Monday, January 16, 2017
Week Fourteen Newsletter
Time just isn't the commodity that it once was at the office, so it could very well be that the Newsletter will be the only consistent post on the blog for the foreseeable future. I would love to spend time with the blog and keeping on with keeping on, but things have changed, albeit for the better, at the office. I might be able to chime in from time to time, but don't expect a lot of updates going forward.
There were no debates in the Player of the Week race in Week Fourteen, as Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals ran away with the nod, cruising to his second mention of the sort this season. The Capitals' top centre led all players in the hockey pool with 10 points in the week.
Backstrom has been running hot of late, currently on a 6-game points streak, including the four games he played last week. It was a goal and an assist against Montreal on Monday, a goal and 3 assists against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, another goal and an assist on Friday against Chicago and then a pair of assists against Philly on Sunday.
The 10 points in the week has lifted Backstrom up to 42 points in 43 games this season, which is now good enough for 18th overall in pool scoring. That's a bargain pick this season, since he was taken early in the 2nd round, 29th overall. It's not a huge bargain, but an upgrade in draft rounds, for sure.
And when a team has a player that high in the Player of the Week scoring, there's a fine chance that they are going to be the Mover & Shaker of the week as well and that is what Ryan cashed in on in Week Fourteen. Ryan's team was definitely moving and shaking, setting a new season-high in weekly scoring and shifting his way up the standings.
Ryan's proxy team finished the week with 39 points in the week and that shifted his team up six spots in the standings, going from 13th to 7th place. His team will open Week Fifteen only 8 points out of the last money spot, but would still have a bit of work, 20 points, to reach 2nd place.
The Washington duo of Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin helped to pave the way for his team, as Ovie finished with 7 points to make a pairing, which almost doubled our Basement Dweller's entire week.
Also having a good week for Ryan's team were David Pastrnak of the Bruins with 5 points, Dougie Hamilton of the Flames with 4 points and Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens with 3 points.
It was also a pretty good week for Ryan in the plus/minus category, as his team was a pool high +16 in total, moving up to 3rd place overall in the non-money related category, now sitting at a +50.
It was a rough week for Derek B., as his team wasn't able to crack the double-digit mark in Week Fourteen, picking up only 9 points in total. The lack of points dropped his team down to 22nd overall in the standings, but it hasn't been a very positive year, to date, as his peak position in the standings has been 16th.
8 of his 9 points this week came from his forwards and the other was from Mark Giordano. His goaltending was unable to capitalize on a couple starts, which didn't help much to correct the issue, rather it exacerbated the problem.
Unfortunately, Derek's season has really fallen apart in this second segment, as his team ranks 24th since the start of Week Nine, 57 points worse than the best team in the segment. On the plus side, his team is still in the mix for the penalty minute pool, only 55 minutes back of top spot with another Waiver Draft to go.
It's the third straight week that Brian and Cam have been 1-2 in the standings and they are starting to run away at the top. The difference between the two is only 8 points this week, but Cam down to Brenda & Seward, our new 3rd place team, is now 12 points.
Thankfully, Brenda & Seward lead a group that isn't separated by very much. Those same 12 points going to the other way, takes us all the way down to 11th. That's a lot of play left in the standings, keeping things very interesting.
We have a new leader! Marcie's team was kicking ass and chewing bubble gum and somewhere around Wednesday, they ran out of gum. Marcie's team was the goon team of the week, racking up 45 minutes in the week and bumping Kristy & Don from top spot. Derek W. is now 43 minutes back of 1st, down in 3rd place, followed by Cam, who finds his team 48 minutes back.
The favourite to win the survivor pool has been eliminated! Mike's team fell victim to a horrible cold streak from one goalie and a nasty illness with his other one and it has now eliminated his side from the goalie survivor pool. Jake Allen and Sergei Bobrovsky were both unable to pick up a win and that was that.
John S. now becomes the favourite to win, as he leads both Stacey M. and Troy in the total number of wins this season and by a fair margin as well. Was being the favourite the kiss of death, perhaps? We'll soon find out.
And then there were three!
NEWS AND NOTES
There was a good scare in Boston, as Tuukka Rask was forced from a game early in the week, thanks to a lower-body injury, but it didn't seem to reek too much havoc on the Bruins or on Troy, as he didn't miss a great deal of time. Rask was able to still pick up a couple wins this week, so the scare was very minimal.
Some of these flu bugs have been really awful this season and I am sure Sabres starter Robin Lehner could attest to that. Lehner missed three games this past week with the flu, but on the plus side for himself, the Sabres and Jeremy in the pool, he should be back in the net tonight, when the Sabres take on the Stars.
A lower-body injury has been to blame for the absence of Micheal Ferland from the Calgary Flames' lineup over the weekend. Ferland was hurt midweek and wasn't able to participate in Friday's game at home to the Devils or Saturday's Battle of Alberta in Edmonton on Sunday. One of the key reasons why Derek B. couldn't get out of the basement at the end of the week.
Speaking of key reasons, the nasty flu that has been making the rounds, was also catching up to Sergei Bobrovsky, as noted above in the elimination of Mike's team from the survivor pool. It looks as though the Russian will be ready to go this week, but that doesn't save Mike's team at the moment, as his money chances have taken a big hit.
After being a healthy scratch so many times last season, pretty much to the point of being annoying, it was a surprise to me that Wes picked up Colorado's Patrick Weircioch in the Waiver Draft, because sure enough, he was going to be a scratch again, eventually. Saturday night was just that case and there he was... in the press box!
The Nashville Predators are trying to find their way through some inconsistency and they may have found some after scratching forward Mike Ribeiro for the better part of this week. With the return of James Neal from the IR was a big help to that and they have managed to post three straight wins despite the loss of Roman Josi to an upper-body injury. A busy week, indeed. Cam won't be sure when he'll get Ribeiro back and Stacey C. will have to wait until later in the week before he knows when Josi will return.
Devils rookie forward Pavel Zacha did find himself in the press box early in the week, but since then, he has played in the rest of the Pacific Division trip, including Sunday night's stop in Vancouver. Zacha has been prone to a scratch every once and a while, so he's not out of the woods yet, which means Wilton is in the same boat.
Lots more injury concerns in Brooklyn, as Travis Hamonic landed on the IR with a lower-body injury on Thursday, while Johnny Boychuk missed a weekend tilt to an upper-body injury, but could be ready to go after missing one game, while Andrew Ladd missed out on today's game with an undisclosed injury.
The New York Rangers' goaltending controversy will take a small break, as Antti Raanta is expected to miss a week with a lower-body injury. This will make this week an anxious one for Stacey M., as her team is still in the survivor mix and she could really use both of her goalies.
The Flyers were not short on news this past week either. Matt Read hit the shelf with a lower-body injury on Friday, missed a pair of games, Radko Gudas missed one game as a healthy scratch, as did Shayne Gostisbehere and then Brandon Manning was the third defender to get the press box treatment. Scott's forward is the only one that missed significant time, as the three defenders have only missed one and was back.
Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins will miss Kris Letang again this season, as the often-injured defenseman has hit the Injured Reserve again, thanks to a lower-body injury. This one could be a bit of a doozy, given how fast the team put him on the IR on Monday. Letang was hurt on Saturday evening.