First newsletter of the New Year... and despite all of the holidays and extra helpings of dinner and desserts, it turned out to be a fairly high-scoring week. The draft managed to pull in 560 points in Week Thirteen, the second-best week to Week Seven, which pulled in 571 points. That works out to be an average of 28 points scored per team, but some teams were much higher than 28 points and some teams were much lower.
The Winter Classic was not so much of a scoring success, but it was pretty good game, despite the warmer weather and rain. The outdoor games have not typically been a hot bed for scoring, so I don't really have high hopes for the Heritage Classic, which goes in over a month's time.
It's kind of crazy to think that we've only had three weeks of action since the last waiver draft and if you're like me, which most of you are not, I'm already looking at the available players for the next waiver draft, beating my head against the desk for the mistakes I made in the first waiver draft.
We're now smack-dab in the middle of the dog days of the season, I'm not sure how many of you are still keeping up with the news or the pools, maybe some are waiting for the season to get interesting again. Nevertheless, I'll still be here, if you're in need of that little fix.
Week Thirteen had a few players that were good enough for the Player of the Week nod, but it all came down to another tie-breaking situation. Three players went down to two immediately, when one was found to be a goalie and goals are the first tie-break. It almost pains me to pick a forward over a defenseman in the week, but Shane Doan did have a pretty good week, 5 goals and 3 assists in four games for the Coyotes, that it was really hard not to pick him.
The condensed schedule didn't seem to work wonders for Doan and the Coyotes in the standings, going 1-2-1 in the holiday week, but the captain still put some pucks in the net, doing his part to help right the ship.
On Tuesday, the Coyotes hosted the Ducks, losing 3-1 to their division rivals, with Doan scoring the only goal for Phoenix in the process. Wednesday, the Coyotes played host again, this time to the Kings, where the dogs made up for their loss with a 6-3 win over another rival, with Doan scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist. It was back-to-back 2-goal games for Doan, as Friday night's game against the Blues was a pretty close one, but the Coyotes came up short, losing 4-3 in regulation. Finally on Sunday, the Coyotes couldn't slip past the Wild, losing 6-5 in overtime, where Doan picked up a couple of helpers in the process.
With injuries already hindering Doan's season, he hasn't been able to post as many points as he'd likely want to, finishing up Week Thirteen with only 25 points (9 goals and 16 assists) in 28 games, but he can definitely be proud of a pretty decent scoring pace. His 25 points are good enough to have him ranked 111th in pool scoring this season, which is only slightly down from his 2010 ranking of 97th, with still half the season to go. If he keeps on his pace, he should be able to eclipse that ranking with ease.
The honourable mentions for Week Thirteen go out to Nicklas Lidstrom, 2 goals and 6 assists, and Cam Ward, 3 wins and 1 shutout.
It was a pretty big week for the tandem of Kristy and Don in the draft in Week Thirteen, as they came away with a share of the season's top weekly scoring record of 42 points, moving their team up from 5th place to 3rd place, also giving them a share of the lead for the second segment of the season, with 121 points since the start of Week Ten. This is their first nod in the Mover and Shaker column this year, but that isn't to say they haven't been close this season.
This is their 1st week with over 40 points, but it's their 5th week with 30 or more points, which is definitely a telling sign as to why they are currently sitting in 3rd place in the standings.
Leading the charge for their side in Week Thirteen were Nicklas Lidstrom (8 points), Keith Yandle (7), Jonas Hiller (7), Jiri Hudler (4) and Daniel Sedin (4). It's definitely a telling statistic when you have three players on your team that have had 7 or more points, that's just over half of the team's weekly points in only 21% of the membership.
Thanks to the big weeks from the blueline, Kristy and Don now have the second-best group of blueliners in the pool, sitting with 85 points from five total defensemen (one dropped at the waiver draft). Unfortunately for them, top spot is well out of reach, with Benson scoring huge from the back end with 118 points, thus far.
Down in the basement, making his second appearance in the column this season, Derek W. finished with 16 points in a higher-scoring week, which increased the gap between him and 19th place at the bottom to 11 points, but even that gap hasn't been kept at a safe distance all season, so there shouldn't be too much fear that it will get bigger, although that could certainly be the case.
Derek's week did have a couple of warm spots in his active line-up, as Jochen Hecht and Mark Recchi each finished with 4 points each in the week, while three others had 2 points a piece and a couple singles were on the roster.
Derek has now dropped to being 108 points behind 1st place, the first team to drop below the 100-point mark, in terms of being behind the leader. Two more teams are already within 7 points of that dubious distinction as well this year and shouldn't be too far behind Derek.
In the selection sheet pool, Mitch F. was able to increase his lead slightly over Wes M., taking a 7-point lead over 2nd place at the moment with 832 points through 13 weeks. Kendra M. has now jumped into the conversation, tying Wes for 2nd place in overall points, but losing the first tie-breaker by 2 goals to stay in 3rd place in the standings. Scott G. also moved up a bit more, getting closer to the top three teams, now sitting only 13 points out of 1st place with 15 weeks to go in the season.
Six teams all climbed into the 800-point bracket during Week Thirteen, while 13 more teams have a good chance of doing the same thing in Week Fourteen.
The biggest point total of the week came from Scott G., who finished the week with 75 points, just managing to gain ground and close the gap on the top three teams in the standings. Scott owes his big week to Nicklas Lidstrom (8 points), Miikka Kiprusoff (6), Henrik Sedin (5) and six other players with 4 points a piece. Scott has seen great improvements throughout the season with his team, but he has also used up all seven of his available trades, so the hope is that he has enough points in the team that he has to get him through the rest of the season.
Otherwise in the standings, there was not a lot of movement between teams, as the biggest movers up the standings only shifted one spot, while a couple of teams dropped a couple of spots a piece.
As of Monday morning, I have no new trades to put through the pool, so it might be the status quo for another week.
NEWS AND NOTES
The word from the Ducks is that they are getting shot down like a popular Nintendo game, due to injury, recently. The latest name to hit the list is Jason Blake, who left Sunday night's game against the Blackhawks with a shoulder injury. The initial word is that the injury isn't considered to be too serious, but things can change between now and when they give an official update.
The Calgary Flames finally sucked it up and did the right thing with Mikael Backlund, sending him down to the AHL, since he wasn't getting any time on the ice with the big club. Backlund has been a healthy scratch for more than his fair share of games and it didn't look like he was going to figure back in any time soon, so the right thing to do was give him time somewhere. I would expect him back when the Flames find another slide.
A puck to the back of the head caused Brad Stuart to take some stitches on Sunday night during Detroit's game against the Flyers. There was no indication of anything too serious, but tests will be run on the veteran defenseman on Monday, making sure that he doesn't have anything more serious. He'll be day-to-day until otherwise noted.
On Sunday night, the Minnesota Wild lost another teammate to injury, as Antti Miettinen left the game against the Coyotes with a leg contusion. The coaching staff didn't think the injury was too serious, but some bruises could restrict movement in some parts, so Miettinen might be taking a day or two off from skating, which may limit his game time. We'll call him day-to-day, with the expectation that he'll play through this one.
Bad news for the Predators, as they have lost one of their bright spots to the season to injury on Sunday night. Cal O'Reilly, one of the few scoring forwards for Nashville this season, left the game with a broken leg, which will now likely keep him out of the line-up for at least six weeks. With Nashville struggling to score as it is, they'll really have to pull something out of their hat to keep it all going.
It was a very short conditioning stint for Devils defenseman Mark Fraser, as he has been recalled from Albany of the AHL on Monday morning, after just going down before the weekend got started. Fraser is returning from a broken hand, which should mean his body conditioning should have been close to par, likely needing a game or two before being ready to re-join the big club.
A lower-body was the reason that Nikolai Zherdev was not in the line-up for the Flyers on Sunday, as they took on the Red Wings. Zherdev has been known to be a healthy scratch from time-to-time this season and it would have been a fair judgement, if you were not aware of the injury. The injury is thought to be a leg problem, but no more details have actually surfaced about it. He'll be listed as day-to-day for the time being.
Maple Leafs forward John Mitchell was a healthy scratch again for the team this weekend, missing out on Saturday's game against the Senators. Mitchell has been a scratch a number of times this season and with Nazem Kadri down in the minors, he now becomes the official extra forward for the team. Until he finds some kind of scoring form, Mitchell will continue to be a yo-yo on the roster.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
Looks like we are back to normal this coming weekend, with a regular doubleheader on Hockey Nigh in Canada. Well, as regular as it could be without Toronto being in the national schedule this week, anyways. We are going to be blessed with a couple of games with some playoff bound teams, as we make it to the halfway point of the season, leaving 14 more weeks of action to go.
In the early game, we'll see the Boston Bruins head up to Montreal to take on the Canadiens. Only one point separates these two teams in the Northeast Division, with the Bruins going into the week as the division leaders. Neither team has been too hot of late, so this could be the game that turns the fortunes around for the winning club. Both of these teams are led by their goaltenders, Tim Thomas leading the way for the Bruins with 48 points this season, while Carey Price leads the Habs with 47 points. If these two keepers are to meet, it should make for a pretty good game.
In the late game, it's a battle for top spot in the Western Conference, as the Vancouver Canucks host the Detroit Red Wings. The Canucks took top spot in the Conference on Sunday night with a win over the Avalanche, while the Red Wings have held the spot for the better part of the season already, so this should work out to be a pretty good battle for West supremacy. The Red Wings are being led by Jimmy Howard, who is likely going to take to the crease on Saturday, with 45 points this season, while the Canucks are led by Henrik Sedin, who has 49 points this year.
Needless to say, this should be a pretty good night for hockey all around.