Monday, February 09, 2009

Week Nineteen Newsletter

I'm kinda tapped out. Ha ha. The Waiver Drafts are done in the Draft. Trades are still kind of trickling in for the last nine weeks of the season. Since I'm not personally in the money in either pool, it's hard to stay excited about the pools and rather just the playoff chances of the Canucks. The races are nice & tight in both pools, which is good for competition.

Anyways, I'm actually writing this last... it's already 11am, so I'm kind of out of ideas. Maybe next week I'll have something great!

Poll Question
Last week, I gave you a list of five potential unrestricted free agents that the Red Wings have to deal with this summer and I wanted to know which one you preferred to have on your favourite team... if they had the chance to sign him. A solid 9 votes were cast and Marian Hossa was the unanimous decision, taking 7 of the 9 votes. Why wouldn't you want Hossa? Just look below in the Player of the Week column... was that just a coincidence or what? Getting the other two votes was Johan Franzen, who does provide some good goal scoring and net presence as well, but he couldn't compare to the highest priced forward on the list.

In the same vein of wanting players on your favourite team, how about everyone's favourite target for ridicule and hatred, Sean Avery? This week's poll, on the news that he has cleared waivers and the Stars want to get rid of him, do you want him on your team?

It was another mediocre week in scoring for the Draft, but there was a lot of separation, yet again, between the top and the bottom of the pool, which made for some pretty big numbers for the top teams. For Week Nineteen, John P. took home the prize with a whopping 38 points, his first 30+ point effort in seven weeks. Of course, as well as the Canucks are doing, that's as well as John is doing and it hasn't been the best of times for him of late. Luckily, they had a good comeback week in Week Nineteen and John managed to start reeling in points again. This is his second M&S award of the year, his first coming all the way back in Week Two. He also starts the final ten-week segment of the season with an early lead and a little extra hope to climb back into the money positions.

His top players in the week were Marian Hossa (7 points), Jeff Carter (5), Roberto Luongo (4) and four others with 3 points a piece. His two new Waiver Draft pick-ups that became active this past week did chip in a little, as Cam Barker had 3 points in his first 3 games and Patrik Berglund also had a point in his first 3 games of activity.

For his efforts this week, John managed to reel in another prize and it was a Marc Staal retro card from OPC, plus, it's base card in the set, which came together this year. Congrats to John on that. This week, we'll move away from the retro cards (for now) and pull out a jersey card for your liking. This time it features Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars and a swatch from one of his jerseys attached to the card. It's sure a nice looking card. Good luck to all those Draft participants.

On the Sheet, it was a pretty monster week for Chris, who finished off with 84 points and moving himself up to his peak position this year, into 12th spot, up four from 16th. He has slowly climbed his way up the standings this year, doing this while only using three trades this season. Chris enjoyed big weeks from Pavel Datsyuk (7 points), Marian Hossa (7), Jere Lehtinen (7), Mike Green (6), Nicklas Lidstrom (5) and Evgeni Malkin (5). That's a mighty fine collection of talent Chris had in the week and he's well on his way to contending for a spot in the money again this year. He'll just need a couple more weeks like that to gain some more ground.

It has been one rough year for Dale B. in the Draft, as he's had his share of injuries and poor play of late. His team only chimed in with 10 points in Week Nineteen, despite the fact he added two new players to his roster. Neither one of his new acquisitions contributed, as both Bill Guerin and Manny Fernandez were stymied. Henrik Zetterberg (3 points), J-S Giguere (2) and Slava Kozlov (2) accounted for 70% of his points in the week, which is terrible news. Injuries to Rod Brind'Amour and Paul Statsny have hurt his team greatly and now Alex Goligoski, who had fallen off the map in Pittsburgh, has been sent down to the minors to refresh his game. Dale still has a 30-point lead on Grant in the Draft, but after weeks like this, the basement could be a tight race down the stretch.

Losing some ground on the money positions on the Sheet was Scott G., who dropped four places to 16th after a 45-point week, 3 points from bottom in the week. Scott has used up all of his trades this year, so he'll have to hope for a big turnaround week to get himself back into contention, but like our M&S on the Sheet, it only takes one week to get from 16th to 12th. Out of Scott's active 32 players, he had 13 of them fail to register a point in the week, which generally is the leading cause of most Basement Dwelling situations. He should be able to get it to turn around though, as he does have a lot of talent on that team, who just decided to have a cold week.

Believe it or not, we had a 3-way tie for the Player of the Week award and we're now going to have to bring it down to a tie-breaker to decide who gets their picture posted up here on the blog this week. In contention are a pair of Red Wings and a Blues player... so, it's a Central Division clash for the honour. Since the tie-breaker will involve three forwards, I think the easiest tie-breaker in this case will be goals scored and this race isn't even close.

With 6 goals and 1 assist, it should come as no surprise that Marian Hossa comes away with the Player of the Week honour, as he managed to wow everyone with his goal-scoring prowess. He joined the 30-goal club, which has an exclusive membership of only five players, this week and helped lift John P. to his M&S award of the week. Not bad for an unrestricted free agent pick-up in the summer.

In four games this week, he managed to snag at least a goal in all of them, scoring a pair of goals in games against St. Louis and Phoenix, early in the week. His only assist came in the romp against Edmonton on Saturday and his only single-point game came yesterday against the Penguins, where he scored a goal.

Likely not enjoying the frigid temperatures of the cold player designation is Martin Biron of the Philadelphia Flyers, who hasn't had much luck when it comes to his season this year. Of late, Biron has not played very well and there is some rumblings that the Flyers are looking to make Antero Niittymaki their full-time guy in the crease. Biron was the only player on Benson's Draft team that failed to register a point, as he was in the hunt for the M&S award for the week as well. Biron will have to find some luck here pretty quick, as the Flyers have back-to-back wins with Niittymaki in net.

Other News and Notes

The flu bug has struck the Bruins dressing room, as Aaron Ward sat out on Saturday night with the illness. If it hasn't been one thing keeping Ward out of the line-up, it's certainly been another. The flu is just one of a few ailments that has caused Ward to miss some time this year. In 39 games played, he has a goal and 5 assists.

Huge blow to the Sabres occurred on the weekend, as Thomas Vanek blocked a shot with his face and he has suffered a broken jaw because of it. The Draft pick of Dale C. will now miss upwards of four weeks, likely three, and will have to come back with a face shield for a few weeks after his return as well. Vanek has been solidly in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy this year, but had fallen off the pace a little of late. In 54 games, Vanek has 32 goals and 20 assists, making up a good portion of Dale's production this season.

It was back to the press box for Frank Kaberle on Saturday night, as the once-waived defender couldn't find a spot in the line-up for the game against the Coyotes. The Box 28 defender has spent numerous nights in the press box already this season and may have himself a new home, come the trade deadline. Carolina could likely use him to parlay a new player for their line-up to help them make a push for the playoffs.

The Blue Jackets can't seem to escape the injury bug, as Mike Commodore was kept out of the line-up on Saturday because of an undisclosed injury. Commodore, a Waiver Draft pick-up for Marcus, wasn't able to dress in a win against the Sharks. There is no word as to how long Commodore will be out of the line-up, but if it is long-term, it shall be posted here when it's announced.

The Avalanche are waiting on word how bad Milan Hejduk's facial injury is after he also blocked a shot with his face over the weekend. Hejduk could almost fare as badly as Vanek, which isn't good news for Ryan, who has him in the Draft. Stay tuned for Hejduk's update.

The Red Wings continue to roll, despite losing players to injury on a regular basis. New on the injured list is Johan Franzen, who sat out on Sunday because of a hand injury. There doesn't seem to be much news in regards to the severity of the injury, but as the team is already without Tomas Holmstrom, they won't have any net presence for the time being. Thankfully for the Wings, they have enough regular shooting talent to help them win.

Some great news for the Minnesota Wild, as they will be able to welcome back Kurtis Foster to the line-up sooner, rather than later. Foster was sent down to the minors over the weekend for a conditioning stint, as he has almost fully recovered from a horrible incident that broke his leg quite badly last season. Foster will finally be able to play competitively again and likely get to suit up for the Wild in the next couple weeks. The Box 14 defender will then try to make a good claim for being picked up in the Draft next season.

The Devils were without Box 30 defender, Colin White, over the weekend because of a hand injury. White didn't dress against Los Angeles on Saturday and should be considered out day-to-day for now. White has 13 points in 47 games this season for the Devils.

There was another player returning to the press box over the weekend, as Lasse Kukkonen was a healthy scratch once again on Sunday afternoon, not dressing for the game against Atlanta. The Box 29 defenseman has been a healthy scratch on a number of occasions this year and with Ryan Parent back from injury, he will likely see much more time in the press box or be a good candidate for demotion or a trade out of town.

Time to hit the books again for Kyle Turris on Saturday night, as he was sat along with David Hale to observe another game from up top. The program that the coaching staff with Turris will likely see him in the press box a few more times throughout the season. In Hale's case, he made room for Derek Morris, who returned to the line-up on Saturday night.

We could be much closer to seeing Sergei Gonchar in the line-up for the Penguins after the news that Alex Goligoski was sent down to the minors this weekend. Goligoski, who earned a spot in the starting rotation in Pittsburgh, solely on the fact that the team was hurting really bad on the blueline. Goligoski has played well as the replacement, having 20 points in 44 games for the Penguins. He should also be considered the first one to call back up, if there are any injuries on the blueline.

A left arm injury is now keeping Andrej Meszaros out of the Lightning line-up, as he missed his first game on Saturday night. Meszaros' injury is not considered serious and could very well be back in the line-up at home on Tuesday against Atlanta. Until he is healthy, Meszaros' spot will be taken by David Koci.

The Maple Leafs are not likely too optimistic about a new injury suffered by Mike Van Ryn. Van Ryn was checked hard into the boards in their game against Montreal on the weekend, suffering what looks to be a serious leg injury. The Box 30 defenseman will likely have his leg evaluated today to see how long he'll be out and we may have an update for you sooner rather than later.

Finally, we'll point out another flu bug sufferer, as Kyle Wellwood was out of the Canucks' line-up because of the illness. Wellwood likely picked up the bug, as he's been in the coaching staff's doghouse of late for not being much of a playmaker. Wellwood has slowed down his scoring production of late, so some time off may help him to recharge a bit.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

It's a quiet Saturday night on Valentine's Day, as there are only nine games going. On Hockey Night in Canada, it's only a doubleheader on the main network. In the first game, it's a favourite rivalry renewed, as the Penguins are in Toronto to take on the Leafs. This match-up must be reserved for Saturdays, as the CBC want to have their favourite little guy, Sidney Crosby, to sell their product to the Canadian masses. In the late game, the Flames travel to the desert to take on the Coyotes, as they exchange pleasantries once again. Hey, it's Valentine's Day, so we should see some love go back-and-forth, right? The Flames and Coyotes enter this week on some bad stretches, so it will be interesting to see which team has their game going again by Saturday.

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