Three out of the opening four weeks of the season have seen goalies take the title of Player of the Week in the hockey pool, this week it was Marc-Andre Fleury, who had a big week for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fleury went 3-0-0 with a couple of shutouts in Week Four, giving him a pool-best 10 points, the second 10-point week of the year. With the 10 points, Fleury jumped up to the top of the pool scoring race, finishing the week with 21 points, now 3 points up on three players, who finished the week with 18 points.
Fleury beat New Jersey on Tuesday, shutout Los Angeles on Thursday and then shutout Buffalo on Saturday, adding to a win to finish Week Three, giving the 29-year old keeper a 4-game winning streak through the week.
This is Fleury's third Player of the Week nod since the beginning of the 2011 season, earning the nod in Week Eight of the 2011 season and Week Nine of the 2013 season. In the 2013 season, he belonged to the same pool team that he belongs to this season and that's Clayton's team. In that 2013 season, Clayton finished 6th in the standings with Fleury in tow.
Well, if the curse of the Week One Mover & Shaker is going to be broken, it would seem that Kristy & Don have found a way to make that into a reality... taking three of the first four mentions in the season. Yes, the duo is back in the Newsletter again after picking up another 36 points in Week Four and opening up their biggest lead of the early part of the season: 18 points.
No other team finished the week in the 30-point bracket, which is somewhat troubling, as the pool's duo starts to pull away a little bit.
The duo received good weeks from Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals (5 points), Pekka Rinne of the Predators (4) and Brad Marchand of the Bruins (4), while four other players had 3 points each. They only had one donut on their active roster, as Tomas Plekanec failed to tally a point for the Habs.
Statistically, they are running away in most categories, as they lead the pool in both goals scored and wins, the two main tie-breakers in the pool, while staying healthy in the skater department and getting more than regular starts out of their goaltending. Their team ranks in the top three in both defense and goalie points, while they are just on the outside of the top three in forward points. Unless something drastic happens, they might be tough to catch.
The first time we saw Stacey C. in the Basement Dweller position, he was working his way to the lead for the Olli. In his second appearance this year, he now has a 5-point lead in the position and it is shaping up to be a rough season for Stacey.
Stacey's team is now clear of injuries, with Viktor Fasth returning to the back-up role in Edmonton, but he has a couple of regular healthy scratches in his line-up and then some pretty cold healthy bodies on his side. His best players in Week Four were Marian Hossa, Gabriel Landeskog and Brandon Sutter, all picking up 2 points each. His top player in the year to this point is Daniel Sedin of the Canucks, who has 11 points and he has no one else in double-digits yet and two players with 0 points.
On the plus side, since we may be stretching for one, is that his team doesn't rank last in any position scoring or last in any scoring rates at a position, as he's remaining healthy, but nothing is really standing out for him at the moment.
Well, I thought I would change up the format a little bit, since I was going to talk about the overall lead and the lead for the Olli in the news bytes above.
Yes, Kristy & Don are running the table at the moment, as they now have an 18-point lead on Grant S. and 26 points up on Wes in 3rd place. All three teams are now into triple-digits in points and we should see more than half the pool eclipse the mark in Week Five. 3rd place money isn't necessarily safe, as Wes is being tracked down by six other teams, all within 10 points of the position, which is pretty exciting still.
The top three has been the same for the last three weeks, while the race for the Olli has seen four different leaders in the first four weeks of the season. As we load up the Week Five numbers, our current leader, Stacey C., shares the lead for projected games in the week with 48, so we may have a shot at five different leaders.
In the race for the Jordan, Scott was below average again with only 31 games played by his skaters in the week, as he has only seen 115 total games played by his outward group. That's two games worse than Benson & Grant K., both of those teams saw better weeks. Leo had the pool worst, 29 games in Week Four, but still ranks above average overall in the category.
In the goals scored category, Week Four had a similar finish to Week One, as both Grant K. and Kristy & Don finished at the top of the heap, this week finishing with 12 goals scored for each team. The pool duo does lead the pool with 38 goals scored in total, followed by Grant K. with 37, while Dale C. and Tony each have 34 goals. At the bottom of the ranks, Benson sits down there with only 18 goals to his name, but his team wasn't the worst in Week Four... that honour was bestowed upon Cam and Scott, each team having 2 markers.
Having good goalies was definitely a priority for a number of teams and five teams are already into double-digits in wins after Week Four. Kristy & Don lead with 14, Grant S. has 13, Clayton and Stacey M. have 11 and Dale B. is up to 10. Clayton led Week Four with 5 wins, while four teams failed to pick up a win at all in the week. Brian, who picked up his first win of the year in Week Four, is down near the bottom of the pool, but that could be more about being a pool newcomer than anything.
Injuries were definitely mounting in the hockey pool in Week Four, because even though we saw an increase of play in the NHL schedule, the per game averages all went down. Scoring was down to nearly an even 11 points collected per NHL game, while the skater games and goalie minutes collected went down as well. There definitely may be a craving for the Waiver Draft much sooner than previous years... but it won't happen. Tough luck.
NEWS AND NOTES
Some crazy happenings in the Anaheim crease, as Sunday led up to their game against the Avalanche. Early in the day, the Ducks announced that Frederik Andersen would miss the game, due to leg tightness, which led the team to recall Jason LaBarbera from the AHL. In warm-ups for the game, projected starter John Gibson was hurt, forcing him to miss the game as well. With both goalies on the shelf, LaBarbera got the start and was backed up by goalie coach, Dwayne Roloson. Both pool goalies are considered day-to-day at the moment, we'll see how this evolves as a story.
This should count as a missed start for both Kristy & Don and Ryan, as their goalies were projected for starts, until their injury. Keep an eye on the blog, just in case their situation changes.
The NHL came down on Edmonon Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference, giving him a 3-game suspension for his high hit on Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian on Saturday night. Ference is a repeat offender, according to a number of reports, but he hasn't been a hockey pool player much, so you wouldn't see any of his suspension on the blog. The Oilers play four games in Week Five and Ference will miss three of them.
Allan's team has kept up with the leaders in Week Four, but will likely have one of his defenders held off the ice for a small period of time. Ference hasn't been a big part of Allan's success as of yet, having only 1 assist in 11 games.
A freak accident in the Canucks & Predators game last night, as defenseman Kevin Bieksa suffered an injury around his right eye, when the puck came up and hit him in the face during a scrum along the boards in the 1st period. Bieksa left the game and didn't and the Canucks have yet to offer up an update on the rugged blueliner, but with the team leaving for a road trip on Monday, it will be interesting to see if he is with the club or not.
There is a little bit of concern here for Dale B.'s team, which has had only some average numbers from his defense this season. Dale could use a bit of a boost from his blueline, since he sits in 7th place, 6 points out of the money.
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