First Jersey Prize Awarded
We are officially through eight weeks in the regular season, the waiver draft is done and the first segment of the season is done. With a little bit of authority over the last couple of weeks, Allan S. was our first segment leader, finishing the first eight weeks with 199 points, 3 points better than 2nd place, Grant S..
Now, Allan gets first choice over which Toronto Maple Leafs Winter Classic jersey he would prefer. He gets to choose from either two Kessels, a Reimer and a Kadri jersey. The announcement of which one he takes will be on the Newsletter when it is given away.
The second segment begins today and the total points will continue to tick away for the final prizes, but the segment will start anew and updates will be provided each week. Everyone gets a shot at a Leafs jersey starting today.
The Top Four Changes Again
This past week, the teams in the top four didn't change, but there was a little hokey-pokey, as teams moved themselves around in the standings. Allan goes back-to-back weeks at the top, while Grant moves up to 2nd from 4th, Kristy & Don remain in 3rd and Brenda does the drop to 4th from 2nd. 5th through to 8th are less than 10 points out of the top four, so the potential for movement, especially after the Waiver Draft, is there for everyone.
Waiver Draft Recap
Just a reminder, there are a couple of blog posts that are small recaps of the Waiver Draft, which you can access here. The part one link and part two link are posted in this sentence.
Scoring Trends Before the New Players Arrive
At the beginning of the week, all the way through to the start of the weekend, had the scoring rate in each NHL game up on Week Seven, as a number of players returned at the right time. Unfortunately, the weekend killed that hope and we had the worst scoring rate per NHL game this season in Week Eight.
In 46 NHL games, the pool collected 489 points, which was a rate of 10.6 points per game. The highest rate, in Week One, was 12.8 points per NHL game, which I am hoping that we see again after the new players get involved.
In Week One, we collected 17.6 skater games per NHL game and 117.8 goalie minutes per game, which was some excellent opening week numbers. In Week Eight, we saw 16.6 skater games per and 94.4 minutes per. Injuries and lost jobs in the crease didn't help things much, something we address in the Waiver Draft.
Well, it was only a matter of time, one would think, before Evgeni Malkin hit the Newsletter as the Player of the Week. I am thinking that Stuart G. would have preferred to have more of his players step up, while he waited for his 1st round pick made it to the pinnacle of the scoring news in the hockey pool. Stuart finished the first segment in 21st place, but has started to make some moves from the bottom and has a couple new players to help.
But this is about Malkin, who finished Week Eight with 8 points, tied with one other, a goalie, so the nod becomes his on goals rather easily.
The Penguins played in four games in Week Eight and Malkin had 2 points in each game, finishing the week with 1 goal and 7 assists, just barely taking the tie-breaker with the goalie for the nod.
It was 2 assists against the Ducks on Monday, 2 assists against the Capitals on Wednesday, a goal and an assist against the Islanders on Friday and 2 more assists against the Canadiens on Saturday. It's a 4-game point streak, which he started this week and Malkin is now up to 4 goals and 22 assists for 26 points, now 14th in pool scoring at the end of Week Eight.
As we finish off Week Eight, how about we have a first in the pool this season. Mike S., our Mover & Shaker, by virtue of leading the pool in both points and goals scored (for the tie-breaker) is the first to get acknowledged in this honour while outside of the top 10. That's right, the long climb for Mike has started and there is no better way to climb their way back into the prizing conversation, than with a Mover & Shaker.
There was another first, as Mike's M&S week was the first sub-30 points week for the honour since the shortened opening week of the season. Mike finished with 28 points and 13 goals to achieve the honour, as his team moves up from 22nd to 17th. He's making all kinds of noise!
Mike's big week was led by Matt Read of the Philadelphia Flyers, who finished with 5 points, while Michal Frolik, Taylor Hall, Wayne Simmonds, Chris Stewart and T.J. Brodie each had 3 points a piece to continue in the scoring. In the week, Mike's team only had three donuts, so there was plenty of help across the board.
As you can tell by a few of his players that finally woke up last week, he was banking on some slow teams, like Philadelphia and Edmonton, which hasn't helped a lot of teams, but now that they are starting to find the scoresheet again, it looks like Mike will be filling in some of the gaps.
Mike's team now sits 17 points out of the top 10, which is the first step to getting into the conversation. A top 10 finish would be really good or even to get there for the second waiver draft would be even better.
In the first Waiver Draft, Mike dropped both Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues and Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames to pick up Alex Stalock of the San Jose Sharks and Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes. Hanzal appears to be the key, as the Coyotes are scoring some goals and he is right in the middle of that party.
Turning the page from a terrible first segment is what Leo M.'s team looks to do, as they really fell off the map in the second half of the first segment. Three out of four weeks, they have a nod in the Basement Dweller.
It was another bad week, as we swapped players to avoid this scenario, as Leo finished with only 13 points and his team dropped down to 23rd in the standings. The injury to Evgeni Nabokov was devastating, as the goaltending was turning out to be his life preserver in the standings, but as it deflated, his team started to sink.
His team only had six donuts in the week, but only Antti Niemi picked up more than 2 points, as he had a couple of wins in the week for 4 points.
In the Waiver Draft, Leo changed up his forwards, as Alex Semin and Jiri Tlusty of the Hurricanes are out and Todd Bertuzzi of the Red Wings and Olli Jokinen of the Jets are in. If Leo is going to sit through the rest of the season, he's going to have players he likes on his team.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Buffalo Sabres scratched defenseman Jamie McBain on Sunday for their game against the Detroit Red Wings. McBain hasn't been a regular fixture on the Buffalo blueline, as the team struggles through the early part of the season. McBain wasn't dropped in the Waiver Draft this time around, likely because Dale B. had some bigger fish to fry. I would imagine that McBain will get some more chances, but he seems to be the odd man that finds his way to the press box, as he has only played 16 games this year.
It doesn't sound like the injury that Josh Harding suffered on the weekend is going to be bad, as the reports on Monday morning are suggesting that it is only spasms in his hamstring, which will likely need a few days to get under wraps. Harding did not join the team in St. Louis, where they play tonight, so it will be Niklas Backstrom, who was dropped in the Waiver Draft, and Darcy Kuemper backing him up, who wasn't taken in the draft at all, tonight for the Wild. What an odd turn of events for the Wild in the hockey pool.
It looks like practice has claimed another injury victim, as Washington Capitals goalie, Michal Neuvirth, had to leave this morning's session with a lower-body injury and he didn't return. The team has suggested that the injury is minor and he will be listed as day-to-day. The Capitals do not play again until Wednesday, so there won't be any rush to call up another goalie to take his place and he can get a couple of days to heal up. Neuvirth hasn't been the go-to guy for the Capitals in net, so Wyllie may not miss out on any scheduled starts, but it is a concern, nevertheless.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
The first Hockey Night In Canada with our new additions and our additions by subtraction (the drops). It's only a doubleheader on Saturday, but it should be another busy night in the hockey pool, as teams made plenty of changes, some of which, involved these teams.
After the Waiver Draft was all said and done, between these four teams, there are 51 active picks. No one is in the minors among those picks, but we still have five injuries, with the possibility of one coming off the IR in time for Saturday. A couple of goalies were added in Reto Berra and Peter Budaj, while Karri Ramo switched pool teams in the week. Goaltending is well represented in the weekend now. Every goalie, except for Ben Scrivens' back-up, Martin Jones, has been selected for Saturday.
Just for argument's sake, these four teams were responsible for eight drops, including three players in the minors, but more importantly, five healthy players.
The highest scoring active player among these four teams... Anze Kopitar, ranked 38th in pool scoring with 6 goals and 16 assists in 24 games with the Kings.