Monday, January 11, 2010

Week Fifteen Newsletter

Through 15 weeks, we've seen lots of ups and downs, lots of points and some good times. Now we come upon Week Sixteen and we're in for an interesting week. The Draft will see the second Waiver Draft take place and the race for the second jersey is now on and it's coming down to the wire. This is really what the season is all about... some really good times, right?

Last year, there was some pretty good movement in the Draft throughout the season and then there was a dramatic pass for the lead with about a month to go, which was exciting. It really looks like we're in for that sort of thing again, as Leon stormed out in front and is now slowly getting reeled in by the teams below him, setting up for another excellent finish. John B. had himself a lead for 14 weeks before letting go with six weeks to go last year and Leon has already been ahead for 12 weeks... so maybe we're in for a pass really soon. His lead is 29 points, so I don't think its coming too soon anyways.

We have ourselves a new team in 2nd place, as Wayne leapfrogged both Wes and Dale C. to take over the next best money spot, so that's pretty interesting news. The gap between 2nd and 6th is only 14 points and you can drop down another 7 points to get to 7th. This is great, especially with the Waiver Draft going this week, just to make things even tighter.

Stay tuned to the blog... the news just keeps on coming.

Poll Question
For your voting pleasure last week, I had two polls up, just to change it up a bit and I learned just a little bit more from my reading public, which apparently maxs out at nine people. In the first poll, I wanted to know which one of the two Winter Classic jerseys that are available you would have preferred and it was a 7-2 win for the Boston Bruins jersey, which is the one I would prefer as well. That's a good looking jersey.

In the second poll, I wanted to know which of the available players for the Draft you would have preferred to have picked for your team and that was a little more spread out. Boston's Tuukka Rask was the most desired player out of 8 votes, taking 3 of them in the week. He's getting some pretty good minutes with the Bruins this season, as he's a reliable compliment to Tim Thomas in the starting role.

For Week Sixteen, I would like to know how much of an effect the Olympics will have on the back end of the season. I started to think, the Olympic Break is only a few weeks away, meaning there will be a good chunk of the season left to play afterwards. What kind of effect will that have on the players, teams and most importantly, the pool?

As we're counting down to the end of the second 8-week segment and starting up the Waiver Draft week, you would think that if you were the Mover & Shaker, you probably have less to worry about. I think this week, you would be right in making that assumption, because Dale B. has had one really hot team over the past few weeks, including Week Fifteen, where he had the best week of 39 points. This is his second M&S in the last five weeks and he has the 2nd highest point total in those five weeks (166 points). He's also been storming up the standings, moving up from 15th in Week Eight to 7th in Week Fifteen and he only sits 15 points out of the money going into the Waiver Draft.

Helping to pick up all of those for him this week was Jonas Hiller (8 points), Henrik Sedin (7), Daniel Sedin (6), Kristian Huselius (5) and Jarret Stoll (4). I think you should be able to figure out why he's been able to shoot up the standings with big weeks of late, it does seem to correspond with the return of a certain twin brother returning from injury. Amazingly, Dale does have two players on his active roster that were not able to score, so it could be a reasonable bet to say that they could be dropped in order to reach the top.

Statistically speaking, Dale's skaters are really picking up the pace, but they have lacked in games played due to injury. They rank 3rd in points-per-game at 0.689 ppg, but rank 14th in total games played with 457. The importance of remaining healthy. In goal, he has a very busy tandem, which rank 4th in minutes played and 4th in points-per-60 minutes. Any big improvement to his team could have him in the money by the end of the last 10 weeks.

Jersey PrizeSo, Dale B. was also the leader going into Week Fifteen's action in the jersey race, so that means he's increased his lead, being the best team in the pool over the last week. He currently sits in the lead with 238 points, while Wayne has tried to keep pace, but he sits 8 points behind him at 230. Benson isn't too far behind with 227 points and Leon has 223, so those four are the best bets to take home the prize. All four teams are hot at the moment, but it'll be tough for anyone to pick up the jersey, besides Dale.

We haven't seen a single-digit points week in quite some time, but John P. really knocked one out of the park with a horrible 8-point week in Week Fifteen. It's a good thing it's Waiver Draft time again or else there would be some serious concern over the last ten weeks of the season. John has been dealing with his fair share of injuries and exceptionally cold players over the past week. His goaltending tandem didn't see much time in the week, but he did have one bright spot in the week, Matt Stajan, who had 5 of the team's 8 points in Week Fifteen. It'll be very interesting to see who John decides to move off of his team, especially since there is only one long-term injury on his team and that happened really early in this segment.

This newsletter is quickly turning into a big Dale B. lovefest, as he's also picked up the Player of the Week nod with his exceptionally hot goaltender, Jonas Hiller of the Ducks. Hiller went 4-0-0 in the week, picking up 8 points, which was the best without a tie, which is a nice change.

Hiller won all games he started in the week and he beat some pretty good teams to do it. On Tuesday, he made 38 saves to beat Detroit. Thursday against the Blues, where he made 20 saves. In Nashville on Saturday, he made 25 saves for the win. Finally in Chicago on Sunday night, he made 42 saves for the win, where he had to be on top of his game to come away with the W.

With the big week, Hiller jumps up to 76th in pool rankings with his 34 points this season, which also ranks him 18th among all goalies in the league this year. That's a pretty good deal for being picked in the 5th round, 70th overall.

Stat Pack

The Sheet pool still has some life left in it, as there is still some pretty good movement in the pool in Week Fifteen. Sure, John P. did extend the lead a little bit and passed the 1,000-point mark this week, but since there is still 11 weeks left in the pool, there's still plenty of time for a new leader to come about. Saying that though, Week Sixteen was a clinching week in last year's pool, because the top three did not change after that week. There was some movement in the last few weeks for 4th and 5th spot, the last two money spots, so there is some hope there. I'm hoping that we see something a little different this year.

It was another astronomical week in Week Fifteen, as Carl D. soared above the rest of the pool with a 95-point week, which cleared the previous best of 90 points, which Wes M. had in Week Thirteen. Carl has yet to make a trade in the pool this year and it looks like his patience paid off a bit with this huge week. Needless to say, a week like that was also going to make him the biggest mover up the ranks, as he moved from 16th to 10th in the week.

Moving into the money, as a notable achievement was one of Scott G.'s teams, which leaped from 9th to 5th with a big week. He knocked Caterina F. from the money for the time being, but that 5th spot has changed hands for several weeks in a row, which is great for competition. Keep it up, teams!

Other News and Notes

A minor lower-body injury kept Marian Hossa out of the line-up for the Blackhawks on Sunday. The injury is supposed to keep the skilled forward out for only the one game, since the Blackhawks don't play again until Thursday, when they are at home to the Blue Jackets. That should be more than sufficient time for him to recover from whatever ails him.

Box 13 defenseman, Matt Greene, will be out of the Kings line-up for an indefinite period of time with an undisclosed injury. How novel, eh? Greene suffered the injury against the Blues on Saturday, but the severity and/or the nature of the injury will not be known until more tests are actually performed on the blueliner.

The Penguins are not expecting to have Box 29 defenseman, Brooks Orpik, in their line-up tonight as the teams faces off against the Minnesota Wild. Orpik is said to be day-to-day with an unspecified injury, but is expected to be in the line-up later on this week.

Well, they did manage to finish the suspended game between the Devils and Lightning, but seeing as though there was a couple of days in between, the perils of nature caught up to Mattias Ohlund, who sat out the second half of the game with an illness. I would expect to see Ohlund back in the Lightning line-up very soon.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

Another busy Saturday in the league this weekend, with plenty of afternoon games, but the CBC isn't touching any of them, so its the usual doubleheader action from the main network in Canada.

HNIC will have the Senators in Montreal to take on the Habs in the early game across the network. That game will likely have some playoff implications to it, but not as many pool implications, since most of the players taken from Ottawa in the Draft are injured at the moment. How harsh is that?

In the late game, the Penguins will be in Vancouver to take on the Canucks, which should see a large number of Olympians battle it out for a night. You have to expect that game will be a real good one. I'm sure the CBC is salivating at the promos... Crosby versus Luongo.

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