Monday, January 14, 2008

Week Sixteen Newsletter

The lead in the Draft is down to 15! That's a 4 point shave from Week Fifteen's newsletter, so there has been progress on catching Chris there at the top of the heap. Both John B. and Stuart shaved off at least 4 points from the lead in the week and things aren't exactly looking up for Chris at the moment.

Chris has suffered from four straight weeks of sub-30 point efforts, while both John and Stuart have been eclipsing that mark on a regular basis. Injuries have plagued Chris over the last couple weeks and that has certainly made things interesting, not to mention the lack of strength his goaltenders have given him with the amount of starts they haven't been getting. How long will it be before he can pull up on the yoke and right the plane from it's tailspin?

But do you think Chris is really sweating his loss in the standings of the Draft? Probably not. His lead in the Sheet is still rather substantial, sitting at 40 points. That is a huge lead in the Sheet pool, where everyone should have been considered equal going in... and Chris still has 2 trades to burn with 14 weeks left. He can suffer through 2 catastrophic injuries to his team and still not blink an eye. This is the pool that is really scary. It really looks as though he could walk through the year with at least the Sheet pool under wraps.

Saying that, I really hope he falls out of the Draft in a hurry and makes it interesting for the rest of us! Ha!

There were 15 votes on the Poll this past week, which I believe is a new high. The NHL MVP question, although somewhat loaded for the polled, was an emphatic hoorah for local boy Jarome Iginla (Aaron). Now I can't honestly say that I disagree, if this was the voting for the Hart Trophy, because frankly, the Flames are only going as far as Iggy can take them. That boy is the catalyst for all the wins in Calgary, since Miikka Kiprusoff (Ryan) hasn't been the guy stealling games from opponents this season. Iginla has been the reason why there has been a revival of Kristian Huselius' (John B.) play this year and it's pretty much the reason why Mike Keenan still has a job in Calgary.

I did find it somewhat surprising that NHL leading scorer Vincent Lecavalier (Stuart) didn't receive a vote. He has arguably been the league's most consistent player through the first half of the season. Instead, those weren't going for Iginla did opt for the league's top goal scorer, Ilya Kovalchuk (Peter).

This week's poll will revolve around this season's best goalie. I'm going to take the year's top five keepers for points in the pool and you jackals can pick apart them to see who your favourite for the Vezina is this year.

In the Draft this past week, it was Peter who had measurably the best week, accumulating a week-high 34 points and moving up 2 spots into 9th place. This is his second consecutive 30+ point week after 3 weeks of being below the 30-point mark, so you can call this some what of a resurrgence of sorts, as he tries to climb back up the totem pole.

Peter had benefitted from the return of Simon Gagne (3 points) in the week. He came back from injury during the week and had a fairly triumphant return at that. Also having a big week for Peter was Joe Thornton (7), Scott Gomez (6) and Ilya Bryzgalov (4). It wasn't necessarily a huge week for big performers, but it was a fairly low-scoring week, so it'll certainly do for the time being.

In the Selection Sheet pool, you can tell there is a lot of separation when the top team in points for the week doesn't move up in the standings at all. But a 63-point week must get a mention, as it was 3 points clear of second place in the week. Lorne S. had a great week, eclipsing his previous best, 57 points, achieved the week before. Only four of his players failed to register a point and he has yet to make a trade this season. His top players in the week were; Joe Thornton (7), Corey Perry (6), Ryan Getzlaf (5) and Roberto Luongo (4).

Apparently, the Basement is an ever-changing landscape in the Draft... between three teams that is. This week, Ryan decided to take a turn down in 23rd spot, after having a week-low 20 points and dropping that one position down into last place.

Between a few injuries and some really cold players, I suppose it shouldn't come as a terrible surprise to see him down there. His top players in the week were Rick DiPietro (4) and Pavol Demitra (3). He had four active players with zero points in the week, two of which were due to injury. But like I had mentioned before, it could be a different team occupying the basement next week, so things could be looking up for Ryan in Week Seventeen.

The Basement Dweller of the Sheet pool is an old Basement favourite, Greg T.. A week low, 32 points also wasn't enough to move anywhere in the standings, but it looked pretty poor. Also not having made a trade this season, Greg had to suffer through 7 players with no points in the week and 6 players who only registered 1 point. If there's a guy in the Sherpa's pools that knows how to live in the Basement, it's Greg!

It was a tough decision this week between two players for the Player of the Week honours, but since 8 points was the benchmark set, the tiebreaker is the number of games it was achieved in. So for Week Sixteen, our Player of the Week was...

J-S Giguere (Dale C.) of the Anaheim Ducks. Giguere went 3-0-0 with a shutout this week for the Ducks, which led the pools in points. Giguere beat Nashville on Monday, shutout the Leafs on Wednesday and defeated the Sharks on Sunday for his perfect record.

Giguere has had a couple hiccups in his season already, but has still posted some impressive numbers nonetheless. He ranks 12 the league for minutes played (1,924) and is tied for 7th in wins (19). He's also tied for 39th in pool scoring with 42 points this season, which could be his only downfall, since he was picked 12th in the Draft. This week you could say he has lived up to his first round billing.

Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff (Ryan) fell to the hot play of the Coyotes on Tuesday, the Islanders on Friday and the Oilers on Sunday to go 0-2-1 in the week, but you don't get points for the overtime loss. So, no points for Kipper! That would mean he's cold!

Other News and Notes

Ask all the people who have Eric Perrin (Box 20), was he in the line-up on Saturday for the Thrashers? Did you get an answer? Probably not. Nobody has him. But he wasn't in the line-up... that's why he gets this note.

The Blue Jackets were without forward Sergei Fedorov (Box 7) on Saturday and as far as the Sherpa heard, he was just a healthy scratch. A rare occurance, if that in fact, is the case. Stay tuned.

The Dallas Stars decided to rest Sergei Zubov (Chris) for a game over the weekend. He has apparently been trying to play through a foot and hand injury, so his rest was somewhat necessary. There is no real concern as to when he'll be back if he's been playing through it anyways, but I'm sure they might give Zubov another game or two off, just to make sure he's 100% for the stretch.

Much the same as Zubov above, Brendan Shanahan (Marcus) was scratched for some much needed rest to his knee. Not a young whipper-snapper anymore, Shanahan has been bothered by a knee problem over the last couple weeks, which has been documented on the Domain (if you've been reading). The rest could be a big benefit to the Rangers, if he can be 100% for a playoff push.

Well, if you thought the loss of Dany Heatley (Jeff) was enough for the Sens, they may have lost Jason Spezza (Chris) with an injury. Spezza was hit by Islanders defenseman Freddie Meyer (non-pool) and was held out of the game for "precautionary measures."

Steve Bernier (non-pool) was scratched on the weekend due to the flu. Just in case you've been eyeing him for the Waiver Draft. Okay, I admit it... I actually thought he was in the Sheet pool. I know you're not really looking at him, 'cuz his stats aren't really up to par this season.

The Canucks beat the Blues on Sunday night, but lost Taylor Pyatt (Box 8) to a facial injury, after taking a puck to the face in the second period of the game. The extent of the damage was mostly dental and the team was unsure if he'll be ready to go for their next game on Tuesday against Columbus. If not Tuesday, then Thursday in Detroit shouldn't be too much of a concern.

Steve Eminger (Box 22) fell victim to being the odd man out again in Washington on Sunday. The young defenseman can't seem to crack the Washington line-up this season for any extended period of time. He's only managed 4 games this season and has only recorded 1 assist. I'm sure the team had higher hopes for Eminger, but he may fall victim to the minors or a minor swap at the deadline, if they can't find a place for him in the regular line-up.

Taking over top spot in the Available Players list in Week Sixteen was Mathieu Garon (Box 12). He has really taken Edmonton by storm. So much so, that he's taking most of the starting minutes away from Dwayne Roloson (Box 6)... and getting wins to boot! I'm sure all the Oil fans agree, it's nice to have a bit more consistency in net, than Rollie the Goalie. And I'm sure Garon fans agree, it's nice to see him finally living up to some of his early career potential. Garon now is the top player available with 34 points. He might be a good fix to a team, which is struggling in net.

Well, it doesn't look like a promising Hockey Night in Canada for all you Flames fans out there reading the news, because the late game will feature the Los Angeles Kings in Vancouver to take on the Canucks. Needless to say, the Sherpa is pretty pleased, since it's been a few weeks since the Canucks have been on HNIC. This will be the Kings' 3rd appearance on our nation's favourite TV broadcast this season and they are 2-0-0 when broadcast on CBC. So maybe that's some good news for you Flames fans reading this blurb.

The early game out here in the West will be the Sabres in Toronto to face the Leafs (surprise!).

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