Well, the Sheet pool isn't quite as interesting as the Draft is at the moment, but I thought I would open with it. Chris remains in the lead in the Sheet pool and he still leads by a fair margin of 51 points. This is a massive lead when it all comes down to it. I am still rather perplexed at how far ahead he got in a pool where everyone has every opportunity to have the same players... and not only is he winning, he's pulling away. He managed to have 3 more points in Week Seventeen than second place, Don. Thankfully, there is some movement in the money spots, as Don moved up from 5th to 2nd place.
Of course the Draft is where it's at. Chris, still leads the Draft, but now the lead is only down to 3 points! John B. managed to knock off 12 points from the lead during the week, while Stuart even managed to catch 9 more points to the leader. Actually, only 4 teams in the Draft didn't gain at least a point on our leader. This is what makes it all very exciting and enjoyable, since every team has different players and injuries affect teams differently. Chris has had his fair share of injuries already and thus is falling from the top, which has the rest of the top teams excited to catch him and quite possibly pass him.
Doesn't it make you want to join the Draft next season?
For Week Seventeen, it was two polls for your voting pleasure since Curtis Joseph (non-pool) joined the Flames. But first of all, Roberto Luongo (John B.) was considered the best goalie among the 15 voters who took the first poll of the week. Luongo garnered 40% of the votes, while Martin Brodeur (Don) was considered the second best goalie this season with 26%. It's good see some parity since a Flame wasn't an option.
But then the Flames were the main consideration of the second poll of the week. How did the people think the Flames were going to do now that they have added Joseph to their ranks. The survey says... complete overhaul! Well, actually the poll points to a good direction for the Flames... 6 of 11 votes said that the Flames were either going in a positive direction or that they wouldn't change the course. Very interesting... forever the optimists, eh?
For Week Eighteen, we'll talk rookies. Who is your best bet for the Calder Trophy this year?
Well, the Mover & Shaker in the Draft pulled more points on the money positions with a big 34-point week. Benson made up some ground on 3rd place and pulled away from 5th place to make his 4th place much safer. It may only be a matter of time when Benson finds himself in a money position as his team is getting hot, right before the All-Star Game.
Benson had a solid week from Vesa Toskala (6 points), Mike Richards (5), J-P Dumont (4) and Mike Green (4). Only one of those players will be heading to the All-Star Game... can ya guess which one? Well, it's not the Maple Leaf... I can assure you of that. Yeah, you're right... it's Richards.
On the Sheet, it's back-to-back weeks for Lorne as a M&S. Lorne moved up 4 spots in the week, after having the second biggest point total at 57 points. Lorne didn't move up the week before with his 63 points, but it did lead up to this week where he was able to move past some of his rivals. Lorne now sits in 25th spot and is inching towards the Top 20, which must be a goal for him and his team. Lorne had a big week from Ryan Getzlaf (8 points), Corey Perry (6), Peter Mueller (6), Henrik Zetterberg (4), Mathieu Schneider (4) and Tim Thomas (4).
Well, it's a pretty cold team sitting in the basement this week. Jeff has had a pretty cold last couple of weeks. He hasn't cracked the 30-point barrier in the last 4 weeks and only once in the last 8 weeks. This could generally be accounted towards the number of injuries he has suffered in the past couple weeks, including his top scorer and number one pick, Dany Heatley. Jeff still managed 18 points in the week and he didn't have many players who didn't score. His top players in the week were Andrew Brunette and Tobias Enstrom with 3 points a piece.
And as a matter of fact, Jeff take both Basement positions... both in the Draft (above) and the Sheet as well. Jeff dropped 3 spots in the Sheet pool thanks to a poor 34-point week, tied for second worst week. Jeff had 7 players with 0 points in the week, which could very well be the biggest reason as to why he dropped those spots.
In only 2 games this week, our Player of the Week earned himself 8 points. A pretty substantial number for less than 120 minutes worth of work.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had some concerns in net through the season, but when Johan Holmqvist (Clayton) posts back-to-back shutouts in the week, you wonder where the concern came from. Holmqvist shut out the Penguins and the Senators in the back half of the week. It's quite funny, both teams that Holmqvist shut out lost their best players in the week, so you could say that he got it pretty easy to earn his 8 points. I'm sure he'll take them any way he can get 'em.
On the cold side of the table, Saku Koivu (Jeff) didn't register a point for the Habs in the week and he was one of the biggest reasons as to why Jeff found himself in the basement for the week. Koivu hasn't been producing as well as some of his teammates and if the Canadiens want to make the playoffs, Koivu will have to up his production level in the coming weeks.
Other News and Notes
Sergei Fedorov (Box 7) and Ron Hainsey (Jeff) both missed their weekend games for the Blue Jackets with some minor injuries. Fedorov was out with a hip pointer and Hainsey was out with a bruised back. Both injuries are not considered serious, but they still could miss some more action in the coming week.
The Blue Jackets aren't done with injuries. Duvie Westcott (Box 11) was sent down to the minors on the weekend, since he can't seem to crack the line-up for any extended period of time. He passed through waivers without any problem and would have to clear re-entry waivers if he was to re-join the team.
Jordan Leopold (non-pool) has not seen much action over the past few games. There hasn't been much indication as to whether or not it's because of an injury or whether or not he needs rest as he may not be 100% in game shape.
The nagging foot injury is keeping Sergei Zubov (Chris) out of the line-up at the moment. The Stars don't likely need to risk their number one defenseman at the moment, rather having him healthy for the stretch run.
Ladislav Nagy (Benson) sat out of the Kings' Saturday game with a sore neck. Nagy has been pretty cold this season, only scoring 26 points in 39 games. It's a fair amount of points, but I'm sure both Benson and the Kings fans were expecting a lot more.
Wade Dubielewicz (Box 24) wasn't getting a lot of work with the Islanders of late, so the team thought he could use some quality minutes with their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He should be returning soon.
Marek Malik (Box 22) has not been a favourite of the coaching staff this season. The likelihood of him getting traded before the deadline is quite high. A change of scenary will probably do him some good... anything would be better than the press box.
Christian Backman (Box 10) was a bit of a surprise scratch on the weekend. Backman only has 10 points this season and may need a bit of an eye opener, since the Blues are 0-3-1 in their last 4.
The Capitals sat Chris Clark (Box 19) and Steve Eminger (Box 22) on the weekend. Clark is still coming back from a groin injury and likely needs a couple extra days to get himself back into game shape. Eminger on the other hand has been a regular scratch for the team. I wouldn't be surprised to see him move before the trade deadline as well.
You guessed it! Hockey Night in Canada will have the All-Star Game on Sunday and all the All-Star Festivities on Saturday. The Western All-Stars will go down to Atlanta to face-off against the Eastern All-Stars. The game will face-off at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
NHL, Hockey, Hockey Pool