Monday, December 01, 2008

Week Nine Newsletter

Well, we're roughly one-third of the way through the season now, after completing Week Nine, and the Waiver Draft was also completed on time, but just barely.

It was a bit of a surprise to see Christian Ehrhoff be taken first overall in the Waiver Draft by Grant, as defensemen points aren't normally quite as high as points from forwards. Ehrhoff, the top defenseman available, was undoubtedly going to be taken high in the pool, but he did surprise many as being the first one taken. The top player available at the Draft, Devin Setoguchi, then went second to Derek, who managed to drop talent that was toiling in the minors. The San Jose Sharks accounted for four picks in the first round of the draft and one more in the second round, which gave them 5 of the eventual 31 player changes made.

The Week Nine leader, John B., didn't need to make any changes in the Waiver Draft, as he has himself a solid team that has gone without injury this season and will hold off until the Week Eighteen draft to make any necessary changes. Our Week Eight leader, John P., managed to drop two forwards who were struggling and picked up two forwards who are healthy and producing, which makes for a scary combination, as he begins the week in third, only 5 points behind first place. Two more forwards could be key to some major success.

There are a few players that were dropped in this Waiver Draft that may get some consideration for the next one, as their injuries may have been healed by then. Look for Marian Gaborik, Martin Brodeur, Sergei Gonchar, Rick DiPietro and Andy McDonald to be sized up in Week Eighteen to possibly close the gap from near the bottom.

Well, now that the Draft is done, the players will have to be put in place for active duty. This will hopefully be done before the 5-game schedule tonight. Good luck with your new picks everyone!

Poll Question
This past week's poll question asked you where you thought Mats Sundin would end up when he signs in the NHL. Well, there were six selections to choose from and Toronto wasn't taken at all, which sounds about right. Sundin is likely (according to the poll) to end up in New York, more likely with the Rangers. With only nine votes during the week, New York ended up taking a third of them, while Vancouver and Ottawa each took a pair of votes each. Couldn't really consider this to be a solid poll for actual opinion, but it could be close.

This week, since we just finished the Waiver Draft in the Draft pool, I thought I would consider a change to the format of the Draft, possibly allowing more players to be dropped in the week. I know it took the entire week to do two rounds of the Draft, but it was asked if I would consider it. So, do you think the Waiver Draft would be good with more rounds (than two)?

It was a pretty decent week in scoring in the Draft pool, accumulating 444 points from our current batch of players. The race for Mover & Shaker this week was actually pretty close, as it changed hands a few times in the course of the week. Finally, only one team finished with the top amount of points, 34, one point better than three other teams, and that was Dale C.. This is his second Mover & Shaker award of the season, after winning the smaller Week One award with only 9 points, thanks to the European part of the calendar. For his trouble, Dale earns the last of the oversized cards, a Patrick Kane oversized card from Upper Deck.

It was a pretty solid week for contributions on Dale's team, carrying two injured players and one cold player as the only players to get zero points, while Henrik Lundqvist and Brad Richards led his team in scoring with 6 points a piece. Also having decent weeks for Dale were Thomas Vanek and Sheldon Souray, who each recorded 4 points in Week Nine.

In the Waiver Draft, Dale managed to upgrade a forward and a defenseman for the coming 9-week period, which should help him earn another shot at the M&S award in the near future.

A moving and shaking week it was for Don in the Sheet pool this week, scoring 81 points (second in the pool) and moving up nine spots to 16th place. A very commendable week for Don, as he looks to climb back to his former glory of winning or finishing in the money in the Sherpa's pools. Don's best players in the week were Sidney Crosby (9 points), Evgeni Malkin (8), Evgeni Nabokov (6), Jarome Iginla (5), Curtis Glencross (5) and Mikael Samuelsson (5). A very productive week to say the least. He still finds himself a little ways behind the money positions at the moment, but with more weeks like that, he'll be rolling around in it in no time.

It was another tie for the Basement Dweller award in the Draft this past week. 16 points was our lowest weekly total for Week Nine and two teams earned that distinction. That's the second tie for the bottom in the last three weeks. It looks like the Waiver Draft couldn't come at a better time. Unfortunatley, in case of a tie, we'll go right to the tie-breaker, which is the most positions lost in the Standings and that distinction goes to Dale B., who dropped down from 10th spot down to 14th, only the week after the spots were determined for the Waiver Draft. That's pretty unlucky. Nevertheless, Dale managed to pick up some quality scoring to make up for his lack thereof in the Waiver Draft and hopefully he can get himself back in the race here, sooner rather than later.

In the Basement of the Sheet pool this week was our friend Matt E., who decided to go with all Detroit and Montreal players. This was a week where they didn't get as many games on the same week as the rest of the league, which causes a large breakdown in points for ol' Matt. I do believe this is his second Basement appearance of the season and I could forsee a couple more. I don't think I'll go into much depth as to where the points didn't come from, as there are a few injuries to both teams that Matt is taking hits for. It's almost no wonder as to why he's 41st in the pool, yet surprisingly not absolutely last.

Well, it was a bit of a slow start for Sidney Crosby this season, but he's finally putting together a solid season, now ranking second in league scoring with 34 points, after a week-high 9 points in, coincidentally, Week Nine. How do you like that? This is Crosby's first PotW award of the season, surprisingly one award better than his teammate, Evgeni Malkin, who does lead the league in scoring.

Crosby, the first overall pick in the Draft by Chris, dazzled the league in only three games this past week for the league-lead in the points. On Wednesday, the Penguins were on Long Island, where the team came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 5-3 and Crosby had a goal and two assists. On Friday, the Penguins were in Buffalo and Crosby had a pair of goals, as they fell 4-3 to the Sabres. Finally, on Saturday, the Penguins beat up on the Devils, 4-1, and Sid had himself a hat-trick and an assist to cap off his week. Now that's pretty impressive. I don't think there is going to be another week like that any time soon from one of our Waiver Draft picks. It does look like Crosby will have himself a good finish to the year, as he contends for the scoring title.

Without the likes of Joe Sakic in the line-up for the Avalanche, it has really seemed to turn the rest of the scoring down a few notches, down to 'brrrrrr!' Paul Statsny, a Draft pick of Dale B., didn't manage to record a point during Week Nine and has seemingly fallen off of his usually torrid pace. Milan Hejduk, a Draft pick of Wes, was also down to a frigid zero points in the week, which left the team in disarray, having them tied for last place in the Northwest Division with only 22 points. It's getting cold in Denver and quite quickly, I might add.

Other News and Notes

It was revealed on Sunday that the Bruins lost the services of Box 29 defenseman Aaron Ward to an apparent leg injury. The details of the injury were not readily available, but the team is skeptical on whether or not Ward will be ready to go for their next game on Thursday night. You may want to move Ward, just in case.

Unbeknown to most, it may have been a wise decision to pick up Michael Leighton from the Hurricanes during the Waiver Draft, as Cam Ward, a Draft pick of Wes', left Sunday's match against Anaheim due to an apparent lower body injury. Ward did not return to the Hurricanes' net after the first period and left the tending duties to his deputy, Leighton. There isn't any further word of Ward's status, but it will be updated as soon as it comes down.

Bad news has hit the Avalanche, as Joe Sakic has been sidelined indefinitely with his back injury. Sakic tried to make a return this week, but has since been sidelined again, not playing in the team's Saturday match-up against Tampa Bay. Sakic, a Draft pick of Wes', will now sit until his back feels better. The team will want Sakic to be 100% if he is to make his return this season. I wonder if the contemplation of retirement has started to happen.

Box 5 forward, Eric Belanger, sat out on Saturday night with an undisclosed injury, which has him listed as out day-to-day. Belanger has had a decent start to the season, cracking the Top 23 forwards available in the Waiver Draft, with 13 points in 21 games for Minnesota. Belanger wasn't taken in the Draft, but if he can get healthy, he could put a good stretch together to be drafted the second time around.

The rotating door of defensemen in the desert continued to turn, as David Hale, a Box 14 defender, was sitting for the Coyotes on Saturday night for the game against the Sharks. Hale has been a constant scratch for the Coyotes, which keeps his fantasy value very low. Don't pick up Hale this season.

The Penguins are still not going to disclose any injury information this season. Both Phillipe Boucher and Pascal Dupuis sat on Saturday night against the Devils with undisclosed injuries and both are listed as out day-to-day. Without any injury information, it's hard to give you any insight into the team and their situation.

The injuries couldn't be too bad, as they sent Janne Pesonen back to the minors after recalling him before the weekend for their games. Pesonen did figure into both games that he was recalled for, but failed to register points in either game. Now, he can continue his torrid scoring pace in the AHL, where he was enjoying a lot of success.

The Sharks were without slumping forward, Jonathan Cheechoo, because of an upper body injury on Saturday against the Coyotes. Cheechoo, a Draft pick of Benson, hasn't been very productive this season, only scoring 4 goals and 4 assists in 19 games for San Jose this season. Cheechoo has been replaced on the top line by Devin Setoguchi, who is a Waiver Draft pick of Derek's.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

There was one trade on the weekend in the NHL, seeing defenseman Andrew Hutchinson dealt from Tampa Bay to Dallas for Finnish prospect forward Lauri Tukonen. Hutchinson has been playing in the Lightning's minor system this season, while Tukonen left for Europe after training camp after not making the big club. Neither player has much for fantasy value right now, but Tukonen may have some futures value in the long run.

Hockey Night in Canada

Looks like it's going to be another electric night of hockey on Saturday night. Alexander Ovechkin will be visiting Vesa Toskala in the early game, as the Capitals will storm the ACC to take on the Leafs. A high speed game is what you should expect out of these two teams. In the late game, the Oilers travel down to San Jose to take on the Sharks. New Waiver Draft pick, Dwayne Roloson, will likely be in net against a number of other Waiver picks taken this past week. It's another 12-game schedule next Saturday, so it should be a high-scoring weekend for the pool... good news!

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