Monday, January 11, 2016
Week Fourteen Newsletter
After a much-needed day off from the blog on Sunday, we'll catch-up all of the news and notes at the back end of the Newsletter post, but first, we'll go through the weekly recap.
It was a quiet week, in terms of individual efforts in the pool. It took quite a while, scrolling through the teams, alphabetically, to get to a player that had more than 6 points. In the end, down around the T's, we finally had a bite, as it was Tony's number one goalie, Petr Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings, finishing up the week with 8 points. The runner-up, belonged to Troy, Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals.
Mrazek finished the week with a 3-0-0 record with 1 shutout, for his 8 points. He shut out the Devils on Monday, beat the Sharks on Thursday and then the Ducks on Sunday for his perfect week.
His big week has now lifted his overall totals up to 15 wins, 2 shutouts and an assist for 35 points, to date, which ranks him 42nd among all players in pool scoring, 15th among all goalies in the pool thus far.
Mrazek was taken with the 44th overall pick in the draft, midway through the 2nd round, by Tony, so he is definitely getting his draft value out of this number one keeper. Unfortunately, the rest of his picks haven't been nearly quite as good (or as lucky) and his team finished up Week Fourteen in 21st place, 6 points out of the top 20.
After the audit was complete, we had ourselves a 3-way tie for the Mover & Shaker nod for the week, as three teams finished up with 29 points in the week. Jeremy, Kristy & Don and Dale C. all finished up with big weeks, so it had to come down to the tie-breakers... goals, then wins in the week, so we'll hop on it. Dale C. finished up with 6 goals for in the week, while Jeremy and Kristy & Don finished up with 9 goals... so we have to go to wins. Jeremy's team finished up with 4 wins in the week, but that wasn't enough... Kristy & Don capture another Mover & Shaker this season, thanks to their goalies, Semyon Varlamov and Roberto Luongo, who combined for 5 wins.
Varlamov was the leading point-getter for the duo, as he finished the week with 6 points, beating the Kings, Blues and Predators, all at home, this week.
The duo also had a pretty good week from Philadelphia's Sean Couturier, who finished up with 5 points, while Luongo had 4 points during the Panthers current winning streak.
Out of their active roster this week, they had three zeroes and only one of them was being held out of their respective lineup, as a healthy scratch, so Kristy & Don do have a very healthy team, as we head down the stretch.
The 29 points this week did help them move up the standings, despite their complaints of drafting order, their team now sits in 7th place, 19 points out of the money and 40 points out of 1st place. Since we've just crossed over the halfway mark in the calendar, they still have plenty of time to make up that ground, especially with the tear their goalies are on lately.
This is the second nod for the duo this season, their first came back in Week Eleven, when they finished the week in 17th, so they have already moved up another 10 spots in the last three weeks. They're definitely running hot and they have only had 4 points from Jeff Carter since the Waiver Draft, so that controversy has hardly played much of a factor.
It was a slow week for Stacey M., whose team had only 11 points this week, paving the way for the Basement Dweller nod. I don't think her team was the mid-week favourite for the nod, but a serious lack of offense from all but one player on her team made her team ripe for the picking, as a couple other teams near the bottom, were able to overtake her side in the waning hours of the week.
Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes accounted for more than half her team's points, as he finished with a 6-point week, while four other players figured into the scoring, leaving nine active players on her team with naughts.
In a complete contrast of the Mover & Shaker, Stacey's goalies are not hot right now, as Jimmy Howard is playing second fiddle in Detroit and Antti Niemi can't seem to buy a win behind a crummy defense in Dallas.
The lack of quality goaltending could be the leading reason for the drop in the standings, as Stacey's team managed to climb back into the top 10 in Week Twelve, finishing in 8th, but the recent cold streak has sunk her side down to 17th in only a couple of weeks. Her team needs a resurgence of goaltending and in a hurry, in order to restore any hope in this season.
We have ourselves a new leader in the pool, as an Al Montoya win in Edmonton, keeping the Panthers' winning streak alive, boosted Jeremy up past Brenda & Seward for top spot at the end of Week Fourteen. The lead is only 1 point and will be challenged in Week Fifteen.
In 3rd place, John P. continues to hold on, but a quiet week, in terms of money teams, has seen his buffer zone shrink to only 2 points, as Neil's team continues stay in the hunt in 4th place. Let's not forget about Stuart and Troy, who are only 12 points out of 3rd place, all it takes is one good week for them to be right there with the money leaders.
Well, the announcement that John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks winning the Rookie of the Month honours in the NHL changed the entire complexion of the Rookie Pool, as his rookie consideration gave Clayton a boost in points in this pool, since he was originally thought to not qualify for the designation, but according to the league, that just wasn't the case. So, Gibson's points have been added on since the Waiver Draft and now Clayton sits in 2nd place, but still 33 points back of Ryan for the honour.
Ryan's team still managed to pot 6 points in Week Fourteen, so they stay remarkably safe in this pool. With Connor McDavid not expected back until after the All-Star break, Ryan will still have to make good with only three rookies on his team. Could Clayton possibly catch Ryan with a hot goalie like Gibson? Will the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft make a difference?
Both surviving teams each qualified for Week Fifteen early on in the week, making the survivor pool into a bit of a non-story in Week Fourteen, which isn't bad, I guess. Both Jeremy and Allan will continue to scratch and claw their way to the All-Star break, which will be the biggest indicator of their teams.
Jeremy and Allan's keepers have six projected games between them, but Allan's two keepers have the better chance of collecting all six games, since Connor Hellebuyck has seeming taken the number one job in Winnipeg in recent weeks.
Wes' team continued its domination in the PIM pool in Week Fourteen, taking top spot in the week for the most minutes collected, with 34 minutes in the box. His lead is now up to 48 minutes over Dale B., whose team only collected 16 minutes.
Brian's team moved back into 3rd place, overtaking Derek & Dan, as they sit with 296 & 292, respectively. Dale C.'s team still sits in 5th place with 282, but they're being chased down by Stuart, who had another big week, 30 minutes, and now sits 8 minutes back of Dale.
It was a poor week in most collected weekly statistics and it was a fairly busy week, with 47 games in the NHL during the week.
Points per NHL game was down considerably, thanks to less skater games collected and despite the goalie minutes going up a little bit. PIM were also down from a record week, falling to levels we saw in Week Four, something we shouldn't have seen with a few goons being picked in the Waiver Draft, but they didn't account for much this week.
It's another 47-game week for the NHL in Week Fifteen, so we'll hope for some better returns sooner, rather than later.
NEWS AND NOTES
Upon Brad Marchand's return to the Bruins' lineup after his suspension, that meant someone had to come out to make room and surprisingly, it was Brett Connolly, who earned himself a healthy scratch. We're unsure why he was the scratch, but 2 assists in his last five games could be a reason or maybe he has not pleased the coaching staff in recent memory. It's hard to say.
In actual fact, Mike probably would have scratched him ages ago, as those 2 points, in his last five games, are the only points he has had in the 14 games he has played for Mike's team, since being picked up in the Waiver Draft. It has been a poor showing for Connolly, who has been a dud pick, 5 points worse than Mikael Backlund in Calgary, since the Waiver Draft.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been decimated by injury this year and the injury bug continues to take chunks out of their side. This weekend, the Jackets placed Nick Foligno on the Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury, reportedly suffered on Friday night against the Hurricanes, where he took a blindside hit from Brad Malone. There is still no timetable for Foligno's return, which has to be concerning for the Jackets, who were looking to turn their season around.
This also has to be frustrating for Cindy's team, who has been ascending the standings in recent weeks, thanks to a spark from her goaltending tandem. Cindy's team finished the week in 14th, 6 points out of the top 10 and 31 points out of the money.
The acquisition of Ryan Johansen from the Blue Jackets has started a lineup shuffle and on Saturday night, that shuffle saw Colin Wilson head back up to the press box as a healthy scratch, which isn't anything new this year, this being his 8th scratch of the year. Wilson may now be on the trading block, since he has had trouble staying in the lineup, as the Predators try to solidify their lineup and Wilson probably still has some marketability left to his name.
Tony's team would likely welcome a trade that would see a change of scenery for one of his players, if that means that there will be more ice-time and less time in the press box. Tony's team could use the boost, down in 21st place.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are trying extra hard to turn their season around and it could be doing so with Sergei Plotnikov in the press box more and more, as he finds himself as the odd-man out again over the weekend. Plotnikov was a healthy scratch, yet again, for the team and his lack of offensive production will likely concrete his place in front of the popcorn machine upstairs.
I'm thinking htat Plotnikov will be the first player to go, when the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft hits, as John R. still hasn't had much luck with his squad in his first season in the pool. His team is safe from the absolute basement, 20 points up on Grant, but likely won't feature down the stretch. With the new draft order system, he should be able to get a good pick with this result next year, if he chooses to come back.
The St. Louis Blues have had a disastrous week in the injury department and if you were printing out this Newsletter, you'd be using a bunch of ink on these guys. On Friday night, they lost forward Paul Stastny, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and goalie Jake Allen to injury, all leaving the game against the Ducks, all of them not returning to the game. Stastny and Bouwmeester both left with upper-body injuries, while Allen left with a knee injury.
All three players were not able to dress on Saturday night against the Kings, with Stastny and Bouwmeester out day-to-day with their injuries, but Allen was placed on the Injured Reserve on Saturday, retroactive to Friday, with his knee injury and the Blues recalled Jordan Binnington to back-up Brian Elliott for the time being.
There is no exact timetable for any of the three injured players, but the two day-to-day injuries should be back in good time, while Allen's knee injury will keep him out at least a week.
Neil, Allan and Scott are now without some key players in the pool standings, none of which are in the money at the moment, but neither of them are considered to be out of it quite yet. Allan, the lowest of the three, sits in 16th, 34 points out and if he could get Bouwmeester back, he could help him make the climb.
On Sunday, the Winnipeg Jets were again without forward Mark Scheifele, who sat out with an undisclosed injury and is currently listed as out day-to-day for right now. As of Monday morning, there still hasn't been a great deal of updates on his injury, but it has been confirmed that he will be out for Tuesday night's game, with the San Jose Sharks in town.
Scheifele has 12 goals and 23 points in 37 games with the Jets this year, but hasn't quite lived up to his draft expectations, as Brian took him with the 126th overall pick in the 5th round and he currently sits in 158th, just over a round worse than his pick. A quick recovery will definitely be needed to help him live up to that billing.
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