Monday, March 22, 2010

Week Twenty-Three Newsletter

Well, its another late Newsletter this week, but that's due to the good news of new employment.

It's all coming down to the wire... only three weeks to go in the season and we are counting it all down. Leon holds a good-sized lead in the Draft, while John P. has a questionable lead in the Sheet pool. A lot of the money positions are still being jockeyed for, which is very important, hopefully your team is in the mix.

We've only got one more week before we give away the last jersey of the season. Check and see who is in the running there.

It's a short & sweet Headline today... since I'm in a rush to get this out. Keep your fingers crossed for something a little better next week.

Poll Question
The poll was pretty quiet again this week, it maybe just because the hits are down as well. That's too bad... I like it when there are a lot of hits and votes on the poll. Come on everyone, tell your friends! I'm here all the time.

In the Week Twenty-Three poll, I asked about Alex Ovechkin's 2-game suspension, which he earned last Monday and asked what you thought about it. Well, of the six votes, everyone thought that the suspension was just in being handed out, while it was a split between whether or not it was too long or just long enough.

For Week Twenty-Four, I'm throwing two polls at you... of the teams listed in both conferences, which is most likely to miss the playoffs this time around. I might push these polls a little bit more on Twitter, just for the sake of getting a few more votes.

In the lowest-scoring week in the last month, we had the lowest-scoring Mover & Shaker team since Week Seven, as Allan only needed 35 points to take the title for Week Twenty-Three. This is Allan's second M&S nod in the last three weeks, meaning he's running a pretty hot team at just the right time of the year, but is it a little too little, too late?

Allan goes into Week Twenty-Four sitting 20 points outside of the money and there are only three weeks left in the regular season, so that might not leave enough time to close the gap. In terms of gaining on 3rd place, he made up 15 points on Larry, who finished the week in 3rd... but that kind of pace to make it all up is a bit of a long shot.

It was by no means a spectacular week by Allan's team, having his top player only score 6 points and that was Brendan Morrow of the Dallas Stars, no less. Morrow is a good grinding forward, but in a pool like this, it seems a little outlandish to have him lead the best team in a week, but that's just me. Also having good weeks for Allan's team were Brendan Morrison of the Capitals and Tyler Myers of the Sabres, each with 5 points, while Marc-Andre Fleury earned his first shutout of the season for his only points in the week (4).

In terms of finding how Allan has started to contend, you can definitely look at his Waiver Draft pick-ups this season, which has really helped him along the way, including in Week Twenty-Two, as both Morrison and Myers were picks in the first Waiver Draft, a way back when. At that time, he was hovering around 8th or 9th and had himself a pretty good group of players to pick from and he did improve his team. I would say that would be the best case for his ascent, likely enough to make a big deal of it, if he hits the money.

Jersey PrizeWe have a new leader in the jersey race and we only have one week to go!! Chris M. has taken a 1-point lead over Larry and is only 5 points up on Leon, who sits in 3rd spot. Allan sith 4th and is only 6 points behind and Wes is 5th and is 10 points behind. A big slip up by any of these teams in Week Twenty-Four and its all over for the jersey hopes.

Chris leads the race with 233 points going into this week, but is a ways off the best 8-week segment that Dale B. put in the second segment of 275 points... but I guess its nothing a 42-point week can't sort out, right? Leon won his jersey with only 228 points, but there was a mighty short week in that part of the schedule.

It's the first trip down to the Basement for Clayton, who only managed to sneak 18 points out of Week Twenty-Three. It was tied for Clayton's worst week of the season (not including Week One), but this was only his first Basement Dweller nod of the season, which doesn't help things any. Clayton now sits 30 points out of the money, with only three weeks of action left, which is very improbable to make up at this point in the year.

There were six active players on Clayton's roster that failed to pick up a point in the week, which is problem number one, obviously. His top scorer was Mike Richards of the Flyers, who only had 4 points in the week. It just wasn't very productive at all.

Now, I thought our newest Player of the Week already had one of these nods, but I was mistaken. I only thought that because Pekka Rinne has been having a fantastic season with the Nashville Predators and he really iced his own cake with a 12-point effort in Week Twenty-Three. Sure, a few of these games of his were at home, but having back-to-back shutouts amidst a 4-game week is still pretty spectacular.

Rinne opened up the week at home on Tuesday to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he made 42 saves in regulation & overtime before winning it in the shootout, 4-3. On Thursday, he made 17 saves for his first shutout of the week against the Minnesota Wild at home. Looks like he had a lot of help in that game. On Saturday, he won a 1-0 overtime decision over division rivals, the Blue Jackets, making 33 saves in that game. Finally, on Sunday, it was a 23-save effort against the St. Louis Blues, which just piled on the points, already having locked up the PoW title before the game even started.

After this amazing week, Rinne now stands with 68 points after Week Twenty-Three, which ranks him 32nd among all players in pool scoring, which is in large part due to his 6 shutouts this season. Peter definitely got himself a bargain of a goalie at the draft this season.

Stat Pack

It was also a pretty low-scoring week for the Sheet pool as well, but the pool hasn't gotten any less interesting. Paul W. overtook Clayton for 2nd place in the standings, but the lead still remains at 12 points for John P., who is now hanging on for dear life. Clayton dropped off a bit in this pool, much like he did the Draft, as he now is 21 points behind John and 9 points behind Paul, but as we've seen this season, anything can change and change quickly. Wes is also keeping himself in the conversation, sitting only 6 points behind Clayton, so there is potential for change there on a good or bad week, but this should be our top four teams regardless now.

For the last money position, 5th place, Carl D. is holding onto a 5-point lead on Tim L., who has been charging up of late. Both teams have done well with their trades to keep themselves a float in the money race and this will likely come down to the wire as well.

Two teams tied for the best week in scoring in Week Twenty-Three, as both Brett S. and Jeff R. finished with 70 points a piece. Brett now currently sits in 12th after his good week, while Jeff now sits in 34th, both teams only moving up two positions thanks to their good weeks. Fortunately for them, they were part of the group that went up the standings the most.

Six teams all topped out at moving up two spots, but with 18 teams staying in the same spot, it wasn't a very big week for moving.

Only three weeks to go, now's the perfect time to start considering how to use those last trades you have available. Remember, you have seven trades that you can use this season. Make sure you use them all!

Other News and Notes

The Ducks earned a big win on Sunday night against the Avalanche, but didn't have Bobby Ryan in their line-up in the 5-2 victory. Ryan was out of the line-up with flu-like symptoms. He is just considered day-to-day for now, I would expect him to be okay for the Ducks' next start.

Scary moment for the Flames on Sunday, as Daymond Langkow had to be stretchered off the ice in their loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday afternoon. Langkow coincidentally fell awkwardly to the ice when a slap shot came barreling at him, catching him on the back of the neck. Langkow was taken to hospital for precautionary measures and the early reports were that he had movement and was awake. No word on how bad the injury actually is.

The Carolina Hurricanes will be without one of their new trade deadline acquisitions, likely until the end of the regular season. Alexandre Picard is considered to be week-to-week with an upper-body injury, which he sustained during the week against the Washington Capitals. Picard missed both games the Hurricanes played over the weekend already and will likely be re-evaluated around each weekend.

Florida Panthers forward, Gregory Campbell, is now out of the line-up after blocking a shot with his foot on Saturday. He didn't return to the game and was not able to dress on Sunday for the Panthers either. He is considered day-to-day right now, but his situation could be downgraded once more tests are performed.

That nasty "c" word has reared its ugly head again this weekend... concussion. It appears that Jason Arnott suffered a head injury over the weekend and was not able to join the team for their game on Sunday against the St. Louis Blues. The Predators coaching staff sounded somewhat optimistic about Arnott's return, but if the team doctors can confirm that he has a concussion, he'll be out for at least the coming week.

It was a costly loss for the New York Rangers on Sunday, as they not only lost 2-1 to the Bruins in regulation, but Ryan Callahan also left the game with an undisclosed injury. Callhan has been one of the best Rangers forwards this season, not to mention also being an Olympian for USA, so his presence will definitely be missed as the Rangers try desperately for a playoff spot.

In the week, Filip Kuba did return from a lower-body injury, which kept him out of the Senators line-up for a little bit. It looks like the injury flared up again, because he wasn't in the line-up for the Senators on Saturday against the Dallas Stars. I'm awaiting confirmation on that, but it certainly looks the part. Also not playing on Saturday was Milan Michalek, who sat out with a leg injury, which he suffered in the week. He's currently considered to be out day-to-day.

Reports out of Philadelphia on Monday morning are saying that the Flyers will now be without Jeff Carter for the remainder of the regular season (potentially) because of a fractured foot. The official word from the Flyers is that he is out 3-to-4 weeks with a non- displaced foot fracture. This has the potential to really hurt a lot of poolies and the Flyers themselves, who only sit 4 points safe in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Phoenix Coyotes are the hottest team in the NHL and they seem to be working with a system for their defensemen, much like a few other teams in the league. On Sunday, Mathieu Schneider, who has seen some quality action with the team recently, got a rest when the team faced off against the Dallas Stars. The Coyotes won that game in a shootout.

The Blues are scratching and clawing their way back into the playoff race, but they are still trying to find some sort of chemistry in order to do that. Roman Polak was made into a healthy scratch to try and achieve some of that needed chemistry, when the Blues took on the Predators on Sunday afternoon. With the eventual loss, I would imagine that Polak will draw back into the line-up this week, unless there is an injury that no one is talking about.

The veteran shuffle continued with the Capitals on Saturday night, as Joe Corvo was kept out of the line-up, likely in their veteran rotation I've been posting about for the past couple of weeks. Its definitely nothing to be worried about, but its somewhat inconvenient for the poolies that are trying to win some money, having some of their key players rest for the sake of resting.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

The playoff hunt continues on Saturday, as we continue to wind down the season. The only thing more exciting than the stretch drive is the actual playoffs, so we should be in for a treat in the next few weeks.

The New York Rangers are going into the week only four points out of a playoff spot and they will get a team with nothing to lose in the Maple Leafs in the early game of Hockey Night in Canada. The Rangers seem to be scoring again, so they will be pretty hot to trot coming into Toronto and will want to bring their A-game through Hogtown.

In the late game, the flailing Sharks go back into Vancouver for a date with the Canucks. The Sharks fell out of the Pacific Division lead over the weekend and by Saturday, there might be a little more desperation in their play. The Canucks, on the other hand, are getting closer and closer to the Northwest Division title and will be looking to fine tune their game.

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