Well, it's a bit of a late newsletter, but thankfully it's still on Monday. It's been a busy day at the office and well, there was a lot to look over when it comes to injuries. I suppose injuries could be the topic of the headline, as I really hadn't thought of anything that could be part of the headline after Week Twelve.
As I'm writing the headline, there are several injuries on the list that are lot more long-term, rather than day-to-day, despite there being a lot of day-to-day injuries. All these injuries shouldn't be surprising, as they happen every season, but I always kind of thought that when I put together the Selection Sheet, that a lot of these guys are a little less prone to injuries than the other depth players. Of course, you come to expect some stars or superstars to get hurt... that's where all the bad press comes from. That and big goons taking heads off.
Hmmmmm... really, I think I'm just rambling here. Without a real direction or much for name dropping, the injury idea was kind of a lost cause. I think next week, the World Junior preview will make for a good headline. Yeah! I'll leave this crappy headline with the idea that I should have a good one waiting for you next week. Hell... I might get started on it soon!
Oh my... I'm up to 11 votes now on the poll. I might have to continue rolling with these Flames poll questions. But I really don't wanna... if you continue on down into this newsletter, you'll see why. I mean, the Flames! Yuck! Well, anyways 45% of those 11 votes were pretty keen on seeing Mike Keenan ousted from behind the bench. Well, they are pretty sure he'll be the one first off the chopping block. Let's not forget... with a winning streak like the one they are on, you have to believe we're more than likely going to see a player go. The popular player on the block was Alex Tanguay (John B.). The rumours of him going to Montreal seem to have quelled for now, but Tanguay may find himself on the block if the team cools down really soon.
This week's poll will centre around the Maple Leafs. They're having some serious injury troubles... and they're right in the midst of the playoff race... in December. With McCabe's injury, will they fall out of the race?
It's hard not to notice a monster week in the Draft like 51 points. It's beginning to look like the lead is nearly untouchable with such a hot team like Chris' at the forefront. Every player on Chris' active roster manage to snag at least a point, with only 2 players registering a single point. Jason Spezza had 9 points, Sergei Zubov had 8 points and Martin Gerber had 5 to lead the team to a record week. He also had four players with 4 points on his team, which is fairly incredible. It's quite the lucky combination of players... but he could also consider it all an early Christmas present.
Chris has now increased his lead to 28 points, which will be tough to overcome... the real question will be 'who will finish second?'
If you thought Chris had a jaw-dropping week in the Draft, then you should go over to the Selection Sheet pool, where Ryan had a 95-point week! 95 points! That's what I call having all the right guys at the right time. Kristian Huselius (11 points), Jarome Iginla (10), Miikka Kiprusoff (9), Jason Spezza (9), Daymond Langkow (6) and Adrian Aucoin (5) all led the way for Ryan and his HUGE week. Man, that's a lot of Flames. I suppose it finally paid off to have all your eggs in one basket, eh Ryan? With that big week, Ryan jumped up the Standings 6 spots, from 14th to 8th. This is the first week Ryan finished in the Top 10.
A week-low 16 points dropped Wes 4 spots in the Standings, going from 4th to 7th in a matter of a week. It seems that the teams around him have also become a little warmer on the weekly point tally. He didn't get a lot of help from his players this past week... he had 6 active players on his list without a point in Week Twelve, which is a recipe for disaster itself. Of his 16 points in the week, Evgeni Nabokov (6) and Henrik Zetterberg (4) accounted for 10 of them. Unlike the leader of the pool, Wes didn't get much support from his lesser players, while his superstars are still giving him some points.
It was a tough week for Caterina in the Selection Sheet pool. She managed to drop 8 spots in the standings after a 41-point week. She was one of the few that didn't invest in the Calgary program and found there was some suffering in the standings. It wasn't to say she had a terrible week in the pool, most of her players managed to get points, but it just wasn't the big bonanza points that quite a few other teams managed to collect from. Her biggest performers only managed 4 points in the week.
Blame it on my club biases, but it always gives me a nautious feeling when I have to put a Calgary Flame on top of the heap as the Player of the Week. There's that feeling now... my vision gets blurry, a little bit of a headache... uhhhhhh... I might just have to throw up a little bit before continuing.
In four games this week, Kristian Huselius (John B.) managed 5 goals and 6 assists for 11 points. And to think, he was actually shutout of points on Tuesday. So, technically, he scored 11 points in 3 games. Yeow! That's a hot tamale. In Tampa on Thursday, he had his biggest game with a hat trick and 2 assists in the big 9-6 win over the Lightning.
The Flames have one more game on the road in Columbus on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets defensively have been pretty good, so it will be interesting if the hot streak will continue for Huselius.
The Lightning are really reeling with their goaltending situation as Johan Holmqvist (Clayton) has not been the goaltender that they need down the stretch. Holmqvist appeared in all three games for Tampa through the week, if only for 13 minutes against Calgary on Tuesday. He still has managed 13 wins this season, but with all the scoring the Lightning have... he should be winning more games.
Other News and Notes
The word isn't terrible on Cory Stilmman's (Dale C.) injury, but his knee and ankle will take some time to recover from an awkward fall over the weekend. Stillman will be rested through the Christmas Break.
The Oilers will have to wait up to 4 weeks to know if Raffi Torres (Box 8) will even need surgery for a long-term injury solution on his knee. Torres injured himself in Detroit and missed the tilt against Vancouver on Saturday. If surgery is needed, you could almost expect Torres to be out close to the rest of the season, which is a major blow to any pool team... and the Oilers for that matter.
The Panthers have lost the services of winger Ville Peltonen (Box 20) for a month. Peltonen suffered a broken foot this past week and has already missed a game for the club. He wasn't a popular pick, nor should he be in the future.
The Canadiens are now back to their normal tandem in the crease as Cristobel Huet (Stuart) has returned to the line-up, backing up Carey Price (Marcus) for the time being. To make room, Jaroslav Halak (Box 24) has now been moved back to Hamilton in the AHL.
The Senators are winning again and they have missed Mike Fisher (John P.) over the last couple games to boot. Fisher had suffered an abdominal injury over the weekend and missed Sunday's contest and will likely miss at least one more game with the injury. He is skating at the moment, but this is nothing that he will want to rush back, especially since the team is winning.
On Sunday, Kimmo Timonen (Marcus) sat out against the Devils and on Monday it was cited that the blueliner missed the game with a lower back injury. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but I don't think anyone would be surprised if he missed a week.
The Maple Leafs will not have Bryan McCabe (Benson) in their line-up for the next 8 weeks. He had undergone hand surgery to repair breaks in three places. The Leafs will be hard pressed to make up that sort of offense from the blueline, especially since Tomas Kaberle (John P.) isn't scoring at his regular pace.
The Canucks learned on Monday that Brendan Morrison (Box 7) will now sit for up to 12 weeks after his wrist surgery. This would put him back in time to get 6 weeks worth of play before the playoffs.
Again the early game on HNIC will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs, now sans Bryan McCabe (Benson), playing the Florida Panthers, while we could be watching the young Chicago Blackhawks take on the Senators. Which game would be better? I mean, c'mon!
In the second game, the Canucks will travel to the desert to take on the Phoenix Coyotes. It isn't exactly the Canucks versus the Jets like it once was, but it might just do. The Canucks should have Roberto Luongo (John B.) back between the pipes this week and should be ready to go against Phoenix.
NHL, Hockey, Hockey Pool