Monday, November 09, 2009

Week Six Newsletter

I don't know about you, but all of these injuries are just getting to be so ridiculous. It really does seem like there is a major injury to an important player happening every day or every other day and it's really hurting the fantasy business.

In the Draft, I've started to count the number of games that are in the week and see what kind of scoring we get in the pool in relation to those games and we've really been dropping off over the past few weeks. When everyone was healthy, we were getting 11 points per NHL game in the week, but Week Six saw 391 points in 45 NHL games, which was our worst weekly average of 8.7 points. In the upcoming week, there will be 43 NHL games, so there is a chance we'll dip down a little bit lower.

Leon's Week Five total of 48 points could be the pinnacle of all weeks this year, mostly due to injuries. Thankfully, we're only a week away from commencing the Waiver Draft and two weeks away from actually holding it. That will give us a good influx of new points and hopefully raise up the scoring a little bit.

In all fairness, scoring is somewhat up from last season, as the leader in Week Six was only at 153 points, while Leon has 175 points to his name already. I'm sure there is a number of games difference in there somewhere, but I don't think I'll figure that out at the moment.

Poll Question
Well, the poll has been taking a bit of a kicking lately, as the votes have dropped, yet again. This past week, we only saw seven votes and most of them came fairly early in the week, so it was a pretty quiet finish to the whole thing. Oh well, what can ya do?

Last week, I asked which player had surprised you the most in terms of fantasy scoring and the majority winner of the week was Craig Anderson of the Avalanche, who entered the week with 25 points and the fantasy-point lead and finished the week with a share of the lead at 27 points. Needless to say, he has been the main reason why the Avalanche have lasted on top of the Western Conference in October/early-November.

Ilya Bryzgalov of the Coyotes and Dustin Penner also received some consideration, but Anderson was by far the most popular choice.

During Week Seven, the question on the blog will surround the injuries that have been happening around the league and how it's affected your fantasy team this year. Has it really hurt your team and your chances at winning your pool?

Week Six didn't have a weekend preview to work from, didn't get around to it on a relatively busy Friday, so unless you were watching the standings, you might not have known who was in the lead for the awards. Nevertheless, we only had one team crack the 30-point barrier in our low-scoring week and it didn't change our leader, like most other Mover & Shaker recipients often do. Clayton finished the week on top of the weekly standings with 34 points, moving him into a tie for second and actually taking the second spot on the goals tie-breaker. Clayton is the only team among the top four who hasn't seen the number one position in the pool, as the rest of them have already this year, but both him and Wes are now 16 points behind Leon, who still leads the Draft.

At first glance at Clayton's team in Week Six, there was a fair bit of consistency through this line-up, seeing that seven of his players had 3 points a piece in the week, while only three were held scoreless, two of them due mostly to injury. Anze Kopitar was his best player in the week with 6 points, while Jonas Gustavsson followed behind with 4 points. There wasn't anything too spectacular about his week, in terms of all of his players, just consistent for the most part.

Statistically speaking, Clayton leads all Draft teams in points-per-game for his skaters, averaging .794 points every time a skater of his hits the ice. That goes well with his 175 skater games played, which ranks fifth among all teams. His goaltending tandem does leave a little to be desired in this early part of the season, especially the minutes played.

Jersey PrizeAs previously mentioned, Leon still holds the lead in the Draft by 16 points heading into Week Seven. There are only two more weeks of action left before we give away the first of our jerseys. Right now, it does seem a little far-fetched to think that anyone is going to catch Leon at the moment, but all it would take is a week or two like his record week to do it. I suppose it isn't terribly out of the question, but it does seem rather improbable.

There was a definite basement battle for the Dweller in Week Six, as four teams were fighting it out to keep themselves from cracking the 20-point mark and they were all successful. With the injuries that have been happening nowadays, it comes as no surprise to see some lower scores in the week. Both Chris and Trevor were each camping out at the bottom in the week with 17 points each for a tie in the Basement Dweller standings. This is Chris' third time (in the first six weeks) that he's finished with a low score and this is Trevor's first time this low.

Chris currently sits in last place in the Draft, 12 points behind both 15th & 16th place, Dale B. & Peter, all due to major injuries to his top players. Trevor fell down to 13th spot this week after dropping one spot from 12th. He's currently 32 points out of a money position, but has 20 weeks to make that number up.

After the huge week that we saw on an individual basis in Week Five, there didn't seem to be anyone in a big hurry to duplicate the feat and there certainly wasn't a lot of players taking the bull by the horns to do anything terribly special either. At week's end, there were five players tied for the Draft lead in weekly points with six, four of which were goalies. So, after some tie-breaking procedures, I did finally come up with a player worthy of the honour...

Ray Emery had a perfect week in Week Six, going 3-0-0 for the Flyers, earning his 6 points for John P. in the Draft. On Monday, Emery made 29 saves against the Lightning in a 6-2 win. Friday, Emery turned away 28 shots in a 5-2 win over the Sabres. Saturday, Emery made 30 saves and some key stops in the shootout to beat the Blues, 2-1. Emery has made quite the return from his Russian exile in 2009, returning with a pretty good Philadelphia team, which has helped him regain some of the respect he lost on his way out of Ottawa.

Well, we may have seen a bit of a goaltending change in Tampa Bay, as the Lightning have now begun to start Antero Niittymaki more often, due to a very cold performance to start the season by Mike Smith. Smith has only picked up two wins in the first month and a week of the season and that wasn't what Tampa or Wayne was looking for out of the keeper. Niittymaki, who wasn't drafted this Fall, has picked up four wins already and is ranked fourth among all available goalies in points. He might be a pretty good pick-up, if he can keep his pace.

Stat Pack

The Sheet had plenty of movement again in Week Six. Only one team stayed in the same position from the end of Week Five to the end of Week Six and that's the leader, John P., who finished the week with 56 points and a slimmer 5-point lead, heading into Week Seven. That's four weeks in a row that John has remained in the money positions, taking second spot after Week Three and first after Week Five.

It's back-to-back weeks for Clayton with top spot in the weekly points on the Sheet. His team has all of a sudden made a charge for the top, scoring 79 points in Week Five and now 61 points in Week Six, in a very low-scoring week. His big players in the week were Mike Knuble (5 points), Scott Hartnell (4), James Van Riemsdyk (4), Martin Brodeur (4) and Jonas Gustavsson (4). It wasn't a very pretty week, but it will have to do.

Making the big climbs in the week were both Billie and Caterina, who both climbed up 10 spots in the standings in the week. After some trades in the past couple weeks, both teams have managed to climb up a little more and start securing some better spots in the standings. It really does look like the stats breakdown is helping a lot of teams get the most out of their trades.

Other News and Notes

The Hurricanes have decided to send Zach Boychuk back to the minors after their weekend set. With the schedule being somewhat relaxed over the next couple days, Boychuk should be able to get a bit more playing time in Albany, while the big club waits for their next game later on in the week. With the injuries in Carolina, I would expect Boychuk to be called back up here soon.

Jackets defenseman, Kris Russell, has been feeling under the weather of late. Russell missed the team's last gae on Saturday with an illness and remains questionable for the team's next game this week. None of the scary flu names have been mentioned with his absence, but it really hasn't been disclosed as to what he really has.

The Avalanche were surprisingly without Milan Hejduk on Sunday night against the Oilers and it appears that he was resting a sore back. There doesn't seem to be much more to the injury at the moment, but if it is any more serious than just a rest for Hejduk, then an update will be published saying so. Otherwise, just consider him out day-to-day.

Another scary crash into the end boards has resulted in another serious injury. Jason Williams of the Red Wings will now be out anywhere between 6-to-8 weeks with a broken leg after a pretty massive crash on the weekend. Williams was signed on as a free agent in the Summer to Detroit and was one of my sleeper picks for the season, as he's getting some power play time with the club. He won't be for a while now, so if you have him, you may want to drop him or bench him.

The Oilers tacked on another injury to their growing list on Sunday night, as they were without Ales Hemsky for their end-of-week clash with the Avalanche. Hemsky didn't play because of a shoulder injury, which wasn't classified as a serious injury, but it was enough to keep the winger out for at least one game. He is currently listed as out day-to-day.

On Saturday night, the Rangers lost a couple of key players to injury. Both Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky were injured in the game versus Calgary, Drury leaving with an undisclosed upper-body injury and Dubinsky also leaving with an upper-body injury. Drury's current status is unknown, but Dubinsky will be out three weeks with a broken hand.

The St. Louis Blues did get some good news on the weekend by the return of Andy McDonald to the line-up. As one veteran forward came back in, one came out, as Keith Tkachuk took a maintenance day and skipped the game on Sunday against the Thrashers. It doesn't sound like there is much to it, looking more like it was just rest for the veteran, who was at one time on the top available forwards list for the Draft, but has since fallen off.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

Alright! We've got ourselves another tripleheader this weekend on HNIC, which always makes me smile. I don't know about you. The coverage will start nice & early here in Calgary... a good noon MT game, means you can eat lunch and catch a game.

The Rangers will be in Ottawa for that early game on TV on Saturday. The Senators have been battling well this year, despite their loss of a superstar, but the Rangers are now running into some injury troubles of their own and may not be as offensively gifted as they have been showing in the past few weeks. This could be a pretty interesting game.

The 5pm MT game will see the Flames in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs on one of their Eastern Conference swings. The Flames have been battling some consistency issues, while the Leafs have welcomed their big Summer acquisition to the line-up and have started to play well, coming into Week Seven getting points in their last seven games played.

In the late game, it will be the Avalanche hosting the Canucks in Denver in a Northwest Division battle. The Avalanche raced out to a pretty good lead in the division and the conference, but the Canucks are starting to get some of their injuries back into the line-up, so this should be a pretty good tilt by Saturday night.

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