Unfortunately, I've kind of run out of time on Monday morning to really do up a great headline for the newsletter this week, but I think I'm fairly excited to say that we are now entering the final week of the regular season and I've only got one more of these to write after this one until October!
It looks like both pools have wrapped up their first place prizes now, as Allan S. has run away with the overall lead in the draft, not to mention likely winning the final segment of the jersey race this year. Burc B. has a pretty good hold on the selection sheet lead and I don't think he'll be dropping that one, so I shall be preparing to get their monies ready for the end of the season.
It's been quite the year so far and I've been pretty happy with the response back from how well it's gone, so thanks for all of that. Hopefully in the last week of the season, you'll conclude with a spot in the standings that you could feel comfortable with or feel like you need to get some redemption for next season.
The keeper pool looks like it will be a go this coming year, which may hurt the possibility of the draft happening on it's lonesome, but we'll see. If there is still a good interest in the regular draft, there is a slight possibility that there could be three pools running off the website next season. Stay tuned!
Now, let's review the week that was, shall we?
It sounds kind of strange, but the league's top goal scorer hasn't been received a Player of the Week until the second-to-last newsletter of the year, but it's true. Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks, finally vaulted himself up into the upper-echelon of the weekly scoring totals, capturing his first honour of the year. Perry finished Week Twenty-Six with 8 points, topping a couple other players that finished with 7 points a piece.
Perry hasn't always been at the top of the goal scoring standings this year, but he has been fairly consistent with his goal scoring, which has kept him near the top all year, but with 47 goals to his name, he'll carry a 3-tally lead into the final week of the season.
Perry's week looked a little like this... On Monday, his Ducks topped the Avalanche, 5-4, where he only picked up a single assist in the game. Wednesday, in Calgary, Perry scored a pair of goals and added an assist in a 4-2 win over the Flames. Saturday, the Ducks took a tumble, losing to the Sharks, 4-2, but Perry assisted on each Anaheim goal. Finally, on Sunday, a goal and an assist wasn't enough to help the Sharks get passed the Stars, losing 4-3. In total, 3 goals and 5 assists in four games for Perry in the week.
In pool scoring, this brings Perry up to 93 points, which is good enough for 4th on the list, with three games left in the week.
It was a pretty good week for the draft, as we had over 500 points picked up in the week and six teams that eclipsed the 30-point mark, not to mention a clear winner for the Mover and Shaker award this week, as Wes M. takes the cake with 36 points and holding steady in 9th place in the standings. This is Wes' 6th 30-point week in the last nine weeks, so he has really been moving and shaking down the stretch, making good use of some waiver draft picks.
Wes is trying to catch John P. in the standings to move up at least another spot, but trails by 13 points going into the final week of the season, possibly too large of a task to do properly, especially with John's team being so hot as well.
Wes owes his big week in the pool to a few key names, Corey Perry, who picked up 8 points, Patrik Elias had 5 points, while Alex Ovechkin and Devin Setoguchi each had 4 points as well for him. Otherwise, it was a bit more of a 'scoring by committee' feeling to his week, with only a few zeros on his active players list. There is no question that Perry is turning out to be one of the better bargains in the draft this year, as he was picked 41st overall, in the 3rd round, this year, scoring the way that he is.
In the early part of the season, Wes was hit pretty hard by injuries, but since the waiver drafts, his team has bounced back pretty well and his team now ranks 9th in games played and 11th in goalie minutes played this year, which has been a key part of his bounce back into the top 10 this year. If his team was able to stay healthy all year, there is a good chance he would have been up near the top.
In the Basement this week, it's back-to-back weeks for Wayne H., as his team continues to tumble at the finish line, picking up only 11 points and dropping down from 12th to 14th in the week. All of the injuries that had piled onto his team has really taken it's toll, as Sidney Crosby, Taylor Hall, Jordan Leopold, Andrew MacDonald and Kevin Poulin have not seen any ice in quite some time, while Brad Richards has hardly been seen since returning from his concussion. It's not an easy situation to be in, but that really is just the luck of the dice there.
With all of those names out for his team, he's rapidly falling down in the games played count for the pool, currently ranking 18th with only 786 games played in total, 100 games less than 1st place and only 20 games better than 20th place this year. With those names already out, there is a serious chance that he could finish last in that race.
We had ourselves some movement in the money in the second-to-last week of the regular season, as Paul W. has now moved into 4th place, taking the last money spot in the standings, passing Scott G. in the week. Paul now holds a slim 7-point lead for 4th place and he's in line to get his money back with this kind of a finish.
Still at the very top, we see Burc B., now with a 32-point lead going into the last week of the season and I would imagine that it could be a safe lead to have with only 49 games left in the NHL regular season. Wes M. has a 24-point lead for 2nd place in the standings, while a 14-point cushion is all that separates Mitch F. from Paul W. for 3rd place. That's not too bad, a little give there for the week ahead.
A pair of teams shared the best week in the pool with 77 points, as Dorey F. and Zach H. each gained some ground in the standings. Zach did the most moving with the better week, moving up from 14th to 12th place in the standings, thanks to Alex Tanguay (7 points), Jarome Iginla (6), Brian Rafalski (6), Martin St. Louis (5), Patrik Elias (5) and John Carlson (5). Definitely an interesting mix of players on his side this year, but they seem to have done him well, giving him plenty of mentions in the pool, but also some pretty poor weeks as well, which have dropped him more than they have gained.
With one more week in the regular season, we should be in for a good finish.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Avalanche are just stacking up all of their injuries, but that doesn't mean that anyone on their roster is necessarily safe from the press box. Just ask Brandon Yip, who found his way back into the free seats against the Flames, being the team's healthy scratch on Sunday night. He has been terribly inconsistent, but that isn't saying too much amongst an Avalanche team that has suffered so mightily.
A hip flexor injury was enough to keep Mike Modano out of the line-up on Sunday, after playing through the pain on Saturday against the Predators. Modano wanted to play in the playoff clinching game against Nashville, but likely made a wise decision to give his body some rest against a Minnesota Wild team that doesn't have much bearing on their season right now. I would expect Modano to see a bit more time off down the stretch, saving himself for the playoffs.
Some lower-body soreness was enough for the Flyers to sit Daniel Briere for their Sunday afternoon tilt against the Rangers. Generally speaking, those afternoon games are awfully difficult on the lower-body, so it may have been a wise move sitting one of their top offensive players for a game, seeing as though they have clinched their spot and are still moving forward. The Flyers did get a point out of the game and moved back into top spot in the East.
Also having a seat for the Flyers, but more as a healthy scratch, was defenseman Nick Boynton. Boynton has not been a regular in any line-up he has been a part of this season and will likely only figure into the Flyers line-up because of injury or possibly dressing seven defensemen. He wasn't very popular this year and I begin to wonder what will happen to him in the off-season.
Looks as though the Lightning were in the same boat on resting some aching bodies on Sunday night, as Ryan Malone, who just came back from injury, was made into a scratch for the game against the Blackhawks, as well as Eric Brewer, both likely resting for the last week of action. At game time, there was no injury discussion about these two, so they are assumed to have been rested.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
Tripleheader! The last Saturday of the regular season will feature a triple bill on Hockey Night Canada, starting bright and early in the morning and going through to the middle of the night. I'm not sure how much solving this will do, but it will be a great celebration of a mighty fine season with three games on the main network.
The early game will go at 11am MT on Saturday, as the Ottawa Senators will travel down to Boston to take on the Bruins in what should be, at best, a placement game for the Bruins, who have already won the Northeast Division title over the weekend and the Senators may find themselves in a better or worse position for the draft lottery, when it's all said and done.
The usual early start, now the middle game, will feature that old fashioned rivalry between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs in Toronto, where this game may even have less meaning than the early game. The Canadiens should have their playoff spot wrapped up by the end of the week, barring a last week collapse in their team game, but they'll be looking to finish 6th for a date against the Bruins in the first round.
The late game will likely mean the least, as the Flames and Canucks go head-to-head one last time this season. The Canucks have already clinched top spot in the league and the Flames are still in the running for a solid playoff spot with some extra luck on Sunday night, with the Blackhawks losing and the Flames beating the Avalanche. It still doesn't look too good for the Flames, but anything can happen in the last week of the season, even if it defies all the odds.