Monday, January 31, 2011

Week Seventeen Newsletter

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Are we all All-Star'd out at this point?  I didn't think so.  Okay, maybe some of you could be, but I'm certainly not.  The All-Star Game is so much fun, a great escape from the grind of the regular season.  Plus, it's a little bit of a mid-season vacation from doing all the statistics and blogging, cutting it down by a lot.

We don't kick off the resumption of the regular season until Tuesday, but I thought I would give you the recap of the short week as a bit of a primer.  I can tell you one thing, the short week didn't come up short in stories, except maybe injuries and scratches.

Here ya go...

PhotobucketYes, even in these short weeks, we might as well have ourselves a little bit of fun with the weekly honours, including Player of the Week. Amazingly, there was one standout player in the three days that there were games in the week, as a few teams did play a couple of games this week, giving ample time to those who really wanted a mention this year.

In Los Angeles, there were a couple of games played, to which the home team, the Kings, plucked out a couple of wins before the All-Star break, thanks in large part to Jonathan Quick, the goalie of record for both games.  Well, not only did he win both games, he managed to pick up a shutout as well, earning him a pool-best 6 points in the week.

On Monday night, Quick made 34 stops against the visiting Bruins in his shutout win, while on Wednesday night, he concluded his weekly efforts with a 22-save performance over the Kings' division rival, the Sharks.  Just like that, it was a 6-point week and he gets his name and picture published on the blog and everyone is happy.

The big week has now lifted the Los Angeles backstop into 11th place in pool scoring rankings with 55 points thus far, 5th among all goalies on the list at the moment.  If you didn't think Quick was the real deal, finishing in 16th in 2010, his better ranking this year will likely get you really thinking about him for the playoff pool or the draft next year.

PhotobucketThere may have only been three days of active games on the schedule, but there was definitely one team that really took advantage of the remaining games before the break.  Dale B. picked up his Mover and Shaker nod of the season in Week Seventeen, thanks to 20 points in the short week.  Granted, with the waiver draft order being decided after Week Seventeen's action, it may have not been the greatest of scenarios to move up the ladder three spots, like Dale did, going from 11th to 8th in a flash.

Dale was able to capitalize on Brad Boyes and Cam Ward each having a couple good games each, picking up 4 points, while Brendan Morrison, Thomas Vanek and Jimmy Howard each picked up a pair of points each as well.  That's what you would call the right combination of players, scoring enough points at just the right time.

It's been a bit of a bumpy year for Dale B., but he's managed to keep himself in the middle of the standings for the bulk of the season.  His current position of 8th place is his peak position this season, starting Week One in 8th, reaching that point again after Week Ten and then again now.  With any luck, he can finally get some traction out of a good waiver draft pick or two and maybe start a climb into the money conversation in the last segment of the year.

Speaking of segment races, we only have one more week to go in the second segment, with action concluding at the end of Week Eighteen and the lead has since been increased to 7 points, between Kristy and Don over Don D..  The lead was 5 points at the end of last week, but 7 points is still very manageable for one week's worth of work.  Kristy and Don currently have 236 points through eight weeks of the second segment, while Don D. has 229.  Allan S. and Stuart G. are now long shots at 217 points, a 19-point difference, but it isn't out of the question, with a bad week and a great week meeting at the same time.

PhotobucketThe waiver draft just can't come soon enough for Dale C..  A 3rd consecutive Basement Dweller nod, falling deeper into the depths of the basement, thanks to only 2 points from his already ice-cold team.  Only Tomas Kaberle and Derek Morris were able to pick up points for Dale, as it continues to just 'not be his season, at all.'  His first order of business is to move out the big injury to Derek Roy, which he did when this article was being written, taking Mikhail Grabovski in his stead.  Even a Maple Leafs player will be enough to help his team, just a little.

I don't really think there is too much to be said here.  It would be an utter miracle if Dale's team found its way into the third segment race with a couple of replacements, but normally cold players, like Alex Kovalev and Zach Bogosian, would have to revive some sort of spirit of a past season or two to make that at all possible.

PhotobucketEven with 32 players on your roster in the selection sheet pool, having only three days to play was not going to really cause a big stir... but it didn't stop our team on a mission, as Burc B.'s team finished its long climb and took top spot in the standings, taking the tie-break over Wes M., as both teams finished the week with 1,045 points a piece.

Burc really started his climb out of Week Eight, where he sat in 11th place, going up one position every week, except for Week Sixteen (where he went up two) and concluded in Week Seventeen at the top of the heap.  In Week Eight, he was 50 points back of Wes, who led at the time, and clawed all the way up after making some trades and just found a way.  Truly a great story for this pool, I must say.

The best three days in the pool didn't belong to Burc points-wise though, as Cheryl D. made another trip back up to the top of the heap, but only managed to stay in 11th place in the standings.  Cheryl found 4 points from Roberto Luongo and Chris Pronger, while Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole all had 3 points in the week.  That's a solid return of points on some pretty good players in the pool.  Cheryl still has four trades to use up and ten weeks left to make a difference.  If Burc's story is any indication of what can happen, it might not be a bad time to use them.

Only two more teams joined the 1,000-point club in Week Seventeen, so now we have seven members in the club.  I would imagine five more should be able to join after Week Eighteen, with a good chance that a few more might land the leap by the skin of their teeth.

Only a couple of trades were made on Monday and people have all of the All-Star weekend to make their decisions, plus an extra day on Monday, since puck drop next week isn't until Tuesday.  Don't delay or procrastinate... you might forget altogether!


In what will act as a precursor to the always-popular Hockey Day in Canada, CBC will be broadcasting an early triple-header on the first Saturday of February. How very exciting!  If there was ever any reason not to leave your television on a Saturday, or back-to-back Saturdays for that matter, it would be a tripleheader on CBC.

In the early game, the New York Rangers take their act to the Bell Centre, where the Montreal Canadiens will play host.  Both teams have some serious playoff aspirations, more like aspirations of just making it to the playoffs, then figuring out the long run when they get there.  After Week Seventeen in the regular season, the Rangers sit in 6th in the East, while the Habs are in 7th.  This will be clawing over one team to get to the promised land. Leading this game in pool scoring going into Week Eighteen is Henrik Lundqvist, who has 60 points already this year.

In the regular 5pm MT game, it isn't quite the same story.  Two teams who are currently sitting on the outside looking in on the Eastern Conference playoff picture will meet at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo.  The Maple Leafs will travel down across the border to meet up with the Sabres, two teams also going in opposite directions at the end of Week Seventeen.  The Leafs, losers of three straight games, will go up against a Sabres team that has won there last two... not counting the games that will be played leading up to this match. I don't think either team has a real shot at the playoffs, but that doesn't mean it won't be an entertaining game to watch.  It should come as no surprise that Ryan Miller leads all players in this game in pool points going into the week, he has 48 points this season, well down from what we usually expect from him.

Finally, in the late game, the Western Conference gets a crack at the television, as two teams, surprising in where they stand in the standings face off for a chance to climb into the playoff picture.  The Los Angeles Kings, who were touted as one of the favourites to win the Pacific Division, head into Calgary to take on the Flames, who are climbing their way out of the basement in the West to have a shot at the final playoff spot in the West.  Going into Week Eighteen, they sit 11th (Kings) and 12th (Flames) and no less than two points out of 8th (Sharks).  It is now super-crazy down at the bottom of the table in the West and this game should have a lot of meaning to it, which could lift the spirits of everyone on the ice.  Leading all players going into this game in points is our current Player of the Week, so the picture of the 2nd place player in the race will go up... Anze Kopitar, who has 49 points this season.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 All-Star Game Results in the Draft

2011 All-Star Game LogoWell, that was one hell of an All-Star Game this year and a 10-9 game for Team Lidstrom was exactly what the doctor ordered for the case of entertainment doldrums you may have been suffering.

The game was quick, there were some pretty goals, the personalities were all on display and the whole thing was an overwhelming success.  I know what you're asking though, 'how did the All-Star Game look according to the breakdown in the draft?'  Well, let me tell you.

Leading the way among all the All-Stars were Loui Eriksson and Shea Weber, who each finished with 4 points each, Eriksson getting the tie-break with a pair of goals to his name this year.  He was the pool MVP of the game, while the fans voted for Patrick Sharp as the game's MVP.  Very fair, Sharp was on his way to a 4-point game as well, if he didn't have an assist taken away from a 1st period goal.  Eriksson potted an empty-netter in the last couple minutes to raise his stock to the top of the table.

Eriksson was Larry's bread and butter in the standings, being one of four players on his team in the game, but he had just fallen short of the highest total.  Leon, who has Weber on his team, added Kris Letang and Rick Nash to his scoring total, picking up 8 points on only three players.  That's a good night at the All-Star Game.

Pool TeamPlayersPoints
Kristy and Don67
John P.33
Don D.33
Dale B.20
Grand Total4261

Unfortunately, unless you've made some bets on the side, there is no actual prize for winning the All-Star Game in the pool. For the three teams in the draft that didn't have any players in the All-Star Game, they should be glad there is no prize for it all, that way they didn't lose out on anything.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Second Waiver Draft Has Begun

It's All-Star Weekend in the NHL and there isn't a great deal of news to cover, so I thought I would throw together a quick post, making sure all my poolies know that we're under way in the second Waiver Draft, a few days early, since the order has already been decided.

With the order going from last-to-first and then last-to-first again, we should see some interesting picks from the lower teams, taking away the best players from the top teams, who are fighting it out for the money.

Dale C., who picked 8th in the 1st round of the first waiver draft, he has fallen to the deepest depths of the standings with too many Basement Dweller nods, so he got to pick first.  Of course, he had to move Derek Roy out of his team, as he found a season-long injury.  Replacing Roy is Mikhail Grabovski of the Leafs, who was completely passed over in the first waiver draft, but has kept a steady pace of scoring, keeping up as the highest scoring forward available.

Next up in the draft, picking 2nd in consecutive waiver drafts is Derek W., who decided to drop Mark Recchi, one of his first waiver draft pick-ups and take Olli Jokinen of the Flames, who has started to score again.  This should at least give Derek someone to cheer for on both of his teams, both the draft team and his favourite team.  Otherwise, this pick makes little sense.  Olli should be a healthy enough body to possibly raise the number of games played in the year before the end of the season.

Picking 3rd in the draft, up two spots from the first waiver draft, was Clayton C., who also had a season-long injury to dispose of with his first move.  Tomas Fleischmann of the Colorado Avalanche went down with an aneurysm in his blood, so he was traded off for Alex Steen of the St. Louis Blues.   Clayton's draft team finished Week Seventeen with the least amount of skater games played this year, so a healthy body will be welcomed on his side.

With the 4th pick in the draft, Wes M. wanted to make sure that he stayed ahead of Clayton C. in the standings and was able to take the best goalie available, Pekka Rinne of the Predators.  Rinne was dropped due to injury in the first waiver draft, so upon a healthy few weeks back, he was an attractive pick-up for Wes, who dropped Nikolai Khabibulin of the Oilers to accommodate the move.  I think most would agree, if you had a goalie to move, Rinne was a no-brainer.

Interesting note, this is likely the first time a healthy player, who has won a Player of the Week nod in the pool, has been dropped twice in the same year for an upgrade.  Khabibulin was the Week One honouree and has now been dropped by both Stacey C. and Wes M..

The 5th pick in the draft went to Neil B., who has quietly kept on chugging away in the pool, but has fallen drastically from the first waiver draft, having the 13th pick the first time around to 5th now.  Letting go of an injured player was the big focus of his pick, dropping Andy McDonald of the Blues and picking up Teddy Purcell from the Lightning.  Purcell has found a good home in Tampa and has risen up the ranks of the available players for the draft.  This might be a pretty good pick-up.

With the 6th pick, we find another team that didn't find any improvement from the first waiver draft, as John P., who picked 9th last time around, gets a better chance to improve his standing with this pick.  With his selections, he dropped Senators forward Peter Regin, who has been in the doghouse for a while now, and picked up Nikolai Kulemin, a part of the Leafs top line.  Kulemin was close to the top of the available players in the last draft as well, but the Leafs jersey was enough to keep people away from him for a while, but much like Grabovski, the consistency of scoring had to be kind of attractive.

The last pick that I have written down for this post is Ryan M.'s 7th pick overall, in where he has kept on using Tampa Bay goaltending this season, dropping the close-to-being-healthy-again Mike Smith, for the new kid (okay, not a kid) on the block Dwayne Roloson.  The goaltending in Tampa was sketchy, at best, before Roloson got into town and since the arrival of the oldest goalie in the NHL, the Lightning have a renewed sense of confidence, leading the Southeast Division going into the All-Star break.

Next up in the waiver draft, it goes Jani K., Peter H. and then Larry D. to round out the top ten picks.  Jani has a few candidates for his drop, but no one seems to be head and shoulders over the rest of them at the moment.  I could see Peter dropping a guy like Steve Sullivan for another forward, while Larry will likely drop Marc Savard, due to his new (but old) concussion problem.

I'm not sure how much more I will get to write for this waiver draft, but if the first round will conclude over the weekend, I'm sure I can draw up 13 more photos and paragraphs for the blog.

Datsyuk Expected to Return

Good news for the Detroit Red Wings, as they have activated Russian superstar Pavel Datsyuk, just before the All-Star break. The team is expecting Datsyuk to be ready to play on Wednesday night, when they take on the Senators in Ottawa.  Datsyuk has been out since Christmas with a broken hand, but the Red Wings have kept on chugging along without him, still ranking 2nd in the Western Conference standings.

Datsyuk has been scoring at over a point-per-game this season and his 39 points in 33 games still ranks 65th in pool scoring this year, his lowest ranking since 2003.

ImplicationsThe return of Datsyuk will be welcomed wholeheartedly by Stacey C., who has him in draft this year.  When Datsyuk left with an injury, Stacey was ranked 11th in the standings, 27 points out of the money, and upon his return, Stacey sits 10th, 35 points out of the money.

Between then and now, Stacey has kept a reasonable pace without his 1st round pick, but would likely be in much better shape, if Datsyuk had been active over the last six weeks.  The teams around Stacey have also seen their fair share of injuries, making the loss of Datsyuk a little easier to swallow, but not gaining ground on the money has to still sting a little bit.

Link to the Injury/News Page

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where Did Our All-Stars Go?

2011 All-Star Game LogoHow do the All-Star teams stack up in the pool?  Does Team Staal or Team Lidstrom have all of one team's players or are they spread over both sides of the table?

Well, only here will you actually get to find out how the drafted players look according to our draft.

Remarkably, the second segment leading team, the duo Kristy and Don, have both captains going into this contest, Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal, which already separates some players from one team.  Frankly, they just can't lose now... or can they?  Wait a second, what's really at stake?  Nothing, except for some bragging rights, but they aren't worth too much... or are they?

Team Staal at the NHL All-Star Game
        Team Lidstrom at the NHL All-Star Game
hurricanesEric Staal
Kristy & Don
 red wingsNicklas Lidstrom
Kristy & Don
hurricanesRyan Kesler
Don D.
 lightningMartin St. Louis
hurricanesMike Green
 lightningPatrick Kane
John P.
lightningCam Ward
Dale B.
 lightningSteven Stamkos
lightningAlex Ovechkin
 lightningDuncan Keith
lightningDaniel Sedin
Kristy & Don
 lightningHenrik Sedin
lightningZdeno Chara
 lightningShea Weber
lightningRick Nash
 lightningTim Thomas
lightningHenrik Lundqvist
Don D.
 lightningDaniel Briere
John P.
lightningMarc Staal
Dale B.
 lightningDustin Byfuglien
lightningPatrick Sharp
 lightningJonathan Toews
lightningDan Boyle
 lightningMarc-Andre Fleury
John P.
lightningCarey Price
 lightningJonas Hiller
Kristy & Don
lightningJeff Skinner
Don D.
 lightningBrad Richards
lightningKris Letang
 lightningKeith Yandle
Kristy & Don
lightningClaude Giroux
 lightningBrent Burns
lightningErik Karlsson
 lightningMartin Havlat
Kristy & Don
lightningCorey Perry
 lightningAnze Kopitar
lightningPatrik Elias
 lightningMatt Duchene
lightningDavid Backes
 lightningLoui Eriksson
lightningPaul Stastny
 lightningPhil Kessel