Friday, March 31, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Mar 31)

The early indications on Friday were suggesting that out of the seven games on the schedule, that only one of them were going to feature a goalie that is in the money race.

Jonathan Quick (Kristy & Don) versus Ryan Miller (Brenda & Seward)
And here is that one game that involves the money, as Brenda & Seward, now 6th and 10 points back of 3rd place, will have their goalie go up against a team that is desperate for wins in their waning moments of playoff hope.  The Kings really need a lot of help, as much as they need this win, but for the hockey pool, the pool's second duo really need this win over the pool's first duo.

Matt Murray (Scott) versus Henrik Lundqvist (Grant)
The New York Rangers will be wearing their alternate jerseys tonight, which are pretty sharp, I should say.  If the Penguins and Rangers were to meet up in some fashion, the way that the standings are right now, it would be in the Conference Finals, but that doesn't make this any less interesting of a game.  Two good goalies, but no real value in the hockey pool right now.

Jake Allen (Mike) versus Calvin Pickard (Derek B.)
The Colorado Avalanche are going to be in their alternate duds as well tonight, but their task will be to keep the St. Louis Blues from clinching, playing spoiler.  It appears it would be a pretty tough task with this goalie match-up holds up.  The Avalanche have not been good enough to even play spoiler this season, so Allen and the Blues should be cake walking their way into a playoff spot... in theory!

Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 31)

Troy can thank the Anaheim Ducks for the help last night, as both Jared Boll and Josh Manson combined for 9 minutes in penalties, compared to Marcie's 2 minute minor from Patrick Maroon, so the gap shrunk a little bit more and now sits at 42 minutes.  It's still a pretty good sized gap to make up, but with divisional games on hand, now is the time where teams get a little bit tired of each other and want to make sure that everyone knows about it.

Seven games are on tap tonight, does either pool team have any feeling out there tonight? It looks like tonight's the night where Marcie can put a little space back in between the two teams, as her team has five troops out to Troy's two.

The big game for Marcie's crew will be the San Jose/Calgary game, where she has the biggest of all the goons in this pool match-up playing tonight, Calgary's Sam Bennett.  She also has Michael Frolik of the Flames and Brent Burns of the Sharks, while Troy does have some representation in this game, Sean Monahan in Calgary.

The only other game of note tonight is the Capitals visiting the Coyotes in the desert, where Troy has his biggest muscle playing tonight, Washington's Dmitry Orlov.  Of course, Marcie has a couple of skaters going in this game, one player for each team.  She'll have forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Alex Goligoski at the other end and that pretty much does it for the PIM pool match-up right there.

I don't think there will be too many minutes between these two games, but the weekend could be a pretty good goon show, one would have to think.

Elias Retires

A two-time hockey pool money-winning player, long-time New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias has announced that he is calling it a career.  Elias was on Clayton's 2nd place team in 2008 and Peter's 3rd place team in 2009, which is the new way to earn a retirement post on the blog or else I would be doing a lot more posts, I'm sure.

Elias had a 20-year NHL career, all with the Devils, tallying 408 career goals and 1,025 points in total, picking up a lot of franchise-best numbers for his long service with the club.  And let's not forget about the two Stanley Cup rings he has with the team, also leading the team in playoff scoring numbers as well.

The 40-year old was unable to play this season, due to two major knee surgeries after the 2016 season, which he did return to skating, but never got himself back into game shape and never got himself back to the point where he could sign a new contract and go.

Elias has certainly been a pool favourite over the years and as a contributor to two money teams, he has done quite well in them as well.  Congrats to a great career!

Noon Player Notes in the Draft (Mar 31)

The Florida Panthers may have just seen their sign to pack it in last night.  They were already without their number one goalie, they were also without the services of their number two goalie, James Reimer, and their top forward, Aleksander Barkov, on Thursday night against the Canadiens.  Reimer suffered an upper-body injury, which could be a concussion, and was unable to go.  He'll be listed as day-to-day for the time being, but we'll wait for more info there.  Barkov, he was also sidelined with an upper-body injury and there wasn't much for updates there either.  He'll also be day-to-day for the time being.

Reimer is the bigger news of the two, as we head towards the last week of the regular season, as he belongs to Eric, who finished the night in 3rd place, 7 points behind 2nd and 6 points up on 4th.  The gaps aren't very big and Reimer has been a big component to his recent success.  Barkov, on the other hand, belongs to Stacey M., who sits in 16th, 2 points behind 15th.

The Montreal Canadiens were without defenseman Jordie Benn against the Panthers, as he was dealing with an undisclosed injury, believed to be an upper-body ailment.  Benn has been pretty good, since being acquired by the Canadiens at the deadline, picking up a couple of goals in 13 games and he has been very steady.  The Habs clinched their playoff spot with the win over the hurting Panthers, so they can now afford to rest him up for a little while.

Jeremy's team is now riding out the rest of the regular season, now in 9th place, 41 points out of the money.  He won't be missing Benn right now.

It was thought that Nashville forward Craig Smith found his way up to the press box again as a healthy scratch, but with a little bit of digging, it was found that he suffered an upper-body injury this week and this was why he wasn't able to play on Thursday night against the Maple Leafs.  There was no nature or timetable for his injury, but with Mike Fisher and PA Parenteau returning to the lineup, he was substituted well, just not well enough in the 3-1 loss.

Marcin's team is in the hunt for the Basement Dweller this week, as his team only has 8 points in the week, only 3 points better than the leader in the race.  If he can get Smith back, he would be in much better shape to avoid that infamous title for the week.

The Ottawa Senators were without a couple of very big players on Thursday night, as defenseman Erik Karlsson was out with an undisclosed injury, believed to be a lower-body injury after blocking a shot earlier in the week down low, and forward Alexandre Burrows, who was dealing with an upper-body injury of his own.  Without these two, the Sens dropped a 4-1 decision to the Minnesota Wild, but there is no definitive word on when these two are going to return to the lineup.

The loss of Karlsson is huge news for Dale B., as that is his second-best player on his team with 68 points on the season.  Dale is right in the thick of the big money race, trying to catch Brian and fend off Eric at the same time.  I'm sure he hopes that the injury is minor.  Kristy & Don aren't nearly as fussed with the Burrows injury, they've fallen out of the PIM pool race and aren't likely fussed about the overall race either.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were without their top player on Thursday night with the Red Wings in town, as Nikita Kucherov was given the night off, as he was feeling under the weather.  The Lightning were able to handle the Red Wings in his absence, which was good for them, as they needed the win to stay in the playoff race.  Kucherov is day-to-day, but like most players that have fallen to this flu bug, they have missed more than one game, but it's just so hard to guess and gauge from way over here.

Each of the top three teams in the pool had a key player missing from their lineup last night, which sort of evened out the playing field and it will be a race to get them back, especially if they want to keep their current position or improve it (for some).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Goalie Announcements (Mar 30)

We're down to 11 nights left in the regular season and the top six teams in the hockey pool are feeling the squeeze of time and we're counting down all of the key starts again today.

Brian's lead is back up to 5 points over Dale B., while Dale's lead over Eric is now down to 3 points and Ryan continues his charge, now sitting 6 points behind Eric's team.  Brenda & Seward are still 10 points out from 3rd place and Marcie is 13 points back, all still within range in the time allotted, but they're all running out of games.

Let's see how many starters get to go tonight...

Joonas Korpisalo (N/A) versus Cam Ward (Brian)
Brian will get the first of two starts in Carolina tonight, when the Hurricanes get the Blue Jackets at the PNC Arena.  Ward may get off easier tonight, not having to go up against the pool's best player this season, to date, rather he would face the back-up for the Jackets, Joonas Korpisalo, who is without pool representation.

Frederik Andersen (Brian) versus Pekka Rinne (Stacey M.)
It looks like the neck injury was indeed minor for Toronto's Frederik Andersen, which is great news for Brian's team, as they are looking to lock down 1st place.  The Leafs will have a pretty big test in Nashville tonight, as the Predators are no slouches, especially with their number one goalie in the crease.

Thomas Greiss (Dale B.) versus Steve Mason (Brenda & Seward)
This has potential to be a pretty big game in both the Eastern Conference standings and the hockey pool standings, as the Islanders and Flyers go head-to-head.  The Islanders are 4 points out of a playoff spot and Dale is in need of a win to keep his hopes of 1st and/or 2nd alive, so Greiss will be required to come up huge in this game.  The duo are hoping that the Flyers have enough pride left in their game to give Mason a good show in front of him.

Jonathan Bernier (Eric) versus Michael Hutchinson (Grant)
The Ducks are in Winnipeg tonight and they will continue running with the hot goalie, who appears to be turning the tides in the hockey pool standings, all by his lonesome.  Bernier will get the nod for the visiting Ducks tonight and in a weird turn of events, they will be wearing their alternate orange jerseys on the road tonight.

Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Ryan)
The Tampa Bay Lightning are also on the outside looking in on the Eastern Conference race and Ryan doesn't have a money position either.  This could be considered a big game for Ryan, who should expect some good results against a Red Wings team that will miss the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

Martin Jones (Wes) versus Cam Talbot (Marcie)
Finally, Marcie's slimming money hopes are now being pinned on the crease of the Edmonton Oilers, as Talbot should get the nod against the San Jose Sharks, who haven't exactly been the team that pulled away from their divisional rivals this season.  Marcie could use a bunch of points and penalty minutes from this game and that will finish with Talbot in net.

Race to the Sin Bin (Mar 30)

When we last left the PIM pool, racing to the sin bin last night, Marcie's team held a 47-minute advantage over Troy's team and a decided advantage in bodies playing on Wednesday night. Well, the lead remains at 47 minutes, as there wasn't nearly as much play from the goons of the top two teams in the mini-game. Wilton had himself a pretty good night, but his team is still in 4th place, still 90 minutes behind Marcie's for 1st place.

The schedule is chalk full of games on this Thursday night, with nine games scheduled to go, so Marcie and Troy should have lots of representation... in theory.  Let's find out for sure.

Troy has the biggest goon of the night, actually the top five, when compared to Marcie's team.  The traveling Senators boast defenseman Mark Borowiecki, who has 145 minutes this season, 59 of those minutes in Troy's coffers after being activated from the Waiver Draft.  Troy also has the benefit of Wild defenseman Matt Dumba in this game and he could be due for a breakout game in the penalty box.

The Maple Leafs and Predators could feature some good fisticuffs, if the game goes pear-shaped at all. Troy has both Cody McLeod for the hosts and Matt Martin for the visitors, but Marcie does have some minor penalty potential from the visitors as well, having three skaters going, all three less than 40 minutes in penalties each.  Maybe they will be able to nickel and dime their way to the PIM pool win.

There could be some bad blood spilled in Winnipeg tonight, as there are plenty of players between these two teams in the pool.  Troy has Chris Thorburn for the host Jets tonight, as well as Josh Manson and Jared Boll, assuming that they'll dress.  Marcie also has Ryan Kesler in this game, so there is some definite potential for some rough stuff, especially if someone crosses the line, one way or another.

The last game, worthy of noting, would be the San Jose and Edmonton game, where Marcie does have some good representation in Brent Burns for the Sharks and Patrick Maroon for the Oilers.  Maroon is the better bet of the two players to really mix it up and with the potential of a playoff match-up at some time this Spring, these two might need to get to know each other a bit first.