Monday, March 07, 2011

Week Twenty-Two Newsletter

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Well, the newsletter isn't going to be jazzed up very much, I sort of ran out of time to get all of my media together to get it all done, but the writing is still fresh and exciting.

The season's end is quickly approaching with only five weeks left in the regular season. A crazy time is ahead, including some playoff races, some good money races in both pools and the playoff pool starting to come together.

At this time last year, we had just finished our first week outside of the Olympic Break and we were working towards the trade deadline. This year, we're already a week removed from the trade deadline and everyone has their focus on the playoffs and what they will mean to each of the teams in the race.

I don't know how much more I can ramble on here, so I won't. Let's kick into the weekly review and again, I apologize for the lack of pictures... it just happens to be one of those weeks.

PhotobucketIt wasn't a great week for overall scoring, but we did have some good individual efforts in Week Twenty-Two, led by four players that all finished the week with 8 points a piece. Thankfully, the tie-break was really simple, since it was one forward and three goalies that finished up that way, so our Player of the Week nod then goes to Jarome Iginla of the Flames.

The Flames have been on quite the tear recently, working their way back into the playoff conversation in the Western Conference and a large portion of the thanks should be going to their captain, who has been playing some lights out hockey over the past few weeks.  In Week Twenty-Two, he played better hockey than the rest of the skaters in the hockey pool and gets recognized for it.

The week opened up with a 6-0 win in St. Louis, where Iginla started off the week on a high note, scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist against the Blues.  Iginla then made it into back-to-back 3-point efforts in a 6-4 loss in Chicago against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, scoring a goal and adding 2 assists.  Friday night at home to Columbus, Iginla potted his 29th goal of the season in a 4-3 win and then scored his 30th of the season on Sunday night at home to Nashville.  This game him 5 goals and 3 assists on the week, leading the way for all drafted skaters.

Iginla's 8 points in Week Twenty-Two have now brought his season totals up to 66 points in 68 games played, ranking him 16th in pool scoring this season, right back up to where he had some of his better seasons.  A definite bounce-back year from the 69 points in 82 games he had last season.

PhotobucketIt was a pretty good race for the Mover and Shaker nod for the week, which came down to the wire for a few teams, but no tie-break was necessary, as Ryan M. took a clear win out of the week with 33 points, getting some real movement in the standings, going up from 14th position at the end of Week Twenty-One to 10th at the end of Week Twenty-Two.  Ryan had spent quite a bit of time in the Top 10 this season, but hadn't been there since the end of Week Fourteen, so he should be pleased about his return.

If Ryan's team remains hot through the coming week, he only trails 9th place by 5 points, but then there is some extra bits of separation and moving up the standings may require some monster weeks.  Also, what he did gain in the standings, could easily be taken away, he's only up 4 points on 13th spot, 14 points on 14th spot.

The players that led the way for Ryan in Week Twenty-Two were Miikka Kiprusoff (8 points), Rene Bourque (5), Jamie Benn (4), Dave Bolland (4) and a couple more players with 3 points a piece.  Overall, Ryan did get a bit of help from most of the players in his active line-up, except for a couple of injuries and Dwayne Roloson, who couldn't string together a win in Tampa this past week.

The strength of Ryan's team is more on the back end of things, since he has above average teams of defense and goaltending this season.  Ryan's pool team ranks in the top 10 of each of those categories, but his 10th place standing likely has more to do with some poor forwards, where he ranks 18th in scoring there.

With five weeks to go in the season, Ryan has worked his way into the third segment race with his big week, he now ranks 5th in the race, 29 points out of 1st, with 119 points.  He still has a shot, especially if his team can stay hot for the stretch run.  Allan S. is still our leader with 138 points, while Benson G. is following behind with 123 points at the moment.

PhotobucketIt was a rough week for Leon G. in the draft, as his team only managed to pick up 12 points, dropping down in the standings from 10th to 12th in the week.  Leon had been hovering in the Top 10 for the better part of the season, falling out occasionally for a week or two.

This is Leon's lowest standing in the pool since the end of Week Nine, when he finished the week 13th.  A couple of weeks after that, he was back in 9th place, so his team does have a bounce back quality to it.

Week Twenty-Two is the first week that Leon has seen a Basement Dweller nod this season, he does have on Mover and Shaker to his name this year, not long ago in Week Nineteen, which saw him up to 9th place, but it hasn't been great since.

Top players in the week for Leon were Drew Stafford and Marc Giordano, who each had 3 points for him in the week.  Nothing from his goaltenders or the rest of his defensemen and very little from the rest of his forwards.

PhotobucketIn the selection sheet pool in Week Twenty-Two, it looks like the rich teams got a little bit richer in the week, as the two top teams each pulled a couple of points away from the pack, but nothing too insurmountable.  Burc B. still has a 26-point lead over Wes M. through the week, while Mitch F. is only 4 points back of Wes, Scott G. is 20 points back of Wes and Kendra is 2 points back of Scott.  There is still plenty of racing to do in the standings, one team just has to hope that their unique players are going to raise them a little bit further than the rest.

Top week in the pool this week belongs to Peter H., who finished up Week Twenty-Two with 81 points, one of the bigger weeks in the pool (or so I think), helping him move up to 14th in the standings from 16th.  Peter owes his big week in the pool to Marian Hossa (7 points), Patrick Sharp (5), Nicklas Lidstrom (5), Alex Ovechkin (5) and six other players that had 4 points a piece.  With still three trades left in his coffers, Peter could do a little bit more damage in the standings, if he were to choose to, but it is rather unlikely that he'll see any prizes this year.

We did have a big mover in the standings that was different than our biggest week, as Zach H. moved up four spots, from 15th to 11th, thanks to a pretty big week of his own, picking up 77 points in Week Twenty-Two.  He is also just under 100 points behind the pool leader, so it is unlikely that his team will find any money as well, with only five weeks to go in the season.


It was another night off for Ryan Miller, as he has been getting the bulk of the starts for the Sabres, as they try for a playoff spot down the stretch. The Sabres don't mess around when it comes to their number one goalie, when he gets a night off, he doesn't even have to put on the pads. Sunday night was a good example of that, as Jhonas Enroth got the call from the minors to take a start and I would imagine the team will carry three goalies for the rest of the year, making sure that Miller gets his rest.

It appears that Jeff Schultz was a healthy scratch for the Washington Capitals on Sunday night, as there has been no mention of injury to the defender of late.  With the addition of Dennis Wideman to the blueline, there could be some extra competition going on for the top six spots, especially when Mike Green is deemed healthy enough to play again.  Schultz may have to step up his game, if he wants to get back in.

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After a bit of a lacklustre Hockey Night in Canada this past Saturday, they might just make up for it with this coming Saturday's doubleheader, as there are some playoff implications swirling around the two games that will go this week.

In the early game, two of the teams fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will go head-to-head, as the Buffalo Sabres travel up to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs. The Sabres go into the week in the final playoff position in the East with 72 points in the standings, while the Leafs, who are on a big charge at the moment, are only 5 points back in 10th spot, so this game could be significant to that race and may have some real feeling to it. No surprise as to who leads this game in pool scoring this season, as Ryan Miller has 63 points this year, ranking him 22nd in pool scoring through 22 weeks.

The late game has a potential 1st round match-up in the Western Conference playoffs, as the Calgary Flames play host to the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames are still playing with a few less games to work with in the standings, but have continued to stock pile the wins, going into Week Twenty-Three in 5th place in the West, 1 point back of Chicago for 4th and only 4 points up on 11th. The Canucks have found their missing stride over the weekend, winning in California on Saturday and Sunday and they now have a 7-point lead atop the Western Conference standings, but will likely use this game as a measuring stick for the playoffs. Daniel Sedin continues to lead the NHL in scoring with 81 points in 67 games this year, so leads the way into this game.

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