Monday, January 01, 2018

Week Thirteen Newsletter



Happy freakin' New Year, ya filthy poolies!  It's the first day of 2018 and I wish you all good fortune in everything, except for the hockey pool.  I want all the monies!  Ha ha!  Granted, I will just be happy when all teams that are owing pay up... that will be a successful year!



The last week of 2017 was a good one for Connor Hellebuyck and the Winnipeg Jets, as they stormed the week with all guns a blazin' and walked out of there with a 3-0-0 record and Hellebuyck also recorded a shutout on Sunday night, giving him 8 points and the Player of the Week nod for Week Thirteen.

The 24-year old keeper is really coming into his own in the 2018 season and it really showed with a 22-save win against the Oilers on Wednesday, a 42-save effort against the Islanders on Friday and then ended up facing the Oilers again on Sunday, making 35 saves for the shutout, giving him the 8 points.

In total, this now gives Hellebuyck 21 wins, 3 shutouts and an assist for 49 points this season, good enough for 6th overall in hockey pool scoring and the first player on the list that isn't a Tampa Bay Lightning or New York Islanders player.

Hellebuyck is turning into a huge bargain pick for Neil's team, who didn't snag him until the 5th round of the draft, 108th overall.  Without a doubt, he has been the best player taken in that round, but it is a tight race with the Flyers' Jakub Voracek, who is only 3 points back.

The American becomes the first Jets keeper to take home the Player of the Week nod since the 2015 season, when Ondrej Pavelec had 8 points in Week Twenty-Four for Stacey M.'s team.

For the Mover & Shaker nod this week, we have to go to the tie-breakers, as both Benson and Grant were tops in Week Thirteen, both teams finishing with 32 points.  First up, comes the goals scored, where Benson finished atop of the weekly rankings there as well, taking the tie-breaker with a 13-11 margin, Grant finishing 3rd in the race behind Troy's team.  So, there you have it... Benson gets his first Mover & Shaker nod since the 2015 season as well, also Week Twenty-Four, with 33 points.

It was a fairly consistent effort throughout his lineup in Week Thirteen, as 12 of 14 players finished with points in the shortened week, all of them led by Thomas Vanek of the Canucks, who had 5 points, all of which coming against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

Also having notable weeks on Benson's crew were Josh Bailey of the Islanders and Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals, each picking up 4 points, while Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs and Alex Goligoski of the Coyotes each had 3 points.

With the big week, Benson's team shot up the standings, moving up from 4th place, firmly into 2nd place and even closing the gap a little bit on Dale B. in 1st place.  Benson's team also now ranks 2nd in scoring in the second segment of the season, trailing Dale B. by only 1 point since the start of Week Ten, which suggests that the race for 1st place has gotten a little more interesting.

I think it was pointed out earlier in the week, that Benson's team is fueled primarily on his forwards, as his team of eight now has a 29-point lead on 2nd place at the position, leading all pool teams with 265 points from the guys up front, while his defense and goalies still struggle a little bit.  Still, the formula still seems to be working for him, especially with some of the talent he managed to snag at the draft.

If it wasn't for Benson's team taking the tie-breaker above, we would have had ourselves a pair of swapping teams, trading first for worst between Weeks Twelve and Thirteen.  Grant went from worst two weeks ago to tied for first this past week, while Cam, who was the Week Twelve Mover & Shaker, now finds his team as the Basement Dweller this week.  What a strange coincidence... could it be that the schedules just worked out in this weird and mind-boggling way?

The shortened week and an injury to a significant forward didn't really help Cam's cause too much at all in Week Thirteen, as his team was last in projected games to be played in the week and his team really couldn't find its stride in the week.

Three players finished with 2 points each, making up for most of his scoring in the week and they were Eric Staal of the Wild, John Moore of the Devils and Markus Nutivaara of the Blue Jackets and when two of your best three players are defensemen, you know you're going to be having a bad week.

Cam's team was making strides since the activation of players from the Waiver Draft, finishing Week Nine in 15th place and his team made it all the way up to 11th after Week Twelve, but this Basement Dweller nod saw his team slide all the way back down to 15th and now he has to start all over again.  Thankfully, the schedule appears to be in his favour again and he could get his significant injury back soon too.

We've touched on the money once already, but we'll give it a good recap here in the Trophy Talk section.  Dale B. continues to have the lead through Week Thirteen and technically, his lead did increase from last week, up from 6 points to 7 points, but the team now chasing him in 2nd place has now changed from Wilton to Benson, although Wilton isn't very far away either.  Wilton dropped back to 10 points behind, but that's still manageable with a solid week.

Jeremy's team is still hunting in 4th, but has had its injury concerns of late, Kristy & Don are still in there in 5th place, 18 points back and then it gets a tad sparse for teams in behind.  Stuart is 29 points back of 1st place and Clayton is 35 points back of 1st as well.  1st to 10th (Stacey M.), at the end of the week, is now 41 points, but we're closing in on the halfway point now, the middle of this coming week, and now teams have to be concerned about how much they can make up.

Grant had himself a scare in Week Thirteen, but it was only temporary.  His team was in on Thursday night, after the Capitals came back to beat the Bruins in a shootout, so we remain with three teams for yet another week.  Week Fourteen is going to be a busy one again, 51 games on the schedule, which should provide ample opportunity for Grant, Jeremy and Wilton to get their wins, but Week Fifteen will hold some intrigue, as the schedule goes way down to 31 games.  *cue ominous music*

Well, the hockey pool recovered somewhat from a disasterous Week Twelve, where the collective finished a total of -55, where in Week Thirteen, we were all +24 from Wednesday to Sunday.  So, that's a positive.

Steve's team finished the shortened week with a +3 rating, bettering his pool-leading total to +56 through 13 weeks, but Brian is hot on his tail, now only 9 points back of top spot.  Cam, who was our Basement Dweller, remarkably was even on the week, so his standing in 3rd place wasn't affected.

Another week, again no change in the leaderboard for the All-Star Game captains.  Steven Stamkos of the Lightning, Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals, P.K. Subban of the Predators and Connor McDavid of the Oilers remain as your four captains and voting actually ends today, so be sure to cast one more ballot (or 10) to see if your player gets the nod to lead their division in the 3-on-3 tournament.  There will definitely be a post for captains being named and then another for the teams, when they are announced.  Stay tuned!

Tony perhaps had one of the more notable weeks in the PIM Pool, as his team tied seven other entries in the weekly numbers for the least amount of penalties taken in the week, 4 minutes being the Lady Byng week of the season.  His team is still ranked 7th overall in the non-existent mini-game with 233 minutes in penalties through 13 weeks, only 35 minutes back of Wes' goon squad.  I thought it was worth mentioning in the Newsletter.  No one has had less than 4 minutes in a week and the record-high still belongs to Grant's team, who finished with 43 minutes in Week Seven.

Don't forget to tune into the Winter Classic today!  If you missed the preview for the game, just scroll down on the blog page just a little bit further,  it isn't too far away.  The Rangers play the Sabres at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, the 10-year anniversary of the first Winter Classic, also hosted by the Sabres.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

The shortened week didn't do us much for favours, as scoring remained the same between Weeks Twelve and Thirteen, hovering at the 12.5 points per NHL game on the schedule, which should't come as too much of a surprise, as participation didn't really fluctuate too much either.

The week gets busy here to open the 2018 calendar, with 51 games on the schedule and only one game on Monday, which means we'll be jam-packed here soon.

NEWS AND NOTES

It was confirmed on Sunday, that Calgary Flames forward Michael Frolik underwent surgery to repair his broken jaw and it will now keep him out of the Flames lineup for at least four weeks, possibly even longer than that.  With 15 points in 37 games this season, he may not have been the most effective scoring forward out there, but he was contributing from time-to-time.

When it has rained on Steve's team, it has been nothing short of flash-flooding this season and his Basement Dweller nod this week was another sign of that.  The race to stay out of the hockey pool basement is now officially on!

The Chicago Blackhawks continued their rotation in their lineup, as they finished their road trip through Western Canada last night, making defenseman Jan Rutta into a healthy scratch for their game against the Flames. This meant that Gustav Forsling came back in, taking his spot, but the result wasn't very positive with the switch, still dropping the decision, 4-3 in overtime, which suggests that there are more rotations to come soon.

This was bad news for Grant, who probably could have used the defender to help try and clinch the Mover & Shaker nod, while Jeremy got the extra skater game to no avail, his team didn't benefit much at all from having Forsling in.

Dallas Stars forward Alexander Radulov was pulled out of the game against the San Jose Sharks, due to an upper-body injury, but the team confirmed after the game, that given the lead over the Sharks at the time, there was no reason for Radulov to return and possibly make anything worse. He is expected to play in the team's next game, Tuesday night, at home to Columbus.

This could have been a slight scare for Brenda & Seward, but since the coaching staff seemed pretty confident that Radulov will play on Tuesday, it shouldn't be now.  I'm sure that the duo are pretty tired of their bad luck in this year's hockey pool, but Brenda won at fantasy football this year, so we shouldn't feel so bad for her.
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