Thursday, March 31, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Mar 31)

There hasn't been a whole lot of shifting and moving at the top of the table, as Jeremy's goalie lost last night, Kristy & Don's goalies both lost on Tuesday night and John P. didn't have much luck on Tuesday night either.  The goalies have been somewhat of a letdown to the money teams this week, but a busy Thursday night could change those fortunes a little.  At least, one would hope.

In a good bit of luck for Jeremy tonight, he'll have Al Montoya in net for the Panthers, as they host New Jersey tonight.  The Devils activated Cory Schneider (Troy) from the IR on Wednesday, but he won't get the start tonight, instead it will be Keith Kinkaid (non-pool) getting one more spin.

Brenda & Seward are expected to have Jonathan Quick in net for the Kings, as they continue to gain momentum for the playoffs.  The Flames are in Los Angeles tonight and expected to play Joni Ortio (Dropped) in their net tonight.

With Quick in net, that means Brian is SOL for his second goalie as well and he goes without tonight.

Kristy & Don are also out of luck tonight, with the announcement of Montoya going for the Panthers, they will be relying on their skaters to keep their push going on Thursday night.

John P. will have both of his goalies going tonight, with Craig Anderson already the confirmed starter for the Senators, on back-to-back nights.  The Sens are in Minnesota, where the red hot Wild are likely to go with the current Player of the Week, Devan Dubnyk (Derek W.).  The other, Chad Johnson of the Sabres, was the confirmed starter early on in the morning, getting the call against the Maple Leafs.  Garret Sparks (Ryan) will be going at the other end, giving the kid another look down the stretch, along with a few more kids, recently called up for a stretch with the big club.  Ryan's team could use the points, if he wants to make noise this year.

Neil is 14 points back of 3rd to start action tonight, so he'll need a huge push from Cam Ward in the Hurricanes net, as the Rangers come for a visit.  It will be a tough slog though, with Henrik Lundqvist (Derek & Dan) in the opposite net tonight.

In an interesting turn of events, Eric has popped up onto the fringe of the money conversation and he'll have a start tonight from Thomas Greiss, as the Islanders host Sergei Bobrovsky (Troy) and the Blue Jackets.  The Islanders are still looking to clinch and they get a lesser team in the Jackets, which could keep Eric's outside shot alive.

Ryan's team has fallen out of the mix, with a poor showing so far this week, but he'll have Pekka Rinne in net for the Predators tonight, as they pay a visit to Marc-Andre Fleury (John R.) and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Preds have been hot, the Penguins have been okay... it could work out in Ryan's favour, finally.

Yeah, after combing through the starts for tonight, it looks like it will be a decent night in the pool.

Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 31)

I didn't think I would do too many of these posts, but I thought I would catch-up with some of the other hopefuls here, since Derek & Dan are now absolutely running away with this pool.

With all the injuries that Wes has on his team, Dale B.'s team could potentially finish 2nd in the PIM pool, not that there are any prizes for 2nd place, but I'm just saying.  It would be remarkable, since his team didn't really declare to be a goon team.  Nevertheless, Dale's team will have both Antoine Roussel of the Stars and Scott Hartnell of the Blue Jackets going tonight, as they could potentially help to close the 35-minute gap between the two teams.  Both players are up around the 110-minute mark this season.

Wes' top PIM-getter going tonight is James Neal of the Predators, who has 63 minutes this year, not quite in the same category as Dale's goons.

John R. declared his goon side in the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft, trying for a top five finish in that pool.  His team has been good in this segment, ranking 3rd since the start of Week Nineteen, with 183 PIM.  John's team still needs 27 minutes to catch Eric's side, but won't get too much help tonight, as his biggest muscle tonight is Jeff Skinner of the Hurricanes, who has 38 PIM.

Eric's defense of 5th spot is going to be strong tonight, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Coyotes and Milan Lucic of the Kings, as they're both well over an hour in PIM this season.

Still, leading in thuggery tonight will be Chris Neil of the Senators, with his 151 PIM, giving Derek & Dan more ammo for their PIM pool win this season.  They are now up by 86 minutes, giving no chance to any team behind them of catching up.

Since the start of Week Nineteen, the duo's team have registered 323 minutes, which is better than both Cindy's and Stacey M's team... all season.  The duo are not done there either.  Stacey C.'s team is only 6 minutes better than their segment, Troy's team is only 7 minutes better, John P.'s is 11 minutes better, Mike's team is 12 minutes... it goes on and on.  Derek & Dan's team is a bunch of douches.

Sabres Also Shut Down Kane

More injury news from Buffalo on Thursday morning, as the Sabres have announced that the upper-body that Evander Kane is currently dealing with, now has a timetable of about 3-to-4 weeks, effectively ending his regular season.

As of last Summer, Kane was a card carrying member of the Injury Prone List on this blog, and his 2016 season has been much of the same as the rest of his career.

Kane's season now finishes at 65 games played, scoring 20 goals and 35 points.  His scoring, as of today, has him outside of the top 200 in the pool rankings, which is a pretty big disappointment, given all the hype of his acquisition last year.

The Sabres are showing signs of good things to come, some real potential, but Kane has to be one of those guys that reveals his talent from his potential, for this team to really move forward.

For Derek & Dan, their Sabres representation is now nil for the last week and a bit in the regular season.  They were counting on Kane's PIM total to pad their stats this season, as his contribution of 91 PIM has been a real blessing to their cause.  Still, they are carrying quite the lead into Thursday night's action, which will be outlined later on this afternoon.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Ankle Surgery Ends Lehner's Season

The ankle problems for Robin Lehner have been pretty well documented this year and the team has now opted to go with the surgery route this week, trying to make sure that their current (and hopefully future) number one goalie will be ready for training camp in September.

Lehner has already undergone the procedure and his recovery should be well within the next six months, giving him plenty of time for rehab and strength training, with the intention that he'll be playing 65+ games next season.

His season finishes with only 21 appearances under his belt, winning 5 games, earning 1 shutout and picking up 1 assist for 13 points this year.  The numbers were not great this year, but it should also be taken into consideration that the Sabres are still in a rebuilding mode and still have some room to grow here.

In the pool this year, Lehner was taken in the draft by Stacey C., way up in the 2nd round, before going down with an injury in the first game of the season.  He was then dropped in the Week Nine Waiver Draft, picked up again by Derek & Dan in Week Eighteen.  Since then, he was good for 8 points and 8 PIM for the goon squad, which made him into a reasonable pick-up for them this year.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Noon Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 30)

It sounds like a simple bout of the flu kept Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook out of Tuesday night's game against the Wild, a game that they could have used him after Duncan Keith was ejected. Seabrook is listed as day-to-day and should be expected back for the team's next game, Friday night in Winnipeg.

Stacey C.'s team is off to a slow start this week, down at 4 points through two nights, but there isn't much left for Stacey to play for in these last couple weeks.  His team is safe from being last, where 25th is about the furthest he could fall in that time.  On the flip side, his team could hit the top 20, if they were to turn it all around.

After taking a puck to the head, Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis was forced from the game against the Stars and his status is still be evaluated by the team.  The smaller-stature defender was on the receiving end of a Patrick Eaves slap shot and that just doesn't sound pleasant, at all.  We'll wait and see what the diagnosis is.

On the verge of back-to-back first-to-worst weeks, our reigning Mover & Shaker is not off to a good start, as Ryan's team only has 3 points, one of three teams to be down there, and his chase for 3rd place has been put in serious jeopardy, as teams above his are running much hotter.  The Ellis injury isn't going to help.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Mar 29)

Jeremy won, Brenda & Seward lost, Brian lost, John P. lost and Kristy & Don won on Monday night, which changed the dynamics of the money situation a little bit, but not absolutely.  It's another busy night on Tuesday, so what was done last night, can be rearranged tonight.

It isn't until 4th place in the standings tonight, where we get an active goalie in the money race, as Jeremy has one backing up, while Brenda & Seward and Brian don't have any active.

Kristy & Don will get the benefit of the Avalanche making a playoff push in the West, that Semyon Varlamov will get the call again against the Blues, but he'll get the red hot Brian Elliott (Grant) at the other end.  Oh yes, the reigning champs will also get their other goalie going as well, as Roberto Luongo gets the call for the Panthers, with Jonathan Bernier (Cindy) and the Maple Leafs in town.  That looks a little more like a slam dunk for 2 points.

John P. now in 5th place, might have back-to-back starts as well, since the Buffalo Sabres may not be comfortable with any other goalie than Chad Johnson, as they go into Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins.  The Penguins are going with the kid, Matt Murray (non-pool) tonight, so keep an eye on his progress for next season.

Neil, down in 6th, 13 points out, he'll get a key start from Cam Ward and the Hurricanes tonight, when they visit Brooklyn, taking on Thomas Greiss (Eric) and the Islanders.  Neil's team will have to overcome injury to get there and Ward is a good start.

Noon Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 29)

One note that was missed out on this morning... the Arizona Coyotes announced that the lower-body injury that defenseman Michael Stone suffered over the weekend has a timetable longer than the rest of the season, according to the coaching staff, so he has been deemed out for the remainder of the regular season.  Not such a tough blow to the Coyotes, since they're out of the playoff race, but a poor way to finish a great year for Stone.

Since being activated from the Waiver Draft, John R. had collected 27 points and 42 PIM in 48 games and was a big reason why he moved out of the basement and closer to the top five in the PIM pool.  Probably one of the best picks in that first Waiver Draft this year.

All signs are pointing to the return of forward Alex Steen to the St. Louis Blues' lineup on Tuesday night, as they welcome the Colorado Avalnche to town for a Central Division clash. Steen has been out since February 20th with an upper-body injury and now with a couple weeks of action left, he gets to shake off some rust before the playoffs.  Steen has 17 goals and 47 points this year in 61 games, so his offensive production will be a huge boost to the club, as they move down the stretch and try for the Central Division title.

Dale C. still has some aspirations of a top 10 finish and the return of Steen has given his projected games a big boost, as his team trails Stuart by 10 points and he has eight more games to be played, in theory.  It will certainly be a close one.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 29)

The Buffalo Sabres went into Detroit trying to play spoiler, failed and lost forward Evander Kane to an upper-body injury at the same time. There was no word on the severity of the injury. Kane wasn't able to register anything on the scoresheet before leaving, so it might as well be a missed game.

Derek & Dan's PIM pool lead continues to sit at 67 minutes after Monday night's action, which is becoming less and less likely that they'll be caught, but I'm sure they would prefer to have all their bodies healthy to protect their lead in these last couple of weeks.

A few notes from the Flames/Coyotes game on Monday night and let's start with Johnny Gaudreau not dressing for the club, as the coaching staff say that he has been dealing with an upper-body issue of late and they had given him the night off, fully expecting him to return on this road trip, when they go through California.  He's day-to-day.

Jonas Hiller was the odd-man out of the goaltending battery last night, as Joni Ortio got the start and the team opted to have Niklas Backstrom as the back-up.  With only six games left, after Monday night, it's hard to say what the split of games will be for the three, exactly, but I doubt this will be the last time we see Hiller's name as a scratch.

And finally, Michael Frolik left the game against the Coyotes, midway through the 3rd period, with a lower-body injury.  There was no immediate word on the severity of his injury either, but there should be something soon, as they are in Anaheim on Wednesday night.

Gaudreau is the big money ticket, as Brian's team is all of a sudden looking in their rear view mirror and seeing Kristy & Don coming up quickly behind them.  It doesn't sound like Brian will be without the diminutive scorer, but one game is more than enough to be without.  Grant probably didn't miss out on a goalie start, as the rotation in Calgary will spin through the rest of the year.  Finally, Scott's team got off to a decent start, in their chase for 3rd place, but losing a player hurts as well.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Monday, March 28, 2016

Goalie Situation (Mar 28)

It's a busy night to start the second-to-last week in the regular season, as we'll have eight games on the schedule tonight and it also appears that the races will heat up to start the week.

Let's start up at the top, where Jeremy has a 7-point lead and he has his number one guy back in net tonight, as Braden Holtby gets the call for the Washington Capitals, as Sergei Bobrovsky (Troy) and the Blue Jackets come calling.  Holtby is looking for an NHL-record in wins this year and he gets a much lesser opponent to start the week.

Brenda & Seward are not without a keeper as well, as Jonathan Quick is expected to start for the Kings against Martin Jones (Scott) and the San Jose Sharks tonight.  The duo could use a win to keep pace tonight, but Scott is 20 points out of the money and could offer a glimmer of hope, if his keeper came away with a goose egg tonight.

If Quick is going for the Kings, that means that Brian will only have one goalie going tonight, as the Edmonton Oilers try their hand against the Anaheim Ducks, where Cam Talbot will get a measuring stick game, possibly against John Gibson (Clayton).  Talbot will get a tough test and that's not what Brian needs to stay ahead.

Chad Johnson of the Sabres is the starter against the Red Wings tonight, which is good news for John P., as his team desperately needs a shot at 2 points to catch 3rd place.  His opponent tonight will be Jimmy Howard (Stacey M.), who hasn't had the best of years in the Motor City this season.

Kristy & Don are still chasing, thanks in large part to their keepers and they'll have one going tonight as well.  Semyon Varlamov will get the call for the Avalanche, as they visit the Nashville Predators and another 3rd place hopeful goalie in Pekka Rinne (Ryan).  Ryan's team is 6 points behind the duo and a decision his way could make things very interesting.

Outside of the money match-ups, we're expecting to see Ondrej Pavelec (Stuart) against Steve Mason (Derek W.) in Philadelphia, Garret Sparks (Ryan) against Ben Bishop (Allan) in Tampa Bay and then Joni Ortio (Dropped) taking on Louis Domingue (Benson) in the desert.

Week Twenty-Five Newsletter

The Player of the Week nod came down to an all-goalie tie-breaker this morning and as you can see, our winner was Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, as he edged out Brian Elliott of the Blues, thanks to one more win in the week, as they both had 8 points.  Dubnyk finished the week with a 3-0-0 record with 1 shutout, while Elliott only played in two games, but they were both shutout wins.  It seems a little backwards, but the tie-breaking policy is what it is.  Wins are certainly more valuable in the overall tie-breaking scheme, so they're more important for the Player of the Week too.

Dubynk and the Wild topped the Kings on Tuesday, the Flames on Thursday and then shutout the Avalanche on Saturday, making 101 saves in those three games alone.  The Wild remain 5 points up on the Avalanche after this weekend's action, currently holding down the last wild card spot in the West, to which Dubnyk has to take quite a bit of credit for, one would have to believe.

In total, Dubnyk has made 61 appearances in the Wild net, picking up 72 points, thanks to 31 wins and 5 shutouts, and that has him ranked 18th overall in pool scoring, a solid 1st round pick, if the draft was to be redone today, according to the current numbers.

Derek W. took Dubnyk with the 17th overall pick in the draft and is getting good value for his pick.  Unfortunately, getting good value out of your 1st round pick is only a small portion of the battle, as the rest of the team let him down, with his side ranking 11th in the pool standings with only two weeks to go.

It was a pretty good race in the Mover & Shaker department, one that was seemingly destined for a tie-breaking procedure of its own, but sure enough, one team came out of the pack to take it, all by its lonesome.  Ryan's team gave itself a little bit more hope of a money finish in Week Twenty-Five, picking up 32 points and staying within 15 points of 3rd place, with only a couple weeks of action remaining.

It was an all around solid effort from Ryan's team in the week, as 12 of his 14 active players on the roster, came away with at least 1 point in the week.  His team was led from the back end, as Pekka Rinne of the Predators finished the week with 6 points, while Connor McDavid of the Oilers had 5 points and three other players finished with 3 points a piece.

With McDavid back in his lineup, his team has been able to claw back some points in the standings and has seen some gains in that department.  With the 32-point week, his team gained 11 points on the current 3rd place team, so a couple more weeks of that and he'll be in business... assuming that his team can keep up the pace.

The real strength of Ryan's team this season has been at forward, where his team ranks 2nd in the pool in points per game from the forwards, scoring at a 0.72 ppg clip this year.  The unfortunate part of that is that his team ranks 25th in games played from his forwards, 77 games worse than 1st place in the category.

Ryan's team is only dealing with one injury at the moment, what appears to be a minor problem in Tampa Bay, so his team could be completely healthy before the end of this week.  In games remaining, his team ranks 6th in projected games to be played, six games better than Brian, who sits in 3rd place.

This is going to be a good stretch run.

From first to worst, the story of Mike's team this week.  Last week, Mike's team was on top of the pool, taking the Mover & Shaker by storm, but the hangover was way too much for his side, as they took the next week off, picking up only 7 points in total.  On the plus side, his team didn't drop any positions, remaining at 20th, where he finished off his Mover & Shaker week.

Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and J.T. Miller fo the Rangers each picked up 2 points to lead the way for Mike's team, while Joe Colborne of the Flames, Teddy Purcell of the Panthers and Mark Streit of the Flyers all had 1 point.

The injuries on Mike's team has been plentiful of late and only seemed to get worse in the week, which has led to this mention in the week.  Actually, injuries have been parallel to his season, as his team ranks 20th in games played from his skaters and 25th among goalies, so some bad luck all around has really kept his team from excelling this season.

Jeremy opened up his lead by a single point in the week, as his team leads Brenda & Seward's team by 7 points, heading into the last couple weeks and his team has a 15-game advantage in the projected game totals, which could be a huge difference down the stretch.  The duo are down three players for the remainder of the regular season, while Jeremy's team is down one for the rest of the year, for sure and another player is set to miss another couple games, at least.  It's far from over here, by the look of things.

The race for 3rd place gets hotter and hotter as the days go by as well.  Brian is now hanging on, holding a 6-point lead over John P. and now only a 9-point lead over Kristy & Don.  Both John and the pool's first duo have more projected games than Brian, so it will be some nervous times for our representation from down under.

Neil, who is 10 points back of 3rd place, ranks at the bottom of projected games to be played through the last couple of weeks, since his team is down three players for the rest of the year and the schedule isn't helping the rest.  He'll need a miracle out of his healthy players to force a closer race.

And then there is our Mover & Shaker, 15 points back, as Ryan won't give up hope, since his forwards are running hot again.

The schedule and injuries likely are not going to help our two combatants in the PIM pool race, as Derek & Dan now have a clear 67-minute advantage this morning over Wes, and the duo's projected games to be played is one game better going forward.  The duo is running with a handful of injuries, while Wes is having all kinds of problems as well.  Both teams will limp to the finish, but the last few weeks for Derek & Dan have been so great, they'll limp across the line, well ahead of their nearest competitor.


Injuries continue to mount in the hockey pool and we're slowly losing participation from our skaters, week over week.  At the end of Week Eighteen, the pool was averaging 20 skater games per NHL game in the week and since, there has been a steady decline, that we're now down to 18 skater games per NHL game.  This has led to a fluctuation in scoring, mostly in a downward trend, unsurprisingly.

On the plus side, the penalty numbers went back up again, moving past 11 minutes in penalties a game in the week, as things were getting a little testy in a number of contests.  It's really too bad that the pool couldn't quite capitalize on all those ruffians out there, but I digress.

It's nearly the end of the year, what else can we expect?


A lower-body injury sidelined Chicago forward Artem Anisimov on Sunday night, missing the win against the Canucks, helping them clinch their playoff spot. Anisimov has been one hell of a pick-up for the Hawks this year, acquiring him from Columbus in a cost-cutting deal, which gave the team some more depth down the middle. In 74 games, the 27-year old Russian has 19 goals and 38 points, ranking him 177th in pool scoring.

For John P., this wasn't a welcomed time for an injury, as his team continues to trail for 3rd place in the standings.  If his side is going to get back into the money, he'll need them all to be healthy, including Anisimov.

On Monday morning, the Ottawa Senators announced that they have shut down defenseman Dion Phaneuf for the remainder of the regular season, disclosing that he is dealing with an oblique injury and a sore foot.  They were also announcing that forward Clarke MacArthur will also be shut down, due to a concussion.  With only two weeks to go in the season and being 8 points out of a playoff spot, it looks like the team has resigned themselves to a longer Summer.

This makes the 3rd place race a little more interesting, as Phaneuf belongs to our 3rd place team, Brian's team,  Phaneuf has been good for 32 points this season, so that is a reasonable loss in these last couple of weeks.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 27)

The Arizona Coyotes managed to spoil the Philadelphia Flyers' plan to easily move through the desert, beating them 2-1, but both of their goal scorers ended up leaving with an injury. Shane Doan left with an upper-body injury after taking a huge hit and Michael Stone got tangled up and suffered a lower-body injury. Neither returned to the game and after the game, the coaching staff suggested that Doan's absence was precautionary, while Stone could be out for a little while. More details to come, I'm sure.

Doan has been an active participant in the PIM pool for Derek & Dan this season, picking up 79 PIM this year, but their lead is enormous at the moment, so they shouldn't have too many worries with two weeks left. Stone was a Waiver Draft pickup for John R. this year and he has been good, picking up 27 points in 48 games and has been John's best player this week. Will be a shame, if he's out long-term.

An injury situation to watch with the Bruins next week, as forward Ryan Spooner left the game with an undisclosed injury and there wasn't much for updates after the game. The Bruins don't play again until Tuesday and unless there are more significant updates, he'll be on the list as out day-to-day.

For John S. this year, Spooner has been pretty decent, picking up 47 points in 75 games this year, it's just a shame for John's team, that you couldn't really say that about a lot of his other players. John's team finished the night in 18th, with the potential for a little bit more movement, before the end of the year.

Erik Gustafsson almost made it to the end of the week without being a healthy scratch, but here he is again, wasn't in the lineup for the game against the Flames on Saturday night, but if all goes to plan, he'll likely dress for the team tonight, when they visit Vancouver. The rotation continues, he'll be in and out for the rest of the year.

Since he also belongs to John S., let's have a quick look at where he stands this week... his 14 points this week are well-below average, which I suppose is why his team is stuck where it is, in the bottom half of the standings. That injury bug really feasted on his team this year.

Penguins forward Chris Kunitz left Saturday afternoon's game against the Red Wings with an upper-body injury, after taking a lateral hit from Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk. Kunitz had to be helped off the ice and there are fears of a head injury, but he was to be re-evaluated before this afternoon's game in New York against the Rangers. An update will likely be provided at game time.

It's another hit for John R.'s team, which was trying really hard to keep moving up the standings, but it's little things like these injuries that kept his side down. His team is 22 points up on last place, so there is a level of personal pride accomplished, but his team is only 11 points up on 26th, which is still a possibility.

An unfortunate accident, colliding with a teammate on the ice, has cost rookie forward Joonas Donskoi at least Saturday afternoon's game against the Dallas Stars, but that may all it will be.  The Sharks are not going to disclose what kind of injury that the freshman has, but there is likely a little bit of silver lining here, as the youngster will also get a little bit of much-needed rest before the playoffs start in a couple weeks.

Donskoi has a huge plus for Mike's Mover & Shaker nod last week, but he has dried up again this week, which is dropping Mike's team into the Basement Dweller consideration, heading into the last three games of the week on Sunday.  Mike's team has a trio of games today, but needs to make up 3 points to catch Troy to move out of the basement.

After posting three straight shutouts, the St. Louis Blues opted to give a "holiday" to goaltender Brian Elliott on Saturday, making him into a healthy scratch and dressing the team's third goalie, Anders Nilsson, while Jake Allen got the start (and the shutout) against the Capitals.  The Blues are working their way into another goalie conundrum, something that cost the team dearly last season, around the playoffs, and it looks like it could rear its ugly head again.

So, Grant's goalie got the night off, Cindy's goalie was the back-up and Scott's goalie ended up with 4 points last night.  Scott desperately needed those points, since he is still kind of in the money talk, but falling further behind this week, with only 14 points.  Oh, and Grant's team... yeah, it's still in 25th.

Finally, a lower-body issue was to blame for Nikita Kucherov's absence in the Lightning lineup on Saturday evening.  The Bolts had to make a couple of recalls, making sure that Kucherov's and Anton Stralman's spots were adequately taken care of, as they continue to fight for a playoff berth down the stretch.  Tampa suffered a 5-2 loss without two key pieces of their puzzle, but it sounds like Kucherov is only day-to-day, so they're hoping for a quick return.

Ryan really could have used Kucherov on Saturday, it would help his team in the tie-breaking ability with Kristy & Don for the Mover & Shaker this week.  His team is only 15 points out of the money after this good week, but he'll need the sneaky little Russian back and scoring, if he wants to make up that gap in two weeks.

Click here for the updated injury/news page on the website

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Mar 26)

Holy moly, we're in for a major day today. 14 games on the schedule on Saturday and action kicks off right away, 11am MT, this morning.  So, we'll go looking at the money races for today and try and sneak in some other info as well.

With 14 games on that schedule, it would seem strange that the team in 1st place won't have a goalie going tonight, but that appears to be the case.  Both Washington and Florida are opting to go without one of his keepers.

Brenda & Seward are down to one goalie through injury, but that goalie should be playing tonight, as the Edmonton Oilers are into Los Angeles to take on Jonathan Quick and the Kings.  They sit 14 points back of Jeremy's team, so a big night from Quick could aid that situation in a hurry.  Already confirmed at the other end is Cam Talbot, goalie for the 3rd place team belonging to Brian, who is 20 points back of the duo, but has more pressing matters from the teams chasing his.  Talbot is the only goalie he'll have going tonight, since his second goalie is Quick's back-up.

Our defending champs have moved into 4th place this week, as Kristy & Don's team remains red hot and they'll have both their goalies tonight, as they are trying to hunt down Brian's team for another money finish this year.  In one of the afternoon games, they'll have Semyon Varlamov in net for the Avalanche, taking on Devan Dubnyk (Derek W.) and the Wild, and then later on, Roberto Luongo will get the call for the Panthers, as they visit Tampa Bay and Andrei Vasilevskiy (Mike).

John P., who has surrendered the 4th place spot, will also have both of his goalies going today, with Chad Johnson getting the early call in the first game of the day, as the Sabres will host the Jets in a battle of the NHL basement.  In net for Winnipeg should be Michael Hutchinson (Mike).  For his second start of the day, John will also get Craig Anderson of the Sens later on in the evening, as they are playing host to Frederik Andersen (Benson) and the Ducks.  It's a battle of the handy Andy's, but not a battle of the pool money teams.

Neil's team is still 15 points back of the money, which in two weeks, is still a possibility to make up, but not if he's without a goalie today, like his team is.

21 points is an even bigger hill to climb, but Ryan is having a hot week, making up points already on 3rd place and sticking in 7th place in the standings.  He will have Pekka Rinne going tonight for the Predators, with the Blue Jackets in town.  The Jackets will be giving another start to rookie keeper Joonas Korpisalo (non-pool) tonight, probably don't think much of their chances against a hot Preds team.

Throwing up one last prayer, 23 points back, Scott's team is going to toss a couple of goalies at the 3rd place race, hoping for a pair of shutouts and at least get within spitting distance of the money with two working weeks left.  In one of the afternoon games, Martin Jones will be the starter Sharks, as they host the Stars, who will likely go with Kari Lehtonen (Dale C.) in their net.  Later on tonight, Jake Allen will get his first start in a while for the Blues, as they play back-to-back nights in Washington, where it is expected that Philipp Grubauer (non-pool) will get the call for the Caps, who are also playing on back-to-back nights.

Well, that's the money race in a nutshell.

Kristy & Don hold the lead in the Mover & Shaker and we've noted them, Ryan's team is making the chase this week and his team is mentioned, while Derek W. is tied with Ryan at 20 points and we've mentioned one of his two goalies.  Derek's other goalie, Steve Mason, will get the call for the streaking Flyers, as they invade the desert, where Mike Smith (Dale B.) and the Coyotes are waiting for them.

The Mover & Shaker is turning out to be a good race this week and the goalies will certainly try to do their part in it today.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 26)

It seemed a tad out of the blue to see a report about Olli Maatta now out of the Penguins' lineup again for an extended period of time. Maatta was hurt again this year, now likely going to be enshrined in the Injury Prone List this Summer, this time he's week-to-week with a lower-body injury. There are no real details about this injury, but with only two weeks to go and this timetable, it sounds like his regular season is over.

This would normally get its own post, but now that we're trailing off at the end of the year, those posts will be set aside for big money race stories. Clayton is not in the money race, so his team doesn't get those kind of posts. Heading into Saturday's action, Clayton's team is among the leaders for the Basement Dweller, with only 5 points in the week, but Maatta hasn't really been contributing since the Waiver Draft, picking up only 5 points in 22 games.

Once revered as an NHL ironman, Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has found his way to the blog page a couple more times in trying circumstances.  This time, Bouwmeester missed out on Friday night's game against the Canucks with an upper-body injury and is also believed to be missing one more game, tonight's game in Washington against the Capitals.  Bouwmeester is listed as out day-to-day for the time being and we'll see if any more comes of it on Monday.

Allan's team has been having a good week, despite some injury problems, picking up 16 points and moved into 13th place into the standings.  There isn't a whole lot his team has left to do these days, especially since it already won the goalie survivor pool.

It was an ugly fall in a net front battle, which caused Anton Stralman's season to conclude prematurely, as the veteran defender has suffered a broken leg and will be out indefinitely for the Lightning.  A non-displaced fracture of his fibula is the official word from the team, who are hopeful that they can still make a long playoff run this Spring and that Stralman can come back and help them in the late stages of the playoffs.  No guarantees though.

For Derek & Dan, their biggest concern right now is holding off Wes' injury-riddled team from the PIM pool title and they have a safe, 58-minute lead.  Stralman wasn't the most penalized guy, only picking up 20 PIM for their side, so this isn't a huge blow to their defense.

It sounds like that nasty flu bug got the best of T.J. Oshie before the Caps' game against the Devils on Friday night, keeping the scoring forward out of that one.  The Capitals have already clinched top spot in the Eastern Conference and are well on their way for the President's Trophy, so this isn't really huge news for their side, as he gets an extra day or two worth of rest.  I don't think there will be any need to rush him back, since they are also playing St. Louis tonight at home.  Oshie is considered day-to-day for right now.

Oshie was a decent pick-up for Allan this year, 44 points in 72 games this season, but maybe not quite the offensive dynamo one would have thought, getting moved to a high-powered offense that includes Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.  Allan took Oshie in the 5th round and has been getting 5th round production out of him, so it is an even money pick.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Goalie Announcements (Mar 25)

I don't know how good this Friday is for actual action, since we only have three games going on tonight.  The goalies are quite limited in this case, but at least we do have one money goalie going today.

Braden Holtby (Jeremy) should be getting the start for the Washington Capitals tonight, as they head to the swamp to take on the Devils, who shutout the Penguins last night, thanks to a great effort from rookie keeper Scott Wedgewood (non-pool).  It sounds like Wedgewood might get the start again, since the Devils are still clawing away at a wild card spot in the East.

The Islanders are in Tampa tonight and the goalie match-up is scheduled to be Thomas Greiss (Eric) against Ben Bishop (Allan), in a battle of East playoff-bound teams, in theory.  The Lightning aren't quite safely in the picture, but they're better off than the Islanders, who could really use a big win tonight.

In the late game, 6pm MT, the Canucks finish back-to-back nights through the Central Division, with a visit in St. Louis to take on the Blues.  It is expected that we'll see Jacob Markstrom (Wes) against Brian Elliott (Grant), in a battle of pool goalies, near the bottom of the overall standings.  Elliott, upon his return from injury, has been stellar for Grant and has lifted him 18 points ahead of Wes for 27th place.

Well, that's about that, I guess.  Not much to really talk about with only three games.  Thankfully, tomorrow is a big day and we'll have lots of action to talk about then.

Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 25)

Well, this is beginning to look a lot less like a race now, as Wes' team has fallen to the wayside, thanks to an unlucky amount of injuries and absences from his lineup, while Derek & Dan's decision to not drop some of their key scoring players for absolute goons has worked in their favour, both in the overall scoring picture, 17th place, and in the PIM pool, a 58-minute lead, heading into Friday.

Much like the rookie pool, that Ryan is getting away with and the goalie survivor pool, that Allan claimed ages ago, this one is now getting out of hand and may only be updated sporadically, until the end of the year.

With three games on Good Friday, is there much left in the tank to talk about here?

I suppose there is always John R.'s trial to ascent the PIM pool standings for a top five finish.  That's something.  Tom Wilson of the Capitals will be playing against the Devils tonight and if it wasn't for an upper-body injury, he would be facing off against Jordin Tootoo, who was a pick-up for Wes this year.  John's team only needs 29 minutes to make it to 5th place, something Wilson should be able to handle, I'd think.

Derek & Dan own the weekly race again, thanks to a huge night from Zack Kassian of the Oilers, then it is John R. next up in the weekly race, followed by a surprise team this week, in Grant.  Grant's team sits at 16 minutes, through Thursday, but would need to double that total and add a minor penalty to catch the duo at the top this week.

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 25)

The Anaheim Ducks were without a pair of players on Thursday night, as they took on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, including pool forward Ryan Kesler, who was dealing with some personal matters.  The details are nil, except what we've already written down here, so everyone is in the dark about what's going on here.  He's day-to-day for right now, but given the nature of the hush-hush, I would think his availability for Saturday in Ottawa is questionable, as well.

It goes from bad to worse for Wes, whose team crumbled around him terribly, near the end of the second segment and full-on into the third segment of the season.  His team sits in 27th, 7 points back of 26th, and his dream of the PIM pool win faded away quickly in the last couple of weeks, as he now trails 1st place by 58 minutes.

The Boston Bruins reportedly lost the services of defenseman John-Michael Liles on Thursday night, but that's all that the team is really going to say at the moment.  Liles will stay back in Boston for evaluation and treatment, while the rest of the team will head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.  Liles will be listed as out day-to-day for right now, but I would have to think that the Bruins will be cautious with any injury, leading up to the playoffs.

Stuart's team has a 13-point buffer, separating his side and 11th place, so staying in the top 10 would be ideal and certainly possible, if everything goes well.  This injury won't help though, but Liles hasn't exactly been pumping in the points since being activated from the Waiver Draft, only 5 points in 22 games.

The Dallas Stars have their playoff spot clinched and in tow now, so with the number of injuries they have been dealing with in the last few weeks, there's really no shame in taking some precautionary measures with those players who are not 100%.  Take for instance, Kris Russell, who is dealing with a lower-body issue, has missed time with it already, so the Stars decided that he could use a little extra rest and gave him the night off against the Coyotes.  He's day-to-day and will play when he feels like it.

For Troy, it might be more a matter of pride that his team doesn't earn any more Basement Dweller nods this year, but his team is in the running for another in Week Twenty-Five, only 1 point up on the worst week, so far.  Still, there are three nights left and Russell might play in San Jose tomorrow.

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