With a little bit of extra time on my hands on Monday, I thought I would draw out this week's newsletter, since I've been sort of rushing the last couple, not including as many pictures as I may have liked throughout the year. So, don't you worry... it's a good one this week.
If you haven't seen it yet, the Playoff Pool has been released this past week and it's a good time to start doing your homework. Sure, there are still a good number of playoff spots yet to be decided, but if you have a look at the sheet now, when you finally see how the teams are broken out, you may have a great idea of what you want to do this Spring.
I have already sold five spots in the standings and have already received a team from my online sheet. Go figure. Yes, we're getting awfully close to the big dance this year, only three weeks away! Don't be left out, it sounds like there is going to be a great turnout. The record number of entrants was in 2007, my first playoff pool of this nature, where I had 63 entries. Let's get it up to 70 people and we'll start talking about some bigger prizes for 2nd and 3rd... or 2nd and 3rd place prizes at all.
I was really beginning to wonder about this season. We've gone through the bulk of the season and we still haven't seen a Player of the Week nod with over 9 points, usually seeing 8 points being enough to earn the title, but finally... we've finally seen double-digits in a weekly total. It took its sweet time.
In Week Twenty-Four, it was a monster week from Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks, who finished the week with 11 points in four games, starting up quite the point streak at the moment. It couldn't have come at a better time for San Jose, since they are right in the middle of the Pacific Division race, looking for home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
The week didn't start off too well for the team, as they dropped a 6-3 decision in Chicago on Monday night, but Pavelski got his week off to a good start, registering a goal and an assist in the loss. Tuesday was a bit of the same story, but this time in favour of the Sharks, as they dropped the Stars in Dallas by the same 6-3 score and Pavelski picked up 4 assists in the win. On Thursday, the Sharks went back home to take on the Wild and squeaked past with a 3-2 win, where our Player of the Week picked up a pair of assists. Finally, on Saturday night, the Blues were in town to take on the Sharks and Pavelski scored a pair of goals and added an assist in a 5-3 win. 3 goals and 8 assists later, Pavelski is our honoured skater.
This monster week from Pavelski is the perfect precursor to another big playoff run for the Sharks, as last season Pavelski was a monster in Box 5 of the pool, picking up 20 points. This season, he'll be occupying the same box and it may be silly not to pick him.
Adding 11 points to his overall total in the regular season, this now brings Pavelski up to 57 points in 65 games, only a couple of points away from a new career-high. Pavelski finishes this week in 53rd in pool scoring, which is well up from his career year, where he finished 87th and there is still three weeks left to go in the year.
It has also been a little while since we had seen a 40+ point week this season, as the last Mover and Shaker to finish over 40 points came back in Week Thirteen, close to the middle of the year. In Week Twenty-Four, Stuart G. rocked a massive 42-point week to take the top spot in weekly scoring and he also had enough points to overtake 4th place and even open a gap of 7 points before the week was said and done.
If Stuart's team isn't finished, they have an opportunity to possibly make another move in the next three weeks, as his team is only 10 points back of 3rd place and 20 points back of 2nd place, but his team would have to make some seriously big strides to move into 2nd spot.
Stuart does owe a good portion of his massive week to the Player of the Week, as Joe Pavelski was his best player and finished with nearly a quarter of his points in the week with 11. After Pavelski, there is a pretty big drop in point production, but he was fortunate to only have one player without points (Kevin Shattenkirk), while Marian Gaborik finished with 5 points and Shane Doan also had 4 points. There were four players with 3 points, four players with 2 points and a few singles in there as well.
This is Stuart's first mention in the Mover and Shaker this season and it's a good mention, when you take into account that he moved into a money position and everything with it. Stuart does have one Basement Dweller, so he has been mentioned before on the newsletter this season. Back when Stuart had his Dweller nod, he was in last place in the pool, but has since climbed up and made good on some of his waiver draft picks, but will now have a job to do to keep his spot.
Stuart leads the pool in points from forwards with 457 points through 24 weeks, but both his defense (80 points) and goaltending (79 points) are both well below the pool average. Good thing he has that 34-point lead in forwards scoring this year.
In the third segment of the season, Stuart currently sits tied for 7th with 163 points, while Allan S. still leads with 210 points, followed by John P., who has 190 points and Wes M., who has 188 points. It has been a bit of a runaway for Allan and he might qualify for another jersey in a few weeks.
Well, that was a long-winded Mover and Shaker, eh? The Basement Dweller won't be as long, I guarantee you of that.
Peter H. had himself one hell of a rough week in Week Twenty-Four, with the adding up of injuries and some very cold play from his combination of players, he only managed to pick up 6 points in seven days worth of action. Peter's top player in the week was Vincent Lecavalier, who was the only player to pick up 2 points, while Derrick Brassard, Matt Cullen, Nathan Horton and Ian White all had singles.
Peter has been on a decline over the last few weeks, dropping from 11th place in Week Twenty-One to 16th through Week Twenty-Four and still has some room to drop with 17th place only 5 points back. Peter is now in last place in the third segment of the season with only 113 points.
It's been a few weeks since we've seen a change in the top four spots in the sheet pool, where all the money will go. Burc B. still leads, Wes M. managed to gain only 2 points, Mitch F. fell off a bit, Scott G. didn't make up any points on the lead, but did on Mitch, actually drawing himself into a tie for 3rd, but losing in goals for.
Just outside of the top four, Paul W. moved into 5th place, now sitting 11 points back of the money and three weeks to go. There is still plenty of time for some movement, especially if your team finds a hot streak. Even 20 points today isn't impossible to overcome, maybe even 30 under the right circumstances. They would have to be perfect for three weeks though.
Top team in the pool in Week Twenty-Four belonged to Don C., who finished with 71 points, the only team to top the 70-point barrier. With his big week, Don was only able to move up one spot in the standings, going up from 18th to 17th this time around. Don's big week came from Patrick Marleau (7 points), Ryan Callahan (6), PK Subban and Joe Thornton (5), while his team had five players with 4 points a piece as well.
The top mover in the pool was Zach H., who moved up five spots in the standings, going from 16th to 11th with a 64-point. Zach's team has been a constant mover in the standings, lots of up, just as much down.
With only a few weeks left in the season, you might want to polish off the rest of your seven trades. What is it really going to hurt? I have a couple trades to enter in this morning and it is from a money contender. That's all I'm saying at the moment.
NEWS AND NOTES
We are all awaiting word on the severity of a knee injury that Patrick Sharp suffered on Sunday night against the Coyotes. Sharp left in the 1st period of the game and didn't return. He will be looked at further on Monday and the team should know what the extent of his injury before they play next, at home to the Panthers.
The Rangers held Marc Staal out of their line-up with an undisclosed injury on Sunday afternoon for their game against the Penguins. Lips were buttoned up tightly, as to the nature of the injury and will likely remain so down the stretch, since the Rangers are closely knit into the playoffs. If any major news comes down, you can expect his own post on the blog.
Flying under the radar for most of the season has been T.J. Hensick, who has been up and down more often than it has been reported on the blog this season. Hensick was sent back down to the minors on Monday morning, but he hasn't been able to stick all season, which makes this post a little less than impressive.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
A couple of classic battles to take place this Saturday on Hockey Night In Canada, as we'll have one Original Six match-up and one provincial tilt. The playoff races may still be affected by these two games, but going into the week, these games feature one team firmly in the picture, two on the outside looking in and one already mathematically eliminated. I don't think that statement will necessarily change, but the circumstances could definitely be different by the end of the week.
In the early game in HD across the country, we'll get to visit Joe Louis Arena, with all of its bad camera angles and positions, as the Maple Leafs go South across the border to take on the Red Wings. The Red Wings go into the week 9 points back of the Canucks for top spot in the West, but have a firm grasp on the Central Division, while the Leafs are 5 points back of the Sabres for the final spot in the West. This is a much bigger game for the Leafs than the Wings, but the Wings are warming up the guns for a long playoff run, so I expect them to be ready. The best player in pool scoring for this game is Jimmy Howard, who currently ranks 14th with 73 points this season and will likely get a start against the Leafs, I would imagine.
In the late game, it will be the Battle of Alberta, as the Flames will be heading up to Edmonton to take on the Oilers. The Oilers were the first team to get mathematically eliminated from playoff contention this year, but that doesn't mean they have to be finished this year, as they can play spoiler for the Flames, who currently sit in 10th place in the West, 1 point (and tie-breakers) out of 8th place and 2 points out of 5th place. The West remains so tight, but the Flames will have to survive the week leading up before we can really start talking about what the Oilers could do to spoil their party. The Flames have six players on the top end of the scoring list before we see an Oilers player this season and it's Miikka Kiprusoff leading the way with 79 points, ranking him 8th in pool scoring.