Welcome back to the newsletter, everyone! We're back at it here and we're now on the home stretch to some prizes and glory!
What's great about this post-Olympic schedule is that there is going to be a lot of games played, which means scoring is going to be up. I would imagine that the goalies are gonna get mighty tired by the end, so we might see some back-up action, which might actually translate to even more goals. One can hope, eh?
Week Twenty-One was great in the Draft, as it finished with 541 points between the 17 teams in the pool, but the scoring was awfully spread out, so there was no individual team record for a high week, but we did set a high for the low week, but you'll have to go see what that turned out like in the Basement Dweller paragraph of the newsletter.
There is still 257 games left to play in the NHL and we're now hitting levels of over 10 points in the pool per hockey game, so there is going to be a lot of points to earn, if your team is one of the hot ones.
Amazingly enough, with the good weeks we've been having this season, our scoring pace for the entire pool is down from 2009, so this part of the schedule better get its act in gear, despite the condensed schedule. In 2008, the whole pool managed to generate 11,760 points in 28 weeks of non-condensed action. In 2009, we saw 12,007 points in total scoring, which indicates to me that the picking got a whole lot better, in the Draft and the Waiver Drafts, so that was exciting. Here in 2010, we only stand at 9,448 points and at this average for the next five weeks, we'll only get to 11,698 points, which would be the lowest in the last three seasons.
In terms of having the best season on record, that belongs to Stuart G., who finished off the 2008 season with 820 points. Leon G. finished off Week Twenty-One with 636 points and is currently on pace to hit 787 points, which isn't too bad in comparison. That's the exact total that Clayton finished with in 2009 to win the pool as well. Very coincidental.
I had run a couple polls over the Olympic Break, but neglected to put on up during Week Twenty-One, so I think I'll just recap what I had done and then post something new. In the first poll, I did want to know what players you would have liked to have seen your favourite team pick-up at the trade deadline and of the six players I posted on the poll, only one actually moved in the end. Ray Whitney was the most popular of the six, taking 3 of the 8 votes, but Alex Ponikarovsky was the only one that moved and he did actually manage to pick up a vote.
In the second poll, I wanted to know if you wanted to see NHL players participate in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and 5 of the 7 votes cast did say yes in the end. I was actually one of the votes that said no, thinking it would be more of a detriment to the NHL season in the end for a tournament that really doesn't showcase the great talents the league is showing. That's all a matter of opinion though.
For the Week Twenty-Two poll, who is now your favourite to win the Cup?
It looks like the Olympics did a good thing for Allan and his Draft team this past week, as he finally picked up his first Mover & Shaker of the week nod of the season, which will go with his two Basement Dwellers he's had this season. Allan finished off Week Twenty-One with 40 points and he moved up a couple of positions, going from 8th place up to 6th as well, getting himself set for a good run down the stretch.
Allan has one of the hottest teams in the last three weeks, helping him do some serious moving in the standings, which will keep him in the money conversation for the moment. That keeps everything exciting when you throw another hat firmly in the ring.
12 of his 14 active players managed to pick up points in the week, led by Bryan McCabe of all people, as he finished with 8 points in Florida during the week. It definitely could mean good thngs when your defensemen are leading the way. He also had good weeks from Steven Stamkos (6 points), Chris Pronger (5), Marc-Andre Fleury (4) and Chris Mason (4). Only Tyler Myers and Sheldon Souray had zeros on his team and only one of them has an injury.
Allan has had a very middle-of-the-road team in terms of scoring statistics, but he still remains in the money conversation. His team ranks 10th in points-per-game and 10th in points-per-60 minutes for his goalies. On the bright side, he's in the top five in both games played and minutes played, which is his bread & butter this season.
Allan joined the top five in the jersey race, for that wonder Boston Bruins Winter Classic jersey, but he is currently sitting 9 points behind Larry in the race. Larry owns a 2-point lead on Chris and a 3-point lead on Stuart, with only three weeks to go in the race to the jersey. I think there is going to be a lot of back-and-forth in this race, which also keeps it all exciting. It's good to see a few people who are not necessarily in the money race have a race of their own in the latter point of the season.
In another good week of scoring, we actually had ourselves three Basement Dweller teams, all tied with 25 points in the week. Dale C., John P. and Wes M. all tanked out at the bottom in the week and there was a little movement because of that. Dale and Wes didn't move in the standings, staying in 9th and 3rd place, respectively, in the standings. John fell right back down to the bottom of the table, allowing Trevor B. to pass him yet again. To the credit of this week's high scoring, all three teams who landed in the Basement in the week all have the highest Basement Dweller scores of the season, which leads me to believe that the Olympic Break did every team at least a little bit of good.
Well, how the hell do we like this, poolies? Everyone had a shot at our Player of the Week in the second Waiver Draft and we all had passed on him... all except for our Draft leader, Leon, that is. Leon picked himself up a scoring machine that came out of nowhere to help him stay afloat, as all the other teams have been clawing their way back up to the top. Chris Stewart was picked up in the second Waiver Draft by Leon and has done some great things with his time on the team. In 17 games since being picked, Steward has 20 points, including 9 points in Week Twenty-One alone. That's enough to make him Player of the Week.
It was an okay week for the Avalanche, going 2-2-0 and staying in the Northwest Division race. On Monday, the dropped a 3-2 decision to the Red Wings, but Stewart was in on both goals, scoring one and assisting on the other. On Wednesday, the Avalanched picked up a 4-3 win in Anaheim, with Steward scoring one and adding two. Thursday in Phoenix, the Avs dropped a 3-1 decision and Stewart was held off the sheet. Finally on Saturday, the Avalanche went home and killed the Blues, 7-3, Stewart having a massive game, scoring a hat-trick and an assist. There you go, 5 goals and 4 assists in the week for 9 points.
This is Leon's 3rd PoW nod this season and amazingly his 1st since Week Five.
The lead has dissolved some more in the first week back from the Olympic Break. The break did not benefit John P.'s team at all, as three teams are coming quickly to make a move on him with only five weeks of action left to go in the season. This week finished with only a 22-point cushion, as the lead only went down by 2 points, but the teams chasing him and Clayton, each put on a bunch a points to make the race even tighter. From 1st to 4th is now only 24 points and there is still a fair bit of time left.
Top points in the week goes to Carl D., who has done well to make his trades and make a move for the money. Carl had 89 points in Week Twenty-One and he moved from 6th to 5th, taking on that money position to start the stretch run. Carl had good weeks from Patrick Kane (7 points), Daniel Sedin (6), Jonathan Toews (6), Duncan Keith (6), Sidney Crosby (6), Jose Theodore (6) and Ryan Kesler (5).
The biggest move in the pool came from Tony C., who moved up 3 spots in the pool, going up from 11th to 8th in the standings. His team was the only one to move that far this week. Tony currently sits 28 points out of 5th place and the last money spot, so he'll need a big push to make that move up.
The race is tightening up at the top and it looks like Paul W. has his last trade ready to make his move up to the front. Now is probably a good time to make that move, taking advantage of the last five weeks of scoring.
Other News and Notes
The Thrashers haven't had the best of seasons, roster-wise and they are fearing that they could be without their prized rookie for the remainder of the regular season, as Evander Kane took a shot off the foot over the weekend, having to leave the game and he has since been seen wearing a walking boot. He will be evaluated on Monday, fearing that he may have suffered a broken foot. This will definitely hurt the Thrashers' playoff hopes, as Kane has been a very good player for them this season.
It was scary to see Marc Savard getting stretchered off the ice on Sunday night, after he took a massive blindside blow from the Penguins' Matt Cooke. The initial word is that Savard indeed suffered a concussion, but the severity of the injury has yet to be officially announced, but I think its fair to say he suffered a major one and does threaten the rest of the season for Savard and the Bruins.
There were some rumblings in the week that if the Sabres needed to pay a high price to make some improvements to their team that Drew Stafford would be one of the pieces given up to do so. In some respects, the prospective teams could have been lucky not to, as Stafford suffered a groin injury over the weekend and is expected to miss an extended period of time. No actual timeline was given, just a vague idea that it could be a while.
The Avalanche were thought to have Marek Svatos on the trading block as well last week, but he didn't end up going anywhere at the deadline. On Saturday night, he was a healthy scratch for the Avalanche, which might be a regular occurrence after the Avs picked up some extra depth at the deadline in Peter Mueller. Svatos hasn't had a great season and probably should be dropped right away to save you some trouble down the road.
In the Red Wings game against the Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon, Todd Bertuzzi left the game with an apparent lower-body injury and didn't return to the line-up. It was later reported that the injury is just a charley horse around the knee and there was some swelling around the groin area as well. Bertuzzi said he was likely going to be fine, but I wouldn't be surprised if he missed a game or two, to save up for the stretch run.
Bad news for a new acquisition for the Oilers, as the news on Ryan Jones is that he has a second degree MCL tear in his injured knee and it will keep him out of the line-up for the next four weeks. That will keep him out of the line-up until the last week of the regular season, if not the remainder of the season. I can't imagine the Oilers will be in a huge rush to get Jones back in the line-up, but he might get some ice-time before they head to the golf course.
A massive flu bug ran rampant through the Ottawa Senators locker room over the weekend and as many players played through the bug, if they could, but it still had a couple of casualties who were not able to go against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. Daniel Alfredsson and Peter Regin were not healthy enough to go on Saturday and they were kept out of the line-up, but I would imagine that they will be good to go this week.
With all the new faces picked up by the Capitals at the deadline, there is going to be a feeling-out process with some of the new faces, meaning that the Capitals may have to sit some people to help figure that out. On Saturday, the Capitals rested Brendan Morrison in their game against the Rangers, giving some new faces some good ice-time. The Capitals host the Stars on Monday night, so I would imagine that Morrison will figure back in, not to get too cold waiting for the team to gel.
Click here to see an updated injury page.
Hockey Night in Canada
It was great having Hockey Night In Canada back on this past weekend, after a couple weeks off, due to the Olympic Break. You really take that good Saturday night hockey feast for granted in the Winter, don't you? Well, I did. This week coming up has an all-Canadian flavour to it, as we'll have four teams from Canada taking part in the festivities.
In the early game, the Edmonton Oilers will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Needless to say, this game has very little merit to it in the standings, but I'm sure there is going to be some sort of pride being claimed here. There are five Oilers players in the Draft and four Leafs players playing in this game, so there is some interest levied within the 60 minutes. Probably a goaltender as well, if J-S Giguere starts.
In the late game, the Canucks get their first HNIC home game in a long time, as they host the Senators. The Sens took their home game against the Canucks and will try and sweep Vancouver in their 2-game series this season. This should be a great game, as both teams are in the playoff hunt and have played some good hockey recently. This will be the Canucks second home game since returning from their record 14-game road trip, so there could still be a home team high here. There are 13 skaters in the Draft in this game, so it should be a good one.