We're in the presence of a rare occurrence here, as not only do we have a defenseman as our Player of the Week, it is also a Calgary Flames player that isn't named Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff.
Mark Giordano of the Flames has become only the third defenseman in the last five seasons to jump into the Newsletter as the headlining player, joining the ranks of Tomas Kaberle (2010, Week Five) and Erik Karlsson (2012, Week Twenty-One). Kiprusoff was the last Flames player to earn the award, back in 2012, Week Ten.
In three games during Week Five, Giordano scored 2 goals and 5 assists to take spot in scoring for the pool, topping quite a few players that finished with 6 points each. Giordano had a goal and an assist against the Capitals on Tuesday, 2 assists against the Lightning on Thursday and a goal and 2 assists against the Panthers on Saturday afternoon, in the midst of a 6-game point streak.
The 31-year old blueliner leads the Flames in scoring at the moment, not to mention leading the entire league in scoring from the back end. In 16 games this season, Giordano has 5 goals and 13 assists, putting him 3 points clear of Brent Burns of the Sharks for top spot.
In the pool, Giordano is keeping Mike's blueline afloat, where Gio accounts for 18 of Mike's 28 points from his defensemen. The 28 points is above average, thankfully, but the rest of Mike's team is hovering around the middle, as they finished the week in 15th spot, 20 points out of the money.
The race at the top got a little more interesting, as Grant S. has pulled in the leaders a bit after a 37-point week in his favour.
Grant moved into 2nd place back in Week Two and has since stayed there, as he saw some pretty good gaps put in between his team and 1st place, but this week had really taken a bite out of it.
Grant's team led the pool in goals scored in the week (12), goalie wins (4), skater games played (41) and goalie minutes played (345), so it should come as no surprise that his team led in points as well. His team was led by Detroit's Johan Franzen and St. Louis' Jori Lehtera, who each had 5 points, while his goaltending duo of Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick each had 4 points. Only one player on his roster finished with 0 points, so it was a pretty good week all around.
By position, Grant's team leads the pool for goalie points, ranks 3rd in forward points, but is below-average in defense points, down in the bottom half of the pool. As he stands 2nd in the standings, I'm sure that the defense points won't make too much of a difference down the stretch... unless, he finishes 5 points from the top of the standings.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, this is Grant's fourth nod as Mover & Shaker. Last season, Grant snagged two M&S nods, Week Two and Week Seven, but injury troubles dropped him down to 12th by the end of the year.
This isn't the first trip to the basement of the standings for Benson, but this is his first Basement Dweller nod of the year and it was a spectacularly poor 7 points in Week Five, which gets him the mention.
Drew Stafford of the Sabres had 2 points to lead his team, while five other players notched a single point. His goaltending tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Semyon Varlamov have been exceptionally disappointing, with only 14 points between them, 0 points in Week Five.
Benson now sits at 81 points in the standings, 45 points out of the money and is in desperate need of a Waiver Draft. Unfortunately, we're still a month away from that happening.
Well, thanks to our Mover & Shaker, the lead for the first segment trophy is now down to 6 points, as Grant has whittled down Kristy & Don's lead, while opening up a bit of a gap behind him as well. Dale C. now sits 19 points behind Grant, but we've seen these leads shrink and grow on a regular basis.
As our Basement Dweller nod pointed out, Benson is killing the race for the bottom now, as his lead over Brenda & Seward is now 8 points and Stacey C. moved 12 points clear after a huge Week Five. Benson has the team to get out of this dubious distinction, but they just don't want to play their way out.
Finally, the Jordan bobblehead currently has Benson in the lead for it as well. Benson's team only collected 27 skater games in the week, as Pavel Datsyuk and T.J. Oshie are injured and Teemu Pulkkinen started the year in the minors for the Red Wings. Scott is four skater games ahead of Benson in this race and Grant K. is five games ahead.
Despite some more shrinking numbers in games played and minutes played across the board in the pool, the scoring numbers were up slightly, which is good news. We saw a season-best of 545 points in Week Five, taken from one less NHL game than last week, which worked out to be about a third of a point more scored in each NHL game.
Week Six will see another week of 48 games on the NHL schedule, so here's hoping the numbers continue to go up. We had a good number of players return from injury in Week Five, so maybe there will be enough there that more games will be collected and more points will come naturally.
NEWS AND NOTES
It looks like a John-Michael Liles injury doesn't get the kind of press that other players may feature in the league, as news of an injury to the veteran defenseman went unnoticed until Monday afternoon. Liles left Saturday night's game against the Capitals with the injury, but word on Monday is that there is a chance that he could play Monday night against the Flames. There has been no confirmation of the return, so if he doesn't play, he will be listed as out day-to-day.
Between being a healthy scratch and this new injury, Stacey C. has not seen much good from Liles in the early part of the season. I would imagine that his name will come up in the Waiver Draft in a month's time.
The groin injury that has been given Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin had reared its ugly head again at the end of Week Five and on the weekend, the team placed him on the Injured Reserve again. This time around, I would expect the team to be much more cautious, not letting him back on the ice before he's closer to 100%. It's hard to say where the push came from for his premature return, but it happened and now the team will have to deal with those consequences.
Definitely some bad news for Scott, who was likely expecting some big things from the scoring Russian, but the sophomore jinx may have something to do with the bad luck here. Go on, tell me it isn't.
One of the big offensive surprises of the early part of the season, Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, wasn't able to dress on Saturday night against the Coyotes, reportedly due to a knee injury. Boychuk is listed as out day-to-day and will be re-evaluated before the team plays on Tuesday, as there is a good chance that he could be ready to suit up then.
This may only be a one game loss for Wyllie, who benefited from Boychuk's early success, but his team tailed off, as soon as the recently acquired Islander did as well.
The Ottawa Senators were without Alex Chiasson on both Saturday and Sunday, as his foot problem continues to act up. Chiasson has missed a few games over the last week, but the updates have been few and vague, so all we can go on is that the team says he's day-to-day.
The youngster has been decent for Wilton in the pool so far this year, but this injury puts a pretty good damper on his climb up the standings.
A lower-body injury forced Canucks forward Radim Vrbata out of the line-up for the team's game in Anaheim on Sunday night. Vrbata only played 10 minutes against the Kings on Saturday night and it sounds like there was no chance that he was going to dress for back-to-back nights in that case. Vrbata has been a good addition in Vancouver, so hopefully he won't be out of the line-up long.
Vrbata has been one of the bright spots on Benson's dreary roster and an injury here will keep our Basement Dweller in the mushroom business.
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