We have four weeks of action left to go here in the hockey pools and there is lots going on. We have some quality races in both pools, although its really only the Sheet pool that has a race for top spot going on. Leon has done a great job of picking his Draft team this year and its becoming less and less likely that he'll be caught in the end. The race in the Sheet pool is looking to be more of a 3-horse race, which is really exciting, we can call it a 4-horse race, if Wes can have himself a big week here really quick and jump into the fray. All of this is being looked at in the rest of the Newsletter this week.
Not being published in the news this week is some of the major injury & league news, which has been announced on Monday. I'll be saving that for some bigger & better posts, because there are quite a few Draft players being mentioned this week and it may or may not effect the final money spots.
Well, in the week's poll, I wanted to know who you thought was the favourite for the Stanley Cup and I had posted all six division leaders and an other for your amusement. The overwhelming favourite for your pleasure was Chicago, who took 62% of the vote in the week. I really wonder if that now holds true after the devastation to their line-up injury-wise. Washington, Pittsburgh and Other all picked up some consideration as well, but Chicago was the favourite.
This week, with the yet to be published (on the blog) news, the 2-game suspension of Alex Ovechkin was handed down. I would like to know whether or not you thought that he deserved more or whether or not the length of the suspension was good enough for you. Vote now!
It took all season of being close, but finally Wayne picked up his first Mover & Shaker nod of the season after picking up a week-best 39 points and he also moved into the last money position. Wayne leap-frogged Wes for 3rd place in the standings and also put 10 points between the two teams. I have a feeling that Wayne will be really pleased about this turn of events.
With a 39-point week, Wayne had a new season-high, beating previous high of 38 points from Week Eighteen. Wayne's team has been pretty consistent through the year, having 18 weeks of 25 points or more. Wayne now sits 7 points behind 2nd place, Larry, but still a ways away from 1st place, Leon.
Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals was Wayne's best player in the week, picking up 6 points and he only had two active players with no points at all, which looks good for his active roster. Joe Pavelski picked up 5 points, Jakub Voracek had 4 and Andy Greene also had 4 points in the week. There was plenty of consistency in the line-up, which adds up pretty quickly.
The bread & butter of Wayne's team this season is his forwards, which lead the pool with 417 points through 22 weeks. Usually the top team with forward points is generally in the money, in a lot of cases wins the pool, but Wayne's defense and goalies are hovering around the average, which might be keeping him from moving up too quickly.
The jersey race remains quite hot through Week Twenty-Two, as Larry still has a lead in the race, but his lead is only 8 points with only two weeks left until we hand out the prize. Chris is hot on Larry's tail, but he only holds a 6-point lead over Stuart and a 7-point lead over Leon for 2nd place in the race. All it's going to take is a real hot week and maybe an above-average week to sew up the jersey, so keep it locked on the standings. We're in for a good one!
It was another tough week for Trevor, who moved one step closer to being back in the absolute basement of the pool again. This is Trevor's 3rd Basement Dweller nod this year after picking up only 19 points in the week. Trevor has had seven weeks below 20 points in the season, which really explains his 16th place position in the standings. He's also had the coldest team over the past ten weeks, picking up only 222 points in that time, which is a poor average of just over 22 points a week. That won't get any team very far, very quickly in the season. Trevor's average week this season is only 22.6 points per week and is on pace to only hit 589 points by the end of Week Twenty-Six.
I can't believe it. Leon has done it again. He's snuck another one of his Waiver Draft picks into the Player of the Week paragraph... in back-to-back weeks, no less. In Week Twenty-Two, it was Mikael Samuelsson of the Canucks that struck a chord in the league with 10 points in the league, which also earned him the number one star of the week from the NHL. This is Leon's fourth player of the week nod this season.
Samuelsson got his week started off on the right foot with a hat-trick and an assist against the Avalanche on Tuesday night, as the Canucks won 6-4. In a 4-3 shootout loss, he picked up another goal and assist against the Coyotes. In the first game at home since January, he scored another two goals and added another assist against the Senators. Finally, on Sunday night, an assist finished off the week in a 3-1 win over the Flames. That's 6 goals and 4 assists in the week, which was more than enough to pick up his PoW in the Sherpa's hockey pools.
In 2010, Samuelsson now has 30 goals and 23 assists in 69 games with the Canucks, which now ranks him 62nd in pool scoring this season.
The lead continued to shrink again, as Clayton is riding the Sedin twins and a few others on the high scoring Canucks team to help catch John P. in the Sheet standings. Clayton has now shrunk the lead down to 4 points after Sunday night's action and also has Paul W. following close behind, sitting only 9 points out of 2nd as well. There is now a big race for the lead with only four weeks of action left to go in the season and John still has trades to burn before the end of the season. He better utilize them quickly if he wants to stay in the lead, because there are a couple of teams coming for him right now.
With only four weeks to go, we still have a great race, even with the last money spot in the standings as well. Between 5th and 6th place, there is only a 7-point gap and its only 16 points between 5th and 7th. There is plenty of time left to get that all sorted out.
Top points in the week comes from Clayton again this season, who is riding the Canucks and their high scoring ways to the top. No one else has traded for Daniel Sedin, who has been good in Box 1 of the Sheet pool, while holding onto Henrik Sedin, who is 2nd in pool scoring altogether. If you haven't made the trade for either one of these players, what are you waiting for?
Benson was our biggest mover in the pool, moving up from 31st to 28th this past week. He had 77 points, while most teams around him were in the 60's. Make those trades... you'll move up in the last four weeks!
Other News and Notes
The Thrashers season continues to get punched in the face, leaving black eye after black eye. Over the weekend, they lost the services of Zach Bogosian, their future franchise blueliner to a hand injury. The young star was supposed to have an MRI on Monday, but nothing has been released just yet. A broken hand could effectively end his season, but we won't know until they announce it.
The Flames are expecting to be without Box 22 forward, Christopher Higgins, on Monday night against the Red Wings, as he left Sunday's game with a lower-body injury, believed to be his foot, against the Canucks. It's a day-to-day injury, if he does miss the game tonight, which seems most likely.
This isn't the big news from Chicago, you'll have to find the post after this one to see that, but on Sunday, the Blackhawks were without Box 12 defenseman and deadline deal pick-up, Kim Johnsson, because of an upper-body injury. It doesn't sound like this injury is a major one, because he is in the conversation about playing on Wednesday. They will definitely need him on Wednesday, but we have to consider him day-to-day for now and likely a game-time decision.
Also missing Sunday's game was Marian Hossa, also out with an upper-body injury. He was on the trip to Anaheim with the team and is a possibility to be in the line-up for the team when they play against the Ducks. Neither player has had their injuries properly described to anyone, so it's really anyone's guess.
The Penguins received some good news today, as Evgeni Malkin took a shot off the foot on Sunday, having him leave the game with the injury, but it was determined that his foot isn't broken and will be on the shelf on a day-to-day basis. This could have been a terrible turn of events, because the Penguins likely would have been without the superstar for the remainder of the regular season, having him shake the rust off early in the playoffs.
Also, Alex Goligoski was not in the line-up on Sunday, looking as though he was kept out as a healthy scratch. There is no injury news to speak of at the moment. His numbers in the past five games haven't been bad, so maybe it was a game to rest.
The Lightning haven't quite updated Mattias Ohlund's injury officially it seems, but there was a post to suggest that Ohlund is suffering from an ankle injury and it does sound somewhat serious, as he could be out of the line-up for upwards of a week, possibly two. Ohlund will undergo some aggressive treatment on his ankle, hoping to get back into his skates sooner rather than later.
Click here to see an updated injury page.
Hockey Night in Canada
Looks like another good Hockey Night In Canada is brewing up for the coming week. The Montreal Canadiens are in Toronto to take on their rivals, the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs will get the chance to play spoilers on the Habs, who are trying to still make the playoffs this year. This could be a good game, if the Leafs are up to the challenge of a better Eastern Conference team.
The Canucks are also in a spoiler role on Saturday, as the Red Wings come to town, also looking to help their playoff positioning in Vancouver. The Canucks are firmly socked in the playoff picture (not clinched, but socked in), while the Red Wings are on the verge of being ousted from the playoffs for the first time in a long time. The Wings are not what they used to be, while the Canucks are travelling in the opposite direction. This has some real potential.