Thursday, October 31, 2013

Player Notes in the Draft (Oct 31)

The Calgary Flames decided to scratch forward Mikael Backlund on Wednesday night, as they took on the Maple Leafs, as the reports are saying that the coaching staff is not very happy with his play of late.  The Flames have cooled down from their hot start in the early part of October and now all of the imperfections to their game are being exacerbated by the losses that they have been taking.  Backlund was a victim of this line of thinking and he spent a game in the press box, despite injury troubles through their veteran ranks.

Backlund belongs to Mike S. in the draft this year and he hasn't been all that productive for him yet.  In 11 games played, the Swedish pivot only has 2 goals and 2 assists.  I am thinking that he should draw back into the line-up before too long, so sitting shouldn't be as big of a concern as his general play so far.

An undisclosed injury kept Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen out of the line-up, as they rolled through Vancouver on Wednesday night to take on the Canucks.  Turns out that it was a good night for Franzen to take off, as the Wings beat the Canucks and it sounds like that should be the only game that the Mule will miss.  Franzen is expected back in the line-up for their next game on the weekend.

The injury-prone Franzen will likely now become a real concern for Chris M., who took him this year.  Franzen is usually good for missing some games every year and it has started early in the 2014 season.  Chris dropped back into a tie for 1st place, but will need Franzen back, if he is to get back atop of the standings.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Selanne Expected To Miss 2 Weeks

Anaheim Ducks veteran forward Teemu Selanne had to leave last night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers after taking an errant high stick from defenseman Luke Schenn. Selanne lost a number of teeth and had a cut, which needed 40 stitches to close. The injury required some dental surgery on Wednesday and the team announced that the 43-year old will miss the next couple weeks worth of action, due to the injury.

In 11 games played this season, Selanne has 3 goals and 4 assists, keeping a reasonable scoring rate this season.  He has been sat a couple of games, both of them were one-half of back-to-back nights, as he isn't scheduled to play both games of back-to-backs in his final season in the NHL.  Selanne's 7 points has him ranked 163rd in pool scoring, through Tuesday night's action.

ImplicationsAfter Tuesday night, we have a new pool leader, Chris M., who took a 1-point lead with a good night from a few players, including Canadiens defenseman Rafael Diaz.  Chris is already suffering from some below-average games played numbers from his skaters, but it is definitely being made up by his goaltending, which has been off the charts.  Losing Selanne will likely hurt a little, but his team seems to be managing well thus far.

Bozak On the IR

The Toronto Maple Leafs are not expecting to have forward Tyler Bozak in their line-up now until the end of next week, likely around November 8th, as he deals with a lower-body injury.  The Leafs have placed Bozak on the Injured Reserve to open up a roster spot, which was likely taken by John-Michael Liles, earlier in the week.

Bozak was reportedly hurt in Friday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and didn't play in Saturday's game against the Penguins.

It hasn't been the most ideal start to the season for Bozak, as the first 11 games he's played, he has only registered 3 goals and 3 assists, while spending some time on the top line.  Through Tuesday night's action, I have Bozak unofficially ranked at 194th in pool scoring.

ImplicationsAs Liles came up into active roster status for Brenda F., she lost Bozak at about the same time.  Brenda currently sits in 2nd place and will lose a couple weeks worth of Bozak points, which the rest of her team will have to make-up, if she wants to stay in the prizing over the next couple of weeks.  I don't think that is much of an issue, because her team has been running hot, despite not having Bozak or Liles in the line-up.

Player Notes in the Draft (Oct 30)

Sounds like a bout of the flu kept Edmonton Oilers forward David Perron out of the line-up on Tuesday night, as they took on the Toronto Maple Leafs. It doesn't sound like anything major, but the Oilers likely could have used his help last night, as they dropped a 4-0 decision to the visiting team.

Stacey C. has Perron this year and also could have used him last night, as Stacey is not off to a roaring start this week, among the basement dwellers this week with only 2 points through two nights.  Stacey is the projected to be the next team to hit triple figures, but needs a healthy team to do so.

Well, John-Michael Liles is on the Western road trip with the Maple Leafs, but since he hasn't been a regular part of their line-up last night, he is acting as the extra defenseman on the trip.  On Tuesday in Edmonton, Liles was a healthy scratch and there is no real indication, thus far, that would suggest that he'll even figure into a game on the trip, barring injury.

Liles belongs to Brenda this season and her team is keeping pace with the leaders, even with Liles not featuring as a regular defenseman.  Brenda finished up Tuesday night in 2nd place, so it isn't like she is missing him.  If Liles was active, she may be in 1st place by now, but that's an argument for another time.

The Washington Capitals have found some extra cap space, as defenseman John Erskine has been placed on the Long Term Injured Reserve, which means they have enough space to call up defenseman Dimitri Orlov from the AHL.  Orlov has been mired in the AHL since the end of training camp.

Pool leader, Chris M., will get a chance to fill in his last donut on the team, as Orlov should figure right into the line-up, as the Capitals take on the Flyers on Friday night.  Chris already has above-average scoring from the blueline this year and now he gets the chance to improve upon that with Orlov being active.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Injuries Force Continuation of Youth Movement in Calgary

On Tuesday morning, the Calgary Flames updated some injury statuses and for the couple of players that are in the pool, the news is quite bad. Captain Marc Giordano, already listed as on the Injured Reserve, has now been diagnosed with a broken ankle and will be expected on the shelf for 6-to-8 weeks. Forward Lee Stempniak, was on the list as out day-to-day with a lower-body injury, is now listed as week-to-week with a broken foot.

Giordano was off to a torrid start to the season, picking up 2 goals and 7 assists, playing a major part in the Flames hot start to the season.  He hasn't played in the last week and is still ranked 96th in pool scoring, which is still pretty damn good for a defenseman.  Heck, he's still ranked 6th among defensemen in scoring, despite not playing for a week.

Stempniak was also off to a pretty good start for the Flames, as he had notched 4 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, before getting hurt.  By virtue of more goals, he is ranked a tad higher than Giordano overall, sitting in 84th place after Monday's action.  His week-to-week status will likely keep him out for about 3-to-4 weeks, before he can comfortably fit in his skate boot again.

Losing the two of these guys will significantly hurt the Flames balance and offense going forward, something that some of the young kids will have to play through.

ImplicationsIn the pool, we already knew that Giordano was going to be off the projected games played list for Wes M., but it hasn't quite hit him in the standings just yet.  After the injury, Wes was hovering around 14th place and going into Tuesday's action, he is up to 11th.

In terms of Stempniak, he belongs to Leo M., who has also seen some gains in the last couple of weeks, now sitting in 9th place, already up from Sunday's finish of 10th place.  Losing Stempniak will likely affect him more in the long-term.

Now that we're in Week Five, we're still a little ways away from the Week Eight Waiver Draft, where we'll be dropping and picking up players for a Week Nine activation.  Giordano will likely be considered for a drop, while Stempniak has a chance of being back around that time and may not be dropped.  Things to consider already...

Player Notes in the Draft (Oct 29)

It was kind of a dropped ball situation on this one, as it was kind of lost on me that Jamie McBain was taken.  Well, McBain hasn't been on the best terms with the Sabres coaching staff, in their time of struggles, as he has been a healthy scratch for a few games, including last night against the Dallas Stars.  McBain has 1 goal and 2 assists in his first seven games this season, but that hasn't seemed to be enough to stay in the line-up.

McBain belongs to Dale B. his season, who finished up Monday night in 13th place, 4 points out of the top 10, with 34 games to be played still in Week Five.  Unfortunately, he hasn't seen the scoring production he would have liked this year, especially from his blueliners, who are ranked 22nd in the pool for their points per game scoring rate (0.286).

There are some very strong rumblings on Tuesday morning that the Edmonton Oilers will be welcoming forward Sam Gagner back to their line-up tonight, as he is returning from a broken jaw, suffered during the preseason.  Gagner will likely be wearing a protective face shield, but it sounds like he has been cleared to play and the Oilers could sure use the boost in their line-up.  I have Gagner listed as out day-to-day, but unless there is a terrible setback, I would assume he's back tonight.

This will take care of one of Doug's donuts, in all likelihood, as he has been sitting on Gagner since the draft, taking him in the 3rd round, 60th overall.  Gagner was hurt after the draft and was eligible for the preseason waivers, but Doug decided against dropping him.  Now we'll see if the gamble pays off.

The New York Rangers opened up a newly-renovated Madison Square Gardens on Monday night, hosting the Montreal Canadiens, to which they had their number one goalie back in the crease, but neither mention was enough to lift the club to victory. Henrik Lundqvist returned from an undisclosed injury, suggesting he is close to being 100% again, but the team in front of him isn't playing to their potential quite yet.

Lundqvist was the 6th overall pick in the draft this year, taken by Dale B., who hasn't seen anything that would resemble a 1st round pick's production, let alone as high as 6th overall.  As for his goaltending, he currently sits slightly below-average in minutes played, but with Lundqvist back, he should be able to start making up minutes before too long.

The Vancouver Canucks welcomed back Alex Burrows to their line-up on Monday night, which couldn't come at a better time for the club, that has been seeing other forwards dropping like flies to injury. Burrows was not able to register a point on Monday night against the Capitals, but his presence was felt up=and-down the ice.

Getting a healthy body back is good news for Tony D., who is currently mired in 21st place, but has 35 games to be played this week, so a good week could really set his team alight.  Tony hasn't had much luck with his team's health, as he ranks among the below-average in games played by his skaters and his minutes played for his goalies.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week Four Newsletter

Newsletter Header

First Repeat Leader

Well, the duo of Kristy & Don have survived some injury trouble in Week Four to repeat as leaders from Week Three, but their lead has shrunk from 6 points to 1 point.  Their team will face some difficulty with their number one goalie on the shelf for at least a month.  Kristy & Don haven't had the most explosive team in their averages, but they have been making all their points by staying healthy, leading the pool in games collected (141) and 4th in goalie minutes played (1,133).

Rest of the Prize Positions

We had a bit of a shift in the rest of the prizing spots, thanks to some close races and bigger weeks than others.  Out of the money went Grant and Clayton and in came Brenda and Allan, as Chris stayed in the conversation.  Kristy & Don, Brenda, Chris and Allan round out the top four, all eclipsing the 100-point barrier in the week and Allan has a 6-point lead on both Grant and Clayton, who sit 5th and 6th, respectively.

The swings have been pretty good both ways and I anticipate some more movement in Week Five, so stay tuned!

Bottom of the Table

We might just call this spot the race for the first pick in the Waiver Draft.  This has gotten a bit more interesting, as John S. is no longer in the basement, having a decent week and passing Stuart for 23rd in the standings and trailing Doug by 1 point for 22nd.  With only 2 points separating 22nd to 24th, we may have some jockeying here, unless one of these teams can find some consistency in their line-up.

This group isn't too far out of the pack ahead of them, as Tony is only 5 points ahead of Doug, as he is the tail of another group of three teams.  If any of these teams can string some good weeks together, they could work themselves out of the bottom before too long.

Trends in the Numbers

Something I touched on last week was basing all the numbers on a per NHL game played basis.  This gives me an indication of what the pool is pulling on a weekly basis.

In Week Four, there were 45 NHL games scheduled, where we pulled 525 points (11.7 points per NHL game, up slightly from Week Three) from 753 skater games (16.7 per NHL game, down from Week Three) and 4,317 goalie minutes played (95.9 minutes per NHL game, well down from Week Three).

It was good to see scoring went up, despite pool participation in the scheduled NHL games, but with the injury list growing, it looks like these numbers will be slowly going down before they are going up.

Week Five has 44 NHL games scheduled, we'll be just skipping over 500 total points, if we continue this scoring pace.  Will your team get more than their fair share?

PhotobucketThe San Jose Sharks are just rolling right along to start the NHL season and there is no one capiralizing more on this than their number one goalie, Antti Niemi, who has been virtually unstoppable, in terms of pool points.  In Week Four, it all came to a head, as the Finnish netminder took the title of Player of the Week, thanks to an 8-point week, which has lifted him up to the top of the scoring table, nearly a month into the season.

Niemi didn't have a perfect week for this Player of the Week honour, but he impressed mightily regardless. In Week Four, Niemi finished with a 2-1-0 record and both of his wins in the week were shutouts. 2 wins and 2 shutouts were good enough for 8 points.

On Monday, Niemi started out the week with a 24-save shutout over the Red Wings, Thursday saw him lose his first game, 2-1, to the Bruins and on Saturday, he made 22 saves in a shutout over the Canadiens.

With the big week, Niemi now totals 24 points, 9 wins, 2 shutouts and 2 assists, which gives him a 6-point lead over Sidney Crosby in the pool scoring race through Week Four.

Leo M. has Niemi in the pool this year and is grateful for him.  Leo currently sits in 10th place through the weekend and owes a lot to his goaltending for his position.  Leo's keepers have counted for 36% of his total points, the highest percentage of points from his goalies in the pool.  He needs all the help he can get, since his forwards have only counted for 47.2%, which is the lowest in the pool.

PhotobucketIt was a return to the money positions for Brenda F., who has seen her team earn a second Mover & Shaker nod in the first four weeks of the season.

Brenda had dropped down to 7th place in the pool in Week Three, but her team made a dramatic recovery, picking up 36 points in Week Four and climbed all the way up to 2nd place.  It goes to show you that one good week can make up a lot of ground in the pool.  With how thin the pool has spread with 24 teams, I think we should see a lot of this sort of movement all year long.

Brenda can credit her big week to Frans Nielsen, who led her team from Long Island with 7 points, followed by Alex Ovechkin James Van Riemsdyk, who each had 5 points and Valtteri Filppula & Justin Williams each had 3 points.

Brenda's team won't be able to go wire-to-wire in pool points this season, but her team has led the pool in goals scored since Week One, as her team has 44 tallies already this year.  Three teams are currently tied for 2nd in the column with 36 goals a piece, so that's a solid 8-goal lead through four weeks.  That's a pretty good stat and one that could lift her back to the top of the standings before too long.

PhotobucketEven with scoring going up a touch in Week Four, there were still three teams that struggled to pick up points, creating a 3-way tie for the Basement Dweller position.  Benson, Ryan M. and Doug were all in there with 11 points, but we had to go to the tie-breaker, which is, as always, goals scored in the week.

And going from Shaker to Dweller... is Benson!  Benson had 3 goals in the week, which wasn't the worst in the pool, but it was among the three teams with 11 points.  Benson went from being Mover & Shaker and up to 8th place to the Basement Dweller and back down to 18th place.  I may have to come up with a new award for bi-polar teams like this.

Nine of Benson's 14 players failed to register a point in Week Four and his best player, Sidney Crosby, who has back-to-back Player of the Week nods this year already, only picked up 1 point.


The Anaheim Ducks have sent veteran forward Saku Koivu home from their road trip after the Finnish winger was popped by Brandon Dubinsky in the game against the Blue Jackets on Sunday.  There were reports that Koivu was knocked unconscious after the hit and he did look visibly rattled, as he needed help leaving the ice, so the safe money is on a concussion.  We will await further word on this from the team, which will likely come in the next couple days.

This doesn't sound like good news for Cindy S., as her team sits in 16th place, but only 9 points out of the top 10.

The Edmonton Oilers are taking some cautious measures with their number one goalie, Devan Dubnyk, who was reporting some ankle discomfort after their game on Saturday afternoon.  Dubnyk was given Sunday off, as the team took on the Kings, calling up Richard Bachman to take the start.  There was no indication as to how serious the ankle injury was and as it was reported, it did sound minor, so we should expect to see Dubnyk back in the net before too long.

Stacey C could use those goalie points, as he is right in the mix, sitting in 8th after Week Four, only 11 points out of the prizing.

Sounds like a bout of the flu was what kept Florida Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann out of the line-up on Sunday evening against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Fleischmann leads all Panthers in pool points this year with 9 in 11 games played and the team dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to their State rivals to finish up the week.  The Panthers don't go again until late in the week, so we're expecting Fleischmann to be back and 100% then.

When the race is still in the early stages, these single games missed seem like such a big deal.  For Dale B., who sits in 14th after Week Four, he is still firmly in the race and the one game shouldn't end up being a big deal.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have wiggled their way into a little bit more cap space, as they have found some room to call up defenseman John-Michael Liles, as they head out West for a road trip.  Liles, who was a victim of the lowered cap ceiling this season, has been in the minors since the end of training camp, but was playing some good hockey in the preseason.  There was no indication as to where he'd fit immediately, but he will be with the team as they travel, which is a good start.

Liles is the only donut left on Brenda's pool team, as she sits in 2nd place, 1 point out of 1st. Getting a body back will be a huge help, I'm sure.

The Vancouver Canucks offered some injury updates before Monday's game against the Washington Capitals and they are as follows: Alex Burrows is set to return from his foot injury tonight, while Jannik Hansen is still going to be out for another 3-to-4 weeks with his upper-body injury and David Booth will miss the next couple weeks with his lower-body injury.

So... this is good news for Tony, really bad news for Grant and kinda bad news for Ryan V..  You can't have good news for everyone all the time, right?

Link to the Injury/News Page


This weekend, we'll have our first Hockey Night In Canada tripleheader, which means the CBC will be showcasing all kinds of our pool talent.  Chicago will be in Winnipeg for an afternoon matinee, while the Canucks will have a rare early game, as they host the Leafs and finally, the Oilers will host the Red Wings in their only match-up in Edmonton this season.  In total, these three games will represent 74 picks in the pool, but obviously, not all of them will be playing on Saturday.

Well, I'm going to save myself all kinds of trouble and go through the gist of it all, instead of going over it all.  Out of the six teams playing, the leading scorer of the bunch is Henrik Sedin of the Canucks, who currently sits 4th in pool scoring with 16 points.  Currently, Brenda leads all teams in the pool with eight active players through these six games, although Tony may have eight as well, if Alex Burrows can become healthy this week and be ready to go for the game against Toronto.