Monday, November 30, 2009

Week Nine Newsletter

The Waiver Draft has been done, the players have been entered. The whirlwind of trades before Week Nine all got put into place in the Sheet pool as well. I really do enjoy it when everyone is keen to make some moves and keep their teams competitive, ya know? I haven't really crunched most of the numbers, but this does look to be like another one of those good competitive years in the pools, which keeps me going and keeps you coming back for more.

I am going to try and crunch some numbers for next week's newsletter, but the job hunt continues on this end of the internet, so I really don't have a great deal of time to do much crunching. Next week will be a good one, I'm hoping.

Poll Question
The poll question for the week was really quite simple. I had picked four players that had been knocking around as some of the last names to be added to the Team Canada Olympic roster and I wanted to know which one of them you would prefer on your team. On the list, there was Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton and Jonathan Toews. When it was all said and done, it was Thornton who took the decision, taking six of the eleven votes cast during the week, which is a good majority. Toews did jump out to a very early lead and Stamkos got a vote late, but Thornton was definitely the favourite by the end of it all.

For Week Ten, I would like to know which of the top teams in the Eastern Conference would be your favourite for the Cup Finals now. In Week Eleven, I'll do the Western Conference, just to even it all out.

It was a pretty big scoring week in the Draft, 514 points were scored in the season-high 54 NHL games, and Ryan took 40 of those points to claim the Mover & Shaker for the second time this season. Ryan has been moving up the ranks in the pool, really working himself into the conversation for those money positions. Ryan moved up to 4th spot iin Week Eight, but he managed to close the gap between 3rd and 4th in Week Nine, giving him good pouncing position for the start of Week Ten.

All but one of Ryan's players managed to score for him in the week, so you know there was good consistency throughout his line-up. Olli Jokinen and Brad Richards were tops on his team with 6 points each to help lead the way, Jarome Iginla had 5 points, while both Patrice Bergeron and Patrick Marleau each picked up 4 points in the week. That's what you like to see out of your top players in the week, some good quality top scoring.

Ryan's major climb to the top is definitely because of his skaters, as he has leaped to the top of the pile in points per skater game (0.765) and he's also 3rd in skater games played (281). If you're a healthy team and you're getting points in games played, you're going to be at the top of the pile. Another week or two like that and he'll be in the money for sure.

Jersey PrizeOf course, after Week Nine, we only have one week to work with in the jersey race for one of the two Winter Classic jerseys available for prizes. Ryan now leads the way with 40 points, while there is a 3-way tie for 2nd place with 37 points, between Allan, Leon and Dale B.. Larry sits 5th with 36 points, so he's not too far out of the conversation either. With the new Waiver Draft picks in place, this should open it up a fair bit over the next seven weeks.

We've got ourselves another tie for the Basement Dweller again, but with all the scoring that was involved this week, both teams were not frightening in terms of low scoring. Both teams finished with 20 points a piece, as it was the pair of Johns, John B. and John P., that finished with the lights off and the door closed. Both teams are not doing well in the standings, as John B. is currently sitting in last place, even with a boost from his Waiver Draft picks, while John P. is now in 14th spot, close to dropping another position soon. Goaltending does seem to be an issue between both teams, as the two teams combined only managed 2 points from the crease in Week Nine, Burns' due to injury, while Preston's has gone somewhat cold, with limited starts. The best player between the two teams was Waiver Draft pick, Dustin Penner, on Burns' team, who had 5 points in the week.

It's amazing what one game can do for a player's stats, especially in a long week like Week Nine. Sidney Crosby takes his first Player of the Week honour this season with an 8-point effort in Week Nine, thanks in large part to Saturday's game at home to the Rangers. Unfortunately for Benson, Crosby's effort didn't quite lift him up anywhere in the standings, rather just kept him from being in the basement positions in the week.

On Saturday night, Crosby had himself a whale of a game, scoring a hat-trick and adding two assists for a 5-point night, which elevated him past a number of players for top spot in the week. The big night definitely made up for being shut out on Friday night on Long Island, while he did manage to pick up a goal on Monday night in Florida and a goal and an assist at home to Montreal on Wednesday.

Crosby's 30 points this season has him ranked in 14th position in pool rankings, only 7 points behind top spot in pool scoring.

There was a lot of high expectations for the Detroit Red Wings and some of their new talented young players, but Ville Leino has been on a very cold streak of late. Leino didn't manage a point in Week Nine and has only 5 points in 24 games this season with the Red Wings. That certainly wasn't the kind of production that a lot of poolies thought he was going to have on such a high-powered team, but what can ya do, right?

Stat Pack

Well, John P. might be struggling in the Draft, but he's running away with the Sheet pool at the minute. There were plenty of points to be had and he found a way to pick up a good portion of them. John finished off the week with 87 points, tops in the pool, extending his lead to 41 points (from 31 points at the end of Week Eight). John cashed in points from Sidney Crosby (8 points), Evgeni Malkin (6), Martin Brodeur (6), Joe Thornton (5) and Alex Edler (5), not to mention having very few zeros down his weekly gain column. It was a pretty good week for him.

Moving up the most positions was both Roger B. and Ernest G., as they climbed six spots each up the ladder. Roger had an 82-point week to jump up to 16th spot in the standings, while Ernest picked up 84 points to move up to 24th in the standings. If you use your trades, you should be able to do well enough to move up some serious positions.

There wasn't much for trade activity in the week, actually none at all. So, I'm not expecting to see much for movement in the Sheet, other than the little scoring differences we see every week. The status quo will continue around there.

Other News and Notes

A pair of injuries to Sheet players for the Sabres this weekend, as both Craig Rivet and Paul Gaustad were both carted off the ice with knee injuries. Rivet slid into the boards with both legs, injuring his knees and ankles, while Gaustad's injury is quite similar, crashing into the boards. It doesn't sound like either player will be on the shelf for too long, but some times you just never know.

Well, Joni Pitkanen is sure turning into a dud of a fantasy player, isn't he? He missed yet another game with an upper-body injury, which was undisclosed, which leaves his games played total at 17 games. It really does seem like one game on and one game off for the Finnish defender, which did get Ryan to drop him in the Week Eight Waiver Draft. You would do well to drop him in your pool if you had him.

The Islanders lost centre Frans Nielsen to an undisclosed upper-body injury in Saturday afternoon's tilt with the Devils. As of Monday morning, there is still no details as to what the injury actually is, so we have to just consider him day-to-day with the upper-body injury. He wasn't a popular pick on the Sheet, so there is very little worry there.

Finally, it looks like Ed Jovanovski has re-aggravated his lower-body injury, which kept him out of the Coyotes line-up for a few weeks. He missed Sunday's contest against the Ducks, but otherwise, there has been no official word as to how long the big defender will be out of the line-up.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Night in Canada

It's another huge slate of games on Saturday night, 14 to be exact, but it's still only a doubleheader on CBC. There are three afternoon games, but one is Sportsnet West and the other two will be on Centre Ice here in Calgary, so they don't get mentioned.

In the early game on CBC, the Maple Leafs will be in Boston to take on the Bruins. This is quite the Don Cherry match-up, as he supports both teams quite well. The Bruins are at the top of the Northeast Division, while the Leafs are at the bottom, but that shouldn't take away from the quality of the game. Boston plays hard, but just barely finds ways to win, while Toronto works hard, but they find ways to lose. That does give you an idea of which way this game is going to go, but it should be entertaining.

In the late game, the Flames travel down to San Jose for a tilt with the Sharks. Both teams currently lead their division, going into Week Ten, so this should be a quality match-up between superstar forwards and goalies. If this game is to open up and be a high scoring affair, I would imagine that it would be quite the good game to watch.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Minor Injury for Zidlicky

A minor lower-body injury kept offensive defenseman, Marek Zidlicky, out of the Wild's game against the Avalanche on Saturday night. Zidlicky was a game-time decision on Saturday and he even took the pre-game skate, but it was a no-go for the game. I would imagine that Zidlicky will be a game-time decision again or even 100% for when the Wild take on the Predators on Wednesday night.

ImplicationsStuart has one of the leading defense teams in the Draft with 65 points, only three behind the leader, Stuart. It hasn't quite translated into a better position in the standings, as Stuart sits in 10th place going into Sunday's action, but he is only 27 points out of the money. This minor injury should only be a hiccup.

Zidlicky was not a popular pick in Box 10, not being taken at all in the Sheet pool.

Hejduk Out Day-to-Day

The Avalanche were without one of their top scorers on Saturday night, as Milan Hejduk missed the second half of the home & home series with the Minnesota Wild. Hejduk was injured in the first half of the series on Friday night. The injury is not thought to be too serious and he should be out on the Avalanche's next road trip starting on Monday night in Tampa Bay.

Hejduk has 11 goals and 8 assists in 24 games with the Avalanche this year.

ImplicationsIf this is the only game missed, that isn't terrible news for Benson in the Draft, who currently sits in 11th place, 31 points out of the money heading into Sunday's action, with one skater game to play on Sunday.

On the Sheet, Hejduk is a member of Box 2, where he wasn't taken at all.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Sutton for Isles

Saturday afternoon's tilt between the Islanders and Devils saw the absence of Box 29 defenseman, Andy Sutton, from the Isles line-up. Sutton sat out with a groin injury, which will need to be re-evaluated later on this weekend. For right now, consider Sutton out day-to-day, which is still bad news for the one team that has taken him in the Sheet pool. He may not be in a box that needs changing, but it could be considered.

Hemsky Done

The Oilers have learned that they top forward, Ales Hemsky, will now have to undergo surgery to repair a shoulder injury. The surgery is considered major and it will keep the forward out of the line-up for upwards of six months. Hemsky was injured earlier in the week in the game against the Kings on a hard check into the boards by Michal Handzus.

Hemsky was enjoying a good start to his season, scoring seven goals and 15 assists in the first 21 games of the season, which was better than a point per game. Hemsky has already missed three games this season, one with the flu and two with a different shoulder injury, but he just couldn't catch a break with this latest injury and this will be how his season will finish off. His offense will be dearly missed in the Oilers line-up.

ImplicationsAmazingly, Hemsky was a 6th round pick in this year's Draft. Stacey had himself a pretty good bargain up until now with the injury, because you really are not supposed to get a point-per-game player that late in the Draft. Unfortunately, Hemsky will stop at 22 points and the first Waiver Draft has already passed, so he'll have to wait until Week Sixteen before he can change up his injured forward. Stacey currently sits in 10th spot in the standings.

On the Sheet, it was no surprise that Hemsky was a part of Box 1 on the Sheet, but it was a very competitive box, so his only selection should not come as a surprise. I should be expecting a trade up for Hemsky before Monday's games start.

Clarkson Out Six Weeks

Bad news for the Devils, as they have lost one of their promising scorers for a long period of time, as David Clarkson has suffered a fractured leg on Friday and he'll out of the line-up for upwards of six weeks. The official word for Clarkson is 4-to-6 weeks, but we can assume it'll be the latter part of the diagnosis.

Clarkson has been good for the Devils this year, scoring seven goals and eight assists in 23 games. Saturday's afternoon match against the Islanders will be the first game he'll miss.

ImplicationsClarkson was in the running for being picked in the Week Eight Waiver Draft, but no one was confident enough in his abilities to pick him up. Clarkson is also a member of Box 22 on the Sheet, but wasn't taken at all this season. Can't say that I'm surprised.

Sheet Scratches on Friday

Box 14 defenseman, Jeff Woywitka, made another appearance in the press box for the Stars on Friday night. Woywitka is planted firmly in the rotation of defensemen bound for the scratches box on the official line-up card. Friday in Phoenix was no exception for the young defender. His fantasy value is quite low at the moment.

An illness has struck Wild forward, Antti Miettinen, and it's kept him out of the line-up for a couple of games now, including Friday afternoon's contest against the Avalanche. The Wild and Avalanche go again on Saturday night and it seems doubtful that Miettinen will be available for the game.

The Coyotes decided to scratch Box 8 forward, Taylor Pyatt, on Friday night. Pyatt hasn't quite been the scoring forward that they were expecting from his free agent signing, so a night up in the press box was to be expected. I would also expect Pyatt to return to the line-up on Sunday in Anaheim, thanks to some more injuries on Saturday.

The Blues were without their captain, Eric Brewer, because of a bruise on his that he suffered on Wednesday against Dallas, thanks to a hard cross-check. The Box 12 defender has had some troubles with his health this year, not getting to start with the club this season and now has missed a game thanks to this injury. I don't think he'll be out for very long, as it's just a comfort injury.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Redden Out One Week

According to a report on today, Wade Redden will be out of the Rangers line-up for at least a week with a shoulder injury. Redden was injured on Wednesday night in the game against Panthers when he took a hard hit along the boards.

In 25 games, Redden has one goal and five assists.

ImplicationsRedden doesn't have a great deal of fantasy value, especialy with only six points this season. He is listed on the Sheet, sitting in Box 27 and he was taken three times this year.

Lucic Out Again

Well, it's officially a tough year for Milan Lucic, who has already missed 14 games with a broken finger, will now miss a another good chunk of the season with a high ankle sprain, which he suffered the other night against the Minnesota Wild. The Bruins expect to be without Lucic for upwards of four weeks, but the high ankle sprain is a tricky injury to figure out, as it can keep some players out for much longer than expected.

Lucic has figured into 10 games for the Bruins this year, scoring two goals and three assists, which only adds up to half a point per game, but he has an offensive upside to his regular rough & tumble style, which a lot of poolies know about and are now waiting to capitalize on. If your pool involves penalty minutes, he becomes a fantasy superstar, since he can score and fight in the same game and can be fairly impressive at both.

ImplicationsIn the Draft, Dale B. had the opportunity to trade up with Lucic, which he did. He had dropped him for Jarret Stoll in the second round of the Week Eight draft, which hasn't worked out too well for him yet, but there is plenty of time to fix that. In the same round, Stuart decided with Lucic's return, he would take a gamble on him, knowing his scoring capacity, but now that is seemingly going to backfire on him.

On the Sheet, Lucic's first long-term injury cost him a lot of selections, but he still holds on to 10 picks, which probably should be dropped here right away.