Monday, March 10, 2008

Week Twenty-Four Newsletter

It was error correction day on Monday. Many points had been missing, but now they are correct on the Sheet. They have apparently been wrong for quite a while. If you didn't have Joe Thornton or Daniel Sedin in Box 1, you were missing points since about Week 13. Talk about embarrassing. Nobody really seemed to notice, which I found even odder, but I apologize for all the confusion. It's been something else of late. Even Dennis on the Draft was missing a great deal of points from his goaltending from the past month or so, but now that has been corrected and everyone should be in their rightful place in both pools. It was going to be right one of these days, so no one will be without points for the last few weeks of the year. I hope.

Well, the poll question was accidentially deleted during the week and well, I wasn't too terribly worried. It was supposed to be about which team had done the best at the trade deadline. Well, there were only three votes and there was only likely to be nine. It's really hard to think that I still need a poll, but sure... I'll do one more. We'll see what happens. So, what should the poll be for the week? Well, the playoffs are only weeks away and yes, we'll be back at doing the playoff pool this season. So... are you getting excited for the playoff pool this year? The rules have been posted online at the main website, but there is a link for you here. The pool selection sheet will be made available online for all of you, but the paper copies will be ciruclated as well. This all gets started on March 22nd!

The gap has been closed. No, not at the mall. The Gap at the mall will live forever in the corporate machine. The lead in the Draft evaporated this week when Clayton ended up having a the best week since Chris' 51 points in Week Twelve, with 49 points. With that big week, the lead had gone from 22 to 1 and the heat should remain on, since there are a number of guys on Clayton's team who are on fire.

All but one player ended up registering points for Clayton in Week Twenty-Four. Only Johan Holmqvist was blanked, but he didn't get to see much ice (other than in warm-up) as he now is the back up in Dallas. The most notable players for Clayton in the week were Alexander Ovechkin (10 points), Jose Theodore (8), Eric Staal (6), Alexei Kovalev (5) and Patrik Elias (4). I know what you're thinking... 'how did you let this guy get all these good players?'

The big mover on the Sheet was Chris B. down near the bottom. His team decided they didn't want to be as far down as they were and moved up from 36th to 34th with a 50-point week. His big week was attributed to Jose Theodore (8), Sami Salo (4), Roberto Luongo (4), Sidney Crosby (4) and Bryan McCabe (4). It wasn't necessarily the biggest week in the Sheet pool, but it sure looks good when you get to move up a couple of spots, no matter where you actually sit in the standings.

Among one of the tighter groups of the Draft, Dieter found himself falling down two spots, down to 10th in the week. His 22 points was not enough to keep pace with Peter and Wes, who vaulted ahead of him, but it isn't by much. Dieter is still only 3 points out of 8th spot. His 38 player games this week should help him out with climbing back into place here this week. Dieter had no help from his defensemen this past week, as none of them picked up any points. His best players in the week were Marty Turco (4) and Olli Jokinen (4).

The biggest fall came from Chad and his 3-spot drop. Chad only managed to snake 42 points in the week and he had a hard time keeping up with the rest of his competitors in the sub-1000 points group of teams. There were nine zeros on his team sheet, which was likely to sink his team in any spot.

Well, it's pretty obvious (if you've read the M&S) who the Player of the Week honours go to. His pace in the week had earned him top spot in the scoring race and he's got a mile-long lead in the race for the Rocket Richard trophy.

Alexander Ovechkin (Clayton) lit up the skies with a dazzling performance through the week with 10 points. In the 10-2 drubbing of Boston on Monday, Ovie managed to pick up a hat-trick in the first period and then tallied a pair of assists later on in the game. On Wednesday in Buffalo, he scored another pair of goals to bring his season tally up to 54. In the rematch against Boston, the Bruins held the Capitals to only one goal, but Ovie did manage an assist on that goal. Finally, on Sunday, the Capitals faced off against the Penguins and Ovechkin still managed 2 assists against his young superstar counterparts. All in all, it was a monster week.

It's been four games since Thomas Vanek (Chris) managed to record a point and he has been a lousy -5 in those games. He and the Sabres have been pretty cold, only going 1-3-1 in their last five games and they will open the week with a game against the Rangers. Vanek will have to re-gain his touch to propel Chris back into the money positions in the Draft.

Other News and Notes

The Bruins were without their hulking defenseman, Zdeno Chara (Benson) on Sunday against the Rangers due to a shoulder injury. Chara suffered the injury on Saturday, but still managed to finish the contest and scored the game-tying goal against the Capitals. Chara is likely to miss the next game for the Bruins as well, but those should be the only games he'll miss.

The Hurricanes rested veteran defenseman Glen Wesley (Box 17) on Saturday night, since they had Bret Hedican (Box 22) returning to the line-up, after his personal leave of absence. The Southeast Division leading Hurricanes should have all their blueliners ready for this last stretch of games, just to keep them in the third seed in the East.

It looks as though the Hurricanes' forward, Ray Whitney (Jeff), is battling a groin injury. It's been keeping him out of the line-up for the past few games and it may continue to do so through this week. The team has been winning of late, so there probably isn't a big rush to get him back before the playoffs start.

On the return of Nicklas Lidstrom (Benson) on Sunday, the Red Wings were without forward Tomas Holmstrom (Don) due to a groin injury. There hasn't been any indication on whether or not the injury is severe or not, but there is a good possibility that the team will be without him for another game or two this week.

It seems to be the season of resting players before the playoffs and Mark Parrish (Box 9) has qualified for some rest because of his aches and pains. Parrish has had some back problems and other ailments through the season and it looks like the Wild want Parrish to be closer to 100% when they hit the playoffs, since they have a cushion before losing any playoff spot.

It looks like the Wild will be without Eric Belanger (Don) for an extended period of time due to a broken toe. Belanger broke his foot blocking a shot on Friday night and didn't suit up for the team on Sunday. The team will know more about the time he'll miss after the swelling goes down and they are able to examine him better.

The Predators lost forward David Legwand (John P.) on Friday night against the Flames to a foot injury. Legwand is currently listed as out day-to-day with his foot injury, so it shouldn't keep him out of the line-up for too long.

All week, Sharks defenseman Matt Carle (Box 5) has been sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch. It was thought that Carle was sitting out with an injury, but there was nothing to actually say that for sure. Carle is scheduled to be on the playoff pool sheet, but if he continues to be a healthy scratch, he may have to be swapped for someone a little more regular in the line-up.

I don't know about you, but another game down in the desert makes me believe that the guys at CBC are taking advantage of the schedule and taking in a little bit more warm weather than the rest of us. The late game this coming weekend will be the Oilers being entertained by the Coyotes. The Coyotes are still hunting for a playoff spot, while the Oilers are playing with very little to play for... and doing that well.

In the early games, it will be a split network again. Of course, if you have satellite, you should be able to watch all of them, but the breakdown should give us Vancouver down in Dallas out here in the West, while the Leafs use their last gasp of playoff hope at home against Buffalo. Thankfully, we should get the Canucks & Stars, which has plenty of playoff implications.

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