Monday, December 30, 2013

Week Thirteen Newsletter

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The Lead Changes Again

I don't know about you, but as an observer, the lead now changing from week to week is an excellent thing.  Week Thirteen was all about Grant knocking down that 3-point lead that Chris had after last week and then putting a point in between them for the lead.

Grant's real strength is coming from the blueline, where his team leads the pool in average scoring per game from the blueline (0.658 points per game), while Chris' goaltending, which is now shorthanded, leads the pool at 1.4 points per 60 minutes played.

Neither team had a great week, which brought a few teams closer to their peak, which may make the whole race interesting again.

The Mo Money Shuffle

So, we know about the top two, but the top four continues to shuffle around as well.  One team dropped out of the money spots, which left room for one team to slip on in.  Allan is now suffering madly from the lack of his number one overall pick, dropping down from 3rd place to 7th, not unlike Kristy & Don, who fell some time ago.

Moving into 3rd place, from 6th, was Stacey C., who had a monster week, which will get highlighted in a little bit.  Stacey now sits 9 points back of the two leaders and 8 points up on 4th, which is a nice bubble to be in.

4th place remained the same this week, as Stacey M. held on by the tips of her fingernails to the jersey prize, and her team now has five teams within 6 points of her prize position, waiting to pounce.  This is one heck of a race.

Second Segment

With all the diet Newsletters published, there really hasn't been much space to touch on the second segment, which I'll do here.  Our leader in the second segment is Chris, who leads with 139 points, followed closely by Cindy at 138 points, Ryan Miller at 134 points, Benson at 131 points and three teams at 130 points.

Our first segment winner, Allan, sits 17th with 105 points.

Scoring Way Up

I am not sure where all the scoring came from in Week Thirteen, but I'm sure we'll all take it.  Being as though we went through the holiday break, there was only 42 games in the week, which is the second lowest we've seen this year, other than Week One.  With that being said, we saw the 8th-best week in scoring, with 518 points, which gave us our 3rd-best scoring rate of 12.3 points per NHL game, something we haven't seen since Week Two, when all the bodies were healthy.

Skater games played were also down to nearly the pool low we've seen this year and the goalie minutes were at their lowest this season, so where did the points come from?

PhotobucketBefore Sunday night's games, it was looking a lot like we were going to have a Chicago Blackhawks player, as the top billed player in the pool, as they had a great shortened week, scoring at will. But no, that wasn't to be the case in the end, as the Pittsburgh Penguins were led by a huge night from one of their players, thus capturing the Player of the Week honour for himself outright.

Neal played in three games in Week Thirteen, but only made a difference in two, but what an impact it was!

On Monday, he was held pointless against the Ottawa Senators, but on Friday, he came back with a goal and two assists against the Carolina Hurricanes and then on Sunday, he really broke out with a hat trick and a pair of assists.  4 goals and 4 assists in the week and now Neal has 30 points, 14 goals and 16 assists in 21 games, scoring at a pace better than Sidney Crosby.

Neal's 30 points makes him 60th in pool scoring this season, but he's really on the rise.  If it wasn't for some early injury problems, Neal could likely be in the top 10, but it is what it is.

Dale C. has Neal in the pool this year and his 30 points is tied for 2nd on his team in points, accounting for 10% of his total points this year.  With Neal on the shelf in the early part of the year, Dale's team could not find much traction, but with Neal back in play, he has been situated in the top 10 and isn't out of the prizing conversation yet.

PhotobucketWhen Stacey C. has a good week, his weeks seem to be miles better than everyone else.  Sure, his team is relying on very few NHL teams, putting most of his eggs in the basket of the Edmonton Oilers.  When the Oilers go to town on the scoresheet, Stacey makes a jump in the standings and Week Thirteen was one giant leap for his kind.

Stacey's team finished Week Thirteen with 33 points, one of only two teams to break the 30-point barrier, and it moved him up to 3rd place, a money position, in the pool, from 6th place.  Needless to say, this is his peak position in the standings this year, having hovered around 5th & 6th for the last month.

The big player for Stacey in the week was surprisingly not an Oilers player, rather his Waiver Draft pick-up, Reilly Smith of the Boston Bruins, who finished the week with 5 points.  Devan Dubnyk had 4 points in the week, while Andrew Cogliano, Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron each had 3 points.

Stacey saw some big improvements in his overall scoring numbers from every position, his forwards, defense and goalies, which led to the big week.  Stacey's team ranks around the pool average in scoring at every position, which isn't bad, especially since his team leads the pool in skater games played and is 6th in goalie minutes played.  Healthy teams win money.

PhotobucketSpeaking of healthy teams, it hasn't been a great second segment for Allan, which has been outlined a little already, as his team has suffered through some injury problems and his replacements to his injuries haven't been great.

Allan finished the week with three players on the news list and only 10 points on the board.  That was a very poor week, which saw him drop down from 3rd place to 7th, but his team still only sits 2 points out of 4th, which isn't too bad.

Allan only had points from eight players, as Ryan O'Reilly and Corey Perry each finished with 2 points each and that just won't cut it in Week Thirteen.

More to the healthy teams perspective... Allan finished the first segment, which he won, 2nd in skater games played with 276, but now he sits in the pool average at 173 games, 13 games behind the pool leader in the segment, Stacey C..  This isn't a coincidence.


Likely the biggest news on the weekend was the injury situation dropped upon the Boston Bruins' blueline, as both Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, in order of severity, most to least, were out of the line-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Seidenberg has now been deemed out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury, where he will require surgery to repair both his ACL and MCL.  This is a pretty significant blow, with three weeks remaining until the new players from the second Waiver Draft goes active.

Chara, on the other hand, was not in the line-up, for an undisclosed reason, but there is no indication that his absence was serious.  Either a minor injury or a bout of the flu, but neither was confirmed on Saturday night.

Seidenberg leaves a gap on Stacey M.'s blueline, while Chara was missing from Tony's line-up on Saturday night.

No real surprise to see Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival hitting the news page again, as he was a healthy scratch on Saturday night. Rozsival has been a consistent scratch this season for Chicago, one of the top pool players on the list, in terms of scratches, this season.  In 22 appearances this year, Rozsival only has 4 points.

The veteran defenseman is certainly considered to be one of the big disappointments on Ryan V.'s team this season.

The New York Islanders had an unfamiliar sight on Saturday, as John Tavares was a scratch from the game, dealing with a lower-body injury. Tavares was closing in on 250 straight games played for the Islanders, a very respectable ironmman streak, but it all came to an end with the absence on the weekend.  The injury wasn't a major concern, as Tavares did return on Sunday night, when the team played the Minnesota Wild, where he got on the board with a point.

Tavares belongs to Wyllie in the draft this year, who had an okay Week Thirteen, trying to keep pace with the teams around him.  It likely would have been a bit better, if Tavares had played on Saturday though.

A couple of injury notes from the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, as forward Jason Spezza and defenseman Chris Phillips were held out of the line-up against the Boston Bruins with various injuries.  Spezza's injury was undisclosed, but it is suspected to be lower-body, possibly his back.  Phillips, on the other hand, suffered a foot injury in the first game of the home-and-home series with the Bruins and he is considered to be day-to-day with the injury.

Spezza belongs to Stuart's team, which has continued to suffer in Week Thirteen, while Phillips belongs to a team in the money race, Brenda's 14.

What's a good injury/news section without a whole lot of speculation.  Saturday night, the St. Louis Blues were without forward Derek Roy and since there was no official word as to why the veteran forward was out, the speculation in the reports said that he was likely out with the flu.  The speculation wasn't necessarily confirmed on Sunday night, but Roy did return to play against the Dallas Stars, so it may have been pretty close to the truth.

So it was a one-game hiccup for Doug in the pool, who finds his team back in the basement after Week Thirteen.  His team now leads the conversation for Steven Stamkos in the second Waiver Draft.

The Colorado Avalanche, who have been mired in a mid-season slump, suffered a injury concern, as forward PA Parenteau left Sunday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets with an apparent knee injury, something that will be looked at on Monday. Optimism doesn't appear to be the flavour of the day here, as he was unable to put any weight on his leg, as he went off, so a sprain may end up being a best-case scenario here.

One of the teams in the close money race, belonging to Scott G., has Parenteau as a key member of his forward ranks.  Parenteau has 24 points in 38 games, so an injury of any long-term severity could be a real challenge for his team.

More injury concerns for the St. Louis Blues, as David Backes returns to the blog, as he left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury and was unable to play on Sunday against the Stars. The nature of the injury is still undisclosed and I haven't seen any more information about it, so it is unclear how long he'll be out now.

Backes is another strong player on Dale C.'s team this year, having 30 points in 35 games, so the loss of this body could hurt them badly.

Link to the Injury/News Page


It's that time again! Time for some outdoor action.

The 2014 Winter Classic, coming to you live from the Big House in Ann Arbour, Michigan, broadcast by Hockey Night In Canada, here up North.  The Detroit Red Wings will be playing host to the Toronto Maple Leafs in an Original Six match-up.

Going into the match-up, the draft has a combined 22 picks between all 24 teams competing for prizes this year.  As of Sunday morning, 20 of those picks are on active duty, seven Red Wings and 13 Maple Leafs, as Jimmy Howard (questionable for the Winter Classic, knee) and Johan Franzen (out for the Winter Classic, concussion) are on the Injured Reserve.  As we all know by now, the draft teams have taken both Maple Leafs goalies, so it will be interesting to see who gets the start, between Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer.

The leading scorer, going into Week Fourteen, between the two teams is Phil Kessel, who finished the week with 37 points (20 goals & 17 assists) in 41 games played.

Out of the 24 teams in the pool, only 13 teams are expected to have healthy players playing in this game.  Chris has Franzen, who isn't expected to play and if he did, it would make 14 teams.  Still, barely half of the pool has any money interest in this game this year.

Well, hopefully the participation is a little bit better for Saturday.

I guess it would have been too much to ask to have someone other than the Maple Leafs to be in the early game on Saturday, since they already had a prime spot in the Winter Classic in Week Fourteen.  Nevertheless, they play host to the New York Rangers in another battle from the Original Six era, while in the late game, it will be the Vancouver Canucks, on the road in Los Angeles, taking on the Kings in a heated Pacific Division rivalry battle.

The number of picks in the pool doesn't really improve among these four teams, as only 47 players represent these four teams in the pool this weekend.  Out of these 47 players, six players on Sunday morning are on the Injured Reserve and only one are likely to come off before Saturday, Marc Staal of the Rangers.

Leading the pack of these four teams, in terms of pool scoring, is the injured goaltender, Roberto Luongo of the Canucks.  Luongo has 38 points this year, ranked 24th on Sunday morning, but he is eligible to come off the Injured Reserve by the time they reach Los Angeles, but the Canucks will likely be cautious in bringing him back from a suspected groin injury.

21 of 24 teams in the pool have at least one active player playing on Saturday evening, which makes for an entertaining evening for (almost) everyone.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Player Notes in the Draft (Dec 27)

On Monday, the Dallas Stars were without one of their young sensations, as Alex Chiasson had sat out against the Los Angeles Kings with a bout of the flu. Chiasson has been decent for the Stars already this season, scoring 8 goals and 11 assists in his first 35 games this year. I would expect to see Chiasson back in the line-up, Friday night at home to Nashville.

Chiasson belongs to Wilton in this year's draft and he'll start the post-Christmas season in 11th place, 1 point out of the top 10.

The Los Angles Kings were also without a key player in the pool with an illness on Monday night, as their captain, Dustin Brown.  Brown hasn't been too dominant on the scoresheet this year, only scoring 7 goals and 6 assists in 37 games with the Kings, but missing out on a game is still doing just that.  The Kings do not play until Saturday, in Nashville, where I would think it's expected that Brown will return to the line-up.

Brown belongs to the pool's duo, Kristy & Don, who fell right out of the sky after the first Waiver Draft.  They open the post-Christmas schedule in 15th place, 10 points out of the top 10.

It sounds like a foot injury will keep Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise out of the line-up for at least tonight's game in Winnipeg and likely more.  Parise reportedly re-aggravated a previous foot injury, which he suffered at the end of November and the team won't rush him back, risking any more injury.  Parise has 27 points in 37 games for the Wild this year, ranking in the top 100 in pool scoring, so it will be a deep loss without him.

23rd place, Doug, has Parise this year and could really use him in the line-up, if he was going to get out of the basement any time soon.  This week, he's lost ground to 24th place and hasn't gained any ground on the teams ahead of him.  This is not good news.

The St. Louis Blues suffered a big blow to their line-up, just before the Christmas break, as forward Alex Steen suffered an upper-body injury and some are believing that he may have suffered a concussion.  The concussion reports have not been confirmed, rather he has been listed by the team as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, which we have seen already this season, as being a possible concussion.  If that is the case, Steen won't have much more time to wait for the protocol to finish, unless the injury is much worse than initially thought.

Steen has been one of the cornerstone players for Grant, who comes out of the Christmas break in 1st place, 3 points up on 2nd.  Steen leads his team in scoring with 38 points in 35 games.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are now looking at life without forward Pascal Dupuis for an extended period of time, as the veteran will have to undergo surgery to repair the ACL in one of his knees.  This may, in fact, cost him the rest of the regular season, some reports are saying.  Dupuis has registered 7 goals and 13 assists to this point in the season, where he has played in 39 games.  A huge blow to the team's top six, as Dupuis has been a regular fixture with Sidney Crosby.

After climbing into the top 10 in Week Twelve, Benson is now facing the next three weeks without one of his key forwards, as he tries to work closer to the prize positions.  Benson goes into Friday in 10th spot, only 10 points out of 8th.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week Twelve Newsletter

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New Leader

It was a pretty good week for Chris M., who saw his team launch themselves into top spot in the standings, after a 28-point week, passing Grant and taking a 3-point lead into the Christmas-shortened Week Thirteen.  This is the second week that Chris has had at least a share of the lead, being in a tie for the lead after Week Ten.

Overall, the top four, in terms of names, remained the same, as only the top two switched spots for the week.

Scoring Bounced Back

After another down week in Week Eleven (11.2 points per NHL game), the pool saw a nice bounce back week, as it collected 11.6 points per NHL, almost beating Week Eleven's total points (570), just coming up 14 points short.  That's promising, given all the injuries that have occurred in the last few weeks.

PhotobucketIt was a monster week for the Colorado Avalanche's Matt Duchene, who finished the week with 9 points, earning the top honour outright for Week Twelve.  Duchene was keeping Cindy in the running for the Mover & Shaker all week, as he climbed up the scoring ranks.

In four games in Week Twelve, Duchene finished with 2 goals and 7 assists for his 9 points, finishing the week in 30th place in pool scoring with 16 goals and 17 assists in 32 games.  Duchene isn't tops on Cindy's team, but he is up there now, as he is one of three players on her team that have already eclipsed the 30-point mark this year.

Sorry, there's no picture this week... it's another diet week.

PhotobucketIt was a great week for scoring, as I had outlined above and it kept the race alive and well for the Mover & Shaker.  Winning the race, just by a single points, was Mike S., who has taken his second Mover & Shaker award of the season, thanks to 36 points in Week Twelve, moving up to 15th place.

Unfortunately for Mike, his team hasn't been terribly consistent this season, especially since his two Mover & Shaker awards haven't given him a spot in the top half of the pool to this point.

Looking at Mike's team, it was one hell of a team effort, as all but one active player finished with points in the week.  Chris Stewart of the St. Louis Blues led the team, picking up 7 points, followed by Wayne Simmonds with 4 points and then four others had 3 points each.

15th place isn't quite the peak position for Mike's team this year, as he finished Weeks One and Two in 9th place, but those are tough positions to keep.  Unfortunately, he dropped down to 22nd in Week Six, but he jumped four places in the last week to 15th, so maybe things are finally looking up for him.

PhotobucketIt was another tie for the Basement Dweller in Week Twelve, as a couple of teams finished with 13 points, so we'll have to go to the tie-breaker... goals scored!

Our contestants, Dale B. and Wyllie, finished with 13 points... AND 5 goals each.  So, that's no good.  Then we move to wins and thanks to one Kari Lehtonen win in the week, Dale B. gets eliminated from Basement Dweller consideration and our resident for Week Twelve is Wyllie.

Seven of Wyllie's players in Week Twelve finished with no points, three were out with injury and the other four had no excuse.  Wyllie dropped from 16th to 19th in the week, as his team is now disappointing him from such a good start, by Wyllie standards.


The Anaheim Ducks had a couple of scratches on Saturday night, as Teemu Selanne was on the back end of a back-to-back nights, so he sat out like he has all season long. Dustin Penner also joined him in the press box, as a healthy scratch, which doesn't really surprise, as his season has been rather inconsistent as well. Both players are expected back in the line-up on Monday night.

The Calgary Flames were in Pittsburgh for an afternoon matinee game against the Penguins and it appeared to be costly. Leaving the game and not returning were both forward Curtis Glencross and defenseman Kris Russell, each suffering lower-body injuries. The Flames host the Blues on Monday night and it sounds unlikely that either player will go, which hurts the team going forward.

This one has been a bit of a miss over the last week or so, as defenseman Ryan Murphy has been a healthy scratch for the Carolina Hurricanes for most of the week and it was only caught on the weekend that he belongs to Allan in the pool. The rookie defenseman has been hanging in the Hurricanes' line-up for the most part this season, but with the Canes struggling to stay afloat, some more veteran presence may be required .

The word out of Dallas is Stars defenseman Sergei Gonchar is suffering from some concussion-like symptoms and his availability going forward is now questionable, at best.  It sounds like the Stars are going to be following the NHL protocol for the concussion symptoms, so it will be at least a week before Gonchar will be eligible to return, but there is no certainty that he'll need only a week to get better.  Gonchar is now listed as out indefinitely, likely going to be put on the IR to open up a spot this week as well.

The Ottawa Senators are not winning, which means the healthy scratch carousel continues to turn.  On Saturday afternoon, the Senators scratched forward Mika Zibanejad and defenseman Joe Corvo, as Cory Conacher and Patrick Weircioch returned to the line-up against the Coyotes.  It didn't help.  The Sens still dropped the game at home, 4-3, and I would have to think that some new names may hit the list before too long.

Finally, the Vancouver Canucks received another injury scare at the Christmas Break, as goaltender Roberto Luongo left Sunday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets with a lower-body injury, late in the 1st period, not to return.  The Canucks do have a 6-day break for the holidays, which should be ample time to get some healing in and more than enough time for the team to not announce anything official before a game.  Stay tuned to this one!

Link to the Injury/News Page