Monday, October 26, 2009

Week Four Newsletter

We're through four weeks of the season and it's been a pretty good start to the year, I would say. Scoring hasn't been coming in bunches, considering there was 491 points scored in Week Four of the 2009 season, while this 2010 season had only seen 430 points among the 17 teams in the Draft. Nevertheless, the number of games for the week is going up a little bit from 42 in Week Four to 47 in Week Five. That may hopefully spark some interest from the players. 10 games on Wednesday and 11 games on Saturday will be the highlights of the week, so there should be plenty of hockey to watch.

If there was one similarity to draw from this season to last, was that there was no pool team with a 40+ point week yet in the Draft, so hopefully we're in for a treat in Week Five.

Don't forget, if you have found your way onto Twitter, you can find me posting stuff fairly regularly, especially when I am home watching hockey games or watching the hockey news online during the day. You can find me at this link here, @opiatedsherpa, so keep it locked in if you're logged on.

Poll Question
Hey, well what do ya know? Another increase in votes on the poll this week, as we jumped up from 18 to 19. Which is even more amazing, since the poll became somewhat obsolete when there were a few more major injuries incurred in the week, that may have made a big difference to the voting style.

Nevertheless, of the six players chosen for the poll, Daniel Sedin was the overwhelming decision for the player missed most by his NHL team and fantasy team due to his long-term injury. He took 10 of the 19 votes, which was better than half the votes, while Milan Lucic and Johan Franzen each picked up 3 votes to come in second. One could now argue whether or not Marc Savard or Jonathan Toews would be an even bigger loss.

This week, we'll poll as to which hit was the biggest one of the week. Willie Mitchell on Jonathan Toews on Wednesday night, Mike Richards on David Booth on Saturday night or Rob Scuderi's hip check on Jason Chimera on Sunday night. All three hits were pretty good and fairly devastating, sending Toews and Booth to the hospital with concussions and Chimera to the dressing room for stitches. Vote now!

It did eventually turn into a pretty solid week of scoring, where the top two teams did finish with 35 points a piece. The top two teams, you ask? Yes, that's right, we had ourselves a tie up at the top. Since this award is the Mover & Shaker, we'll use the usual tie-breaker of the most places gained, which leaves Ryan as our honourable mention for Week Four. Ryan's 35-point effort moved him up six spots from 11th to 5th, which was the tipping point in his favour for the mention this week.

Ryan had an extraordinary week from Sharks' forward, Patrick Marleau, who finished the week with 9 points. He was far and away the best player on the team in Week Four. Jarome Iginla, Brad Richards, Joni Pitkanen and Tim Thomas were all tied for second on the team for weekly scoring with 4 points a piece. There were a few zeros on his team, but the amount of scoring he received from the other players was certainly enough to lift him towards the top of the heap.

Ryan currently ranks 4th in the pool for points-per-game among the skaters in the pool and ranks 3rd in the pool for points-per-60 minutes for his goalies in the pool. That kind of production lasting through the year could mean big things for him.

Jersey PrizeAs for the jersey rankings, it was Wes who retook the lead in the pool after a 33-point effort in Week Four. He finished the week with a 6-point lead with still four weeks to go in the race. Wes and Dale C. are the only two teams to have cracked the 100-point barrier now in the pool, but Leon is hot on their heels with a 99-point total to his name and five more teams only sitting 5 points or less from the 100-point barrier. This race is far from being over.

It was a real tough week for Dale B. in the Draft, as injuries have finally caught up to him, not to mention just being plain cold. Daniel Sedin, Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, Brent Seabrook and the newly-returned Dennis Wideman all saw time off this week, which led to some pretty big goose eggs on his scoresheet. Dale only finished the week with 11 points and those points were thanks to both Evgeni Nabokov and Kristian Huselius, who each finished the week with 4 points a piece.

Week Five isn't going to be an easy week either, as Dale won't be expecting any of his currently injured players back, except for the long-shot that Seabrook will be ready to return from his concussion by the weekend, but that seems a little too unlikely. These were all terrible breaks for Dale. You'd hate to see back-to-back weeks, but that's what injuries will do to a team.

Well, who would have thought that the leader in NHL scoring (and pool scoring, if you included goaltenders) would not be any of the usual suspects, rather a blossoming superstar from Slovenia. Anze Kopitar of the Kings finished off a 4-game week with another 2 goals to lift his weekly total to 9 points, taking his season-high goal total to 10 and his points total to 21. That's how you earn the Player of the Week award.

The Kings managed to win all four games that they had played in Week Four, thanks to a real good effort by Kopitar in the week. On Monday, the Kings beat the Stars, 4-1, where Kopitar scored only one goal in the game. Thursday, again against Dallas, Kopitar had a hat trick in the 5-4 victory at home. Kopitar did it from the other side of the scoresheet, registering three assists against Phoenix on Saturday, in the team's 5-3 win. Finally, on Sunday against the Blue Jackets, Kopitar picked up another two goals in the 6-2 win.

On the cold side, where the heck has Martin Erat disappeared to? In the first ten games of the season for Nashville, Erat has only scored one goal. That's it. Sure, he was a final round pick by Trevor, but that is no excuse for being so poor on the scoresheet... or maybe it is. I suppose there is a small chance he has seen how badly his fantasy value has sunk and his confidence has been shattered. Who's to say?

Stat Pack

We have a new leader on the Sheet standings, as Paul W. has lifted his way up to the number one spot on the charts, thanks to a 64-point week. This is the finish of our fourth week and already we've had three different leaders in the pool this season. That's pretty good news, I think. Amazingly, we've only had one Basement Dweller in the four weeks, as Gerald still sits at the bottom, but slowly creeping his way back into the realm of regular teams.

It was a really good week for Roger B. in the pool in Week Four, as he climbed 17 spots and into 11th spot in the pool, thanks to a 62-point week. Roger took advantage of the big three in San Jose, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton for his large gains in the week. After further review of his team, he may need to make a few trades to help lift him into the money spots this week.

There should be a mention to Tim L., who managed to move himself up on the cusp of a money position this week. He jumped from 14th to 7th in Week Four, thanks to a 56-point week. He was enjoying some of that cool San Jose love in the week as well, helping his cause out tremendously.

I have a lot of trades to process on Monday, but not to worry, they will all be in today. If you want to make a switch, be sure to send them in before 5pm MT, that's when the puck drops in Madison Square Gardens and the cut-off for Week Five ends.

Other News and Notes

The Ducks are getting healthy again on the blueline, with the return of James Wisniewski and on Saturday night, Steve Eminger was the victim of that healthy blueline, as he was in the press box as a healthy scratch. Eminger has failed to register a point in the first eight games of the season, which made him the likely candidate.

The Sabres were without Toni Lydman on Saturday night, due to a nagging groin injury that has been recurring in this first part of the season. Lydman has failed to register a point in his only four games this year. He may not be the fantasy defenseman that you were looking for this year and probably should be dropped or sat until he picks up his pace.

The Hurricanes were without one of their top defensive defenders over the weekend, as Tim Gleason suffered an upper-body injury during the week and was not able to partake in the Friday or Saturday match-ups. Gleason is a Box 29 defenseman, as the scoring touch for the Hurricanes from the back isn't quite deep enough to exclude Gleason.

The Red Wings decided to give the night off to Justin Abdelkader for the game against the Colorado Avalanche, allowing Patrick Eaves to figure back into the line-up. Abdelkader has a goal and an assist in his seven games played this year, which isn't too bad for third or fourth line minutes.

The Wild had to put Kim Johnsson on the Injured Reserve this weekend after suffering an upper-body injury, which means that he will miss upwards of a week's worth of action, depending on the severity of the injury, which was of course, not disclosed.

The Sharks will be without a pair of their scoring forwards on a day-to-day basis, as both Devin Setoguchi and Ryan Vesce were both sidelined on Sunday with leg injuries. Setoguchi was injured in the Sharks' game versus Atlanta on Saturday and was made unavailable for Sunday's game against the Flyers.

The Sharks have decided to call up both Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn thanks to the injuries to both Setoguchi and Vesce. Couture was the Sharks' candidate for the young players box on the Sheet and on Sunday was his first game of the season.

The Sharks were again scratching defenseman Lukas Krajicek on Saturday, who has fallen out to be the odd-man on the blueline. Also sitting out from the Bolts was Paul Ranger, who sat out with personal reasons. It sounds like Krajicek is on the trading block from Tampa Bay, so watch where he goes and see if he improves his game at all.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

Hoorah! We have ourselves a tripleheader on CBC this Saturday, meaning we'll have that extra little bit of hockey that makes our weekend complete. Of course, you're not going to watch the late games, since you'll be out Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night, right?

First up, the Sens will host the Thrashers during a Noon MT start. Ilya Kovalchuk, Slava Kozlov and Zach Bogosian will go head-to-head against Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Pascal Leclaire. Lots of good Draft talent in the early game to watch.

In the usual early game, the Maple Leafs will be taking on the Canadiens in Montreal, which could likely be their first win they're still looking for. Alex Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan and Tomas Kaberle will be in tough against Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.

The late game is in Calgary, where the Red Wings will be in town to take on the Flames. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom will all be ready to take on Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf and Mikka Kiprusoff in a big Western Conference battle.

I think I might be able to catch these games, since I don't really have much for plans on Halloween. You guys all go out and I'll let you know how it goes.

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