Sunday, October 31, 2010

Malkin Out With Bruised Knee

A bruised knee is what the Pittsburgh Penguins are calling the injury that Evgeni Malkin suffered this weekend. Malkin left Friday night's game against the Flyers in the third period after suffering the injury and the injury was bad enough to keep the Russian superstar out of the line-up on Saturday night against the Hurricanes, but a bruised knee shouldn't be considered too serious and I think we should all expect to see Malkin sooner rather than later.

Malkin has yet to be that offensive force we got to know him as a couple of seasons ago, but you can't really argue with his numbers either way.  In the first 11 games of the season, Malkin has posted 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points, which isn't too bad, but he isn't running with the big boys in the league at the present time.  He currently ranks 4th on the team in pool scoring, where there are expectations of him being in the top two all year long.

ImplicationsMalkin was the 9th overall selection in the draft this year, taken by Leon in the 1st round and he hasn't quite been the 1st round kind of scorer yet this season.   Leon currently sits 11th in the draft standings, 10 points out of the money and if Malkin can come back from this minor injury and start performing like we all know he can, it should put Leon back in the race with the other big teams in the pool.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Neck Spasms Sideline Colaiacovo

Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was the recipient of a pretty massive (and illegal) check from the Predators Jordin Tootoo this week, which has left Colaiacovo with neck spasms. The injury forced the 27-year old defender to miss Saturday night's game against the Atlanta Thrashers and he will likely miss more time until the severity of the injury is fully known. The team will likely do more tests over the next few days and more will be determined then.

Colaiacovo has been solid to start this year for the Blues, picking up 1 goal and 4 assists to start the year, on a team that has really done a good job on spreading the offense around and getting enough goals to put wins on the board.  No one has really broken out yet for St. Louis, but it does only seem like a matter of time.

ImplicationsThe solid start has helped our draft leader, Benson, get to where he is thus far this year, but an injury like this may not be helpful for protecting his 2-point lead after Week Four.  Benson's blueline has been one of the brightest spots in the pool so far this year, leading the whole pool in this category with 32 points.  That's a very solid start. Missing out on some man games there could hurt a little, but probably not a whole lot.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Weiss Rolls Ankle, Misses Saturday Night

The pre-game soccer kickaround has claimed another victim this weekend, as Stephen Weiss reportedly rolled his ankle pretty bad before playing the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night and he was unable to even take the pre-game skate, let alone warm-ups or the game itself.  There hasn't been a timetable set for Weiss' return, nor a distinct diagnosis on his ankle, but for now, we'll just keep him out day-to-day.

Weiss has not had a good start to the 2011 campaign, only picking up 1 goal and 2 assists in his first eight games of the year.  I wonder if he is really missing his former linemate, Nathan Horton, who was shipped to Boston in the off-season.  The Panthers didn't really fill the hole left by Horton and I think Weiss has really struggled because of that.

Weiss came into the season with some reasonable expectations, especially with a healthy David Booth on the team, but so far, he's come up short.  Maybe a game or two from over top might change his perspective a little and help boost his game.

ImplicationsWell, despite Weiss' slow play and injury, Dale C. has moved along quite swiftly in the standings, moving up to 6th place (unofficially) in the standings and only 2 points out of the money spots, which start in 4th place this year.  Frankly, if Weiss was near the top of the Panthers scoring table, like he should be, it would be much tighter at the top of the standings.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Hudler a Healthy Scratch

Some higher expectations likely got the best of Red Wings forward Jiri Hudler on Saturday night, as he was a healthy scratch for Detroit, as they took on the Predators. Hudler rejoined the Wings after playing in Europe last season and there was a lot of excitement surrounding his return. Unfortunately, he has yet to live up to that early season hype thus far.

In the first eight games of the season, Hudler has only managed to pick up 3 assists and is a horrifying -6 in the plus/minus column. Those kind of numbers are definitely worthy of being a healthy scratch for, but will that message be read loud and clear going forward?

In a post-game interview, Hudler was not happy about being a scratch, but knew that the coach has to make those kind of decisions.  The Red Wings will definitely hope that this lights a fire underneath Hudler, rather than feel left out and alienated.  I suppose only time will tell now.

ImplicationsThis scratching pretty well just capped off a pretty bad week for Kristy and Don, who had five players hit the news page and miss some time with their NHL clubs.  Since it is only the end of Week Four, there should be plenty of time to make up for these small losses, but coming back is far harder than sitting on a lead.

Kristy and Don dropped down from 4th place at the start of the week to 10th (unofficially) in the standings, thanks to their poor week and they will have a fairly long climb back up.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Bolland Suffers Rib Injury

On Friday night against the Wild, Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland apparently suffered a rib injury and it was bad enough to keep the gritty forward out of the line-up on Saturday night for the back end of the home and home with the Wild on Saturday night.  the word from the team is that Bolland will also miss Monday night's contest against the Rangers, but after that, he'll be a day-to-day decision going forward.

Bolland has not been quite as potent offensively this season, but being on the 3rd line where all of the major changes in the line-up took place won't help his cause too much this year.  In 12 games, Bolland has only picked up 1 goal and 2 assists, which has him ranked much lower with the team, but he is trying to find chemistry with some of his new linemates, so it should come around for him.

ImplicationsMissing Saturday and Monday may not be too bad for John P. in the draft, but since he's down in the dog fight at the bottom of the table, he will need everything he can get from all of his players.  John unofficially finished Week Four in 15th place, 29 points out of 1st place and 19 points out of the money.  Still lots of time and Bolland will be a big help, once he finds his stride.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Sheet Player News (Oct 31)

A small shift in the roster for the Carolina Hurricanes sees Box 25 forward Drayson Bowman and non-pool player Zac Dalpe head down to the AHL for a couple of days, while Jon Matsumoto has been recalled. This has the feel of just saving some extra dollars against the cap on this day off, since the Charlotte Checkers (the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate) doesn't play on Sunday night and every little bit of cap space helps.  I imagine that these players will swap back before Monday night's game away to Philadelphia.

The return of Andrei Markov on Saturday night meant that one of the roster defensemen had to be scratched on Saturday night and that unfortunately fell down on Box 29 defenseman Alexandre Picard. Picard only has 1 goal in nine games with the club and those numbers are not going to put up much opposition for being scratched. I imagine Picard will stick around for a little while, but if he doesn't get much playing time in, a trip to the minors is likely.

A somewhat disappointing start to the season from Box 13 defenseman Francis Bouillon had earned him a trip up to the press box, which he claimed on Saturday night when the Predators took on the Red Wings. Bouillon only has 2 assists in the first nine games and the club is likely looking for someone who can step up and help carry the load that Ryan Suter left behind with his injury. I would expect him back in the line-up right away, unless there is an undisclosed injury.

Not providing enough pop will definitely earn you a trip to the press box in Toronto these days. Box 24 forward John Mitchell was replaced in the Maple Leafs line-up by Christian Hanson on Saturday night for their game against the Rangers, but luckily for Mitchell, Hanson didn't put up much for numbers, so a return to the line-up could be sooner rather than later.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prizes For the 2011 Hockey Pools

I suppose it's about time to let you all know what the prizes are looking like for the hockey pools this year. I have received the segment prizes for the draft, so now I feel completely comfortable making the post today.

We'll start with the selection sheet pool first. This year, we only managed to get 33 teams in the pool, so that took down the prizes a fair bit from last year. That brought us a total pot of $825 and since this pool is the one that pays for the website, which is $75 for the year, the total prize pot this year will be $750.

1st place will receive $450, 2nd will get $200, 3rd will get $75 and 4th place will get their money back. For 33 teams, that isn't too bad at all.

In the draft, we finally got up to 20 people this year and that brings us up to $1,000 for the total prize pot. I went out and purchased some jerseys for prizes again this year, taking $175 out of the total pot for the jerseys, leaving $825 for the money pot.

1st place will pick up a cool $500, 2nd place will get $175, 3rd place will get $100 and 4th will also get their money back.

Prizes for the Hockey PoolNow, the jersey prizes are going to work the exact same way they did last season, by winning segments in the pool.  Since the NHL season is 27 weeks long, I'm breaking out the segments into 9 weeks, so if you have the most points in either one of the three 9-week segments, you will win one of these awesome jerseys.

As you can see, I've picked up the Heritage Classic jerseys and I've also found a Los Angeles Kings 3rd jersey, which I think looks pretty sharp.  Mike Cammalleri, Jarome Iginla and Drew Doughty represent the names on the jerseys.

Of course, on the newsletter, we'll keep constant updates for the jersey races, so you'll know who is winning at what times.

Good luck to all of you and thanks for playing!

Michalek to Miss a Week

Expect Milan Michalek to be on the shelf for about a week after undergoing surgery to repair some tendinitis in his knee today.  Can't be sure how much the tendinitis has been affecting Michalek's game, but obviously it was hampering him enough to undergo the procedure early on in the season.  I think it's safe to assume that this is a precautionary measure, which is better applied now than later.

In 10 games this season with the Sens, Michalek has 4 goals and 1 assist, for a reasonable scoring rate to start the year.

Since the expectation is a week away from the game, that would mean he could miss upwards of only four games, including tonight's tilt against the Bruins in Ottawa.  Week Five only has three games on tap and a possible return date could be November 6th, which is away to Montreal.

ImplicationsMichalek belongs to Peter in the draft this year, taken as a 10th round pick, 198th overall, which should be a pretty good spot to take a guy like Michalek.  Peter currently sits in 7th place in the standings and is right in the middle of the mix going into a busy Saturday night worth of action.  Missing out on Michalek will not help Peter at all, but the rest of the team should be good enough to pick up the slack.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Little Suffers Concussion

Reports out of the Thrashers camp are saying that Bryan Little left last night's game against the Buffalo Sabres with a concussion and some facial lacerations after taking an awkward fall into the boards following a hit from the Sabres' Shaone Morrisonn.  The biggest concern now is that a concussion has reared its ugly head and Little could be out indefinitely.

Little hasn't gotten off to the biggest of starts with the Thrashers this season, only picking up 1 goal and 3 assists in the first ten games of the year, but he is a valuable member of the Thrashers roster.

So now that the word concussion has been used in Little's diagnosis, he'll have to miss at least the next week of action and then get some baseline testing done before getting clearance to return to the line-up.  If Little can come back in one week's time, that would be good news for everyone involved.

ImplicationsIn the draft, Little is Leon's 6th round pick, 112th overall this year, which looked like a pretty good pick.  Leon currently sits in 11th spot in the standings, already 20 points behind the leader.  Here is hoping that the effects of the concussion are not long-term and he can climb back into this race again.  As defending champion of the draft, Leon probably wants to show that it wasn't a fluke.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Poor Returns on Zherdev Experiment

The signing of Nikolai Zherdev in the Summer looked to be a savvy move by the Flyers, picking up a talented player who needed a second chance in the NHL, but there had to be known that picking him up was somewhat of a gamble.  He has only shown some flashes in the NHL and his attention to defense does leave something to be desired.

It's been a slow fall out of favour for Zherdev, starting up on the second line this year and has steadily dropped down the depth chart as the four weeks of the season moved on, going down to the fourth line not too long ago and then last night in the press box for the game against the Penguins.  The fall out of favour hasn't necessarily been because of his defense, rather the 2 points he's only managed to pick up in his first nine games with the club.  I think there was definitely a higher expectation there.

ImplicationsI would honestly have to believe that there was some high expectations from Kristy an Don, who took Zherdev in the draft, managing to snag him in the 2nd round, 197th overall.  At that kind of draft pick, you would think that someone would be looking to Zherdev as a sleeper pick, but he's done little to make that an excellent pick in the early part of the season.  Kristy and Don are likely hoping that this time in the press box will kick Zherdev in the ass going forward.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Sheet Player News (Oct 30)

The curse of Box 25 has finally hit Carolina, as Drayson Bowman has found his way to the press box for a game. Bowman did not dress for the game against the Rangers on Friday night and may be on the verge of a demotion, since he has yet to register a point in seven games with the club.  It wouldn't be terribly surprising if he did go down, since most of his selection sheet counterparts have found that fate already.

With Nikolai Khabibulin returning to the net on Friday night against the Blackhawks, the trio of goalies in Edmonton needed to have one sit and the victim was Box 16's Jeff Deslauriers, who sat in favour of Devan Dubnyk.  The Oilers goaltending situation is a tricky one, since all three would have to pass through waivers to get down to the minors and the situation with Khabibulin is still up in the air, so I'm expecting to continue watching this trio of goalies cycle around for a while yet.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Friday, October 29, 2010

Giordano Inks 5-Year Extension

The Flames continued their blueline spending ways on Friday, inking potential unrestricted free agent defenseman Marc Giordano to a new 5-year contract extension, reportedly worth $20.1 million, which works out to be a $4.02 million cap hit per season. The deal in shape and value is exactly the same to teammate Robyn Regehr, but Giordano's will last until the end of the 2016 season.

In 10 games this season, Giordano has 3 assists, which has him ranked fairly low, but the Flames have started to pick up their offense and Giordano should be in the middle of all of that.

In 2010, Giordano finished 283rd in league pool scoring with 30 points in all 82 games with the Flames, so he has some offensive value to his name.  As a puck moving defenseman with a brand new deal, he may have to improve on his 2010 numbers to make this deal seemingly worth while, but there is still lots of hockey to be played yet.

Salary CapAccording to, the Flames now have the highest payroll for the 2012 season with this signing and they only have 17 players committed to the cause.  I haven't worked out any of my own number of who I would be expecting to be on the roster just yet, but I would have to assume that my list would closely reflect that of capgeek's.  It may have turned to an even bumpier Summer of movements for the Flames and we're only 10 games into their 2011 season.

Versteeg Out With Back Issue

A slight back problem has now sidelined Kris Versteeg and things are not looking up for the weekend. Versteeg missed out on Thursday night's contest against the Bruins and hasn't been skating with the team much at all lately, so things are getting awfully questionable.  No word as to what the extent of the injury is, but I am getting to be more and more skeptical that it will end well.

Versteeg hasn't quite been the point-producer that the Maple Leafs possibly thought they were getting, opening up the season with just 1 goal and 1 assist in his first eight games.  Getting a point every four games is not going to fly when the team is struggling, but luckily for him, his struggles prior to the injury were not well documented, since the team was putting up wins.

ImplicationsVersteeg belongs to Kristy and Don in the draft and is now the second player of theirs reported on the blog this afternoon.  They go into Friday night's action in 7th place, 11 points out of 1st place, but since Versteeg only has 2 points thus far in the year, they were not really leaning heavily on him.  Possibly some rest and healing will help get Versteeg back on track and 100%.

Link to the Injury/News Page