Four weeks are now in the books in the hockey pool and scoring in the draft is doing fairly well considering the three extra teams that have joined compared to the last few years previous.
In Weeks Two, Three and Four, the only full weeks we've had, scoring this season on an average team basis is around 24 points-per-week, while in 2010, the average team was 24.7 points over the same period. That's a pretty good sign of things to come, even with the large number of injuries that we've seen early on this season.
At the same time last season, we had yet to see a team hit the 40-point plateau, but we've already had one (Ryan in Week Three), so we're off to a good start there as well.
Week Five will be a busy week in the league, as we'll have 46 games on tap, the biggest week this season. With 20 teams in the pool this year, we have been able to pull more points out of NHL games, averaging 44.5 points collected out of the first 156 games played this year. Having a few more teams in the pool will give us that edge over previous seasons, so it's hardly worth comparing.
Well, that should be enough stats for your morning. Let's have a good Week Five, shall we!
It was another pretty good race for the Player of the Week nod in Week Four, with a couple of players hitting 8 points for the week, but helping out his teammates and making a great week for himself, Joe Thornton takes the title in the end. It's one thing to get enough points in a week to take the nod for Player of the Week, but it's a completely different thing when you get enough points in two games to take the nod. That was definitely the difference in Week Four.
The Sharks hosted a pair of games during the week, one versus the traveling New Jersey Devils and the other versus a Pacific Division rival in the Anaheim Ducks. Both games turned out to be 5-2 victories for the Sharks and both were a feast for the Sharks top trio.
In the game versus the Devils, Thornton broke out with a hat-trick and a pair of assists for a 5-point night, while the game against the Ducks, he was good for 3 assists, immediately lifting his total up to 8 points for the week.
Being slightly outdone this week, coming in as the runner-up in the week was Tim Thomas, who posted back-to-back shutouts for the Bruins for his 8 points, but lost an arbitrary decision at the end of the week.
This week's Mover and Shaker in the draft didn't leave too much doubt in the way of owning this title for the week. Dale C. took the Week Four honour with a 5-point cushion over his next challenger, winning the week with a total of 38 points to his name. With the monster week in points came a pretty big leap in the standings, as Dale's team went from 14th in Week Three to 6th at the end of Week Four, moving up eight spots. In the early nature of the season, Dale was even down to 19th in Week Two, but leads were never really safe back then.
It was a pretty good week throughout Dale's line-up, he was able to pick up points from 10 of his 14 players, two of the zeros on the board were due to injury, however. Leading the way was our Player of the Week, Joe Thornton, who notched 9 points, while Chris Stewart of the Avalanche picked up 6 points and Alex Kovalev, Rich Peverley, Derek Roy, Brian Elliot and Marty Turco all picked up 4 points each. With five players picking up 4 points a piece, you can call that consistency throughout the line-up.
In other statistics for Dale's team... the team led the pool in goals scored in the week with 14, bringing his total up to 30, good for a tie for 5th overall. His team ranks 2nd in the pool in points from forwards with 67, last in the pool in points from his defensemen with only 6 and tied for 5th in goalie points with 20. His goaltenders have been busy, but there have been a number of games missed from his skaters, so it really adds up to his 6th place position quite easily.
In the basement, we had ourselves a tie for the bottom of the table in Week Four, so we'll have to break the tie for a clear winner. With only 16 points scored in total, we had to go to goals scored, but both teams finished with only 4 goals in the week (which was not the lowest in the week either). Next on the tie-break, who dropped the most positions... both players dropped five positions in the pool. This is ridiculous! Well, then I guess we'll take the team that is in the lowest position and the title finally belongs to Stuart G., who finishes the week in 20th spot in the standings.
Eight of Stuart's 14 players picked up points in Week Four and of the 16 points his team picked up, Dan Ellis of the Lightning, picked up 6 of them. Everyone else on his team was either good for 2 points or 1 point in the week, which is a sure sign of a Basement Dweller.
On the injury/news list, Stuart does have four names on the list, but three of them have returned from either injury or suspension, while Marian Gaborik remains the only one on there with an injury, which should last another couple of weeks yet.
It's still that time of year where there is going to be so much movement in the selection sheet pool, it's just crazy. Teams are moving up and down, very few are moving at all, but it's a good time to check your teams out and make some necessary changes for the remaining 23 weeks in the season. Yeah, there is sure a lot of hockey left. I haven't looked at all the trades, that will be a Monday evening kind of deal, but there were plenty more made over the weekend, so if you haven't seen yours posted yet, not to worry, they are coming, I assure you.
Leading the way in points in Week Four is our pool leader, Mitch F., who had already had 1st place in the pool once (in Week One) and reclaimed that spot after dropping as low as 4th place. He led the week in points with 89, thanks to big weeks from Joe Thornton (8 points), Tim Thomas (8), Dany Heatley (7), Alex Ovechkin (5) and seven more players with 4 points each.
Two teams made some significant moves up the ladder in Week Four, both Don C. and Kendra M. had teams that went up 12 spots in the standings, thanks to making some clutch trades before the week started. Now both teams are in the top 15 and well within striking distance of the money spots this year. Be sure to get your trades in and not let these teams get too much further ahead!
Do you have Steven Stamkos or Tim Thomas in the selection sheet pool yet? Both players are tied for the pool lead in points with 19 each after four weeks.
NEWS AND NOTES
An update on the status of Kristian Huselius came in over the weekend. His ankle/foot injury that he suffered in the week has now been diagnosed as a high ankle sprain, which could keep Huselius out of the line-up for up to six weeks. This could be a pretty big hit against Don's draft team, losing out on a key forward like Huselius.
Monday afternoon is when we are likely going to hear more about Zach Parise's injury, which stopped him from playing on Saturday night against the Kings. Parise has reportedly been dealing with a lower-body injury since August, but it came to a point on Saturday night, where he couldn't continue. He has flown back to New Jersey and will not play with the Devils on Monday night against the Canucks, but we'll have an update for you as soon as we get one.
Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros suffered an upper-body injury on Saturday night against the Islanders after taking a pretty hard hit from Trent Hunter. The initial prognosis is positive for the defender, as there is a chance that he could play in the team's first game this week, Monday night at home to Carolina.
The Coyotes have been having a tough time getting goals on the board, which has led them to a pretty slow start in the 2011 campaign. Derek Morris is guilty of being one of those players having a slow go of it this year, only picking up 1 goal and 1 assist in the first 7 games. Morris was a healthy scratch on Saturday night against the Lightning.
The Capitals were in Calgary on Saturday night and a slumping Eric Fehr was made into the team's healthy scratch for that game. Fehr has only registered 2 goals and 2 assists for the Capitals to start the season, so a trip up to the press box will hopefully get the ship righted again for him.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
Another busy night for drafted players on Hockey Night in Canada this coming weekend, as 38 players (including injured or demoted players) were drafted by the four teams in action on the main network, including the scoring leader among the four teams, Derek Roy.
The Sabres will battle the Leafs in the early game, where 17 players have spots on either team going into this week. It hasn't been a great start to the season, scoring-wise, for either club, but this match-up usually brings out the best in either side.
In the late game, the Red Wings are on their West Coast swing, taking on the Canucks in Vancouver. Both teams have seen a bit of pop in their scoring, but the Red Wings are probably coming in with the hotter hands with four players already in double-digits in pool scoring.
How many players on your team will be playing on Hockey Night In Canada?