Monday, March 13, 2017

Week Twenty-Two Newsletter

It's a late night edition of the Newsletter.  Monday didn't quite work out the way I hoped it would and so we're publishing late today.  It's not all bad.

It was a pair of goalies finishing the week with 8 points a piece, leading the way in the Player of the Week conversation, so we had to go to the tie-breakers.  And since neither are much for goal scorers, we moved on to the number of wins in the week and on a 3-2 margin, the Ducks' Jonathan Bernier had the scales tipped his way and the franchise's number two goalie was the best player in the pool for the week.

Bernier, looking after the Ducks' net while John Gibson was nursing a lower-body injury, went 3-0-0 in the week, beating three top end teams to keep the Ducks in the Pacific Division race.  A win against Nashville on Tuesday, followed by a 43-save shutout of the Blackhawks on Thursday and the week capped off with a win against the Capitals on Sunday night.

The 28-year old has now appeared in 29 games this season, registering 13 wins and 2 shutouts for 30 points this year, good enough for 258th overall in pool scoring, 24th among all goalies in the league this year.  This last stretch has been very good for his game and it's certainly come at a great time for Eric, who saw his team move up to 3rd place for the end of the week, as his team is riding quite the hot streak.

It's a story of too little, too late for Derek B., but he does have one positive note this season with a Mover & Shaker nod in Week Twenty-Two, thanks to an awesome 34-point week.  His pool team was able to shake out a solid point total in the week, but that didn't really mean he was moving, as his team was firmly planted in 21st place at the start of the week and that's where his team finished as well.

Derek finished with the other candidate for the Player of the Week nod, Calgary's Brian Elliott, who had back-to-back shutouts this week for his 8 points, but we're all about the wins in this pool and that's where Bernier got the edge.

Mike Hoffman of the Senators, Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues and Calvin Pickard of the Avalanche were also big contributors to Derek's week, as they all finished with 5 points a piece.

Injuries to Loui Eriksson in Vancouver and Patric Hornqvist in Pittsburgh led to the only zeroes on his pool team in the week, but he may have lost another player in Mark Stone this weekend, so the chances of back-to-back Mover & Shaker mentions are very slim.

The big week has now led to a much better ranking in this third and final segment of the season, where his team ranks 6th since the start of Week Eighteen in points, now sitting at 123 points since then, but it really doesn't mean too much when his team started 23rd at the start of the period.

It was looking like Troy was going to have some company down in the basement all week, but Sunday's results lifted a couple teams clear, if only just barely.  This is Troy's fourth nod in the Basement Dweller spot, as his goon team is trying its best to focus on those key minutes, instead of lighting the lamp.

Speaking of the third segment of this season, four teams have yet to crack the 100-point mark, as Benson, John S. and Cam are all inches away from doing so, but Troy's team still only has 63 points since the start of Week Eighteen and may not even make it to 100 points for the segment.  That would be something!

Well, our two leaders are not moving away from each other very quickly, as Brian and Dale B. sit atop the standings with 553 points, 19 points clear of 3rd place and they are ready to slug it out in this last month.  Brian leads the goal scoring tie-breaker, however, 173-154, which is currently the difference between the two, if the season were to have ended yesterday.

Eric now has had back-to-back weeks finishing in 3rd place, his team now carries a 2-point advantage over Marcie's team and 13 points is the difference, all the way down to 7th place.  A 13-point gap would be something that Jeremy's team could do, if they got really hot and had a monster Mover & Shaker week.  Still lots of hockey to be played yet, so don't look away.

Marcie's team may have already fallen out of 3rd place in the overall points race, but her team still has a solid lead in the PIM pool, to go along with her Outdoor Games pool win already this year.

Marcie's team was 4th in the weekly race, finishing with 31 minutes, but it was John S.'s team that came out ahead as the goon team of the week, finishing with 39 minutes.  Troy and Marcin were both good for 35 minutes from their team.  Marcie still has a 70-minute advantage over Kristy & Don and Eric, which has been chipped away at from time to time.

It took until Friday night for John S. to get his win, but both teams were able to qualify for Week Twenty-Three.  John has one starting goalie these days in Devan Dubnyk, but thanks to the Rangers' injury situation, Stacey M. now has a pair of starters for the stretch run, as she saw Antti Raanta take the reins for the blueshirts, adding to Pekka Rinne making all the starts for the Predators.  Stacey could be the favourite moving forward.


After returning from a minor lower-body injury, Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray left the game against the Buffalo Sabres with an upper-body injury, after blocking a shot with his hand. The fears were realized in the post-game, as Murray has been diagnosed with a broken hand and this will indeed finish his regular season, as broken bones in the hand are a minimum of four weeks, it would seem.  His availability for the playoffs will still be up in the air, but the Jackets should be there, so keep an eye on him.

Tony didn't need any more healthy players this year.  He's done with that sort of thing.

The New Jersey Devils allowed forward Travis Zajac to go on leave for personal reasons on Saturday night, as he missed out on the game against the Coyotes.  He was able to go back home for the birth of his child and I would imagine that he will be ready to go, when the Devils host the Jets on Tuesday night.

Jeremy's team really suffered this past week and Zajac's absence didn't really help.  Maybe the glowing new father will get a big boost and help Jeremy back into the money conversation again.

Mark Stone was held out of Ottawa's 4-2 win in Denver on Saturday night, the team citing a lower-body injury for the reason that he was out.  Initially, it was thought that he'd be day-to-day, but on Monday, the team announced that he is more like week-to-week and they will reevaluate his status on that weekly basis.

All Derek B. really has left this year is the chance at another Mover & Shaker nod, but if Stone isn't going to be playing any time soon, that doesn't seem like a realistic belief.

An undisclosed ailment was what kept Winnipeg Jets tough guy Chris Thorburn out of the lineup against the Flames on Saturday night, but it was a minor issue and he was able to return to action tonight and we all know that, because there are already final scores in Monday's action, by the time that this Newsletter was published.

Troy really needs Thorburn to be out there kicking some butt on the ice and getting those penalty minutes or his goon team was all for naught.  He had a good week last week, but his team needs to been much rougher and tougher.

On Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Wild were without deadline acquisition Martin Hanzal, due to an illness. The Wild were up against the Blackhawks on Sunday and likely could have used Hanzal's grit in this one, as they were out-matched in the defensive end. Hanzal is day-to-day right now and if it is the same illness that struck Matt Dumba, he might miss another game yet, before returning.

This just added to Jeremy's plight at the end of the week, he really didn't need to see his team miss too many more games.  Maybe his team will bounce back, when everyone is back in their respective lineups and playing again.

There are some fears that John Gibson may have re-injured himself on the weekend and he's now expected to be on the shelf for a little while longer. Thankfully, the Anaheim Ducks still have the reigning Player of the Week to keep them afloat. There is no immediate timetable for Gibson's return, but it could be some time away still, given that the Ducks likely want him to be 100% for when the playoffs start in a month's time.

Very bad news for Dale B., who is in the thick of the race for top spot in the standings.  Brian has been running with a couple goalies of late, but Dale's team hasn't seen much of Gibson in the last couple weeks, yet his team is still keeping pace.  Can this possibly continue?

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