I really don't have a lot to go on from previous season's worth of work for Week Ten, so I thought I would just have a quick peek at where teams are in the pools. We're already through a third of the season on the calendar, coming quickly upon the Christmas Break.
In the draft, Allan S. carries 279 points into Week Eleven and a 4-point lead over Chris M. in the standings. After Week Ten in 2010, Leon G. already had 306 points to his name, but this year, our draft went quite a bit deeper, so the points level should drop with lesser players on each team. Leon's lead was also 44 points by the end of Week Ten, which is incredibly scary to comprehend about now. The gap from 1st to 20th in the draft this year is 80 points, while in 2010 it was 84 points. That's actually a much closer comparison than I would have guessed.
In the Sheet pool, we're now into our second season with 32 boxes and both Mitch F. and Wes M. are currently sitting with 645 points at the top of the standings. Mitch currently has the tie-breaker in both goals and wins, which suggests that Wes is getting assists out the wazoo this season. Unfortunately, I don't have the capability to really compare from season to season, but at this time next year, I will have that ability, making the newsletter all that much more exciting!
Overall in the draft, it was a pretty decent week for scoring, but it certainly wasn't over the top by any means. The scoring throughout the draft was somewhat flat, leaving the scoring race for the week to be left up to only a few players and a clear winner. For Week Ten, the Player of the Week nod goes to Ryane Clowe of the San Jose Sharks, who finished with 8 points, which seems to be the normal total for PoW nods this season.
Clowe and the Sharks have been going at a pretty steady pace over the past week, picking up a record of 3-1-0 in four games, with Clowe picking up 2 points in each game of the week. On Monday, the Sharks beat the Red Wings, 5-2, with Clowe picking up a pair of assists. Wednesday, the Sharks snuck past the Flyers in the shootout, 5-4, and Clowe scored a goal and added an assist in regulation to help that along. Thursday, the Sharks couldn't get past the Sabres, losing 6-3, but Clowe still managed to pick up another pair of assists. Finally, on Saturday, the Sharks beat the Blackhawks, 2-1 in overtime, and Clowe scored both goals. That's a very consistent week.
Clowe got off to a pretty slow start in the regular season, but has now seemingly found his stride with new linemate Logan Couture and Clowe now has 28 points in 29 games for the Sharks this season, flexing his scoring muscle, which we saw in the playoffs last Spring. Clowe now ranks 37th in league pool scoring, well up from 86th spot, where he finished in 2010.
This brings us to our first Mover and Shaker of the post-waiver draft segment of the season and the last place team that picked first managed to have his regular players step up for a week, not to mention one of his waiver draft picks, for a big week and it helped him climb out of the pool basement, at least for now.
Clayton C.'s team managed to find some strength in Week Ten, scoring more than 25 points for the first time this season, ending up with 33 points and moving from 20th spot in the standings, all the way up to 19th. This gives him the first week lead in the second segment of the season for the next jersey prize and a jump on the competition, trying to get himself into a more respectable position before the end of the season.
Clayton's team was led by Ryane Clowe, who finished with 8 points, followed by Logan Couture and Ryan Getzlaf, who each had 5 points and Cam Fowler had 3 points. There were still a few zeros on his active sheet, but those who did get points, did well enough to make a difference in the week.
Being near the bottom of the pool means that statistically, Clayton's team isn't very good in a number of the major statistical categories through ten weeks. His skaters rank 10th in points per game this season (0.64 ppg), but unfortunately, he hands tied for 18th in games played by his skaters with only 297. His goaltending points is not very good, but that is why he drafted Sergei Bobrovsky in the waiver draft, but he has yet to claim any points from him.
Things will have to turn around quickly, if Clayton is to make the top ten this season.
It was a much tighter race for the Basement Dweller of the week... so much so, we'll actually have to go to the tie-breakers. Our pool dwellers each finished the week with 17 points, so the first tie-breaker will be the least amount of goals scored. Losing 8-3 in goals scored, Derek W. is our Basement Dweller, which is fitting, since he has now taken over 20th spot in the standings. This is the fifth week that the Basement Dweller has finished up the week in last place and I would hate to think it was a coincidence. Sadly, after a waiver draft, you would think all of the worst teams would get some sort of boost from their new players to stay out of this spot.
Only three active players on Derek's roster didn't manage to pick up a point in Week Ten, which is somewhat staggering, but his best player, David Backes, only had 3 points in the week, while a few others had 2 points and most others just had 1 point. There were plenty of signs of life on Derek's team, just none that made a really big splash.
In the waiver draft, Derek picked up Mark Recchi and Justin Williams, each had 1 point in Week Ten, so those picks didn't quite go to waste... yet.
Last year, at about this time, the leader in the sheet pool had already worked himself up a 54-point lead and then continued to lead the pool for a good portion of the season. This season, we have a tie in points, with 645, while 3rd place is only 10 points behind, 4th is only 15 points behind and 54 points behind would land you outside of the top 10. This season is remarkably tight and I would owe that to a lot more people being much more vigilant with their trades this year, because everyone is getting into the act.
Unfortunately, one of the things I didn't track from week-to-week for the past seasons was point levels per week, which I regret terribly, since it would be neat to see where teams were at this point in the season.
Week Ten saw three teams lead the way in scoring, which is another signal that the pool is much tighter this season than last season. 4th place Tim L., 9th place Burc B. and 18th place Clayton C., all had 62 points to lead the way. All three teams have used up at least some of their trades this season and all three teams have moved up at least one position in the standings this week. Tim was led by Pavel Datsyuk (7 points), Burc was led by Henrik Lundqvist (6) and Clayton was led by Ryane Clowe (8) this week.
Moving up the most spots in the week was Cheryl D., as she used 58 points to move up 3 positions, from 18th to 15th in the standings. Her team was also led by Lundqvist of the Rangers, but overall had a fairly consistent team throughout.
The trade wire does have some action left to do on Monday night, but not a great deal. Check back in at around game time for all of the trades to get added.
NEWS AND NOTES
The flu season seems to have started a little bit later than normal, as I seem to remember a pretty bad season for it last year. Nevertheless, Saku Koivu was hit by the flu on Sunday night, as his team took on the Wild. Koivu took the night off and I would imagine he will be good to go again on Wednesday night, when the Ducks travel to Washington to take on the struggling Capitals.
After a poor performance by Niclas Bergfors earlier in the week, head coach Craig Ramsay was not afraid to send a message to both Bergfors and the rest of the team, by sitting the dynamic scoring winger for a game. When you're a team like Atlanta, you have very little to lose and everything to gain every night, so working hard has to be a priority, especially if they have desires to make the playoffs.
It sounds like a bout of the flu was enough to keep the Bruins' number two pick overall from last Summer out of the line-up, as Tyler Seguin was a scratch for Saturday night's game against the Flyers. The Bruins don't play again until Wednesday night, so I would expect Seguin to be 100% and ready to go for that game.
On Saturday night, it appears that Anton Stralman was the odd-man out for the Blue Jackets, as he sat in the press box for the team's game against the Rangers. The Blue Jackets have been shuffling their under-performing blueliners around constantly in the past few weeks and Stralman, who is without a goal this year, had his turn to watch the game from above.
I'm getting the feeling that it was 'send a message' night in the NHL on Saturday, as the Red Wings were also sending a message to an underachieving player. Jiri Hudler was the victim of his own circumstances and the coaching staff felt that he wasn't playing well enough of late to get another start, so he got to sit as the team was in New Jersey to take on the Devils. I'm expecting Hudler to re-join the line-up for the team's next game, Monday at home against Los Angeles.
The Oilers couldn't escape the injury bug this week, as Jim Vandermeer left Sunday night's game against the Canucks with a lower-body injury, which looked to be a knee problem. Vandermeer collided with one of the Canucks checking forwards and fell awkwardly back into the boards. There was no update after the game or early on Monday morning, but I would imagine there will be something right away.
The Canadiens are awaiting to hear the word on one of their top blueliners, as Jaroslav Spacek left Saturday night's game against the Maple Leafs with an upper-body injury and didn't return to the game. In a fracas with the Leafs' Clarke MacArthur, Spacek suffered what looked to be a hand injury, but we've still been without confirmation of the type or severity of the injury, so we're just playing wait-and-see.
It continues to be a tough season for the Flyers' Nikolai Zherdev, who still hasn't played to the strict game plan of head coach Peter Laviolette. Zherdev has 9 goals and 1 assist in 28 games this year, but he hasn't played well in a two-way game, much like many of his linemates to and often, Zherdev is relegated to the 4th line on any given night. This isn't where Zherdev's talents should lie, but there they sit. On Saturday night, he was made into a healthy scratch, but I have my doubts to how well it will work out for him.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
The Week Eleven edition of Hockey Night In Canada will be the last one before the Christmas Break and we'll have three Canadian teams in action on the evening.
With the Toronto Maple Leafs in Vancouver to take on the Canucks, there will be a special early evening game played out on the West Coast to accommodate Hockey Night In Canada. The game will start at the usual 5pm MT, but that would mean that hockey action would begin at 4pm PT, rather than the normal 7pm PT. The Canucks have the top three point-getters among the four teams that are playing in these contests going into Week Eleven, with Daniel Sedin leading the way with 36 points, while the Leafs leading scorer, Clarke MacArthur, sits with 22 points.
Just over the Rockies is where we'll find our second game of the evening, as the Minnesota Wild travel to Calgary to take on the Flames in a Northwest Division battle. The two teams have seen quite a lot of each other in the past couple weeks, so this game could have a little bit of heat to it. Jarome Iginla and Martin Havlat come into Week Eleven with 27 points each, leading their respective clubs in scoring, so we could have a good race to the finish in this one.
Looks like we'll be in for a pretty good evening's worth of hockey on Saturday!