It's a fairly straight-forward newsletter this week, as there wasn't too much scoring and I had covered most of the news during the weekend itself, so this should be a quick and easy read, if you're actually reading it at all.
This week, like other Week Five Newsletters of the past (November 2009 and November 2008), I thought I would make quick references to how big the gaps are between first and last place in each pool, see if there are any similarities between seasons. In a game that is all statistics, we could always use more statistics to keep us all interested, right?
The draft this season is quite different for an obvious reason... more people! Frankly, I am just guessing before I actually write this, but I don't really know if I should be expecting a bigger gap between first and last or whether or not a greater depth of players taken would actually shrink the gap. So, in November 2008, the gap was 48 points, November 2009 was 62 points and in November 2010, the Week Five gap is... drum roll, please... 42 points! Maybe that extra bit of depth is good for the overall scheme of things.
I would have to think that 42 points is a manageable gap to overcome in the remaining 22 weeks of the season, but I think for most teams near the bottom of the standings, the first waiver draft cannot come too soon.
On the selection sheet side, it really doesn't matter how many teams are actually in the pool to gauge how big the gap will be, since everyone can technically have the same team from week to week. That being said, the gap will be more dependent on how good the teams that have been picked are.
At the same time in 2009, the gap was 85 points and in 2008 was not really measured, but the guess was about 80 points, so with that being said I would imagine that the 80-point range would be the best guess in 2010. Incredibly, that guess would have been way off... as the distance between first and last place is already 112 points, likely something that cannot be made up in the course of 22 weeks and only seven trades. Yikes!
Well, this year is a good year for the record books, I guess. It's great to have a few years now to compare, so next year at the same time, we should be able to gauge this a little bit better again. Hopefully, we can get a couple more people into the draft and close that gap even further, making the competition all that much greater.
As if it was like clockwork, the results for Roberto Luongo seem to change with the turning over of the calendar some years. It was a pretty rough ride through October, despite playing fairly well, the results were just not there for the Canucks former captain, but once November hit, the number one goalie in Vancouver started getting the results everyone was expecting from him.
Luongo only appeared in three games for the Canucks, but that was enough to pick up 3 wins, 1 shutout and 1 assist for a 9-point week, which was tops in the draft pool and good enough for Player of the Week honours, something he was not able to earn in the 2010 season.
Week Five opened up on Monday for the Canucks with a 3-0 win over the Devils, where Luongo made 30 saves to preserve the goose egg and a 4-point night. On Tuesday, Luongo played the second half of back-to-back nights in Edmonton, where he stopped 23 shots and added an assist in a 4-3 road win. On Thursday, Luongo got a night off and his understudy, Cory Schneider took the game and the win. Finally, on Saturday, Luongo's last test was against the Red Wings and he came up huge in the 3rd period, pulling out a 6-4 win and making 24 stops in the process.
Already, this is Chris' second Player of the Week nod this season, having now earned one from each of his goaltenders this year. This is definitely a key reason why he's currently sitting in one of the money positions after this week.
Overall, it was a very low scoring week, especially with the highest amount of games we've seen in a week this season (46). Still, Peter H. had himself a pretty good week, earning the top spot by himself with 32 points in Week Five, moving and shaking his way from 5th spot in the standings and into 2nd place, sitting only 3 points behind our pool leader.
Amazingly, even though this is Peter's first mover and shaker week this season, it hasn't been his best week out of the first five, as Week Four, he did 1 point better, but the scoring was a little bit higher in the week, so it wasn't quite good enough for any recognition.
Peter can give credit for his big week to Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild, who had 6 points to lead his team in scoring, while Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals was tied with Derrick Brassard and Sergei Gonchar with 4 points to give great support to his team. Peter did have a couple of zeros on his team, one of which due to injury, so he wasn't squeaky clean through the week either.
A great deal of Peter's success can be attributed to his goaltending tandem this year, of Backstrom and Tim Thomas, who currently lead the draft with 35 points in total. The tandem is 2nd in the pool in points per 60 minutes played (1.87) and 5th in total minutes played (1,125). His skaters have been very complementary to his game as well, staying healthy and ranking 7th in the pool in games played with 150.
Now, the question is, can Peter keep up this pace and hang with the big boys again this season.
Week Five has now seen a second trip to the Basement for Ryan M., who has now been mentioned in three of the five opening newsletters. Thanks to his one Mover and Shaker nods, Ryan's 11-point week has only set him back to 14th spot in the standings, the highest standing of any team that finished in the basement so far this season.
You could definitely argue that Ryan's reliance on the Calgary Flames will either be the life or death of his season and in Week Five, it was certainly the death, as the Flames did not have a great week to speak of. Ryan's best players could only conjure up 2 points a piece, while some injuries and inconsistent play had eight zeros on his team page at the end of the week, causing the biggest setbacks.
According to the injury/news page, Ryan's only injured player in the week, Drew Doughty, has returned to the Kings line-up, so there should be no excuse for being in the Basement, especially with a healthy and active team. Ryan currently ranks 17th in points per game from his skaters and 7th in points per 60 minutes from his goaltending, so we can easily point out where his team is in need of some improvement.
Stop hogging all the mentions Ryan, other people want to be recognized too, you know!
It looks like I'm going to have my work cut out for me on Monday night, because trade season is definitely in full swing, as everyone doesn't want to be left behind in the race this year. I've got at least 11 messages from this week to sift through and I'm sure there are going to be more. Let the peer pressure of others making trades force your hand a little bit.
After making some trades last weekend, Paul W. climbed up to the top of the heap in weekly scoring for Week Five, clawing together 72 points in a fairly low-scoring week in the league. Paul's top-scoring week also gave him a pretty good lift, moving up from 19th spot in the standings up to 13th spot and he now can eye up the top ten much easier from his new perch. Paul's big point-getters in Week Five were as follows: Roberto Luongo (9 points), Henrik Sedin (5), Alex Ovechkin (5), Daniel Sedin (4), Derrick Brassard (4), Peter Budaj (4) and Mike Green (4). Definitely good to see some fresh faces like Brassard and Budaj in the list this week.
Moving up the most spots in the standings this week was Clayton C., who moved from 29th to 21st in the course of a week. A shout will go out to Cheryl D., who finished 2nd in the week in both points accumulated and positions moved up, as she climbed into the top 10 with a great week in the pool as well.
Everyone may have decided to go with either Roberto Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff or Antti Niemi in Box 15, but have you stopped to look at Jaroslav Halak yet? He currently leads that box by a country mile with 22 points, tied for the pool lead in scoring.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Boston Bruins announced on Sunday night that they will be without forward David Krejci for at least the next week after suffering a concussion on Saturday night. Krejci will have to sit for at least the league minimum seven days with the injury, after that, he will have to pass the regular baseline tests before re-entering the line-up.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
This week's Hockey Night In Canada should appeal to a lot of players in the draft this week, with 39 drafted players between the four teams on Saturday night on the main network. Only a few of those 39 drafted players are not scheduled to play in this game, so it should be a pretty good night for points out of these teams.
First off, Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks into Toronto in the 3rd game of their five game Eastern Conference road trip, while the Maple Leafs take on the hosting duties once again on a Saturday night. The Leafs are currently led by non-drafted forward Clarke MacArthur, who you can scout as a possible replacement you could use at the waiver draft in a month's time.
In the late game, the San Jose Sharks will play host to another Hockey Night In Canada game, as the Calgary Flames come to town, trying to right the ship and get themselves back into the Western Conference race. Dany Heatley leads the home team in scoring this year with 15 points in 12 games, while the Flames are led by Miikka Kiprusoff, who has tallied 14 points in the first five weeks.