin leads the Leafs in pool points. In the second half of the doubleheader, we go to Vancouver where Jarome Iginla and the Flames will be in to face Henrik and Daniel Sedin and the rest of the Canucks. Iginla potted five points with the Flames last week and seems to have some steam going forward, while the twins have a combined 31 points so far this season.

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