We are officially eight weeks into the season and its been a good season, to say the least. The points keep rolling in and the injuries are keeping us all on our toes. The Waiver Draft has occurred in the Draft, with the players that were picked going active today. The Sheet Pool has been doing well with trades being made and teams trying to keep on top of all the injuries and cold players in the league. Keep it up!
In Week Nine, we are definitely in for a treat, as the schedule ramps it up a bit. We're now going into a season-high worth of games during the week, as 54 games will be played, 7 more than our previous high in Week Five. Hopefully we see some record numbers of points in both the Draft and the Sheet pools and maybe some good movement up and down the standings as well.
I wanted to know which jersey you would have preferred if you were to have earned top billing in the first eight weeks of the season. You had the choice between the Canadian Olympic jersey or either one of the two Winter Classic jerseys (Boston or Philadelphia). With a rousing 84% of the vote (13 votes in total), the Olympic jersey with Sidney Crosby on the back was the favourite. Was it the favourite of our eventual winner? Well, you'll have to read on to find out.
For Week Nine, I would like to know what bubble players for the Olympic team would you like to see make it to Vancouver in February. I tried to pick names that have been suggested as players that are not quite locks on the team, but could play their way on during the season.
Well, if there was a better time to pick up the Mover & Shaker award, its before your Waiver Draft picks come into effect. Especially if you are able to get the second pick in the Waiver Draft and you move up a couple of key spots with your M&S week. Well, that's what Peter accomplished in Week Eight, scoring a 40-point week, his best week of the season. He moved up from 16th position to 14th and he now sits only 6 points behind 13th, so if his scoring streak is to continue, he can continue his ascension up the standings.
Peter had a number of great performances this week, most of which would be worthy of Player of the Week honours, which will be revealed below. Joe Thornton led the way with 8 points, while Claude Giroux had 7, Pekka Rinne had 6, Vincent Lecavalier had 5 and Keith Ballard had 4. That's a pretty slick streak of players he had going on there, plus he'll be able to get rid of a pair of non-performing players this week, so that should open his team up for some good scoring.
Peter has had a number of injury problems this season, as he ranks 16th in skater games played and 9th in goaltender minutes played this season. With his new player pick-ups, he should be able to improve on his skater numbers, hopefully picking up some slack in the points-per-game column, where he ranks 13th in the pool.
Well, we're ready to hand out the first prize of the season! Leon takes the checkered flag at the end of Week Eight with a 13-point lead in the pool and he got to decide which jersey he wanted this weekend as his prize. Just like the poll suggested that he might, he wanted to take the Team Canada jersey for the 2010 Olympics and make it is. Congratulations Leon, we'll be meeting up soon so you can collect your prize.
The new race for one of the Winter Classic jerseys begins this week... stay tuned to the Newsletter for your scoring updates and see where your team is.
Of course, being in the basement was not going to earn you much chance of being close to a jersey at the end of any 8-week segment. Just ask Stuart, our Week Eight Basement Dweller. Stuart had a pool-worst 14 points in Week Eight and is in desperate need of his Waiver Draft selections to take effect in Week Nine. Because of his poor week, Stuart had dropped down from 7th place down to 10th, his worst weekly finish of the season, so far. Of the 14 players on his team, seven of them had zeros beside their names, while it was Corey Perry who led the way in scoring for his team with 4 points.
There is an honourable mention in the Basement Dweller this week, as John B. does take over the actual basement in the standings, after an 18-point week, he goes down to 17th place, only 1 point behind Chris.
I had a feeling that it would be a pretty good year in San Jose after the trade happened. I think any fool could have put two and two together here and said that there was going to be a lot of points coming out of the Shark tank and here they are. The proof is in the Player of the Week honour, as Joe Thornton takes his second award of the season, making Peter a happy camper in Week Eight. Thornton's 8 points was again enough to get his picture plastered on the Newsletter, so there ya go.
Thornton now leads the league in assists with 25 and is 2nd in scoring with 32 points. In three games this past week, Thornton had 2 goals and 6 assists, including a 4-assist effort on Friday at home to the Flyers. He also had a pair of games where he scored a goal and added an assist, Tuesday versus the Predators and Saturday against the Ducks. That's some pretty good work there Joe. He had to be in serious consideration for the Canadian Olympic team now.
Boy, those St. Louis Blues just can't seem to score this season. They are one of two teams to be led in scoring by a defenseman, but their defenseman only has 14 points this season, Erik Johnson. Brad Boyes only has 11 points, while Paul Kariya just picked up his 8th point on Saturday night. After last season, you would have been expecting a lot more points to come out of St. Louis, but no... they are really crapping themselves this year. So cold.
Well, I've got a buttload of trades to make in the Sheet pool before the action gets going on Monday night. Those ten games will be a busy one for all us poolies that like to keep track of that sort of thing. I know I even have to make some trades this week, as I haven't really looked at my team at all this season. Yikes!
John P. continues to lead the Sheet pool after a respectable 67-point effort in Week Eight. His lead continues to shine with a 31-point gap to second place. There is still plenty of time and plenty of potential injuries that could change all of that. John has used a couple of his trades, so he is keeping good tabs on the pool.
The best week of the pool came from 2nd place, Wes... he scored 71 points in Week Eight. He moved back into 2nd after dropping down to 3rd in Week Six. He enjoyed his best week of the season thanks to Joe Thornton (8 points), Mike Fisher (6), Dany Heatley (5), Brian Campbell (5) and Mike Green (5).
The biggest move up in the pool was made by Allan, who jumped up six spots to 32nd, thanks to some big trades a couple of weeks ago. He's taking advantage of the time that was spent making some trades, opposed to the teams he is passing that haven't made trades. It's a very big advantage to have, utilizing your moves.
Keep your trades coming... you have until puck drop on Monday night to get them in for Week Nine!
Other News and Notes
A lower-body bone bruise may keep Drew Stafford out of the Sabres' line-up for another game or two, as he missed out on Saturday night's game against the Senators. It hasn't been an easy past couple of weeks for Stafford, who also missed a game with a hip flexor injury. He's currently listed as out day-to-day, so it doesn't sound too serious.
During that same game against the Sabres, Pascal Leclaire ended up leaving the game with a lower-body injury of his own, not being able to return. Brian Elliot came in to sub for him and actually earning the win as well. There is no real word as to what the injury is just yet, but once we find out, we'll update the blog.
Click here to see an updated injury page.
Hockey Night in Canada
It'll be another busy Saturday in the NHL, but its still not worthy of a tripleheader on CBC. We'll have to settle for another doubleheader, which will see another different team, other than Toronto, in the early game.
The Calgary Flames will be on a roadtrip in Week Nine and their Saturday stop will be in Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. This pair of teams has created somewhat of a good rivalry over the past couple seasons and it'll flare up again this weekend. New Waiver Draft pick-up, Anton Stralman, an ex-Flame, will show his previous team what they're missing, which does seem to be quite a bit.
In the late game, it will be the classic Northwest rivalry between the Oilers and Canucks in Vancouver. Dustin Penner and Mikael Samuelsson headline the players that were taken in the Waiver Draft in this game and they'll make their first Saturday appearance for their Draft teams. That should work out to be a great game.