Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week Eleven Newsletter


It was another busy week in the NHL in Week Eleven, 51 games played in total, which gave plenty of opportunity (to those teams that are healthy) for movement up and down the standings. We saw a change in a money position in the Draft, as Larry made the move past both Ryan and Dale C. to get into 3rd spot, while on the Sheet, Clayton leap-frogged over four teams to move into 4th spot, knocking Dale C. out of the money in the week. That's fairly substantial news in total. With another 51 games to be played in Week Twelve, I think we can come to expect another round of musical chairs to be played again.

Going back to the Draft again, it did turn out that scoring was down a bit more, as there was an average of 9 points being scored for the Draft in each game. Coincidentally, that meant there was back-to-back weeks of 460 points in the week, which was on more games in Week Eleven. There were not very many new injuries to report in the week, a few day-to-days and a suspension, but nothing major. John P. losing Ray Emery for the long-term was about the only big injury to speak of in the week. There were also plenty of returns, so we should be seeing an increase in scoring, I would assume... and hope for, as more scoring means more fun!

Poll Question
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised at the equal-ish amount of voting there was across the board for the favourite team in the West to make the Cup Finals. Out of ten votes, only three had said Calgary, which was tied for the lead with another team other than the top four posted, while San Jose and Chicago each got two votes. That leads me to believe that West is still rather wide open, especially come the Spring. That's really good news for all of us hockey fans. Sadly, the Avalanche didn't get a single vote, likely because no one really thinks they have the staying power to remain where they are in the standings. Of course, all of the voting was done before the Avalanche win over the Flames last night.

This week's poll question is about this year's rookie crop. If you had a vote in the rookie race, who would get your first place vote on your ballot? Plenty of good names to choose from, so choose carefully... or don't. It's not scientific at all.

Another tight race in the Mover & Shaker race in Week Eleven and it came right down to Sunday night to decide our overall winner. In a turn for the good news, we have a new team taking the award this week, as Dale B. finished off the week with 42 points and sole possession of the best week in the Draft. Dale's team has done well since the Waiver Draft, with his new picks and getting some of his key injuries back. He could be in contention a lot quicker than some may have assumed.

Dale only failed to get points from two players in Week Eleven, including his first round pick, Evgeni Nabokov, who has been one of the few Sharks that have been struggling of late. Dale's best players in the week were Daniel Sedin (7 points), Henrik Sedin (7), Wojtek Wolski (6), Phil Kessel (4) and Roman Hamrlik (4). It isn't your regular group of players at the top of the heap, but it isn't a bad group of players. The question remains, can they keep it up through the rest of the season to give Dale a shot at the money?

Dale has climbed up the statistical ladder when it comes to points for his skater games. He now ranks fourth on the list with 0.712 points per game for his skaters, not being terribly far behind our leader, Ryan. His goaltending does still leave a bit to be desired, as he currently ranks 9th in the pool in points per 60 minutes played.

Jersey PrizeThanks to his M&S week, Dale B. also now holds the lead in scoring for the next jersey selection, as he now has a 3-point lead on Leon. Only four teams have eclipsed the 100-point mark in the last three weeks, as Wayne and Larry each stand at 100 points after the last three weeks. There is a pretty big gap though from first to last, as Peter currently is in last place with 68 points and John P. has 69 points. Teams are either hot or they aren't in the past few weeks.

Our Basement Dweller for the week couldn't quite make it over the 20-point mark this week, but he wasn't quite the only one. Allan only finished with 17 points in the week in Week Eleven. Allan has been hit more by some fairly cold players, rather than injuries in the past little bit, especially since he has had a couple more players return from injury lately than gone back on the list. It is a bad sign, however, when Mikhail Grabovski is the best player on your team in the week, as he finished with 5 points with the Maple Leafs in Week Eleven. Grabovski should just be relied upon to be a depth player on your team, rather than your leader, but what can you do? Allan had seven players on his team that failed to pick up points in the week, so that will have to turn around quickly, if he wants to collect on jerseys in this segment.

It's an old familiar friend in our Player of the Week segment in Week Eleven, taking his first honour of the season, as Martin Brodeur finished the week with 9 points to be the clear winner for the week. He is back to his fine form in the 2010 season, now leading all fantasy players in my two pools with 45 points, thanks to his big week.

In the week, Brodeur went 3-1-0 with a shutout and an assist to register all 9 of his points. His shutout came on Monday against the Sabres, where he made 22 saves and tied the all-time NHL record for shutouts in a career with 103, a fantastic feat to say the least. Brodeur also had wins on Wednesday and Saturday this week, beating the Flyers and Hurricanes, and he registered his assist in the game against in Saturday's game against the Flyers as well. He's a goalie of great puck handling talents, so it should come as no surprise that he picks up the odd assist here and there.

There really hasn't been a lot of support from the Calgary Flames blueline over the last week, as Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester all came up with goose eggs in Week Eleven of the season. The Flames have been rolling alright over the past 10 games, going 6-3-1, but scoring-wise, they have been pretty cold, which has to be disappointing for their fantasy teams. You would expect bigger things from these three, but maybe it was just one of those off weeks that everyone keeps talking about.

Stat Pack

Well, this just isn't getting any easier for the rest of us, as we all try and catch John P. in the Sheet pool. His lead was up to 54 points after Week Ten and now after Week Eleven, he holds a 64-point lead over Wes. I don't know what it is, but if one cylinder doesn't work, a couple more work in its place and he just keeps going. There hasn't really been a cold week for him yet. John finished Week Eleven with 74 points and only two teams in the pool finished with more points. That's crazy.

Finishing with the most points in the week was Clayton again. Clayton either has a really hot week or a pretty medium-to-low week, which keeps him from catching John P., but what can you do? Clayton finished off the week with 79 points, gaining 5 points on John, but still sits 78 points behind him for first. With only 15 weeks left in the season, even gaining 5 points a week won't be enough. Clayton had a big week from Martin Brodeur (9 points), Henrik Sedin (7), Alex Ovechkin (7), Bobby Ryan (5), Saku Koivu (5) and Alex Semin (5).

Moving up the most spots in the pool was the second highest point total in the week, Carl D., who had 76 points and moved up from 27th to 19th in a matter of a week. Carl has been doing a pretty constant climb up the standings since Week Seven, where he ranked 30th, and since he had his biggest climb this week, there is no reason why he can't keep going up the ladder. Carl has yet to make a trade in the pool so far this year, which means he has plenty of flexibility, if he chooses to use it in the final half of the year.

Other News and Notes

I didn't get to see how this incident happened, but on Sunday night, there was news that Patrick Kane did not return to the game versus the Lightning after the second period, due to an upper-body injury. The severity or nature of the injury still hasn't been found, but if its something in the long-term variety, there shoudl be an update on it. For now, he'll be considered as out day-to-day with the upper-body injury.

Along with Milan Hejduk, who is on the shelf with a knee injury, the Avalanche were also without Marek Svatos for their Sunday night match-up against the Flames. Svatos is listed as out day-to-day with a groin injury and has very little more detail about the injury. It is a groin issue, so it should be safe to assume that he might miss another game or two with the injury.

Jordin Tootoo left Saturday's game against the Red Wings with a lower-body injury and didn't return to the ice. On Monday, it has been diagnosed as a broken foot, which will keep the rugged winger out of the Predators line-up for 3-to-4 weeks. The Predators will likely have to call up one of their prospects from the minors to fill in the gap left behind by Tootoo.

Things are not very rosy for Senators defenseman, Chris Campoli, who has been called out by the Sens' coaching staff and was a healthy scratch again on Saturday night, as the team took on the Hurricanes. Campoli has been questionable in the defensive end and has given no stability to the team's power play of late, according to Cory Clouston, so another trip to the press box was in order to help him figure out how he can fix his game.

The Flyers do not expect to have Braydon Coburn in their line-up on Monday night against the Bruins in Boston, as he's suffering from a bit of a groin issue as well. Coburn should be considered as out day-to-day, but the team has already pencilled in Ole-Kristian Tollefsen to play in Monday night's contest in his place. There is no immediate word as to whether or not Coburn will be in the line-up at all this week.

After being hit into the boards on Saturday night against Phoenix, Sharks defenseman, Dan Boyle, will likely be out of the line-up for at least a game or two with an undisclosed injury. The team doesn't believe that the injury is serious, but they will have to continue to evaluate the veteran defenseman, which doesn't improve his timeline at all. If it is substantial, an update will be provided.

We can't really say that this was a huge surprise, but Luke Schenn, who has been struggling of late, was a healthy scratch for the Maple Leafs on Saturday against the Capitals, the team's 6-3 victory. Schenn will sit again on Monday night as the Leafs host the Senators, since the coach wants to keep the same winning line-up going for as long as they're winning.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

It appears to be another busy Saturday in the NHL, with 12 games on the docket, including four afternoon games, but none of those afternoon games are on CBC, so it's just another doubleheader on Saturday night.

The cross-country game at 5pm MT is yet another match-up between the Bruins and Maple Leafs, which has been a popular Northeast Divison tilt over the past couple weeks. This time, however, the game will be in Toronto, where the Leafs have played much better, than being on the road. The Leafs should have Jonas Gustavsson back in the line-up by then, unless Vesa Toskala gets into a bit of a hot streak, so stay tuned there.

In the late game, the Capitals are making their way out West and their Saturday night stop will be in the frigid confines of Edmonton, where the Oilers will be their host. The Oilers will be refreshed to be at home after a very successful road trip over the past couple weeks, but won't exactly be able to match-up superstars, as Ales Hemsky remains out of their line-up.
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