Those first three weeks of the regular season went by pretty quickly, eh? I can't believe that the Chicago Blackhawks have already played ten games this year.
For Week Four, I am definitely hoping that we will be seeing the prizes for the draft pool arrive, that way I can do an entire post to the prizes that I'll be handing out for both the draft and the sheet pools this year. I'm sure you're all dying to know what you're playing for this year. My fingers are crossed that that will be this week that those come in. The numbers are tallied and done up for the cash prizes, so it will be a quick and painless post when it all comes together.
The trash talk page is now up for the draft... so, go have at it. There have been a few posts already for some good times, but I'm still wrestling with the idea that I should do the same thing for the sheet pool this year. If there is some support for a sheet pool trash talk page, I'll put one together, so leave a comment on this post, if you would like one.
I've got a few more statistical pages I want to do up for the sheet pool, like the player pick counts. I would like to know who was taken the most times in the pool. With the trades that are going in this week, I expect to have the count page up by Tuesday.
Anyways, I'm hoping your teams are not sucking as bad as mine are at the moment, but I picked a bunch of generally slow starters, so look out!
Time for the rest of the newsletter...
It's been quite the tear that Steven Stamkos has been on... finishing the 2010 regular season with the Rocket Richard Trophy (tied with Sidney Crosby, of course) and now tied for the lead in goal scoring and having the outright lead in points after Week Three. The 2008 1st overall pick is living up to the hype and then some. The hype train continued with a Player of the Week nod in Week Three, after he picked up 4 goals and 5 assists in four games during the week, giving his draft team, Larry's, a well-deserved boost.
The week kicked off with the Dallas Stars coming to visit Stamkos in Tampa Bay and the kid didn't disappoint in roughing them up a little bit. Stamkos had a goal and 2 assists in that game to kick of the week. On Thursday, Stamkos was visited by the Islanders, but was a little more hospitable, only picking up a single assist in the 3-2 loss. Friday, the Lightning traveled up the road to Atlanta to take on the Thrashers and there, Stamkos kicked it back into gear with a hat-trick and an assist in the 5-2 win over their divisional opponent. Finally, on Sunday, the Lightning couldn't quite match the same intensity against the Nashville Predators, losing 4-3, but Stamkos did finish the week with an assist, giving him 9 points for the week.
I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him this season.
We've had our first really big mover and shaker of the season and it should give some hope to those who are on the bottom of the standings at the moment. Ryan M. was the Basement Dweller of Week Two, sitting in last place in the standings, but a massive explosion in points has now lifted him into the conversation nearing the top of the standings. Ryan picked up a whopping 42 points in Week Three, moving him from 20th spot up to 6th place, 17 points out of 1st place.
Ryan had a pretty good week up and down the line-up, having only one zero on his team all week. His team was led by a couple of Flames, Miikka Kiprusoff (8 points) and Rene Bourque (7), both of whom really caught fire in the scoring columns. Other notable players on his team in the week were Mike Smith (4), Jamie Benn (3), Troy Brouwer (3), Anze Kopitar (3), Milan Lucic (3) and Dan Boyle (3). For the most part, that line-up looked fairly consistent from top to bottom. The key for this team will be to keep up that kind of pace, although 42 points from week-to-week, is tough, staying around 30 points will make it good.
Currently, the secret of Ryan's success is in goal, where he leads the pool with 20 points from his two keepers. He has the 2nd-best points-per-minutes played ratio, just short of 1st place, and the 3rd-most minutes played in his goaltending tandem.
There were quite a few tough weeks in the pool as well. Five teams failed to hit the 20-point plateau in the week, but some were definitely much harder than others to swallow. This week's basement dweller, Wes M., only managed to pick up 12 points in the week, dropping him down from 5th place in the standings to 17th.
Wes, who picked 1st overall in the draft this year, ran into a pretty cold set of players in Week Three, a group that only scored one goal combined in the week. Steve Mason was his best player, picking up one-third of his points in the week with 4, while Brendan Morrow and Alex Ovechkin only had 2 points a piece. I don't think there is much doubt that his team can bounce back, but the mention in the basement does sit as a blemish on his season.
I suppose one could take solace in the fact that 50% of the Basement Dwellers this season has gone on to capture the Mover and Shaker nod the very next week.
The third week of the season finally brought out some of the better point totals that we've come to know and love about the Sheet pool. We had ourselves a really good runaway team, who picked up all sorts of points and shifted his way to the top of the standings, but we also have a few teams struggling out of the gates and falling behind fairly quickly. Nevertheless, we have had some trades already this year, which means people are interested in the pool or at the very least, interested in winning the pool this year.
David G. went on a tear in Week Three, doubling his point total with 80 points in the week, jumping up 19 positions, from 20th to 1st place in the standings. A lot of credit can go to the consistency through his line-up, as he had quite a few players that had between 3-to-5 points, plus he had Miikka Kiprusoff, who had 8 points in the week as well. His other notable players included Sidney Crosby (5 points), Martin St. Louis (5), seven players with 4 points each and eight players with 3 points each.
Through three weeks, there has been quite a bit of separation from top to bottom, but all it takes is for one good week for some of those bottom teams to find their way back up to the middle and then their way to the top of the table. All is definitely not lost.
The trade wire was definitely hopping for Week Four, as I have received 22 trades that will be applied before puck drop on Monday evening. I also expect to see a few more to trickle in before the deadline on Monday, so the competition will remain fierce. Remember, you have seven moves to make in the season and it is wise to stay up near the top of the standings all year, if you want a chance to win something.
NEWS AND NOTES
This somehow slipped through the cracks this week, but it was caught in the statistical audit on Sunday afternoon... the Thrashers ended up sending Box 23 forward Nigel Dawes down to their minor league affiliate in the AHL. Dawes didn't quite make the grade through six games with the club, failing to register a point or find some chemistry with the rest of the team. Dawes was sent down later in the week and should be considered as a good drop, if you have him on your team.
An update came in on Box 28 defenseman Johnny Boychuk, after leaving Saturday night's game with a wrist injury. The Bruins tweeted that Boychuk will miss upwards of four weeks with a broken bone in his forearm. Boychuk was supposed to be one of those breakthrough players this season, but this injury will see to that notion being delayed, for at least the next month.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
There is going to be a total of 37 draft players under the umbrella of the four teams playing on Hockey Night In Canada's main games on Saturday, with the Washington Capitals leading the way with 12 by themselves.
In the opening game, the New York Rangers will be in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs. The Rangers are currently missing a number of their drafted players to injury, so their total of 8 players drafted will take a significant hit by the time the puck drops on this game. The Maple Leafs may be gaining some strength when the waiver draft hits in six weeks, since there have been plenty of surprises thus far from the buds.
The late game will see the Capitals, who have lots of support in the pool, visit the Calgary Flames in the late game. The Flames didn't quite get the same kind of support like they have in previous years and that is likely attributed to the poor finish to the season and some lack of confidence in the team's ability to score. The waiver draft may solve those problems as well, if some players continue to score like they have this year.