Monday, March 02, 2009

Week Twenty-Two Newsletter

Well, I'm now polishing off the Weekly Newsletter with the headline and I'm hoping that I am on time to be ready for the first big trade of the day, as there is some expectation that it may come down really soon. We're only a couple days away from the deadline and there is plenty of scuttlebutt in the rumour mill. With the number of teams who have already been designated as sellers and the teams that think that they might be sellers now after the weekend, it really becomes an interesting discussion as every team who is thought to be a buyer could likely improve their team one way or another.

With all this trade talk, the pools become a secondary focus for a lot of hockey fans these days, but once the dust settles, there will be a number of players from both the Draft and the Sheet that have likely been moved. There is sure a lot of curiosity on my end to see how much all of these trades will actually affect the Standings and how much better some teams will actually become with a new face or two in their line-up.

With only one game on Monday night, there could be a bit of movement with the non-playing teams during the day, as they can move some of their players and get them onto a plane for tomorrow's morning skate and/or practice with their new club. You should really stay tuned to the blog, as I will be doing my best to keep up with all the trades, with a little bit of analysis, through the week. It's gonna be a fun one, I can just feel it!

Poll Question
The thought on the poll's mind this past week was the theoretical best landing spot for John Tavares after the Draft. The five teams that were eligible to land the first pick overall were chosen for his likely destinations and you got to decide, where he would be the most productive. I did a little bit of outside linking, which bumped up the number of votes that I had, up to 19 and here was the results. The big winner of the poll was Toronto, who claimed 10 of the 19 votes during the week. That was a clear win. The Islanders, Thrashers and Senators all received three votes a piece to polish off all 19 votes, while the Lightning are somewhat undeserving of another first overall pick it seems. Myself, personally, said that the Senators would be the best fit, as the team could beneficially split up the big line and have Daniel Alfredsson play with Tavares and make him worth while.

I thought for this week, I would move past the Trade Deadline and post a question that is being posed around Calgary... will Miikka Kiprusoff eclipse the NHL record for wins? The goal for him this season looks like 50, which is still possible, but then the question begs to be asked, 'will he have enough left in the tank for the playoffs?'

The hottest team since the second Waiver Draft earned the M&S award for Week Twenty-Two, with a stellar week of 41 points, in what was a pretty good scoring week after all. Don earned the honour for the week and now has 144 points since the second Waiver Draft and that's only after four weeks. In the first nine weeks of the year, Don only had 191 points, so he's on pace to make a little bit of noise. Sadly, he still sits in 10th place after Week Twenty-Two, so he has quite the distance to travel to make up ground on the money places. A good college try is certainly in order.

Don saw a couple of great weeks on his team from Ilya Kovalchuk and Marc-Andre Fleury, who both saw 8 points each. Tomas Zajac chimed in with 5 pointes, while Johnny Oduya had himself 4 points. Three other players each had 3 points a piece and that would round out his productive week.

For Don, this is his first M&S award for the season, but he has had two distinctions as the Basement Dweller this year, obviously, this shout out is the better one of the three. His prize for this week is the Evgeni Malkin retro card from O-Pee-Chee and it's base card, so it's a 2-in-1 sort of prize this week. Congratulations to Don on that one... this week, it's the Alexander Ovechkin retro card, but it's just a single card this time around. Still pretty sweet though.

On the Sheet, there was plenty of movement up and down the standings, so as a combination of best weekly total and most places moved, our Mover & Shaker on the Sheet is Eric T.. With a team that has yet to have a trade made on it this season, Eric moved up from 30th to 26th thanks to a 79-point week. Eric had himself one of his better weeks of the season, thanks to Jarome Iginla (10 points), Martin Brodeur (10), Alexander Semin (7), Bryan McCabe (6), Alex Ovechkin (5), Evgeni Malkin (5), and Michael Ryder (5). With that sort of production, he should be able to move up a lot more spots, in that underachieving section of the lower 20's. Congrats Eric on your big week... hopefully you get a few more down the stretch here.

It was a very unproductive week for Chris, who turns out to be the Basement Dweller for Week Twenty-Two, his second mention in this section this season, and it's a back-to-back Basement total of 14 points. Chris couldn't seem to get much production from a lot of his players, some due to injury, some just staying ice cold at the moment. His best player in the week was Brendan Shanahan, who had 3 points in New Jersey, while Sidney Crosby, Rob Blake, Ilya Bryzgalov and Cory Stillman were all among the players with zero points for him in the week. Chris has now fallen down to 13 place in the Draft, but still has a 20-point cushion on 14th place, which wasn't really chipped away at, losing only 2 points to 14th place.

The Basement of the Sheet also saw a drop of around 4 spots, from 20th to 24th, thanks to a 44-point week. Craig H. had a bit of a disappointing week, but he hasn't made any trades either, so there is a good reason for the bad week. Thirteen of Craig's players were not able to register a point for him in the week and his best players only managed to register 5 points each. It seems unlikely that a trade will happen now, but he can get to make all seven of his trades, he can make a little bit of ground up on the year.

Have you taken notice of the New Jersey Devils yet? If you haven't, you probably haven't been watching any hockey, SportsCentre or SportsNet Connected. Martin Brodeur is back from injury and he is serving notice that he is the best goalie in the league and is going out to win another Stanley Cup this year.

In three starts this week, Brodeur won all three, two of them for shutouts to claim 10 points in the Draft for Dennis. The Devils didn't start their week until Thursday night, but that was the perfect starting point for Brodeur, as they took on the flailing Avalanche. Colorado couldn't manage to put one of their 24 shots past Brodeur and he earned his 99th career shutout. On Saturday, Brodeur opened a back-to-back start weekend with a win against Florida at home and then had his 100th career shutout against the Flyers on Sunday. What a return! It was almost meant to be, like it was written in a script. The Devils next host the Maple Leafs and he will get a chance to build on his 3-game winning streak.

To go along with our Draft's Basement Dweller, Sidney Crosby has been one of the colder players in the Draft for the last little while. He's fallen off to the wayside, as the media scrutiny is focused more on Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin is still tearing it up in a Pittsburgh uniform. Crosby has fallen down to 4th spot in pool scoring this season, only holding a 2-point lead on 5th place.

Other News and Notes

March started off in the press box for Fabian Brunnstrom, the Box 9 forward, as the Stars took on the Penguins. Brunnstrom hasn't quite been the phenom that the hype suggested he would be, so it comes as a disappointment when they have to scratch him from the line-up for a game. Expect him to be back in the line-up for their next game.

The Oilers decided against dressing Robert Nilsson on Saturday night against the Wild, as he has been struggling in the line-up of late. The Box 7 forward will likely dress this week for the Oilers, but with only 21 points in 50 games, he'll be pushed upon to produce a little bit more.

The Flyers finally welcomed back Daniel Briere back to their line-up on Sunday afternoon against the Devils and in order to make enough cap room for him, they had to send down Box 25 forward, Claude Giroux, and Box 29 defenseman, Lasse Kukkonen. Giroux has been impressing the Flyers' brass, but he had to go because he didn't have to clear waivers in order to head down to the minors, while Kukkonen had cleared waivers earlier in the week and was a healthy scratch more often than not, so he was an easy choice.

Well, it is a matter of time before Derek Morris is dealt out of Phoenix and until he is, he won't be dressing for the Coyotes in a game this season. Morris has decided to sit himself out until he is dealt. There have been many trade destinations rumoured for Morris to head to this week, including a number of spots in the Eastern Conference.

The Capitals lost Viktor Kozlov to his previous groin injury, as he re-aggravated the injury in the week. The Box 19 forward will likely rest up his sore groin for a game or two, so you shouldn't expect him back in the line-up too quickly. The Capitals may be in the market for another depth scoring forward in the next few days. There have been some trade rumours swirling in the wind around Washington.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

You know, they don't seem to have many tripleheaders on Hockey Night in Canada this season. Didn't they have a few more last season? Anyways, it's another doubleheader on the network this Saturday, but they will split the early game coverage between Toronto and Ottawa on Saturday. In Toronto, the Leafs will host the Oilers and there is a good chance that both of those teams will have a new look to them after the deadline on Wednesday. In Ottawa, the Senators and Sabres may also have a new look to themselves as they take on one another on Saturday night. Both of those games have some intriguing teams through the deadline. In the late game, the Canucks and Sharks will go in Vancouver and there is a lesser chance that they will be fielding some new talent, but the chance is still there. Stay tuned!

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