Monday, January 25, 2010

Week Seventeen Newsletter

What a great scoring week in the NHL in Week Seventeen. It was almost meant to be that we had the second Waiver Draft take place for it, that way more teams in the Draft could take advantage of the plethora of points that rained down in the week.

We saw a record-week in the Draft for points overall, as 544 points were awarded throughout the pool in the week. That meant that the average week for the 17 teams was 32 points each, unfortunately, we did have a team that couldn't climb over the 20-point mark, which will be touched upon later and we had a tie for the most points, not to mention four teams that all eclipsed the 40-point mark this week.

On the Sheet, we also saw some record numbers of points, which meant that the scoring was throughout the league and not just the really good players. You have to have some pretty good depth players in the Sheet to make your mark in that pool. You got to love record weeks, right? Right.

Well, let's hop to it... I'm avoiding the polls over the last few weeks, just because of a lack of votes. Maybe we'll have something back here soon.

In this ridiculous scoring week, we had to go to the tie-break to decide who takes the Mover & Shaker nod for Week Seventeen and only then was it not really close. Stuart took the weekly nod in the first week with our Waiver Draft picks, after his team notched both 44 points and 15 goals in the week. His 44 points was the highest weekly total since Week Five, where his brother, Leon, notched 48 points and its the first 40+ week since his other brother, Benson, had 42 in Week Thirteen.

With the big week, Stuart has moved a little bit closer to the top ten, moving up from 13th to 11th, but he still has a 23-point gap to overcome to get into the top ten positions. If Stuart can get himself another big week like this, that gap could very well disappear fairly quickly and we could see a new arrival to the top ten just after the Olympic Break.

Only one player on his active roster failed to pick up a point in Week Seventeen, which was Alexander Frolov of the Kings. On the other hand, Stuart saw some great production from some of his other players to make up for that poor performance. Jeff Carter led the way with 7 points in the week, while Antero Niittymaki had 6, Dan Boyle had 5 and Matt Duchene, Alex Ponikarovsky & Sergei Gonchar all had 4 points each. That's a pretty solid week altogether, especially with Waiver Draft pick-up, Duchene, getting in the act as well.

Stuart's team has been fairing well statistically, when its been healthy. His skaters rank fourth in scoring proficiency, averaging .691 points-per-game, but his team ranks 15th in games played, hence the reason why's he's down below the top ten in the standings. His goaltending has not done any better, ranking below a point-per-60 minutes played, which also has him in 15th spot in the rankings. If Stuart is going to catch & pass Allan, he'll have to rely on his skaters to do so.

Jersey PrizeAnd now that we've handed out another jersey, the last jersey is now being fought for and its the one in the picture, the Boston Bruins Winter Classic jersey. We're already off to a fierce start, as both Dale B. and Stuart are leading the way after the first week, both with 44 points. Stuart, of course, has the first tie-break of goals scored, but there's only a small chance we'll need it in the end. John P. and Chris have also had great starts to the competition, scoring 41 points each and they'll be in the running down the stretch.

We have a new Basement Dweller in both senses of the term this week. Trevor B. had only 17 points in Week Seventeen, which was the lowest in the highest scoring week of the season and now with some big weeks around him, he has dropped into 17th (last) place in the standings and may be staying there for the bulk of the year. Trevor did make a couple of moves at the Waiver Draft, but nothing terribly significant, pretty well writing off the season.

Trevor has been on a steady decline in the standings since Week Seven, where he had peaked at 10th place. Unfortunately, since Week Seven, he only moved up the standings once and then has fallen all the way down to 17th place, where he now sits 7 points behind John P., who had a top week this week.

Already riding a 3-game winning streak going into Week Seventeen, Craig Anderson continued his hot streak as he won the three games scheduled at home in the week and two of them were won by means of the shutout. That gave the first Waiver Draft prize and even 10 points and his first Player of the Week honour of the season.

Anderson shutout the Oilers on Monday, making 24 saves in the effort. On Friday, he made 29 saves in a 2-1 win over the Predators. Finally, on Sunday, Anderson made 27 stops to blank the Dallas Stars, leaving him with the title of best player in the week.

Anderson needed that shutout, as there was a player ready to take the title with 9 points and that extra two just lifted him over the top.

Anderson is a member of Chris M.'s team this season and he aided him up to 12th place from being in last spot for the first Waiver Draft of the season. That's some good production this year.

Stat Pack

Is there really anything new in the Sheet pool after Week Seventeen? Not really. John P. still has a pretty big lead, although it shrunk a little, depending who you ask in the top five. John's lead is officially 52 points over Paul W., who actually lost 8 points to our leader in the week. Wes, who sits in 3rd, lost 9 points, but Clayton, who's in 4th, made up 4 points, catching all three teams that are in front of him. There is now only 4 points that separate 2nd from 4th, so we're due for a great race for those money spots and if John can come back down to Earth, we could have a great race for most of the money.

It was a new record week for the pool, as the high scoring NHL put together a 99-point week for Clayton in Week Seventeen. I don't think this pool has ever seen 100 points. I just checked the 2009 pool and the high week there was 91 points, so we've beaten that a few times this season, but with a more condensed schedule, the league is trying to fit more games into a week, if they can, so it was bound to happen I guess. We might see a 100-point week this season yet.

Four teams moved up three spots this week,; Allan S., Dale C., Murray E. and Scot J., all had gains this week in the standings, which is all of what anyone is looking for in the pool in any year. There were a few big drops in the standings, but we won't go there at all.

Other News and Notes

An interesting situation is brewing in Atlanta, as the Thrashers coaching staff has decided to end Slava Kozlov's ironman streak of 251 straight games due to being a healthy scratch on Saturday night. Kozlov hasn't played terribly well this season and has been a bit of a fantasy flop, so the scratch is meant to be somewhat of a motivator. You can only hope that the message is translated well by the veteran forward.

The Hurricanes are continuing to develop some of their young talent down in the AHL this season and Zach Boychuk, who has been up a couple of times, was sent back down last weekend, but it was kind of missed on this end. Boychuk will likely see a little bit more game action with the big club this year, only because the team has dealt with all sorts of injuries all year long.

An upper-body injury kept Paul Mara out of the Habs line-up on Saturday night, as the Canadiens took on his former team, the Rangers. Of course, there was no real description of the injury, but he has been put on the list as out day-to-day for the time being. I don't really expect to see Mara much this week, likely getting a few more games off to rest his ailing body.

A lower-body injury has landed defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on the injured reserve over the weekend, meaning that he'll be out for at least a week with this injury, which we could all expect to be a groin injury of sorts. A week's worth of rest, if not more, should help his cause and being 100% should help his fantasy value.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

Hockey Day in Canada

PhotobucketHoorah! The best day of the year is coming up this weekend... Hockey Day in Canada! The entire Saturday made up of hockey stories from across the country and an all-Canadian tripleheader on the NHL schedule. How fantastic is that? I'll tell ya how fantastic it is... it's super-duper, ultra fantastic!

Coverage starts with "Celebrating the Game" at 10am MT, which will have a number of great stories and covering some of the issues in the game, coming from Stratford, Ontario. That's usually good for some excellent stories about hockey and what it means to Canada.

In the early game, at Noon MT, the Canadiens go to Ottawa to take on the Senators. The Habs are in the middle of the playoff fight, while the Sens have worked hard to get themselves healthy again, while being in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff positions.

The usual early game spot, 5pm MT, sees the Canucks already starting their 14-game road trip, invading Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs at the ACC. The Canucks have been hot at the right time, as they head out onto this trip, while the Leafs are still trying to sort out spots for the 2011 season.

Finally, in the late game, we're reviving the Battle of Alberta again, as the Oilers and Flames renew hostilities in Calgary, which if the game was played right now, it would be two struggling teams going after one another. It will be interesting to see how both teams are doing heading into this match-up.

Be sure to check out my Twitter page on Saturday, as I should be online all day!

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