Saturday, November 30, 2013

Player Notes in the Draft (Nov 30)

An upper-body injury is to blame for Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera's absence on Friday afternoon, as the Canes took on the Devils in some Black Friday action.  The Slovak defender is currently listed as out day-to-day and there are very little details about the injury or his timetable for a return, but without much to go on, one may speculate that the injury is minor and there is nothing really to tell.  He'll go again when he's 100%.

This isn't likely what Dale C. wanted to see, an injury (and no real update to go with it) for one of his Waiver Draft pick-ups this week.  Dale dropped one injured defenseman to pick up a guy who gets injured before the first week of availability is through.  Nevertheless, Dale is having a great week, leading the pool with 27 points, heading into Saturday's action.

Looks like there was a bit of a blueline shuffle for the San Jose Sharks on Friday afternoon, as Matt Irwin returned to the line-up after a lengthy absence, while Jason Demers was the odd-man out and headed up to the press box for a game.  It is hard to say whether or not this change facilitated the scoring breakout by San Jose, that will be for the coaches to determine, but since they were able to open up the flood gates a little, one may be pessimistic about Demers return right away.

A team that needed a return got one, as Ryan M. welcomed a player back into the fold, while Brenda, who is in the money fight, missed out on a big scoring game with one of her players.  Ryan has moved back up to 17th from 20th last week, while Brenda has remained in 4th from week to week.

Another defenseman swap in the pool in an NHL line-up, as Jake Gardiner returned to the Maple Leafs line-up on Friday evening for their game against the Buffalo Sabres, while rookie blueliner Morgan Rielly came out for a game.  Both blueliners are looked to for some quality puck movement and a little bit of offense and you can tell when the coaches don't believe they are getting enough.  The scratches don't seem to last long, but the revolving door likes to spin.

Gardiner belongs to our co-pool leader Allan S. and got a timely return from Gardiner, as his battle with Grant for top spot is really heating up.  Dale B. has Rielly and has been suffering a little this week, currently holding the Basement Dweller spot with only 10 points in the week.  He'll be looking for a big Saturday.

Some injuries are starting to pile up for the Washington Capitals, but they do sound like minor ones, so it will likely be a small hiccup.  Michal Neuvirth indeed miss last night's game with the lower-body injury that he suffered in practice on the weekend, while Brooks Laich also missed yesterday's game against the Montreal Canadiens with a lower-body injury.  Both players are considered to be day-to-day, but it sounds like neither player are good to go on Saturday either and will probably get a better look on Monday.

In Neuvirth's case, it looks like he is missing a start on back-to-back days, so that means Wyllie will be without some goalie minutes and Braden Holtby goes again for the Caps, good news for Stacey C..  In Laich's case, that would be Allan S.'s player that has taken a tumble, which takes away from the return of Gardiner above.

There has been very little word on the lower-body injury that Evander Kane suffered in the early game on Friday, as the Jets took on the Flyers in Philadelphia.  Kane had left the game with the injury, not to return, but since then, the team has had their lips sealed as to the severity of the injury and/or his timetable for a return.  All we can say is that he did leave the game with the injury and we're awaiting word.  He'll be listed as day-to-day until further notice.

Bad news for John S., who has been making waves since the Waiver Draft order had been decided.  John now sits in 20th place, only 6 points away from moving up again and he's having a pretty good week, compared to those teams around him, picking up 20 points through Friday.  He is back of the Mover & Shaker nominees, but he remains close.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Player Notes in the Draft (Nov 29)

From last night's game between the Predators and Oilers, Nashville defenseman Shea Weber took a puck to the face in the game and had to leave, not to return. The team has not provided any update on Friday morning, but they do play on Saturday evening, home to the Flyers, so there should be an update after the pregame skate on Saturday morning.

Gotta think that Derek Wilton is holding his breath a little bit here, as he likely wants his best defenseman in the Predators line-up on Saturday night.  Weber is a tough guy, I would imagine that a simple puck to the face won't be enough, but you never know.

A couple of healthy scratches on the Ottawa blueline on Thursday night, as they played host to the Vancouver Canucks on US Thanksgiving evening.  Both Jared Cowen and Patrick Weircioch were up in the press box for the game, Cowen for the first time this season, while Weircioch hasn't been a stranger to the press box food.  With the Senators latest struggles, it will be interesting to see how the team figures out the defense, as they took another loss, 5-2, on Thursday night.

It was lost skater games for Clayton and Doug, respectively.  Neither team has seen great numbers from their defense and these two are definite reasons for some of those struggles.  If they figure back into the line-up again, they're hoping that they got their heads in gear.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Injury Bug Feasts on Flames

The Calgary Flames, already reeling from some major injuries this season, suffered a pair of big injuries again against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Both forward Sean Monahan and defenseman Dennis Wideman were placed on the Injured Reserve on Thursday with a pair of fractures, which will likely keep them out of the line-up for a while.

Monahan suffered a fractured foot in the game last night and is currently listed as out week-to-week with the injury.  Fractured bones in the feet have a wide timeframe for a return, as some bones are more important than the others and could be protected better in the skate boot.  I would expect Monahan to be out anywhere between 2-to-4 weeks.

In 24 games this season, the Flames rookie has 9 goals and 6 assists for 15 points, ranking 127th in pool scoring on Thursday.

Wideman, on the other hand, suffered a fractured hand blocking a shot, is expected to be out 6-to-8 weeks with his injury, which pretty well eliminates him from action for the whole of the second segment of the season.  There is a chance that Wideman will be put on the Long Term Injured Reserve to help conserve cap space, as 10 games seems to be an inevitability with this injury.

Wideman has played in 24 games, scoring 2 goals and adding 10 assists for 12 points, good enough for 199th in pool scoring, 30th among all defenseman.

ImplicationsTwo teams hit directly by these injuries, as Derek Wyllie has Monahan and Grant has Wideman.  Wyllie sits in a 3-way tie for 12th place at 175 points, while Grant sits in a tie at the top of the pool with 210 points.

Grant has also been indirectly hindered by these injuries, as the two better players on the ice for the Flames have gone down, which means that his goalie, Reto Berra, will also have a tougher time finding some wins down the line.  Scott G. has Karri Ramo, who may get a few more starts, especially if Berra's confidence begins to waiver.

Granlund Returns to Leave Again

The Minnesota Wild were likely hoping for some big things from one of their top prospects, Mikael Granlund, as he returned from an upper-body injury on Wednesday night, as the team was to take on the Phoenix Coyotes. All of that hope and all of those expectations were dashed in just one shift, his first shift of the night, as Granlund took a high hit and was forced from the game with another upper-body injury, possibly a recurrence of his last injury.

Nevertheless, the Wild were quick to act, as they placed the young Finn on the Injured Reserve on Thursday morning and called up Jason Zucker to take his place in the line-up.  Granlund, now that he is on the IR, will now miss at least one week's worth of action and if it is concussion problems, which no injury has actually been confirmed, there is a good chance that he will miss more time than just one week.

In 24 games this season, Granlund has picked up 2 goals and 10 assists, scoring at half a point per game this season.  On Thursday morning, I have Granlund ranked at 198th in pool scoring, which is sure to drop during his time on the IR.

ImplicationsGranlund was the 301st overall pick in the 13th round to Scott G. in the draft this year, which means he is coming in at a pretty reasonable bargain.  Scott currently sits at the bottom of the second grouping in the standings in 11th place with 186 points, 16 points out of the prizes.

The loss of Granlund now brings Scott's projected games to be played total down to 22 for the rest of Week Nine, which is on the lower end of the scale, but he still sits in the thick of the mix.

Player Notes in the Draft (Nov 28)

A bout of back spasms were to blame for the lack of Paul Stastny from the Colorado Avalanche line-up, as they took on the St. Louis Blues.  Stastny has been listed as out day-to-day with his back spasms and that generally seems to last a few days, but could extend into a week or two, just as easily.

On the plus side for Colorado, they did welcome back Matt Duchene from his oblique injury, which forced him to miss a few games.  The switching of bodies didn't help, because the Avalanche lost to the Blues, 2-1.

Stastny belongs to Stacey C., who has fallen back to the second group in the standings, now 9 points out of 4th place.  Duchene is one of Cindy's picks this year and his return will look to improve on her standing, 16th in the pool.  Cindy sits 31 points out of the prizes right now.

The coaching staff of the New Jersey Devils have not been terribly pleased with Damien Brunner's game of late, as he hasn't generated anything for offense in the last little while, including very few shots on goal. On Wednesday night, he was a healthy scratch, watching the game from the press box, against the Carolina Hurricanes.  The move didn't seem to help the team any, as they dropped a 4-3 decision in that game.  It would seem likely that Brunner should filter back into the line-up for the weekend.

It hasn't been a bad start to the week for Doug K., who has 10 points and sits in the middle of the pack to start the second segment, but the bodies keep falling out of the line-up for him.  He's likely hoping that Brunner gets his game in gear and starts to score again, now that the coaching staff are all over him.

It was an undisclosed lower-body injury, which kept forward Matt Read out of the line-up on Wednesday night, as the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The early reports are suggesting that the injury is minor and that he will be back in the line-up really soon and will currently be listed as out day-to-day.  

This appears to be a minor blip on the radar for Mike S., who has Read in the draft this year.  Mike's skaters has kept relatively healthy this year, as they currently rank 5th in the pool in collected skater games with 288.

It is likely that a lack of offense was the main reason cited for Jake Gardiner's night off from the Maple Leafs' line-up on Wednesday night, as they took on the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Gardiner has only picked up 5 assists in 24 games for the Leafs this year, which is likely well-below the team's expectations for him.  The Leafs didn't struggle to score goals last night, but they did fail to keep pucks out of their own net, losing 6-5 in the shootout.

Gardiner belongs to one of our pool leaders, Allan S., who doesn't seem to be missing the blueliner's offense at all.  Allan's defense hasn't been spectacular, but the rest of his team is picking up the slack.  I don't think he'll miss too many more games from Gardiner here soon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pens Lose Martin to Broken Leg

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been severely unlucky in the last few weeks, as the injury bug is not just biting, rather it is devouring their line-up.

The latest pool-related victim of the bug is defenseman Paul Martin, who has been told that he is out for 4-to-6 weeks because of a fractured tibia.  A very hurtful blow to a blueline that already lacks Rob Scuderi.

Martin has been decent in the scoring department, scoring 2 goals and 9 assists in 23 games, scoring just under half a point-per-game, which isn't too bad for a defenseman.  As of Wednesday afternoon, Martin ranked 218th in pool scoring, 34th among all defensemen.

ImplicationsBad news for Derek Wilton, who receives this bad news only days after the Waiver Draft, where he dropped Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi to pick up Andre Benoit of the Colorado Avalanche.  Wilton has had some reasonable luck with staying healthy until now, as his team is above-average in games collected, but this number will likely take a hit.

As of Wednesday, Derek sat in 12th place, 10 points out of the top 10.

Player News in the Draft (Nov 27)

There was only one game on Tuesday night, thanks to the US Thanksgiving weekend schedule, and in that game, between the Stars and Ducks, Dallas forward Ray Whitney made a return from an undisclosed injury.  It was a successful return, as the Stars won, 6-3, and Whitney recorded an assist in the game.

This is good news for Wes M., who has Whitney in the pool.  Wes has 4 points in Week Nine, through two nights, but has dropped down to 19th place, despite the returning player.

Some slightly positive news for the Minnesota Wild and their respective poolies, as Josh Harding has been deemed fit enough to be Niklas Backstrom's back-up on Wednesday night. His slight hamstring injury has been cleared for play, if needed.

Finally, Doug K. has received some good news in Week Nine, as it has been a rough start to the second segment for him.  Harding will be the back-up tonight against the Coyotes, but will likely get some starts here soon, as he has been too good not to get more starts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More Figures from the First Segment

Now that we're into the second segment of the hockey pool year, with another jersey up for grabs, I thought I would go over some of the numbers from the first segment of the season. I think this is more for my own curiosity than anything, but I thought I'd share at the same time, just in case someone else thought it was interesting.

So, Allan S. won the first segment with 199 points and his breakdown of points went down like so... 120 points from his forwards (5th in the pool), 37 points from his defense (8th in the pool) and 42 points from his goalies (4th in the pool).  It's a pretty even keeled team across the board, which doesn't excel in any one position, but is pretty decent in all of them.

Brenda's team led the pool in points from the forward group with 139, which was 13 points better than 2nd place in the list, Dale B..  Down at the bottom, both Leo and Doug each sat with 77 points, which led to them being at the bottom of the pool, quite clearly.

On defense, Grant's team took the first segment crown with 55 points, followed closely by Kristy & Don and Scott with 53 points.  All three of these teams are definitely in the top half of the pool, some doing better than others.  Down at the bottom, Wes' team only managed to pick up 14 points from the blueline, but his team sits in the middle of the pack.

A big reason why Wes' team was in the middle of the pack, his goaltending.  At 55 points from two goalies, he put a lot of eggs in this basket and they are buoyant enough to keep him afloat.  He was also followed rather closely by Chris M., who was also kept afloat by his goalies at 54 points.  The bottom of these ranks was Derek Wyllie, who only managed 9 points from Michal Neuvirth and Viktor Fasth.

At the Waiver Draft, Leo swapped a pair of forwards to improve his shortcoming, while Doug swapped a goalie and a forward to help his cause.  Wes swapped a defenseman and a forward, hoping to help his team get into the top 10, while Wyllie swapped one goalie and a forward.  Needs were somewhat addressed by the teams in dire need of some help.

I found that goal scoring was also a good sign of teams doing well in the pool from year to year and the Week Eight leader in goals was Brenda F. with 78, who was 4th after the first segment.  Allan, who was tops in the pool finished 2nd in goals in the segment with 74.  Wes was down at the bottom of the list with only 35 goals for, but obviously had more than enough wins to help his cause there.

Another key to successful teams... staying healthy.  Four teams, all within three skater games played, led the way in the healthy team discussion.  Kristy & Don led the way after Week Eight with 277 games collected, followed by Allan at 276, Grant at 275 and Stacey C. at 274.  All four teams are either in the prizes or making their way in.  Down at the bottom, Wes only collected 200, thanks to a lot of injury and minor-league problems, followed by Ryan M., who had 208 and Chris M., who had 220.

Goalies, measured in minutes played, since appearances could be slightly skewed, thanks to relief appearances and pulls, seems to be about right.  Chris M. saw the most minutes at 2,448 (Marc-Andre Fleury and Roberto Luongo), while the goalie points leader, Wes, wasn't too far behind at 2,358 (Tuukka Rask and Mike Smith).  Both teams had their goalies going constantly, making them into exceptionally good picks and helped to keep their numbers so high.  On the other end of the spectrum, Cindy only managed 659 minutes collected (Dan Ellis and Ray Emery), followed by Wyllie at 706, Wilton at 850 (Craig Anderson and Tomas Vokoun) and Mike S. at 878 (Jonathan Bernier and Jake Allen).

When you're talking about skater games to goalie minutes, your skaters are going to have the greater impact, since you have 12 skaters to your two goalies, so staying healthy with your skaters is way more important in the long run.  Goalie minutes have kept Chris and Wes in the running, so if they have improved their teams in the skater area at the Waiver Draft, which they tried to do, they should be better in the running for prizes in the second segment.

I think I'll likely have another look at these same numbers after the second segment, as they should give us good indicators of why teams moved up and down from the first segment and why teams are in the money.

Lupul Suffers Grade 2 Groin Strain

Just as the Toronto Maple Leafs welcomed centre Tyler Bozak back to their line-up, one of their injury-prone players found their way back to the list, as Joffrey Lupul suffered a groin injury in their 6-0 loss to the Blue Jackets on Monday night.

On Tuesday morning, the Leafs announced that Lupul suffered a grade 2 groin strain, something very similar to what Jonathan Quick suffered earlier this season.  There is no timetable for his return, but he is likely looking at close to a month on the shelf.

Lupul hasn't been playing out of his skin this season, scoring 8 goals and 7 assists in his first 22 games this year, ranking 117th in pool scoring after Monday night.  He hasn't been up near the point-per-game total he has been scoring at for the past couple of seasons, which suggests to me that he may have been playing hurt for the last little while and he may have pushed it too far.  Just a thought.

ImplicationsJust when things were beginning to look up for Stuart G. in the pool, the risky pick, which is Lupul, takes a turn for the worst and he'll be without his 4th round pick for the next little while.

Stuart will start Tuesday night in 22nd place, 5 points up on 23rd place.

Player Notes in the Draft (Nov 26)

It was a happy return for Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings' line-up on Monday night, as he registered an assist in a 2-1 overtime win against the Canucks. Carter was nursing a lower-body injury for a couple of weeks and made his return just in time for the new segment in the hockey pool.

It was a nice boost to Cindy S.'s team this week, who moved up one spot after Monday night's action, from 18th to 17th.  A new player from the Waiver Draft and an injury return is a good way to start the week, obviously.

The Minnesota Wild are now shuffling through an infestation of injury bugs in their locker room, as Monday night claimed Zach Parise as a victim against the St. Louis Blues. Parise suffered a foot injury in the game, having to leave and not return. The Wild don't play again until Wednesday night, which is likely when we'll see any update on his condition.

Absolutely no puck luck for Doug K. in the pool this year.  I'm not sure that there has ever been such a thing as a newbie curse or anything, but I am getting the feeling that one may be spawned from this season.  Doug is already under the gun, already without Francois Beauchemin of the Ducks and lost Josh Harding to injury on the weekend... it just doesn't get any easier.

An upper-body injury was to blame for the absence of forward Patric Hornqvist from the Nashville Predators line-up on Monday night. Details are very limited right now on the injury or how long he'll be out, but he is listed as day-to-day, so that's about where we'll leave it. Predators are in Columbus on Wednesday and we'll hope for an update before game time. If there is anything more serious than a day-to-day diagnosis, we'll post it up here.

Stuart G. is now going to try and make the long climb up the standings from the bottom, but Monday was a slow start and the injury to Hornqvist was a touch of grease on that climb.  Stuart starts Tuesday's limited action in 22nd, 44 points out of the year-end prizes.

The Phoenix Coyotes suffered a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night and they also lost their captain, Shane Doan, in the 2nd period to a lower-body injury.  The Coyotes have said that Doan will be listed as out day-to-day with the injury and that's about where they have left it.  The Coyotes will play again on Wednesday night in Minnesota and Doan will likely be questionable/doubtful for the game and if there is any other update, it will be posted.

Doan belongs to Dale B. in the draft this year and Dale has been making a charge in the standings, but an injury into the new segment won't help him much.  After Monday night, Dale sits in 7th place, only 7 points out of the prize positions.

It was a touch of the flu that fell St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Monday night, something that shouldn't keep him out of the line-up for too long at all.  Shattenkirk has been good for the Blues this season, scoring 1 goal and 15 assists in 22 games.  I would have to think Shattenkirk is probable for the Blues' next game, Wednesday in Colorado.

Shattenkirk belongs to Dale C. this season and this Dale is also making a new charge in the week, moving up to 8th place after Monday night, thanks to a 9-point night, sans Shattenkirk.  Dale is 12 points out of the prizes and if his team continues to put up numbers, that number will shrink in a hurry.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week Eight Newsletter

Newsletter Header

First Jersey Prize Awarded

We are officially through eight weeks in the regular season, the waiver draft is done and the first segment of the season is done.  With a little bit of authority over the last couple of weeks, Allan S. was our first segment leader, finishing the first eight weeks with 199 points, 3 points better than 2nd place, Grant S..

Now, Allan gets first choice over which Toronto Maple Leafs Winter Classic jersey he would prefer.  He gets to choose from either two Kessels, a Reimer and a Kadri jersey.  The announcement of which one he takes will be on the Newsletter when it is given away.

The second segment begins today and the total points will continue to tick away for the final prizes, but the segment will start anew and updates will be provided each week.  Everyone gets a shot at a Leafs jersey starting today.

The Top Four Changes Again

This past week, the teams in the top four didn't change, but there was a little hokey-pokey, as teams moved themselves around in the standings.  Allan goes back-to-back weeks at the top, while Grant moves up to 2nd from 4th, Kristy & Don remain in 3rd and Brenda does the drop to 4th from 2nd.  5th through to 8th are less than 10 points out of the top four, so the potential for movement, especially after the Waiver Draft, is there for everyone.

Waiver Draft Recap

Just a reminder, there are a couple of blog posts that are small recaps of the Waiver Draft, which you can access here.  The part one link and part two link are posted in this sentence.

Scoring Trends Before the New Players Arrive

At the beginning of the week, all the way through to the start of the weekend, had the scoring rate in each NHL game up on Week Seven, as a number of players returned at the right time.  Unfortunately, the weekend killed that hope and we had the worst scoring rate per NHL game this season in Week Eight.

In 46 NHL games, the pool collected 489 points, which was a rate of 10.6 points per game.  The highest rate, in Week One, was 12.8 points per NHL game, which I am hoping that we see again after the new players get involved.

In Week One, we collected 17.6 skater games per NHL game and 117.8 goalie minutes per game, which was some excellent opening week numbers.  In Week Eight, we saw 16.6 skater games per and 94.4 minutes per.  Injuries and lost jobs in the crease didn't help things much, something we address in the Waiver Draft.

PhotobucketWell, it was only a matter of time, one would think, before Evgeni Malkin hit the Newsletter as the Player of the Week.  I am thinking that Stuart G. would have preferred to have more of his players step up, while he waited for his 1st round pick made it to the pinnacle of the scoring news in the hockey pool.  Stuart finished the first segment in 21st place, but has started to make some moves from the bottom and has a couple new players to help.

But this is about Malkin, who finished Week Eight with 8 points, tied with one other, a goalie, so the nod becomes his on goals rather easily.

The Penguins played in four games in Week Eight and Malkin had 2 points in each game, finishing the week with 1 goal and 7 assists, just barely taking the tie-breaker with the goalie for the nod.

It was 2 assists against the Ducks on Monday, 2 assists against the Capitals on Wednesday, a goal and an assist against the Islanders on Friday and 2 more assists against the Canadiens on Saturday.  It's a 4-game point streak, which he started this week and Malkin is now up to 4 goals and 22 assists for 26 points, now 14th in pool scoring at the end of Week Eight.

PhotobucketAs we finish off Week Eight, how about we have a first in the pool this season.  Mike S., our Mover & Shaker, by virtue of leading the pool in both points and goals scored (for the tie-breaker) is the first to get acknowledged in this honour while outside of the top 10.  That's right, the long climb for Mike has started and there is no better way to climb their way back into the prizing conversation, than with a Mover & Shaker.

There was another first, as Mike's M&S week was the first sub-30 points week for the honour since the shortened opening week of the season.  Mike finished with 28 points and 13 goals to achieve the honour, as his team moves up from 22nd to 17th.  He's making all kinds of noise!

Mike's big week was led by Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers, who finished with 5 points, while Michal Frolik, Taylor Hall, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and T.J. Brodie each had 3 points a piece to continue in the scoring.  In the week, Mike's team only had three donuts, so there was plenty of help across the board.

As you can tell by a few of his players that finally woke up last week, he was banking on some slow teams, like Philadelphia and Edmonton, which hasn't helped a lot of teams, but now that they are starting to find the scoresheet again, it looks like Mike will be filling in some of the gaps.

Mike's team now sits 17 points out of the top 10, which is the first step to getting into the conversation.  A top 10 finish would be really good or even to get there for the second waiver draft would be even better.

In the first Waiver Draft, Mike dropped both Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues and Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames to pick up Alex Stalock of the San Jose Sharks and Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes.  Hanzal appears to be the key, as the Coyotes are scoring some goals and he is right in the middle of that party.

PhotobucketTurning the page from a terrible first segment is what Leo M.'s team looks to do, as they really fell off the map in the second half of the first segment.  Three out of four weeks, they have a nod in the Basement Dweller.

It was another bad week, as we swapped players to avoid this scenario, as Leo finished with only 13 points and his team dropped down to 23rd in the standings.  The injury to Evgeni Nabokov was devastating, as the goaltending was turning out to be his life preserver in the standings, but as it deflated, his team started to sink.

His team only had six donuts in the week, but only Antti Niemi picked up more than 2 points, as he had a couple of wins in the week for 4 points.

In the Waiver Draft, Leo changed up his forwards, as Alex Semin and Jiri Tlusty of the Hurricanes are out and Todd Bertuzzi of the Red Wings and Olli Jokinen of the Jets are in.  If Leo is going to sit through the rest of the season, he's going to have players he likes on his team.


The Buffalo Sabres scratched defenseman Jamie McBain on Sunday for their game against the Detroit Red Wings.  McBain hasn't been a regular fixture on the Buffalo blueline, as the team struggles through the early part of the season.  McBain wasn't dropped in the Waiver Draft this time around, likely because Dale B. had some bigger fish to fry.  I would imagine that McBain will get some more chances, but he seems to be the odd man that finds his way to the press box, as he has only played 16 games this year.

It doesn't sound like the injury that Josh Harding suffered on the weekend is going to be bad, as the reports on Monday morning are suggesting that it is only spasms in his hamstring, which will likely need a few days to get under wraps.  Harding did not join the team in St. Louis, where they play tonight, so it will be Niklas Backstrom, who was dropped in the Waiver Draft, and Darcy Kuemper backing him up, who wasn't taken in the draft at all, tonight for the Wild.  What an odd turn of events for the Wild in the hockey pool.

It looks like practice has claimed another injury victim, as Washington Capitals goalie, Michal Neuvirth, had to leave this morning's session with a lower-body injury and he didn't return. The team has suggested that the injury is minor and he will be listed as day-to-day. The Capitals do not play again until Wednesday, so there won't be any rush to call up another goalie to take his place and he can get a couple of days to heal up. Neuvirth hasn't been the go-to guy for the Capitals in net, so Wyllie may not miss out on any scheduled starts, but it is a concern, nevertheless.

Link to the Injury/News Page


The first Hockey Night In Canada with our new additions and our additions by subtraction (the drops). It's only a doubleheader on Saturday, but it should be another busy night in the hockey pool, as teams made plenty of changes, some of which, involved these teams.

After the Waiver Draft was all said and done, between these four teams, there are 51 active picks.  No one is in the minors among those picks, but we still have five injuries, with the possibility of one coming off the IR in time for Saturday.  A couple of goalies were added in Reto Berra and Peter Budaj, while Karri Ramo switched pool teams in the week.  Goaltending is well represented in the weekend now.  Every goalie, except for Ben Scrivens' back-up, Martin Jones, has been selected for Saturday.

Just for argument's sake, these four teams were responsible for eight drops, including three players in the minors, but more importantly, five healthy players.

The highest scoring active player among these four teams... Anze Kopitar, ranked 38th in pool scoring with 6 goals and 16 assists in 24 games with the Kings.