Monday, October 15, 2018

Week Two Newsletter



Wake up!  Wake up!  It's time for the Newsletter!

Week Two is now in the books and I'm sure, like most other years, this season will fly right by, so let's stay on top of it all and recap the week that was.



The top line for the Boston Bruins is firing on all cylinders these days, especially in Week Two.  They were led by their pivot man, Patrice Bergeron, who finished with 9 points in only three games this week, taking the title without any issue or tie-breaker this morning.

The Bruins' schedule has been nicely spread out in these first couple of weeks, that this line has been able to put up some pretty good numbers and not get over-worked.  Monday, Bergeron kicked it all off with a hat-trick and an assist against the Senators, Thursday saw a goal and an assist against the Oilers and finally, it was a trio of assists against the Red Wings on Saturday, finishing with 4 goals and 5 assists.

In total, that gives the 33-year old 5 goals and 11 points in five games this season, good enough for 3rd overall in hockey pool scoring, making him into quite the bargain pick for Eric's team, which picked him with the 91st overall selection in the 4th round of this year's draft.  Now, Eric needs the rest of his picks to start playing well, as his team only sits 16th after two weeks, 21 points out of 1st place.

On the shoulders of a monster weekend, Neil's team shot up the weekly standings like it was nobody's business to capture the Week Two Mover & Shaker nod, and his team threw their hat into the ring for the money race as well, lifting themselves from 9th place to 2nd with the snap of a few fingers.

Neil's team was led by New Jersey goaltender Keith Kinkaid and Toronto forward John Tavares, who each had 6 points in the week, followed by Teuvo Teravainen in Carolina and Ron Hainsey in Toronto, who each had 4 points as well.  Only three players on his team failed to register a point, one of them spent the better part of the week in the minors, Tristan Jarry of the Penguins, and he's expected to go back down here shortly as well.

It was quite the lift in the standings that Neil saw as well, after an average Week One, his team blew the competition away in Week Two and now has a seat amongst the money teams to start Week Three.  His team certainly has some potential to stay up in this race, since some of the names up in his top scorers are probably going to stay in the scoring race all year long.

This is Neil's 4th season in the hockey pool draft and this is only his 2nd time hitting the Mover & Shaker nod in the Newsletter, his last time being back in Week Five of the 2016 hockey pool season.  His team moved into 1st place that week after a 30-point season, but couldn't quite keep up the pace that year, finishing 8th.  His team doesn't have any rookies, they have only one fruitless shootout attempt this year and a few game-winners, so the big money will be the race that he'll be most interested in.

This was going to be Ryan's year... he started doing his homework a week before the draft was getting started, he bought all the books, read up on all the sleepers... he was ready to go.  No more Basement Dweller nods for him this year... it was going to be all about the big money!

Okay, maybe he could get away with having one Basement Dweller nod this season.  Then, his team will pick up their socks and race up the standings and get him some of that sweet, sweet cash at the end of the year.  Just one... no more after that.

Well, his team did let him down pretty badly this week, finishing with only 15 points and it had dropped him from 21st to 24th in Week Two and his team is now 21 points back of 3rd place.  There's still lots of time and lots of hockey to be played, but he'll really need to see some positives in the next couple weeks to really start thinking he's got a chance.

Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche was his top player, finishing with 5 points, but seven players on his team failed to register a point in the week, which is half his team and that is what will kill a team pretty quickly, if that continues.

Ryan has been out to every draft since the 2008 season, year #12 for him, but unfortunately, this is Basement Dweller nod #15 in his career, one of the all-time greats in the category.

With Neil jumping his way up into the money spots, he'll get a mention up in the trophy race.  His team will open Week Three with only 4 points to make-up to make it to 1st place and it has a 6-point gap between itself and 3rd place, which belongs to Kristy & Don.  Clayton and Stuart are hanging around, only 1 point behind 3rd, Troy is a point behind them, Steve is a point behind Troy, Jeremy and John P. are just another point back and that's just one hell of a race through two weeks.  It would be awfully exciting if it could stay this way all season long, would it not?

Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators had a big week for Stuart's team in the rookie pool, finishing with 5 points and made his the top team in the mini-game for Week Two.  The 4th overall pick in the NHL Draft got on the board early and often this week and is starting to fit in quite nicely.

Clayton's team still leads the mini-game with 11 points through a couple of weeks, but his top rookie, Elias Pettersson in Vancouver may be on the shelf for some time, opening the door for some others to creep up and catch him.

As a guy that was never really a fan of the introduction of the shootout, I won't say that there is a 'lack of shootouts' for the sake of the game, but for the sake of the hockey pool, that is certainly the case.  In Week One, there were only 3 goals scored in shootouts, collected in the pool and in Week Two, there were only three shootouts in the week and only 2 goals were collected in the pool in those contests.  Games have been decided a lot in regulation, as overtime is even a rarity, but the shootouts more so, since the 3-on-3 session tends to sort out results.

Nevertheless, the lead that Troy had after Week One has held up after Week Two, but Jesse and Benson joined the race in the last week, joining Grant with a goal each in the skills competition.

There were 42 games on the NHL schedule in Week Two of the season and the hockey pool was able to collect on 30 game-winning goals, either from regulation or overtime, as the shootout does not count towards those statistics.  In total, we're 50 game-winning goals collected in the pool, coming out of 73 total games.

Benson and John P. lead the way after two weeks on the schedule, both teams with 5 game-winners each, Tony not too far behind at 4 game-winners.  Three teams in the pool still haven't registered a clutch winning goal yet and they are Dale C., Ryan and Wes.

Wes' team earned Goon Team of the Week honours with 29 minutes in penalties in Week Two, giving him top spot in the PIM Pool, which still doesn't pay any money, but you'll at least get a mention in the Newsletter.  Wes' team sits 21st in the overall scoring standings, but if they are spending most of their time in the penalty box and not on the ice scoring goals, then you can see why they're here and why they're not in the Mover & Shaker nod.

Three more teams were eliminated from the goalie survivor pool in Week Two, if that were a real thing again this year.  It isn't, so don't ask if you're winning any money.  Stuart, Brenda & Seward and Grant were our casualties in Week Two, leaving us now with 17 teams left to play for the fake honour.

Tony's team has still yet to find a win in the pool this season, but one of his starters was on the shelf to start the season and the other plays in Detroit, so it is all adding up.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

It's a normal occurrence to see a sharp drop-off in scoring from Week One to Week Two, since the injuries may start to stack up, backup goalies get their first starts in the week and some players are already over the excitement of starting to play again.  Let's have a quick peek at how the last few seasons compare, since it has been 25 teams for the last three drafts.

Points Per NHL Game 2019 2018 2017
Week One 14.39 14.87 13.44
Week Two 13.69 13.06 12.33
  
GP Per NHL Game 2019 2018 2017
Week One 18.5 18.0 18.2
Week Two 18.0 17.7 18.2
  
MIN Per NHL Game 2019 2018 2017
Week One 114.1 110.6 102.4
Week Two 97.1 110.1 97.7

If there is one thing that the pool has done well at this year, was keep the drop-off in scoring down to a minimum, not hitting that full point between the two weeks, like the previous two seasons.  Scoring does certainly feel like it has gone up this year and that could be the biggest factor, since we've seen the biggest drop offs in participation this year, it's just whoever is playing is also scoring and doing it well.  Good news for us!

NEWS AND NOTES

An upper-body injury added Jakob Silfverberg to the list of injured Anaheim Ducks forwards, as he was hurt against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.  The injury came in the 3rd period and he didn't return.  There was no immediate update on his condition, but the Ducks are just having trouble keeping their forwards healthy, although they did see the season debut of Ryan Kesler over the weekend, but they also placed Ryan Getzlaf on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to the weekend previous, just to keep a full roster in place.  The Ducks are shifting bodies, left, right and centre these days.  Consider both Silfverberg and Getzlaf day-to-day for right now.

The latest injury is a concern for our pool leader, Benson, who has had very good production from the Swede, 7 points in six games.  The lead he has is still pretty safe with some of the other players on his team running hot, but it is still a bit of a concern.

Getzlaf is eligible to return at any time now, as his retroactive addition was in the 7-day minimum placement, so he can still be day-to-day for Stuart, but now he isn't taking up a roster spot.

The Winnipeg Jets finished the week without one of the stalwart defenders in Dustin Byfuglien, as he was a scratch early in the day with an upper-body injury. There was no indication of the severity of the injury, but he is now listed as out day-to-day, as we await the final word on his condition. The big, rough & tumble defenseman hasn't exactly been producing early on this season, registering only 1 assist in four games this year, so it could be a lingering issue that he is dealing with and affecting his play. We'll see in the coming days.

This wasn't the news that Dale C. wanted to see at the end of the week, as his team was barely sitting above the Basement Dweller nod all day on Sunday.  His team finished the week in 23rd, 5 points clear of last place he could really use the schedule to start turning in his favour here soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Morning Player Notes (Oct 14)



Anaheim Ducks rookie Troy Terry took a seat in the press box on Saturday night for their game against the Dallas Stars, just as a healthy scratch, by the sound of things.  The Ducks forward has yet to register a point in his first four games, but he has been tapped for a couple of shootout attempts, to which he had scored on one of them.  The Ducks are turning it right around, playing on Sunday night in St. Louis, so we'll see if Terry draws back in right away or not.

It was a missed skater game for Jesse's team, which has been mediocre in Week Two, with only 22 points in the week, dropping down to 13th from 12th at the end of Week One.  His team is still right in the thick of it, only 7 points out of 3rd place, so it shouldn't take much to get back in there.

Another healthy scratch to speak of in Boston, as Ryan Donato was re-entered into the lineup, but coming out was a standout from last season, forward Danton Heinen.  The Bruins top line players have been flying of late, but they are trying to spark their secondary scoring somewhat with these scratches, just in case the top line has an off night.  The Bruins might cycle some of these guys around for a while, until they find some consistency, whenever that might turn out for them.

Much like Jesse's team, Derek B.'s team has also been somewhat average, also with 22 points in the week, but it has been better than his Week One, so he has made some gains in the standings, instead of some losses, moving up from 22nd to 18th in the week.  I don't think Heinen will be out for long, just a night off and he can get back to it.

One more healthy scratch to speak of, this time with the traveling Oilers, as defenseman Matt Benning was sat for the game in New York, as he hasn't been able to find the scoresheet in their first couple of games either.  The Oilers added some veteran depth to their side in the off-season and through training camp, so the pressure is on some of these young guys to produce or else lose their place on the roster.  Produce and you'll play, it's as easy as that.

This didn't help Clayton's cause much on Saturday, as his team couldn't follow up a strong week in the scoring department, posting only a few points on Saturday and lost all the ground he made up on the leaders in the week.  I would expect Benning back in the lineup soon, but the Oilers certainly have their eye out for him and his production.

Ugly injury alert... we're waiting to hear what the extent of the injury is for Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz, as he went down awkwardly on his left ankle and it looked gross.  Every indication is that this could be a long-term issue for the injury prone defender and it could be another long stint on the shelf for him.  Schultz has gotten off to a good start, before the injury, so the Penguins could ill-afford to be without him for the long-term, but they may not have much of a choice.

Scott's team certainly doesn't need this injury, as it is currently vying for the Basement Dweller this week and if you throw a major injury on to a top defender, his 8th round pick this year, then the losses will certainly start to stack up.  His team currently sits 19th and is now holding its breath.

The Vancouver Canucks are off to a much better start than most would have thought they would and it is all on the shoulders of rookie sensation Elias Pettersson, who has 8 points in their first five games.  There is some concern for a serious head injury, as he was driven to the ice by Mike Matheson of the Panthers on Saturday night, having to leave the game early, looking fairly woozy.  The Canucks did not offer an early update on the young Swede, but he did make the trip to their next stop on the road trip, which is Pittsburgh, and he'll likely have to clear concussion protocol before dressing next.

More bad news for Clayton, but he did collect another goal from the talented rookie before he left the game, if that is any consolation.  Clayton's team does have a good lead in the rookie pool, but it's the big money that is the concern, where his team is now 9 points out of 1st place and he'll need Pettersson to get there.

There were plenty of players returning to their respective lineups on Saturday as well, which we'll take a quick note of here.  Mark Jankowski of the Flames, Kevin Shattenkirk of the Rangers, Olli Maatta of the Penguins and Andreas Johnsson of the Maple Leafs all returned from the press box on Saturday night, Johnsson picking up a point in his return, making an impact for Wilton's team right away.  Valeri Nichushkin of the Stars returned from injury and played against the Ducks, while Matt Murray was cleared through concussion protocol and only returned to the bench in a backup role for the Penguins.  That will clear up some names on the weekly reset on Monday morning.

Goalie Announcements (Oct 14)



What a debacle yesterday's goalie post was!  After all the announced goalies, which there were not very many, I was left to guess most of the rest and that didn't go so well.  The teams in the NHL went to a lot of backups for some of their first starts, which made sense, since we're nearly two weeks into the action.  Things will start to normalize here soon though.

Only three games on the schedule today, one of them is an early start, hence the early post, while the other two are evening games, including the Hometown Hockey game on Sportsnet and it looks like two out of the three games have already been confirmed this morning, so here goes!

Martin Jones (Brenda & Seward) versus Keith Kinkaid (Neil)
The San Jose Sharks roll into New Jersey for a date with the Devils on Sunday afternoon and this has some potential to be a pretty good game.  The Sharks and their awesome team on paper will visit the 2-0-0 Devils, who have carried right along, albeit slowly on the schedule, from right where they were in the regular season last year.

Neil's team ran the hottest on Saturday, jumping right into the Mover & Shaker spot for the week and he gets one more goalie start to end the week with Kinkaid, so that bodes well for this appearance in tomorrow morning's Newsletter.  Brenda & Seward, on the other hand, still reside in last place in the standings, but they are 2 points clear of the Basement Dweller, which could also improve if the win fell their way today.

Ryan Miller (Benson) versus Chad Johnson (N/A)
With both the Ducks and Blues playing last night, it is expected that we'll see both backups for each team, face off in the Sunday evening game in St. Louis.  Ryan Miller has made one relief appearance already this season, while this will be the season debut for Chad Johnson, but he doesn't carry any pool allegiances, so that really doesn't matter to this post.

Benson still holds the lead in the overall standings in the pool, a 4-point lead over Neil's surging team, but a win won't be enough for back-to-back weeks in the Mover & Shaker.  He'll need his two skater games to help him out as well.

Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.) versus Laurent Brossoit (N/A)
Finally, the Winnipeg Jets will debut their alternate jersey on Hometown Hockey tonight and they'll welcome the Hurricanes, who were in Minnesota last night.  As much as the Hurricanes may like Curtis McElhinney, it does not seem like a good idea to ride him too hard, which would suggest that Petr Mrazek would get the call tonight.  On the Jets side, they may have had an extra day off or two, but backup goalie Laurent Brossoit still hasn't made his debut yet this year, until tonight that is.  Brossoit has been tapped to go, showing off the new duds tonight.

Stacey's team, just inside the top 20, could just use some good news from his crease spot occupied by Mrazek, as he probably thought he was getting the potential number one guy there in Carolina, only to lose out ice-time and starts to a waiver claim.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Goalie Announcements (Oct 13)



You can't go using a team's alternate jersey logo in your post without using a header picture with it too.  The throwback to the old Phoenix Coyotes jerseys are pretty nice and the dogs are going to be using them again tonight, among the 13 other games on the schedule for this Saturday.

It's an early post this morning, because the action gets started right away, so here's hoping that some of these match-ups are right, because there will be some assumptions made, due to the lack of information.

For those keeping score at home, only six teams are left to try and qualify for the non-active goalie survivor pool.  I mean, you could probably side bet the hell out of this, if you wanted, but this year, it isn't a real thing.  Stuart, Brenda & Seward, Dale C., Eric, Mike and Grant are your six teams that qualified in Week One, but have yet to qualify in Week Two.  Let's see if they're going to get any help today.

Cam Talbot (Mike) versus Henrik Lundqvist (Scott)
The first of two 11am MT starts sees the Oilers on their extended eastern road trip head onto Broadway to take on the Rangers.  Between Friday and early Saturday morning, we still haven't seen any confirmation of one goalie or the other, but I think it will be fair to say that we'll see the number ones again today, as Talbot and the Oilers will only be playing game three of the season, while Lundqvist is still trying to find his form this season.

For both Mike and Scott, this game should represent the first of two starts each for them in today's busy schedule.  They are certainly a couple of the fortunate ones, who could pull points out of the crease today.  Scott currently leads the unofficial tally for goalie minutes played heading into today, while Mike's team has certainly missed the Oilers not playing much in these first couple of weeks.

Marc-Andre Fleury (Troy) versus Brian Elliott (Jeremy)
The second of these two early, early games sees the Golden Knights roll into Gritty-town to take on the Flyers.  Brian Elliott has been tapped in some reports early on this morning as being the expected keeper for the home side today, while we should be seeing Marc-Andre Fleury for the traveling Knights.  Both goalies have gotten off to some rocky starts, so they can certainly use this game to turn their fortunes around.

Troy's team is currently trailing Jeremy's team by only 3 points at the start of play today and his team has had a slightly better week as well.  This appears to be the only start for either team in today's schedule, so one team better make the most of it.

Jack Campbell (N/A) versus Craig Anderson (Mike)
It may have taken a key injury for this to happen, but the Kings are riding a pretty hot goaltender right now and that ride is taking them into Ottawa, where things are not quite as hot.  The Senators have not won in either of their two opening games at home, so Craig Anderson will be tasked with the job of getting that first one in the book.

This will be Mike's second start of the day, getting rid of both starts by early in the afternoon and then he'll only have his skaters to worry about in the evening.  Mike's team currently sits at 10 points this week, only 3 points clear of the current Basement Dweller-to-be.  It's not quite a comfortable spot, so wins are very important.

Jimmy Howard (Tony) versus Tuukka Rask (Jesse)
The Boston Bruins were nice enough to change their start time for today's game, to help the viewership of the Red Sox, so they'll play the Red Wings at 1pm MT today.  The Bruins had tapped Tuukka Rask earlier in the week to get the start, since Jaroslav Halak got the last start earlier in the week, while the Red Wings hadn't tapped one or the other of their goalies by the early morning, but we're expecting to see Jimmy Howard this afternoon.

In the standings, Tony has his sights on the Mover & Shaker nod this week, while Jesse is only 1 point better than Mike above him in this post, hovering above the Basement Dweller by only 4 points.  Both of these teams are having their only starts here in this game, so for whichever goal they are trying to achieve, they're only hope from the crease comes in Boston.

Curtis McElhinney (N/A) or Petr Mrazek (Stacey C.) versus Devan Dubnyk (Wes)
The great crap shoot of the day belongs to the Carolina Hurricanes, who have yet to announce their goalie for tonight's game in Minnesota, at the time of the post, and it could be newcomer Curtis McElhinney, taking a start away from the pool, or it could be Petr Mrazek, getting back into the net after sitting for a couple of games.  On the other side, it is expected, albeit unconfirmed, that we'll see Devan Dubnyk in the Wild net, after a couple of days off.

Stacey C. should be getting at least one start tonight, but this is game that could make it a pair of starts, if luck should fall down his way.  His team could certainly use a little bit more of it, since it will start action in 20th place.  Wes should be getting two starts as well today, trying to improve upon the 13 points he has this week and staying well away from the Basement Dweller nod.

Casey DeSmith (N/A) versus Antti Niemi (N/A)
A week ago, the lowly Montreal Canadiens embarrassed the Pittsburgh Penguins in their own barn, beating them 5-1 and fortunately for them, they can turn that around and give them a dish of revenge in their own barn tonight.  The Penguins don't have their number one though, which might be a plus for the Canadiens, but neither to the Habs, as the team announced this morning that Carey Price is out with the flu and they have recalled Charlie Lindgren to take his spot in the lineup.

Tough luck for Stacey M., who was banking on this game for a start tonight.

Sergei Bobrovsky (Kristy & Don) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Dale C.)
It's a monster goaltending match-up in Tampa Bay tonight, as two of the league's top keepers will match-up this evening at Amalie Arena.  Sergei Bobrovsky is the likely starter for the Blue Jackets, while Andrei Vasilevskiy will make his third start of the season for the Lightning tonight.  Both teams have some pretty good offenses, so if the score remains low, you know that these two had themselves one hell of a night.

Dale currently holds the Basement Dweller spot for the week, having only 7 points through Thursday night's action and Friday night's off-day, and he'll be leaning on his top pick tonight to try and help his team out of this hole.  The duo, however, currently sit in 2nd place, 4 points back of the lead and they have real potential to close that number down tonight.

Jacob Markstrom (Chelsea) versus James Reimer (Dale C.)
On a night where the Florida Panthers will celebrate Roberto Luongo's 1,000th NHL game, they'll welcome his other long-term team in his career, the Vancouver Canucks for the ceremony.  It's too bad that Luongo is hurt and can't play, but that's another story altogether.  We do know that it will be James Reimer in the home net tonight, but it hasn't been confirmed either way for the Canucks.  Jacob Markstrom is thought to be the number one, but Anders Nilsson did look pretty good against Tampa the other night and that could have earned him another start.  We're just not sure.

Markstrom would be a pool start for the Canucks, whereas Nilsson wouldn't be and I would think that Chelsea is really hoping for that start.  Dale should be getting a second start with Reimer tonight, which should aid his attempt of getting out of the Basement for the week.

Frederik Andersen (Derek B.) versus Braden Holtby (Stacey C.)
All hands are going to be on deck for a shootout at the Capital One Arena in Washington, as the Maple Leafs will be in town to take on the champs, the Capitals.  The goaltenders will have their hands full in this one as well and the jobs will fall to Frederik Andersen and Braden Holtby tonight, as you may imagine, as either team will need their number one to get those valuable points in the standings.

Surprisingly, both goalies are on pool teams in the bottom half of the standings, but Derek's team is running hot at the moment, 18 points this week, only 3 points back of the leader for Mover & Shaker, and he's riding the hotter team into this game as well.  Stacey C.'s team isn't quite as hot this week, only 11 points through Friday, but the Capitals could show those kids a thing or two and help his team out a little.

Robin Lehner (Chelsea) versus Pekka Rinne (John P.)
Both goalies projected for tonight's game in Nashville are carrying shutouts into this game, so something will have to break.  Robin Lehner got a shutout win in his first start as an Islander, while Pekka Rinne continues to play some stellar hockey for Nashville.  The Islanders are trying to prove that they can still hang with the big boys, despite a dismal summer, while the Predators are the big boys and they intend to keep it that way.

Chelsea's team rocketed out to a good start in Week One, but quickly cooled down in Week Two, somewhat in the hunt for the Basement Dweller nod this week with only 10 points, so far.  John P. also saw his team get off to a good start, but they have managed to maintain this week, sitting with 15 points. 

John Gibson (Kristy & Don) versus Ben Bishop (Clayton)
Pretty big game in Dallas tonight, as the Ducks travel to take on the Stars, as both teams are off to some pretty good starts to the season.  The Ducks, on the shoulders of John Gibson, have yet to lose in regulation in four games, while Ben Bishop has stood tall for the Stars in his three starts, although he was kind of lit up by the Leafs earlier in the week.  Nevertheless, this could work out to be an entertaining match-up, especially from the goal crease.

This game is a big one at the top of the overall pool standings, since the duo sit in 2nd, getting their second start of the day in this one, while Clayton's team gets the Dallas start, sitting in 3rd place in the standings, only 1 point back.  Depending on how the action swings tonight, this game could be a good swing game in the standings.

Jake Allen (Steve) versus Cam Ward (Scott)
I think we can expect some good ol' fashioned Central Division fireworks in Chicago tonight, when the Blues and Blackhawks go head-to-head at the Madhouse on Madison.  The Blues aren't off to the strongest of starts, 1-1-1, and the Blackhawks have yet to lose in regulation, 2-0-2, and both teams should be sending their number ones to the crease tonight.  Jake Allen should get the nod, while Cam Ward has been given the nod... yeah, this has some real potential for a good dust up or two.

More importantly, this is a good clash in the middle of the hockey pool standings, where Steve currently sits 10th, only 1 point clear of Scott in 12th, so the swing potential here is pretty good too.  These are fun games to find for this blog post.

Carter Hutton (Wes) versus Antti Raanta (Brian)
This is one of the later games that is harder to project for starting goalies, more so for the home side than the visitors.  Carter Hutton has been playing well for the Sabres to start the season, so there's a pretty good chance that he'll get the nod again tonight.  Antti Raanta, on the other hand, hasn't been great for the Coyotes, but they haven't been great for him either.  He did win his last game, so that leads me to believe that he'll get the start tonight, but neither goalie has been confirmed and could flip just as easy.

If this is indeed the goalie match-up, it's a good one in the pool.  Wes' team trails Brian's team by 5 points in the overall standings, but there are eight spots in between teams in the standings, so it would have to be quite the game of hopscotch to get over them.  By this time in the night, those numbers will surely have changed.

David Rittich (Ryan) versus Semyon Varlamov (Wilton)
In the late game tonight, the Flames are in Denver to take on the Avalanche and the Flames have promised this start, in part, to their backup David Rittich, who has made a couple of relief appearances already this year and is now in need of a start, so he can start to show his stuff.  His opponent at the other end, Semyon Varlamov, will be playing a terrible host, as the team in front of him is certainly quick and skilled, making Rittich's job that much harder.  This could be a fun game to finish the night, if all goes according to plan.

In the pool, it's two teams heading in opposite directions, as Ryan's team, banking on the Flames tonight, is only 1 point clear of the Basement Dweller nod for this week, while Wilton's team, resting on the laurels of the Avalanche, sits in 6th place, within a good day's worth of points from the money spots.