It wasn't a exceptionally busy week in the NHL in Week Ten, with only 48 games played between Monday and Sunday, but thanks to the waiver draft in Week Nine, there were some good numbers posted in the week.
At the end of Week Nine, 46 NHL games were played, where the draft registered 686 skater games played and 4,138 minutes of ice-time played between all of the players and in those, 505 points were collected. After the waiver draft, in 48 NHL games, 753 skater games were played and 4,798 minutes from goalies were collected and 552 points were collected by all 22 teams.
That is a fair increase of games played, averaging 15.7 players games registered per NHL game, compared to 14.9 games the week before. Between injuries, returns and waiver draft picks, it worked out to be a good increase, where the more points collected equals the most exciting pools.
I thought this was certainly worth noting this week.
Last season, I did some slight comparisons to where the leaders have been at this time in the season, so I thought I would do a bit of the same here as well. Wayne H. currently leads the pool with 277 points in a 22-team pool, where last season, Allan S. had 279 points in a 20-team pool and Leon G. had 306 points in a 17-team pool. The more teams we've seen, the lesser the leader's points, but between the last couple of years, it hasn't been a big difference.
In the sheet pool, Jeff E. has 615 points in the 32-box format, the third (and possibly final year) of this format, where last season saw Mitch F. and Wes M. had 645 points at this time last season and the year before was sort of sketchy and unfortunately, John P., who was the leader at this time in the 2010 season, I don't have his point total, but he was doing quite well, according to the newsletter at the time.
The other news out of the week was the NHL realignment, which is why I had mentioned that this could possibly be the last year of the 32-box format of the sheet pool, since it is broken into two conferences, next season we'll see four conferences and some adjustments may need to be made. Probably, it will be for the better.
For the most part, it was a fairly even week across the board for players and teams, but we still had a clear winner for Player of the Week honours, which is kind of surprising, given that it was only 8 points that took the mention in the week. Nevertheless, with a week-high total in the draft of 8 points, Miikka Kiprusoff picks up his first weekly honour in quite a long time.
Yes, the Flames are surging at the moment and helping to backstop the charge is the team's most reliable player, their goalie. In the week, Kiprusoff went 3-0-0, including a shutout, for his 8 points and helped move the Flames another step closer into sniffing out a playoff position in Week Ten.
On Tuesday night, Kipper barely held on to a 7-6 victory over the Hurricanes to start the week, making 28 saves in the victory, but it kept the team sharp until the final buzzer. Thursday, Kiprusoff made 16 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche, notching another close game victory to his belt in the year. Finally, he made up for a couple of close decisions with an easy 21-save shutout victory over the Oilers on Saturday night, getting the big result for his weekly total.
With the big week under his belt, Kiprusoff moved up to 10th place in pool scoring, now having 14 wins and 2 shutouts to his credit, which is good enough for 32 points, safely in the chase for a mention in the top 10 list that I have decided to publish on a weekly basis this year.
I'm sure a number of teams in the sheet pool were quite happy with this result, as was Brenda F. in the draft, who made him the top pick in the 2nd round of the initial draft.
Well, well, well... it was an awfully tight race up at the top of the weekly scoring standings in the draft, as a couple of teams made a pretty good spring at the top of the table, during the first week with new waiver drafted players on their side. We had a tie to break for the Mover and Shaker of the week and with 35 points and 14 goals to their name, Niesa S. picks up her first Mover and Shaker of the season and her pool career.
This is her first mention on the Newsletter this season and for the better reason of the two, climbing up two spots in the standings, from 10th to 8th with the big week, now only 1 point out of 7th place and 15 points out of 4th place, the last money position.
Niesa owes her big week to players like Jiri Hudler, who had 6 points in the week, as well as Olli Jokinen and Mikko Koivu, who each had 5 points, while Daniel Sedin should also get a mention, he picked up 4 points in the week. In just four players, that was a solid 20 points. New pick-up Jason Garrison was also solid in his first week on the team, he picked up a goal and an assist from the blueline for the Panthers, which was good enough for a mention.
Niesa's team has been fairly good across the board this year, but it hasn't been amazing anywhere. Above-average forwards, above-average defensemen and slightly below-average goaltending has been the name of the game for her team this year. Her team has remained fairly healthy, being above-average in skater games played, while suffering slightly in the minutes played department for her goaltending, but it isn't terrible by any stretch.
If Niesa's forwards and defense can keep her team afloat, there's no reason why she can't move up just a little further in the standings, maybe make a push for 3rd or 4th this year.
It's another week in the basement for Darren S., who couldn't really catch a break in Week Ten, especially with his injuries. Darren had a week-low 16 points in Week Ten, which is the highest total for a Basement Dweller this year, showing how tight the race was in the week, thanks in large part to having only 30 skater games go his way, missing out on games from some of his top players, like Jeff Skinner, Alex Tanguay and Cal Clutterbuck.
Darren had a good week from Bobby Ryan, who had 4 points, and his new addition to the team, Joffrey Lupul, who had 3 points in three games for him. If it wasn't for Lupul, it could have been much worse for Darren in Week Ten.
Darren now has an 18-point gap to make up to try and put Derek W. in his spot in last place in the pool, hoping that his waiver draft pick-ups will do well to help him out, but it's really hard to believe that, when your skaters are only operating at 0.407 points per game this season.
In the sheet pool, the best seemingly get just that much better, as a couple of clever trades have done wonders for Jeff E., who opened up his lead again in Week Ten, now carrying a 19-point lead into Week Eleven, thanks to a mighty fine week. Zac H. still holds on to 2nd spot, thanks to a pretty good week, but not a great week, while Kendra M. moved up one spot in the standings to 3rd spot, overtaking Chris G. in the week. Wes M. holds the last money spot in 5th, not having quite the great week, but good enough to hold on.
Taking top spot in the week, both in points scored and positions moved up in the standings was Clayton C., who's team hit on a number of cylinders in Week Ten, jumped up six spots to 6th place in the standings, thanks to a 78-point week. Leading the way for Clayton's team was Henrik Sedin (6 points), Jiri Hudler (6), Roberto Luongo (6), Derek Stepan (5), Michael Del Zotto (5), five players with 4 points each and five players with 3 points each. That's a very solid week from top-to-bottom there.
Leading the pool in goals scored was Scott G.'s first team, which had 27 goals in the week in a 68-point effort, moving up from 20th spot to 17th in the week.
Before Week Ten, we had 13 trades go into the books and for Week Eleven, I currently only have about five trades to go in, at the time of publishing the newsletter. The weekly high in trades happened before the start of Week Seven, where 30 trades were entered into the pool, followed by Week Five, where 24 trades were entered. Teams have been faring much better with trades, so be sure to get them in.
NEWS AND NOTES
It appears as though Mike Santorelli was a healthy scratch for the Florida Panthers on Sunday evening, as the team took on the Rangers. Santorelli only has 5 points in 22 games with the club, which is not a very healthy point total this year, which is likely the best reason for having him sit for a game. After a 6-1 kicking, however, I would imagine that Santorelli would be back in the Panthers' line-up before you can say boo.
Well, it's hard to consider this a real surprise, but Nikita Filatov has had enough of being a healthy scratch or a minor league player with the Senators, after only 10 weeks, and has decided that he'll head back home to Russia, where his talents are more appreciated and he'll continue his professional career there. The Senators have officially sent him to Europe as a minor-league assignment, which means he still belongs to Ottawa contractually, but there is very little chance that he will be recalled from the KHL to resume his NHL career.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
We're back to the ol' doubleheader schedule on Hockey Night In Canada in Week Eleven, which makes it the first week in a few weeks to only have two games on the docket. So far, it has been a pretty good year for our ol' Saturday staple in Canada, which is fantastic news. Since we're going back to the doubleheader part of the schedule, I think I will go back to highlighting the best player in each game, seeing how each team's best players are doing at this point in the season.
In the early game, the Vancouver Canucks continue their Eastern road trip with a visit to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, where they will take on the less-than-dominating Maple Leafs, who haven't been quite as hot as they were to start the season. In fact, these two teams are going in opposite directions in the standings, which some may argue, is righting the ship to something we're more inclined to seeing in the year. Still leading the charge in scoring between these two clubs is Phil Kessel, who has 36 points in 29 games, but even that is getting closed in on by a number of players, as Kessel now ranks 3rd in pool scoring. He's still having a fantastic year, no matter how you cut it.
In the late game, we head back down to California for a visit, as the Edmonton Oilers go down to San Jose to take on the Sharks. Neither team have been great in their last 10 heading into Week Eleven, both going 4-5-1, so it will be a race to righting the ship and heading back in the right direction in the Western Conference standings. This will also be the first meeting of four games this season between the two teams, so there should be some new acquaintances met here, hopefully starting some fireworks for the rest of the year. Leading the charge between the two sides this year is the rookie, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who has 32 points in 30 games this year, good enough for 9th in pool scoring, having a whale of a freshman year. He'll be the one to stop for the Sharks.