Monday, December 05, 2011

Week Nine Newsletter

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It is weeks like this past one that make me wish I have come up with a new way to work on the waiver draft, but there is a comfort in not having to explain a new format, which isn't quite as time consuming and then the complaints that people didn't understand what was going on and thus missed out on improving their team.  So, in the interest of fairness, the week-long ordeal that is the waiver draft will likely remain for a while yet.

It took until Sunday evening to confirm everyone's picks, with a bit of a scramble on the last day, but it was completed and we now have ourselves a race to the second jersey.  First things first, I should say that Wayne H, has taken the first segment in the pool and I'll get in touch with him to talk about a prize for his trouble.  So, Wayne, if you're reading this, stay tuned to your Facebook messages, I'll probably send you one there.

As for the waiver draft itself, there was no surprise in the first four picks, as the real meat of the draft was only about four picks deep and then it became pretty sketchy afterwards.  Joffrey Lupul, Kris Versteeg, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Milan Michalek were heads and tails above the rest of the pack in the draft and they all should make a big difference for their new teams.  With 22 teams in the pool and a little bit more parity between teams, I have a feeling that the waiver draft may have a bigger impact for the weaker teams, something I'll be very curious to see.

Jhonas Enroth was the top goalie taken in the waiver draft and he didn't get slotted in until 9th in the draft, but he gets picked up in the same week that Ryan Miller comes back for the Sabres, so the impact of this pick may be weakened significantly.

Two players were dropped and then picked up in the pool this week, Roman Hamrlik of the Capitals and Kristian Huselius of the Blue Jackets, both were not unemployed long, if at all in the pool this time around, just switched their allegiances.

Well, all the waiver draft moves will be finalized on the team pages on Monday, during the day, so points will be accumulated starting on Monday night.  Good luck in the second segment!

PhotobucketWell, it was a pretty good week for a few individuals in the pool scoring race, as there was a 3-way tie for the overall lead in Week Nine, but it was one forward and three goalies tied with 7 points and the first tie-break always goes to the goals, which means the goalies have no chance. Thanks to a big 4-goal performance on Saturday, your player of the week is Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders.

In just three games in the week, Moulson did exceptionally well for his Islanders club, scoring 6 goals and 1 assist, which would have meant that if there was any other forward or defenseman in the running for the honour, they would have been trumped by a massive goal-scoring streak.  Coming into Week Nine, Moulson scored in the last game of Week Eight and he registered at least a goal in each of the three games in the week, giving him a 4-game goal scoring streak going into Week Ten.

Thanks to the big output, the Islanders were 2-0-1 in the week, beating the Sabres and Stars, while losing to the Blackhawks in the shootout.  There is certainly some life in those Islanders skates and they will need a lot more of that scoring, since they have now run into a bunch of injuries on Saturday night.

With the 7-point week to his name, Moulson jumped up to 83rd in pool scoring after the week, finishing with 19 points (13 goals and 6 assists) in 24 games this year.  A huge push for Munden G. in the pool this week, helping his pool team up from 18th to 17th, a good push in the waiver week.

The last question that needs to be asked is... how coincidental is it that three goalies finish with 7 points in the same week?  That means all three had to have a combination of three wins or shutouts and an assist.  That is nuts.

PhotobucketIt is now a second Mover and Shaker nod for Stuart G. in the last four weeks, but in between the two weeks, he has seen some mediocre results, which means his second good week in four has only brought him back into 3rd place after a week away.  Stuart's team also made good in the waiver week with a pool-best 36 points in Week Nine, which was a sizeable advantage over his nearest competitors.

In the week, Stuart had a brilliant week, where every one of his active players picked up points in the week, even the player he had decided to drop in the week.  It's that kind of week that will get you moving up the standings in a big hurry.

Leading the way for his side was David Booth, Zach Parise, Kimmo Timonen and Henrik Lundqvist, who each had 4 points a piece, while Johan Franzen and Gabriel Landeskog each had 3 points.  I think the nicest surprise out of the bunch was Booth, who was taken 263rd in the draft, he's finally coming around with the Canucks this season, likely to the approval of Stuart, who is getting a decent bargain out of him at the moment.

Statistically speaking, Stuart's best position in the draft continues to be his blueliners, where he leads the pool in scoring from the back end with 66 points to date.  His goaltending ranks well through the first nine weeks, as he is getting above-average minutes from his two backstops, but slightly below-average production out of them.  It all works out for him there.

The only improvement that Stuart made to his team was dropping Dustin Penner and picking up Luke Adam from the Sabres, just to gain a little bit more consistency, having a body in the line-up and playing some quality top six minutes.

PhotobucketIt was a pretty solid race at the bottom of the weekly standings and Wes M. was helpless to work himself out of the basement on Sunday, as he didn't have a game to be played from any of his players and was tied for the Dweller nod at the beginning of the day.  In the end, he was condemned to the position, scoring a season-low 14 points in the week, a total he had once before, back in Week Two.

With the poor week, Wes dropped down from 12th to 15th in the standings and with new players joining his line-up for Week Ten, he now has to close a 39-point gap to 4th place, in order to finish in the money.  He did move to pick up a couple new forwards, which is probably the best way to go about making up some points, but he'll need a couple defensemen to get healthy as well, which doesn't look good at the moment.

Wes had a disappointing week from eight of his players, the number of zeroes he had on his active player list in the week, including his two injured defensemen.  Hopefully with the changes in tow, he'll be in better shape to compete for the money or a jersey prize.

PhotobucketIn the sheet pool, we are still rocking the same leader through Week Nine, as Jeff E. has made a couple more trades before the week started to help pad his lead, but he lead did shrink a little bit in the end, as Zac H. picked up 6 points on him, knocking the lead down to 11 points in the end.  Right now, it's just a 2-horse race at the top of these standings.

Not much else new in the top five at the moment, except a little shift in 4th and 5th, as Kendra M. and Wes M. shifted spots in the standngs, but that was about it.  Chris G. did well to maintain 3rd spot, but he didn't make any gains and didn't really lose too much either.

There was a tie for top week in the pool, which gets the first tie-breaker applied to it, which gives the nod to Tony C., who had 59 points, but led the three teams with the top total with 21 goals scored in the week.  Tony had good weeks from Daniel Sedin (5 points), Logan Couture (4), Sidney Crosby (4) and Henrik Lundqvist (4), plus three players with 3 points each and then a whole lot of 2-point players and singles as well.  Tony moved up three spots in the standings, from 14th to 11th and could still be in the money conversation before too long.

Tony and Bill Koch's second team each moved up three spots each in the standings in the week, Bill moved up from 18th to 15th, thanks to making some trades in the last couple of weeks, which has been key.

Leading the pool in goals scored in the week was Bill's second team, which had 22 goals in total in the week.  A very good week by his crew.

Surprisingly, I don't have a great deal of trades to put in as of right now, but I'm sure that will change as Monday wears on.  There is still plenty of hockey to be played and changes should certainly be considered, no matter where you are in the standings.

NEWS AND NOTES

In Henrik Karlsson's last game in the draft pool (for at least the second segment), he was caught in a collision with teammate Tom Kostopoulos, who was having a tussle with Canucks forward Cody Hodgson. The play happened early in the 3rd period and it was enough to send him to the room and have Miikka Kiprusoff come in to take over, but the game was already out of reach for the Flames, so Karlsson was pegged for the loss as well.

Very vague reports said that Avalanche forward Paul Stastny left Sunday night's contest against the Red Wings with a torso injury, but that's about all I had seen from this. Stastny was good against the Red Wings before getting injured, but the injury puts a damper on that celebration. The Avalanche are certainly hoping that the injury is not too serious, but stay tuned to the blog for more updates.

Also leaving in the Avalanche/Red Wings game on Sunday night, albeit earlier than Stastny's injury, Valtteri Filppula left the game with a lower-body injury, later described by the coaching staff as a leg laceration. There was no determination as to how severe the cut on his leg was, but it will certainly be kept under observation, likely with an update in the next day or two.

As it was originally feared, the Islanders will be without Nino Niederreiter for at least a week (with the great possibility of more) with a concussion, which he suffered on Saturday night against the Dallas Stars. The confirmation came down on Sunday evening and league protocol dictates that he will be out for a minimum of a week and he will have to clear baseline tests before coming back.

Link to the Injury/News Page

HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA


Aren't we just the luckiest bunch of sports fans!  Week Ten's edition of Hockey Night In Canada will be back-to-back weeks where we have a tripleheader on the CBC broadcast.  This is just wonderful news.  And another plus, not one of the three games on the broadcast include the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Now that the Leafs are in a playoff spot, we will get a pretty good dose of Toronto through the rest of the season, as if we weren't going to any way.  Since we have new players joining our drafted teams, if it is applicable, I'll highlight one of the new players in each game.

In the afternoon tilt, we get to see the Montreal Canadiens again, back-to-back Saturdays with early starts, although the Week Ten start isn't quite as early, since they won't be playing on the West Coast.  The Habs will be in the swamp to take on the New Jersey Devils, who are operating at an okay clip without a real distinct identity.  This will be the first meeting between the two teams, so it's hard to say what this meeting will be like, but I'm sure I will be watching, because what else am I going to do on a Saturday afternoon?  The headline pick in Week Nine's waiver draft between these two teams would be Adam Henrique, the 21-year old rookie has been great for the Devils, picking up 17 points in 22 games for the Devils this season.  Dale C. should have a good pick here and might have something to help get him closer to Wayne in 1st place.

In the early game, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves on an Eastern time zone road trip, which they will start on Thursday, taking on the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.  This will already be their second and last meeting of the season and it was a tight game the first time these two hooked up in Vancouver, as the Canucks took a 2-1 overtime decision in that one.  Will home-ice advantage play to the Senators on Saturday?  That should be a pretty good game, no matter which way you cut it.  There was one Senators player and one Canucks player taken in the waiver draft and we'll take the highest scoring one of the two, Milan Michalek.  Michalek was taken 4th overall in the waiver draft after a blinding start to the year, which should greatly help Peter H. in the coming weeks.

And if you didn't get enough of the Battle of Alberta on Saturday, you'll get a repeat dose again, this time in Calgary, as the Oilers will take the drive down to take on the Flames.  Calgary has won the first two games in their 6-game series in the regular season, proving that there is a little bit more to this rivalry than just flash and dash.  The Flames have shown some extra heart, not wanting to be shown up by those bratty kids in their rebuilding process.  Alberta still currently belongs to the Flames, when talking about head-to-head meetings, but how long is that really going to last?  We could talk more about who is getting dropped than picked up, as there were four Flames dropped and two Oilers dropped, but there was one of each getting added to rosters.  Leading the way between the two, Ryan Jones of the Oilers, who had a hat-trick in Week Nine and obviously turned some heads, with 14 points through 27 games.  Stacey C. needed to homerize his team a little bit, adding an Oilers player to his side and continue his assault on 1st place.
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